And it showed. Boy did it show.
While the entire team seemed to lack a certain oomph, some mistakes by the defensive corps led directly to goals against in a 4-1 loss. And since neither Stephanie Robidas nor Sheldon Souray is expected back for at least a week, this could be cause for concern.
But Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said he's not worried.
"I'm not concerned. I think we have six guys that all have proven that they can play in big games and play. But they weren't [at their best], outside of a couple of them, I thought three or four of them didn't have their best games. And they need to make sure that when we're in the situation and they're getting the opportunity to play five, six more minutes a night that they have to come up with some better solid play. So I have belief in all those guys. I just don't think defensively we're as good as we have been in the past."
Take one of the cheapest defenses in the league and subtract two of the best players, and that will happen.
After the jump, more on the loss to the Blue Jackets, Steve Ott talks about his appearance on 24/7 and a year in review, Stars style.
- Richard Durrett has taken over the ESPN Dallas Stars beat while Mark Stepneski is out of town, and he looks at the return of goalie Kari Lehtonen. [ESPN Dallas]
- On the plus side, Brenden Morrow didn't tear or break anything when he had to leave Thursday's game early. The bad news is that it was a shot to the outside of an already wonky knee, and he's not sure how the knee will react. [DallasNews.com]
- Our friends over at The Cannon like a lot of what they saw from Thursday's game, other than one teeny tiny detail, which I'll get to momentarily. [The Cannon]
- There was a lot of good Thursday if you're a Columbus fan, but there was some bad news as well as James Wisniewski is out with a broken ankle after taking a Mike Ribeiro shot to the skate. [Puck-Rakers Blog]
- You saw it on 24/7, now read Steve Ott's take on chirping Claude Giroux and running into Philadelphia Flyer's coach Peter Laviolette. [DallasNews.com]
- Mac Engel was also at the morning skate, chatting with Ott and getting Glen Gulutzan's take on if he'd like to be on an all-access show similar to 24/7. Ott seemsto be all for it. His coach, not so much. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- The Canadian Press mid-season recap, and the Stars, despite some recent issues, earn a positive mention. [TSN.ca]
- Meet the enemy: The annual New Year's Eve death match is against the big, the bad, the Boston Bruins, who started off slow but have been on one heck of a tear ever since. [Yahoo]
- Around the Pacific Division, the loser point: Blame Art if you must, but the Winnipeg Jets needed to take the Los Angeles Kings to overtime before walking away with a 1-0 win. [NHL.com]
- Around the Pacific Division, the actual losers: Gabriel Landeskog scored the game-winning goal for the Colorado Avalanche as they beat the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2, and the Anaheim Ducks , well, were the Anaheim Ducks as they lost to the Vancouver Canucks 5-2. [Denver Post/Los Angeles Times]
- There are a couple of factual errors in this article, but I always read Todd's column for the combination of humor, insight and sarcasm, and you should as well. [Thursday Morning Cupcheck]
- My evil piece of trash computer wouldn't let me view videos without locking up, so this feature is temporarily suspended until I get it exorsized or beat it with a sledgehammer, whichever comes first.