Can we safely say we've hit the lowest point for the Dallas Stars franchise since 2002? I understand that the Stars are still very much within spitting distance of a playoff spot (Detroit getting hammered tonight helps), but right now these Stars are not playing good hockey. In fact, they're playing pretty miserable hockey. They can't score when it's needed, the defense is atrocious, and Marty Turco can't bail this team out every night.
I'm sure everyone will have a lot to say after this game. There's bound to be more trade discussion. Salary cap and finances discussion. And I'm all for it; this team needs a personnel change. But the reality is that they're stuck with what they have and Marc Crawford must find some way to get at least decent efforts out of this team or hell, win a game on the road at some point again this season.
Last night Mark Stepneski asked me if I thought this team had what it takes to make the playoffs. Right now, they don't have a chance. Before, they couldn't win two in a row; now they are 1-5-0 in their last six and fading rapidly. By the time the trade deadline comes with supposed help on the way, this team may be beyond immediate repair.
After the jump, some quick observations on the game itself. There were some good points to it. I think....
- Loui Eriksson, Steve Ott, Jamie Benn and Mark Fistric - These guys came to play tonight and here's why that is important: they are the future of this team. They played their hearts out tonight and were one of the few bright spots on a Stars team that looked as if it just gave up at times. Eriksson in particular came out of the gates in the 2nd period on a tear and was determined to get this team right back in the game. He did, setting up James Neal for the tying goal.
- When the Stars allowed a goal immediately following the Neal score, the Stars seemingly lost whatever life they thought they had and the Flyers had all the confidence and speed.
- I've called out Brenden Morrow twice in the past week, and tonight Razor did the same on the Stars broadcast. Morrow, the team's captain, was -1 on the night and had ZERO shots and TWO hits. Unacceptable. His double-minor in the 2nd period was not only backbreaking for the Stars, but incrediblydumb as well. No need for the spin-o-rama like that in the crease and no need to mouth off about it.
- Matt Niskanen's time with the Stars is drawing to a close, I think. There's no way the Stars can allow him to continue to play at low level he's performing at right now. His complete lack of effort on Ian Laperriere's goal was embarrassing.
- Marty Turco started off well, allowed a fluke goal and was never the same after that. Once again he allowed a short-sided goal on an odd-man rush. Basic fundamentals of goaltending: you take the shooter, let the defensemen take the pass.
- Marty Turco has not won a road game in regulation since October 23rd.
- What's unfortunate about this loss is that I felt the Stars actually came out and played hard to start the game. They had a decent first period, a great start to the second and then it all fell apart. Players lost their cool, the defense failed to execute, and Marty Turco allowed five goals. That's just the way it's gone.
- What's going on with this team where there is a very definitive line between who is playing hard and producing and making a difference, and who is falling to pieces? Is there really that big a difference in skill? The lack of leadership, from the coaches to the captains, is what is really this team's undoing right now. Not skill.
- Does Modano just not care anymore? Ever since being snubbed for an Olympics spot, he's been utterly invisible on the ice. He doesn't have a point in six games.