You know, as a Dallas Stars fan, I'm a little tired of hearing the players and coaches talk about how the effort isn't good enough.
It's not because it's not true. The Stars compete level was absolutely lacking in their 4-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday.
But I wish instead of talking about how it was a problem after the games, they'd do something about during them. And it's strange to me, because it's silly to assume players go out there thinking, "Oh, we're just going to take a night off and let Kari Lehtonen carry us." They obviously don't.
Why, then, does the compete level seem to be slowly trending downward as the year goes on? That's the million dollar question, one I don't think anyone has an answer to at this point.
And it isn't one player. It's everyone from Jamie Benn to Toby Petersen and Alex Goligoski to Philip Larsen. It's unsettling, and it's beyond time they have answers.
Here's Tuesday's version of those quotes, via defenseman Sheldon Souray.
"Awful. Atrocious. We’ve gotten by on a real good goaltender in our last three or four games, and it’s just not good enough. We can talk about it, try to figure it out, point the finger, but as a whole we’ve really been letting each other down the last three or four games, especially with how important this stretch of games is and what it means."
All that said, as frustrating as it is, this is not the point of no return. For better or for worse, the Stars are still in the thick of the hunt for the playoffs. If they want to stay there into the season's final weeks, the effort questions need to become a thing of the past and soon.
After the jump, more on the Stars loss to the Coyotes, Razor makes a comprehensive list of everyone's walk-up music and hockey hugs.
- I didn't get a chance to read this full paywalled game story from Mike Heika. But the headline was pretty appropriate for the game the Stars put out there. [DallasNews.com]
- And here's the gamer from Mark Stepneski, which feature the Souray quote above along with a lot more of the same. Way too much of the same. It sure would be nice if they could, you know, fix the problem. [ESPN Dallas]
- As disappointed as Stars fans were in their team, the Phoenix Coyotes fans were equally happy with the 60-minute effort. [Five for Howling]
- There is some comedy gold from the players in this Daryl Reaugh column where he goes around and asks each guy his walk-up song. Inspired by our new buddy Ralph Strangis asking Adam Burish what his would be in Monday's Unlaced interview? Only the Razor-boy knows. And besides, all the great writers steal good ideas. [Razor with an Edge]
- Annoyed with Jamie Benn being left off of John Buccigross' Top 100 players list? You weren't the only one. This mailbag also includes not one but two gratuitous Razor references. [ESPN]
- Stars prospect Brett Ritchie has started to figure things out with the Niagra IceDogs after a little bit of a slow start. [The Chronicle]
- Want a new uniform? Probably not happening until at least after next season, says Heika. [DallasNews.com]
- There's some interesting buzz from the college hockey world about how schools can keep players who have signed a National Letter of Intent from jumping to major junior before their freshman seasons. I'm sure that will go over well in Canada. [Buzzing the Net]
- I respect the heck out of any player who stays around the league as a worker bee long after his prime, and Owen Nolan did just that before retiring Tuesday. Heck, I've even (mostly) forgiven him for his ridiculous sucker punch on Grant Marshall way back when. But if you'd like to rekindle that rage, the YouTube clip, complete with vintage Razor, is No. 4 on this list of Top 10 memorable moments of Nolan's career. Bonus Eddie Belfour violence and ensuing Eddie chant at No. 7. [Puck Daddy]
- Meet the enemy: The Columbus Blue Jackets did the Stars a big favor on Tuesday with their 3-1 regulation win over the Minnesota Wild. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]
- Around the Pacific Division: It was a proverbial goal bonanza from the Los Angeles Kings as they defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1. The Eastern Conference has been so little help recently. [Tampa Bay Times]
- Other scoreboard watching: The Colorado Avalanche also leapfrogged the Stars via their 5-2 win over the Blackhawks. But keep an eye on those Hawks. They're still comfortably in sixth but are on a serious slide right now. [ESPN Chicago]
- Because you, too, need one today, hockey hugs. [Puck Daddy]
- Tuesday marked five months since the day the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv team plane crashed in Russia and killed the entire team, including former Stars defenseman Karlis Skrastins. A Russian television station (I think) put together a really nice documentary that talks with the loved ones of most of the team members who were killed. If you've got a half-hour to kill, watch it and take a moment to remember all those that were lost.