Just when you think you have the Stars figured out….they do something to completely demonstrate you have nothing figured out.
December 1st – the season was over. Too far back. Too much damage had been done.
February 1st – season saved. Big month of home games ahead. This team is determined and will make the playoffs.
March 1st – lost to Penguins at home for 5th straight home loss. Season is dead.
March 6th – won 5 points out of 6 on West Coast trip w/ BaD Radio. Season is alive again.
March 10th – after losing to Montreal, pounded by St Louis. Season dead again.
March 14th – beat Minnesota to win 2nd straight. Season alive? 7 seed!
What lies ahead? A road trip to the #2, #3 and #5 seeds. Yikes. No rest for the weary. Once again, let’s hope for 3 points on the 3 game trip this week. Anything more is gravy – anything less is very bad. But, these games are sure fun to watch.
Take last night for instance against the Wild. The Stars and Wild waged a 62 minute war that could have easily passed for a playoff game. Do you know why? Because it is a playoff game to these teams. The intensity, the will, and the sheer determination is what is pushing these teams on. Edmonton and Nashville can relate as they push, too. And let’s not sleep on Anaheim or the Cinderella in this dance, those St Louis Blues.
Fun with Loui
I was pondering the crazy explosion of Loui Eriksson this morning, and the fact that his improvement in goal scoring from last season to this (+18) is tops in the NHL. He is currently tied for 11th in the NHL in goals scored, between a guy named Dany Heatley and another guy named Jarome Iginla.
But, I am really impressed in a stat he ranks 4th in, “even strength goals”
|Player||E.S. Goals||Total Goals|
Are you kidding me? 4th in the entire NHL in even strength goals? Incidentally, those are the toughest goals to score – the 5 on 5 goals, and that is why we should all be ecstatic about Loui’s breakout, and also cheer on Stars management to get an extension cooking before he becomes a restricted free agent in the summer of 2010.
But, then I got to thinking…Since the start of the Stars tough times at home – that loss to Chicago in February, my numbers have the Stars power play at 6-58. I am sure it is no secret that this was about when Brad Richards left the lineup, too. Since then, the Stars power play has been a real struggle, which was best seen in that game against the Canadians last week, when the PP went 1-10. Last night against the Wild, the Stars failed to come close to scoring on a full 4 minute power play that almost cost them the game.
Where I am going with all of this? Well, the Stars 1st power play last night is 63, 9, 3, 18, and 29. It seems to make a quality unit, and they all do things well. But, my question is this: If Eriksson is so lethal at 5 on 5, wouldn’t it make some sense to make room for him on the 1st power play unit? Or asked another way, is there any other team in the NHL that does not put its leading goal scorer (by a mile) on its first 5 on the PP?
I am sure the Stars coaches have considered the numbers, and considered the options. But, for the life of me, I am quite confused as to why he is not out there. He has a rare ability to light the lamp. He is decent in the corners. And he has a good chemistry with Mr Ribeiro and Mr Ott, too. It makes too much sense.
Anyway, I will try to find out the reasons, but for now, I remain confused. If the power play is broken right now, let’s put the goal scorer on the ice and see what happens!