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Stargazing: Stars Fall Again in Overtime, 6-5

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

[Update by Brandon Worley] The Dallas Stars have officially put Trevor Daley on injured reserve and have recalled Maxime Fortunus. So, when it's just one game they bring up Ivan Vishnevskiy for a quick tease but when it looks like it might be a lengthy recall they keep him in the AHL. I think Fortunus is a good defenseman and deserves to get a shot, but Vishnevskiy might have been a nice shot in the arm for the Stars. Full press release is at the bottom of this post.

14-9-11. What kind of record is that? What does that say about a team? If someone told me that record, team unseen, and asked me what I could infer from it, I think I would say "That sounds like the record of a team that is close, but can't get over the hump and win those close games." Unfortunately for me and my little achy-Stars heart, I have seen this team play. I've seen nearly every second of it, and while the Stars might be just a few adjustments away from winning close games (hey, they could surprise us?) it sure doesn't feel that way to me. This morning in particular, it feels quite the opposite.

We wrote, before the five game trip began, that the Stars had an opportunity to put a solid stretch together and become a team on the road; To find their identity. Or, they could capitulate and dig themselves the hole from which they'll likely never escape. True to form, however, the Stars continued to earn points at a mediocre .500 pace. The problem with that pace is that unlike before when it was win-loss-win-loss, now it's almost exclusively overtime losses. If it hasn't become damaging to the psyche of the team by now, it soon will. The frustration on their faces was evident last night in beautiful high definition.

The upcoming schedule is riddled with impossibilities. Tomorrow, for instance, take a look at the Detroit Red Wings: They've allowed an average of 1.33 goals against in their last 6 games, winning 5 of them. Winning 5 of 6 games! That sounds like some kind of fairy tale, doesn't it? Can you imagine?

Complicating all of this is Trevor Daley, who's arm was in a sling last night in the press box, and Mark Fistric who's now out with an upper-body injury. And while we fumed after another aggravating loss, Mike Heika says Marc Crawford was apparently quite upbeat, and it's there we'll start today on Stargazing after the jump:


Crawford was pleased...really. He said he was actually pretty happy with the game.

``We made some mistakes on the penalty kill and in other areas,'' he said. ``But on the other side of it, I thought we did a remarkable job. We more than doubled their chance totals, we kept battling even when we had a few breaks go against us. We're not pleased with the play we made at the end of the game, but apart from that, geez I thought we did a lot of good things.

``There's many more positive things for us to take from tonight's game for us than there are negative, although there are some negative,'' he added. ``We certainly have to do a better job killing penalties.''


The Atlanta Journal Constitution brings you Thrasher quotage:

"I think Army was out of gas there, but he dove for that puck and he’s the reason I got the breakaway," said Peverley, who also assisted on a second-period goal. "I have to hand it to him. He made a great play. I was just lucky to get through."

Armstrong said he indeed was tired and was about to come off the ice.

"I think we were out there for almost a minute and a half," Armstrong said. "Ronnie made a nice play to get it out and I was going to go for a change, but I looked up and saw no one there so I thought it would just be a foot race between me and [Brad] Richards. I was close to having nothing left, but I got to it. I saw Pevs jumping up and just got it over to him."

They also mention attendance was a lovely 11,957. Half of them must have been in the bathroom. I hear they have nice bathrooms.


Speaking of attendance down South, Razor has some thoughts on that:

The NHL has a cash cow in Canada (or is that a moose? A cow moose then) and they are reaping the benefits from the renaissances going on in Chicago, Boston, Washington, and Pittsburgh, However, the games are drawing flies in Florida, Atlanta, Nashville and a smattering of other so called "non-traditional" markets.


I have a three-prong theory:

  1. Lack of decent teams and playoff success in southern markets
  2. Lack of disposable income for Joe Fan, and lack of corporate entertainment money from companies. (Football wins until January)
  3. Lack of time within broadcasts to explain and teach the game to those who didn’t grow up on it, along with poor local community involvement/marketing/awareness of the players.

Sure, every market can’t be Montreal, and every struggling southern team can’t pull up stakes and move to Ontario, but ignoring the needs of the teams closest to the equator as you go about toasting each other in heavy winter coats saying "look at the numbers", that isn’t going to be very good in the long run either.

