Which Version Of The Stars Will Show On This Road Trip?
Another three game road trip is due to begin tonight with our first match up against Anaheim.
There are concerns amongst the Dallas faithful around who will actually make this trip and looking at the strength down the middle we are currently limited to it’s not hard to see why.
Brad Richards (groin) and Mike Modano (ribs - STILL!) are serious absentees for Dallas on this trip. Their respective status’ have led to call ups for several youngsters from our AHL affiliate; the Texas Stars who have all been desperately unlucky in having no time to bed in to the team and make their marks on their adopted lines.
Perttu Lindgren - Called up from Texas for the 4-1 home reverse against Los Angeles as a replacement for Brad Richards. In the LA game, he had 8 minutes 33 of ice time, had no shots and finished an even 0 on the +/- scale.
Francis Wathier - Called up from Texas for the Anaheim game tonight in place of Lindgren and ultimately Modano. This will be Wathier’s NHL season debut.
Tom Wandell - Called up from Texas for the 4-3 road win against Chicago as a replacement for Mike Modano. In this game he had 12 minutes 37 of ice time and registered 1 shot and 4 penalty minutes.
Aaron Gagnon - Called up from Texas for the 3-0 home loss against Boston as a replacement for Steve Ott. In this game he had 9 minutes, 6 seconds of ice time and not a whole lot else.
Each of the above three have only featured in one game each and this merry-go-round of players coming and going between the AHL and NHL is quite strange for a team used to having so much strength in depth.
For those not keeping count; here’s the injury toll so far:
Echoes of last seasons decimation indeed.
These should be somewhat nervous times for Dallas Stars fans but in all honesty; I think we’re a long way off needing to panic just yet.
We still have formidable leadership in Brenden Morrow. We’re due to have the Ott-er back for the Anaheim game tonight and Richards should only be a day or two behind him.
Where Mo and Lehtinen are concerned; it doesn’t look pretty.
Modano in particular was looking good for a comeback on the last road trip but has aggravated the rib he injured in the season opener against Nashville which has set him on Injured Reserve. Likewise Lehtinen who was initially day to day but is now on IR for the foreseeable.
So; three game road trip. Plenty to prove. Plenty of development for the youngsters coming up. Plenty of reputations with a need to come to the fore (are you listening Mr Ribeiro?). I’m looking forward - as ever - to it.
Rather than the personnel who make the trip though; I’m looking more for the effort that will be put in. Very soft performances at home against Boston and the Kings were disappointing to say the least and there needs to be such a marked effort in at least two of the forthcoming three games. Marty Turco really needs some help from the guys in front of him and take command of his crease BIG TIME! He is the goaltender. For all intents and purposes, he plays the most important position on the ice.
There have been several times this season at both even strength and at a man down when our own players have been blocking his line of sight on really soft goals. It’s these soft goals that knock the stuffing out of a goalies’ confidence. This simply has to improve.
In soccer, there is a legendary Danish goalkeeper called Peter Schmeichel who was absolutely dominant in his area. He barked at the defense if they were blocking his line of sight. He was constantly watching the unmarked man. He was up and in the face of the opposing team whenever any of them dared enter his “lair” as he referred to it. Turco needs a bit more of the same aggression. Be in their face. Get a glove to a puck and wave it in the nose of the shooter.
Otherwise, the defense is playing relatively well so far. If we can rub out or minimize the soft goals, we will be absolutely fine; leading American born goal scorer or not.
Good luck guys!