Remember those good old days when the Dallas Stars ran roughshod through the Eastern Conference as a way of racking up points before going back to the MDK division?
Just like everything in this puzzle of a season, the Stars haven’t quite been able to do that this season. Far from it in fact. Heading into today’s game against the Buffalo Sabres, the Stars, at 2-6-3, have fewer wins against the East than any other team in the NHL.
And with the season slipping through their fingers like the sands through an hourglass, the Stars will have to turn that around somehow if they are to have any shot at making the playoffs in an admittedly down Western Conference race.
"We have to get points back on the road," coach Lindy Ruff told the Dallas Morning News. "Our road record hasn't been good enough. The only way to get this thing going on a consistent basis is to be a winner on the road."
It’s been even more frustrating of late as the Stars seem to have addressed one of the biggest problems that plagued the front half of the season - the maddeningly inconsistent offence. And while they are still liable to toss a frustrating, scoreless night out there, they have started to show flashes of the transition, speedy game that took them to the top of the West last season.
Of course, as that comes around, the keeping pucks out of the net thing is becoming more of an issue. Because it’s this season and we can’t have nice things.
Remember that there’s an early start today because of the federal holiday (1 p.m. Eastern, 12 p.m. in Dallas) to see what new and frustrating twist the Stars will have for us on this road trip.
Other news and notes from around the NHL....
- With Jamie Oleksiak out with a hand injury for a month or more, Patrik Nemeth has been recalled from his conditioning assignment with the Texas Stars and looks to get out of the press-box purgatory he found himself in before the assignment. It’s a tough place for Nemeth - being the 7th or 8th man in an eight-man rotation means a lot of time in the press box, so perhaps these injuries will give him a shot to prove he’s worthy of more consistent ice time. (Wrong Side of the Red Line)
- Put on your shocked face, but Patrick Eaves (and Cody Eakin) didn’t participate in Sunday’s practice. Eaves really is going to push the goals:practices skated ratio to its most absurd this season. Eakin is also nursing a nagging injury because the rules say at least three Stars forwards must be hurt at all times this year. (DallasStars.com)
- Also of note, because of the weekday game, the radio broadcast will not be on The Ticket but instead on KLIF 570 AM locally.
- Former Stars great John MacLean (who spent most of his career with the New Jersey Devils but was a part of the Grumpy Old Men line with Guy Carbonneau and Kirk Muller) has found post-playing success as a member of the Devils broadcast crew. Wonder if he and Razor have ever swapped stories about the transition? (NHL.com)
- The Stars aren’t the only team looking for momentum from today’s game. The Sabres have had a pretty rough go of things as well. (Associated Press)
- Also struggling, this time in the Western Conference - the Vancouver Canucks, who can’t seem to keep their heads above water either. (Sportsnet)
- Sunday was a good day to be a member of the Washington Capitals and not such a good one for the Flyers, as the Caps unleashed a four-goal torrent in five minutes and, unlike the Wild, didn’t ever let up their hold on the game. (Washington Post)
- On the injury front, Ryan Callahan is going to be shelved for the Tampa Bay Lightning for another four weeks as he deals with lingering hip problems that he’d hoped would be fixed by surgery last summer. (Tampa Bay Times)
- Some days, you just need Craig MacTavish teaching the Edmonton Oilers new, nightmare fuel mascot his tongue-ripping ways. (Puck Daddy)
- Finally, at least some little girls in this world are still immune to the charms of one Tyler Seguin.