Now that the last game has been played, how will our guys do in the most wonderful time of the hockey year? Yes, it’s that time again, boys and girls: the playoffs are here! (I certianly am a bit wary to cheer for that fact for obvious reasons…) No Stars fan more than I was ready for the regular season to be over after the recent performances rendered by our beloved twinkles, but now that it’s here, let’s take a look at a few important tidbits about things to come:
1. To score or not to score?
2. Will Marty play like last year?
3. Duck season
1. To Score or Not to Score?
It seemed after game one against Vancouver last season that the cards were finally aligning for our playoff hopes last season, but yet again, the guys just couldn’t cut it. The reason? Only 5 of the guys showed up to play in that series. Brenden Morrow, Stu Barnes, Joel Lundqvist, Jeff Halpern, and Marty Turco. That. Is. IT. (Really though, it was mostly just Marty and Brenden.) I’m not sure if anyone could figure out why the team just fell flat on it’s face; it’s not like Luongo really is “Jesus of the Crease” like he’s been heralded to be, just take a look at the standings in the Western Conference this year!
It takes goals to win games and it takes shots on net to score goals, both of which were (and have been recently) about as common as seeing a carrier pigeon. The Stars have 2187 shots on goal this season, the dead things have 2820. They have to be doing something right up in Detroit if they managed to get 115 points this season….(though it certianly pains me to say that). The mission, if the Stars choose to accept it: SCORE SOME DANG GOALS!
2. Will Marty Play Like Last Year?
This is one subject that frightens me to no end as an avid Stars fan, Marty fan, and all-around goalie fanatic. If there’s one thing I hate and at the same time love to watch more than the shoot-out, it’s got to be endless periods of overtime playoff hockey; sometimes it amazes me how I survive those games without going completely insane! But I digress. I’ve always been convinced that Marty can play in the playoffs, and last year he really showed what he could do. I was fairly convinced he could do the same thing this year, especially after the shut-out against Detroit in February. But now? I could not be more unsure about it. After his recent play, it seems Marty lost his focus and his marbles when he’s out in net. I’m not saying I don’t have faith in Marty Party’s skills, it’s just the times he decides to have as Amy calls it, a “body fart”.
Another thing I think is a HUGE factor in Marty’s recent play: the infamous trade. I know, roll your bandwagon eyes all you want nay-sayers, for I have another reason Brad Richards shouldn’t have come to Dallas (at least yet, anyway)! Since last season, Smitty had been an amazing member of the team, not only for his play in the crease (and around it), but also for the mental backup for Marty. Turks has played much better with a quality netminder like Smitty behind him that could possibly take his #1 position if he doesn’t do the job well enough. That in itself is a pretty big mental stimulus to encourage someone to play well! Not only did Smitty push Marty to be the #1 netminder he has been known to be, but the friendship the two shared seemed to boost both players’ morale. Marty said that losing Smitty in the trade was like losing a little brother, which leads me to believe the mental stress of a “family member” leaving and obvious job security have led to Turks’ brain and body farts.
Time will only tell what will happen.
3. Duck Season
I never have enjoyed playing against the quackers. Sometimes it is hard to explain; it’s not a fear of losing to a “superior” team (hahaha), I can gurantee that! Maybe it’s just the fact that dear old Jiggy pisses me off…but that’s just the goalie fan in me that is annoyed by him and I promise I’ll explain that in some other blog. The only team I like to see less is Trashville. Anaheim is at least reasonably more Lady Byng worthy, but not by much. With players like Pronger, Bertuzzi, Getzlaf, and Parros, dirty play is guranteed and rarely ever called by the officials (and don’t get me started on that…the blog would never end). Through the Bertuzzi/Moore ordeal I fervently supported Bertuzzi’s side of the argument; I never thought the man was that much of a goon, nor was Moore’s injury his fault. I still agree with my views on that, but now I really see Bertuzzi for the goon he truly is. Dirty play and even dirtier goals by Bertuzzi and his fellow goon-mates that have gone over the line of goaltender interferrence make me glad that we have Otter, Morrow, Winchester, and Barch around.
My main concerns for the Stars in this series are safty of our players’ health and officials actually doing their jobs. If those two things turn out alright for our guys, smooth sailing is possible to round two.
We shall see, eh?