The Stars practiced in Frisco Friday afternoon, but before the on-ice session the team met about Thursday’s 6-3 loss at Arizona.
“We talked about the snake that bit us again,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “We’ve done it almost every 15 games; we get away from our game. We handed the opposition some really good rush chances, and it hurt us. So, it is reset and get ready for tomorrow. We know that Boston is in a dogfight with where they are at, and they are going to be a desperate team.”
Ruff passed on using video as a teaching tool Friday and used a different visual aid.
“Today, I used the rink on the dressing room floor,” Ruff said. “Sometimes when you get in there and watch video after a while it becomes … It’s not about one individual mistake. If you make an individual mistake, they know who made the mistake. They don’t need me to say that with video. When it comes to the structure of our game, that’s what we want to deal with, where the pieces have to be in place. The errant passes and some of the missed plays, that happens. We had plenty of interceptions on their part and didn’t put them in the back of the net. They took a couple of ours and went the other way.”
Thursday’s loss came after an eight-game stretch where the Stars played seven games against Central Division foes and one game against league-leading Washington. Some players said they may have taken the Coyotes lightly. Ruff didn’t disagree and said it is a hurdle the Stars still need to overcome.
“That was my conversation after the game. We were probably looking for easy, and it wasn’t,” Ruff said. “If you look at the opportunities we gave up, we did take them lightly. We’ve been able to cross a lot of bridges this year and fix a lot of things that went wrong last year. It’s probably our last thing that we have to fix – taking no team lightly, no team for granted and realizing maybe a team like that, you might have to beat them 1-0.”
Ruff rolled out some different line combinations during Friday’s practice. Among the moves was putting Ales Hemsky on the top line with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.
“We haven’t had a lot of practice time, so it’s an option I’d like to try,” Ruff said.
Hemsky has nine points (five goals, four assists) in his past 14 games and might be playing his best stretch of hockey as a Dallas Star.
“I think it has been,” Ruff said. “I like where he is at because it adds depth in the lineup, but I think it’s an opportunity in a game to put him there to create something that is real dynamic or if we need a goal.”
Hemsky has scored two goals during the Stars’ three-game road trip and has points in four of his past five games.
“I’ve had ups and downs, but I feel pretty good,” Hemsky said. “I’ve been playing with [Mattias Janmark], and the line has switched around, but we had pretty good chemistry, you build from that, and the confidence gets a little bit higher. You hold onto the puck a little bit longer, you’re not losing battles down low, and you create more. It feels good.”
And on the possibility of playing with Benn and Seguin?
“You’ll have to ask [Ruff]. Wherever he puts me he puts me, and I will try to do my job,” Hemsky said. “I’ll try to help the other guys on the line, try to play my game and help the team. It really doesn’t matter to me which line. But honestly, those guys are two of the best players in the league, so it’s nice to play with them.”
Here was the practice lineup on Friday. Ruff said don’t read anything into the defense pairs.
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Ales Hemsky
Mattias Janmark – Jason Spezza – Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Patrick Sharp
Valeri Nichushkin – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour/Radek Faksa
Alex Goligoski – John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya – Jordie Benn
Patrik Nemeth – Jason Demers
Jamie Oleksiak – Jyrki Jokipakka
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.