Dallas Stars starting goaltender Ben Bishop knows that the fans might not be happy about last night’s 3-0 shutout on home ice by the Los Angeles Kings. “These fans are paying good money to come watch us play and tonight was pretty pathetic.”
The players’ assessment of their own performance last night was very pointed — and placed the onus squarely on them and them alone. “The coaches did their jobs, but we just didn’t do ours,” said Tyler Seguin. “We were by far the worst group of guys out there.”
Instead of closing the gap on the St. Louis Blues these last two games, where wins may have put them in the third in the Central Division or a wider cushion on those behind them in the standings, the Stars find themselves closer than ever to the teams battling for Wild Card playoff positions out west:
The scary part to this isn’t that they’re getting into that murky water. It’s that many of the teams behind them have games in hand still to play when compared to Dallas. That will make each matchup down the stretch that much larger.
Seguin knows that keeping these last two games from turning into a trend is key to their success moving forward. “I mean, good teams don’t lose two in a row. You find ways [to win], you learn from why you lost that game and you bounce back.”
Dan Hamhuis, who played in his 1,000th NHL game last night and is the veteran presence on the Stars blueline, agreed with Seguin’s sentiments. “This time of year we can’t be allowing for efforts like that and showing up for the games the way we did tonight. If we want to give ourselves a chance to make the playoffs we need to eliminate those types of games.”
That’s a lot of the leaders on the team talking about finding ways to make sure that they get their game turned around. Head coach Ken Hitchcock isn’t going to just make it about the players, though. “Between the coaches and the players, we’ve got to figure it out. This isn’t even close to a competitive level to win a hockey game or to build a foundation. We’re a ways off right now. We’ve got 24 hours to figure it out.”
24 hours, because the schedule comes at you fast this time of year. They’ll hit the road versus the Arizona Coyotes tomorrow night. Maybe a road game is good for the team right now. It’ll give them some time in which they’ll be in close quarters with one another. Sometimes, that forced togetherness allows a team to get back to basics, and simplify their game.