Ask the younger Stars defenders who they look up to among their group and they all have the same answer, Stephane Robidas
. The 33-year-old blueliner is in his eighth season with Dallas and 12th NHL season and it’s hard to not recognize Robi’s contributions to the Stars’ success so far this year.
“I think most people recognize he’s in that elite group of top-10 defensemen of Canadian birth in the NHL and that’s pretty good. He is a leader for us,” Dallas head coach Marc Crawford said. “He goes about it the right way and shows people what he can do. You can’t say enough about his leadership by example. He’s just a very competitive guy. He’s one of those guys that you never underestimate.”
But the veteran defender is also making a solid contribution on the offensive sided. Through 34 games, he has three goals and 16 assists for 19 points. Any time he finds he stat sheet, it’s a good omen for the Stars as they are 11-1-2 when he has a point.
“We better get on him to start scoring some more. He brings a different element to a game that not a lot of people can bring with his competitive style, his hard-nosed attitude and also his offensive skill,” Dallas center Steve Ott
said. “He’s just such a great leader for us and a big part of this team that we don’t look like the Dallas Stars without Stephane Robidas
Robidas isn’t too concerned with any such stat surrounding his offensive production.
“I know there are a lot of stats out there and everything but I don’t really pay attention to that. For us, it’s really the team,” the Dallas defenseman said. “It’s a team game and you need everybody. Everybody is doing their part and their different little things. Sometimes a lot of stuff that guys do goes unnoticed. People look for goals and assists but it’s the little things that don’t get noticed that really help us. We’ve got a lot of guys doing a lot of stuff like that but that’s not something you read about in the paper or see on a highlight reel.”
However, that doesn’t mean he won’t savor those great offensive nights, like the one he had on Tuesday night in a 5-2 win over Montreal where he tied a career high with three points by assisting on three of the five Dallas goals.
“I got lucky on a couple of those,” Robidas said. “I didn’t do anything special or anything fancy. I’m not a Zubov type of player. I’m not going to dangle guys and make spectacular plays like he would do. I just try to do play in my limits and be myself.”
He does admit that having a group of forwards that includes Jamie Benn
, James Neal and Brad Richards definitely makes his job a bit easier.
“My job is to defend well first. Being a defenseman, sometimes I have to just make the easy pass, they take care of the rest and it ends up on the scoring sheet,” Robidas said. “I haven’t done anything differently. It’s just a matter of being in the right spot at the right time and just trying to take advantage of the different situations the coaches have put me in. I’m not the guy who’s going to rush the puck all the way down and try to skate through everybody.”
Whether it’s on the offensive or defensive end, Stephane Robidas
continues to make solid contributions to the 2010-11 Stars. Many of those little things might not show up on the stat sheet but when they do, it’s a sign of good things to come for this team.
On Sunday night, the Stars return to the AAC ice to host Phoenix. Robidas is definitely hoping for a return performance from the last time his club faced the Coyotes in Big D. That was back on November 5 when he had a pair of assists in a 6-3 Dallas win.