After a day off on Sunday, the Dallas Stars were back on the ice in Toronto on Monday preparing for Tuesday’s game against the Maple Leafs.
Following Saturday night’s 5-2 loss in Denver that coach Lindy Ruff called “embarrassing” and “pathetic” due to a rash of mistakes, the Stars bench boss said it was time to hit Control-Alt-Delete.
“I put the last one behind us and called it a system reset. We rebooted,” Ruff said. “Actually showed some of our training camp video and said if we want to remain consistent these are the things we have to do consistently. And we haven’t. We do them in spurts. When we do them well, we are a good team.”
Ruff said he dipped even further back in time, going back to last season to try to give examples of how the team needs to play to be successful.
“Eighty percent of the guys in that room had career years playing the way we need to play. It was not about showing what happened the last game, but showing about how we need to play,” Ruff said. “I’ve gone to leaders of the group and said it starts with you guys. You guys have to do the right things on a consistent basis so that everybody follows you guys.”
Saturday’s loss left the Stars with a 9-10-5 record. They currently sit five points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They were seven points out at the 24-game mark last season and seven points out after a 1-8-1 slide in January of last season. So, it is not an insurmountable hole. But their play has been erratic this season, and they do need to turn things around or the hole will get deeper.
“It really is at a time where we have to play consistent hockey,” Ruff said. “If you play consistent hockey and do the little things right, you’ll win your share of games. You’re still going to lose some, but we need to find a really consistent game that will push up to standards.”
Practice notes: Goligoski sits out
*Defenseman Alex Goligoski (lower body) did not practice Monday. He was hit with a shot in Saturday’s game and is questionable for Tuesday.
“He took that shot last game. We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow,” said Ruff. “It’s still tender, but hopefully he’ll be ready to go.”
*Ruff juggled his lines in Monday’s practice and had Ales Hemsky up on the top line with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Hemsky has just one goal in 23 games this season and the Stars are still trying to get him going.
“The last time they were together, he had some great opportunities,” Ruff said. “Again, I thought he got too caught up in the fact he didn’t finish. I think if he does the right things and he’s with those guys, the finish will be there.”
*Jason Spezza centered Erik Cole and Patrick Eaves. Cody Eakin centered Antoine Roussel and Ryan Garbutt. Garbutt will return to the lineup Tuesday after serving a two-game suspension for kneeing Edmonton’s Taylor Hall.
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.