The dreadful start to the season for the Dallas Stars continued. Dallas was blown off the ice on October 12th against the Capitals and fell 4-1. The Stars fell to 1-4-1 to start the season and find themselves in a hole to begin the season.
Dallas will now have to solve their woes on the road as they go on a 4 game Eastern Conference road trip.
Monty in the post-game was clearly flustered as he explained that his coaching staff has tried numerous things. It was a very poor moment from the second-year head coach. He came across as a desperate man who has no idea what he is doing. It was highly uncharacteristic of Monty and not a good look for the Stars coach. One of the leaders on the team essentially throwing his hands in the air shedding blame from himself on to his players is unacceptable. He has to do better.
The coach of the team cannot show cracks in the armor. It feeds the narrative that there is a rift between the players and the coach. No one is happy when the team is not winning. Losing magnifies the problems within a team while winning covers them up. The issues for the Stars run deep and they have to be addressed and this begins with the coach. The offensive system is broken and needs to be addressed before this team solves its offensive woes.
Some people will point to the new players and adjusting to the system as part of the issues. This argument fails in that the players with the team last year are also struggling. The system had success last year, in some capacity, but Monty has failed to understand that teams watch tape and game plan. Dallas’s opponents know what this team will do and have planned on how to stop this. Bishop gets the puck behind the net, opponents put players on the boards because they know he will try to rim it out. The Stars’ exits are stale and uninspired. This is a thread of gifs from the Capitals game where the Stars defensemen turned the puck over on attempted exits. Teams are game planning on the Stars telegraphed tendencies and the team is not adapting.
Besides the team’s inability to exit their own zone with possession, how the team is generating offense is another area of concern. Dallas has scored 13 goals this season. Stars defensemen have been involved in 7 of those 13 goals. If the defensemen aren’t engaging offensively, the Stars are not going to score. This team is too talented to score without the help of the defensemen.
Dallas’s forwards are too hesitant oftentimes to shoot. The reason is two-fold.
One, the players don’t have the confidence they will score and so opt to pass the burden to someone else. Two, the coaching staff has preached an overly defensive philosophy to where they are scared to shoot. The coach constantly preaches about possession and maintaining that possession. Shooting the puck for this team often leads to a loss of possession meaning unless they feel they will score, they hesitate to shoot the puck. Loss of possession leads to criticism and less ice time as evidenced by when young players made mistakes.
The comments from an executive last season created a divide between the players and management. The pressure on the players is increased due to the lack of positive energy reverberating from the top. Players cannot go out and have fun while playing hockey. Going out on to the ice has become more of a chore than anything. Dallas has a culture issue and it starts from the top all the way down to the coaches. The players need to feel like they can go out and play the game they love. The coach needs to help repair the relationship between the coaches and players because he is responsible for this rift.
All this said, the players still have to go out and play hockey. The team has to stop taking bad penalties and stupid mistakes in their own zone. Untimely turnovers in their own zone and the neutral zone will continue to doom this team. Bishop and Khudobin will not always be able to bail out the errors by the team. Dallas has to learn to capitalize on their opportunities and stop making mental mistakes. The coach is not responsible for the untimely penalties, except for too many men, so the players’ discipline has to be better.
Dallas is a talented team. It is a team with Stanley Cup aspirations. It is also a team that was decimated with injuries early on and still has only 6 games under its belt. There is time to fix the problems and get healthy. But, the Stars have to get their act together and the coach has lots of work to do on his end after his shedding of responsibility to the players. The team has to work past these issues and fix them before it gets too late.
As Tyler Seguin put it, what the Blues did last season does not happen every season. The clock is ticking on Monty and the Stars for if things don’t change soon, jobs will be lost.