How about a Wednesday email?
I am very excited about this year, but trying to remain reasonable with my levels of expectation.
If you don’t mind, can you detail the biggest weakness for this team?
Sure, Darren. Answering emails is a big part of this blog, so I will try to answer many of these on a regular basis.
For me, this is a no brainer of the highest order. The biggest concern for me as I look at the Stars is the blueline. I saw too many times in the last year unsteady moments in the Stars end that ended up in the back of the net, and on the ledger of Marty Turco.
Don’t get me wrong. Marty had a poor year. Even he will admit as much, I assume. But, there may not be a position in pro sports (besides QB) that takes more blame when things go poorly, but rely so heavily on the other parts of the team for things to go well.
A goalie needs guys marking men, clearing the crease, doing their jobs. The Stars have talent in the D-corps, but I am very certain that there is not a true #1 defenseman on this team. Someone may grow into the role eventually from amongst the kids, but so far, there are many #3 and #4 D-men on this team, but in my estimation, a Stanley Cup contender would require a true #1 on the back end to control the game.
Now, you may be asking, what is Stephane Robidas? Wasn’t he at the All-Star game? Didn’t he prove to be everything they could have dreamed last year? Yes, he was.
But, imagine how great Robidas would be if he was not mis-cast? You would not wear him down with heavy minutes, impossible match-ups, etc. Robidas is great. At times, he seems to demonstrate the heart of the team. But, a true #1 in a league of Lidstrom, Niedermayer, Pronger, Boyle, Keith, and Chara? Let’s not get carried away. Zubov could have been argued in that neighborhood a few years back, but Zubov is not here to play 28 stellar minutes anymore.
It used to be the backbone of this team with Hatcher, Matvichuk, Zubov, and Sydor. But now, the Stars have a blue-line of hopeful parts unifying to make a solid group.
I am very curious what Charlie Huddy, Marc Crawford, and the new group of coaches can do with this group. I was also very curious if the Stars were going to go fill their biggest need this summer, but as we mentioned, this was an extremely quiet summer on the acquisitions front.
Karlis Skrastins was brought in to absorb pucks and play some defensive defense. Good. This team could use another steady man in his own end.
But, if you want me to liken it to another sport, I would just suggest the Stars have a defense rotation that reminds me of the Texas Rangers pitching rotation. No true ace (even though Millwood and Robidas try), several middle-of-the-rotation guys (Feldman – Daley, Robidas), and plenty of interesting kids trying to figure out this league (Fistric, Grossman, Niskanen – Hunter, Holland, McCarthy). But, when you are competing against teams that have a true ace, you will have plenty of evenings of envy.
Can the Stars figure out a way around this? Absolutely. But, it is going to require many nights of scoring 4 to out-weigh the 3 they gave up. And that can always be a slippery slope.
Hope that answers your question.
Email Bob more questions at Sturm1310@aol.com
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