There was a lot to like and a few things I wasn't crazy about after watching every last shift of the 5-4 shootout loss...
First, the Left Wing position appears to be in pretty good shape, no? Brendan Morrow is back in form, and although it may take a while before he is at the top of his game, seeing him go to the mouth of the goal and cause commotion and score a few was a pleasure.
James Neal looks like he has made the best of his summer to continue to develop his game. He is a man amongst boys right now, and perhaps all of this discussion that Jamie Benn
will surpass Neal as the kid with the biggest "wow" factor has inspired Neal even more. He is surely a candidate for "jersey to buy" if you are in the pro shop next homestand.
The biggest off-season concern in the circles I run in is the question of whether the Stars will receive the goaltending they need. We know that this thing is about a hundred different dynamics, but in the end, it almost always comes down to special teams and goalie. Well, Turco to me, through 2 games, still looks like he is fighting the puck in certain situations. We have all seen Turco at his finest, and I just haven't seen that Marty in a while. We have heard about his conditioning and his contract year, but I swear, with Marty it is all about his head. I believe the Marty knows when he is feeling it, and when he is not. And when he is not, it seems to be obvious in the entire arena. I need the "I am made of steel" Marty back soon. I just am not positive he believes in his defense and his pads right now. I am not positive he believes he will make that save that he has to make with a game on the line. I could be wrong, but I need to see it. Let's continue to monitor this story.
Also, faceoffs are starting to become a real issue. Do you know the 7 worst teams in faceoffs last year? From worst to 7th worst: Coyotes, Islanders, Sabres, Avalanche, Stars, Oilers, and Panthers.
Do you know how many of those teams made the playoffs last year? That's right. None. Now, it is possible to be poor at faceoffs and good at hockey - Chicago and Pittsburgh qualify. But, you have to be so good at everything else. The Stars simply must find a way to win more often. Steve Ott
seems to be the only center they trust right now. That is an issue to follow, too.
Beyond that, consider me a big fan of both Skrastins and Woywitka. Woywitka obviously wants that Dustin Penner chance back, but, so far so good for those two veteran and reasonably priced defensemen. Skrastins, especially, is that Ludwig/Matvichuk type defenseman who will mind his own end and give up his body. Love it. This group really needs it.
Finally, the broadcast last night started with a montage of Stars-Oilers most memorable moments. I somewhat forgot about this gem.
Patrick Stefan's most memorable moment with the Stars. Amazing. And even more amazing that I had blocked it out of my memory banks.
By the way, the Stars won that game in a shootout on Jan 4, 2007
. Something I would like to see them pull off this season, too. Jussi and Sergei are no longer here to carry us through shootouts.
Email Bob at Sturm1310@aol.com