Dallas Stars Weekly Observations: Here We Go Again

Ken Hitchcock is back behind the bench but the current Dallas Stars head cocah is searching for better play. Dallas Stars weekly Observations. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch

By Stephen Elliott

I guess he hasn’t quite had enough.

In a week full of dramatic games, off the ice news grabs the headlines. Former Dallas Stars head coach Ken Hitchcock is coming out of retirement (again) to coach his hometown Edmonton Oilers.

The news broke Tuesday the same day the team fired Todd Mclellan after four season.

Hitchcock coached the Stars last season after general manager Jim Nill persuaded him to stay out of his first retirement. The 66-year-old coach called it quits and slid into a consulting role with the team.

His imprints are still all over this team. His defensive mindset help Seguin volt his game to elite two-way play. But he was also on the helm for Jason Spezza’s worst season as a pro. Management decided to get back to playing faster and hired Jim Montgomery.

Now the Stars have to those angry eyes three times this season. Their first matchup of the season is next Tuesday at the AAC.

Both teams are dealing with inconsistent play. The Oilers just as many wins as losses and sit fourth in the Pacific at 21 points. The Stars are on a win-loss streak that spans over a couple week. The inconsistency is weighing on Montgomery.

“Demand expectations of what work is,” said Montgomery after being out worked by the New York Rangers. “We are just not there yet of what I feel is a championship work ethic daily.”

Surprisingly a lot of that inconsistency is coming from the top line. Benn and Seguin are on a scoring lull. Both rank outside of the top 30 in scoring. That’s translating to their recent struggles on the power-play. The Stars have scored just twice on 14 opportunities in their last five games. Before the Rangers game, the Stars were shutout on the power-play in four consecutive games.

On top of that, the Stars are still dealing with impact injuries. Bishop was the latest to go down as he played the first two periods but did not return for the third against the Rangers. Montgomery is calling him “day-to-day” with a lower body injury. The Stars called up Landon Bow to serve as a band-aid for the time being.

The Stars have reached for the minor league several times in this early part of the season. Nine players from AHL have seen action with the big club and we are just at the quarter mark of the season.

Somehow the Stars are still in the thick of things. Their 24 points is tied for third in the division. They have found productive secondary scoring lead by Jason Spezza, Devin Shore and Jason Dickinson. Each have four or more goals and 33 points combined.

They are also starting to get guys back from injury. Alexander Radulov returned and has already made his presence felt by adding to his team leading eight goals. The Stars are still hoping Stephen Johns and Marc Methot return soon to sure up the heavily banged up blueline.

But they truck on. They meet the Penguins in Pittsburgh before coming back home after Thanksgiving for a game against Ottawa. Then they hit long five-game road trip.

Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
11/21 @Penguins    6:00 p.m.
11/23 vs Senators    7:00 p.m.
11/24 @ Avalanche 8:00 p.m.