I can tell by the "spirited" talk on our game thread and by the comments of other Stars fans that I've seen on various other sites and message boards that we're all just a little fed up and a lot frustrated by the state of our beloved hockey team is in right now. So before I get into tonight's recap, I just want us all to take one step back and breathe...
And breathe out.
Feel a little better now? Not really? Sorry, I tried.
I'm sure most of us came into tonight's game thinking "Well it can't possibly get any worse than it was on Tuesday" and yet here we are after a mind numbing 6-1 Stars loss to the St. Louis Blues and most of us are now thinking "Wow, it not only got worse tonight, but now this team has to play three on the road out east!"
Feel free to do a few more breathing exercises as we try to figure out just what the heck the problem is...
Would you believe me if I said that the Stars led the game in faceoff wins, shots and had a perfect penalty kill? Normally when a team does those three things in a single game, they'd be winning it... Or at the very least be within a goal of a low scoring game if they aren't winning. So can we can't quite fully question this team's heart and desire because it's there.
Part of the problem is offensively they can't finish. Some of that is the result of a hot goalie on the other end which to his credit the Blues Chris Mason was tonight. The rest of it has to do with the fact Dallas isn't keeping it simple out there. One too many passes... One too many times a shot went well wide of the net... Not enough traffic in front of the Blues crease and too much perimeter play and shots. The powerplay went 0 for 4 and never once looked overly dangerous.
The one Stars goal came off of hard work by James Neal and Brad Richards in the corner feeding a wide open Loui Eriksson who was parked two feet from the Blues net for one of his trade mark tap in goals. We should be seeing as much of that as possible from all the lines, yet it's just not there.
Also problematic - and stop me if you've heard this before - is the very lame defense this team has right now. Just how did the Blues pile up such a big lead?
basically skated around at will in the offensive zone and scored their first four goals of the night from the slot will nary a hand of resistance from the Stars' defense there to meet them.
Recognize that line? That's from Brandon's recap of Tuesday night's game. It was more of the same tonight only switch out the word "first four" with "four of the six"
And that brings us to the goalies... Ahh yes, the topic du 'jour right now for Stars fans.
Yes Turco let in two softies in the first that blew this game wide open and yes Kari looked pretty bad on that sixth, but should fans really to be that focused on how bad the goaltending is when the Stars offense only scored one goal? If the Stars had scored five but allowed six in the same manner they did tonight, then fine, I guess the goaltending issue would be something I think is worthy of debate and major criticism. Right now though goaltending is just a fraction of the problem for Dallas.
Make no mistake, this Stars team is losing with a total team effort - or lack thereof I suppose. It isn't just the forwards, it isn't just the defense and it surely isn't just the goalies.
And the kicker to all of this? This is your team for the rest of the season boys and girls! No more trades are going to be made... No free agents are going to be brought in... Unless another NHL team GM goes insane and waives top six forward or top two defenseman, the Stars aren't picking anyone up off the waiver wire.
And stop having grand illusions of Marc Crawford or Joe Nieuwendyk being dismissed. They were just hired this past summer and they are going to be given time to set this team right in the way that both of them want. The worst thing that can happen to this team right now is a revolving door in the front office that ruins continuity, so not only should we expect for Crow and GM Joe to be kept, we as fans should be demanding it.
What I am saying here is that there is no real sense of gnashing teeth or pounding fists over this club right now... It is what it is and while none of us like it (and believe me I doubt anyone that skated on that ice tonight in black was having much fun either) we do have to live with it and just hope that somewhere in the next few games the Stars offense will start clicking down low, the defense will get tougher around their net and the goalies will bear down and stop pucks.
Maybe they'll find their game on the road this weekend. Or maybe this horrible trend will continue. Either way, I recommend doing more of those breathing exercises in the meantime.