Stargazing: Stars Fall in Buffalo, Look Forward to Lengthy Home Stand

Stargazing is a daily assortment of Dallas Stars  and NHL news, and whatever other random ramblings are bouncing around inside our heads.

Looking ahead is often times more fun than looking back. Particularly in sports. The Stars and their fans are running out of places to look.

We'll look forward to the home stand because of shots on goal. The Stars were out-shot last night 43 to 20, and overall on the trip by a margin of 129 to 76 that earned them 14 goals against. At home Dallas has outshout their opponents in 6 of their last 7. We'll look forward to the home stand because it's a place where the Stars have found consistent success this year. Prior to the Olympic break, they won 7 of their last 8 at the AAC. They have earned points in 23 of 31 home games this season overall. The road has not been nearly as kind. If there exists a place where the Stars can start a last minute comeback, the American Airlines Center is it.

I'll look forward to the home stand, personally, because "it's tougher where there isn't any." The season is not turning out like we'd hoped it would, but pretty soon there will be 5 very long months without ice at the AAC, so I'll try to appreciate it while I still can.

Sadly, we must take a look back at last night, however. 25 goals against is now the total since the break. Tomas Vanek's "hey where did that guy come from?" goal last night was a perfect microcosm for the post Olympic Stars. The defensive coverage is baffling to players and fans alike, and (as they say about the economy) there are no "signs of recovery." Even so, I thought Marty Turco played well under siege.

Hopefully there will be signs of recovery on Friday night, or the next thing we'll be looking forward to, is the draft.

After the jump, could Jamie Benn see playoff hockey somewhere else? And lot's of quotes (Crawford is critical?) and reaction from the game...

And I almost forgot: Defending Big D Live is on the air tonight at 7pm!

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As always, we turn to the man on the scene, Mike Heika:

It was ugly, no two ways about it.

Marty Turco was fantastic. The two goals where defensive coverage left players all alone in front? What do you do there? The other two? Meh. One was a sick deflection and one bounced in off of two Stars players before going in.

The Stars were out-shot in every period. 16-9 in the first when they should have learned their lesson from Washington and come out with their best period of the road trip. 15-5 in the second when a 3-3 game was up for grabs. 12-6 in the third when they should have been desperately trying to tie the game and reminding each other what they did inb Washington.

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SB Nation partner "Die By The Blade" has the enthusiasm from the Sabre side:

It was great to see the Sabres play a full 60 minute hockey game tonight against a team that is fighting for their playoff lives. This is the type of effort we seen from the Sabres in the first three months of the season. They battled hard, Tyler Myers was magnificent, Mark Mancari was solid and Patrick Kaleta was flying all over the place.

The Sabres offense finally started to get going tonight but sloppy play in the first period allowed the Stars to keep pace and send the teams to the locker room tied at three. The Sabres rebounded nicely and dominated the Stars over the final 40 minutes on their way to an impressive victory.

When Tyler Myers plays like he did tonight he adds a whole new dimension to the Sabres offensive attack. Myers was the most visible player on the ice. He was creating traffic in front of Marty Turco, he was taking shots from the point and he was solid in his own zone. Should we get back to calling him the future Calder Trophy winner?

Check them out here.

And uhh, I will give you all of my Star Wars cards for Tyler Myers. Even Boba Fett.

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Dallasstars.com has a neat look at Mike Modano's visit to Buffalo:

The calendar may have read March 2010, but for five minutes the face of the Dallas Stars franchise, and the man most responsible for creating the immense growth of hockey in North Texas, whisked himself back to 1999 when he helped the Stars win their first ever Stanley Cup by defeating the Buffalo Sabres at Marine Midland Arena.

Brett Hull's championship winner in triple overtime of Game 6 just 90 minutes into Father's Day was the culmination of Modano and the Stars' quest for magnificence, and on Wednesday the 20-year veteran leaned forward and clasped his hands to reflect on what was certainly the most memorable night of his career.

"Just picturing everybody in here afterwards, and visually knowing where everybody was when we were done and how we were sitting," Modano remembered at his locker stall located along the middle of the back wall of the visitors locker room in what is now HSBC Arena. "You remember all the people that were involved at that time and that were all here in this room at once."

