Is it too soon to start pointing fingers? If not, you’d better bring several. Saad Yousuf has posted a long view of the Stars’ 2021 season and its veritable cascade of harm, both external and self-inflicted, that might have stopped another team weeks ago.
The Victory Green Gang ran up a league-high tab of time lost to illness, injury, and freak weather events. But that was only part of the equation. Bereft of what we might call The Canadian Dispensation (hello, Vancouver Canucks), the Stars also played through the constant mid-level chaos the lost time wreaked on their schedule:
Recovery time is key when dealing with injuries and the Stars had absolutely none of it. A COVID-19 outbreak following the third day of training camp delayed the start of the season and further compressed an already condensed schedule. Then came the winter storm in mid-February, halting games for eight days. The NHL showed no mercy, fitting all of the postponed games in the existing window. That meant the last time the Stars got two days between games was Feb. 28 and March 1. After that, there was a run of eight consecutive weeks of playing four games in six nights. Weekend back-to-backs became the new norm. Practices became a myth.
The easy thought may be to wonder what happens if some of the injured players, such as [Roope] Hintz, had more time to recover but the unprecedented schedule posed concerns beyond that as well. What if [Tyler] Seguin had actual team practices when he graduated to the final stage of his recovery? How much sooner could he have returned? What about the group of veteran players on the team, ranging from Joe Pavelski to Jamie Benn, Anton Khudobin, Andrew Cogliano and Blake Comeau? How much more effective could they have been with some extra time to let bodies recover? Without the services of two of their top offensive weapons and power-play playmakers in Seguin and [Alexander] Radulov, what kind of schematic adjustments could have been made if there was practice time to implement it? Those are all valid questions that can only be answered by subjective imaginations at this point.
Of course, every team has been dealing with similar issues this season. But you have to look around to find a similarly capable team who compounded their own troubles quite so frequently:
The lack of finish wasn’t just about the ending of games but also has to do with finishing plays. Too often this season, postgame press conferences were littered with some iteration of “We were the better team but …”
That “but” never went away as the season progressed. Too often the Stars outplayed the opposition at five-on-five, only to take an untimely penalty or commit a turnover. In a game of inches, every team has its fair share of shots hitting the posts and crossbars but not every team compounds those misfortunes with self-inflicted errors.
There’s more behind the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]
Mike Heika has a recap of the Stars’ Sunday regulation loss.
It’s never too early to start looking forward to next season. Tracey Myers takes a look.
The Dallas Stars have been eliminated from contention for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2018. Here's a look at what happened in 2020-21 for Dallas and why things could be better in 2021-22. https://t.co/mxnDfHabJk— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) May 9, 2021
It’s official: Even at 70 percent or less, Roope Hintz is a force of nature.
And it’s somehow appropriate that this year’s Masterton nominees includes a whole lot of former Stars.
Valeri Nichushkin, Mike Smith, Corey Perry, Nick Paul and Jack Campbell were also nominated for the Masterton Trophy. https://t.co/EWkDSRKR6p— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) May 10, 2021
Around The Leagues
The NHL has big news concerning pandemic protocols, and another big reason for every member to get the shot.
Details on the #NHL's relaxed Covid-19 protocol for 'fully vaccinated' teams in the #StanleyCup playoffs, which allow for greater freedoms with regards to masks, testing, team meetings, social gatherings, dining and travel:https://t.co/hq3vmemnUg— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) May 8, 2021
Frank Seravalli, in TL;DR form:
The #NHL has relaxed its COVID-19 protocol for playoff teams that will allow for greater freedoms with regards to masks, testing, team meetings, social gatherings and travel - once 85 per cent of a team’s traveling party is fully vaccinated.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) May 8, 2021
More coming in a story soon.
Is the 2021 Calder Trophy campaign a two-horse race at this point? Jason Robertson is getting a lot of love, if not necessarily a better chance.
Kirill Kaprizov or Jason Robertson for the Calder Trophy? Our writers debated the race for NHL rookie of the year, with a few other first-year players brought up in the discussion.https://t.co/W2BQ9bcdmn— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) May 10, 2021
So what you’re saying is, Torts is available...?
The Athletic: John Tortorella won’t return as coach of Blue Jackets next season, per sources.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) May 9, 2021
After six seasons, the winningest coach in #CBJ history will move on when his contract expires this summer.https://t.co/HXbnACfChv pic.twitter.com/Ywkis0oa4p
Rick Tocchet and the Arizona Coyotes have also parted ways after not making the playoffs.
Meanwhile, this two-time Stanley Cup winner is prospering as head coach of his national team.
Jim Paek was the first South Korea-born player in NHL history. Now, he is the coach of its national team. Our @WDouglasNHL caught up with Paek for his latest Color of Hockey blog.https://t.co/epwuCC20BP— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) May 10, 2021
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
One last home game, one more win for the Texas Stars.
One final win for the #txstars @HEBCenter this year helped by 26 saves from Colton Point and a 2-goal night on the power play #TEXvsTUC— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) May 10, 2021
Only one series left for the team as they hit the road to Des Moines for 3 games against the Iowa Wild next week. Read: https://t.co/dAlWwYlDwh pic.twitter.com/wC2m7uvijw
So, Saturday aside, is it still time? I hear the Jerk Store has some pretty cool stuff. Enjoy.