Dallas Stars Daily Links: The Stars’ 2021 Postmortem Has Begun

A perfect storm of misfortune and missed opportunity leaves fans wondering what might have been. Plus, new COVID protocols for vaccinated teams, Torts and Tocchet are on the market, and more.

It’s all over but the shouting. The Dallas Stars lost, the Nashville Predators won, and the 2021 season is now one game shy of being history.

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]

Stars Stuff

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.

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.

Around The Leagues

The NHL has big news concerning pandemic protocols, and another big reason for every member to get the shot.

Frank Seravalli, in TL;DR form:

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.

So what you’re saying is, Torts is available...?

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.

Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park

One last home game, one more win for the Texas Stars.


So, Saturday aside, is it still time? I hear the Jerk Store has some pretty cool stuff. Enjoy.