A team’s identity is often a word thrown around a lot by the color commentators. Whether it is the award winning Ralph and Razor or otherwise, it is always a point of interest. If we are to believe the voices of our respective teams, the establishment of a team’s identity is key. And if it is already established then, playing to its strengths is just as important.
This makes sense, if you really think about it. A team like the Oilers is built around speed, its their strength and unless they play to their speed they will suffer. A team like Dallas doesn’t have that speed so when they try to run and gun with Edmonton, they suffer. If you’ve watched parts of the Stars’ Canadian road trip, then you know this first hand.
So, if this ideology is mounted on a truth plaque, then what is the identity that the 2012-2013 “new-look” Dallas Stars subscribe to? Judging by the comments after last night’s win over Vancouver, something a little bit like that…
Last night I watched an amazing game with a storyline worthy of a bad movie. While it was no Goon, Slap Shot or Miracle it may have been worth a Mighty Ducks sequel or maybe a cameo in The Love Guru. It was an excellent game that rates in my top 20 games I’ve watched in terms of the Dallas Stars. But what did the Stars prove?
Halfway through the second period things were looking rough. And by rough I mean abysmal, something akin to the apocalypse of hockey. The goaltender that carried the team on his back through the first quarter of the season left about 6 minutes into the game with a groin issue to be replaced by Richard Bachman, who had played the previous game and was lit up for 7 goals by the Calgary “Are they selling yet?” Flames of all teams. So after a 7-4 loss, confidence wasn’t exactly at a premium behind the man they call “Bachs”.
The first play on net went in. Our stomachs sank in unison, and even after the play was waived off there was a sense of forboding. Yet after the rejected goal, Reilly Smith scored his first goal of the season to put the Stars up 1-0 going into the second period. A period that would see the Canucks bring our fears to fruition as they scored 3 consecutive goals.
Henrik Sedin signed his name into the Vancouver record books as he took over the franchise scoring lead and a normally tame building was as loud as I’ve ever heard a rink. The accolades went on for what seemed like eternity and then things changed.
The 4th line of Nystrom, Fiddler and Garbutt (huh, butt) must have wanted a new nickname. With 3 consecutive fights in 3 seconds (off of 3 different attempted face-offs) made its own mark in the record books making them the 3 fastest fights to ever happen beating out the previous 4-second record holder. The question after the amazing segment of “UFC on Ice” was who was going to gain the momentum.
The Stars answered that question with a quick goal coming from Cody Eakin on a puck fumbled by Schneider. The third period was more of the same as the Stars took over the game at about the halfway point and held the game by its throat throughout. With a scrambling tying goal from Rousell and a game winner within the last 3 minutes of the game from Dillon the Stars would leave Vancouver patting themselves on the back for a 4-3 win over.
The post-game reports all offered up their own take on what this “team win” meant for the team. It was a “Step forward” an “identity definer” among other quotable made-up terms. So is this what the team is? A team that puts its passion first, feeds off of it and then cycles the team into the dirt in the offensive zone rather than using break-in tactics?
That’s what they seem to believe and as far as I can tell they are right. So does this mean the Stars team will actually focus on those strategies? Only time will tell, but as of now they sit in 7th place just 1 point behind the “power house” Canucks, admittedly with a game in hand. But with 25 percent of the season gone, you can’t say they aren’t in a pretty comfortable if not tentative spot.