The Dallas Stars lit up the Nashville Predators in their opening game of the 2021 hockey.  The Stars scored on five of eight power play opportunities, and were slightly better on the penalty kill, killing all five of the penalties against them and defeating the Predators 7-0.  The second game saw the Stars score on three of four power play chances while killing four of five penalties and winning 3-2.  Detroit would be next in line. Against Detroit, the Stars’ special teams would go 2/6 on the power-play, and kill 9 of 10 penalties.  The Stars would outscore both teams by a combined score of 19-6. The next two games brought a question to mind: Is there a disconnect in the Dallas Stars?

Carolina would proceed to dominate the Dallas Stars in two games outscoring them 8-4.  Not only would special teams struggle, but the whole team started a rollercoaster ride that nobody saw coming.  Dallas would split two games with Columbus then lose back-to-back games to Chicago and get thumped by Carolina twice more. These two games would grow into a three game losing streak for the Stars as they fell one more time to Florida.

Dallas would split their first two games with the Florida Panthers and the Stars would lose to the Tampa Bay Lightning. What’s the deal? Why are the Dallas Stars so consistently inconsistent? Once again, is there a disconnect in the Dallas Stars?

Missing Pieces

Mar 23, 2018; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin (91) skates against the Boston Bruins during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Bruins defeat the Stars 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Stars have had some valuable missing pieces since the Stanley Cup Finals appearance last season. Players like Tyler Seguin and Ben Bishop have played major roles in the success of the Dallas Stars. Without them, there should have been a “next man up” mentality. And there might have been. But this mentality seemed to lose steam very quickly.

players like Joe Pavelski, John Klingberg and Denis Gurianov have remained consistent. Anton Khudobin has also been fairly consistent. Alexander Radulov has played 12 games and played a role in the team’s success. But he Is also dealing with an injury. The Stars are struggling without these four names. Someone needs to step up.  The Stars are also missing urgency. Alexander Radulov provides the spark of energy the whole team needs to win. They should be able to rely on each other for a spark.Perhaps more is missing than meets the eye.

Solving The Disconnect In Dallas Stars Organization

Joe Pavelski has been the best Dallas Stars player to date. Scoring 20 points (10G, 10A) in 16 games, only one player is within six points of him. John Klingberg has 14 points (3G, 11A) to his name on the young season.  A pair of Russians named Denis Gurianov and Alexander Rsdulov are three points behind Klingberg. Roope Hintz is four points behind Pavelski.  Could there be a disconnect in Dallas because the team strategy is outdated?

Dallas plays a “defense first” type of game, which includes a “dump and chase” zone entry.  More often than not, especially without players such as Tyler Seguin, this strategy sees the Stars get beaten to the puck more than not. The Stars lack the speed to be able to pull this off and it showed against teams like Tampa Bay.  When the Stars have played with urgency, they have beaten very good teams like Florida and Columbus.

Perhaps the Stars have lost confidence in each other. The only way to dig out of that rut, if that is indeed the case, is to keep playing. Players in leadership roles should also consider having a “player’s only” meeting. A number of things can be done to make things better.  Accountability for one’s self and team are present – judging by press conferences as of late.

Here’s a doozy of a question: what if the Dallas Stars forgot they are the defending Western Conference champion? The only way to remind them is to keep cheering for them. For players and management, accountability. Accountability for one’s self and each other is paramount. Is it time to quit on the Dallas Stars? No. Is it time to panic? No. The way to solve the disconnect – if there is one – is for the team to lean on each other.

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