So, after a full few days to get out my frustration by killing creatures in the computer world, my head is finally clear enough to give my own two cents on what is going on with the Stars. I’m pretty sure every Stars blogger has said something in regards to what is happening with my team.
First off, I’m sure it’s no surprise that I was none too pleased about them reassigning Fistric to the AHL. I dislike that he has become the scapegoat, that both Tippett and Turco felt the need to personally call him out on his mistakes when so many other players are making the same mistakes, and worse. It could be that they expect more out of him than the other young guys on the blue line. But it’s getting aggravating. Most of his mistakes are rookie mistakes, because in my eyes he is still a rookie. He is trying hard to do everything to try to help the team that it ends up hurting us. I do think the time in the AHL will help him though; help him to regain his confidence and work on his game altogether. When he gets in his prime, he will be a fantastic asset to the Stars.
One reason I think I get so angry is the fact that Fistric is not the worst defensemen on the ice, that would go to Matt Niskanen. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the kid, I think he has the potential to be a great player, but right now he’s not NHL caliber. He was fantastic with Sergei Zubov, but Zubov has the ability to make anyone (or anything) seem like a great d-man. As soon as Zubov left injured, Niskanen’s game fell apart. It’s like Zubov is his crutch, and needing a crutch to play well shows me that he is not ready for the NHL. He needs to be a wall in front of Turco, not only helping to block shots (but not screen the goalie) but to clear bodies from in front of the net. He has a tendency to let people skate right by him, like he’s scared of getting hurt. I mean, I don’t blame him for that, but if it’s going to affect his ability to take the man he is in the wrong business. I think conditioning and some play in the AHL could help him and could help the team. I will give him this, he has a very good shot when in the offensive zone, but his job is to help prevent goals.
Now that I have that off my chest, now to what I think is the real problem with the team right now: chemistry.
With the exception of the playoffs, ever since a certain trade, our team has been less than stellar. That trade is what began the downslide of the chemistry we’d worked all season to get. I like Brad Richards. I really do, he is a fantastic player. But he is not a $7.8 million player. That trade alone has kind of screwed us as far as the cap goes. And frankly, we haven’t even gotten a quarter of our money’s worth. With Richards in the line up, our regular season record is 7-14-3 since signing him. I’m not going to put all the blame on him, because he has done some great things for us, but that trade has affected our team so much. In the trade we lost our very reliable back up Mike Smith(who now has one of the best SV% in the league), Jussi Jokinen and a very valuable penalty killer in Jeff Halpern. Then, this summer the team decided to let Antti Miettinen and Niklas Hagman leave for other teams and sign Sean Avery for ‘grit’. Did Hull and Jackson not see the grit Hagman had when playing? Was I the only one to see the damn laser beams shooting out of his eyes?
This team is almost a completely new team. They are having to rebuild trust with each other and their goalie, and who knows how long that will take with a slump like this. It’s going to be along 6 months.