Archive for ‘Features’

October 31, 2010

2010-11 Chemistry by the Numbers – October

by Chelsea

This is something that was originally supposed to be a regular feature last season that I’m going to bring back to a lesser extent this season. If you’re curious on exactly what this feature is, here is our Intro to Chemistry.

Continued after the jump…

read more »

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October 31, 2010

SHR +/-: October 31 vs. BUF

by Chelsea

Who would have thought Andrew Raycroft would get Dallas’ first shutout this season?

Stephane Robidas: +2 for the assist; +2
Matt Niskanen: +1 for hitting more this season but -1 for not being able to hit the net; +0
Trevor Daley:
+3 for the goal; +3
Brenden Morrow:
+3 for the goal; +3
Jamie Benn:
+2 for the assist and +1 because it was completely awesome; +3
Adam Burish:
+1 for winning more faceoffs than Wandell & Petersen combined; +1
James Neal:
+3 for the goal and +1 for having a very impressive 7 takeaways (the Sabres had a total of 6 takeaways); +4
Loui Eriksson:
+2 for the assist; +2
Steve Ott:
+3 for the goal; +3
Andrew Raycroft:
+1 for being an awesome backup and +2 for the shutout; +3
Mike Ribeiro:
+2 for the assist; +2
Brad Richards:
+2 for each assist; +4

October 30, 2010

SHR +/-: Dropping the Ball

by Chelsea

October 21, 2010 @ FLA

Nicklas Grossman:
+2 for the assist; +2
Stephane Robidas:
+2 for the assist; +2
Trevor Daley:
+2 for the assist: +2
Jamie Benn:
+2 for each assist and +1 for coming back with a bang; +7
Adam Burish:
+2 for sticking up for Ribeiro by fighting Wideman and +1 for doing such a good job of it; +3
James Neal:
+3 for the goal; +3
Loui Eriksson:
+2 for the assist: +2
Tom Wandell:
+3 for each goal; +6
Steve Ott:
+3 for the goal; +3
Kari Lehtonen:
+2 for a good game; +2
Karlis Skrastins:
+2 for the assist: +2

October 23, 2010 vs. NSH

Nicklas Grossman: +1 for leading the team with 8 hits; +1
Toby Petersen:
-1 for consistent faceoff fail; -1
Tom Wandell:
see Petersen, Toby; -1
Kari Lehtonen:
+1 for a solid outing but -1 for the game-winning gaffe; +0

October 26, 2010 vs. ANA

Stephane Robidas: -1 for the penalty that put the Stars down a man for five minutes but +1 because it wasn’t really his fault; +0
Toby Petersen:
+2 for the assist; +2
Brian Sutherby:
+3 for the goal; +3
Loui Eriksson:
+3 for the goal and +1 for being the only one on his line that showed up; +4
Brandon Segal:
+2 for the assist: +2
Mike Ribeiro:
+2 for the assist; +2
Brad Richards:
+2 for the assist but -1 for losing 3x as many faceoffs as he won; +1

October 28, 2010 vs. LAK

Matt Niskanen: +1 for tying for the team lead in hits (what?) with 6; +1
Brenden Morrow: -1 for being uninspiring all night; -1
Jamie Benn:
-2 for that team-worst -3 but +1 because Crow should know by now that he doesn’t work on a line with Ribeiro and Morrow; -1
Toby Petersen:
+1 for centering the only line that didn’t suck; +1
James Neal:
+2 for the assist; +2
Brian Sutherby:
+2 for the assist and +1 for an overall solid game; +3
Loui Eriksson: +2 for the assist; +2
Brandon Segal:
+3 for the goal and +1 for an overall solid game; +4
Steve Ott:
+2 for the assist, +1 for tying for the team lead in hits with 6, but -2 for that team-worst -3; +1
Andrew Raycroft:
+1 for filling in nicely for Lehtonen; +1
Kari Lehtonen:
-2 for a completely unspectacular game; -2
Philip Larsen:
+2 for the assist, +2 for doing more in one game than some Stars D have managed all season, but -1 for a few rookie brainfarts; +3
Brad Richards: +3 for the goal; +3

October 20, 2010

SHR +/-: October 18 @ TBL

by Chelsea

Now… I am not usually this harsh, but penalty killing that awful is going to result in some minuses.