The last lockout was, amongst other things, about money and the stability of Canada’s teams. Maybe they should seriously contemplate a "Look-out" for the sagging South.


Ralph and Razor mentioned on the broadcast last night how quiet the Stars locker room is. This lack of vocal leadership will grow as a story if the team does not find a way to win some games. Says Mike Heika...

Maybe Crawford is simply allowing the players to find a way to take leadership roles. I'm told this isn't the first time he was stern behind closed doors, that he has had meetings with individuals or key pairs of players. So now maybe he's being softer after the game to allow the players to step up.

``The coach can't play the game,'' said Robidas. ``He can guide us and push us in the right direction, but we have to make the plays, and we have to be the leaders.''


All the vocal leadership in the world won't make up for having to play with five defensemen two night's in a row. With Fistric and Daley both out, Andrew's Stars Page tell us that Fortunus has been called up:

According to the AHL transaction wire, the Stars have called up defenseman Maxime Fortunus from the Texas Stars. Trevor Daley (shoulder) and Mark Fistric (head) are both injured. We should get updates on those two later today.

So how do you feel about Fortunus, Woywitka and Niskanen out there against the Red Wings, the Sharks, and the Blackhawks? We're going to find out.


More quotes from last night:

Stephane Robidas:

"In high scoring game that's not the way we want to play," Robidas said. "We want to play better d and help our goalies out. Their power play was impressive and it hurt us tonight."

"We lost and that is disappointing," Robidas said. "We gave up that shortie at the end, and that was not good. We have to help our goalies. We cannot leave them by themselves."

"We have to address our consistency and start playing like a team," Robidas said. "These guys are young, but they are good and talented."

``The coach can't play the game,'' said Robidas. ``He can guide us and push us in the right direction, but we have to make the plays, and we have to be the leaders.''

Marc Crawford:

``Sometimes, you get a little overanxious. As they say, patience is a virtue, but it is generally something you get through experience.''

``You're always trying to get your team to play at the level they need to play at. We played a good game tonight. We made some mistakes, but they were mistakes with people who were in unfamiliar positions. All things considered, we were a way better team than them.''

``It's always a work in progress, but I was pleased with the way we played tonight. I thought our forwards were great tonight. That was one of the better games they played. If we get that kind of effort, we'll get better.''


  • We've been talking more about Marc Crawford lately. Do you want to see more emotion from him? Or should the fan-base take his patience and demeanor as an example to follow? Should his attitude cause us as fans to readjust our expectations? I think there is a disconnect between my expectations as a fan, and those of Stars management. I'll work on that. I might work on it in the tequila bar upstairs at the AAC tomorrow afternoon.
  • You may notice I went this whole Stargazing without saying much about Ondrej Pavelec. He was outstanding. Really outstanding. Would the Thrashers, if down 4 or 5 to 1, have hung their heads a little and cause the game to turn out differently? I don't know. But a hot goaltender is another in the long list of excuses that fans don't want to hear right now.
  • And finally, what's the over/under on Red Wing fans at the AAC tomorrow that have never set foot in the state of Michigan?

Dallas Stars press release:

Frisco, Tex. - The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has placed defenseman Trevor Daley on injured reserve, retroactive to Dec. 16. He suffered a shoulder injury in Wednesday's game at Carolina. The Stars have also recalled defenseman Maxime Fortunus from the Texas Stars, Dallas' primary development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).

Daley, 26, has skated in 33 games this season for Dallas, recording five points (1g, 4a). The 5-11, 199-pound defenseman ranks second on the team in time on ice with 22:25 minutes per game. Daley posted career highs last season in goals (7) and points (25). The Toronto native is now in his sixth NHL season, appearing in 372 games, all with the Stars. He was Dallas' second round selection (43rd overall) in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

Fortunus, 26, has collected five goals and four assists in 30 games for the Texas Stars in 2009-10. The La Prairie, Quebec native has played in 326 career AHL games posting 25 goals and 59 assists in seven AHL seasons. The 6-1, 198-pound defenseman recorded three goals and seven assists in 22 games for Manitoba last year in the Calder Cup playoffs. Fortunus was signed as a free agent by Dallas on July 3, 2008. He has yet to make his NHL debut.

The Dallas Stars will face the Detroit Red Wings Saturday afternoon (2:00 pm, TV: My27, Radio: Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket).