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Handshake Line: It's Just The Beginning

The Stars were every NHL analyst's sexy quarterfinal upset pick. Even though they were unable to beat the Ducks, the Stars should still be proud of their efforts.

Ronald Martinez

Dear Dallas Stars,

A very cynical part of me thought that the you would pull off the upset. In many ways, you remind me of the Ducks: a fearsome, one-two scoring punch on your top line, offensive depth (plus some guys who are more than willing to mix it up), a talented goalie, and a coach looking for redemption with a new team.

While this is not the season ending that most of you envisioned, you should still feel very proud of yourselves. You ended your playoff drought, and have emerged as a team to beat.

Now, for the individual honors...

-Kudos to Tyler Seguin. Saddled with off-ice problems in Boston, you have completely turned a corner in Dallas. I know that you didn't put up the playoff numbers that you wanted (only one goal and three points in six games), but 37 goals and 84 points in the regular season is not shabby. If you keep this up (plus scoring in the playoffs), you will be a cornerstone of the Stars franchise for years to come.

-Kudos to Trevor Daley. Had Dallas successfully forced a Game 7, your Game 6 performance would have been the stuff of legends. Your "penalty box goal" gave the Stars a quick lead, and scared the stuffing out of every Ducks fan watching. And your second goal precipitated a goalie change on our end. You are one of the most underrated players in the league, and will likely develop a reputation as a big playoff performer in the upcoming years.

-Kudos to Lindy Ruff. Under your vision and leadership, the Stars have found an identity.

-Kudos to Shawn Horcoff. People say that you aren't an "impact player" anymore, and they're lying.

-Kudos to the Stars' front office (past and present). People said that hockey wouldn't work in North Texas, and you made it work (and the kids you inspired to play hockey are beginning to make an impact at the NHL level). Additional kudos for making gutsy trades that have turned this team into a contender (i.e., acquiring Seguin, Alex Goligoski).

Great series, Stars. As a Ducks fan and a native Texan, I hope to see y'all next year.