Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Stars Blog Mailbag

The following is a reader email bag I did for my dallasstars.com blog on Sunday morning (which was the last day I wasn't ill) - So until we get some normalcy around here....

Well, I asked for mail, and here it comes….Mucho email today on the team we are all obsessed with, the Dallas Stars. Obviously, it should certainly come as no surprise that much of the email is on the negative side of the streets. But, they told me to bar no holds on this blog, so if you said it and I deemed it worthy of making the cut, your email is about to be seen by what must be enormous crowd if the volume of email I received from all over the hockey world indicates the size of the readership.

The fact of the matter is this: If you are reading Dallasstars.com in the first place, chances are you want to see this team do well. Nobody has answers right now, and nobody thinks this level of hockey is acceptable. I would like to think this is merely a rough patch, but if we have learned anything in 2008 it is this: Just when you think the team is bad, it turns good. And, conversely, just when you think the team is good, it turns bad. Imagine if your life was directly affected by winning or losing a hockey game. I know, we eat, think, drink, sleep, talk, and dream hockey. But, If you read my blog, I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that your ability to feed your family is not based on getting the Stars out of the cellar. That is why the only thing I will not allow in this mailbag is full out insults and disrespect to the players or coaches on this team. You can say they are performing poorly, but I don’t want the hate and bile to turn into hoping someone loses their job. We already understand what is at stake to the men who make their living in this sport…let’s leave it at that on this blog.

On to the mail…


Hey Bob,

I am a long time reader and avid post game listener. I have been a stars season ticket holder since the first year out of the lockout as it was my first year out of college, I was one of the few people to defend and stick with Turco in seasons past when people were saying he cant carry a team in the playoffs, he can't win a series, the stars wont go deep with him etc, etc. I just got home from the Stars Sharks game and I have to say he is the weakest link on this team. There were definitely two, maybe even 3 goals that Marty should have had he makes those saves the game is 3-1 maybe even 2-1 going into the third and who knows how it is played. You can see it in the actions of the team after the first goal they game back aggressive, tied the game and seemingly were able to keep pace even had several scoring chances. Even after goal two the players seemed to press on drive to the net chase hard after loose pucks only for goal three to smack them in the face. A decent start in the second period and then goal four and from there you could almost see the team put its hands up and say "we can't win with this guy". Is it time for Tippet to sit Turco for a week or maybe even send him down until he can "find his game"? This team can't stand in the neutral and defensive zones for 60 minutes simply because they are afraid to let a shot go near Turco and be expected to also score 3 plus per game.

Just my rants,


Bob: There is no doubt that the biggest concern is that this team is built on the premise that it has a world-class goaltender. And there is also no doubt that Marty has not been that for the Stars. I am sure he is putting more and more pressure on himself, and that seems to be having an even more damaging effect on his performance.

Remember when I ran his numbers after Game 15 to suggest he was making great progress? Well, Games 16-20 appear to be a giant jump in the wrong direction. What is worse, for the first time in years, the Stars appear to have little confidence in the backup situation, as their actions speak louder than their words. Truth be told, they know that their lot in life is cast with Marty Turco, and the only chance anyone has to get out of this mess is Marty returning to his normal form. Trouble is, this is going from a small sample size to a large sample size the further we get into this season.

GamesGoals allowed per startSave Percentage

Watching the stars game on Friday, I noticed a very similar trend in the goals that San Jose scored on the powerplay and some on even strength. They were mostly shots by defensemen either tipped in by a shark in turco's face or scored with a shark in turco's face. Do you think that a key to fixing the stars' defense should be to keep opponents off the crease area? I know it may sound like an obvious error and easier said than done, but really, it seems to happen all the time. Turco can't seem to see any of these pucks that are zipped from the point. If he couldve seen them, I know he has the ability to save them, and friday could have been completely differnent.



