|Remember these guys? (Credit: JustSports Photography)|
Alright, back up. If the Stars had won in 2010, it absolutely would have been an amazing experience. It would have meant a lot to the players, the fans, the franchise, etc.
But... if they win it this year, it means more.
For what it's worth, Texas Stars team president Rick McLaughlin agrees, "I think our fans probably didn't realize five years ago what it took and how close we came. With missing the playoffs [in 2012] and clawing back, the fans want this and are excited about it. They'll appreciate it even more this year if we're able to win it all."
Texas stormed the playoffs in 2010. They won two full-length seven game series on the road. They beat the top team in the division, conference and almost in the league.
But that team was a different makeup. It was veteran 'hired-gun' heavy. The effect of a team run on the current development pipeline alone is a huge difference. In 2010, there were two players on the roster who are now everyday NHLers: Jamie Benn and Colton Sceviour.
|Travis Morin in 2010 (Credit: JustSports Photography)|
Further, I don't think the fans would have appreciated it as much if Texas had won in 2010. After five years in the league, Stars fans have seen how difficult the American Hockey League is, how difficult it is to be good year after year in the top development league in the country. And they certainly appreciate the difficulty of ending the regular season as the points leader.
AHL MVP Travis Morin agrees, "I think everybody will have more appreciation for it. I think the fans might have been spoiled a bit that first year to get that far and maybe think it would be easy to do and get back."
Morin was a rookie that first year and feels he will appreciate the win more this year if it happens.
"I was young, and it was my first year in the league. It was a whirlwind to get there. When you get older, you appreciate it more because you don't know how much time you have left in the league."
And now, five years later, it means more. Knowing the long road you must travel to get here, it will be all the sweeter to take home the league's top prize this June.