The Stars held a players-only meeting after the loss to LA Tuesday night. You may be shocked, but there are no quotes about what was said. However, it doesn't take much imagination to hear Spezza calmly chiming in during Roussel's string of obscenity-laced encouragement to remind the team of what they can do well, what they should be excited about in their game. Even the worst teams in the league score more than once per game--albeit barely--so there's no doubt that the Stars will be scoring again before long. The thing to remember is, don't shoot yourself in the foot while you wait for those goals to come.
At practice on Wednesday, Mark Stepneski spoke with a few of the players, and they do seem to be emphasizing patience, reliance on all four lines, and no desperation or panic in their game. Of course, that can be tough in an offensive system that is supposed to be fast, high-octane and counterpunch-happy, but the players are determined:
"Play harder, go to the net harder and get some crappy [sic/ew] goals and just play the right way," forward Antoine Roussel said. "We’ve got to be smarter."
Those offensive struggles – which include power play woes - lead to impatience, which is creating opportunities for the opposition.
"I think when you lose a couple and give a couple away you press a little bit, and I think when that happens we’re pressing for offense. By doing that, we’re giving other teams grade-A scoring chances," said forward Shawn Horcoff. "That just can’t happen, it should be the opposite. We should be patient, and we should be able to rely and fall back on a team game. We know that we have offense. We have confidence that there are four lines that can go out there and get a goal, and we don’t need to press for that. We need to be able to be a little bit more patient."
Lindy Ruff: "I think the urgency of the players-only meeting last night, the meeting I had today is to say that we are on the radar. We are not flying under the radar anymore. Teams are paying a lot of attention to our best players, just like we paid attention to [Kings center Anze] Kopitar and those guys. That’s where our big boys can’t get frustrated and make the plays that cost us the game. Let’s keep it at 1-1 and wait for that break, and it might be a secondary line that gets that opportunity." [Stars]
Props to Lindy for not snidely saying, "Hey, at least I didn't put Spezza on Benn's line all night and unbalance the offense too much, right?"
If you're worried that the Stars aren't trying or caring, stop worrying. If you think that they will never score goals again, stop thinking. They will score. This is the journey through the mines of Moria for the Stars. Even in their preparations for the daunting task of an NHL season, they never expected to meet this much adversity this quickly. But Nichushkin is back, we have Jason Spezza on the team, still, and the Stars have a goodly set of home games in front of them after a brutal first 12 games of the season against some very good teams. For me, the one thing is the power play. If they can find a way to make that "advantage" somewhat eponymous, I think we'll start to see a lot more points piling up.
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Scott Burnside talks about how entertaining the Dallas Stars are despite being "a little bit sideways" in this video/preview combo for the Nashville game. [ESPN]
Jussi Rynnas says "hi," as he had a solid 3-1 win for Texas over his former team, the Toronto Marlies. [Wrong Side of the Red Line]
The Stars' 7th-round pick from this summer, Patrick Sanvido, has been named captain of the Windsor Spitfires (OHL). The defenseman is 18 and goes by "Sandy." [Windsor Spitfires]
MiniMo alert! Brenden Morrow is "exceeding expectations" for his coach in Tampa Bay, even though he has yet to score his first goal. This is a nice feature on Morrow's early days as a 16-year-old kid who played great hockey despite a diet of "beef jerky and beer." [TampaBay.com]
And Patrick Sharp will join him on the shelf, as flyin' number ten will be out for "an extended period of time" with an undisclosed injury that is totally probably a rib injury or something from an Alexei Emelin hit. [THN]
But the Hawks will still look sharp in their new Winter Classic sweaters that they unveiled yesterday. Slightly less interesting than the Caps', but I love that C logo on the sleeves to death, so they win. [SB Nation]
Marc-Andre Fleury has signed a four-year extension with the aforementioned flightless avian hockey team. $5.75 per year, and here are some initial reactions to the deal. (Note: Hey, wait, didn't I predict this? *checks predictions* Well, sort of. Five years, four years, Cup Final, early November, same thing. I AM CARNAC. Anyway, how good is Fleury? Oh, right--this good.) [Pensburgh]
Rolling Stone doesn't just write about the Stars -- here's their take on the NHL analytics movement. Toronto and New Jersey are their main subjects. [Rolling Stone]
One more time with the Tarasenko goal, flip-book style. [YouTube]
Aspiring actor Sean Avery has quit the play "Negative Is Positive" just days before its Broadway debut after an altercation with a stagehand involving an offer of free pizza. You think I am manipulating this to make it sound more ridiculous than it is, but, well, it's Sean Avery. [Page Six]
Give me a GOB! Will Arnett speaks out about his shameful love for the Leafs. [THN]
Jack Johnson has been suspended 3 games for this hit, which did receive a two-minute penalty for an illegal check to the head: