Everyone loves their own scent. Their own brand. A little home cooking, if you will. The Dallas Stars are no different as the year has now turned from 2021 to 2022. It felt as if the entire team entered covid protocol during the holidays meaning the Stars were unable to play any games for the last half of December. (The team is still dealing with repercussions as more staff and players have entered the protocol throughout January. Super neat. Love it here.)
Most recently the Stars handed the Seattle Kraken a big fat “L” in their first-ever trip to Texas in dominating fashion behind a 5-point performance from the ageless wonder Joe Pavelski. If you are a Stars fan you are far too familiar with this song and dance. As it stands the Stars boast a robust 14-3 record at the American Airlines Center and have cemented themselves as a top team in the NHL when enjoying that hometown air. Now the flipside.
“On the Road Again” is one of the all-time great songs by the hippie country king himself Willie Nelson. Sadly for Stars fans those same words send chills down the spine as the Stars enter a span of seven games, six being on the road. The Stars road record stands at 4-10. Not impressive or ideal with the schedule coming up. What gives?
If the Stars want to stir up any chance of sneaking into the playoffs they need to be better on the road. Plain and simple. Part of the game that has been alarmingly lacking is grit. Jamie Benn and Jani Hakanpaa currently lead the team in penalty minutes with 33 each but neither has been exactly enforcing their will on opposing teams. When the season started I anticipated Hakanpaa to be more of the enforcing type standing at 6’7 and weighing a burly 221 lbs. Hell, I even dubbed him the “Finnish Enforcer” when he was picked up off free agency in the offseason. At least he snagged an empty netter against the squids. Right?
If the Stars want to play the Jekyll and Hyde song and dance I am fine with it. As long as that song and dance is involving a radically heightened physicality when away from their home barn. Although he is older, Jamie Benn of old should rise from the grave much like Undertaker in basically every Wrestlemania match he was involved in. Benn plays his 900th game in Florida on Friday night, and a Gordie Howe hat trick would be a sight for sore eyes.
Heading into the All-Star break the Stars need to shift focus on the road to a full-out assault on anyone with the puck or the road win tally will likely remain at four.
Oh, and NHL refs are still a joke. That’s my time. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to tip your bartenders and wait staff.
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