Sometimes things don't go how we plan from the start. I remember last fall thinking how there was a genuine possibility of seeing the boys in Victory Green playing (at the time of this writing) right now, facing the Hawks, or Blues, or Ducks, or Kings, fighting for their shot at their first Stanley Cup in more than 15 years, their second in franchise history. But it didn't quite shake out the way we had all thought, or at the very least hoped, it would. A heartbreaking home opener against Chicago, an apparent lack of defensive accountability for much of the early going mixed with high power offense that eventually waned into more defensive accountability but drastically slowed offensive production. Injuries and surgeries; Val Nichushkin's early hip surgery after a sluggish start, Tyler Seguin's knee following a dirty hit against Florida, Trevor Daley's knee just a few games after that, and then, at the end of it all, hearing that the captain, Jamie Benn, would be having surgery on both hips during the off season, as well as Daley and Hemsky also having similar surgeries on individual hips. The picture that had been saddening just days before as you prepared your bracket and had to play the game of "which team do I hate the least of these 16," and thinking how many more years will I be filling brackets out this way instead of blindly playing homer and putting the Stars right there in the middle of it, bringing another cup to Dallas, to seeing how close that picture was to being fulfilled by a team that was so close while playing with star players (pardon the pun) injured, others who were on the brink of setting personal records sidelined by malicious play and injuries, and rookies that had previously never had a real taste of regular season NHL hockey. I'm definitely filled with hope as I start counting down the days until October. When I can start making those frequent trips to the American Airline Center, grabbing some popcorn, maybe a pizza, and watching these players give it all, night after night, on their quest for The Cup.
Is it October, yet?