Right now, they’re locked in a tight race with the Edmonton Oilers for the second Western Conference wild-card spot. With the Stars two points behind and holding two games in hand, you might like their chances. But if goal differential ends up being a tiebreaker, they’ll have to come up with more if they want to counter Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
The Stars’ shift to a defense-first mindset under head coach Rick Bowness has been well-documented, but Bones’ views on how to generate offense may not be as well understood. In his latest Stars piece for The Athletic, Saad Yousuf let him explain it in his own words:
Asked to detail his offensive philosophy, Bowness said: “It’s the middle lane drive, it’s the net presence. It’s the drive-and-delay and find the second wave. It’s more offensive zone time. That has to improve. We’re not spending near enough time in the offensive zone, which comes down to one-on-ones and puck protection and making the right decisions with the puck. At home, we’re more patient with the puck. We’re getting on the road, and whether it’s nerves or whatever, we’re just trying to make the play too fast. It’s one-and-done.
“All of the things you preach offensively means getting the defense involved, both on the rush and in the offensive zone. If we go down and we’re not patient with the puck and it’s one-and-done, we don’t have time to do either one of those things. That’s the approach. Hang on to the puck more, be a little patient. You’re only talking one or two seconds. You’re not talking five seconds. Just chill a little bit and take a look instead of forcing it. Just take that one or two seconds and you’ll make better decisions, we’ll spend more time in the offensive zone, we’ll score more goals, we’ll get our (defensemen) more involved.”
He also took a look at how that’s worked out for them this season:
The Stars rank 16th in playing with a lead (954 minutes). That means the Stars have spent 1,779 minutes either tied or trailing this season. The Stars have played with a lead for only 34 percent of the season but have enter the zone by dumping the puck in over half of the time. This not only limits the offensive creation throughout the game when goals are needed to catch up or break the tie, but it also doesn’t allow the Stars to pull away when they have a narrow lead down the stretch. That leaves other teams in striking distance and with the opportunity to empty the net in hopes of late magic. The Stars have allowed an NHL-high eight goals this season when playing against an empty net.
The personnel side also can’t be discounted. The dump-and-chase approach is also taxing on players’ conditioning, so when it’s being done as the offensive approach instead of primarily to protect a lead, it dictates ice time. Skilled players are spending a good portion of their shifts retrieving pucks. This leads to players who are known more as grinders to have bloated usage over skilled players. If the Stars didn’t have capable players, that would be one thing, but as the data via [stats expert Corey] Sznajder’s tracking shows, the Stars have the horses.
There’s more behind the paywall – including insights from the bench bosses of some of the NHL’s highest-scoring teams. [The Athletic DFW]
Matthew DeFranks posted yesterday’s practice lines, including some pretty pretty interesting special-teams units.
Power play units:— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) March 1, 2022
The other big news is that you don’t have to worry about whether the Stars have been keeping their eyes on white-hot OHL prospect Antonio Stranges.
You think the London Knights are proud of their guy?
Around The Leagues
#Murder Was The Case
- Are the Minnesota Wild in a slump? They’ve dropped four games in a row, including last night’s 5-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on home ice. [Hockey Wilderness]
- The Winnipeg Jets strafed the suddenly-almost-actually-good Montreal Canadiens in an 8-4 scoring extravaganza. [Arctic Ice Hockey]
- And the Colorado Avalanche kept on rolling – although luck played its part – with a 5-3 home win over the New York Islanders. [Lighthouse Hockey]
Speaking of the Avs, this is an interesting stat that I’m just going to leave here.
Colorado does it AGAIN: 18 come-from-behind wins this season, including TEN in the 3rd period!! The @Avalanche become just the fourth in NHL history to reach 40 games in 54 games or fewer.— Jamie Hersch (@JamieHersch) March 2, 2022
If at this point anyone is shocked that politics are part of an international sport, well, it may be best to step outside for a while and, you know, talk to people.
Meanwhile, the Ottawa Senators will play the Ukrainian national anthem before every home game for the remainder of the season.
Why can’t there be a USA-Canada game every month from now on? Well, here’s a start.
Less than a month after clashing for Olympic women's hockey gold in Beijing, players on the Canadian and U.S. teams will meet again in a PWHPA game in Pittsburghhttps://t.co/rGCWUFoIz7— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) March 1, 2022
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
The Texas Stars scored two third period goals to overcome a 2-1 deficit and beat the Rockford IceHogs 3-2 Sunday at BMO Harris Bank Center.— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) February 28, 2022
Good things are happening for individual players, too, as Stephen Meserve documents in his latest article for TheAHL.com.
Just over halfway through their first North American season, @TexasStars forwards @FredrikKarlstrm and Oskar Back are finding more consistency in their game day-by-day to continue their path toward the @NHL.— American Hockey League (@TheAHL) March 1, 2022
: https://t.co/MupwbLgN1J pic.twitter.com/NyqBz4RONV
I’m not sure, but I think this could possibly make someone’s day. Enjoy.