Bob: One of the oldest battles in hockey. The offensive team tries to get traffic in front of the goal, and the defensive team tries to clear traffic from in front of the goal. The winner of that battle ends up winning the games more often than not. There is no question the Stars ability to clear traffic is just not up to the level it needs to be. They have a much smaller defensemen group than they had in the glory days of the clutch-and-grab NHL, and there is no telling if the Stars could have won a Cup with the current rules with a group of large men like Hatcher, Matvichuk, Ludwig, and Chambers. It worked back then, but the idea now is that you just cannot assault each other in the crease like you once did. The game changed, and the Stars seem to be somewhere in the middle with their selection of players who play on their blue-line. I will say this, my favorite of the kids right now is Nik Grossman, and I am convinced that he has the size and composure to do well in his own end. Most games you do not notice any negative issues with his performance and that is a tough thing to do at this level for a young player.

Up and down the lineup this team has not seen the type of defense that has been a staple of Dallas Stars hockey. Before we break out the injury argument remember this team still has some of what are considered great or at least really good players in the line-up. Richards, Mo, Zubov, Avery, Riberio, Loui, Sydor...While Morrow and Lehtinen are two thirds of what was one of the best lines in hockey last year...Riberio co-leads the team with 19 points and is still one of the best set-up guys in the league. Speaking with someone from the Stars last night I was told Shannhan has been contacted multiple times and as we know has no interest in leaving the Northeast. So I am not sure who is still out there that is a viable option at wing. So what about a trade? Who do we trade. I've heard Stars Minor leaguer Benn is a hot prospect and has drawn lots of interest...

Lastly, let me finish with the "kids" Neal is -5, Brunnstrum is -9, Niskanen is -9, Grossman is -6, Conner is -2, and Fistric is -2 Ouch...Neal is no doubt a great talent but with the lack of defense from his line (Riberio -4) we will continue to lose. Brunnstrum looks lost and scared, he has no business being out there if he is unwilling to pay the price. He usually does not work hard and is opportunistic at best. Niskanen needs to get back to the minors...Was last year an anomaly?

So in summation- This thing is easy to figure out. DEFENSE first. This thing does not play defense- it's great to see the pretty goal. but it's better to win. The one word that used to define this organization was CHARACTER! Now it's just a bunch of characters. No heart...no desire...an unwillingness to play a team game...This of course could be thrown at the feet of the coach and maybe it should be...but at the end of the day...May favorite coach Ken Hitchcock used to say "Hard work will always beat talent if talent doesn't
work hard."

Baby Arm-
P1 Kevin

Bob: Kevin, I feel your pain, and I agree with your assessment of Shanahan. From everything I hear, he is looking to get in the mix for the Cup, and when you are dead last in the West, it isn’t easy to sell him on getting a Cup here this year. Also, I have heard plenty about his hopes of staying in the Northeast. Further, I am not sure that is the answer this team is looking for. He is one of my favorite power forwards, but at his age (he will be 40 in 7 weeks) what is the upside in Dallas? It would seem that he is not a great fit here.

Beyond that, I do take issue with your thoughts on the kids. I don’t like those minus numbers either, but the team is -22 this year (61 for, 83 against) so it would stand to reason that there will be ugly +/- kicking around. But I am a huge believer in the idea that you have to be willing to allow your kids some level of failure if you ever want to see them learn and develop. You have to ride out a few strikeouts to get a few home runs later. I think James Neal is a stud in the NHL for the next decade, and the Stars would be absolutely foolish to overlook what the eyeballs are telling us every night because of a -5 which may or may not have anything to do with him and his lack of position or execution on a given goal. Brunnstrom does look lost at times, but that is to be expected for a guy who has never played at this level. My concern with him is that I think he needs to play on an offensive line and once the Stars went and got Mark Parrish, then that opening was gone. He is now relegated to a checking line or a 4th line and that does not seem to be a comfortable spot for him. Matt Niskanen and Mark Fistric have been particularly disappointing this fall. Neither have played well at all, and Fistric is in Manitoba trying to work it out. Niskanen is here, but his confidence seems to be falling quite a bit as we go. I obviously thought the Stars were golden with Grossman, Nisky, and Fistric after last year’s playoffs, but playing in the NHL is a humbling task.

