Game Review – 1/08/09 (DAL at DET)

by Chelsea

Game:

This game was kind of a headache. 

Marty Turco started, going into the game looking for his first regular season win at Joe Louis Arena. 

The teams came out with comparable energy, but we’d come to see that it wasn’t exactly sustainable energy.

Detroit scored on only their third shot of the game (4:07 – Marian Hossa, assisted by Brad Stuart and Daniel Cleary) and then again on their eighth (11:28 – Daniel Cleary, assisted by Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Zetterberg) to wrap up scoring for that period. 

At 11:57, the stream of penalties started. James Neal kicked the party off with a cross checking minor, and was shortly followed by Darryl Sydor, who got two for tripping at 19:13.

Detroit outshot the Stars 11-6 in the first period, and would start the second period on a power play.

During the first intermission, we were surprised to see Tobias Stephan all mic’d up for an interview. We joked that maybe it meant we’d see him playing in the game. Heh. 

Second period went just like the first, except messier, and with an impending sense of doom.

The Stars killed off Sydor’s penalty and got a power play of their own when Brett Lebda took some sin bin time at 5:37 for tripping. However, instead of building momentum and staging a comeback, Dallas struggled to hold onto the puck and only got one SOG during the two minutes.

Just when we hoped that Turco, who’d gone a full 20 minutes without allowing a goal, had locked it up to spearhead the recovery, the Wings scored again. (12:27 – Kirk Maltby, assisted by Tomas Kopecky and Niklas Kronwall)

Only then, down 3-0, did we really get to see what it meant to play stupid hockey.

Stephane Robidas got his stick on Zetterberg at 13:53 and was whistled for hooking. Then, after a hard-fought effort by the team to kill the penalty, he came out of the box and promptly hooked Franzen. 

Naturally, the Wings were not to be held back a second time, and scored again to make the game 4-0. This one was a PPG by Tomas Holmstrom at 17:04, assisted by Hossa and Pavel Datsyuk. 

Cleary finished up the period by boarding Loui Eriksson at 18:04.

The second period ended with the Stars getting outshot 7-6 and outscored 2-0. Marty Turco, who allowed four goals on 18 shots, was pulled in favor of Tobias Stephan. As much as we enjoy seeing Stephan get some time, it really seemed to be more of a surrender by the coaches than a move to spark some life into the team.

As the third period started, Dallas did have a little more life. They started taking possession and creating scoring chances, which paid off early.

At 00:38, Trevor Daley shot the puck and Eriksson, repaying Detroit a favor for having wiped the glass with his face earlier, tipped it in past Osgood to make it 4-1. 

Then, when Kronwall took an open ice run at Ribeiro that knocked his helmet off, a mini-brawl started that had Ott bopping him upside the head and dropping the gloves. Luckily, an official stepped in before Ott could re-injure himself. While that was happening, Ribeiro basically got assaulted by the Wings, which the officials (apparently completely distracted by Ott?) happened to miss entirely. The only penalty dished was to Ott, a minor for cross checking.

In a weird explosion of Red Wings using the Stars as anger management, Neal was knocked into Chris Osgood and (though he seemed to try his best to not fall on the goalie) was given two minutes for goalkeeper interference. That was at 3:16. At 3:30, Holmstrom latched onto Robidas and got two for holding. Then, Robidas responded by giving Zetterberg a big hug at 4:34 and joining the two-for-holding club.

Basically, the Wings went up on a 4-on-3 with one of Dallas’ better penalty killers in the box, and Stephan got to start his first playing time since early December with basically no chance whatsoever. 

After a pass that really should have been stopped was not stopped and a shot that should have been blocked was not blocked, Datsyuk whipped a snap shot past Stephan to make the game 5-1. Nicklas Lidstrom assisted.

When Jiri Hudler got a minor for holding at 9:31, it seemed Dallas may get a moment to breathe. Then, at 10:36, Ott canceled out the power play by charging Maltby. 

