Sign in with your NHL account:
  • Submit
  • Or
  • Sign in with Google
Social Networks

Getting Offensive

D Projects To Get Into The Offensive Flow Under Crawford's System

Tuesday, 09.15.2009 / 5:52 PM / News
By Ken Sins
Share with your Friends

Getting Offensive

Marc Crawford Audio (9.15.09)
Marty Turco Audio (9.15.09)
 Stephane Robidas Audio (9.15.09)
 Trevor Daley Audio (9.15.09)
Training Camp Schedule
Buy Dallas Stars Tickets

Marc Crawford is in the process of installing an up-tempo style of play in the early stages of the preseason, one that will encourage defensemen to join in the attack.

Based on the evidence of a couple of scrimmages at Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco, when the Stars get possession of the puck, D-men will be activated as part of the rush. They'll be able to push into the offensive zone and even get to the net.

Mind you, this won't be some firewagon free-for-all. Crawford still wants his team to be defensively responsible. But Crawford has always favored an aggressive approach during his coaching career, and that isn't going to change now that he's taken over in Dallas.

"Our defense is very gifted at getting involved in the attack, stepping into the play," Crawford says. "They read real well from their defensive responsibilities that they had in place here for so long. Skating's where the game's at, and we have a lot of great skaters here.

"We don't want to lose the great traits that we've got here; we're going to build on them. But supplementing the attack is a really nice adjustment for this club to make. It's all about quality reads. We don't want to become reckless. We want to be supportive. We've got the entire preseason to get it down and we'll be continually reinforcing it. It's understanding, getting comfortable and playing it instinctively."

That style figures to mesh with the talents of Stars defensemen Stephane Robidas, Trevor Daley, Matt Niskanen, Nicklas Grossman, Karlis Skrastins, Ivan Vishnevskiy and Mark Fistric.

"Everybody talks about it like it's a big deal, but the main thing is still the work ethic," Robidas says. "(Crawford) doesn't want us to be all over the place. We have to be in good position. We have to be smart. But you have to be ready to go. If the chance is there, you've got to go."

Niskanen, who enters his third NHL season, says the adjustment won't be a problem, that the change is style is welcome.

"Being aggressive can work to our advantage," Niskanen says. "That's something that plays well into my game. It will be fun as long as you do it well. You have to play smart, play position first, but when you're getting involved more, that's definitely the fun part of the game."

The Stars are well aware that they need to tighten up at the blue line. Their 257 goals-against tied for the most in the Western Conference last season.

"You're not going to win many games if you're doing that. That's unacceptable," Niskanen says. "We just have to get better in that department."

Says Robidas: "Last year the beginning of the season was awful. Then we had all the injuries. If we would have had an average start, we would have made the playoffs. But we didn't and we were playing catch-up the rest of the way. The focus is to be ready from the get-go."

Now that veterans Sergei Zubov and Darryl Sydor have moved on, Robidas must take on greater leadership responsibilities within the defensive corps, which is still a relatively young group.

"He's a key guy, for sure," Crawford says. "He can play every situation. He's really assumed a leadership role on this team, watching how he handles himself, talking to younger defensemen, how he acts on the ice, how he practices and works out. He's a great example, first and foremost. And he goes above and b beyond by talking more, taking guys aside. Veteran players are the best coaches, and he would fall into that category for us."
Robidas welcomes the increased duty.

"It's a great opportunity," Robidas says. "I'm at stage in my career where I can take that role. I've been here a long time and that's the next step for me. I'm glad they have confidence in me. I want to show them they did the right thing by giving me a chance. And it's not just myself. It's the whole group."


- The Black team bounced back on Tuesday after absorbing a 5-0 loss to the White team a day earlier. This time the Black team came away with a 4-2 victory in a scrimmage focusing on special teams. The teams went 4-on-4 for the first 25 minutes, and then alternated 5-on-4 power plays for 30 minutes. Mike Ribeiro, Michael Neal, Jamie Benn and Tyler Shelast (empty-netter) scored for the Black team. Shelast also had a penalty shot that was stopped by Matt Climie. Luke Gazdic and Toby Petersen found the net for the White team.

- Marty Turco will start in goal for the Stars in Wednesday night's preseason opener at the AAC against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Rookie Tyler Beskorowany, who's played well in the scrimmages, will be the backup, Crawford says.

- Crawford says the aim in preseason games is "to be simple in our structure. We'll go over the importance of faceoffs, set breakouts and neutral-zone forecheck, how we're going to do those things. That's detail work."




1 ANA 35 22 8 5 101 96 49
2 CHI 34 23 9 2 106 67 48
3 STL 33 21 9 3 100 81 45
4 NSH 31 21 8 2 87 64 44
5 SJS 34 19 11 4 97 87 42
6 WPG 34 17 10 7 83 80 41
7 VAN 32 19 11 2 92 90 40
8 LAK 34 17 11 6 94 84 40
9 CGY 35 17 15 3 100 95 37
10 MIN 31 16 12 3 91 84 35
11 DAL 32 14 13 5 95 109 33
12 COL 33 12 13 8 85 101 32
13 ARI 32 11 17 4 74 104 26
14 EDM 34 7 20 7 74 116 21


T. Seguin 32 25 17 8 42
J. Benn 32 10 20 1 30
J. Spezza 32 6 19 -10 25
T. Daley 32 7 9 -12 16
A. Roussel 32 7 9 -3 16
A. Goligoski 32 1 14 2 15
C. Eakin 29 6 7 2 13
S. Horcoff 32 5 7 1 12
E. Cole 31 6 5 -5 11
R. Garbutt 24 5 5 -6 10
K. Lehtonen 13 7 5 .904 2.99
A. Lindback 1 5 0 .864 4.29
#LONESTARSSTATE GAMEDAY FAN is the official Web site of DSE Hockey Club, 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 © 1999-2014 DSE Hockey Club, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

Corporate Partnerships | Contact UsPrivacy Policy | AdChoices | Job Opportunities | Terms of Use | Site Map | Find us on Google+