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Durability Helped Define Key Stars in 2010-11

by Steve Hunt / Dallas Stars

Four of the Stars’ more crucial players during 2010-11 were defenseman Trevor Daley, centers Steve Ott and Mike Ribeiro plus winger and captain Brenden Morrow. Each member of this talented quartet has been in Dallas for a number of years and in their own unique way, made huge contributions to this year’s team.

Daley (8-19-27, +7) helped cement a Dallas blue line that showed great improvement from the year before. Paired for much of the year with Jeff Woywitka, Trevor was rewarded with a much-deserved contract extension that will keep him in Big D for years to come.

Ott continued to be a player opposing teams and fans hate to play against, the ultimate fly in the ointment who is adept at getting under the skin of the opposition and wreaking his own brand of havoc on the pond. The Stars center also chipped in offensively (12-20-32).

As for Ribeiro, he led Dallas in assists with 52 helpers to go with 19 goals to finish the campaign with a rock-solid 71 points. Morrow led the team in goals with 33 along with 23 assists for 56 total points.

But these four players also held another distinction. They were the only Stars to play in all 82 regular-season games.

This year marked the second in Daley’s short yet impressive tenure in the NHL that he has played every game. He also accomplished the feat in 2007-08, and played in 81 contests in 2005-06.

While he’s impressed with being on the ice for every game this season, he also gives much of the credit to two other members of this group because of the physical style they both employ between the lines.

“The other guys were Morrow, Otter and Ribs,” Daley said. “I’ll give it to Otter and Morrow. That’s pretty special that they can do that. I think Robi[das] missed one game because of suspension and you can see the kind of style that guy plays. You’ve got to really put all three of those guys in that same category. Those guys are a really physical bunch and it’s a good accomplishment.”

If there is one member of this group who sported more battle scars than the other three, it had to be Ott, whose face was adorned with its share of nicks, bruises, scrapes and even scars by the time the 82-game gauntlet was over.

Absorbing all that damage is all part of it for the veteran center who played in all 82 for just the second time in his career. His first time was in 2005-06.

“I guess you can say it’s a reason why I played all 82 this year, which is pretty exciting and fun for myself,” Ott said. “Me and Brenden [Morrow] kind of talked about it and joked about it the other day-it’s nice to be able to compete in all of them but you end up looking like this. I’d rather look like this than miss games. That’s for sure.”

However, it shouldn’t be surprising that playing every regular-season contest is nothing new for Morrow, who epitomizes everything the Stars want in a captain. In fact, the man wearing the “C” for Dallas has now played in all 82 three times in his solid career. The last time he did so was in the 2007-08 season, so it’s been a while.

Like Morrow, Ribeiro is also regarded as a fairly durable guy. In fact, this year marked the second time in his career that he didn’t miss a game in the regular season. The other time came in 2008-09 with the Stars. The Dallas center has also played in 81 games twice in his career, once with Montreal and again with Dallas.

He chalked up his durability this year to a factor many didn’t consider.

“I’m just that big, that strong,” Ribeiro joked. “I don’t like to miss games. Once you miss even 2-3 games, when you come back, it’s that much faster and you miss a step. I’m trying to play every game even if I don’t feel good. You want to be in there and not miss a beat.”

So, where do the 2010-11 Stars with four guys who played every game rank in recent franchise history? Well, the 2009-10 team had three players who laced ‘em up for all 82 games (Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson and Stephane Robidas).

But having four guys who didn’t miss a game is a pretty impressive feat and the second-most the Stars have had over the last 10 seasons. Only the 2007-08 Stars, who had five players (Daley, Robidas, Niklas Hagman, Mike Modano and Morrow) play all 82, have had a more durable roster than the 2010-11 Stars in recent history. Hopefully that’s a trend that only grows moving into next season.

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