It wasn’t Herb Brooks bag-skating Team USA in Norway in 1979, but Sunday was indeed a bag skate for the Dallas Stars.
At least the Stars got to see some pucks in this practice.
The team got quite the workout on Easter Sunday in Frisco that was scheduled to be an off-day. Skating and more skating. One-on-one drills and simple hard work. And some more skating.
That’s what happens when you give up three goals in the final three minutes vs. Los Angeles on a Saturday afternoon that drops you to 1-7 in your last eight. The Stars have to get things back on track, and do it fast. There are only six games left in the regular season and a four-game division trip out west is looming.
“That was an old fashion bag skate out there today, said goalie Marty Turco. “It was what it was out there today. This thing we are in right now won't go away on its own. The lessons, the attitude and the mindset are small rays of light that I can take right now, but that light seems pretty far way. I've never been so anxious for the next game in all my life.”
That next game isn’t until Thursday at San Jose, a team that is as hot right now as the Stars are cold (actually hotter), having gone 14-0-1 in their last 15. The Sharks have roared back from third place in the Pacific Division and have basically run away and hid from the Stars and Anaheim Ducks.
But the Stars are not focused on the division any more. Their sole goal is to get their game in order for the playoffs. The season has just two weeks left and the time is now.
It doesn’t matter who the Stars play in the first round or where – get their game in order and they have as good a shot as anyone to have a successful post-season.
“The best way to get through this is to work like we did today and put this behind us,” said Steve Ott
. “We don't have any choice other than turn it around. It starts in this room, and if we don't we could actually miss the playoffs. We did some drills today with our lunch pails that help you win hockey games. The whole message today was for us to be ready to compete and ready for us to play a full 60 minutes.”
The team was upbeat throughout the workout, albeit there were several times where individuals had to go to one knee to catch their breath. The Stars practiced hard, taking it personally for their latest shortcomings in hockey games. The entire squad is committed to turning this around.
“We're going to do whatever it takes to get out of this,” said Head Coach Dave Tippett. “We tried to take days off and now we're going to try working. The drills today are all about ‘are we willing to do what you need to finish?’ Every second, every shift, every play needs to be played with intensity and desperation, and that's the message right now. There are a lot of different people that need to clean things up. Every mistake that we make is counting against us and that must get cleaned up. We look at this as a problem and something that needs to be fixed. We'll look to fix that with a lot of hard work.”
The Stars plan on more hard work this week before leaving for California on Wednesday.