Thursday, November 27, 2008

Baby Steps

Proving that when you have something taken away (winning hockey) you tend to appreciate it much more when you get a taste of what it used to be like, I give you Wednesday Night in Minnesota as exhibit A.

Isn’t winning fun? Didn’t you offer a yell of some combination of celebratory words, too, when Brad Richards picked the top corner to tie that game up? How about when the winning goal was deflected in by Erikkson? Or when time was ticking down during the mad scramble in front of Turco?

In the words of the great Nick LaLooche, the unpolished lad in Bull Durham: “I love winning….it is like so much better than losing!”

I keep waiting for the worm to turn on the 2008-09 season, but I must admit that in the last week since Brenden’s knee decided to snap a chord the occasional pessimistic viewpoint is crossing my head with great regularity. Ideas such as “how are we this bad?” and “How is this going to change?” are swirling around everyone’s
brains right now.

But the intoxicating high of winning, even on a random Wednesday in November, serves as just a glimmer of hope that maybe they can begin clawing.

HOWEVER, they have a few elephants in the room that need to be introduced to the conversation:

#1 – The Stars have played 8 games this season in Dallas, 13 on the road. The idea that they have an abundance of home games forthcoming is good news right? Err..not so much. The Stars have not won a home game since October 29th (against the Minnesota Wild – can we get them scheduled more often?). The Stars have done less with their home games than every other team in hockey. At 2-3-3, they have taken the maximum 2 points from home games just 25% of the 8 home dates. To put things quite simply, they must and I mean must start turning their home games into wins. This is about ridiculous to skate away with wins only twice so far in front of the home faithful.

#2 – The Stars have not won consecutive regular season games anywhere, anytime, since February. Since the calendar turned to March, the Stars have tried to win twice in a row 10 times! But, in games following wins, the Stars are absolutely awful: 0-8-2. Don’t you feel that it is pretty difficult to build any momentum whatsoever when you can’t string two wins together ever?

With those two elements present, the Stars have no hope. As long as those two elephants are here, resistance is futile.

But, what is that I see on the schedule? Home games against the Sharks on Friday, and the Oilers on Sunday. Could you imagine how everyone would feel around here if the Stars could just string together those 2 wins with this win in Minnesota to end November on a 3 game streak?

Look, I hate to kill your buzz (there is no way I killed your buzz if you have been watching this team for the last 21 games) but I don’t see Dallas catching San Jose this year. Pretty tough to spot them a 19 point lead by Thanksgiving and expect to reel them in. Now, we must all assume that it is going to be a winter of watching that 8th playoff spot. The new goal is, and I realize this hurts after last spring, to make the playoffs.

Well, with that in mind, you must now see that this morning, the Stars sit 4 points behind 8th place. Yes, 6 other teams sit between the Stars and Predators, but Nashville is in 8th with 22 points, the Stars in 15th with 18. I do not call this an insurmountable lead. I call this doable by Christmas. In fact, if the Stars are serious about playing past April 10th this year, I highly recommend they start on Friday and Sunday by quieting the elephants of “home futility” and “allergic to consecutive triumphs”.

After a spring of these guys making me believe they are capable of almost anything, we might be reduced to hoping we can believe in winning a home game against the big, bad Sharks.

Baby steps, dear friend. Baby steps.


bevo said...

Oh Me of little faith..WTF..I turned off when the Wild scord the goal to go up 4 to 1..
Disallowed goal and 3 more by the Stars..Who would have thunk it?

Flaco said...

Well said, Bob.

But to flounder in mediocrity might be more damaging long term.

An 8 (or 7) seed means what? Detroit? San jose?

Could they even afford to sign a top draft pick if their situation doesn't improve?

I wouldn't want to be Hull/Jackson.