So, I did a little project with the numbers. Here, are the standings from the opening of the season thru November 30th:
And here, are the standings from December 1, through last night (Feb 3):
Much better, eh? But, wow, Detroit, San Jose, and especially Chicago are the real deal. I think we all respect the Blackhawks now, but are curious how they hold up to the playoff tension that lies ahead. San Jose is awesome, but there is nothing they can do to quiet their demons until they quiet them in late April/early May. Detroit is Detroit.
The bottom line is that the Stars are in a good spot, but by no means have they arrived. They have to keep digging hard to get where they want to go. But, the prospect of the playoffs certainly can no longer be labeled a long shot.