The first half of the NHL season, for me at least, has been a shocker.
Mainly because my team has been a .500 team, and showing only a few glimpses of the team everyone knows they can be.
When the Stars kicked off their season, I—like many Stars fans—had hopes of being atop the Pacific Division, and fighting for the lead in the Western Conference.
But add in injuries from hell, blasé goaltending, and the Sean Avery fiasco, and the Stars are sitting four points out of a playoff spot going into the All-Star Break.
Honestly, this break couldn't have come soon enough.
Leading the way for the lackluster Stars is the man between the pipes, Marty Turco. Turks has not looked like himself this season. He's been constantly out of position, making careless mistakes handling the puck, and all-in-all just not being Marty Turco.
Turco knows he has to carry this team as he has in the past. But with a 19-16-7 record, he isn't getting it done. Thankfully he should benefit from this break. He can take some time to rest, recuperate, and hopefully regain the focus he'll need for the second half of the season.
If he can't, the Stars will know that the golfing season in Dallas will be around sooner than hoped.
The other bummer has been injuries. Sergei Zubov hasn't been able to play much in the past two seasons due to his nagging hip injury. A lot of it is due to the fact he knows he is needed badly. He tries his best to come back as soon as possible, and it ultimately sidelines him again.
Another injury that has proved to be detrimental to this Dallas team was the injury to captain, Brenden Morrow. Brenden tore his ACL and is out for the season. With the captain out, the rest of the veteran Stars must step up and lead as a whole.
On the positive side of the puck, Dallas did improve their defense with the return of Darryl Sydor. Plus, the surprising rookie sensation, James Neal, has stepped up and become a sniper with the puck.
So what do I see for the second half? Honestly I wish I knew. I thought I knew what I was going to see as a whole this season, and instead I have seen only a few glimpses of it.
What I can say is this: I think this break will help Dallas as much, if not more, than the rest of the league. The players who need the rest can get the rest. While, Modano and Robidas are work-horses who can handle the lack of rest.
Hopefully what I hope to see this second half comes true. Hopefully the Stars come out of the gate more focused and primed to make a run at the playoffs. Again, if not, I expect some severe changes both on and behind the bench come 2009-2010.