I loved Ken Hitchcock, but when he was here I believe he would take a 37 year old over a 22 year old any day of the week. I think in today’s salary cap NHL, if you don’t allow your kids to grow in confidence and responsibility and allow them to try to succeed rather than being terrified of failure, then I don’t think you can win. Now that Hitch is in Columbus, he obviously has grown to be more tolerant of rookies and youth, but when he was here it seemed he had little use for any prospects on his big team. I think the cap makes those kids mandatory to success.

Where to begin with the season.... I really feel like going back to the dump and chase mentality would benefit the Stars. They obviously can not stop anyone, so why not put the forecheck to work and eat some clock up? With the grit of Ott (even though he is out for a bit) and Avery, they ought to be able to get some type of pressure going. Do you think its possible to maybe switch the pairings up on D? Not sure who they could move, but its a thought. I think this team is at that point. However, there is enough fire power and there is an all start goalie hiding under that mask that this season can be salvaged with the correct moves by Tippett.

P1 Andrew

Bob: If I am not mistaken, the Stars have already tried about 20 different defense combinations. If switching the pairings on D was the key, the Stars might be in 1st place. They just need quality. And on defense, the Stars have not found any this season.


At the end of last season, the Stars had a pretty bad streak going before turning it around in the playoffs.

Now I'm thinking that streak carried over somehow. Given the loss of some pretty good players and the addition of some marginal ones, and it's really showing now. The trade to bring Richards here hurts now because Mike Smith was a very solid backup. Signing Avery will go down as one of Brett Hull's most noticeable mistakes.

At what point does owner Tom Hicks blow this thing up, go with one GM instead of two, fire Tippett, and do something drastic with Turco?

For some reason, the chemistry just isn't there with this team. No matter what line is juggled together, nothing works for very long. The defensive trap system seems to have fallen apart. I just can't believe this is, for the most part, the same team that played Detroit tough in the finals.

I believe that an aggressive coach with a spirited approach needs to come in and take this thing over. It's been a good run with Tippett, but in my opinion he's too nice a guy to get Dallas to the promised land.

Rochester, NY

Bob: I hate to imagine what will happen when Tom Hicks gets tired of this situation. There are all sorts of candidates for change, and honestly, as anyone in the organization will admit, this is what happens to teams that are struggling this badly after planning an unbelievably successful season. This is what makes the thrill of victory such an intoxicating high – the agony of defeat. I do not like to imagine change for change sake, but if word came down tomorrow that the Stars made a MAJOR decision – be it a trade or a firing or whatever – could anyone be shocked? There are great rewards and great consequences in the highly lucrative world of professional sports.


DEFENSE? Where is it?? I remember the days of when an opposing forward would skate down the boards with the puck into our zone and our defense bruisers (Hatcher, Ludwig) would staple the guys to the boards and force them off them puck before getting halfway into our zone. Now all I see is our defensive guys leaning on the forward sand following him down to the corner then try and plant to him to board. This so far has not worked out for the team. Our current “D” guys are talented, quick on the ice (Daley), but I think the Stars would benefit on having a couple of bigger “D” guys in back that can remove a player from the puck and be a force in the “D” Zone. This is just my short 2-cents and thanks for letting me voice my opinion.


Bob: The large defenseman is what everyone seeks. If you can find Rob Blake or Chris Pronger size and ability then you have found a cornerstone player. However, just big is not the key. Sami Helenius and Jon Erskine were two very large men who did not great success here in Dallas. I think that Derian Hatcher in his prime would have been fine under any rules, but in the league today, there seems to be far more premium placed on the ability to move the puck than to be a human bulldozer.


