What's more frustrating than getting beat by an AHL backup goaltender?
Watching a team collapse on most facets late in a game where they have a chance to beat an AHL backup goaltender.
That's exactly what happened to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday when they seemed to expend all their energy getting two quick goals early in the third period against the Anaheim Ducks. Unfortunately for Dallas, there will still 17 minutes left in the third, and they were basically owned by Anaheim in a 5-2 Ducks win.
"Pretty much the whole game we played the way we wanted to up until we tied. Then we turned a few pucks over, we didn’t get back quick enough and it was a disappointing end to the game."
And that's the thing. What frustrated me most was not that they lost but how they lost. Most people can forgive a game where a team plays well but, for whatever reason, can't seem to find the back of the net enough times.
It's much harder to forgive a game where a team overcomes early mental mistakes to tie the game only to completely check out for much of the rest of the game. Yes, there were signs it was going to be one of those games early when the linesman's mysteriously vanishing icing led directly to the second Ducks goal. But the backbreakers didn't come via a wacky bounce. They came because of turnovers and mental mistakes.
- Missed opportunities? Yeah, there were more than a couple of those that ended up being painfully costly. [ESPN Dallas]
- If the Stars want to make the playoffs, they really can' afford to be dropping games like Tuesday's, something Mike Heika discusses in this paywalled article. [DallasNews.com]
- Saku Koivu's hat trick was the obvious focus for the California media, as well it should be. Maybe Bob Murray was onto something. The players who almost single-handedly defeated Dallas - Koivu and Teemu Selanne - were the two he said were untouchable in a trade. [Los Angeles Times]
- I quite enjoyed the editorial cartoon at the top of this game preview. I especially like the expression on the Shark's face. [Battle of California]
- Mike Heika talks about the big opportunity that's been presented to Tom Wandell in what is hopefully a brief absence for Mike Ribeiro. I do love Wandell's description of Eriksson as a "trustful" player. [DallasNews.com]
- Even though his points have dropped off since the start of the season, E.J. Hradek is still impressed by Sheldon Souray in the first half. [NHL.com]
- You know what I like from a goalie? I like when he accepts some of the blame for not playing well enough (I loved you Marty Turco, but you had a bad habit regarding this). So I'm a big fan of what Jack Campbell does in this article for the newspaper in Sault Ste. Marie. [The Sault Star]
- Some other prospect notes here from Mark Stepneski, led by the fact that prospects Austin Smith and Reilly Smith are on the fan ballot for the Hobey Baker Award. [ESPN Dallas]
- The hockey world lost a long-time off-ice guy on Tuesday when Rod Caron, former St. Louis Blues general manager and Montreal Canadiens scout, died at the age of 82. [NHL.com]
- Meet the enemy: Is it okay to still be making fun of Dustin Penner of the Los Angeles Kings and his pancake-related back injury? I think so. So here's a list of amusing injuries from NHL players past and to be fair to Penner, an explanation of why he is not the first person to have back problems from doing pretty much nothing. I have had one back spasm in my life (which came on while bending over in a yoga class) and can empathize that they pretty much suck and do, in fact, make you hate everything. [Sportnet/Backhand Shelf]
- Around the Pacific Division, the loser points: Oh for the Stars to get to the shootout in a game they end up losing. Heck, I'll even take just overtime. Because the rest of the division is doing that fairly regularly. The Phoenix Coyotes forged a third-period tie in a 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers, and the San Jose Sharks came back from 4-2 down to lose 5-4 in a shootout to the Minnesota Wild. [New York Times/San Jose Mercury News]
- In this space today, I'm going to go with heartwarming. There was a chuck-a-puck fundraiser for Jack Jablonski at a recent Minnesota high school hockey game. The winner? The boy who made the hit that paralyzed the teenager, who plans to give his share of the pot to the family. The number on the puck? Jablonski's number 13. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]
- Okay, I'll do a funny too. Don't question the domain of the link. Just read it. [All Recipes]
- I do appreciate even-keeled coaches, and Glen Gulutzan is definitely that. But I also wish he would be a little more critical at times when the team seems to mentally check out, like they did after they tied the game in the third. That said, I also understand the idea that it's a grind of a season, and post-game with the media might not be the place. I just hope he has a little more fire maybe behind the scenes.