Back in 2002, the Stars missed the playoffs for the first and only time since I became a fan. The reason I mention this is because I’m getting a creepy feeling about this team. I’m not getting a feeling that they’ll miss the playoffs, but I am getting a feeling that they’re saying the same kinds of things that team said as they struggled down the stretch and failed to make the playoffs.
I remember distinctly an interview with a distraught Brenden Morrow, still clinging to the fact that they hadn’t been mathematically eliminated.
There’s a lot of “this isn’t Stars hockey” and “we need to get back to Stars hockey” coming from the coaches and players right now. They say this all the time. Razor often compares whatever is happening to Stars Hockey. That was the chorus back then, too.
Half this team just started being Stars.
Avery, Brunnstrom, Crombeen, Janik, Neal, Petersen, Richards, and Stephan are all in their first full year. Four more are in their second full year in the league. Of course, that means that six players from last season’s exciting playoff run are gone.
This is Stars hockey.
This is not Turco goaltending, though. The defense has gone through worse than this, and the GAA has usually been better. Turco is not helping. I don’t remember him ever being this bad. The defense is going to make mistakes. There is no way around it. I’m pretty sure there has never been a game where a goalie had zero shots on goal.
These young defensemen, and even the veterans, are in such fear of making a mistake which will invariably end up as a goal, they are making more mistakes. The only one that can break the spell is Marty Turco. He has to be the first one to straighten out.
He has to be the one that allows the defense to relax and stop squeezing their sticks. They can’t give Marty a game with no quality shots so that he can gain confidence. It’s just the nature of his position. He has to start being the goalie we’ve seen in the past that makes the save no matter what the shot is like.
He doesn’t have to give them a shutout. The forwards are scoring plenty (if you score five goals and still lose, that’s not the offense’s fault). I know there are going to be shots that no goalie can save, but I don’t think there are six of them a game. Even with a struggling defense.
Marty needs to get his knees together faster, and stop letting shots from the blue line go between them. Is it the equipment rules change? Is that what it is? Maybe he needs more practice on shots at the five-hole.
I don’t know what he needs to do to break out of this. But he needs to do something. I don’t want to still be hearing in March that all they need to do is simplify and get back to Stars hockey so they don’t miss the playoffs.