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Practice Makes Perfect

by Dallas Stars Staff / Dallas Stars

The Stars got in a solid morning of practice on Monday before heading out to the west coast for the first leg of a stretch of five consecutive road games.

Dallas will visit Anaheim, San Jose and Los Angeles this week and return home before ending the stretch with games at Carolina and Atlanta next week. Dallas will play five games in a span of 13 days, time that will serve the team well to practice, mentally refresh and bond as a team on the road.

“We got a chance to address some of the areas of concern (at this morning’s practice) and we had a good day and half off, which doesn’t happen very often,” said Stars Head Coach Marc Crawford. “When you are delivering messages, having your team rested mentally helps. You’ve got to work hard in your practices; it has a direct correlation to the execution that happens in the games. I was pleased with what we got out of practice today. We went a little longer than we usually do. We did a little bit of teaching and more work on our system play than normal.”

The Stars would like to become more of a consistent team, not only from game-to-game, but even period-to-period.

“We haven’t been consistent all year and that’s something we want to address,” said defenseman Stephane Robidas. “We want to play well defensively and be a team that is tough to play against.
Sometimes we’ll have a good first (period), then a bad second, and a good third. We want to play a full 60 minutes and play hard.”

Crawford feels that balance is key, with parts of your game making up for others at different times.

“You need most of the facets of your game going in order to win,” he said. “If you have a night where defensively you’re not sharp and you give up a few too many chances, the scoring part of your game better be at a high level. On the other side of it, if you’re not scoring, then your defensive game has got to be really sharp. It’s really important that your special teams have been good. If you look at it, we won against Anaheim (on Thursday night) because we did a really good job of defending. We didn’t give them a heck of a lot in that game. Against Edmonton, we gave up way too much. We didn’t have our power play in both of those games, but we did have our penalty kill. If you look at those four areas of play, against Anaheim we had three areas going pretty well and against Edmonton we had two. At the end of the day, you need all of the areas to be pretty good. You might not get perfect execution on every one of them, but if you get the majority of your special teams performing at a good level, then you’ve got a better chance of getting a pretty good result. Ultimately, we were in the game against Edmonton because we had a great goaltending performance in the game, and that was the case against Anaheim as well.”

Dallas knows there are no easy stretches in an NHL schedule. This three-game trip west is no exception.

“They’re all good teams and they are big points,” said Robidas. “We have to take it one game at a time and just be patient. We have a good team and we know how to win on the road. But it all starts on Tuesday at Anaheim and that is what we are focusing on right now.”

Skrastins Placed on IR; Vishnevskiy Recalled

Stars defenseman Karlis Skrastins was placed on injured reserve, retroactive to Dec. 3, when he suffered a deep laceration on his right index finger from an Anaheim Duck skate. Skrastins received several stitches and the finger simply needs time to heal.

Dallas recalled defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy from the AHL Texas Stars to take Skrastins’ place. The Stars’ number one pick from 2006 made his NHL debut at the end of last season, showing glimpses of his offensive potential.

“They told me that I am going to play tomorrow, so I am excited about the opportunity,” he said. “I’ve been down in Austin and have worked and tried to prove myself and get better. Tomorrow is a chance to go out there and show what I have learned since last year and the beginning of the season.”

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