Why This Year Will Be Different

Wednesday, 11.09.2011 / 9:51 AM
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Razor With An Edge Blog
Why This Year Will Be Different
p>Call me a blithering optimist but I really think this edition of the Dallas Stars is bound for a return to post-season competition, and once there, anything is possible.

I know I was guilty of premature playoffs prognostication last season but for the record I had it nailed - if they'd just stayed healthy. What? You hatin' on me? Check it out, I was right, it's right there in the Situational Soothsayer Handbook)

At any rate, here's my case for this season:

Goaltending - Kari has never been in better shape, is in his prime, and isn't facing copious amounts of unnecessary scoring opps. Raycroft should again be the backup we saw prior to that leak in Calgary and the subsequent nine-of-hearts he got from his coach.

Defense - Instead of an understaffed crew with a mind-swimming newcomer (Goligoski), this years corp has a legit, big boy leader (Souray), a settled Golly, depth, a good system under the eye of Paul Jerrard, and a growing swagger.

Forward - Benn has arrived. Eriksson is world class. Ott is emerging as something more. Ryder is a natural scorer and a right shot, Ribeiro and Morrow draw top checking. Newcomers Fiddler and Dvorak and the so far surprising, Eric Nystrom comprise a terrific, "utility club" third line. The 4th line - whatever players it is comprised of - is ultra competitive. But the best asset of the group is their doggedness and tenacity. There is no longer a massive chasm between the compete level when Steve Ott is on the ice - or even just in the line-up - and when he's not.

Special Teams - Brad Richards was the Stars powerplay while here, yet, it ranks in top ten with him gone. Hmmm? The bigger story is an improved PK. This team will only improve at killing penalties as the season progresses (And I'm sure they'll cut the penalties down too. Geez Louise!) Its said that a powerplay can win you a game but your penalty killing can more easily lose it. Killing penalties get you in the playoffs, period.

Coaching - This shouldn't be a total indictment on Marc Crawford. However, results and resumes do tell part of the story. Crow's last five teams all missed the playoffs. Glen Gulutzan has failed to make the playoffs once as a head coach. Yes, all of Gulutzan's experience is sub-NHL but many observers (and players) would agree that he runs a system and teaches in a way that is much more conducive to masking injuries, surviving rough segments of the schedule, and getting the most out of the entire roster than was Crow's top line centric, offense slanted direction.

Ownership - Within weeks the Stars will move from the budgetary and organizational limbo they've been in, to ownership that is bright, motivated and hockey-savvy.

This ain't BS bro. What's not to be bullish about?

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 76 47 22 7 222 213 101
2 NSH 75 46 21 8 214 180 100
3 STL 74 46 21 7 226 182 99
4 CHI 73 44 23 6 207 167 94
5 MIN 74 42 25 7 211 183 91
6 VAN 74 43 27 4 212 199 90
7 WPG 75 39 24 12 212 197 90
8 LAK 74 37 23 14 199 184 88
9 CGY 74 40 27 7 217 195 87
10 DAL 74 36 28 10 232 236 82
11 SJS 74 36 30 8 207 210 80
12 COL 74 34 28 12 200 206 80
13 EDM 74 21 40 13 177 254 55
14 ARI 75 23 44 8 158 249 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 74 27 44 -4 71
T. Seguin 64 33 34 -1 67
J. Spezza 74 16 40 -4 56
J. Klingberg 57 10 27 7 37
C. Eakin 70 17 17 -2 34
A. Goligoski 74 4 30 0 34
T. Daley 61 16 17 -10 33
A. Hemsky 68 11 21 -7 32
S. Horcoff 70 11 17 7 28
V. Fiddler 72 12 14 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 33 14 10 .908 2.82
J. Enroth 14 26 2 .900 3.28
 
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