clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Afterwords: Quick Thoughts on Stars’ Quick Work of Coyotes

New, comments

This is how these Stars are going to demolish teams, apparently—by one goal and an empty-netter

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It is way too late/early on the west coast (best coast), but here are a few fleeting thoughts on this game, which I watched. The Stars are now a .500 hockey team! Hooray for the Stars.

-Stephen Johns has been stronger in the last couple of games. It’s going to be tough to find a spot for Jamie Oleksiak, but he’s coming back into the lineup at the expense of (presumably) Esa Lindell or Julius Honka. I don’t know what we do with that other than say, “well, I hope those fellows play good hockey.” This is the relative luxury of the Stars, this season: not everything is broken, and so not every change is emergent. It is kind of nice, even if the premise of some changes might be debatable.

-Goals are nice, and the Stars ought to score more of them. But if they also want to rack up another 20+ empty-netters as an ode to 2015-16, I won’t mind too much. Wins are wins, but goals are fun. Both would be great, but the latter will suffice, for now.

-Still, this is one of the easiest parts of the Stars’ schedule. They should be beating teams like Detroit, Arizona, etc. They have more or less had the better of play in every game they’ve played so far, but their goal totals are lagging behind. If you think this is merely a quirk of shooting percentage, then perhaps you’re okay with things. If you’re convinced that this is a feature and not a bug in Hitch’s system (and the Stars’ scoring depth), then perhaps you’re more concerned. But either way, goals from a bottom-six forward like Radek Faksa and a defenseman like Dan Hamhuis are gravy for this team. Yes, gravy. I know.

-The Stars are probably a ways from playing a “complete” game without any breakdowns. Esa Lindell had a miscue in this one, and so did John Klingberg (among others). But Ben Bishop and the rest of the team cleaned things up with alacrity, and the game carried on to its inevitable (as we discovered it to be) conclusion. The Stars got a 2-0 lead against a winless team and held the fort. That’s what Hitch should help them to do, and he did that. You have to be satisfied with that, even if you still would like a bigger margin.

-Jason Demers is a nice guy, and I am happy that he got to celebrate a goal tonight. Would he be a better fit on Dallas’s defense than Stephen Johns right now? I...think so, but the money doesn’t work. Besides, Dallas really doesn’t need to revamp its defense this year. I am still getting used to this new reality.

-Ben Bishop, again, is good. I am a fan of his. confidence is everything for netminders, but it probably does have an effect on the skaters, too. I can’t quantify that effect, but morale isn’t nothing. Ben Bishop provides good morale to his teammates. That is worth money, and the Stars paid him that. It is looking like a good decision, six games into the season. We can only judge these things in our context.

-The Stars could stand to take a cue from Mattias Janmark, who kind of just sashayed his way around the offensive zone later in the third period while holding the puck. This team is good, and they have the ability to really control the puck. I think they’re still getting used to this. Remember when you first drove a car by yourself, and no one was yelling at you when you got too close to the lines? This is kind of where the Stars are right now. They are realizing that they are capable of propelling this thing forward, and once they hear the thump thump thump of the dot things on the side of the road, they are good about veering back onto the main highway. Eventually, they’ll find the gas pedal, we hope.

-Dan Hamhuis was a good defenseman last year, and he was a good defenseman Tuesday night. You can never have too many good defensemen (note to Vegas: that is not what you have).

-Jason Spezza feels like he’s close to putting a scoring streak together. This is a guess, but his play seems more “alive” lately, particularly with Janmark on his wing. That line was great at holding the puck and bumping it back up to the points tonight. As they get slicker at it, I’d be surprised if we don’t start seeing some more goals from the blue line, if their releases are quick enough.

-The Stars play Arizona again this week. If you’re Rick Tocchet, what do you do? Tell your team to be bigger and better and to score more? He is surely hoping to work some magic with that last change, because what else can you hope for, other than for historical Stars issues with less-than-great teams coming back to haunt them?

-The Stars are 3-3-0, and I am thrilled. This is a weird season so far. But, like endless Shrimp or Olive Garden breaksticks, the optimism just keeps coming. (And like both of those things, the optimism might also be of rather unfortunate origin.) This team could be 6-0, and we’d hardly say they hadn’t earned it. That’s a nice place to be, even if the results need to keep coming before we start feeling that confidence with regularity. It’s nice to have a team that deserves good things. Everyone deserves good things.