There's a Scapegoat In Dallas: And He Wears No. 35
To the hockey neophyte, any regular losing streak has to be the fault of the goaltender. I mean, that’s his job right? He needs to stop the puck from going into that net thingy. Those other five guys in front of him don’t figure into the equation, do they?
To hell with the fact that the league has been begging for higher scoring games. Never mind the fact that not one of the team’s defensemen could legitimately be called elite… and don’t bother with the thought that, while the team was under the previous coach, everyone played better.
No, it’s much easier just to blame the goalie. He can take it—he wears lots of pads.
The lack of consistency with the Dallas Stars play this season is, without a doubt, partially the fault of some goaltending struggles. But the key word here is “partially.” There are more culprits here than on a Con-Air flight to Sing-Sing.
Is it just a coincidence that the, once hapless, Phoenix Coyotes are winning their way into the playoffs after picking up the coach Dallas discarded? Perhaps. But I sincerely doubt it.
While d-men like Stephane Robidas and Trevor Daley are playing their hearts out and bravely shouldering the load, neither of them would be considered top line blue-liners on a team that would seriously compete for a Stanley Cup.
The lack of a “Big Shot” from the blue line on the power play has prompted the Stars to station Brad Richards on the point—which is slightly problematic, because he’s really not that good at keeping the puck in the zone. The way a guy like Zubov was.
At the same time, Marty Turco’s once unmarred reputation as one of NHL’s top goaltenders has dwindled away with his periodically dismal third period performances, and thus, Alex Auld has been called in to settle the rocking of the ship.
And, even though no one really expected Auld to become the number one net-minder in Dallas, the experiment has been met with as much success as healthcare reform.
So the grumbling has reached a dull roar in DFW, and talk of Marty Turco’s exit seems imminent. In the end, it will probably be the best thing for the young lad. Turco playing for a team that actually has decent defensive corps will likely shoot him back into good graces.
But for Dallas, the question is—who will replace him?
Well there’s a large surplus of good goalies out there for them to choose from, right?
Who are they going to get? Halak from Montreal? That’s going from the frying pan to the fire.
But this should be no great change for coach Mark Crawford. He burned through goaltenders in Los Angeles like they were matches—and, in the end, never did settle on a solid starter. With his track record, you might expect a Shooter Tutor to take the job.
One could argue that peddling Turco might be the only way Dallas can secure a top line defenseman—and that is a valid premise. But the reality is, they’ll most likely end up trading and apple for an apple, leaving themselves with the same fruit salad they started with.
Because even with a stud on defense, the Stars still, arguably, need another legitimate scorer for the second line. They could always look to the Vancouver Canucks for that—the Canucks are notorious for giving up something for nothing.
March will be key juncture in the regime of GM Joe Nieuwendyk. And I’m definitely pulling for him to succeed.
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