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Mike Ribeiro dazzles, then challenges Dallas fans

Feb 17, 2012, 7:00 AM EST

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For quite some time, I thought the Dallas Stars were foolish for tethering their team to a declining Mike Modano. It’s getting tougher and tougher to deny the underlying wisdom of keeping him around so long now, though, as his absence has hurt the team at the box office more than on the ice.

Sure, the Stars haven’t made the playoffs since Dave Tippett departed, but they’ve been in contention for the playoffs the past two seasons despite playing in front of skeletal crowds.

The official attendance was 11,839 but most hockey people will tell you that those numbers are often, well, “massaged.” Such issues haven’t eluded the team, who must be frustrated that great moments fall on deaf ears in the Dallas market. You know, like this great OT-winner by Mike Ribeiro:

The bigger highlight came after that 3-2 OT win, however, as Ribeiro basically called out Stars fans:

“Hopefully you guys can invite your friends so we can have more people here,” Ribeiro said.

The Stars are 16-11-2 at home, so it’s not like they don’t take advantage of games at the American Airlines Center. That being said, it might be more about getting the final change and the inherent faceoff edge rather than the atmosphere in their building right now.

Scoring highlight reel goals like Ribeiro’s might just bring in a few more fans, though.

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