Stars look to stick to their New Year’s resolution

The NHL is no longer a place for summer vacations and free time to recover by playing 18 holes of golf twice a week. Players spend the off-season maintaining peak fitness, health and honing their craft more than any other time in the history of the game. Also, teams get into shape earlier in the season and the pressure to rack up points starts from Day 1.

This pressure to perform for all 82 games puts stress on the year-round form of these players and ultimately affects the team’s performance when they cannot maintain that form. The ruthless landscape of the NHL regular season favors the teams that can stay the healthiest, and as the Stars look around at the other teams at the top, they see a common trend.

The Stars are looking to build on their coast-to-coast lead in the Central Division while weathering minor storms of injuries to their top players. The short absences of Jake Oettinger and Miro Heiskanen early in the season revealed how integral their health is to the team’s success, just in case league-leading play at their positions isn’t enough.

Even now, the team is looking to get Roop Hintz healthy and playing while adding him back to a team that remains atop the division. While the best ability is availability, the team hasn’t had to suffer a catastrophic loss from one of their top producers in an extended period of time, and their point total shows just that. One of the Stars’ more recent opponents can show the adverse effects of this concept and how they are losing their grip on first place in their own division.

The Vegas Knights remained the gold standard for the Pacific until the recent jump from the Seattle Kraken. One expansion team was taken down by the other after Vegas hit a lull, and Seattle, conversely, found its groove.

It could be argued that Seattle’s strength is their even scoring spread, making it difficult to pinpoint a key factor that would spoil their success if they were lost to injury. However, the Vegas case shows that the roles of Mark Stone and Shay Theodore cannot be replicated by any substitution or scheme. Without their world-class players, Vegas’ 9-game winning streak to start the season seems like a pipe dream.

The lack of star power is a challenge for the team to overcome, and it gets worse when the entire team doesn’t find consistent ice time together. In Vegas’ case, only 5 of their players have played in every contest the team has played this season. For reference, surging Seattle has 10 skaters who have played in all 45, and your Dallas Stars have had a 13-game lineup that has played in all 47.

The consistency the Stars have found is no mystery, their formula is to have a deep, talented lineup that plays well together and evenly. It makes you wonder, along with seeing how last year went, if Vegas should have fired their conditioning staff instead of the head coach.

I’m happy with the decision Vegas made because of the style of play and the situation their victim has cultivated here in Dallas. Seguin stepping into 1C to cover Rupp shows the versatility that comes with the right plan of attack without detracting from how talented Seguin is. In the last 6 games, he registered 8 points, with his best performance coming in LA last week (2G, 1A).

The midseason Seguinlightenment is a nice continuation of the early Bennaissance era we saw manifest in 2022. Outside of the ability to make lineup maneuvers like Seguin’s, ideally even minutes across the team point to a solid level of staying healthy of complement the upcoming all-star break.

The team’s depth and talent can help mitigate certain health risks, but the style of play will ideally keep the team balanced in all aspects necessary for a championship campaign. Health and energy have been vital to the cause so far and will be key to staying on course down the stretch after the break.

Preventing Winnipeg’s equally healthy (for now) lineup could come down to those factors, and could play an equally large role in the team not sweating Colorado before the postseason. The more we can see our favorite players on the ice, the better off we’ll all be.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *