It wasn't long ago one of the DBD writers went into great detail about the epidemic slow starts plagueing the Stars. Last night, the trend continued. I must admit I was one of the critics of that concern and commented that it didn't matter as long as they kept winning. And while I still don't care how the Stars win so long as they win, I do now realize that these past slow starts are beginning to haunt the team.
I think of the great Secretariat when I think of slow starts. He won the triple crown in dominating fashion. He was the greatest horse to ever live. And if you've seen the movie, you know he was notoriously a late starter out of the gate. He would lumber behind his competition until just the right moment and then spring to the lead never looking back. The trainer realized to change Secretariat's pattern of running, could actually be detrimental to his success.
Now, I'm not saying the Stars are the Secretariat of the NHL...lol....far from it. But I still wasn't so concerned with the slow starts as others because the team was winning. (And frankly they still are) They seem to play better when their backs are against the wall. They play as though they have nothing to lose. They skate with abandon. And they chip away at the lead until their opponent begins to doubt themselves and...voila!....they sneak away with a win.
But last night, when they were skating around in their own zone like chickens with their heads cut off I noticed something. The slow start last night had nothing to do with a lack of effort (as was sometimes evident earlier in the season - which is fixable). These guys came out and were actually skating pretty well. They seemed to have their heads in the game. Aha! That may be it right there! Their heads were TOO much in the game in the first period.
Stick with me here. I'm sure it's not a secret in the locker room about their slow starts. And as the pressure mounts as we get closer to the playoffs, the players are probably all trying to do whatever they can to remedy these slow starts. And what I saw last night was a bunch of guys truly fighting out there, but instead of landing blows on their opponent's chin, they were swinging at their own shadows. Their passing was irractic, they were overskating the play on defense, and when they tried to correct the overskating....they over-corrected! I saw a team that was over-thinking everything to the point of making poor decisions and creating a helter-skelter on ice.
My advice to the Stars is this. Forget about the slow starts! You've been winning when you're healthy. You're healthy now. So, just go out there and play hockey like you know how to play hockey! Don't try to do too much in the 1st period. Just stay in position, make good passes, and dish out a few solid hits. Let the game come to you (to use a cliche).
The more these players try to "fix" their slow starts, the worse it will get. So, maybe we should put a moratorium on discussing it in hopes it won't continue to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. And if the Stars continue to find ways to come from behind and win critical games, then all I can say is GO SECRETARIAT GO!