The power play. Oh the power play.
It seems like we spent long stretches of this season talking about nothing but the power play, how and why it struggled and what could be do to fix it.
It was a record-setting year of problems for the special teams unit, and none of the permutations the Dallas Stars tried to fix it seemed to do any good.
Stars coach Glen Gulutzan talked about the power play problems recently and took responsibility for them. And he is right that while we all focus on the final stretch where it was one unit doing a lot of things and not scoring in key moments, the other variations on the power play theme tried throughout the course of the season didn't work either.
"I don’t think we need to bring in anyone for the power play. As coaches I think we can do a better job," Gulutzan said. "The power play comes with a little bit of confidence and that got in our kitchens a little bit. I think we’d go about thing somewhat differently with our power play, but we changed it four or five times. Everybody focuses a little bit on the end, but we were getting pressure from day one to game 82 on that thing. We changed it four times and who played with who four times, and I think it just got in our kitchen a little bit."
After the jump, why the Stars have a renewed sense of optimism, how Doug Armstrong has changed as a general manager and possibly the best video of the season.
- We've touched on this on the site recently, but there's a definite sense of optimism surrounding the Stars heading into this offseason that hasn't been there in recent years. The trials the team went through this season - particularly the ownership situation getting settled - are something they hope they can look back on as necessary growth, as Mike Heika details in this paywalled story. [DallasNews.com]
- This blog by Mac Engel is worth a read for the quotes from Doug Armstrong, who admits to changing his style since taking over with the St. Louis Blues. And honestly, good for him for realizing how he could be easier to work with. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- There's nothing really groundbreaking in this interview with Austin Smith, but it is nice to catch up with the Stars first truly local product. [Hockey's Future]
- Some more updates on the injuries Stars players were dealing with at the end of the season. Mike Ribeiro had a tweaked shoulder in addition to the MCL tear. Stephane Robidas played through a broken foot and hip pain before tweaking his knee and ankle very late in the season. [DallasStars.com]
- Ever wonder what a skate cut looks like before it's stitched up? Eric Nystrom provided an answer on his Twitter account on Friday. As you might guess, it's not for the squeamish. Really. You have been warned. [@enystrom23]
- Shea Weber has very helpful teammates like Andrei Kostitsyn who want to help him relive the moment when he smashed Henrik Zetterberg's face into the glass at the end of Game One of the Predators series against the Red Wings. [Puck Daddy]
- Speaking of that play, Ellen Etchingham, the woman responsible for the hockey history pieces on Backhand Shelf and rapidly rising to the position of my favorite online hockey essayist, has a very nice piece of the subtle interplay between attempt to injure and playing through injury in the playoffs, and why concussions are a game-changer. [Backhand Shelf]
- Life-sized chocolate Stanley Cup? Do want. [Sports and Food]
- I know, I know, this story is like three months old (well, it's older than that because PITB didn't find it until several months after the fact). But Canucks wonder twins Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin drew self portraits. That just has to be shared. [Pass It To Bulis]
- Those of us who have Center Ice or GameCenter Live occasionally get treated to the greatness that is the off-air announcing hijinks. Apparently the Stars realize how awesome these are as well as they gave us the outtakes, time wasting and translating Mark Janko moments from Daryl Reaugh and Ralph Strangis.