It's been a bugbear of the Stars in recent games, and most especially on the powerplay. The continued failure of players to enter the zone cleanly. Whether it's carrying the puck in and immediately turning it over, or making a drop pass at the line and slowing down the attack, or other teams clogging the neutral zone to mitigate the Stars' speed, the result is a loss in the possession battle and, more noticeably, an impotent powerplay.
But I hadn't seen the problem outlined as clearly, nor the reasons behind it, as in this article by Bob Sturm. A couple paragraphs from a very in-depth article excerpted here:
Opponents are now playing the Stars with the intent of respecting the speed. What this often means is that whether or not these teams generally have defensemen that would join the offensive attack, when they play the Stars speed lines then they are keeping both defensive men high in the Stars' defensive zone. This, makes the Stars have to string several passes together to get the puck to the other end and then when it comes time for a zone entry, the opponents are now making sure that the Stars are tempted to carry the puck over the line, rather than dumping the puck in.
They do this by basically inviting the Stars to dump the puck in, knowing that although they are fast, they are generally smaller than their opponent. If you dump it in, unless you have a lot of conviction, muscle, and purpose as a 3 man forward line, then you likely not win the puck back. This is basically a demoralizing and sometimes passive turnover. Conversely, if you can make the Stars' zone entries rather 1-dimensional with the "carry in", now your 5-man unit is standing at the blue-line and making you either dump it in and lose it, or attempt to carry it through the 5-man wall. [Sturm Words]
Then, on the other side of the analysis spectrum we have Mike Heika, who takes a more philosophical approach. Vonnegutian philosophy that is. Who knew the words of Lindy Ruff were so profound?
There's one quote though that Heika didn't use that applies perfectly to the Dallas Stars. From Vonnegut's Timequake: "All persons, living and dead, are purely coincidental."
Wait. No, that's not the one. Here it is. The Creed of Kilgore Trout, Vonnegut's alter-ego and the greatest writer who never lived: "You were sick, but now you're well again, and there's work to do."
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And if you weren't aware of the significance of the upcoming three games, well, be aware. [Stars Inside Edge]
I could introduce this next one, but instead I'll let JR Lind do it: "Today, we debut a new weekly feature here at III Communication - DemocraThree. Every Friday, bloggers from around The Heptarchy will update us on the news and notes from their teams. Yes, we ripped this off from The Royal Half's Pacific War Room; no, we don't care." [III Communication]
Sometimes I'm tired of hearing about Tyler Seguin and the trade to Dallas over the summer, other times I'm not. We're fickle creatures like that. So it goes. Kate Strang has a good article on it though, so why not? [ESPN]
I thought Power Ranking were supposed to be a sort of 'Who's hot, who's not' list. But here we have the NHL website talking about how unbeatable the Ducks are, and according them 3rd place in the standings. And the six-game losing streak of Dallas correlated to slipping one place in the power rankings. Course then the Hawks go and beat the Ducks, so what do I know? [NHL.com]
Now, the most important part of the buildup to the Sochi Olympics is the revealing of each nation's jersey. Obviously. And here they are, in all their glory. Except Slovenia, who are playing it close. [Stanley Cup of Chowder]
Down Goes Brown with his NHL Grab Bag, which includes a touching tribute to Ben Scrivens from The Royal Half. Fare thee well Bennifer. [Grantland]
And lastly, after Jonathan Quick's tantrum on Thursday night, this one seems relevant. Although this would be brilliantly hilarious regardless of the timing. The title says it all: '14 Minutes of Pissed Off Goalies'