This season for the Dallas Stars has not gone anywhere near according to plan. There is frustration building exponentially with each passing game not just among the players and the team, but also with the fans. This was supposed to be the continuation of something special, a season built off last year's playoff run with the additions of Spezza and Hemsky sending the Stars to another level entirely.
The reality has been something quite different, and Tuesday's loss to the Los Angeles Kings was just another example of the struggles the Stars have faced this season -- most notably late-game collapses at home. The Stars are 1-1-4 on home ice, and are being outscored 13-3 in the third period in those contests. Against the Kings the Stars had played fairly solidly through two periods and had even survived a lengthy 5-on-3 and overcome some tough penalty trouble.
Yet, once again, the Stars were unable to finish out a game at home -- continuing a trend that began with the Game 6 collapse against the Ducks six months ago.
I trust that everyone who reads Defending Big D is also an avid reader and follower of Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News. Every Stars fan should absolutely treat Heika as the top authority on the Stars -- we here at DBD certainly do, and when Heika has something to say we sit up and pay attention.
This morning's observations on last night's game does a great summation of the season as a whole and the uncertain direction in which the Stars are headed. It's a very good read with some great quotes and you should absolutely read the whole thing -- here are some highlights:
"For our fans, I'm frustrated...I know they're frustrated," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "It's my job to change it."
The Stars said all of the right things on Tuesday following a 3-1 loss to the Kings. They were honest in their assessment and they were sincerely upset with the fact they are letting down the fans. We talk about things like "energy," and it's clear that the fans are a huge part of that. If the team creates energy, it transfers to the crowd, and then the crowd plugs it right back into the team, and it's a beautiful sight.
The first two periods of the season opener against Chicago held so much promise, and a sold out building was buzzing. Same with the Philly game, as the Superline of Jamie Benn. Jason Spezza and Tyler Seguin just started to click. The Vancouver game was so dominating, you almost felt like the 1999 Stars had returned.
Even the Blues game had the Stars in the lead on three different occasions.
But too many times the Stars couldn't finish the deal. They drew you in, and then let you down.