Nicklas Grossman: -1 for every power play goal against he was on the ice for; -3
Stephane Robidas: +2 for the assist, +1 for leading the team in plus/minus with a +3, but -1 for every PPGA he was on the ice for; +2
Trevor Daley:
-1 for every PPGA he was on the ice for; -3
Brenden Morrow:
+3 for the goal, +2 for the assist, and +1 for leading the team in plus/minus with a +3; +6
Adam Burish:
+3 for the goal but -1 for every PPGA he was on the ice for; +1
Toby Petersen:
+3 for the goal but -1 for every PPGA he was on the ice for; +1
James Neal:
+3 for the goal; +3
Loui Eriksson:
-1 for every PPGA he was on the ice for; -1
Tom Wandell: -1 for every PPGA he was on the ice for; -1
Karlis Skrastins: -1 for every PPGA he was on the ice for; -1
Mike Ribeiro:
+2 for each assist, +1 for winning 63% (hee) of his faceoffs, but -1 for every PPGA he was on the ice for; +4
Brad Richards:
+2 for the assist but -1 for doing basically nothing with over seven minutes of power play time; +1

October 20, 2010

Power Rankings Round Up

by Kristine

Welcome back to the Round Up. This week, there’s a lot of focus on stats at THN and TSN, and ESPN rates based on season predictions in addition to play so far.

Actual rank: 8 pts, good for 1st in Pacific, 2nd in West, 5th in league.
Record: 4-1-0. L10: 4-1-0.

ESPN by Pierre LeBrun (Oct 18)
….Stars: 5 this week; 3 last week. “OK, OK … I can’t totally ignore early-season perfection. Brad Richards (UFA July 1) has been on fire, and so has goalie Kari Lehtonen, who is the masked man GM Joe Nieuwendyk is gambling on to turn around the fortunes of this franchise.”
….Of Note: Chicago at 8 this week; 22 last week. “Two weekend victories and Hawks fans can step off the ledge. Two weekend wins by Marty Turco, no less, I might add. The veteran netminder was terrific in both victories.”
….My Thoughts: Let’s just go ahead and get this out of the way. Turco is starting to play better without us, and we’re already playing better without him. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, good! Glad we’re doing better without him because I spent all last season wishing he would go away.  But on the other hand, why does he have to be playing well too? It’s like a breakup. You want to be the one moving on while the other person flounders around without you. Or maybe that’s just me… In any case, I’m happy to see that we’re still at 5th in this week’s ESPN rankings, because LeBrun stated in his intro that he’s ranking teams this week based on his projects “for the rest of the season, too. So no, the Leafs and Stars will not be ranked 1-2.” Fair enough. If that’s his criteria, I am MORE than happy with 5th. That puts us smack in the middle of the playoffs. Just for fun, let’s see how those playoffs would shake out if the league really ends up in the order LeBrun has it in this week.
….Taking into account division leader seeding, the first round in the East would look like this: Capitals (1) vs Thrashers (8); Maple Leafs (2) vs Penguins (7); Flyers (3) vs Lightning (6); Bruins (4) vs Canadiens (5). Some good match-ups there. I’d be interested to see Flyers vs Lightning especially, and the Habs would have a chance to redeem themselves from their first-round loss to the Bruins last year. Then in the West, you would have: Red Wings (1) vs Avalanche (8); Kings (2) vs Sharks (7); Blackhawks (3) vs Canucks (6); Predators (4) vs Stars (5). Kings vs Sharks would be fun, and serve to eliminate a Pacific team right off the bat, like last year with Sharks vs Ducks. I would be okay with facing the Preds in the first round. We were 2-1-1 against them last year and 2-2-0 against them in 08-09.
….This is a pretty useless exercise since there is a looooonnnnggg season still ahead of us and chances are very, very slim that the playoffs will look like this at all. But if anything, it will be interesting to look back and see who’s still on top.

