Hot August Nights: Dallas Stars

by J.R.

Toyota Concert Series On Today With Neil DiamondThis week, III Communication presents “Hot August Nights.” At one minute past sundown local time we’ll be reviewing the off-seasons of each Conference III team using the songs of American legend Neil Diamond.

Tonight, we head to the Big D with the Dallas Stars.

As suggested by Defending Big D‘s Brandon Bibb, “Beautiful Noise,” Neil’s tribute to the sounds of the city for a team that made plenty of noise.

Like the clickety-clack of a train on a track, it’s got rhythm to spare

The Stars brought in former Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill — perpetually a candidate for every GM job in the league — and stuck the ageless Lindy Ruff behind the bench. Those moves alone gave ESPN’s Craig Custance reason enough to laud the Stars as having one of the best off-season in the league. Nill is well-respected and Lindy needs no introduction — and he’ll fit in perfectly in the grumpiest coaching fraternity in the NHL.

And it fits me as well as a hand in a glove

The Stars also got new jerseys, and while that star itself is a little wonky (though people who have seen them live say it looks pretty sweet in the flesh), let’s applaud the Stars for going green — real green, not pine needle or whatever it is Minnesota calls it — and showing a little creativity in a league in which everyone tries to glom on to the Original Six blueprint.

Comin’ up from the park, it’s the song of the kids and it plays until dark

The biggest splash made by Nill was the trade that sent Loui Eriksson to Boston in exchange for Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley, news that caught us unawares. Seguin celebrated in grand style. The hope is that all the super-talented Seguin needs to get his mind right — whatever that means — was a change of scenery, as he had largely fallen out of favor in Boston for, basically, acting like a wildly-rich 21-year-old.

The Stars may have also scored the steal of the draft by picking up Russian Valeri Nichushkin with the No. 10 pick in the draft. Nichushkin very well could be the most skilled player to come out in the lauded 2013 class:

Made of joy and of strife

Because too much of a youth movement would be a shock to the system of the Stars and their typical modus operandi of finding a bunch of old men to fill spots, Nill brought in Shawn Horcoff from Edmonton and added Sergei Gonchar so that Lindy Ruff would have someone who would understand his references to the Calvin Coolidge Administration.

It’s a beautiful noise and it’s a sound that I love and it makes me feel good

Rich Clune will be disappointed to hear this (if he ever stays on Twitter for more than 10 minutes), but the Stars are suddenly very compelling and will do their usual dance on the margins of the playoff picture, but the infusion of skill with Seguin and Nichushkin, coupled with the old man-ishness that Horcoff, Peverley, Ruff and Gonchar bring may be enough to snag that last spot.

Check back tomorrow at 7:57 Central as we review Minnesota in the next edition of Hot August Nights