The Dallas Stars are showing off some familiar warts in the embryonic stages of the 2019-20 season. They need to find answers fast.
Optimism reigned supreme coming into this season. The Dallas Stars, fresh off an encouraging run in last year’s playoffs, appeared poised to build on that success and inch closer to an elusive Stanley Cup run. As the dawn of the new campaign neared, the vibes surrounding this organization were as high as they’ve been in recent memory.
It took all of ten days, though, to remind everyone what happens when they get their hopes up. To say the early stages of the season have been a disaster is a huge understatement. The Stars are 1-4-1 after Saturday night’s listless home loss to the Washington Capitals. It was a game in which Stars’ color analyst, Daryl Reaugh, admitted afterward that Washington came in and “put their feet on the furniture.”
It’s taken six games for a team–a good one, admittedly, but still–to come in and run them out of their own barn. It was as thorough as it was embarrassing, and it typified a lot of the struggles that the Stars have encountered early on. Worse yet, Saturday’s debacle featured one aspect that the previous five games hadn’t: simple effort.
Time and again, the Stars lost battles for pucks in their own end, in the offensive zone, all over the ice. Everywhere you looked, there was a Capital getting to a puck or making a play ahead of a Dallas player. The game wasn’t as close as the 4-1 final would suggest. Backup goaltender, Anton Khudobin, sparkled early when Dallas was taking on water at an alarming rate. That it was 1-0 at the end of the first period was a minor miracle.
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There are an array of reasons why this bunch is already in major trouble. For one, they’re playing from behind way, way too often. Other than the games in which they were leading 2-0 (both losses, by the way), they’ve given up the first goal without fail. A team simply cannot keep falling behind, game after game, and expect to win regularly. The penalty kill was a star for the first few games, but has fallen to mid-pack of the league (14th). The power play is mired in a 1-for-20 morass currently as well, which is bottom five in the entire NHL. They turn the puck over entirely too easily, and they give it up with a seemingly equal sense of alacrity. In short, they look disorganized and dumb.
The aforementioned issues have all been hallmarks of failures of seasons past to varying degrees. But this year was supposed to be different. Of course, there’s plenty of time to fix what ails them, but the fan base can only go by what their eyes are seeing. And right now, that’s a hockey team that has very little clue about what’s going on out there. Thus far, they’re doing a tremendous job in proving that they need to have their manhood called out before they start performing. Who knows how much longer we’ll go before that happens again?
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In the meantime, a previously unimaginable do-or-die road trip through Eastern Conference haunts looms large. It’ll be four games in six days that includes stops in Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia. A glance at the standings shows how daunting this is. If the Dallas Stars want to pull this season out of the ditch, they’re going to need at least five of the available eight points in that stretch. We’re about to see if they have that in them.
- Published on 10/14/2019 at 11:30 AM
- Last updated at 10/14/2019 at 11:09 AM