TSN by Scott Cullen (Oct 18)
….Stars: 1 this week; N/A last week. “Such is the dominance of the Stars through four games: while all four games have been wins, two were via shootout and one in overtime, so while it’s a strong start for the Stars, it cannot be overstated how premature these rankings are at this stage of the season. Key Injuries: LW Jamie Benn (concussion).”
….Of Note: Florida at 6 this week; N/A last week. “Such is the nature of the early rankings, the Panthers have recorded shutout wins in half of their games, allowing a total of five goals against in four games. As great as Tomas Vokoun (1.26 GAA, .952 SV%) is, 40 shutouts this season is a longshot. Key Injuries: None.”
….My Thoughts: This is TSN’s first power ranking of the season, and the Stars are first. It’s still weird to me that we were the last unbeaten team in the league (Toronto lost their fifth game about an hour before we did), and I appreciate that we’re getting credit for it around the league. However, Cullen makes a good point – only one of our four wins to start the season was in regulation. We still found ways to win in overtime and the shootout, but I’d really love to stop giving 75% of our opponents an OT point. So how much does our strong start really mean? It’s hard to say. On the one hand, there have been some huge positives in the first five games. I can’t say enough about how solid and calm Lehtonen has been in net so far. The top lines are churning out points like it’s their job (oh, wait…), and the league’s top five in plus-minus are all Stars. Niskanen is actually laying hits on people, Burish has a great energy about him, and overall everyone seems to have a great attitude. But. There’s always one of those, isn’t there? But we can’t overlook the fact that we are dead last in the league with our disastrous PK. Chels put up a great post about how that could improve, but unfortunately for all involved, nobody important cares what we think.
….Another point of concern is that we’re allowing an average of 3.00 goals against per game. That isn’t worst in the league, but it’s close at 21st. Best in the league? The Panthers, who we play tomorrow night, at 1.25 goals against per game. I guess you could consider it lucky that we’re at the top of the league in goals FOR per game (at 3.60), but they’re right behind us with 3.00 G/G. That really doesn’t balance out in our favor. In order to beat them, we’re going to have to take FAR fewer penalties and allow far fewer goals against. One way to do that might be to take a long, hard look at our shots against per game versus shots for per game, a ratio that averages out to 38.0 : 21.8 (second to last and last in the league). If you isolate those stats, it’s amazing that we’re winning hockey games. If there are solutions to these problems, they need to be found quickly.

THN by Adam Proteau (Oct 20)
….Stars: 5 this week; 5 last week. “Only Anaheim averages more shots allowed than Stars’ 38.0”
….Of Note: New Jersey at 29 this week; 29 last week. “Jason Arnott, Patrik Elias and Jamie Langenbrunner a combined minus-18.”
….My Thoughts: Oh look, I’m not the only one calling out the Stars on how many shots per game they’re allowing. I don’t even know what else to say about this, other than it needs to change. As far as stats go, I’m just glad not to be a Devils fan. They’ve had a rough start to the season – 1-4-1 – and three of their top players are a combined -18. They aren’t the only ones struggling – even without them, the rest of the team combined is -29. Only four players are pluses (maxing out at +3), four are even, and the rest are at least -1. In contrast, only five Stars are negatives (with -3 being the worst), five are even, and the rest are at least +4. Of course, stats don’t tell the whole story, but they do provide some helpful details. I’d talk more about this, but quite frankly I’m already sick of analyzing numbers. Let’s just hope the Stars can improve a few areas of their game so we don’t have to hear about these things all season.

So there you have it, everyone. Do you agree or disagree with these rankings?

October 12, 2010

Power Rankings Round-Up

by Kristine

Hey everyone, welcome back to the weekly Power Ranking Round Up. This is a feature I will be posting once a week, after all the power rankings are released at ESPN, THN, and TSN. Last season this was on Monday or Tuesday so unless the rankings are published on a different day this season, I’m going to stick with Tuesday for my posts. For now, only ESPN has updated their rankings for the start of the season. Normally I would wait to make this post until next week, but their opinion and rank of the Stars is something I want to talk about. So without further ado, let’s kick this off for 2010-11.

Actual rank: 1st in Pacific, 3rd in the West, 7th in the league.
Record: 2-0-0. L10: 2-0-0.

ESPN by Scott Burnside
Stars: 3 this week; 20 last week. “Who knows how long the Stars can stay at this lofty perch, but kudos to coach Marc Crawford for helping his team earn two straight road wins in New Jersey and Long Island out of the gate. Who knows? It may help spur the sale of the team, if nothing else.”
Of Note: Pittsburgh at 27 this week; 7 last week. “A disappointing start at the Consol Energy Center for Pittsburgh after the Penguins dropped back-to-back one-goal games. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has shined at times but looked weak on Montreal’s winning goal Saturday night. Surprising lack of finish for the Pens early on.”
My thoughts: That is not a typo. Burnside really did rank us third in the league this week, only under the Wings (1) and Hurricanes (2).  Just let that sink in for a second. I took a few minutes to scan through all my old PRRU posts and the highest anyone has ranked us since I started in February of 2008 was 6th, and that only happened twice at the end of October 2009. We’ve been ranked in the teens or twenties every other time. I guess being one of five teams to start the season with a 2-0-0 record earns us a little bit of respect. In case you were wondering, the other four are Detroit, Carolina, Toronto, and Edmonton. So a few surprises there. There are also a big surprise on the (shorter) list of teams that started out 0-2-0: Pittsburgh, Anaheim, and Ottawa. I mostly find this notable because I can’t stand the Penguins, and I’m enjoying our spot at the top even more because they get to experience life at the bottom for now. However, personal bias aside, it’s a perfect example of one reason I love hockey: every season is truly a new season. Things can change so much between June and October. Who would have ever predicted we would have 2 wins in a back-to-back road trip to start the season? And who would have predicted the Penguins would drop their first game, not only of the season but also in their new stadium, and to a division rival at that? Probably very few people. But that’s how it’s played out, and it’s a lesson that this season is a fresh start and a chance to get back into the winning tradition we’ve been spoiled to have around here.

