If you were expecting negativity regarding the Dallas Stars squandering a two-goal lead and thus being knocked out of the playoffs by the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 on Sunday, look beyond head coach Lindy Ruff.
The veteran bench boss acknowledged that mistakes were made, yet he clearly seems happy about their efforts and the big picture for a team with some promising young players.
It’s easy to see Ruff’s reasons for optimism when you glance at the salary structure of this team. Whether it be blossoming stars in the beginning of their peaks (Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn) or those approaching the latter years of that period (Kari Lehtonen), no one is making more than $6 million per season from a cap hit standpoint.
If the Stars can build from that point – and if Ruff can build up that core as it matures – this could be the kind of loss this team rallies around.
All those positive ifs make the more painful hypothetical question (“What if we protected that lead and made it to Game 7?”) that much easier to stomach.
At least, if you ask Ruff, it seems.