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Neuwendyk’s Trades May be Why Stars Are Looking Elsewhere

Jaramir Jagr has at least one last chance to lift Lord Stanley’s chalice again. And he has Joe Neuwendyk to thank for it.

Jagr will lace up the skates for the Boston Bruins tonight as they look to even up the Stanley Cup Finals at one game apiece against Chicago. Two things to keep in mind: The Cup Finals have proven over the years that a 1-0 deficit is almost worthless, so Jagr’s Bruins are definitely still in it, and Jagr is not just along for the ride. Despite not yet putting the puck in the net himself this postseason, the 41-year-old has still contributed 26 points in 28 combined regular-post season games> And those that actually were in the American Airlines Center when Jagr wore the green and black know how potent he could still be on the power play.

The ironic thing is that, with a Boston-Pittsburgh East Final, it was guaranteed that a former Star would be playing for the Cup, with Brenden Morrow skating for the Penguins. Two trades of top players by the Stars payed big dividends for the recipients.

Which makes you wonder if those deals were ultimately what cost Neuwendyk his job as Stars GM.

Being a major league general manager is not an easy job, unless it’s GM of the Dallas Cowboys because you have ultimate job security by inhabiting the same body as the owner. But it’s even tougher when you’re running a club looking at a fifth straight year out of the playoffs in a league where you just have to cross over into that eighth spot to get in. And when you have a new owner like the Stars have in Tom Gaglardi, you’re on even thinner ice (pun intended).

Neuwendyk was clearly looking to the future, dealing aging players for more young talent that could grow with the likes of Jaime Benn, Cody Eakin, Brenden Dillon and others. WHen you’re a new owner, however, you want into that excitement of the NHL playoffs as soon as possible, and it probably stings that an opportunity was stripped away.

Even with the deals, the Stars still were within striking distance as the games ticked down before a three-game losing streak to end the year ultimately put them seven points out of that final spot. (Don’t get me started on the “points” thing; that’s a discussion for another time.)

You have to winder if Gaglardi saw that and had to feel that, had Morro and Jagr still been here, would the Stars have had the power to get up into that playoff window after all.

And to anyone who would just fire back that finishing with the last spot wouldn’t be worth it anyway, Gaglardi could just show them those year-old clips of an eight-place team from Los Angeles hoisting the Cup.

That’s probably why the former Conn Smythe trophy winner was shown the door.

So now it’s wait and see as to what new GM Jim Nill will do under Gaglardi’s watch. Just how much moey will Gaglardi be willing to shill out to get players to come to Texas?

It’s pretty clear the new owner wants to win now. And with him stripping away almost every holdover from the Stars’ years of glory, from the uniforms to “Rock and Roll Part II,” he may need to in order to get those AAC seats filled.

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