Comments / New

Dallas Stars Daily Links: What Joe Sakic Can Learn from the 2010-11 Stars

You may have heard that Colorado enjoyed some mathematically improbable success last year, after which their leadership group looked at the numbers, thought for a while, and decided that they would go ahead and ignore what the last decade has demonstrated when it comes to sustaining a high level of success with a consistently bad Fenwick. The torpedoes have been damned, you might say.

Well, a Puck Daddy columnist noted for always keeping his opinions to himself went ahead and checked out teams who found themselves enjoying similarly unlikely success over the past few years, and he came up with rather unsurprising results. You’ll remember all of these teams, I’m sure. The 09-10 Avalanche, the 11-12 Wild, the 2013 Leafs (fun fact: Toronto’s organization is actually called “The Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Club.”), and then this last year’s version of Colorado were all noted for having a “wow, who woulda thought it, Biff?!” moment right before going into some sort of regressional nosedive.

Oh yeah, there was one other team that Lambert mentioned:

[in 2010-11] The Dallas Stars were in much the same boat. They began the season 29-13-5 (63 points in 47 games, a pace for 110 points or so) and were on top of the world. Their PDO at the time was 102.9, tops among all NHL clubs, while their Fenwick was 25th at 46.5. They were also fifth in the league standings, and third in the West. Then they lost two straight, then four straight, then five straight, then six straight. They finished the year with just 95 points, winning just 13 of their final 35 (PDO during the collapse was 99.4). They peaked very early, indeed, and their season ended up out of the playoffs and definitively in ruins, while everyone looked around wondering what had happened to them. Except the nerds who said the Stars were cruising for this all season.

Think back to 2010. Marc Crawford was coaching the team. Aaron Gagnon played hockey games with the team. Travis Morin got called up (aww), Krys Barch scored goals (yes, plural), and Jason Williams scored five points as a center. Jason Williams. Jason Williams scored five points with the Stars in 2010-11. This happened, I promise. Okay, stop thinking about that. You’re already in too deep.

Anyway, the team was probably not an elite team, is what I’m trying to say. Nieuwendyk had a plan post-Tippett and post-Modano, and that plan seemed to have started with checking his Blackberry’s address book and calling in Brad Lukowich and Jamie Langenbrunner. And even though the Stars did fall short of the playoffs in a completely unremarkable manner that does not bear remembering stop it, stop it now everyone, our perspective on his tenure has, I think, benefited greatly from some hindsight and reflection. Plus, Langs and Lukowich only played a few games with the Stars, really. It wasn’t a big deal. Anything for a Blackberry reference, you know.

So now that you’re sufficiently immersed in the same “how on earth did we actually think this team would stay hot?” mindset that the rest of us are hot-tubbing in, let’s have a look to see what we were saying around that time. And by “we,” I mean: “Sorry, Brandon, but I’m going to do it.”

Dallas Stars Finding Success Despite Imperfections

By on Dec 5 2010, 12:06p

Oh yes, that’s right, this was during the heyday of the Worley curse.

After last night’s overtime win against the Minnesota Wild, Marc Crawford was obviously upset with his team’s performance. He was very succinct in conveying his thoughts on whether this was the Stars’ best effort and it seems to be — at times — that this is a trend the Stars are building. There have been games in which the Stars played great from the first period to the third and we praised the complete effort of the Stars in these wins. Lately however, and especially during this win streak, the Stars have been able to overcome pockets of extremely poor performances and win the game.

Wait, did I accidentally just reference something that paints Marc Crawford in a knowledgeable light? Let’s try again:

What is worrisome, however, is the threat of this team suddenly falling back to earth. Is the success of the Stars so far this season just a product of a friendly schedule? Are the Stars’ imperfections being masked by goaltending that has been stellar and given the team a chance to win? The Stars, throughout this improbable winning streak, have won games that “they had no business winning” and have had to fight off bad starts to come roaring back for a victory late in the game.

