With a rare four day break between games, the Dallas Stars used the schedule to their advantage by taking time to look at the first 13 games of the season and work on the fundamentals that were important parts of their early season success.
“It’s nice when you have a few days off between games because it gives you an opportunity to work on the little details of your game and to remember the way that we want to play,” Stars forward Adam Burish
said after practice on Wednesday. “Many times during the season you don’t have a lot of time to think about the little details because you playing every other day. With time off we watched video and worked on things as a team that we can improve from our last few games.”
Burish told DallasStars.com that during the team’s practice over the last week the coaching staff has reinforced basics of their game plan including neutral zone play and the forecheck.
“We are working on tightening things up because we play a lot of games in the next few months and don’t have as many days off,” Burish said.
Dallas has been aided this season by the addition of associate coach Willie Desjardins to the coaching staff, whom Stars head coach Marc Crawford says has been essential during on and off-ice instruction.
“As a former head coach, what Willie has done that has been really helpful for me is thinking like a head coach,” Crawford said. “It’s a subtle thing but when you have decisions being made there are always ramifications of these decisions on the team. Being a former head coach, he has had to deal with these big decisions before for a long time. Willie has helped me because he has the vision of the head coach.”
Along with bringing his experience as a head coach in the Western Hockey League and Canada’s World Junior team, Desjardins has been a huge asset for the team’s time in the video room.
“In today’s day in age there is so much more visual learning happening in every aspect of life and we’re no different,” said Crawford. “I can see in our systems work that our video time has paid off on the ice because he puts in a lot of time and preparation in our film and pre scouting sessions.”
The Stars hope that extra time on the ice and in the video room will pay off on their two-game road trip to California to face the Los Angeles Kings (Thursday) and Anaheim Ducks (Friday) on back-to-back nights. Los Angeles and Anaheim both won games on the Stars home ice last month at American Airlines Center.
“We have continued to put a focus on working on things we need to improve and figuring out how to make this team better,” Stars forward Jamie Benn
said. “We are looking forward to the stretch of games coming up in California. It’s going to be tough, both teams are playing well right now so it’s going to be a challenge against the Kings and the Ducks.”
Going into two road games against divisional opponents, Burish said that it’s about the little things during games that will be the difference between winning and losing.
“You go in knowing that we played a solid game against both teams but we didn’t do enough to win,” Burish said. “It’s a new game and a new day but in the back of your mind, you want to give a little more and hopefully that will put us over the top.”
The Stars return from their two game road trip to face the Anaheim Ducks at home on Tuesday, November 16th at 8:00 pm (Tickets