"Don't wish things were easier, wish you were better"
I wish both for our staggering Stars.
But here we are. Nothing coming easy. Not getting much better.
Most troubling is the lack of spit and smack in situations like last night's 3rd period shellacking in St Paul. There was no 'screw you' pride, no 'take me out on my shield', they just took it - six straight times - like a series of tire irons to the forehead. And this was in the season series finale against a chief rival that they are supposedly joisting with for a playoff spot. Brutal.
The massacre in Minnesota came a night after blowing two 2-goal leads in a phantasmagoric 7-6 loss to the Red Wings at AAC. I'm not sure how that gets tabulated, it's either the 12th time they've squandered a 2-goal lead or the 12th and 13th. Whichever it is it's the most in the league this season.
And as an extra kick in the berries, that loss to Detroit marked just the 2nd time this season that a team has scored 6 or more goals in a game, and lost. The league-wide record now sits at
93-0-2. The positive take would be that the other team to suffer such a loss is the defending Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings. (Always good to be linked to the Cup Champs)
All told, 13 goals were surrendered in 120 minutes of hockey on successive nights in the throes of a playoff race...11 of them in the third periods and the 36 seconds of an overtime. ELEVEN.
That isn't stumbling in the clutch, that is getting overrun like Stormlands at the hands of House Lannister in Game of Thrones. (Hot pop reference)
It's also probably just another phase in the, at times, 'tough to watch' development of a rebuilding franchise. (Remember: This is year 2)
Eventually the team's defense (and defensive play) will be fortified and mistakes will be less cadaverous in nature - it's called maturity, and asset allocation. But until that time (which we all hope is pre-Mars inhabitation) the fluctuations in play, vacillating capitulation, and inability to hold leads will probably continue.
Here's an interesting nugget regarding the makeup of the Stars current defense corp: The only two defensemen to be charged with a fighting major this season are the two guys who were traded for one another, Jason Demers (in that wild melee with the Wild in Dallas) and Brenden Dillon. Not saying fighting is necessary, just saying.
Watching the way captain Jamie Benn has played since the All-Star break, with all the goals and how valiantly he has set the tone for his squad early in games has been marvelous to witness (And he's surely doing it at less than 100%). I just wish more guys would feed off that and follow up. Maybe that too is a sign of a team's immaturity...?
Somehow this franchise has to get out of the mediocrity of record and win more games because they're hard to play against instead of because they excelled at juggling chainsaws and spinning plates.
In the meantime, let's just resign ourselves to the fact that it's going to be a somewhat bumpy ride - a frustrating mix of fabulosity and fire-drills.
My advice: Focus on the fabulous, because for the most part the Stars have been one of the most watchable clubs in the league...
...but the big question now is will they be present to watch come playoff time?