THN by Adam Proteau
Stars: 4 this week; n/a last week. “Two road wins to start season is great news, but they’ll need to beat good teams before they’re taken seriously
Of Note: Detroit at 1 this week; n/a last week. “Ageless wonder Nick Lidstrom leads all Wings skaters in average time on ice (24:57)
My thoughts: Well. Detroit is coming up. If we beat them – which will mean three wins in a row for the first time since 08-09 – will we be taken seriously? Or do we have to beat the Penguins, Hawks, Caps, Sharks, etc as well? Something tells me it’s going to take a huge start this season for people to consider the Stars as contenders for the playoffs. After the last few seasons, we have to prove that our 2-0-0 start is not just a fluke – and it’s not just the media that’s skeptical. The fans are, too. I know I’m nervous about Thursday. Win three in a row? With the third being against Detroit? Eek.  Speaking of the dreaded Wings, they have the top spot according to Adam. They have a 2-0-1 record coming into Thursday’s game and have looked pretty on-point so far. Both of their goalies have had pretty good starts – Howard has a .932 sv% in two games and Osgood had a .929 sv% in his one game – and their big names are putting up points early. ll Basically, it’s going to be a good game Thursday night. We’ll be there, applauding Mo’s return and waiting on the edge of our seats for the Stars to give people a reason to take them seriously.

So there we have it. One ranking, one top three spot, one fresh start. If that isn’t a reason for optimism, please find me something that is. That’s it for this week, but if The Hockey News or TSN update their power rankings in the next few days, I’ll update the post to include them. Otherwise, I’ll be back next week. Go Stars!

Update: THN’s rankings are in. I’ve updated the post with them.

October 11, 2010

SHR +/-: Opening Weekend

by Chelsea

For anyone who is unfamiliar with SHR +/-, it’s how Kristine and I rate the Dallas Stars players after every game. We use a standard +3 for goals and +2 for assists. Other things like being a good teammate or doing something with style will usually get them +1. We’ll take away points for things like really bad giveaways, stupid penalties, and so on. Sometimes the good and the bad cancel out, so the player ends up with +0.

The table here shows everyone’s totals, the top and bottom players, and past winners and losers.


October 8, 2010 @ NJD

Stephane Robidas:
+2 for the sliding skate save; +2
Trevor Daley:
-1 for tipping a goal past Lehtonen, -2 for sliding into him on the second goal, and -2 for spending the majority of the game standing around looking like he forgot how hockey works; -5
Brenden Morrow:
+3 for the goal, +1 because it was classic; +4
Jamie Benn:
+1 for putting Volchenkov over the boards; +1
Adam Burish:
+1 for yayyy Burish is a Star; +1
James Neal:
+2 for each assist; +4
Loui Eriksson:
+3 for each goal, +1 for style, and +2 because we decided he’s so awesome that he gets some of the points we took away from Daley; +9
Mark Fistric:
+2 for the assist, -1 for falling at a really bad time but +1 for spending the rest of the game making up for it; +2
Steve Ott:
-1 for all of the pointless penalties; –1
Kari Lehtonen:
-1 for an iffy start but +2 for more than making up for it with a strong finish; +1
Mike Ribeiro:
+2 for the assist, +1 because it was also classic; +3
Brad Richards:
+3 for the goal, +2 for the assist; +5

 

