Rick Gosselin is a columnist for the Dallas Morning News. You may not read his take on the Dallas Stars all that often, and that is because he doesn't write about them all that much. However, "Goose" certainly has his finger on the pulse of Dallas sports, and so it's no surprise that he answered a question during his Monday chat pertaining to said hockey team:
Question: Is an extended absence of Tyler Seguin too much for the Stars to overcome?
Gosselin: Not if the Stars can suddenly become stout at the back end. With all the scoring by Seguin and this offense in general — the Stars are in the Top 5 in goals — they are still allowing more goals than they score. That's not the prescription for a playoff team. The less the Stars allow, the less they have to score. That would minimize the absence of Seguin. But if the inconsistency remains in net and the young defensive corps keeps turning the puck over, the loss of Seguin will be difficult to overcome. It seems Lehtonen allows a soft goal every night. The Stars have to start winning 3-2 games instead of 6-4 games if the hope to minimize the absence of Seguin. [DMN]
The idea that the Stars need to shore up their defense if they're hoping to make the playoffs is certainly nothing new if you've been listening to Lindy Ruff this season, but I do think Gosselin has a point in that the Stars may not need to plug in their closest approximation of a goal-scoring center during Seguin's absence in order to have success. While Spezza plays a different game than Seguin, the Stars still have a first line that's plenty decent with Benn and Cole up there. The drop-off in offense (and remember, Seguin hasn't exactly been piling up goals lately) might be more than compensated for by some serious efforts in the goal-prevention department. That's where Jhonas Enroth (and, we hope, a reinvigorated Kari Lehtonen) can have a huge impact on this team regardless of who's playing atop the pivot depth chart. Just look at Minnesota.
One other thing: have a look at the numbers this season (as of Monday night). Of the top 16 teams in goals against per game, only three of them are non-playoff teams, and one of those is the obviously-still-playoff-bound Kings at #11 while Carolina and Florida are barely there at #15 and #16 respectively.
Conversely, of the top 16 teams in goals scored per game, we see that...well, lookie there, again we have only three non-playoff teams. Again, two stragglers at #15 and #16 in Ottawa and Toronto, then we have some green team at #4.
So, I dunno. Apparently it's possible to score way fewer goals than Dallas but still make the playoffs. Winnipeg is 19th in goals per game and only 12th in goals against, but they're somehow in the mix. Maybe the Stars really do need to allow fewer goals, eh?
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I don't know how to feel about "Undie Sunday" at this ECHL game. I mean, would you wear a pair of unmentionables that had been hurled onto the same ice surface that routinely sees blood, spit and goodness knows what else coating it every night? Don't answer that, please.
Some notes from practice yesterday: Hemsky won't be back until Thursday, and Ruff loves him some grit, but he likes goals more. [DMN]
The Stars are sitting at around a 30% playoff probability right now. [Hockeystats.ca]
Andrej Sekera is allegedly coveted by the Stars (and everyone else in the league). Big lukewarm take here from yours truly: I don't see the Stars moving on a pending UFA unless the team really tears it up over the next five games. [CBS Sports]
I enjoyed this Q&A with former Stars defenseman Mark Fistric, now in the AHL. Maybe you will also enjoy it. [The Hockey Writers]
Barry Melrose is wondering if Devan Dubnyk could win the Hart Trophy. This hurts my heart. [NHL]
Here are a couple of videos from the Getzlaf-calling-Ovechkin-a-diver fracas. We sure do love drama, don't we? [THN]
The Rangers and Islanders flipped the clock back thirty years last night, as the one New York team that a lot of people can't stand beat the up-and-coming New York team that everybody loves, 6-5. Both teams had over 40 shots on goal. [Rangers]
Marc Methot signed a 4-year/$4.9 million AAV extension with Ottawa yesterday, and he believes he "left money on the table" to stay in the Canadian capital. How big was this table?! [CBC]
Dave Nonis says he doesn't need your stupid birthday party because he has plenty of other takers for Phil Kessel out there. [SportsNet]
In fact, one of those takers for Kessel could be Florida. This would be so great. [SportsNet]
Shooting percentage and its fluctuations have had big implications for Sean Bergenheim, Tyler Seguin and Reilly Smith. [Puck Daddy]
Rick Nash and Alex Ovechkin are in a race for the Richard this year. It could have been a three horse race, but alas. [THN]
Check out this cool piece on hybrid goaltending (instead of a straight butterfly) from prospect Garret Sparks. [The Faceoff Circle]
Here is some late Valentine's Day bling: What are the best Stanley Cup rings of all time? [Hockey by Design]
Finally, here is a painful thing that happened to a 2007 Stars draft pick named Luke Gazdic last night. I grew up calling this a "buddy pass," but there are many names for it:
Buff destroys Gadzic https://t.co/kpar5y0PEI— Peter Tessier (@Teddier) February 17, 2015