It’s time for the Dallas Stars to hit the reset button.
Forget that the team’s record is 1-6-1 so far. Forget that there hasn’t been more than two goals scored in five of the first seven games. Forget that the power play is 1-for-a billion chances, that the penalty kill hasn’t been as strong as last season, that goaltending is regressing way hard the other way. Forget the expectations fans, media, the front office, the coaching staff, the players had for this season.
It’s square one for the new season. The one where the focus becomes winning the next 10 games, and not on anything else (and by winning the next 10, I don’t mean that literally — I mean gaining a point percentage of more than .500 over that span). The lost points and missed opportunities are in the past. It can’t be replayed. What’s done is done.
It’s time to find this team’s “Gloria!”
“The players loved what they saw and wanted to start playing the song after the team won, according to the Blues’ official site. The next night, the Blues beat the Flyers, and [Jordan] Binnington earned a shutout in his first NHL start. The team made it their victory song and it has been played after every W since.”
That moment came at the lowest point of the Blues’ season last year. In January, they were one of the worst in the league and they were staring down a playoff miss. “Gloria!” became a rallying point, a battle cry that the team could draw strength from. It brought them together, and “Gloria!” was the mark by which the team could assess its progress from when they hit the reset button.
It sounds like exactly what the Dallas Stars need right now. What form that takes for the Stars is up to them.
Maybe it starts with the coaching staff throwing out their offensive scheme completely and going back to the drawing board. Last season, the Stars found success when the play matched the skill level of the team instead of trying to impose a specific structure. What do the pieces of the Stars offer, and what’s the best way to maximize each player’s contributions? This staff has proven they can make the adjustments and get results. It’s important to remember that now.
Maybe it starts with the players themselves taking a hard look at their emotion level, intensity, and buy-in. There’s a lot of things that can’t be controlled, such as luck, in the game. But being ready to play, motivating themselves to work hard each game, and buying into the game plan day in and day out — those are all things within the control of each and every player on the team. After the All-Star break last season, Dallas looked like a team that had all three of those things from every player. It’s important to remember they have done that before.
The schedule doesn’t wait for anyone. The next time the Stars have more than two days in a row without a game isn’t for a few more weeks — November 6th through 9th offers four straight days without a game. There are nine more games between now and then.
Then maybe they can reach that reset for the team at that break instead of waiting for the All-Star break to get there again.