If you actually watch the games then you know that only half of the goals that go in are due to the weakness in the Defense. I cringe at least once or twice a night at goals that Turco lets in because they just simply shouldn’t be going in. And we can sit around and debate whether it’s the “chicken or the egg” or we can call it like you should probably be seeing it.
I haven’t missed a game all season and I have yet to be impressed by Turco. The games he plays half-way decent in are usually the ones we win, the games he forgets he’s the goaltender all together are the games we lose. Note that there isn’t a “The games he plays amazing in” category. And every successful team has a goaltender that pulls one of those out of their back end every once in a while. Even teams that are soft in the position and still winning like Chicago – Huet is a mediocre goalie at best and can be as leaky as they come but even he stands on his head from time to time to steal a win.
When was the last time you saw Turco steal a win? In those “This was a goalie duel” games – how many times did Turco win and how many times did we here “They just couldn’t score enough goals”.
Clearly its a glass half full situation for a lot of the fans. I’m not saying he isn’t a decent goalie, I’m saying he’s most certainly not playing like one. If we’re basing our judgment on the last month or so, we can put a ton of blame on the team as a whole. But if we’re putting this season as a whole on the chopping block then the head we cleave is going to be Turco. I think most people can remember saying, “Why don’t they just play Auld again…” to ourselves in the first part of the season a fair share.
Robidas, Grossman and Fistric have all played great in my opinion. Considering Robi and Grossman are out against the top lines night in and night out and with Turco not doing much to fight their cause they are still putting up pretty decent numbers for a team that’s struggling to win.
I think you can split the blame between two things myself; goaltending and identity.
From night to night I don’t know who’s going to be playing and that can’t be good for a locker room who has no voice to begin with. If I’m the coaching staff I’m looking for a way to clean up the roster which is obliterated by bad management decisions from this year and last year that are colliding with one another now. We have wingers with no place to go, we have call ups even though we have plenty of players with one way contracts. We have a cupboard full of third pair defenseman. I then try to shake up the leadership on the team a bit. How do I do all of this in this world where dreams come true and they put chubby Texans with a sense of self-importance, a moderate vocabulary and a big mouth?
First off, the leadership is all the same. You take a look at every guy out there with an A and they are all the same mold. They all “lead with their play”. That simply doesn’t cut it. I respect Robidas, Richards, Morrow and Modano as much as anyone else in the league, but at the end of the day if they are all hoping that people are going to follow their lead (even if it’s a questionable lead to begin with) its not going to dig a team out of a hole. Morrow cares more about the Olympics than he does about the Stars right now, sadly. But I think he’s the one who certainly keeps his letter. I take Modano’s A away and I put it back on Ott’s deserving chest. If anyone on the team has the mouth and the balls to speak up in the locker room, it’s him. He’s on a contract year himself and I think if he’s given the chance to prove he can be a legitimate leader on the team then he will seal his contract up with a nice pay check and possibly close the argument of “What is Ott to the team?” Modano played just long enough to show he’s still “got it” for the Olympic committees and then when his name wasn’t on the list you can clearly see that jump that was back in his step as he flew around the ice checking people and stealing pucks simply isn’t there now. Sadly, I’m not surprised and saw it coming. Richards is your best player skill-wise, you are almost required to give him an A in the NHL. Robidas is the heart and soul of your team and even when Morrow is playing like a child, Modano is non-existent and Richards is busy getting shut down by the other teams top line, he’s still having a great game. How can you not leave the A on his chest?
So do I think that the only change in leadership as far as letters go should be from Mo to Otter? No, I think you take it off of Richards and give it to Petersen and you take it from Robi and give it to the brand spankin’ new star Defensemen you just signed, and honestly if I didn’t love and respect Morrow so much thus making myself Bias, I take that C off of his chest and give it to Robidas to replace his lost A – because frankly he’s the only guy who’s playing well enough for others to follow when he “leads by example”.
All that said, how does one clean up the roster? Who really knows, the contracts are a maze of “do what?” I think the last thing they did that I agreed with was when they signed Sutherby to an extension after last season and he doesn’t even get the ice time he deserves now.
But are these problems the entire problem of identity? Can I limit the idea of a team’s identity to who has a letter on their chest and a terrible issue with wasting space with personnel? Of course not. At the end of the day this is a team with a brand new coach and a system that basically redefines what the Stars have been since their INCEPTION. This is a bigger deal than most people made it out to be. Very few teams can go from one thing to the total opposite side of the spectrum and be successful over the course of a single season. The only way you can do this is if your team already has the components in place to do that, and I don’t think Dallas did. They thrived in Tippets system. It was a system that was defense first, which covered up Marty’s flaws with just enough talent on the top 6 to score enough to win. Last season I think we all seem to forget that they were actually in the playoff race until the very end of the season and that was with a huge chunk of their offensive talent out for a majority of the season. Then you take this team that seemed to thrive in that system and expect them to do the same in an offense first system without changing any key components of the roster. Doesn’t seem logical, but I assume it was what they had to do given Hick’s inability to spend cash.
And really that’s what it comes down to. You have a new GM, a new coach, a new system and an owner who won’t spend anywhere near the cap during a time when you would expect to HAVE to do so to get things going in the right direction under a new regime.
So you put all of these problems together and then everyone is still disgruntled to find out that the Stars are struggling to stay close to the 8th place cut-off mark. Really? Were you really surprised? The stars (pun intended) aligned for anything from terrible to mediocre this season.
I hate to talk about the off season when we are barely halfway through this season, but it seems to be more relevant now than it has been before. If Hicks makes the decision to go forward with this “master plan” of the Joe+Crow system. You see the spending bumped up, you see the garbage taken out, you see a #1 defensemen hired, you see Turco walk, you see a moderately talented goalie come in who may not be as talented but will be more consistent come into replace him (though I don’t think they are smart enough to do that, I think they will either let Auld try it out or pull one of their AHL’ers up early), you see some of the potential forward talent go out for trades for some new more “premanent” defensemen. Brunnstrom’s gone, Niskanen or Vishnevski are gone, then you have players like Benn and Wandell who are really showing they can be top 6 talent who could be popular trade bait for whatever the management says they need to be a contender again.
And so I’ve droned on far longer than I intended… I think I’ll end it there.