October 9, 2010 @ NYI

Nicklas Grossman: +2 for the assist, +1 for not taking weeks to get his first point of the season this year; +3
Stephane Robidas:
+3 for the goal, -1 for each of those dumb third period penalties; +1
Matt Niskanen:
that beard has got to go; -1
Trevor Daley:
+2 for the assist, -1 for making us all very nervous during the 25:47 he was on the ice; +1
Brenden Morrow:
+3 for each goal; +6
Jamie Benn:
+3 for the goal, +1 concern/pity point; +4
James Neal:
-1 for that timid waste of a shootout attempt; -1
Steve Ott:
+2 for the assist, -1 for more pointless penalties; +1
Kari Lehtonen:
+1 for stealing a point for the Stars and +2 for stealing the second point with a stellar shootout performance; +3
Mike Ribeiro:
+2 for each assist, +1 for his “starry cranium”, and +1 for shootout awesomeness; +6
Brad Richards:
+2 for each assist; +4

November 11, 2009

Power Rankings Round-Up

by Kristine

The big word in the power rankings this week is “goals.” Let’s see why…

Actual rank: 12th in league; 8th in West; 4th in Pacific.
Record: 7-4-6. L10: 4-3-3.

ESPN by Pierre LeBrun
Stars: 13 this week; 13 last week. “Marc Crawford’s group is producing goals: 3.18 per game, eighth in the NHL.
Of Note: Montreal at 19 this week; 18 last week. “Win one, lose one, win one, lose one, win one, lose one. …
My thoughts: The Stars can score… Or can they? They started off the season scoring at least four goals in almost every game, but have scored only two goals in each of their last four games. They’re not quite at the “win one, lose one, win one, lose one” pace the Habs are at (and the Stars were at most of last season), but they will be if they don’t rediscover their offensive prowess. With their next three games on the road – two of which are against Pacific teams – they need to really get their legs moving and hope that more pucks start finding the back of the net.

TSN
Stars:
14 this week; 11 last week. “Goals are suddenly at a premium in Big D, as they’ve managed eight in the last four games, after scoring 21 in the previous five. Key Injuries: LW James Neal (groin).
Of Note: San Jose at 1 this week; 1 last week. “Eight straight games without a regulation loss, the Sharks get to keep top spot for another week and the forecast gets even better now that Joe Pavelski has returned to anchor the second line. Key Injuries: D Rob Blake (shoulder), RW Devin Setoguchi (leg).
My thoughts: See? Even TSN has noticed that our goal scoring has dropped considerably lately. The Sharks are not afraid to get the puck on net, averaging 31.5 SOG/game. However, they’re also allowing 29.3 SOG/game. Maybe the biggest key for this game will be just to get the puck to the net and see what happens. The Stars do love breaking win streaks (remember the first Calgary game this season?) almost as much as they love being the underdogs.

The Hockey News by Ryan Dixon
Stars: 19 this time; 11 last time. “Brad Richards has recorded a point in every game he’s played except two this season.
Of Note: Detroit at 15 this time; 21 last time. “Speaking of banged up teams, Red Wings lose another body as Jason Williams sustains broken leg.
My thoughts: I love when we lose eight places but the comment is something positive. On the opposite side, the Wings jumped up six places but the comment is about an injury. What gives, THN? I think what they mean is “Brad Richards is recording points, but the Stars are not.” I honestly don’t have much to say about dropping so far down except that it doesn’t surprise me. One handful of less-than-stellar games and plenty of people go back to discrediting the Stars. I think they’d be sitting on top the division and people would still be waiting for them to fall.

I guess overall I’m a little frustrated. The Stars are having trouble finiding consistency, which makes it easy to forget that they’re still at a .588 point percentage for the season. Regardless, I get discouraged when I see them losing to teams they should be able to easily beat (ahem, Minnesota), and it seems like the power rankers feel the same way. They moved down 3 at TSN, 8 at THN, and somehow stayed the same at ESPN. They’re also ranked highest at ESPN (13th), and lowest at THN (19th). They play the Sharks and Coyotes before the next rankings come out, which could mean a big jump (if they beat at least one of them) or a big fall (if they lose to both). My bold prediction: They manage a win against the Sharks, but turn around and trip over Tippett’s Yotes.

November 5, 2009

Weekly Picture Fantastic

by Kristine

Welcome to the WPF! This week we’re looking at Halloween weekend up until the Flames game last night.


October 30 was Coach Crow’s 1000th NHL game coached, and the Stars honored him before the puck drop.


We finally got Lehts and Mo back November 4th against the Flames.


I’m not sure why Morrow has a black eye when the last time he fought was… last season after Brown nailed Ribs into the boards?


