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The Dallas Stars Forwards Are Putting up Results, but Not Rhythm

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Why do the 2016-2017 Dallas Stars forwards look so out of sync?

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t until the turn of the 21st century that marine biologists started looking past the surface of the ecosystems they studied, finding that parasites and viruses were integral to water ecosystem stability. Before then, they had underestimated both organisms as ‘too fragile’. How big could their contributions possibly be in such a hostile world?

And so the deer and the moose can’t drive the other competitor out because creatures like nematodes can’t hurt one, but will hurt the other (nematodes screw with Bullwinkle’s motor movement by crawling into their spines). I’m talking super opaquely about Mattias Janmark and Ales Hemsky, of course.

Janmark and Hemsky aren’t superstars. They’re not the water lilies in the Claude Monet. But they’re very much like the unseen organisms of each landscape, quietly establishing an equilibrium that might be otherwise absent.

Yea, I know. It’s two games. “You’re overreacting!” Of course I’m overreacting. But overreactions are links in the chain to understanding. I don’t know actually know what ails Dallas’ forward group. But I know, like everyone else, that something looks ‘off’.

Part of the issue with losing Janmark and Hemsky is that they put a nice little bow on the top six, and bottom six, respectively. Janmark’s speed and two way play allowed Spezza to make mistakes that wouldn’t be as easily punished on the counter rush. Janmark wasn’t integral to Dallas’ offense. But he was integral to sequencing possession from one forward group to the next.

Same with Hemsky. He didn’t put up a ton of points, but like Janmark, established a checking line that mixed precision in with its percussion. The Fak ‘Em line was a possession powerhouse in the playoffs. Even though Crack ‘Em line (best I could do before trying to get some sleep before work) is looking solid in their role, Cracknell will never be able to produce the way Hemsky could.

Dallas has scored nine goals through two games. What am I complaining about? Well, being able to shoot well isn’t the only element of offense and production. Good, sustainable offense comes from structure, systems, and rhythm. Should we expect Dallas to keep scoring if their top six keeps getting out possessed? Of course not.

Jamie Benn still hasn’t found his mojo. Jason Spezza with Patrick Sharp and Jiri Hudler has been awkward. Then there’s Tyler Seguin and Patrick Eaves doing this:

While I do think that the loss of Janmark and Hemsky have had a broader impact than anticipated, it doesn’t really explain the constant miscues.

Granted, none of this is put into context without talking about the defense. While the two are intimately connected, I think we can assess the forwards within their own snowglobe for now.

The line blender will need to be put to use in the coming days. There are a lot of bright spots. After all, we’re complaining about Dallas’ top six, which still boasts some of the best talent in the game.

Patrick Sharp with Devin Shore and Brett Ritchie looked fantastic in their brief stint. However, it’s hard to make sense of what happens to Spezza and Hudler if that happens. Maybe Devin Shore plays the Janmark role, and gets bumped up onto Spezza’s wing? He’s certainly earned a promotion.

Wouldn’t you say?

Whatever the case, this isn’t a time to lament how far Dallas has fallen just two games into the season. But their play has been questionable enough to require Lindy Ruff to put on his marine biologist thinking cap, and start seeing the viruses for the sea.