I don't know where to start with this team! It seems like they are in need of some sort of shake up. Last year when they were struggling and Doug Armstrong got fired they seemed to come around and start playing again. It's like they need something tangible like a firing to realize that it's their fault and they have to get better so they don't get anyone else fired. Whether it's the coaching staff or the general managers, or maybe even a trade, something needs to change and it needs to happen sooner rather than later. I think Les Jackson has done a good job, but I'm skeptical about Brett Hull. It just seems like maybe he would fit better in a different role within the organization. As icing on the cake special teams and goaltending have been non-existent. I just dread when the Stars go on the PK because there is a very good chance that the other team is going to score. What happened to the team last year that was top 10 in both powerplay and penalty killing? I know it's already been said, but I think this team really misses the leadership and play of Stu Barnes.

I enjoy reading your blog and watching your in dept interviews. Keep up the good work!


Bob: A few things here. First, the Brett Hull thing is a huge hot button issue. On Hockey Night in Canada, it was suggested that he is the big issue right now, and that a move for him is forthcoming. I am not sure I buy it. Especially considering how much he was lauded for where this team was back in May. Which is it? Is his fresh approach to the sport working wonders or is he not qualified? It depends who you ask. But know this: The Canadian media has had an issue with Hull for about 2 decades since he decided to play with the United States rather than Canada when he had dual citizenship and Canada didn’t want him. Later, when they did want him, he stayed true to the USA, and some scribes north of the border have never buried that hatchet. So, as much as I enjoy HNIC, I generally ignore the Hull commentary. Also, imagine how many of his competitors are quick to point to him as the problem since he did not go through the “proper paths” to get to his position. Jealousy is alive and well in the NHL, and I am quite sure that nobody is missing a chance to kick Hull when he is down.

As for the special teams, of the 7 penalty killers from 2007-08 with the most ice time, only 2 have been available this year for any stretch of time. Last season, Mattias Norstrom led the team in PK ice. I think there is no player who was more underappreciated and at the same time absolutely vital to the success of this entire operation. Fans and media alike get caught up in who scores and who makes saves and responsible defensive defensemen are the last to be carried on anyone’s shoulders, but Matty Norstrom was absolutely invaluable. Top 7 Penalty Killers last season: Norstrom, Stu Barnes, Trevor Daley, Nik Hagman, Stephane Robidas, Jeff Halpern, and Steve Ott. Since Ott has been hurt I figure that only Daley and Robidas have been fully available so your entire forward unit on the kill is new. Add to that Lehtinen is also a big PK guy when available and you can see that everything is new. And what was 85.6% last year (2nd in the NHL) is now 75.5% (28th).


As the year started I thought we had a great shot. I thought my seats would cost more next year, the price for consecutive years chasing the cup. I have never been a supporter of Mr. Tippett but, we were winning.

Now, time to clean and start anew.....not just add $15 promos and probably some cheap t-shirts.

Certainly not "Our Team, Our Time"......

Brett is a, never mind, not an NHL GM.....got a tee time.....we are NHL laughing stock, ask Wayne, we'll soon be the next Mickey Mouse franchise.

Sean is his answer......we needed a big D man, but when we can't get our man we have to spend the money, we are going to eat that contract as we cannot get anyone to pick it up. Mr. Avery has made our team a bunch of individuals, no chemistry. Oh, but the Rangers won more games with him than without.....18 million, wow. He lasted all of 30 minutes at the luncheon, rest of the team stayed, he said he tried to schedule an MRI but figured if did not have a conflict he should at least show up !, big of him.

Mr. Richey....7.8, another wow, well maybe we can re-structure him, he is most likely as embarrassed as I of our taking that contract.

If we needed to move Philippe (both shoulders hurt mean no slappers), just get a pick for down the road.

What is next, watch, we'll trade Ott, (to save half a year's worth of 2.5 million) hope his injury stopped that.

I think the fans would support a re-build with quality youngsters, potential for high picks.

