A couple of quick notes from morning skate today, where the Dallas Stars employed some very, very interesting line combinations -- which apparently won't mean much.
First, the Stars have spent countless practices and skates trying to correct a myriad of issues this season and for every issue that seemingly gets fixed, another crops up. The Stars offense has found it's way of sorts the past few weeks, yet suddenly Dallas is, statistically, the worst defending team in the NHL.
Stars coach Lindy Ruff stated on Thursday that despite his team getting their speed and offensive drive back in some ways, it came at the expense of the defense and once again Ruff is preaching the need for team defense.
"Defensively, I thought we had some missed assignments, some plays we needed get a stop on", said Ruff regarding the loss in Toronto. "There were some plays where our winger started playing center down low, and our center didn't read it. We looked a little bit confused and disorganized on those plays.
"Every day you're fixing something. We've tried to fix the speed in our game, and I thought we got that back. We spent a lot of time talking about a five-man defensive structure. We can't have four, we can't have three, and in some situations we only had three. We need five."
Team defense has been a problem this season, but so has goaltending. On Thursday, Anders Lindback cleared waivers right around the time it became known that Jussi Rynnas would get the start tonight for the Stars against the Red Wings.
Rynnas has had a bit of an up and down year in the AHL, in front of a very shaky defensive team, and has shown some great energy and fight in goal in recent weeks. He brings a bit of a different vibe to the crease than Lindback did, and he's going to be given the chance to instantly prove himself with a tough start tonight in Detroit.
"I think the goalie always sets the tone, unfortunately," said Ruff. "He either makes a big save or a tough one goes in and the tone is set in the other direction. He is as big as the quarterback is, or the pitcher is in baseball. It's pretty tough, and we hope he can step in and help us win games."
Finally, the Stars lines were this at morning skate:
While we know for a fact that Curtis McKenzie and Jamie Oleksiak are the scratches tonight, we don't know if these are the actual lines that Ruff is going to use.
Asked if anything should be read into lines this morning, Lindy Ruff said "No."— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) December 4, 2014
Alrighty, then. We shall see what happens in warmups, then.