The Dallas Stars just completed one of the most active and dramatic seasons since the franchise moved to the Metroplex.
There have been plenty of winning seasons and a Stanley Cup championship in the past, but the 2013-14 season seemed to have a little bit of everything in it.
Here are five defining moments:
Modano’s No. 9 hangs
In hindsight, plans for the March 8 ceremony retiring Modano’s No. 9 began when the mullet-coiffed teenager was drafted first overall by the Minnesota North Stars in 1988. Years later, Modano would own almost every Stars offensive record as well as become the greatest American-born player in NHL history. The ceremony to hang his jersey in the American Airlines Center rafters was almost the sole focus of the organization entering the season. Little did they know when the ceremony would roll around at the Stars would be right in the middle of the playoff hunt.
The Peverley incident
Hockey and the Stars were pushed to the forefront of national media attention late in the season for reasons no one in the organization would ever hope to see. On March 10, Peverley suffered a cardiac incident on the Stars’ bench. Players threw equipment onto the ice to stop play and allow doctors to pull Peverley into the hallway to resuscitate him. The game would be postponed to April. The resilient Peverley made a quick recovery in the hallway and stayed with the team in a moral support role that became a point of pride for the organization and fans.
Front office moves
Credit for this season’s success goes straight to the top, and the top was new general manager Jim Nill. In just a couple of months, Nill turned over the Stars’ front office and roster, putting together pieces that would push Dallas back into the playoffs. Out of all those moves, Nill said the one he believes was the best for the organization was bringing on head coach Lindy Ruff. Ruff changed his style of coaching slightly after spending 15 years with the Buffalo Sabres. Nill saw him become like a father figure or brother to what would become a very close-knit team. His up-tempo, forecheck-heavy style of play meshed perfectly with the young, speedy team Nill assembled.
Tyler Seguin trade
Jim Nill pulled off a Fourth of July blockbuster trade that rivaled any fireworks show in Dallas-Fort Worth, bringing rising star Tyler Seguin, along with Rich Peverley and Ryan Button, to Dallas while sending Loui Eriksson and three other players to Boston. Seguin would thrive in his new home, leading the Stars in scoring in the regular season with 84 points (37 goals and 47 assists), which was good for fourth in the NHL. The trade, making Seguin the Stars’ top-line center, also allowed forward Jamie Benn to move to his natural position of left wing, which developed into a lethal one-two punch.
Rebranding the team
Stars owner Tom Gaglardi, in his first full season, wanted the organization to make a new mark on the Metroplex. He spent much of his time developing a new logo and uniform for the franchise, which effectively hit the reset button after being in a tailspin for several years. The new uniform and logo was unveiled in a big-time event at the Winspear Opera House in downtown Dallas. Shortly after Stars fans learned of the new logo going on the front of the jersey, Benn learned the captain’s “C” would find a new home on the front of his jersey. Through the season, players and coaches alike raved about Benn’s development as the team’s leader.