My best thought....lower the expectations and just hope for some good games, least we get to see a little more of the league.

Thanks for the forum,

Bill Roth

Season Ticket holder

Bob: Bill, your frustration is loud and clear. Obviously, two guys who are big targets right now are Brad Richards and Sean Avery. It is the tendency of fans and team alike to judge players on their salary and their equity. Salary, as in: “He makes how much? For that?” and equity, as in, “What has he ever done with a Dallas Sweater on?”. It is a tough spot for both of them – especially Avery. Say what you want about the guy, but his reputation preceded him so much so that many fans thought he was a failed experiment before the first shift in Dallas. Then, the bottom falls out of the team and it will be hung around his neck first and foremost by many who are watching the games, and almost everyone across the NHL who isn’t watching the Stars every-night because if ever there was an easy target , it is Sean. Fair or unfair, the Stars handed him a check that isn’t that much smaller than Brenden Morrow’s, and for that the fans demand an impact of substance on a night to night basis, and so far, it is tough to get a feel for what his impact really is. He seems to have some real offensive ability, but to me, too many of his shots miss the net in the scoring area.

Richards is cursed with being offered absurd money coming off the Stanley Cup in Tampa Bay, and despite the fact that nobody would ever recommend you say no to that contract, he instantly was then expected to produce like Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin. The fact is, I am sure you can win with Brad Richards as a key part of your team, but very few around the sport would say he is clearly a “Top 10” player in the league. Like I said in previous blogs, if I were king, Richards would be getting more ice at more times. He peaked at 26 shifts a game in Tampa, and right now is a 23 shift a game guy. Those 3 shifts can mean a lot of key ice at key times. Also, I think no player has had his wings change more frequently than Richards. If you want him to produce more, you have to show more faith in him at key moments.

Hi Bob,

From across the pond!! i've been a fan of the Stars for last ten years & chose them as i am a Cowboys fan from the coverage over here!! bearing in mind i don't see every Stars game Live on the channels over here & only highlights on Internet my views maybe sketchy & not of the calibre of many fans but heres how i see it going.

To me its a Western Conference Finals hangover, from the whole team, Marty's not in his groove or confident best, Zubov hasn't quite got back to normal since his long layoff, Boucher didn't look happy but was Sydor the answer long term?? i know he got to the finals last year, but there must of been a better option??

Losing Brendan's a crippler, even though they needed to step up with him, its tenfold now...Now Steve Ott is an enforcer, he sticks up for team mates, & fights but what he's magnificent at is his forechecking, Back checking...ANY checking & because he 'Breaks his Hand Fighting' it doesn't help the team he sticks up for, for a month!!!, we love fighting & the toughness of the game but that's an example of when your struggling, the luck gets worse.

Brunnstrom ain't Crosby, its going to take time but Richards, Ribero, Avery, more is needed from those top guys to help Modano to get it moving.

Has Tippett taken us as far as he can, That's up to Brett Etc but maybe he may have & won't be back next year....or earlier if it keeps going like this.......But in summary....

I don't think we'll make the playoffs this year, God i want us too, don't get me wrong & anything can happen in them but to me San Jose & Detroit are too strong in the West so its time for a complete overhaul & use this year to improve for other years!!

I hope i don't sound like a dumb englishman & go easy on things i've missed...Ha Ha

Go Stars!!!!!!!!!!

Alan (UK)

Bob: Alan, always nice to hear from a good Stars fan from England. At least Liverpool is top of the table now, right? Actually, I think the odds are quite good that you support a club rather than Liverpool over there, so you might not be happy about that.

The overhaul question is lingering in many circles presently, and if the Stars continue to spiral in the wrong direction, it is quite possible that the Stars will attempt to shed some veterans. That would be truly sad, but it is a fact of life for a losing team. This team came so close last year that the hangover theory is not completely out of the question. But then, how is the hangover affecting Detroit?

