Compared to the Dallas Stars, the Cowboys are as harmonious and giddy as a group of true-blue Democrats. Maybe you’ve been too worried about your football team’s implosion to notice, but your hockey team isn’t worth a damn.
At 4-6-2, the Stars are arguably the NHL’s worst team. They’ve allowed a league-high 50 goals. Goalie Marty Turco is last in GAA and save percentage. Last. And after losses in Chicago and Boston by a combined 10-3, Mike Modano called out agitators Steve Ott and Sean Avery for being “idiotic and stupid.” On the same trip, Turco lashed out at his defensemen for trying to do too much and cluttering up the net.
“It was one of the most embarrassing things I've seen,” Modano said of the Boston massacre. “If that's what we're going for, then they need to find me an office job.”
Wow. Imagine if Terrell Owens popped off with that one.
For a team we last saw in May winning two playoff series and pushing eventual champ Detroit to six games, this is a shocking start to the season. I went out to Frisco Thursday to see what exactly is wrong with the team that stinks worse than its locker room.
What did I find out? Don’t expect the failure to continue.
During their five days without a game this week, the Stars healed. Emotionally and physically. Remember, this team lost Mattias Norstrom, Stu Barnes, Niklas Hagman and Antti Miettinen from last year. Rookie Fabian Brunnstrom debuted with a hat trick but has just two goals in his nine games since. Sergei Zubov and Jere Lehtinen have yet to play because of injury.
Those guys should be back during the weekend trip to Anaheim (tonight) and San Jose (Saturday). Dallas’ spirit has already returned.
“Hey stranger!” a surprisingly upbeat Turco bellowed to me. (Hey, first practice of the season, what can I say?) “What, you’re here to fix us?”
Lots of national fingers pointing at newcomer/bad boy Sean Avery for Dallas’ demise. The Stars, long considered a finesse team, wanted to get grittier. And they are rougher, just, so far, not any better. But nobody I talked to is blaming Avery. Hey, the guy leads the team in plus/minus at +2, so how could it possibly be his fault?
Could be another trying weekend, playing on the ice of teams that are a combined 20-7-1 (the Sharks are a league-best 11-2 and 7-0 at home). But if Zubov and Lehtinen return and the Stars don’t eventually rise in the standings, I’ll be, um, star-struck. – Richie Whitt