There’s an old saying in hockey – You can’t win the division in October but you can sure lose it.
There are plenty of things the Stars would like to clean up in their game – turnovers, over-pursuits, winning face-offs, and of course special teams play. But one place that the Stars can start and have a big impact is goaltending. And that comes down to Marty Turco.
“I just need to do whatever it takes to stop the puck,” Turco said after practice on Friday. “We just need to get the job done. We’re all in this thing together and my job on the surface seems a little more instantaneously valuable. We’ve been down that road before. The best way I can be a leader for this team is to build a wall for them and give them confidence, whether they need it or not. That’s pretty much all I have to do.”
The Stars have given up 18 goals in the first four games, which is not going to cut it. They know it too. Turco knows that if he can shore that up, good things will happen and it gives the team the best chance to win.
“It’s a big deal just because of where we’re at and it’s also a huge deal for what I do for this hockey club. We’re all disappointed the way things have gone. Goaltending is at the forefront of it and therefore is the one place where we know can have the quickest turnaround. I don’t think we can just flip a switch all of a sudden and pull together and erase all of the mistakes, the errors, the changes, the over-pursuits, you name it. I have to steady the ship to give us time to steadily climb out of this. I’ll try and make it as seamless as possible.”
Head Coach Dave Tippett knows how important it is for Turco to set the tone. But he’s also aware that there are 19 other guys in the lineup who have to do their share to get the team back to playing good hockey.
“Turco needs to find a way to elevate his game,” Tippett said. “He’s a big part of who we are, a big part of our identity. We need him to play well. We need to help him in every way to be successful just like he needs to help his teammates be successful. It’s all about playing as a team and that’s what we have talked about.”
Expectations were high for a team coming of a Conference Finals appearance. Some have asked if the players were reading too many of their own news clips. Turco says the effort needs to be there and it all starts with the team, not the media or fans.
“Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing on the outside is going to affect how we get out of this,” he said. “It’s all going to come from within. The way we have been playing has been caused by what we have been doing and the light at the end of the tunnel is going to come about by what we do in the locker room and out on the ice. It will all play out and the sooner the better for us.”
Everyone on the team needs to step up their game, starting with the leaders. They will have the biggest impact on the team’s psyche and it will be proven through actions rather than words.
“We just have to get back to playing the way we know how to play. It’s that simple,” Turco said. “We have to pull our weight as leaders and get the rest of the group back on track. On the ice is where I can lead the most and that’s what I am focusing on.”
After the Colorado game on Saturday, the Stars hit the road for three games in the Gotham City area, taking on the Rangers, Devils and Islanders next week before hosting the Capitals next Saturday night.STARGAZING
- Jere Lehtinen and Steve Ott
practiced with the team on Friday. Tippett said that Ott would be a game-time decision but was unsure on Lehtinen’s status for Saturday’s game.
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