With an obvious hat tip to Travis Hair over at 5FH for the idea for this post. He does an excellent job of explaining how the Coyotes wouldn't be where they are today in the standings if not for the scoring from their blue line corps.
Quick aside, I've been thinking about my game recap from last Saturday for a few days now and felt my recap was a little over the top for our friends in Phoenix. Reasonable people can disagree. And I didn't leave much room for disagreement with my stance on the James Neal-Petr Prucha hit. Particularly on the role that the glass played in the hit.
Which was minimal when you compare it to the role the stanchion played in the injury. Had the roles been reversed last weekend, I'm sure many here among us would have been calling for Prucha's head, no pun intended. That's just how sports fans.
Regardless of how we see the cleanliness of Neal's hit, I think I can safely say that Yotes fans and the Stars fans here at DBD wish Petr Prucha a complete recovery from the hit without any lasting effects.
Back to the issue of defensive scoring after the jump
it's an interesting post for several reasons, not the least of which is this point.
When the team in general plays better the defense is able to get involved more in the play and can therefore get more chances. Also with the team playing more confidently, the defense isn't scrambling to get back to the line every time. The defensive system Dave Tippet has employed makes it so that a forward can rotate out to cover the point on the pinches.But I think that we can all agree that the team and their record looks significantly different when the defense gets involved. If the Coyotes are going to be serious players this off season, they'll need to continue this impressive output.
Sounds a lot like what we heard the difference between a Marc Crawford coached team would be and what a Dave Tippett coached team in Dallas was. And when those of us in Dallas heard those words in September and October, all we could think about was the impact this change in philosophy would have on a guy like Trevor Daley, whose game was raised under the disciplined defensive tutelage of Dave Tippett and Rick Wilson.
Unfortunately, that change in philosophy has yet to yield any offensive results for Daley as he sits at the Olympic break with just 12 points, 21 behind the Stars' surprising leader in points, Stephane Robidas.
Which brings me to my next point about the Stars offensive woes from the blue line.
If you look at scoring by individual defensemen in the NHL, you'll notice that Robidas is ranked 17th in the NHL. Daley's 12 points puts him in second on the list of Stars' blue liners in scoring. Here's a list of the number of D-men in the West that have players who have as good as or better offensive numbers than Daley:
Chicago - 4
San Jose - 6
Vancouver - 5
Phoenix - 5
Los Angeles - 3
Colorado - 6
Nashville - 4
Calgary - 4
Detroit - 4
Anaheim - 3
St. Louis - 4
Minnesota - 4
Columbus - 4
Edmonton - 3
Again, this isn't necessarily an indictment on Daley's play. It's an indictment on every Dallas Stars blueliner not named Stephane Robidas.
And there's Exhibit B that Travis put together for his post:
The last goal scored by any member of the Stars' blueline was back on January 22nd in Vancouver.
When the second half of the season begins, I think it's almost universally accepted that if the Stars are to get to the playoffs, they'll need either Marty Turco or Kari Lehtonen to carry them there.
But it would help ease the burden of whoever's in net greatly if the defensive scoring improved as well.