This Last Place Team Must Look Back First

“You have to deliver the message to [your team] that, ‘We’re fine back here. Everything is going to be just fine back here. You guys do something at the other end of the ice, and it’ll be a nice night.’” - Ken Dryden

I have rooted for my fair share of losing teams over the years: During my first season as a Minnesota North Stars fan, they won 18 games out of 80.

I’ve rooted for more than my allotment of crushing disappointments: I’m a lifelong Minnesota Vikings fan, enough said.

Lost one Stanley Cup to the Islanders, another to the Penguins, and a Calder Cup to the Hershey Bears.

Yet as the Texas Stars sit in the Western Conference cellar, a few points shy of the league cellar, I’m not getting it. This is not a last place team. It just isn’t.

Start up front: Travis Morin has positioned himself as an elite playmaker, his 46 assists currently have him in the company of St. Pierre and Aucoin.

Rookie Matt Fraser’s 30 goals have him two shy of the AHL lead, and he has become the franchise’s first 30 goal scorer.

Colton Sceviour’s 17 goals and 29 assists are career highs. All but maybe three of those goals have either won the game, tied the game, given the Stars a lead, or sparked fantastic comebacks.

Ryan Garbutt is the least intimidated player I’ve ever seen. From the Corpus Christi (CHL) Ice Rays to Gwinnett to the Wolves to Austin and now Dallas in only two years, he thrilled us with an overwhelming work ethic, aggressive forechecking, a sniper’s wrist shot, and hockey sense that can’t be taught.

On D, Jordie Benn has started to come into his own. Big Brendan Dillon too. And—

And–

And, you surely know where I went wrong here: No good hockey team begins at center ice. It begins in net. And we never got going in net.

Between Richard Bachman’s subpar numbers before his promotion to Dallas, Andrew Raycroft’s seeming indifference to the sport of ice hockey, and Tyler Beskorowany’s likely feelings of insecurity stemming from erratic starts and the looming presence of Jack Campbell, this team never stood much of a chance.

Hey, at least we’re a lock for the #1 overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft, right!  No?

 

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