Why This Year Will Be Different

Wednesday, 11.09.2011 / 9:51 AM
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 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 4 3 1 1 4
S. Horcoff 4 0 4 4 4
C. Sceviour 4 1 2 3 3
C. Eakin 4 1 2 0 3
A. Roussel 4 0 3 2 3
R. Garbutt 4 2 0 2 2
V. Fiddler 4 1 1 0 2
A. Goligoski 4 1 1 4 2
A. Chiasson 4 1 1 -4 2
T. Seguin 4 1 1 3 2
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 2 2 0 .921 2.28
 
 
DallasStars.com is the official Web site of Dallas Stars, L.P.  The Stars name and logos are registered trademarks of the NHL and the Stars. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 Dallas Stars, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

Corporate Partnerships | Contact Us | Code Of Conduct | Privacy Policy | AdChoices | Job Opportunities | NHL.com Terms of Use | Site Map | Find us on Google+