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Stargazing: Stars lose in Edmonton, 5-4 (SO)

Stargazing is a daily assortment of Dallas Stars and Texas Stars news, and whatever other random ramblings are bouncing around inside our heads.


I don't think we've learned much so far this season. We're still not sure which way Marty Turco is going to go. Some may think they know, but I think the jury is still out on that one. We're not sure about this defensive group. We're not sure if the new system will yield too many mistakes. We're not sure if the special teams are going to improve. The power play looked great last night, but the penalty kill didn't. We're not sure if Steve Ott wants to be old Otter or that guy from last February/March. We're just not sure.

One thing I am sure of, however, is that Brenden Morrow is so very back. Two goals and an assist last night for the Captain.

So while the Stars effort to capture the record for overtime losses in a single season, let's take a look at the reaction to last night around the net, and a peek at the night that was in the Pacific Division.


The Oilers, like the Stars are trying to clean up their game a little bit after two shaky outings:

Now if they can just address the problems that keep putting them behind all the time.

"We abandoned our game plan in the second period, started to go solo with individual play," said Quinn.

"We can't play that way and expect to win.

"We had some attempted breakouts I never, ever saw before. We had people going on routes that came from no maps of mine, that's for sure."

And just to add a little insult to injury, in case you hadn't heard:

Hemsky actually fanned on his shootout attempt, but it slid past Turco anyway.

"I tried to go upstairs glove, but it slipped," he shrugged. "I guess I'm happy I didn't shoot it upstairs.

Maybe the Stars should try this to improve their early shootout woes. Fool yourself and the goaltender. That way NO ONE knows what's going to happen.


Marc Crawford tries to talk some sense into the goaltending critics:

Turco allowed four goals on 24 shots and now has a 2.77 GAA and .880 save percentage in two games, but Crawford said the goals against him came in fluky ways.

"The goaltending is a product of team play, and that’s how I look at it," Crawford said. "There have been some good chances against him, situations where our players could be a foot over this way or a foot over that way. And I do think there have been some funny bounces so far, and that’s hard for him. Marty is a good goalie who will win a lot of games, and we know that."

There's no doubt he should have held the post last night on the Penner goal, but he's had a pretty rough go of it so far in the luck department.


I think our friends at Copper & Blue call it right. The game was just kind of ugly:

That was one fugly game, at least as seen on a very choppy Internet feed. Hard to tell how much of the choppiness was the feed and how much was the actual hockey. Lots of coverage problems, lots of ugly goals, and not much in the way of top notch saves. The highlight was probably Marty Turco's airmail pass to James Neal for the shorthanded 2-on-1, which was still pretty ugly from an Oiler perspective.


And of course, Charlie Huddy returning to Edmonton for the first time with his new team drew some coverage from the Edmonton Sun, here, and The Dallas Morning News:

In Edmonton, he helped turn young defensemen Tom Gilbert and Denis Grebeshkov into solid performers.

"He had a lot of positive reinforcement even when you messed up," Gilbert told the Edmonton Journal. "You'd come back to the bench, and he knew what to do to correct it. He never wanted to frustrate a player."

Huddy will have some of the same challenges in Dallas. Trevor Daley and Matt Niskanen are trying to learn the offensive side of the game, while Nicklas Grossman and Mark Fistric are trying to become physical defenders.

Dallas maybe could have used Mark Fistric being physical in front of the net a couple of time last night. Do you think we'll see him if this continues? Who has been the weakest link defensively so far?


And the Edmonton Journal praises Khabibulin for achieving his 300th career win. A fine accomplishment for sure.

The sound that was sweetest to Khabibulin was James Neal ringing his final shootout attempt off the iron --the second time he's done that in the skills contest in as many games this season--after Oilers winger Ales Hemsky slid a 15-footer under Dallas goalie Marty Turco's glove.

"He put it in there pretty good ... an inch more inside and I think it would have gone in," Khabibulin said of Neal's shot.

Khabibulin went from talking of inches to his own feat. Only 24 NHL goalies have ever managed 300 wins, and he's easily within range of No. 20 Billy Smith's 305, with Mike Richter at 301, Turk Broda at 302 and Olie Kolzig at 303.

And though James Neal hit the post in his second straight shootout to start the season, is there any doubt, even given Brenden Morrow's three point game, that he was the best player on the ice last night? I have a feeling we'll have more on James Neal to come as he continues to play himself out of our price range.


And finally, I'm just throwing this out there:

Penalty Kill: When a short-handed team tries to prevent the opposition from scoring by using up as much time as possible.

Just in case anyone on either bench was wondering last night. They looked like they had never heard of it before.