And this:

The Stars are not a perfect team. It’s tough to say that any team is truly “perfect” but it’s easy to worry about whether the slow starts, the inconsistent effort within games themselves and the mental lapses at times will bring this good feeling crashing down. A six game winning streak is great, but when five out of six of those games have been one-goal victories you wonder if a bounce here or a bounce there would change things drastically.

There, that’s better. And yeah, it’s safe to say that lackluster play, blown leads and winning tons of one-goal games are probably indicative of a team that is not dominating possession and maintaining an offensive threat-level of midnight or better.

In fact, it appears that Mr. Playoff Jinxbreath himself even came to the same conclusion:

The Stars are winning right now in spite of all these facts and no matter how you may feel about these statistics I can guarantee you one thing: the Stars may find success now but unless these numbers start to trend upward long-term success for this season will be doubtful. It’s impossible to expect a team to win one-goal games night after night and while the Stars are finding a way now, there’s going to be a time when the Stars will need to take a step to that next level.

So yeah, there you have it. The Stars were once one of these teams that played way above its head, and perhaps the Minnesota finale to that season (WHICH DID NOT HAPPEN BY THE WAY) was simply the universe’s smirking punch in the mouth to give you a bloody lip right before the class photo. Am I saying the Stars’ deserved the heartbreak in game 82? No, but the Ducks deserve that. They always deserve bad things.

So take heart, my wee bairns. The Stars are actually, finally, really looking like a team that can do things the right way. While their playoff appearance last year was something of a giant #southernteams4ever fist bump from Phoenix, last year’s team trends suggest that we look forward to seeing Dallas create sustainable success in the future. We’re talking about teams that will achieve success so timeless, they make prescient articles from 2010 fade into distant memory like an awesome Niklas Hagman goal.

* * * * *

Saturday links. Read whenever, it’s cool. We’ll just leave them on the counter for whenever you wake up.

There may have been a game last night, but it’s tough to say for sure. Probably best to just remain agnostic when it comes to hockey in Florida. If a game did happen last night, though, this is where I would link the recap. [Stars]

USA Today picked the Stars to finish 4th in the Central behind Chicago, St. Louis, and…Colorado. [USA Today]

ESPN’s Scott Burnside, however, calls 5th place for Dallas, while also referring to them as the “sexy pick” to rustle some divisional feathers. [ESPN]

This made me laugh: a “recap” of the game on Wednesday by the Sun-Herald. Seriously, that’s like a tweet posing as an article. [Sun-Herald]

Jeff Ponder answers some questions about the St. Louis Blues, and what they are going to do on their vacation next May. Spoiler: LIFE tournament at Hitch’s house! [The Hockey Writers]

Ryan Ellis recently chose to re-up with Nashville, a team whose depth at defense might rival the Stars’. Unlike the actual hockey team of that respected organization. [THN]

Winnipeg is proud to have a very good young goalie that will never play this season because Ondrej Pavelec is a top 50 goalie, easy. [THN]

The LA Kings plan for a more subdued banner-raising celebration makes sense–nothing should really ever top the first one, right?–but on the other hand, you won the cup. Time to let it all hang out, right? Or maybe it’s just that the Kings know they’re going to win six more cups this decade, so they’re not getting too worked up over it. [OC Register]

Philadelphia prospect Pierre-Edouard Bellemare calls countryman Antoine Roussel one of his “heroes.” Don’t tell T.J. Oshie. [Puck Daddy]

Justin Bourne breaks down Montreal’s penalty kill. *looks at screenshots* Oh, big deal, you were able to stop Dallas’s less-than-majestic power play. What do you want, a medal or something? [The Score]

It’s almost like professional hockey players care more about playing professional hockey than being responsible when it comes to injury recovery. This needs to change. [The Hockey Writers]

Shocker: coaches have been instructing players to act in such a way that it benefits their team. Oh, I couldn’t possibly! [Pro Hockey Talk]

Hey, those of you who weren’t in Tampa Bay to see this video, here is a mean trick Tampa Bay did to its nice players. Also, it says something about you when players really think that could be a real third jersey, but it’s probably best not to dwell on that.