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What I’m Watching: Counting Down the Clock on Phase 1 of the Rangers’ Offseason

Plus, the red-hot Stars and a stiff test for Cowboys interim coach Dan Quinn.
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The Stars are on fire … but not as hot as the Rangers’ offseason. The Cowboys? Well, not much is going right there. But all three have my attention over the next several days. Here’s what I’m watching.

Tuesday, 11/30: Stars versus Hurricanes7:30 p.m., Bally Sports Southwest

What a difference a week makes. Last Monday, I wrote about Dallas playing Edmonton through the lens of “the Stars need to ratchet down some of the pressure on Rick Bowness’ job.” No matter your feelings about the most divisive coach in town, that has almost certainly happened in the short term now that Bowness’ team has won six of their last seven. Tonight that momentum gets a stiff test in Carolina, who are tied for the second-most points in the NHL with 31 on the season.

Right now through Wednesday, 12/1, 10:59 p.m. CT: The Texas Rangers’ Offseason, Phase 1Every minute of my waking hours, all forms of media

Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement expires tomorrow night and with that comes the likelihood that the owners will lock out players until a new agreement gets hammered out. That could last weeks, if not months, which will freeze Texas and every other team in their tracks until business is back open. Which means I’ll be keeping a close eye on whether the Rangers continue their record offseason spending before the stoppage … because, as I argued yesterday, they very much should.

Thursday, 12/2: Cowboys interim coach Dan Quinn versus Saints head coach Sean Payton—7:20 p.m., FOX

What else could it be following the news that Mike McCarthy will miss this one due to a positive COVID-19 test? Quinn was the safest option to be interim head coach after spending six years in charge of the Atlanta Falcons—even if Jerry Jones would be way more fun—but he’s going up against a coach who had his number in New Orleans’ Sean Payton. Quinn’s teams were just 4-8 against their divisional rival Falcons during his time in Atlanta, and while there are way too many different conditions here to put much stock in that number, it’s also not unfair to say he’s not as accomplished as one of the game’s most decorated coaches this millennium.

Dallas has a talent edge here, but how will Quinn utilize it? Will the game-management decisions be markedly different than McCarthy’s? How about the play calling? The pressure will be on to push the right buttons. The Cowboys will be playing with fire if they lose their fourth game in five weeks.

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