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Finding Consistency

by Olivia Kiespert / Dallas Stars

Although the Stars have managed to earn points in 15 of their first 21 games so far this season, the Stars’ overall play has been inconsistent game to game. The Stars have yet to win back-to-back games this season, something of which the team is very aware.

“We’re a really good team when we play the right way,” says defenseman Stephane Robidas. “When we play the system, everyone’s into it; we’re rolling lines, guys are paying attention to detail with short shifts and back checking. It’s a lot of skating and an up-tempo game. I think that’s our identity. It’s just a matter of doing it. It’s easy to talk and say, ‘Oh that’s what we need to do.’ It’s a matter of doing it on a consistent basis, that’s been our problem. You play one good game against a good team and then you go and, whoops, and then you play a good game and then, whoops. It’s been up and down and that’s where we’ve got to focus. We’ve got to get on a roll, get that winning streak together. To do it, it’s pretty simple; it’s work ethic. It all comes down to work ethic and wanting to do the dirty jobs sometimes. It’s not always going to be easy. You’ve got to be willing to do the dirty work.”

With six games over the next 10 days, the Stars have a great opportunity to find that consistency. Players and coaches hope that this steady stream of games will result in steady play by the players and steady additions to the win column.

Peters on standby
The Stars recalled center Warren Peters from the Texas Stars (AHL) on Thursday. Although he sat out as a healthy scratch against Columbus, Peters might see ice time soon, especially now that the NHL just announced that James Neal has been suspended for two games. Thursday night, Neal hit Derek Dorsett and was called for boarding and given a five-minute major and a game misconduct. Neal had a hearing with the league Friday morning and word came down of his suspension that afternoon.

In any regard, Peters is enjoying his time in Dallas and is ready to step up in whatever way the Stars require.

“I feel like I can [do whatever the Stars need],” Peters says. “I obviously have some attributes that I think got me here and those are what I have to stick with. I’m sure that those are well known and that’s again why I’m here. I have to rely on those first and foremost. I can’t try to do too much or expect too much. Again, I just need to be dependable and play the way they expect me to.”

Peters broke his orbital bone on Sept. 19 in a preseason game against the St. Louis Blues and was sent to Austin after his recovery. In just 16 games for the Texas Stars, he has recorded seven goals and four assists. At the time of his call-up, he had an active five-game goal streak (6-1-7) and a six-game point streak (6-2-8)

“He’s a gritty guy and plays with his heart,” says Stars coach Marc Crawford. “Any time you have guys that play with their heart and are competitive, it’s such a great trait to have. He’s a depth player and that’s why they signed him at the start of the year; because of his competitiveness, because of his combativeness. We saw it in the preseason where he did break his orbital bone. You see it even in practice today; he gets a little cut in the practice because he sticks his nose in there and he’s willing to pay a price to get the puck out, to get pucks on net, to go to those heavy traffic areas. Those are the types of things you love about character players. You never have enough character on your team, and he’s certainly added a dimension of that to ours.”

A few players sat out of practice today to try and get some rest before the Stars resume their intense schedule of games tomorrow night.

“We just had a few guys who stayed out of practice today, but they all should be good to go tomorrow; [Trevor] Daley, [Brad] Richards and [Jere] Lehtinen,” Crawford says. “[Brian] Sutherby skated a little bit and [Fabian] Brunnstrom is improving. That’s pretty much it. If we have to use Warren Peters, we will use him. But we’re kind of up in the air here until we hear what comes down from [James Neals’ hearing] this morning.”

Sutherby (groin) has missed the last three games, while Brunnstrom (shoulder) has not played since Nov. 7 because of an injury he sustained in practice.

“Yesterday I didn’t feel so good, but today I felt much better and was able to shoot,” Brunnstrom says. “The next step is just contact. But I felt good today, and I’ve been working really hard this last week on and off the ice so I can get back.”

Devils next
The Stars face off against the New Jersey Devils tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at AAC (Tickets). This is the first of two meetings for the teams this season. Last year, the teams split the season series 1-1, each winning on home ice. Brad Richards led Dallas with three assist in the two games, while Loui Eriksson notched two goals for the Stars.

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