Written in the Stars
Ã‚Â It has been a while since we checked in on the Dallas Stars to see how the 2013-14 campaign is going under new head coach Lindy Ruff.Ã‚Â It has been a roller coaster sort of season for the Stars.Ã‚Â In November they had a stretch where they won six out of seven games.Ã‚Â If you take that first game in November, a 3-2 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche, the Stars got at least one point in thirteen of sixteen games, a stretch that lasted into the first week of December.Ã‚Â ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pretty impressive and got the Stars into the discussion of a playoff berth.Ã‚Â They were in the hunt.
Oh how those were the days.Ã‚Â The Stars have been falling and fading faster than a shooting star.Ã‚Â As the calendar flipped to 2014 the Stars let their good play in November and parts of December disappear.Ã‚Â LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s take a look at just what all has gone wrong in 2014:
- Six straight losses to open the new year.
- 2-8-1 through January 22nd
- In all of their losses, the Stars have scored more than two goals just twice (6-4 loss versus Montreal January 2nd and 7-3 @ the New York Islanders.
- On January 2nd, the Stars were ninth in the western conference with 47 points, two points back of eighth place.Ã‚Â Fifth place was just seven points ahead of them.
- As of January 22, not even three weeks later, the Stars sit in tenth place (how exactly has that happened?), seven points back of eighth place and fifteen back of fifth.
Yes, January has not been kind to Dallas.Ã‚Â Fortunately, they are in the midst of a four game home-stand and they opened the home-stand with a 4-0 shutout win over the Minnesota Wild.Ã‚Â The Stars scored in each period with the third period goal coming on a penalty shot by Jordie Benn, younger brother of Stars captain Jamie Benn.Ã‚Â The team got two power play goals as well and had seven power play opportunities in all, a high number against a Wild team that doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t take many penalties.Ã‚Â Can the Stars keep this up the remainder of the home-stand?Ã‚Â Doubtful, based on how 2014 has gone so far, but any team can get hot and go on a run, just like the Stars did in November.
The NHL will take a three week break in February for the Olympics.Ã‚Â ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s absolutely fantastic that they do this as it allows NHL players to play for their country.Ã‚Â The Olympic hockey tournament is one of, if not thee main attraction of the Olympic games.Ã‚Â We were treated to some phenomenal hockey in Vancouver in 2010 with Canada ultimately coming out on top of the US.Ã‚Â What will happen in Sochi, Russia?Ã‚Â Will the host country Russia claim gold?Ã‚Â It would certainly mean something to Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin if they do.Ã‚Â The Russian native has been selected to be on RussiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Olympic roster.Ã‚Â What an honor for the young rookie.
Two other players have been selected to participate in the Olympics as well.Ã‚Â Forward Jamie Benn will play for defending gold medal champion Canada and goalie Kari Lehtonen will suit up for Finland.Ã‚Â Team USA, Canada and Sweden I believe will place in when the medal ceremony commences.Ã‚Â Watch out for Finland and the 2014 Winter Olympic hosts Russia though.Ã‚Â It will be a great tournament.
One more note, Stars head coach Lindy Ruff will serve as an associate coach for team Canada.Ã‚Â Three players and one coach representing the Dallas Stars and their respective countries.Ã‚Â Gives you more reason to get up early and watch some hockey.Ã‚Â We know that all of the athletes and respective coaches will be giving it their all and shooting for the stars and Olympic gold.Ã‚Â ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to be fun.