Tyler Seguin might have had the quote of the season after this one: "I thought we hit rock bottom last game, but we got deeper tonight.”
Rock bottom, of course, is a term used often in addiction circles, where the sufferer finally has an experience that causes her or him to see themselves at their worst and make a step towards change. The Stars, however, tried to dig their way out. They got pretty deep.
Still, cheer up! I’ll be heading up to Vancouver Thursday to watch two bad teams play hockey, and I’m positive the Stars will win that game, unless they do not win it. Also, what does it mean if the Stars went deeper than rock bottom? Is this, like, molten core bottom now? Also, how do you feel if you’re the newly signed Gavin Bayreuther? Does he get to pick any locker he wants? I can’t imagine it’ll be a blast walking into that locker room, but maybe he will have some nice jokes to lighten the mood. Jokes are nice.
In any case, I’m operating on less sleep than a traumatized goaltender these days, but I remember at least a few things that stuck out to me about this game other than Razor’s justified praise of Ales Hemsky, who may be forced to actually score a goal himself if his mates keep failing to put away the chances he’s creating. Devin Shore, you’re better than that Air Jordan move all alone in front, and we all know it.
Goal #1: Jamie Oleksiak asplodes a stick trying a slapshot at the offensive blue line (though for the Stars, it really is an offensive blue line). Pouliot eventually gets a shot unmolested from the slot while Lindell screens Niemi in front. Oleksiak can only look up and wonder what happened to those nice red-lined gloves he wore so very long ago, when things were different. Different for him, at least. Those gloves usually had a stick in them.
Goal #2: The Stars attempted to kill a penalty, but it turns out that they are not good at that. (DAVID: “TELL ME ABOUT IT.”) Be quiet, David. We are not talking about historical problems right now. We are talking about huge recent problems that will eventually become historical teaching points. Patience!
Goal #3: A scrum at the blue line eventually turns into a harmless Nurse wrister as Oleksiak wards him to the outside of the circle. The wrister knows the code for Niemi’s security system and gains entry without difficult. Razor says, “You’ve gotta be kidding me!” We are with you, Razor. Or at least we would be, if laughter were still something I remembered. Niemi softly slaps the post with an “aw, shucks.” The post would see further suffering in this game.
ADAM CRACKNELL: Hey guys, just gonna do a little drop between the legs and create a goal here with Ritchie and McKenzie. Cool?
BRETT RITCHIE: Very cool. Guess I’ll shoot. Neat-o burrito! I love goals! What’s the score now?
CRACKNELL: Don’t worry about it, kid.
RITCHIE: Aw, still 3-1?
RITCHIE: Aw, shucks. Really?
CRACKNELL: [turns back] Nope. 5-1, now.
RITCHIE: I’m going to stop asking.
CRACKNELL: You’re catching on, kid.
Goal #4: David Desharnais watches Nemeth and Klingberg undo all of the theoretical good will they’ve built up as a possible pairing as Slepyshev shoots, and somehow the puck takes a 40 degree turn off the end boards and kicks out to the other side of the goal. How that happened, I’m still not sure. Neither was Niemi, but I’m just glad the Stars were able to track him down without sending Benn down the tunnel to start this game. The little things, folks.
Goal #5: Oleksiak made me sit up and watch as he danced through the neutral zone with a pretty rush, only to not quite beat Talbot. The spent Oleksiak was then discarded, and Patrick Maroon scored. The call by the Edmonton broadcast was, I kid you not: “The Oilers’ Big Rig makes it a 5-1 game!” It was too perfect, although perfect probably isn’t the right word. Oh, also, Brett Ritchie’s butt was inside of Niemi’s neck guard, which seems suboptimal, but what do I know? Not much, any more. The Stars now have a Gavin and a Greg on the team.
[Toronto Review Center phone rings]
[Toronto Review Center toilet flushes. CLIFF, WAR ROOM REVIEW INTERN enters.]
OFFICIALS: YEAH, CHECKING ON WHETHER THAT WAS KICKED IN?
OFFICIALS: CAN YOU CONFIRM WHAT YOU SAW?
CLIFF: Well, uh...
OFFICIALS: HEY IT’S CRAZY LOUD AND IT’S SIX-ONE. CAN WE JUST MOVE ON HERE OR WHAT?
CLIFF: Oh, wait. Edmonton/Dallas?
OFFICIALS: YES! HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW THI-
CLIFF: Goal counts.
KEVIN POLLOCK: [Blows whistle, points to center ice]
I’m open to any other explanations, but that was a pretty garbage call. Paging Brenden Morrow?
Goal #7: Stephen Johns and Cody Eakin did not have a minus rating in this game in which Dallas allowed seven goals, six at evens. Jamie Oleksiak did have a minus rating. He was a -3, which is one more negative number than the number of cross-ice passes he allowed on this 2-on-1.
The Oilers had, and I double-checked this number, forty-six odd-man rushes in this game. You can’t leave your goalies in the lurch any more than the Stars did without shooting on them yourself, and hey, Brett Ritchie at least hip-checked his netminder, which is worse in certain ways. This was a team out of sorts, a team playing for nothing, and a coach who had run out of options. I can’t wait to get there on Thursday and watch my favorite team laces up the old skates for another barn-burner in B.C., baby!
Real talk: if you’re Jim Nill, how many games like this can you swallow? The Stars already doubled down on rock bottom. Who wants to try for Journey to the Center of the Earth 3? I bet Fraser would be willing to join that project. Brendan Fraser, I mean.