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Sturm Blog: Roller Coaster Ride of Emotions

Sunday, 02.06.2011 / 11:23 AM / Bob Sturm Blog
By Bob Sturm
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Sturm Blog: Roller Coaster Ride of Emotions

Bob Sturm

82 games.
82 games are enough that there will be no mirages.
82 games will test depth. 
82 games will test streaks.
82 games will reveal character. 
82 games will make sure no flukes get an invitation to play game 83.
In my last blog entry about the team, we visited quite a bit about verb tense and the fact that no missions have been accomplished.
Perhaps, it is time to remind what 82 game marathon marches are all about.
Just when you think you can’t lose another game – and that sad times are all behind us – (Jan 1-20: 7-0-1) everything changes in Calgary and you start to lose.
Then the losses mount.  Calgary, Vancouver, Vancouver, Boston, and now Philadelphia.  1-5 since January 20. 
Will the Stars ever win again?  Was the first 50 games just a mirage?  Are we good enough?  Are we strong enough?  Doggone it, do people even like us?
And this is why we play the games.  This is why we are obsessed with the teams we care about.  It is the roller coaster ride of emotions.  The depths of depression we encounter, and then the feeling of elation that all the sad times are over.
The Stars are a very solid hockey team.  They have faults that do have me question their credentials when we start to compare them to some of their more sorted adversaries.  But, more than anything, we are just seeing the normal market peaks and valleys that accompany any elongated stretch of time.
Most mornings, I wake up on my own around 7 am.  But, I go through stretches where the body wakes up at 6:15 or even 6.  Other times, there are periods of time where I end up sleeping past 7:30.  But, on average, I wake up at 7.  I use that pointless anecdote to demonstrate that if you charted my wake-up times on a graph, you would see peaks and valleys.  But, in the end, you would agree that it all averages out to my body waking up around 7. 
And so it goes with anything like this.  Including our Dallas Stars.  I wish I had a crystal ball to assure us all that the promising start to this season will end with smiles and handshakes.  I am hoping hard that the final 29 games will find enough points and wins that playoff hockey will be all around us in the months of April and May. 
But, this is no time to doubt.  This is a normal market normalization.  This happens.  If you believe the Stars are really a 7-0-1 team, then this might be shocking the heck out of you.  Personally, when the Stars don’t lose for 3 weeks straight, I gladly accept the results but fear what lies around the next corner.

We know the Stars have weaknesses.  We know that they are still trying to stretch their defensemen as much as they can be stretched.  They are asking their goalies, who have seen more rubber this season than a dead skunk on the Trans-Candian highway, to continue to mind the store with precision and excellence.
They are being challenged over and over when it comes to depth now in this stage of the season.  Riding some very good health fortune for the first 45 games or so, now we are seeing it all build up at the same time.  Losing 3 forwards in Boston was a bit much to handle, given that they were already down Jamie Benn and Tom Wandell
But, so far this season, there have been no extended injuries to key parts.  Brad Richards, Kari Lehtonen, Stephane Robidas, Steve Ott, Brenden Morrow, Loui Eriksson… Most everybody of their top 10 group have been presented and accounted for. 
So these injuries right now – they will not get sympathy cards from around the league.
Injuries.  Losing streaks.  Doubt. 
These are the friends you must take along for the ride when you embark on the 82 game journey. 
Embrace it.  I am not saying that Joe Nieuwendyk shouldn’t make one last move to help out the blueline.  They look like they need the most help right now.  But, understand that nobody told you that this was going to be without a struggle.
But, let’s all keep brave faces.  Through this storm, everyone still looks up at you in the Pacific.  Yes, they are closer, but you are still in front. 
A home-stand is next.  Phoenix, Chicago, and Columbus.   Then back to see our Western Canadian friends. 
The players on the team have been to enough rodeos to not freak-out over a “1 win in 6 games” stretch.  They know that they must strike back very quickly, or their hot head start will disappear. 
They know what they are up against.  Let’s see how they respond to this challenge that is in front of them.

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1 ANA 48 32 10 6 143 124 70
2 NSH 46 31 10 5 141 107 67
3 STL 46 29 13 4 148 111 62
4 CHI 47 30 15 2 148 108 62
5 WPG 49 26 15 8 138 122 60
6 SJS 48 25 17 6 131 132 56
7 VAN 46 26 17 3 124 118 55
8 CGY 48 26 19 3 140 126 55
9 LAK 47 20 15 12 129 126 52
10 COL 49 20 18 11 128 141 51
11 DAL 47 21 19 7 146 154 49
12 MIN 47 21 20 6 130 138 48
13 ARI 47 16 25 6 108 160 38
14 EDM 48 12 27 9 110 160 33


T. Seguin 47 28 25 2 53
J. Benn 47 14 28 -2 42
J. Spezza 47 8 27 -4 35
E. Cole 44 12 11 3 23
A. Goligoski 47 1 22 6 23
A. Roussel 47 11 11 -3 22
T. Daley 44 11 10 -9 21
C. Eakin 44 9 12 5 21
A. Hemsky 44 7 11 -6 18
J. Klingberg 33 6 12 8 18
K. Lehtonen 19 11 7 .903 2.99
A. Lindback 2 7 0 .875 3.79
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