I could just hear "Bring back that loving feeling" while reading that. Though, I'm pretty sure we all talk about 1999 way too much...

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Richard Durrett at ESPN Dallas spoke with GM Joe about the home stand:

Asked if he still believes the Stars can make the playoffs, Nieuwendyk responded: "I think anything is possible."

"But the problem is you start to run out of games," Nieuwendyk said. "We have 16 to go. Everybody is quite aware that if we are going to stay in the mix, we need to get five of six or six of six at home. That’s the reality. Everybody is looking at this homestand and here we are. Everything will get dictated in the next six games at home. If we come away .500, it’s not good enough."

It's white knuckle time in Frisco.

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The NY Daily news recounts the "hits to the head" rule the GM's came up with:

The recommendation reads: "A lateral, back pressure or blindside hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and or is the principal point of contact is not permitted. A violation of the above will result in a minor or major penalty and shall be reviewed for possible supplemental discipline."

Shortly after the announcement - in a display of the toothless state of the current rules and the NHL's hapless standards of discipline - the league informed the Penguins that winger Matt Cooke would not be suspended for his shoulder to Savard's head as the Bruin was following through on a wrist shot. League discipline czar Colin Campbell explained that precedence tied the NHL's hands, given that Flyers captain Mike Richards was not suspended for a similar hit that concussed Florida's David Booth on Oct. 24. Booth missed 45 games, and Campbell said that hit pushed the GMs "over the brink" and into action; Savard, who suffered a Grade II concussion, may be gone for the season.

I have some concerns about the wording of that rule that I hope to be able to share with you soon, time permitting.

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Thanks to our AHL correspondent Stephen for alerting us to the AHL "Clear day roster" release. The Texas Stars roster includes none other than Jamie Benn:

Now for the big surprise. The listing of Jamie Benn on the clear day roster, despite never having played a game with the Texas Stars is an interesting turn. Benn was assigned to the Texas Stars and immediately recalled last week. He will obviously play in Dallas for the rest of the season and count as a "call-up", so Texas may replace him with another player not on the Clear Day list. Benn will likely be assigned when the Stars season is over and play out the rest of the season with Texas for more experience. I wonder if he would play center here or move back to wing. Also, Ondrej Roman may see some playing time with Benn still in Dallas. He was in the press box last night.

Please visit Stephen here, at Hundred Degree Hockey.

Do you think Jamie Benn is wearing down with the rigors of an 82 game season? Can he take a stint in the AHL after the Stars season is over?

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Mike Heika brings you all the quotes:

Marc Crawford:

"They were careless with the puck,'' Crawford said. ``We got all of our goals from simple plays and taking it to the net, but then, our skilled forwards tried to make complicated plays, they turned over pucks, and they really let us down. There was no reason for it."

"We were guilty of turning over a few too many pucks and trying to make the game a little bit more complicated than it needed to be. You win games at this time by playing mentally tough and making sure that you don't over-complicate your game. We were guilty of not doing that."

Steve Ott:

"It's our season, quite frankly. There are 12 points there, huge points, so we either come out and we're strong at home and we continue to have a good push right to the end, or if we don't get the ship pointed in the right direction on this homestand, then we might as well call it a season."

"If one guy breaks down, it all breaks down," said Steve Ott, who scored in the wacky first period. "I think that's what's it's been more of. The defensive responsibility of guys to commit to their position and to their play, I think that's where it's resulting in an awful lot of shots in the last little while. I think if there's a 4X8 foot piece of plywood in there, if they get that many shots on it, one of them is going to go through it eventually because it's going to break down. Marty's played awesome, and he's playing his heart out for us."

"I mean, if there's a 4-by-8 piece of plywood in there and you get that many shots on it, one or five are going to go through eventually,'' center Steve Ott said. ``Marty played awesome. He's playing his heart out for us, and we have to be better."

Jamie Benn:

"Both teams had their chances in the first period, and it was run-n-gun," Benn said. "They just took advantage of everything in the second. I don't think we tested (Miller) enough, but that's the way it goes sometimes."

Marty Turco:

"Every game is just so vital. We're not getting any farther behind, but we just have to win to stay afloat, and then we need a little bit of help from some other teams. But we still think our destiny is in our control if we win all our games. If we can't do that, we have to go to the next one."

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