Can a comeback kid identity lead the Stars to the Stanley Cup?
Identity is something Stars fans have heard a lot about over the last few years. Who they are as a team gets discussed by commentators, coaches, and the players themselves on a regular basis. Inconsistency on the ice is often part of this discussion.
Team identity is important and it’s something the Stars have struggled to find for some time now. Identity isn’t just the hoped-for end result or how a team wants to be defined. It maps out the path that leads them where they want to go as a team. When players say they believe in the system, they are playing in a way that helps achieve those goals.
With one of the top units in the league, the defense is a strong part of the Stars identity and something that has kept them in games they seemed likely to lose.
Stars fans know that the other team scoring first is not an indication of how the rest of the game is going to go and that trailing by three in the third period doesn’t mean they are out of the game. Having two top goalies working in tandem doesn’t hurt the defensive edge the Stars have.
Each game has become a story of dogged determination and stubbornness with an impossible to predict ending for the fans. The one thing that is somewhat consistent within all the inconsistencies is you never know what you are going to get when the Stars take the ice. Whether they start off strong or wait until the third period, more often than not, they still come away with that win. This trend was already apparent in January when Stars Nation twitter asked if the Dallas Stars brand was the comeback kids. No one disagreed. Of course, there’s still the random blowout loss that leaves fans confused.
Yourdictionary.com defines a comeback kid as “a person who repeatedly demonstrates the propensity to overcome downturns or periods of bad publicity and rebound to victory or popularity.”
Defining the Stars can be difficult but if you replace kid with team, it just feels right.
Top players have been called out publicly. Three players went down in the first home game of the season. A tornado descended. The head coach was suddenly and unexpectedly fired. Through it all, the Stars are finding ways to win games.
As much as fans long for a full effort during all sixty minutes, reality seems determined to keep things interesting. Is it possible to embrace a comeback kid identity and smile fondly at the on-ice inconsistencies rather than having spikes in blood pressure and long for anxiety medication? Maybe not, but a certain level of acceptance might be healthy before the end of the regular season. Memories of last years’ nail-biting playoff games surely haunt even the most stoic of fans.
Might as well gear up for it now and practice having the level of confidence it’s taking for the Stars to keep winning.
At the very least, we can find it comforting that the other team is wearing themselves down before the Stars begin that third-period rally.
Featured Image: @sticksontheice_