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Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Stars' progress begins with one position

By Richard Durrett



It wasn't that long ago that a regular-season tilt between the Detroit Red Wings and Dallas Stars featured two of the top teams in the Western Conference and a Stars team that was stingy on defense, difficult to play against and opportunistic when given a scoring chance.

That was a team that won a Stanley Cup, with Joe Nieuwendyk capturing the Conn Smythe Trophy. It was an organization that contended with solid play at the blue line and goaltending that made all the big saves.

As the two prepare to face off at 7 p.m. tonight at American Airlines Center, Stars fans are starting to see signs of that type of team again, though it's a work in progress.

It's a team stressing the defensive part of the game. It's not that they don't want to score goals. They do. Nieuwendyk and coach Glen Gulutzan much prefer the 4-2 games to the 2-1 finals. But there's a belief that winning games starts inside your own blue line.

For that to even start to happen, though, Nieuwendyk had to change the most important position on the ice.

Click here to learn more about the key to the Stars' plan.