Sunday, December 20, 2009
Let's talk defense
The injuries to Trevor Daley (shoulder) and Mark Fistric (concussion) mean the defensive ranks are thinned for the Stars this week. On Saturday, Maxime Fortunus looked like a guy wanting to take advantage of an opportunity to show his stuff in the NHL.
He didn't do anything flashy, but was solid defensively, made some nice clears and stayed out of trouble for most of the game. That's a solid start, if you ask me.
I thought Stars coach Marc Crawford and assistant coach Charlie Huddy made the right call in pairing Fortunus with Karlis Skrastins. That gave the young player a steady hand to work with and someone who has been consistent all season. Skrastins added some offense to his game on Saturday with two goals.
But Saturday also showed that Matt Niskanen is still trying to find his game. He has really struggled the last few games with his coverage, keeping pucks in and being in the right spot at the right time. It just seems like he's skating out there without much confidence, trying not to make a mistake instead of focusing on making plays. It's a tough line to skate. Niskanen works hard and wants to make sure he doesn't allow something bad to happen. Is he thinking too much? I don't know. But the Stars need him to find his confidence again.
What have you noticed about the Stars' blue line? What do you like on defense? What are you most worried about?