I’ve said this many times before, but it happens so rarely here these days that it’s worth repeating. If you want to produce a successful season for your fans, hit the final four – conference championship, conference finals, league championship series, whatever the case.
The stars are level 1-1 with Vegas in the Stanley Cup Playoffs Western Conference Finals, and it’s the first time for the franchise in 12 years. But it’s also the first for stars, cowboys, rangers or mavs in nine seasons.
Not since the pretty glorious calendar year 2011, when Dirk sang “We Are the Champions” in an unknown key from the balcony of the AAC and the Rangers (too early?) Games, one of the four local clubs has been one of the last four teams.
While the three teams just mentioned have at least achieved this sub-goal in the past decade, most of you know that the Cowboys line up on the 25th anniversary of their last NFC Championship Game visit.
And while the stars were barely active in the game on Tuesday, falling behind early and making crucial mistakes the entire time so that Vegas can even hit the streak, the really unlucky part of the coronavirus-era playoffs is next.
Games 3 and 4 should take place at the American Airlines Center on Thursday and Saturday while Victory Plaza rocks and fans scream, and unfortunately we know it will be a while before this scene can repeat itself here or elsewhere in this country.
It’s hard to quantify what impact the extreme social distancing of the two bladder sports has on fan interest. NHL scores have typically dropped 20 to 30 percent in the playoffs for the most part, but it certainly didn’t help that the Stars were forced to play a game 7 against Colorado at 3 p.m. after playing two games in the same arena play a weekday.
The NBA has had some low ratings too, but the numbers have been on the rise lately and, in fact, Game 7 between Houston and Oklahoma City was ESPN’s top-rated first-round game in three years and the most-watched cable sports event since the NFL Draft.
Regardless, the stars must now plow forward to realize that the tired-looking Golden Knights team that showed up for Game 1 on Sunday after playing back-to-back games against Vancouver on Thursday and Friday is a thing of the past. A streak that was the opposite of the chariot hockey the Stars and Avs played (57 goals in seven games) shouldn’t disturb a team that has won as many low-scoring games as Dallas this season.
Let’s see what happens when both teams score in the same game. The fact that this has not happened yet tells you that this is real playoff hockey no matter what the bleachers are or where those games are to be played.