One thing about the Stars so far this season is how they always manage to find one thing to do wrong in each game. While we've already had a couple of moments to remember this season--and remember, those moments are why we're watching in the first place--it's safe to say that in the ice cream parlour of hockey, this season has been one Chunky Monkey (It's like the improved version of Rocky Road).
The opener against Chicago was about finishing and capitalizing on early chances, as two excellent periods were summarily negated by a late breakdown.
Nashville, the one thing was probably hockey. They had issues with that.
In Columbus, they sagged in the second period before Jamie Benn stepped in. The rest is sweet, wonderful history, but after going up 2-0, it's hard to say that they did it right by getting themselves in that position in the first place.
In Pittsburgh, well, that last five-minute chunk was awesome, but the penalty kill (and defensive zone in general) looked to be a work in progress.
And you already know what Lindy Ruff thought about the Flyers game (Also, get well soon, Patty Nems. I made that nickname up because I miss you already).
So as we keep those expectations tempered with each up and down that comes along, it's good to take each salt-and-cararmelly bite of delicious ice cream and get a good idea of how it complements the whole picture. Thankfully, Mike Heika has done that already:
You don’t need 4K or a curved screen to see this team has top-end offensive potential. Seguin ranks third in the NHL in scoring with eight points (four goals, four assists), while Jason Spezza has seven points (one goal, six assists) and Benn has six (three goals, three assists). That’s right. Three players are scoring better than a point per game.
But then, the picture goes haywire. The Stars rank 24th in the league in shot differential at minus-4.4 per game That’s after pushing up to ninth last season at plus-1.3. They are 28th in penalty-killing. They have twice blown two-goal leads. [DMN]
As always, read the whole column. Lotta good stuff there.
There's no point panicking about the fact that Spezza has, for now, stopped centering what was supposed to be line 1B. Ruff is fully aware that the best thing for the Stars is to have a great line with Seguin and another great line with Spezza. He's trying to get there, and we're seeing some of the growing pains in the just-woke-up mirror with each game.
And there's no need to get frantic about Kari's letting in a peck of goals the other day, especially after his early numbers had been so solid. You can say "bounces" about most of the goals, and you wouldn't be wrong, but the reality is that the Stars weren't doing themselves any favors for long periods of Saturday's game, which left them vulnerable to a twist of fate thanks to a ref's skate or a crazy bounce. A goalie's stats are going to suffer when the team doesn't play well. That's just reality.
For now, it's probably best to just strap yourself in and be all like, "Whoa, we totally were icing a line with Seguin, Benn AND Spezza all at the same time. This is even more amazing than that dream I had a few years ago about the Stars' winning the Lombardi trophy right before Marc Crawford showed up and offered everyone weird quiche snowcones."
Let's be happy about the early highs, and let's stare the gross parts full in the face. The Stars are trying to sort everything out, and we'll have the privilege of watching them do it, whatever the result.
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Monday Links are organic, like almost everything on earth, technically.
After the Stars' grand theft in Pittsburgh, the city of brotherly gloves or whatever is reflecting on their recent heist in Dallas. [Philly.com]
Do you want to watch a GIF of Nemeth's injury? No, you do not. But if you're a doctor and this will help you heal Nemeth extra fast, then here you go in the name of science. Seeing it again, I'm really tempted to just say, thank goodness it wasn't worse. Scary moment, for sure. [SB Nation]
While the numbers of the new TV deal with Fox haven't come out yet, Barry Horn writes that the Stars won't have any trouble making it back to the salary cap ceiling for quite a while. [DMN]
Stastny was injured in the Blues' game against Arizona the other night, and he is being listed as "week-to-week, shoulder." [Twitter]
Minnesota's recovery plan appears to be election-season themed: lobbying. Mike Yeo on how it's not fair that his smaller team is getting slowed down by the cheaters like Anaheim (Good point, actually). [Pioneer Press]
Martin Havlat laughs at Jamie Benn's shiner. "You want to see a banged-up face? This is a banged-up face." [Puck Daddy]
Victor Hedman's fantastic start to the season was, of course, stalled by a hand injury. Why must everything always be the worst? [CBS Sports]
The headline to this retrospective is, "1974 Midget Tournament Saw Soviet Player Banned For Life For Kicking Two Future NHLers." So, yeah, you clicked the link already. [Greatest Hockey Legends]
Some better news on the skate-blade-cuts front: Jason Zucker narrowly avoided such an injury to his throat. Gracious, that was almost Richard Zednik territory. [The Hockey News]
Finally, watch Joffrey Lupul (he's hurt now, too) talk about the wonderful Toronto fans in Detroit that are better than the ones in, you know, Toronto: