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Stars Could Get Help by Adding One More Voice

While the NHL’s free agency period may not be as covered as the NBA’,s the Dallas Stars are just as active as the Mavericks, pursuing the likes of Vincent Lecavalier and others that can give the likes of Jaime Benn much needed help on the front line. Time will tell which local team gets the fish they want.

But while they’re looking to make additions that wear sweaters and skates, the Stars might want to also consider adding help elsewhere. They may help themselves as much as anywhere with an addition on the broadcast side.

Few in DFW will argue that for years the Stars have had the best broadcast duo in the area in Ralph Strangis and Daryl Reaugh. Brad Sham and Eric Nadel may be loved individually, but the Rangers booth has been a revolving door for years with their second announcer, and most Cowboy fans are still hoping that somehow Dale Hansen will make peace with Jerry and rejoin Sham. But Ralph and Razor.

But they can only do so much. As the team they cover looks to craft a new image, they need help in telling the audience about it. And their own equivalent of Pierre McGuire may be it.

Pierre McGuire, for those who don’t know is the “between the glass” reporter for NBC Sports’ coverage of the NHL. And he definitely is a bit of a lightning rod, as my Twitter feed during the playoffs had quite a few posts asking him to shut up.

But McGuire’s position in the broadcast team remains sound even if quite a few people don’t like how he carries it out. He is hockey’s sideline reporter, out there to talk directly to players, observe the scene from the benches and inform people of the essential “game within the game.” He is their version of Ahmad Rashad or Ken Rosenthal.

While all that can help a new generation of sports fans get to know hockey in the Metroplex, such an addition to the Stars will also help answer the biggest question many may have: “Who are these guys?”

With an influx of young, relatively unknown talent, the Stars no longer have the likes of Mike Modano, Brenden Morrow, Brett Hull, Ed Belfour or Marty Turco to draw in fans. Their biggest task in drawing fans (outside of, you know, winning again) lies in getting them to know the likes of the Benn brothers, Eric Nystrom, Loui Eriksson, Kari Lehitonen and others.

That’s where the third reporter comes in. Such a person could use breaks in game time, and possibly pre-game, to talk about the players as individual people, get the fans to know who they are.

This, of course, would be in addition to getting the viewers in closer to Lindy Ruff and how he operates. A new coach only adds even more uncertainty that fans need cleared up.

If the McGuire comparison is not a good one for you, then think of it as the Stars getting their own version of what Emily Jones does for the Rangers.

Now the only reminding question is who this reporter could be. Well, I know of a young lady with a real good sports knowledge and a great on-air persona – one who was recently let go from 105.3 The Fan…

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.