Despite winning the Western Conference, a ton of questions still surround the Dallas Stars. Questions like: how will they deal with the abundance of injuries? Will goaltending hold up? Is that Jordie Benn on the 1st pair with Klingberg? Ruff, what hath hell wrought?
And so forth...
One game won’t answer any of these questions. But at least fans got a taste of what’s to game. Or rather, what’s to ‘endure’.
Man Bear Pig Sighting
A+++ shift by Stephen Johns. Beautiful rush up the ice to exit the zone and gets rewarded by driving the net and putting home the puck— Derek Neumeier (@Derek_N_NHL) October 14, 2016
There wasn’t a lot to appreciate in the first period. Dallas came out swinging for a fraction of a second, and then the struggles began their October bloom. Thankfully, Stephen Johns made a white collar move to get the puck up ice, eventually scoring on the chance he created.
To be honest, I’ve been a little skeptical of Johns. No not as a defensemen who can contribute. But as a defensemen that can be tasked with top four duties. One game won’t answer that question. But it’s clear that he’s building on what he established last season with only a handful of games.
2. Sibling Devilry
Benn brothers not being helpful thus far— Katie (@comealongphil) October 14, 2016
I can understand the communist logic of ‘spreading defensive wealth’. But just like communism, I’m still looking for an efficient practice of it (political nerds, please excuse your interjections here). For one, Dallas doesn’t have defensive wealth. So spreading it is like dividing a Kraft cheese dip tray evenly among six Bloods and Crips.
Jordie Benn was just plain awful, pinching aggressively on two specific occasions that led to odd man rushes. A four minute penalty to top it off sealed his fate to begin the second. I’m not a Jordie “hater” by any means. It could have been anyone that period: that many bad decisions don’t warrant playing time.
It didn’t take long for Dallas to put some life into the building to begin the second. This was thanks to Korpikoski: a signing that seemed universally panned by Stars fans. Granted, him scoring isn’t a validation of the signing, but he played well with a limited role.
My only issue with him is this picture, which is entirely the fault of Dallas’ website management. Korpikoski’s picture looks like the final image of a badly lit face aggregator for a Sprite commercial.
4. Birds of the Nether
Corey Perry hands out toothbrushes for Halloween #CoreyPerryFacts— Tabatha Patterson (@Tabatha_mp) October 14, 2016
You don’t bring in Randy Carlyle to play toaster educated 21st century hockey. You bring him in to preach intangibles. That appeared to be the objective from Anaheim for much of the second period: get in Niemi’s face, take the fall, and get indignant. Or is that Gordon Bombay behind the bench?
Props to Radek Faksa for standing up to Nick Ritchie, whose knuckles are still warm from pasting Brendon Dillon in the preseason.
5. Bottom Six Bankrolling
Stars 1-0-0 on the backs of Cracknell and Korpikoski... like we all drew up— boo-rady (@mellamobrady) October 14, 2016
I knew Dallas might struggle early with their injuries. For all the grief I sometimes (okay, all the time) give Cody Eakin, he’s a very productive player in what predominantly amounts to a bottom six role. So it was nice to see the bottom six take over the game. A night like this should be regarded as an outlier for them, but it’s still nice to see regardless.
6. Duck Hunt for Red October
Dallas played a pretty confident game from the second onward. Much of this was thanks to Antti Niemi, who easily deserves first star of the game. He was working hard to see the puck through the traffic, and was doing a better job of controlling rebounds. All in all, it was a game deserving of the ‘Starsing’ hashtag. One minute they’re getting punched in the face. The next minute their opponent is bleeding.
-I’m glad Lindy Ruff got that Jordie Benn first pairing out of his system. Anaheim attacked him at jump street.
-What exactly is Stephen Johns’ ceiling? With the Stars staff asking him to activate more, I’m curious to see how much he can produce in bigger minutes.
-Speaking of Johns, I hate seeing Johnny Oduya bodysurf and then be praised by media for “playing great defense” because defending from your belly is not good defense, but take away some Oduya moments that he didn’t cause, and he also played a pretty solid game. I’d rather see Johns with a different defensive partner in time, but as long as Oduya still has plenty left to give, he’s certainly not the worst blueliner to have next to Dallas’ rookies.
-Kudos to the penalty kill.
-The Power Play is doing something else entirely.
-Cogliano is a Star killer. Somebody stop him, please.