Dallas Stars Daily Links: Last January, Lindy Ruff, and Losing Streaks
The Stars have had their struggles recently, but can they bounce back like they did ten months ago? Also, Mitch Korn brags about how great the Predators are at not destroying goalies' confidence, and Florida has nothing to brag about except Aaron Ekblad.
Happy Veterans Day, everybody.
If you're looking for people talking about the Stars and hockey, then you have come to the right website. Welcome! This page, specifically, is the latest in a series of pages chronicling news about the Stars, hockey, and what's going on in my life. For instance, I had quinoa and shallots with my dinner last night. Mostly, though, people prefer to hear about Stars hockey, and guess what? That is exactly what I have for you.
I'll open things up here with a great extract from Josh Bogorad's latest piece for the Stars. He has, as always, a good take on where the Stars are, what they are lacking, and what we can hope for them to do from here on out. You should know that things on the Stars website are written with the assumption that you want the Stars to win games, despite what the last seven games may have led you to believe. What can I say? We just keep coming back for more.
Bogorad's lengthy piece is well worth your time, so make sure you read the whole thing. I particularly wanted to call out the below portion, though:
The Stars have victimized themselves with way too many turnovers. They've had a number of players they were counting on to produce that haven't so far. Their special teams have let them down. They have had key personnel either sidelined or slowed due to injury. There have been a lot of contributing factors to the skid.
However, when things snowball like this, it also becomes as much mental as anything else. There becomes a sense during a game that as soon as something bad happens, it's the beginning of the end. We certainly saw that unraveling process in the third period on Saturday. While Ruff says he hasn't seen anything like this before, he has seen something in the neighborhood.
Last year the Stars were playing tremendous hockey in late December. Then, in an instant, they weren't. Dallas closed out 2013 on a tear, going 5-0-2. But they opened January by losing six straight games in regulation. That was part of a 1-8-1 stretch that threatened to derail their season. A couple of the games featured hard to believe, late losses that looked a lot like each other. [Stars]
And now we start to remember that time, and we realize that as bad as the Stars' recent stretch is--and it has just felt terrible--they may well still wind up with a better 10-game record than they had last January.
In fact, I might go so far as to say that I expect them to better that 1-8-1 stretch, even with some strong opponents awaiting them after Arizona. The last couple of games have seen the Stars winning the possession battle, losing the luck and goaltending contest, and sighing in disappointment as their late mistakes always seem to find a way to kill them. They have fully opened themselves up to criticisms of their mental fortitude, will to win, and overall hockey competency in general.
I know despair and wailing can be cathartic, so indulge that if you must, I guess. But the sky hasn't fallen, even though the Stars may feel like the wild blue yonder has gone full Aeschylus on them as of late. It's not wrong to be really, really sad about the last seven games--in fact, that's probably the most normal reaction one can have--but it would also be unfair to pretend like the Stars have turned into the Buffalo Sabres all of a sudden, and it would also be unfair to forget that the Stars followed that 1-8-1 stretch last year--against worse opponents, mind you--with a 7-1-2 stretch that put them right back in the middle of things.
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It's Tuesday, and the Stars are actually going to play a team that isn't very good for like the second time all season. Rejoice!
Yes, I'm not kidding: Dallas has had the toughest schedule in the entire league so far this year according to James Mirtle. [Twitter]
If you haven't checked out Ralph Strangis's great piece on the gaping void left by Sergei Zubov, give it a read. Yes, we know the Stars have missed him, but did you know we missed him this much? [Stars]
Jonathan Willis says the Stars' problems are due to bad 4v4 play, a penalty kill that doesn't protect well enough down low, a power play that hasn't played powerfully, and Anders Lindback. [Bleacher Report]
Pierre LeBrun's sources, however, say that the Stars just aren't checking opponents well enough, which sounds great and all until you look at the underlying numbers (see previous link). [ESPN]
Tyler Seguin's jersey is the 8th most popular one to buy in the whole entire universe, according to the NHL. [The Hockey Writers]
If you, dear reader, do not think Lindy Ruff understands hockey, here's some ammo for you: he wants Kari Lehtonen to "take the ball and run," which would just not help in hockey very much at all. (Seriously though, Kari's been about league-average this year at even-strength, but the Stars do need more right now.) [Pro Hockey Talk]
Mitch Korn, Nashville's goalie coach, on how he has managed to fix goalies like Dan Ellis and Anders Lindback before subsequently watching the Stars break them again. Also he talks about goalie coaching and stuff. [Puck Daddy]
Why are the Kings' possession numbers falling off a cliff this year, asked people from Jewels from the Crown a couple days ago. [JftC]
Speaking of the Kings, various sources had them playing short last Friday because they were either $50 or $160 short on cap space. I would not want to be the intern who broke that news to Dean Lombardi. [OC Register]
The Oilers aren't the only ones who can screw up a youth movement. Florida's rebuild seems to be stalling, and Derek Neumeier digs into the problems with the kids (and old guys) today. [The Hockey Writers]
Seth Griffin of Boston scored a goal between his legs last night that probably should never, ever, ever have gone in. [NHL Video]
Bob McKenzie wonders if the Americans and Russians aren't perhaps developing hockey players better than Canada. Great read, this. [TSN]
Finally, check out Jaromir Jagr as he ties Mike Gartner for sixth on the all-time list for--what else?--Goals.