Is it time to accept that this is what the Stars are this season?
We keep waiting for them to grab momentum, to build upon a big win and finally get going and move forward. Instead it feels as if they're constantly spinning their wheels, stuck in neutral and incapable of really getting into gear. The Stars win one, lose one and each time we're left wondering at what point they'll come together and play with a consistent effort from night to night.
To be fair, the Stars have been battling injuries all season and have had just one game where the entire roster has been healthy. But that's also part of the game, and the good teams know how to overcome these day to day injuries. Perhaps the Stars are having trouble building chemistry with the lines changing from game to game; the inability of the team to put the same combinations on the ice each game is holding them back.
At what point does Marc Crawford and the coaches start to take on some of the blame? We're 19 games into the season and the time for a learning curve is nearing its end.
There's still plenty of time left for things to turn around and I'm far from claiming this season and team anything resembling a failure. But it's been a very long time since the Stars have been a middle of the road team, and it's tough for me to accept that as fact. Prove to me that this isn't the case.
More on tonight's loss to Phoenix after the jump.
- Don't get me wrong, I am by no means bashing the Stars as a bad team. They're not. But we've been so used to the Stars being at or near the top of the Western Conference for so long it's tough to accept that they aren't as good any longer. Like I said, put a streak of wins together and all of these frustrating feeling go away. Score a few shootout goals, and we're talking a bit different tune. But the reality is that the Stars have won two games in a row just once since last March.
- Let's also not discount what Marty Turco has meant to the Stars either. He's been incredibly good the past few weeks and he's been able to hide some of the glaring defensive issues the Stars have had lately. I'm trying to remember the last time I've seen him look this comfortable, this athletic in net. The 2008 playoffs come to mind.
- Great job also to the Phoenix Coyotes. They're beat up, missing some top defensemen but played some suffocating defense when it counted. You could also see their confidence build as the game went on. They're not the most talented team, but they certainly know how to play hard. It helps to have Ilya Bryzgalov in net as well.
- Razor mentioned this during the game, and it's something I've harped on all season: The Dallas Stars have absolutely zero attitude. No physicality, no heavy presence along the boards and on the forecheck. It will come out at times, like it did against St. Louis, but for the most part they've been unable or unwilling to get physical. It's not absolutely necessary to win games, but for a team that is failing to run and gun, establishing a hard forecheck is paramount to sustaining pressure.
- The Stars have now scored two goals in each of the last six games. The offense is officially in a slump.
- Loui Eriksson. Steve Ott. Toby Petersen. We'd like you back from whatever hole you're hiding in.
- Mike Modano was the best player on the ice tonight for the Stars. This is what everyone was talking about during training camp, and we're finally starting to see it for ourselves. His speed is there, the big shot, the killer backhand. Putting him on the line with Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro is Crawfords first truly great move of the season.
- The Stars next take on Detroit at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday night. Used to be this fact would be cause for concern; now, not so much.