Once the Stars get on a roll they will right the ship.

In the meantime, I think they should pull Ribeiro off the top line until he starts to do something. Put Modano up there because he is a leader and is the center playing with the biggest effort and heart. Reward with that chance and give him the “C” until Brendan gets back. That would send a clear message to the team and they would get even more out of Mo than they are now.

Perhaps the team should focus on some serious defensive hockey like back in the days when Hitch was around coaching. Good defense always leads to offense and always keeps you in the game. You rarely get blown out with a good defensive effort. This means you can steal points (unlike last night) when maybe you wouldn’t otherwise. It also builds great morale because you’re always in games and most of all you’re working together as a team.

Turco is not the problem. It’s the team effort in front of him. Most of his goals are not his fault. Far more mistakes are being committed by the players in front of him that cost goals than what he is doing between the pipes.

Just a few thoughts from a long time Dallas fan – Go Stars!


Bob: The problem with a theory of becoming a “defensive hockey team” is that it is tough for a Tiger to change his stripes in the middle of the day. The Stars have accumulated plenty of offensive skill recently, and perhaps don’t have the type of shut-down players it once did. Like I said, penalty killers are all new. The Forwards who have killed the most this year are: Richards, Modano, Loui Eriksson, Ott, and Toby Peterson. That group is almost completely new. Is Eriksson a prototypical penalty killer? No. But, they are trying to utilize his skills as much as possible and hope he learns on the fly.

This might be a great spot to marvel at what Loui has accomplished around here this season. He already is closing in on the 14 goals he had last year, and with 11 after Friday, and being a key PK guy, he is developing very nicely. Also at a +6, he is the top Forward in that statistic. Eriksson is everything Doug Armstrong told me he was several years ago, when the Stars drafted him.

Hey Bob, to start out positively; while the loss of Morrow to a torn ACL sucks and hurts this Stars team, we are already seeing the guys who need to step up do so. I'm talking about Eriksson and Neal, both of them have been doing great so far this season and Neal is showing that he doesn't want to be sent down to the A again. Eriksson is breaking out just like I thought he would, he's been really fabulous for the Stars on both ends of the ice, he's upped his offensive game and has become one of our, if not the most consistent scorer on the squad, and his defensive play has also improved a lot.

Now, I have no idea whats up with this Stars team. Sharks v. Stars games are always close down to the wire games, but not this one. I don't believe in curses but has the curse of the AAC come back? It's ridiculous that they can't win a game for the home crowd and have to lose a bunch before they can upset someone else's crowd. I think Tippett needs to start focusing on the Power Play and go back to team defense and mental conditioning for now. The offense has been fine, with a goaltender like Turco, and the defensive capabilities we all know this team has, 2-3 even strength goals a game is fine. Right now they need to get back to basics, moving the umbrella better on the powerplay, and taking a lot more shots on it. They need to be able to cycle it to Zubov, Modano, and/or Richards at the point or up at the tops of the circles for a good one timer that could be a snipe passed the goaltender or get tipped or put in on the rebound. Also, they need to calm down and work on mental toughness, their D hasn't been terrible overall in a while now, but there are always a bunch of random breakdowns that occur in like 3 seconds and turn into goals. That's a total of like, 15 seconds of breakdowns a game, leading to 5ga every night. So I think they need to do that. Oh and also, go oldschool, make them skate.


Bob: Yes, Power Play is another mess. 13% is good for 26th in the league, after being 18% last season (13th – 5th best in the West). The first thing I think when watching the Stars on the PP is that there seem to be too many cooks in the kitchen. With Modano, Zubov, Richards, Ribeiro all out there at the same time, I always fear the idea that they are deferring at times to each other. Then, when the second unit rolls out there, they actually seem to shoot the puck on the net and get after the rebounds. I love the fact that this team employs many puck magicians on that top unit, but the production has to match the talent or knuckleheads like me start inquiring what the problem might be…

This thing is in the toilet right now. It's not for lack of effort - just teams finding a way to finish them off before it has even started. Defense has always been the key and it is just horrific right now. Is Marty the man for this job? Is Dave the man for this job? Is there time to turn things around? Just my thoughts.


