A buddy called me this morning and asked me "Is this all from the coaching change?"
When you pull off the rare 6-0 win in the NHL, it certainly gets everybody fired up. Especially in only your 2nd home game as everyone is still trying to figure out what sort of team you plan on putting on the ice this season.
We always are trying to assign blame or credit in sports, so now that the Stars are one of only 2 teams in the NHL without an actual loss through 5 games, the early reviews for the Marc Crawford era appear to be pretty positive.
Let's remember that there are 77 games to go, and only then will we be able to definitively say how well the coaching change has gone with the Stars, but the initial results are most encouraging. This team is playing a brand of hockey that appears to be showing off the strengths and hiding some of the weaknesses.
So far, so good.
The strength of this team has to be its top 6 up front. And when they push 4 past the goal-line before most people are in their seats last night (let that be a lesson!) you can see that the two lines of Ribiero-Benn-Morrow and Richards-Eriksson-Neal are most powerful. I am hard pressed to see very many teams that have that much talent up front. Then, you consider that when everyone is healthy you could go with a 3rd line of Modano-Lehtinen-Ott and have plenty of options to fill a 4th line with more.
I wonder if this is the year that Brad Richards gets back in the mix as a real star center in this league by dominating the puck like he has in the first 2 weeks with 9 points. He is so talented, and now with 2 hungry wings on each side that no how to finish, I wonder if the sky is the limit for Richy.
| (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) |
And Brenden? 7 points in his first 5 back from major knee surgery. Very encouraging.
You have to like it. Maybe not 6 very often, but the Stars will score goals this season if lady luck smiles on the injury front.
And then to Marty. Last night, he made those timely saves that keep a game from turning the wrong direction. Some nice ones indeed.
Even the PK was OK! That is right. 4-4 in kills raise that putrid penalty kill from 56% to 65% in one night!
Have I mentioned that Karlis Skrastins is a positve pickup enough yet?
Oh yeah, Nik Grossman leads the NHL at +10, Robidas is 2nd at +8. That puts Grossman on pace for +160 or so, so that will be tough to maintain. But still.
Enjoy the rarity of the 6-0 win. Come see this team play over this homestand, as they appear to be worth your eyeballs and your discretionary dollars.
Friday night, the Big, Bad Bruins roll in.
Email Bob at Sturm1310@aol.com and follow him on twitter at www.twitter.com/bobanddan
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