Thursday, November 17, 2011
Stars look to get back on track
By Mark Stepneski
Mired in a three-game losing streak, the Dallas Stars hope to get back on track Friday when they hit the road for a game in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche.
The Stars are coming off losses at Pittsburgh and at Detroit last weekend and then one at home to Florida on Tuesday. The Stars have been outscored 14-3 in the three defeats.
“No one is happy with the last three games we’ve played, but if we are moping around that’s not the attitude we want going into games,” said Stars captain Brenden Morrow. “We kicked ourselves around, looked at some video, know that there are some things we need to work on, but we want to have a good, positive attitude going into that game tomorrow.”
The Stars have been outplayed in the three games, but the 6-0 loss to Florida at American Airlines Center Tuesday was particularly bitter. It was the team’s most lopsided loss of the season and it came on home ice.
“Sometimes it is good to get humbled a little bit,” said Morrow. “We got off to a great start, probably surprised a lot of teams and now they know what to expect and know it’s going to be a tough game when they play the Dallas Stars. We’ve got to be ready to meet that challenge. Obviously, we weren’t against Florida and we’ll be better prepared against Colorado.”
Friday’s game in Denver kicks off what Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said is a key seven-game stretch that will take the team to the end of November.
After Colorado, the Stars have home games against Edmonton, San Jose, Los Angeles and Toronto and then road games at Colorado and Phoenix.
“In those seven games our play has to be at a certain level – whether our record is 7-0-0 or 3-3-1 or whatever – just to see how we measure up,” Gulutzan said. “You get to the point when you are around the 24-game mark you have a little better idea of where your team actually is. I think these next seven games are important.”
*Stars coach Glen Gulutzan juggled his top two lines in Thursday’s practice. He moved Loui Eriksson to the right wing on a line with left wing Brenden Morrow and center Mike Ribeiro. Steve Ott was on the left side with center Jamie Benn and right wing Michael Ryder.
*The Stars activated forward Steve Ott from injured reserve. Ott, who has missed the last six games with a hip injury, will play Friday at Colorado.
*The Stars placed forward Adam Burish on injured reserve. Burish, who broke his hand in Tuesday’s loss to Florida, is expected to be out four to six weeks.
*Forward Krys Barch, who missed Wednesday’s practice after twisting an ankle in Tuesday’s game, practiced Thursday and is ready to play.
*Gulutzan said Kari Lehtonen will play in goal Friday at Colorado and that the plan right now is to have Andrew Raycroft play Saturday when the Stars host San Jose, but that Raycroft's start is not set in stone.
With ownership change looming, Stars players focus is on the ice
Friday will be a key day on the Dallas Stars ownership front. A bankruptcy court in Delaware is expected to approve the sale of the team to Tom Gaglardi and confirm the team’s prepackaged bankruptcy plan. With the NHL Board of Governors already having voted to approve Gaglardi as owner in a fax vote, it clears the way for the Vancouver businessman to take ownership of the club quickly.
While there’s been a lot of buzz about the looming ownership change, the players have been focused on taking care of business on the ice.
“It will be great when all is said and done and Mr. Gaglardi is in control, but it’s business we really can’t take care of in here,” said Stars captain Brenden Morrow. “The less we think about it the better off we’re going to be.”
Gaglardi is expected to be introduced at a press conference in Dallas early next week, most likely on Monday.
“I haven’t really worried about it in a couple of years, and I probably won’t worry about it until we get to meet our new owner,” said forward Steve Ott. “But to have the ownership behind us, not have to worry about any of those things and know we have a financial backer that wants to improve the Stars, I think that’s where it all will be very exciting.”