Bob: There is time. But after each game, that time keeps ticking away. At first, I said “it is just 5 games”. Then, “It is just October”. And now, “It is just October and November”. They are burying themselves. They can be back in the playoff mix by Christmas if they start playing better, but where have we seen that this team can string together 2 wins in a row?


You asked for it, so I'm giving you my opinion. It's my opinion that the Dallas Stars have QUIT on their coach. Unfortunately you can't fire multi-million dollar athletes, soooo you have to make a change somewhere, and that is why Dave Tippet has got to GO. That's just the first change I would make. The second would be to send Marty to the minors for a month or so to get his head back together and to get his game back in shape.(as long as he does not have to clear waivers) If I'm not mistaken, Marty has MORE games where he has allowed 5 goals or more than he does not. Marty is currently ranked 27th with a save percentage of .866. This is not what we as stars fans expect. I'm tempted to ask for my money back on my season tickets. I feel with their lack of effort, they are in breach of contract with their fanbase. The only players playing with any kind of heart are the young guys like Neal, Erikson, Barch, and the other rookies. They may not make the best play with the puck, but they play hard and they are fun to watch because you can see their desire and love of the game. Well, that is my opinion, we need to do something before it too late. We could still make the playoffs if do, if we don't...WE WON'T.

Hockey Puck

Bob: We all want them to snap out of this soon. And, according to my numbers, Marty is actually 46th in the NHL in save percentage. :)

I'm going to start this by saying I am a die hard stars fan I bleed green and gold. But why can't we play man coverage in our own zone, instead we create a cluster of players down around the net. I agree with Tippet it all starts with Marty. I still believe the playoffs are achievable, but it has to start soon. One more thing, do you think we can get Barnes and Hagman back in here. The amount of players that are injured is key also.

Thanks For Listening


Bob: You are not the first person who wants Stu back, Jason. I think they know where to find him.

Hi Bob,

I think a lot of the Stars' problems right now besides the much harped on lack of stability in net, is that there is no real identity for the team right now. It seems like there are few defined roles on the team as there were last year. With injuries this makes this even more complicated, as it seems impossible to create the standard two scoring lines and a checking line. Also, I think the team is struggling between adhering to their defensive legacy and creating the offense they need to make up for their defensive deficiencies right now. I think this is an unexpected crossroads year for the team and it will be interesting to see where it goes from here.

John from Minnesota

Bob: Jason, you said a mouthful right there. There is no doubt there is a fork in the road immediately ahead. We all want to see these guys figure out a way out of this mess.

Hey Bob,

How much longer do the Stars woes need to continue before changes are made within the organization whether that be with coaching or with the players?

It seems to me that you want to build upon your success from the prior year(s) and things are looking too good so far for the mighty Stars in that realm. Sure Morrow's pretty much season ending injury doesn't help, but there is plenty of talent on this team to carry through to the playoff or at the very least string together more than one win in a row. We had a slew of young defensemen playing for the Stars last season that helped them carry the team to the WC finals. What's gone wrong?!

I'm sure this is nothing new and we've all asked ourselves these questions, but how long must it go on?

P1 Dan

Bob: In the words of the great Bono, “How long? How long must we sing this song? How long? How Looooooooonnnnnnnngggggggg?”. Answer: Until we start winning some stinking hockey games around here.

Well, after about 7,000 words, let’s me end this mailbag for now. I obviously need to do more of these based on the dozens of emails I did not even get to. Perhaps we can even do some live chats down the road (not sure if the dallasstars.com folks are up for that, but if they are – so am I.)

Let’s all stick together in this thing, and continue to enjoy doing what we do: Watching hockey and hoping for the sun to shine on our boys very soon.


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