Just as it is with the Blues, it's way too early in the season to really be making grand judgments about the Dallas Stars. Not enough games have been played yet, to really have enough information.
In the Beyond Checkerdome podcast, we made some predictions/expectations about the Central Division. When we discussed the Dallas Stars, it was easy to see why they were the sexy pick for a lot of folks. Already impressive up front with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, they added more weapons in the offseason with Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky. Pretty good individually, those two had some real chemistry together in Ottawa. Hmmm... adding players with pre-existing chemistry, it's almost like they're reading from the Armstrong Playbook.
The lesser investment was made in Defense and Goaltending, the latter being shored up (smirk) with the addition of Anders Lindback to backup Kari Lehtonen. With Kari's injury history, you would think that you'd want a little more insurance behind him, but that didn't seem to be the case. Some Stars fans are wondering if Coach Ruff should've said no to Lindback, and brought up Jussi Rynnas instead. With this inattention to the blueline (and preseason injury to Sergei Gonchar), we on the podcast had our reservations.
Your guess is as good as mine, as for how they will finish. What we've seen so far, though, is pretty telling. Within the first 8 games of the season, the Stars have scored 5 goals and still lost on two occasions already. On October 18th, the Stars lost to the Flyers 6-5 in a shootout, and in their last game the Stars fell 7-5 in regulation to the Islanders. Now, I might be going out on a limb here, but if you score 5 goals and still lose - there's a problem. To do that twice, in the first 8 games of the season? There's a big problem.
Well, they say everything's bigger in Texas.
How the Blues fare tonight depends on a few factors. First and foremost - which team can impose their style of play on the other team the most. If the Stars draw the Blues into a back-and-forth track meet, then it could very easily become another high-scoring shootout, last goal wins. However, if St Louis can force the Stars to play a more Blues-style game, then the advantage is ours. I can't see the young and inexperienced Stars D corps holding up to the pressure. Also, there is the special teams play. The Blues looked better against Chicago, but were still 0 for 3. Other factors include health - how many Blues players are still affected by this illness going around? Ryan Reaves and Vladimir Tarasenko are both dealing with that right now. Hopefully they can shake it off before the game. Also, of lesser importance, is the play of Carl Gunnarsson. He'll be making his season debut tonight, finally healthy and recovered from offseason hip surgery. His minutes will be managed carefully, so I don't think he'll have a huge impact yet.
Dallas Morning News Stars Blog
GameDay Twitter Feed
Tweets from https://twitter.com/CrossCheckRaise/lists/gameday
Final Verse: The puck drops at 7:30 St Louis time tonight, and the GameDay Thread should drop shortly beforehand. The TV broadcast is on Fox Sports Midwest, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120 AM. Come join us for the game, won't you? It'll be lots of fun (probably) and include plenty of puppy gifs (maybe). Here's a glimpse at what the intro video looks like for the home crowd in Dallas: "True Battle Cry"