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Stars Coach Marc Crawford Upset With Morrow's, Team's Performance

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Dallas Stars fans are frustrated. The Dallas Stars players are frustrated. The Dallas Stars coach is upset, angry and just generally pissed off. After yet another game that the Dallas Stars played relatively well during, yet lost in a mind-numbing and frustrating fashion, Marc Crawford finally showed the fire and intensity we'd all been expecting since he was hired as the Stars head coach last summer.

The Stars, after allowing an early 5-on-3 goal, fought back against a good Kings team and tied the game late in the first period. I remarked during the game -- at that time -- that the Stars were doing a great job in puck support, playing physical and while they weren't able to take advantage of their numerous scoring opportunities at least the Stars were outplaying the Kings. Yet late in the second period, with the Stars pressing perhaps a bit too much to score, a mental mistake by Brenden Morrow on an extended shift led to a goal in the other direction. The Stars came unraveled, allow another goal nine seconds later and the game was essentially lost.

Crawford covered a lot of ground in his post-game press conference but was extremely critical of his captain for trying to do too much. The goal that gave the Kings the lead was scored 1:12 into a shift by the Mike Ribeiro line, showing that while the Stars might be improving as a team right now they are still regressing to bad habits, shooting themselves in the foot and essentially beating themselves.

As Crawford said after the game, "Teams that end up being playoff teams, which we are going to be, they don’t beat themselves. We beat ourselves tonight. It’s disappointing because we did it the last game and didn’t have to come in here and rant and rave the last game because I thought we had learned the lesson. But we didn’t. We have to learn the lesson."

More quotes from Crawford after the jump.

Crawford mentioned that he felt after the Ducks loss the team had learned a tough lesson and would move on. If anyone watched last night's loss, it was obvious that wasn't going to be the case.

"I thought we learned the lesson in the last game and we didn’t," an upset Marc Crawford stated after the game. "We have to smarten up. We have to learn the lesson that this is a league where you cannot even take a shift off. If we think that we’re so good that we think we can out skill teams and we can beat teams with pure skill, we are sadly mistaken. Our team has to commit to do the right things 60 minutes every game, 65 minutes if it goes to overtime. We have to be humble enough to do that on a consistent basis."

Crawford was upset that his team, despite playing well, once again gave the opposition the chances they needed to take the lead. This has been what's plagued the Stars in the past two games; scoring chance after scoring chance in the offensive zone, yet a mental mistake or blown assignment gives the other team an extremely easy scoring chance of their own -- which they capitalize on.

It's demoralizing for a team and Crawford said afterward that the Stars have to play these games like they're constantly protecting a close lead -- even while trying to score at the other end.

"They have to be prepared to win the game 1-0; you don't give away easy chances like we did," Crawford said. "We were well in control. It was 1-1 and when you're in control, you don't give up odd-man rushes. You don't go on a shift where you're overextended, sixty seconds into the shift, and then you try to get another offensive opportunity. You give the other team life. That's how you get beat.''

That's a perfect example of what's happened on this homestand: the Stars have given the other team life at crucial moments in the game and never recovered. You can see in the body language of the players and the coaches on the bench, frustration taking over at critical moments throughout the game which lead to backbreaking mistakes at the worst moments. That one of those crucial mistakes was made by Brenden Morrow -- forcing an offensive opportunity and bad pass 1:07 into a shift -- is what angered the coach the most.

At least the Stars are playing better than the other teams in these losses. That has to be a positive, something to build on as the Stars attempt to pull out of this mess.

"You know what? We had another good performance tonight, but that rings hollow," Crawford said after the game. "Those kind of comments, as we told the team, are not what we are about. We are about being a team that doesn’t beat ourselves and plays a harder style of game. We have to be better than we were. We beat ourselves tonight."

Crawford was very adamant about the Stars getting back to the style of hockey that sent them on a four-game winning streak to start the season. The Stars have gotten away from that level of play, however slightly, and they are paying for it with mistake after mistake no matter how many scoring chances are created. The Stars have outchanced and outshot the opposition in each of the last three games yet are now 0-3-0 in that span.

Some may say that it's just been bad luck or great goaltending that has kept the Stars out of the net the past three games, yet Crawford said it's much more than that. Watching these games, it's been apparent that despite the high number of shots the Stars weren't creating the type of scoring opportunities they were cashing in on to start the season. It's a culmination of missed passes, poor puck presence around the net and, as Crawford said, bad habits on offense.

"Goal scoring is a culmination of a bunch of good habits," Crawford said. "You have good habits when you are not fatigued and if you do the simple things right all the time...that’s why those clichés are there -- because they work. We have to make sure we are about that because that’s the type of team we have."

While Crawford was obviously upset with his team, he was still positive about the Stars are they try to pull things together on this six-game homestand. The Stars are doing a lot of things right yet are losing because of various mistakes made when the frustration is mounting. This is something that can be addressed and fixed by the coaching staff and if there's one thing we've found out already about this team is that the Stars are able to respond to the coaching they're given. It's up to Crawford and his staff now to buckle down and correct the mistakes that are currently ailing the Stars.

"On the positive side it’s a good thing it’s happening right now because we have a whole season ahead of us to fix it," said Crawford. "But our guys have to get it through their thick skulls that they are not an overly super-skilled team. We’re a very good team that if we don’t outwork the other team we don’t give ourselves the best opportunity to win. And we certainly don’t give ourselves an opportunity to win when we are trying to gamble and we’re trying to play extended shifts.

"I like our team. They are a good bunch of guys, but they’ve got to commit to do it all the time, all the time."