For now, the Dallas Stars are the epitome of mediocrity

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 26: Jamie Benn
NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 26: Jamie Benn /

It’s still early, but the Dallas Stars’ troubles on the road foreshadow yet another season as an also-ran come playoff time.

For the Dallas Stars, the 2018-19 campaign is a good news/bad news proposition. The good news? They’re very good at home. Their 5-2 record at American Airlines Center tells you all you need to know about that. The bad news? They’re a winless 0-3 on the road. Some cursory math tells you they’ve gotten off to a 5-5-0 start.

Long ago, a wise football man once said “You are what your record says you are.” This perfectly sums up the Stars’ fortunes at the moment. They’re roughly one-eighth of the way through the season, yet they’re already near the bottom of their division, a full six points back of Nashville, and not even in the discussion as a wild card.

Moreover, if you’ve followed this team at all over the years, the trend in the early going this season is troubling and all too familiar. The fan base has been sold a bill of goods, especially during Jim Nill era, that tells us this is a franchise whose arrow is assuredly pointed up. Yet at the end of the day, they’ve made the playoffs exactly twice in Nill’s time here as General Manager. To say that’s underwhelming is a bit of an understatement.

But let’s get back to the here-and-now with that 5-5 record. As I stated, they’re great at home. I was at the game last Tuesday, and they dispatched a woeful Kings squad with relative ease, 4-2. They look relaxed and fully able to absorb new coach Jim Montgomery’s “process” while in the friendly confines of their home arena. On the road, though, it’s a different story.

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Obviously, things are different away from home. The home team gets last change, so the Stars aren’t put in a very favorable position once the puck drops, in terms of simple matchups. But that’s a constant in the NHL. It’s something that can be overcome by design and good coaching. Right now, the Stars can look pretty good on the road for a period or two. It’s just that they start to flail quite a bit when a little adversity hits them. This was the case in Detroit yesterday afternoon. A 1-0 first intermission lead quickly evaporated in the second period en route to a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the bad and rebuilding  Red Wings

The other sobering aspect of this season is the schedule. The Stars have shown no ability to get out of their own way away from home, so take this for what it’s worth: they’ve got sixteen of their next twenty-three games on the road. It’s doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that this season could spiral completely out of control by late December if they don’t get their act together very soon.

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Is this line of thinking alarmist? To a degree, yeah, sure. They’re ten games into an eighty-two game marathon. But I can almost guarantee you that the close followers of this bunch are already laughing nervously and watching the out-of-town scoreboard on a nightly basis. When you boil it down, the Dallas Stars have put themselves in this position by being the definition of middling. At a certain point, all the coaching changes in the world don’t mean anything if the end result is the same.

  • Published on 10/29/2018 at 12:40 PM
  • Last updated at 10/29/2018 at 12:40 PM