Negative play gets you negative results. If your team philosophy is to focus on the defensive aspects of the game and just hope to get enough chances, then you’re doomed to disappoint.
It is a grinding style of play that is not only boring, it is difficult to play 82 games with such a style. The team knows the coach has decided that the opportunities are going to be far and few between so when they come, it has to go perfectly. The problem for the Stars is things are not going perfectly. Dallas does not have enough margin for error to play this style over an 82 game season or a 7 game series. You do not win hockey games 2-1, 1-0 in the modern NHL.
Expectations for the Dallas Stars were Stanley Cup or bust. That expectation remains and it needs to be the standard this team is judged on. Failure is not an option. Failure has to result in the accountability of the individuals responsible, including the GM. The team has had injuries recently, but that is not an excuse to play this poorly heading into the All-Star break. Some fans will say this is a blip on the radar. It’s not. If it was a blip, the offense would not be a consistent source of discussion for over a year now. This is a trend and it is a concerning one. Dallas is 29th in goals for on the season. 29th. Dallas ranks 21st in shots on net per game. Unacceptable rankings for a team with this talent.
Until the coach changes his system, nothing will change. There is a debate among Stars fans whether Gallant, recently fired from Vegas would be the solution. The team doesn’t have to hire him to be the head coach. Offer a consultant position and see what he can do to help this team generate offense. Evaluate at the end of the season and see what happens. This team as constructed is not a Stanley Cup contender. That is a bitter truth and its something Nill and upper management need to realize and acknowledge. If the organization chooses to be negligent and not act, then they are guilty of organizational malpractice.
Would Gallant be any help to this struggling team? Vegas since 2017-2018, their inaugural season, Vegas has scored the 8th most goals in the league. Dallas comparatively is 26th.
Dallas knows first hand what the Golden Knights are capable of doing as Dallas has only managed two victories against the recent expansion team, with 3 games Vegas scoring 4 or more goals. Gallant was a potential candidate in 2017 for the Dallas Stars before choosing Vegas and the Stars choosing Jim Montgomery. As Sean Shapiro points out, the Stars are averaging 1.58 goals per game under Rick Bowness. The Golden Knights, however, averaging just over 3 goals a game.
So, what can Dallas do to fix the offense? Well, that question has already been answered back in October as the same problems from then have reappeared.
Dallas has five skaters on the ice. But they are not linked and they are not playing like a team. If the link between the players does not reappear, this team is in trouble. There is step one in turning around this team and putting things back on track to the playoffs.
Step two, you cannot let your 4th leading scorer average the 18th most ice time behind Corey Perry. Gurianov is a young player, yes. He is going to make mistakes and he is still developing. Minimizing his ice time is not the way to help him get better. The coach clearly has no faith in the young winger and refuses to help him develop. That is a great way to try and kill a players’ confidence. Denis Gurianov is currently 4th in rookie goal-scoring, but among forwards, he is 25th in average ice time. 25th. Rick Bowness is committing the definition of coaching malpractice.
Rick Bowness though is an old school coach with an atrocious head coaching record so it shouldn’t be that much of a shock. The old school style does not win in 2020. Dump and chase do not win in 2020. Prevent defense does not win in 2020. Dallas is going to have to be more relentless, something Dallas was doing under Monty before that unfortunate occurrence, best to Monty and his recovery. It frankly does not matter what Rick Bowness does this season, short of winning the Stanley Cup, he is not the future head coach of the Dallas Stars nor should he be.
The re-installation of some of Montgomery’s principles could help this team, not the man himself. The relentless fore-checking style that makes other teams uncomfortable. This passive dump, chase, change nonsense has to stop. The stretch passes through the d zone on a hope and prayer has to stop. The team needs to be more instinctual and playing hockey instead of thinking about the next move. Offensively, Dallas has no flow as all the players look like rogue agents. One has to question, is there is even an offensive philosophy from the head coach besides go out there and don’t let them score while scoring on your one opportunity, then change.
The bulk of the opportunities under Bowness have come from power-play goals or moments of brilliance using speed by Gurianov or Roope. The lack of opportunities in the normal run of play is deeply concerning. As Stars fans know, drawing penalties is a weakness for the team, especially in the playoffs. The reputation of the players and the lack of quality officiating as well means the power play cannot be the main source of offense. A counter-attack philosophy does not play well to the Stars’ strengths either. Dallas needs to value puck possession and wear down their opponent.
Dallas has the talent and defense to win a Stanley Cup. They do not have the coaching. The Stars do not have the offense and they certainly do not seem to have the coach. With all the drama the organization has undergone, nearly all of it self inflicted, this is the time where the upper management says that stability is important.
The organization has many tough decisions to make ahead. Dallas has to make changes for the clock is ticking and the repercussions of failure will be severe.
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