An Attempt at Analysis 

Rather than try to backtrack and do a game recap for each game so far, here we’ll take a look at where we are after the first 13 games. Long story short, it isn’t pretty.So, should we be panicking? Let’s look at some data here real quick.

13 games into the season, we’re 4-6-3 with a total of 13 points. Currently below .500 and ranked second to last in the Central Division with a game in hand.

We’re at a -13 goal differential.

We’re tied for 18th in the League in Goals For. And probably not shocking, we’re 4th in the League in Goals Against.

Now, to say these numbers are concerning is a bit of an understatement. For some context, at this point last season we were 10-3-0. However, I hesitate to even use last year as any kind of measuring stick. The fact is that we are currently limping along trying to get through games while waiting for players to return to the lineup. At this point it’s almost (almost) comical how injured we are.

Last season, our struggle with defense and goaltending was rightfully scrutinized, especially come playoff time. But we were so successful due to our dynamic offensive abilities. We were able to outscore a lot of our defensive shortcomings (at least during the regular season).

So what happens when you’re lacking in the offense department? Janmark and Hemsky are out for the season, and Eakin is getting closer to returning, but he isn’t there yet. Sharp looks to be getting there after suffering a concussion, but hasn’t practiced with the team yet, and Spezza is still day to day. Hudler…well hopefully whatever virus he’s fighting clears up soon. But anyways, that’s 6 forwards we’re missing. Excluding Hudler, those players combined for 97 goals last season. 97 out of the 267 goals scored total by the team. That’s a little more than a 3rd. And that’s a huge loss I think we’re feeling all too much right now.

And that’s not even getting into our defense. Their inexperience has been exposed and put on display several times already. And our goaltending…well, we know it needs to be better, and we’ve known since last season.

So yeah, things are looking pretty bleak.

BUT.

We are still only 13 games into the season. We all know how quickly a season can change. We will be getting some of our injured players back. Sharp I believe is even meeting the team during their Western Canada stretch. And Spezza looks like he’s ready to jump back into a game any minute. Plus, we know the Stars can play well. We saw it during the St. Louis game, and even during the Chicago games where we lost.

After an 8-2 loss (damn you, Laine), we’re allowed to panic a little bit. But it’s still way too early to write this season off.

So, we’ll take things game by game. See where we are when we get key players back. Hope that Jamie Benn gets hot. And pray our goalies pull through for us. It’s not a lot to ask…right?    

Until next time,

Italia

Preseason Game: Frozen Fury (Dallas Stars @ LA Kings)

Final Score: DAL 6, LA 3

So Las Vegas was fun.
After experiencing the first ever NHL game hosted at the beautiful T-Mobile Arena, I have no doubt that the yet unnamed franchise found itself a nice market.

Thoughts about the game/experience:

This was the first time Caitlynn and I attended a game as the “Away” fans. We were certainly outnumbered in terms of people in LA gear. That being said, I feel us Stars fans made our presence known. We were loud! And we only got louder as the game progressed (that tends to happen when you’re in the lead. Also, alcohol).

All day we had seen a lot of people walking around the Strip in Stars apparel, and even though we were outnumbered, we had a decent showing. I liked the amount of Victory Green we saw.

As far as LA fans go, I didn’t have any issues with them. At least in our section everyone was courteous. There was a rather loud dude behind us that took it upon himself to start a “HEY STARS FANS! YOU SUCK!” chant throughout the game. Which many LA fans took a part in. But by the end he had settled down quite a bit…and honestly it wasn’t that annoying.

The Arena, like I said above, was really nice. My only gripe is that there are not enough exits/entrances. We had to wait quite a bit to get in, and exiting was a bit difficult since everyone was getting funneled into the same exit. Then again, my experience is based on the AAC, where we usually arrive early and stay late, so we end up avoiding most traffic.


We didn’t eat at the game, but there were plenty of options from what we saw walking around. They have a Shakeshack! Plus plenty of options for *ahem* adult beverages (Alcohol. I’m talking about alcohol.)

The Arena is pretty much right on the Strip, so once the game lets out, and beforehand, it’s easy to find some bars and restaurants to pregame or continue the celebration/drink your loss away.

All in all, the game was a ton of fun. It certainly didn’t hurt that the Stars won! I can definitely see ourselves taking a yearly trip to Vegas to catch a game. There has already been some discussion about attending the Vegas Team’s season opener next year…

I thought the Injury Gnome was a Pittsburgh thing…

Oh, Jamie Benn needs surgery? The dummy hurt himself training. No big deal, it’s the offseason. Even if he misses the World Cup, he’ll be fine for training camp. All is cool.Wait, now Tyler Seguin is hurt? It’s ok, they’re just taking him out because the tournament is too short for him to recover. He’ll be fine in 10 days or so…wait, a hairline fracture? Well that sucks. But ok, he’ll be back early in the season even if he isn’t ready for the opener. We’re still ok.

Faksa with concussion symptoms. That sounds bad…he’ll be cleared soon, though, right?

Hemsky left the game early… A groin injury? Damn man, that sounds terrible.

Ok, well at least the tournament is over for our guys. Training camp! We made it! Hold up, Eakin got hurt the first day? What the hell? How does that even happen? Now Shore? Dickinson out until early November recovering from hip surgery? Ok, maybe I’m getting a little concerned now…

Ok, Janmark is missing a preseason game. I’m sure he was just given an extra day to recover, no reason to panic about him being pulled from the lineup at the last minute. Hmm, well him being on crutches doesn’t sound too good, but I’m sure it’s just a bump…he’s out 5-6 months?!? 

Holy crap, ok, this is not funny anymore.  

Basically me for the last couple of weeks.

– Italia

Post Season Thoughts from Italia:

It’s almost a week later, and while I am still sad about how this season ended, I’ve stopped mopping and started seriously anticipating next season. I’m letting myself be comforted by the ridiculous amounts of young talent and potential our team has. I do believe that good things are yet to come for the Dallas Stars. So I am turning my attention forward and to the future, as I encourage all fans to do. Of course, before we do start looking ahead (as if there hasn’t already been a ton of discussion about changing things for next season already), I need to look back on this past season and reflect a tiny bit.

I know this isn’t a new sentiment, but no one expected the Dallas Stars to be as successful as they were this season. Week after week throughout the season, you’d hear the commentary about how their pace wasn’t sustainable, and how they would sooner or later crash. And yet despite all of the negativity, they consistently remained at the top of the standings for the division and conference, and even briefly in the league before the Capitals ran away with the lead. They broke franchise records for that unbelievable start to the season, and despite a scary looking month in January, they were able to keep it up and finish with the Central Division title, in first place of the Western Conference. A lot of the naysayers were quieted by the end of the season (only to reappear after Game 7 with their “I told you so’s”, but I won’t go into that). This team was a contender.

I understand that regular season merits mean very little if you don’t find playoff success. The Washington Capitals are a painful example of this. I understand that years of mediocrity are not easily forgotten after one great season. The Dallas Stars still have a lot to prove. So while I am bitter towards the critics, I understand that there is merit to what they are saying. This season was cut short due to some very real weaknesses and flaws that will hopefully be addressed in the offseason. We got close, just not close enough.

I know we were all left wanting for more, but I am so proud of this team for what they accomplished, and so optimistic for the future. I had so much fun this season, watching them and following along. I am now anxiously counting down the days until I get to see Victory Green out on the ice.

So thank you, Dallas Stars, for a memorable season. Here’s to many more.

-Italia