Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Dallas may not know their French history very well, but they certainly understand Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr’s famous epigram better than most.
When Dallas got ousted in the playoffs, I watched the Stanley Cup Finals more or less on autopilot, did some prospect homework, and then worked on my half baked science fiction novel. For me summer was a combination of stillness, contemplation, and the occasional Lone Star to pay my weekend Rust Cohle tribute.
In other words, my world was nothing like it was when the Dallas Stars are part of it. With its necromancy and pandemonium. Dallas seems to relish its role in sabotaging harmony on Earth. Like a paradox of classical physics, they’re often two different teams at once.
1 Devin Sho’Nuff
Devin Shore scores off the rush, Stars lead 2-0.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) October 16, 2016
I’ve always like Devin Shore. Regardless of the skeptical tone I took in my profile of him this summer, his value was always apparent. But I didn’t think he’d be given a chance this season, and by the time he was ready, figured Dickinson, and Janmark would keep him just outside the big picture in Big D.
I’m a little slow, but I’m finally following the wise words of Maria Popova; “allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing you mind”. Granted, Shore is doing it for me, but still. His play in his brief tenure has been nothing short of a revelation. It really sucks that Janmark is done for the season because having both in the lineup would be a boon. He is, of course, as advertised: intelligent, but diligent, relying more on presence than mere percussion (unlike like many bottom six forwards who define energy by the symphony of collision).
2 Haribo Bear Goaltending
Stars and Avs tied 2-2 after one. Stars allowed 16 shots on goal; first periods have not been kind early in the season.— WFAA Sports (@wfaasports) October 16, 2016
Antti Niemi was playing like a caricature of the goaltending Dallas has been criticized for. From shot one through 33, pucks were bouncing off Niemi like was made of Haribo, with his gummi arms and legs stuck inside the chewy edible vehicle at all times.
One of them looked illegal(ish), but it felt inevitable with or without judicial jurisprudence. Dallas just couldn’t control Colorado in the first, making weak defensive efforts up and down all three zones.
3 Second Period Reckon(ing)
This Tweet only ostensibly has nothing to do with the Dallas Stars. The inclusion is clear though: sometimes, even the simplest of tasks seemed like Odyssean challenges of attrition. Whether man on man, keeping the puck from squirting out, controlling a bouncing back, or pressuring the point, every kinesthetic moment was a struggle. Carl Soderberg and Nathan MacKinnon would put the Avs up by two goals thanks to some bizarre defensive zone coverage.
University of Denver product Joe Colborne with his 1st career hat trick in his first game with the Avalanche. Pretty awesome.— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) October 16, 2016
Dallas battled back hard to tie the game up in the second, but a deflected Nikita Zadorov point shot would find its way to the back of the net, prompting a switch to the other Finn, Kari Lehtonen. Kari appeared to be the only one immune to the Colorado’s vial of anti-Dallas serum spiking the tap water in the visitor’s locker room Robert talked about. Probably because the Avs knew he wouldn’t dress.
5 Center Fender
faceoff stats from tonight— X - Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) October 16, 2016
not exactly the greatest.. pic.twitter.com/FauThSFvAV
While faceoffs wins are overstated as puck possession support, they are not insignificant. Especially when the faceoff battle is this lopsided. If somebody told me that the Stars lost all of their defensive zone faceoffs, I’d shrug my shoulders and accept this unlikely but nominally true fat. It certainly seemed that way.
6 Shock Heresy
The Avs scored and Brett Ritchie made the game interesting again thanks to Sho’Nuff with a brilliant mid-air catch to corral the puck and sail it across the ice to Ritchie for the functional tap in. A weird sequence of events led to a Dallas Power Play in the last two minutes, which led to even weirder decision making (Jordie Benn the extra attacker?). Dallas came. Dallas Starsed. And Dallas lost.
-We get easily distracted by symmetry because it feels like a correct feature of the universe. So the cultural symmetry of Patrik Nemeth paired with John Klingberg sounds alluring to our hearts and minds. Statistically they’ve been good the past two seasons, but the sample size is so small as to be insignificant. I’ve wanted to see it myself, but I think it’s becoming clear that Klingberg still needs a real BFF; someone that isn’t just some sort of “safeguard” or “anchor”. But someone that can threaten on their own with more than just blue collar brawn. I’m not saying I want Goligoski back. But I want someone teams have to prepare for in at least two of the three zones.
-Speaking of Nemeth, he was doing some defensive defensemen things I’m not a fan of. Like getting tied up with a man in the slot area. Proper defending isn’t actually about “clearing the crease”. Clearing the crease is a last resort against players that are engaged in shooting/trying to shoot. Otherwise you’re not in good position to disrupt a passing lane, or in good position to cover a forward who’s lost their man in the corners who can then either take it home themselves, or force you to cover too much space should you bite and leave your man previously tied up in the slot.
-The blueliners aren’t entirely to blame. Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn have yet to strut at even strength. Patrick Eaves looks more consistent than both (with as many points to boot), and that’s with all the undisclosed bumps and bruises he perennially suffers from. The top six is having a tough time establishing a rhythm to say the least.
-Patrick Sharp on Devin Shore’s left wing with Brett Ritchie looked real good in their brief time together.
-Patrick Sharp on Spezza’s left wing with Jiri Hudler has looked real old in their brief time together.