Detroit beefed up their 4-on-4 stats a bit by scoring again at 11:02 with Zetterberg shooting the puck in past a screened Stephan, who tried to catch up to the play and make a glove save, but was unable to get into position in time.

Stephan finished the game with a string of solid saves, Dallas finished with a cheap slashing penalty by James Neal at 19:41, and Detroit finished with some power play pity by standing behind their own net with the puck for the remaining 15 seconds.

Ouch.

I think, had the officials not been whistle-happy, or had Stephan played the entire game, it may have been more like a 3-1 or 4-1, rather than the 6-1 embarrassment that it was.

I think, that while Turco was not entirely at fault, he looked really unfocused again. 2 out of the last 3 games have ended with him sporting a sv% below .800, making me wonder if maybe Turco is done with Dallas. He just looks disengaged out there, and when he’s playing with so little energy, the rest of the team usually follows.

Neal, Robidas, and Ott had shameful games. Robidas sounded like he was about to throw himself off a bridge in his postgame quotes, though, so he’s a little bit forgiven. 

In comparison, Turco’s postgame quotes had a little too much “we” and not enough “I” when it came to spreading the blame around. That he is routinely giving up 2 goals in the first period alone and is not apologizing to his team is just getting a little old, to be honest.

As far as big players stepping up goes, this game just highlighted that particular disappointment. While Modano has had some strong moments of leadership and earned himself a spot in this year’s ASG, and Robidas has seemingly begun to speak up more about what needs to be done, they’re really alone in that regard. Ribeiro and Richards have not shown nearly enough impact or even looked like they’re trying to take control of this team. Turco’s words get a little emptier every time he has a night like this. Sydor seems vocal enough, but has hardly been the stability on the blue line we were hoping for. 

If there was ever any question that the Stars were Morrow’s team, there shouldn’t be now. They need him, big time.

Notes:

  • The three stars of the game, in order: Hossa, Kronwall, Cleary
  • Turco had a sv% of .778, his worst since late November. He is now 0-8-2 at Joe Louis Arena in the regular season.
  • The Stars took 9 penalties from 4 people, which never spells success when you’re up against the best power play in the league.
  • Eriksson’s goal was his 21st, marking the first time in his NHL career that his goal tally has matched his jersey number. More importantly, it gives him 30 points for the season- one away from matching his career points high of 31.
  • Stephan, in the one period he played, faced only 3 shots less than Turco and let in half as many goals. His sv% for the game was .867.
  • Conclusion: The shining youth and explosive offense is dulled by being handed the responsibility of scoring 4-6 goals every game when their goaltender can’t get himself together. Maybe it’s time to stop focusing on points and standings and playing like it’s the playoffs, and time to pay attention to the details and working out the kinks of their game (especially for the rookies, whose experience next season could help fuel a legitimate Cup run).

SHR +/-:
Stephane Robidas: minus-three for the dumb penalties but one for admitting to them; -2
Matt Niskanen: minus-one for iffy defense; -1
Trevor Daley: two for the assist; +2
Brenden Morrow: three for being really really really really missed; +3
Krys Barch: one for squishing Datsyuk; +1
James Neal: minus-two for the dumb penalties; -2
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal; +3
Chris Conner: one for really trying to hit people; +1 
Andrew Hutchinson: minus-one for doing absolutely nothing; -1
Steve Ott: minus-two for taking dumb penalties; -2
Tobias Stephan: one for a good effort and one for playing the puck without having any giveaways (cough, Turco); +2
Marty Turco: minus-one for each goal; -4
Darryl Sydor: minus-one for the dumb penalty and minus-two for awful defense; -3
Sergei Zubov: two for being missed and one sympathy point for having just had his surgery; +3
Mike Ribeiro: minus-two for being a defensive liability but one for at least looking like he wasn’t ready to give up; -1

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One Comment to “Game Review – 1/08/09 (DAL at DET)”

  1. Yeah, that was pretty brutal. That was almost as bad as the Sharks game the other day. It was almost like where is the other team? Did they forget to get off the plane? I actually kind of stopped watching. Besides, the Detroit broadcasters are just so annoying to listen to.

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