I wanted to share with the masses some fo the feedback I received based on the "Problems with the Stars" column I wrote a few days back, after the Devils-Rangers back-to-back debacle:
I think I love you more and more Bob. I have been saying this for 2 years!! Robidas is the perfect #3. Grossman might have potential to be a #2 (he has shut down Big Joe in the playoffs), but his passing is never going to compete with the high-end puck moving D-men. The Stars need someone who can make the first pass out of the zone. My distaste for the Stars has risen to a level where I only check the box scores and tsn.ca headlines to see if they have made a trade for a D-man yet. This makes me very sad. I am dreading what I am going to do for sports in February after the SuperBowl.
You could have also mentioned how not having a #1/2 D pair forces you to play forwards on the point on the PP, because that's all we have that can bring the heat.
Also as a side-note. The Hurricanes won a cup a few years ago with a no-name defense.. so as impractical as it is, it has happened. Cam Ward stood on his friggin noggin and was the Conn Smythe Winner to pull it off though.
Thanks, Sonny. But, I would not ignore these guys. I think they are going through an extremely tough spell, but the few things that fire me up include that they have plenty of quality youth that is showing us that a better day is not far away, and they are not far out of the mix for this year as it stands. I think once Marc Crawford and Joe Nieuwendyk are given a full chance to put some pieces in place that have a chance to execute their vision, we will see things pick up dramatically. At least, that is my hope.
Nice analysis on the d-man payroll thread. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that we rank dead last, but it is pretty eye opening. I completely agree with you on defensive depth of this team. I love Robidas, since Zubie is gone, he is by far my favorite player... but he is being asked to do way too much as a #1 guy.
I will, however, respectively disagree with you about Turco. I've been tracking the quality of the pucks that go by him this year, and he has just been horrible. I don't know what's going on with him, but it seems to me that he is no longer capable of being a franchise goalie. He just lets in way too many soft goals. (See goal #1, #2, #3 from last night.) It doesn't matter who is playing in front of you if you are going to let in an unobstructed 60 footer on the short side.
Keep up the good work.
Hockey John, it seems to me that Marty's foe is sometimes between his ears. It seems that when things weigh on his mind, his play suffers. That can be any number of elements, but I would say this season it is both contract uncertainty and perhaps a lack of confidence that he is surrounded by a proper supporting cast to help stop enemy attacks.
That being said, a true "franchise goalie" can block all circumstances out and still rise up and pull the team with him. He needs to be better. He needs to be able to carry this team. And he hasn't, yet, since the '08 playoff run. I do however, have a hard time forgetting about Vancouver '07, Anaheim '08, San Jose '08, and even Game 5 in Detroit in '08, too. Marty has proven he can play at a certain level, and since his blueline has been stripped down, he has not approached it.
Part of it is on him. But, how much? There is the rub, and something the front office has to figure out correctly. It is one thing to bid Marty a fond farewell when his contract expires, but then what? Who is between your pipes then?
I just read your article off the stars blog and I couldn’t agree with you more. The stars do not have a huge presence on the blue line, a go-to tandem to put out there when the other teams number 1 line comes out. Robida and Grossman are ok but they are not a physical presence nor are they a Nick Lidstrom. Prime example, last night Gaborick goes offsides and swats Robidas down to the ice like he was nothing and also I can’t remember who it was but that left winger that took the puck to the goal running over Marty, ripping his helmet off. Razor even said that guy knew what he was doing and my belief is that unless Barch or Ott are on the ice the other team knows no one is going to come at them. It is also oblivious that the Stars don’t have a lot of depth in the minors because when we had injurys a couple weeks ago they brought Fortunious up to play in 7 or 8 games. I know I was his first games but he is a little runt and was getting run over and he had to be a negative player. They need to make a sign or two at the deadline to get a couple guys in here, now will they do that with the current ownership, probably not but they will not contend until that happens.
Any chance Zubov comes back for a late season run?
Marty was terrible last night, those goals should never go in from those distances.
Scott, to me, that was the most disappointing thing about the road-trip. I felt this team wasn't engaged. When someone runs your goalie, or when Sean Avery is challenging every member of your team, you have to stick up for yourself and eachother. I believe in the worlfpack mentality. If you don't have it, you don't have a chance. I needed Barch or Ott or Morrow or someone to stand up to him, and for whatever reason, I didn't see it. That is discouraging, and if it becomes a trend, it must be addressed. In the NHL, if you are not there for eachother, then you are not there at all.
And I don't think Zubov is in the plans. I think that is a band-aid. If we can get Zubov at 25 years old again, I am in. But, we might need a time machine for that, and I am all out of crystals.
You could not have been more correct with this blog. The correlation of Turco's performance to his Defenseman is so true. The one thing I cannot decide, is Turco's confidence gone due to the defense in front of him, his skills are deteriorating due to age or both. Regardless what it is, he has really sucked as of late. With their AHL goalie winning the player of the month honors I think it is time to bring him up.
Brent Krahn, who is 28 this year, did win the AHL goaltender of the month last month, and Matt Climie is approaching his 27th birthday and handles the rest of the duty in Austin. I am not saying they cannot help you, because I have no idea. But, I do know that 28 is an awfully old prospect. I guess we may see.
Very logical approach Mr. Sturm. I wonder a couple of things:
1. Does the salary spent on defensemen correlate to the current conference standings?
2. Every Program Manager I have worked for has a slush fund.
3. We have a trade deadline coming up. Is it reasonable for Stars management to spend for a #1 defenseman and actually/commit to keeping him on something longer than a 1 year contract in order to give the younger guys a rotation?
4. Are Mr. Ribero, Mr. Richards and Mr. Modano passing on their tribal knowledge of the face-off circle to the others?
Lastly, I am one of two Stars fans here in beautiful Rocket Center WV. (my wife is the other). Would you be good enough to forward my concerns to the appropriate Stars management staff?
1. No. No team is spending more this season on player salaries than the Toronto Maple Leafs. Only 2 teams have fewer points in the NHL than the Maple Leafs. Money isn't everything, but it sure doesn't hurt.
2. I don't believe that is the case in this NHL.
3. I think the thing to do was to get in the mix for a free agent in the summer of '08 when you actually had some money. But, they settled on Sean Avery. Since then, the wallet has been empty, and now I don't think there will be adding of payroll until the Rangers are sold. So, every dollar in must be a dollar out.
4. I would think so, but, remember, Ribeiro has a career faceoff win percentage of about 45%, and even though Brad Richards is over 50% since becoming a Dallas Star, he is 48% for his career. Only Modano has been better than 50 in his career. 52% is his career mark, so I am not sure this entire team has anything that approaches the '99 Stars. Check out what they rolled out there (who took more than 200 faceoffs that year):
The team was at 53%, a mark that would often lead the NHL. And Nieuwendyk's 63% was 740 wins in 1170 draws! Zenon Konopka of the Lightning leads the league at 62% this year. Not very familiar with Zenon's work.
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