Coming into this season the big question for the Dallas
Stars was on the back end. With the departure of veterans like Sergei Zubov and
Darryl Sydor, how would the Stars defence be able to hold up in the high
powered Western Conference? It is still early in the season, but right now the
answer is just fine. The Stars are off to a good start thanks in large part to the steady play of Stephane Robidas.
played consistently for the Stars for the past few seasons, and towards the end
of last year he showed signs that he was ready to take a leadership
role with the defense. He was selected to play for the Western Conference in
last year’s All Star game, and his strong play down the stretch earned him an
invitation to Canada’s
Olympic orientation camp this past summer. Not bad for the 164th overall pick in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft.
drafted by Montreal, he played three years in the American Hockey League before playing sparingly in two seasons with the Canadiens. In 2002 he was shipped to Dallas but couldn’t stick there either. After a season and a half he was dealt to the Blackhawks. After playing in Germany during the lockout, Robidas found
himself without an NHL contract and was contemplating playing another year in Europe. That’s when the Stars came calling and signed him
to a two-year deal. He has turned that second chance into a starring role in Dallas.
with three goals this season — which equals his total from all of last year — he is
also a plus-two, playing against the opponents’ top line each night in a shutdown
role. Coach Marc Crawford even chose him as the third shooter in the shootout
against league leaders San Jose
last Thursday night, and Robidas rewarded him by scoring a beautiful goal in the top
corner to win the game for the Stars. The Stars had trailed the game 2-0, and it
was a game they simply would not have won in years past. However with players
like Robidas taking more of a leadership role, the team seems to have a
different mentality this season.
It goes to
show that you don’t always need to be a first round pick to make an impact
in the NHL. Many players have proven that if given the opportunity they can excel at
the National Hockey League level and help a team win. Robidas has become a fan
favorite in Dallas, and his story is one of perseverance both on and off the ice.