The most exciting new line we have this season – Swedes and Sudsy.


I have a new love of the Ice Girls for getting our Stars to pose with their pompoms. You can see more Stars with poms here.

November 3, 2009

Power Rankings Round-Up

by Kristine

After a somewhat dismal group of games to close out October, let’s see what the media is saying about the Stars this week.

Actual rank: 10th in league; 6th in West; 4th in Pacific.
Record: 6-3-5. L10: 5-3-2.

ESPN by Pierre LeBrun
Stars: 13 this week; 14 last week. Backup netminder (at least in theory) Alex Auld drew back-to-back starts in losses to Florida and Nashville as the Stars continue underwhelming (2-2-2) play at home.”
Of Note: Phoenix at 6 this week; 16 last week. The Coyotes continue to prove they are for real with three straight wins, and Ilya Bryzgalov continues to shine in goal. (He’s allowed just 25 goals in 13 games.)”
My thoughts: Underwhelming is one way to put it. You could also substitute “pathetic” or “uninspired” and be okay. For a team that had a 16-19-6 road record last season, the Stars are winning road games they should not be winning – and losing home games they should not be losing. This season’s 4-1-3 road record is definitely better than 2-2-2 at home, but the L5 of 2-1-2 isn’t stellar. No matter where they play, the Stars need to pick it up. Having a goalie with a breakout season like Bryzgalov would go a long way towards that, but so would some solid defense and consistent special teams. Sound familiar?

TSN
Stars:
6 this week; 11 last week. With four points in the last four games, Fabian Brunnstrom is starting to contribute offensively, giving the Stars all kinds of depth up front. Now, they just need Marty Turco to get over his illness, because he’s been much better than Alex Auld so far this season. Key Injuries: G Marty Turco (flu).”
Of Note: Boston at 20 this week; 20 last week. Not the Bruins handle the man advantage much better, going 2-for-36 (5.6%) over the last 11 games, a trend that might prompt a change in power play personnel, like getting Dennis Wideman back on the first unit in place of Derek Morris, for example. Key Injuries: C Marc Savard (foot), LW Milan Lucic (finger).
My thoughts: Finally, Fabian Brunnstrom gets some credit. Everyone is so busy talking about Holy Cow Jamie Benn that they’re overlooking the fact that Bunny has quietly accumulated six assists and a goal so far. It’s also nice to hear that our starting goalie has been better than our backup goalie this season, considering that’s kind of how it should be. Turco’s been a bit shaky at times, giving up goals at critical times, but his overall game is much better than it was last season. So far he’s got a .917 sv%. More importantly, he’s sitting with a 2.26 GAA in front of a team that’s scoring 3.43 goals per game on average. That’s behind only Calgary, Washington, and Philly, in case you were wondering. It helps that, unlike the mighty Bruins, the Stars are occassionally managing to score on their PPs. With Brad Richards back and healthy, our middle-of-the-league power play should improve. As long as that happens, and Turco keeps up the good work, the Stars should also continue to improve.

Yahoo by Ross McKeon
Stars: 16 this time; 17 last time. “Marty Turco is off to a better start this season than last. You don’t think it has anything to do with it being a contract year, do ya?”
Of Note: Colorado at 2 this time; 30 last time. “Best story of the early season, bar none. Craig Anderson is emerging as a star in goal. And if you haven’t gotten a glimpse of teen-aged rookies Ryan O’Reilly and Matt Duchene you really are missing something.”
My thoughts: Another ranking, another talk of our goaltending. Turco needs to have a big year, but more than that, the Stars need Turco to have a big year. Of course, Turco being off to a better start this year than last doesn’t say much, considering he started last year with 29 goals against in his first eight games. At least this year, he has a viable backup in Alex Auld (who I still believe in despite his rocky back-to-back starts last week). Meanwhile, Colorado has in Craig Anderson what we wish we could have in Turco, as Anderson has been leading the surprise charge to first place in the West for the Avs.

Overall, despite a less than stellar handful of games to close out the start of the season, the media seems to be remaining pretty optomistic about the Stars. It has been an encouraging first month. They have points in 11 of their first 14 – points that could be very valuable when the playoff crunch rolls around. For November, I’m hoping they start picking up those points in regulation instead of giving away points in a good third of the games they play. As much as the points we’ve gained in OT losses could help us in the final crunch, the points we’ve given to other teams could hurt us. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

At time of publication, The Hockey News had yet to update their power rankings for the week.