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Behind Enemy Lines: Aligning the Stars

The Dallas Stars will limp their way into the Wachovia Center on Monday evening as losers of seven of their last nine games. They recently took a huge blow at the hands of the injury bug, losing captain Brendan Morrow for six months. Imagine the Flyers losing Mike Richards for that amount of time and then multiply it by five. That's how much Morrow means to the Stars. From a blog on the Stars official site:

Losing Morrow hurts a ton. His style of play is what this team needs when things get rough.

But, what now? Do the Stars honestly run the risk of landing with an extremely high pick in the 2009 draft?

So they're in last place and panicking. Click that link and read the whole blog post to get a real grasp on the Dallas psyche these days. We know what they're going through, though. But the Flyers truly were the worst team in the NHL two years ago -- the Stars are not. They're a very talented team that's been decimated by injuries and bad luck. In addition to Morrow, they've lost Jere Lehtinen with an upper body injury and Joel Lundqvist to a shoulder injury. Injuries to these key offensive players have left the Stars with a void in the scoring department on a team that never lit the lamp profusely anyway

Marty Turco has flat out sucked and his .872 save percentage proves it. He's got an atrocious GAA of 3.49, as well. The Stars are dead last in the NHL in goals against (68), 26th on the penalty kill (76.1%), and 25th in team plus-minus. And the defense hasn't bailed him out one bit.

So for a team that is built largely around its defensive capabilities, when trouble strikes in that department, the doomsday scenario sees daylight. Without the kind of offensive attack that a team like the Flyers has, it becomes impossible to weather the storm when the defense goes awry.

Personally, I wouldn't expect the Stars to stay in the cellar too long. There is still a lot of talent and a lot of veteran leadership in that locker room. In my opinion, however, with all of their problems, I do not see them as a playoff team this season.