The Dallas Stars have been two faced this season. They appear to be one way one week and by the next, they’re like an entirely different group of players.
This season has been a whirlwind for the Dallas Stars to say the least. They’ve yet to find exactly what team they are – due in part to Ken Hitchcock’s mismatched style of play. This conflict of interest has made it difficult for the team to really click, and it has made them a group with split performances.
Speed or Dump and Chase
It seems like a disservice to the excellence and talent that makes up the Stars for them to play a passive, dump and chase style game. However, that’s the kind of system Hitchcock employs. While this has noticeably slowed down the once fast-paced style of Stars hockey, it’s also proven to stunt their offensive growth.
Sure, there are chip-ins that result in fun to watch plays. Those, however, are typically due to a strange bounce or come at the hands of a young player with exceptional speed. They are the exception, not the rule.
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With a team full of young players and veterans who can skate, it seems odd that they’d choose this style. That’s probably why it seems some players aren’t as keen on it as others, which has likely contributed to the drastic difference in play from week-to-week.
Another explanation for the variance in Dallas Stars hockey could be that there are some teams the Stars just feel more energized to play against. They have groups that they know they can beat most nights and others that are challenging regardless of how well they play.
This discrepancy could be influencing how well they play and which version of the Stars shows up.
However, this isn’t a valid excuse. In the NHL, every point matters. The last thing any team wants is to be in the final stretch of the season, just points out of the playoffs, only to miss by one or two. Then, they begrudgingly reflect on the games they lost in the opening or final minutes of play wishing only to turn back time for a do-over.
Dallas has been there – remember a few years back when they lost their final game of the season and missed the playoffs – and it’s a place they aren’t keen on returning to.
The Stars will have off nights, every team will, but it’s just about how they come back and play the next night. Dallas has been streaky lately and it’s a testament to this weird, unsure dual personality they have going on.
It might be okay for the first half of the season, but with 2017 coming to a close, Dallas needs to figure out its identity soon.