Going through the motions, that's all it is right now - or at least that's all the Stars pretty much did tonight.
I honestly wasn't expecting much from the Dallas Stars with the freshly minted Chicago Blackhawks in town and an AHL goalie playing just his 4th NHL game ever, and yet somehow we got even less than what was expected from everyone wearing white as the Stars lost 5-2.
At least it wasn't a shutout. That's the only real positive I can come away with from this game... Well that and Steve Ott has 20 goals on the season while Brad Richards picked up another assist which sets a new career high in points for him with (fittingly enough) 91.
So it wasn't all bad tonight. But it was bad enough.
First a word of caution: Lots of Stars-loathing ahead... I outlined the positives before the jump and as you can expect in a 5-2 loss where the "2" part kinda flatters the Stars in many ways, the negatives outnumber the positives.
Is there anyone that exemplifies the whole "going through the motions" phrase better than Mike Ribeiro? Is it just me or is it ever since his little stunt of missing a meeting and then being sat out of the Anaheim game that Ribs has been playing at about 75% most nights. Sure he picked up an assist on Ott's 5 on 3 PP goal in the second period but did anyone else notice him outside of that? He's not really convincing anyone that he should be kept a member of the Dallas Stars rather than shipping him out of town come the summer.
And if GM Joe wants to package up Karlis Skrastins with Ribeiro, my feelings won't be hurt at all. We all can - and probably will - debate this summer who should stay and who should go, but for what it's worth my two top headliners in the "see 'ya" category would be those guys.
Not to say that Skrastins was the lone poor defenseman out there, in fact there really wasn't a good one out on the ice for Dallas save for maybe Stephane Robidas of course. Want to know how bad a game it was for all the defensemen tonight? Grossman was a -4 tonight! He's never been a -4 ever! A small handful of times in the 220 games he's played he's been -3, but that's been more of a once-a-year occurrence.
It was that bad a night. The forwards weren't much better either and at the very least the Stars did well in the faceoff dot, and they did have the afore mentioned power play goal that came on a 5 on 3 PP. But defense and backchecking for them did seem to be a bit of a faint suggestion that wasn't really followed up on as was evidenced on the Towes shorthanded goal. The team overall also failed to take care of the puck as they doubled the Hawks in terms of giveaways with 18 in total, and man I hate to point this out to everyone but Mike Modano was guilty of four of those giveaways. Ouch.
And poor Matt Climie... If this was an audition for a possible backup role in Dallas for next season, it looked as good as Anaheim baseball fans all wearing Snuggies while doing the wave: Not pretty. He didn't play that well and it looked like he was a ball of nerves for half the game while having trouble keeping up with speed of the game around him.
A tough night for Stars players and fans alike. Thursday night is Fan Appreciation night in the final home game of the season against the Ducks. Fans I'm sure would appreciate a bit better play from the Stars than they saw tonight.
Your Defending Big D 3 and 38th stars:
1st Star: Colin Fraser (CHI) - Two goals on the night. He has four goals on the season, three of them scored against Dallas. He apparently only shows up when the Hawks play the Stars
2nd Star: Jonathan Towes (CHI) - A short handed goal, an assist and three blocked shots. Nice night for him.
3rd Star: Adam Burish (CHI) - I really like Burish's game and he was a very effective and efficient defensive forward for the Hawks tonight while managing to pick up a pair of helpers.
38th Star: Karlis Skrastins (DAL) - Rip on Matt Niskanen all you want (and some of you guys will) but he at least had five hits. Skrastins had a big 'ol goose egg in that department. I can live with turnovers in the neutral or offensive zones and missed shots from a defenseman as long as he's playing physical and getting in the way of the opposition. Skrastins doesn't seem to do that any more.