The Dallas Stars gave their fans the hope of playoffs for as long as they could. Unfortunately, the road to get there proved to be too much, as they have now dropped their last four games, and are now officially eliminated.
So what happens now? Is it a surprise that they missed the playoffs? Should this season be considered a flop or a disappointment?
This team was by all definitions a "band-aid" team this season. It was constructed in a way in order to compete for a playoff spot, while allowing the kids to flourish. Unfortunately, a decision had to be made eleven games ago, and those band-aid patches were sold in exchange for future assets instead. And this season there have been fourteen different rookies to play with the Dallas Stars. It should not really come as a surprise that they missed out.
At this point in time, the roster simply lacks the experience (and talent that comes with time) in order to compete for a playoff spot. In fact, if you look at the last eleven games, it is nearly a miracle that they kept it as close as they did. Mike Heika has his observations from last night's game, and goes into pretty good detail about the problem that exist:
Over the last 11 games, they have been outshot 343-282. That works out to an average of 31.2 shots against per game and 25.6 for. The shots against is worse than Dallas' season average of 30.8. The shots for would be worst in the league. And the shot differential of minus-5.6 per game would also be worse than the Stars' season average of minus-4.5 and among the worst in the NHL.
That is not a winning metric, and the Stars buy into Corsi and Fenwick, so they have to be shocked by those numbers.
Here's another number that won't pan out over a full season. Dallas scored the first goal three times in the last 11 games. The Stars showed a lot of grit coming back in many of those games, but a team that routinely is playing from behind early is not going to win much in the NHL.
On the season, the Stars aren't in the top 10 in any main statistical category. They are 11th in scoring at 2.72, but 24th in GAA at 2.94. They are 17th on the power play at 17.3 percent and 17th on the penalty kill at 80.6 percent. They fixed their power play and power play opportunities (sixth in 2012-13) from last season, when they finished 30th and 28th respectively, but they still were 29th in times shorthanded after finishing 27th last season.
That's not the progress the team was seeking.
So, while the rally has felt great, it pales a little under proper autopsy. What's more, the Stars just faced some hungry teams in St. Louis, LA, San Jose and Columbus, and could get just one point in those four games. That sounds like a playoff sweep just waiting to happen. Or it sounds like they didn't earn a trip to the post-season.
In order to improve next year, some of these issues will have to be addressed. There will be plenty of time to look at how the Stars can approach them during the off season. For now, we can lament the lack of playoffs, and regroup for Saturday night's game.
It is important to note - Despite the disappointment and the problems that exist, this team is still our team. The future is bright for this team. And while you can look at the standings for the last five years and say that no changes have been made, all you have to do is look at the roster that exists now, as well as the roster down in Austin, to know what strides have been made, and what lies in store.
Coming up in today's links: Notes on the Stars, an update on the playoff race across the NHL, and Maple Leafs fans will have to pony up if they want to watch the playoffs.
- Mark Stepneski has his post game review, including quotes from players and coach. [Stars Inside Edge]
- Meanwhile, Stars fans can turn their eyes to Austin to watch some playoff hockey. The Texas Stars roster has the talent to make it the distance this year. [Stars Inside Edge]
- Razor talks about capitains for teams across the West, and the effect they have on their teams. [Razor With An Edge]
- Todd Maternowski grades this season and looks at the good and the bad of it. Huge bonus points for the picture, as it accurately describes how I feel. [Thursday Morning Cup Check]
- Alex Chiasson was not happy about having to miss yet another game. Based on the losing streak that has happened since he was out, neither was anyone else. [Dallas News]
- One positive note to the end of this season - Alex Goligoski has been performing wonderfully since his healthy scratch, and is beginning to change fans' minds about him. [Dallas News]
- The Eastern Conference Playoff Race is over, with the Jets officially being eliminated. The Rangers and the Senators have clinched. [Puck Daddy]
- Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, the Jackets can clinch a spot with a win over the Predators on Saturday, and a Red Wings regulation loss against the Stars. I would love to be the team that ended their playoff appearance streak. [Puck Daddy]
- The fans in Toronto are having some problems securing playoff tickets. First it was a glitch keeping them from getting any directly from the Leafs, and then it was trolls on Stub Hub reminding them of their last cup year. [Puck Daddy]
- For your video of the day, here's Glen Gulutzan talking about the loss last night.