"We've tried different routines and the whole bit... It must be mental."
There's not much to say after witnessing a game like last night. Especially when everyone knows the record of back to backs that is hanging over the heads of the Dallas Stars players. Yet they just cannot seem to find a way to get out of this back to back funk that they are in.
Last night's game was a stinker right from the start, with the Calgary Flames scoring three goals in the first ten minutes. You don't have to have a list of statistics nearby to know that teams surrendering three goals that quickly do not usually come back to win it. The Stars were able to match Calgary goal for goal in the remaining two frames, which showed that they had at least recovered some as the game progressed, but it was too little too late by then.
We saw what happened during that first frame -- the goaltending was not as solid as we've become used to, the passes were not connecting, there were defensive holes everywhere, and the Stars got into penalty trouble early. But what was the cause of all of that? Mike Heika ponders the same question, and has a hard time coming up with a direct answer.
What the heck is so wrong with this team that they can't win on the second night of back-to-back games? It was a 30-minute flight from Edmonton to Calgary. The players were probably in bed by 1:30 a.m. and didn't have to be up in the morning for the skate if they didn't want to be.
Teams every day in the NHL have tougher gigs and get it done. Chicago played in Vancouver Feb. 1 and then walked in and beat the Flames Feb. 2, 3-2 in a shootout. Colorado also played in Vancouver (on Jan. 30). The Avalanche came in the next night and beat the fresh Flames, 6-3.
It shouldn't be that difficult. And yet, the Stars can't seem to find a solution.
"It must be something. It must be something with this group, because we can't seem to fight our way out of it," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We've tried different routines and the whole bit...it must be mental."
Mental indeed. It's the only real explanation there is at this point. The only question now is how long this mental block lasts before they finally get over it, and whether or not it might cost them a(nother?) trip to the playoffs.
Coming up in the links: More news about last night's loss, happier news with hockey hugs, and a new Dallas Stars commercial.
- Mark Stepneski gives his thoughts on last night's game, including some quotes from the team. [Stars Inside Edge]
- With a lot of new faces comes the likelihood of rotation. Several players on the Stars roster are having to adjust to being on the bubble, always at risk of being the healthy scratch. [Dallas News]
- The Columbus Blue Jackets announced their next GM yesterday, Jarmo Kekalainen, and it seems to be a pretty good pick. Here's a little more background information on the newest Fin in the NHL. [ESPN]
- Allan Muir lists his top 30 prospect rankings, with Seth Jones coming in at #1. It might be time for Stars fans to officially give up on the idea of getting him though, and there are plenty of other good names on the board. [Sports Illustrated]
- Most of you know my stance on the whole fighting issue, but with Raffi Torres recently returning to play, the debate rages on. For some people, it's all about "The code." [Sports Illustrated]
- Here's the latest edition of "hockey hugs," which I have yet to feature in the links. My favorite ones always involve members of the other team skating away sadly. [Puck Daddy]
- The Stars have fantastic deals for you to get tickets this season, while in places like Winnipeg, you have to sue someone in order to get them. Seriously. [The Globe And Mail]
- Ticket prices might have increased league wide, but another study shows how the NHL's brand has lost a lot of its value due to the lockout. I guess we can net the two, and just call it even? [The Globe And Mail]
- Meanwhile, in the "makes you cringe just by reading it" category, Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson is out for the season, after his Achilles tendon was sliced by a skate. [NHL]
- If you thought that Joe Buck video yesterday was painful to watch, just wait until you watch this one. I love that the Stars are getting the word out around Dallas, but this spot does make you cringe just a bit.