Texas Stars Report: The True Story Behind the 2014 Texas Stars Season, So Far

Derek Laxdal at the bench (Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
The 'Texas Stars Report' on Defending Big D...
Can we talk for a second? I know it's the holiday season, and happy news is usually the order of the day, but I think we need some #realtalk about the Texas Stars. Here it comes. Are you ready?

This is not the same team that won the Calder Cup in June.

I don't say this as an insult to the current team or its staff or anything. It's just a fact that the fans are going to have to get used to. Comparisons are inevitable. That's the basis of sport. That's how we decide whether the Cowboys in the 1990s or the Patriots in the 2000s were the better NFL team. Sport is all about comparison, so I get that.

So then let's do this. Let's make the comparison. One of the big complaints I keep seeing is that Coach Laxdal inherited a Calder Cup winning team and all he had to do was put it on auto-pilot and it will win another. Did he inherit a Calder Cup winning team though?
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  1. I agree with what is said however I tend to look at it a little different. And I realize there is still plenty of season to play, I'm just posting this because it's on topic.

    First keep in mind when things started to not look so rosy in Texas I pointed out the team was considerably different than last years, and not in a good way. But...

    Laxdal is quit possibly in the worst position he can be in, following Willie. Even though Laxdal hasn't had much time with a stable team (constant lineups) he probably has shown it to be a bigger challenge for him than Willie did his entire 2 years. Sounds simple but recall in 2012-2013 Willie had to deal with the NHL strike and for all practical purposes had 2 different teams that year and still was unaffected and had the best record in the Western Conference. Going into the 2013-2014 season the Stars lost three of the previous years top 5 scorers in Fraser, Smith, and Chiasson, two of those guys would represent two of the top three forwards on any given night (like us losing Morin, Mckenzie and Mueller.) Additionally we lost Connauton, Vincor, and Benn, which represent a chunk of our reliable defense from the year before. Thus it's hard to just write off change as a legitimate excuse for a team to decline. Is it a factor, sure, but how much do you say is in the "acceptable limits" for a team that won the championship the previous year decline? I just cant accept either barely getting into the playoffs or not getting in at all as being within those margins.

    See Part 2 below

    1. IMO blame goes to...

      Management, They know Sceviour is gone. They know Mckenzie, Nemeth, Jokipakka, and Oleksiak where either going to be in Dallas or spend the lions share of time in Dallas. They know Mueller, Hedden, Peters, and Jeffery need to be replaced. Perhaps Klingberg was a surprise, but that's about it. And they responded by signing Rallo, we love Rallo but he ain't going to make up for all the above players. Additionally they never should of bought Honka in at this stage, he could be a great NHL player one day but he should of stayed in the CHL to develop and I can think of 20 other defensive AHL players off the top of my head that would of been a bigger part of producing wins for this club. If this was last years team yea sure bring him on, this years team it's just not good roster management. So far the Stars management grade out with an F.

      Players, most notable the second and third lines are under performing to what they should be expected to do. Dowling and Ritchie are okay, Rallo has had a nice streak. But as for the rest of the guys it would be nice if they sold cartons of milk at the vendors at Cedar Park Center so we could see just what these players look like on the missing persons adds on the sides of milk those cartons. We have 3-4 guys that should be making a case to get first line playing time but at this point they haven't convinced much of anyone they are useful for anything other than roster depth.

      Campbell, Hard to criticize him, but going into this season a lot was counting on him and he basically has done the exact same think Besko did a few years back, that would be immediately show he isn't up for the job. And unfortunately for the Stars it's hard to undo a first round goalie, underachieving issue.

      Laxdal, it ultimately falls on him. I am one of those who say he should of changed as little as possible then if it fails you adjust. By adjusting prior to the season he accepts everything after. Also I feel he has changed lineups and lines far more often than he should.

      Additional notes...

      -I wouldn't be surprised if next season, if not at one point this season guys from the group of Peters, Trook, Hulak, and Root slip into the second and maybe first line roles. I realize Hukak is kinda already there, but he will be a mainstay.

      - Glennie and Meech are the biggest disappointments. Another year and another group of young players that will surpass Glennie. That guy left a ton of money on the table by not making it into Dallas during his rookie contract. If that didn't motivate him I'm not sure anything will.

      -Everyone celebrated the purchase of the Texas Stars by the Dallas Stars and I pointed out the Texas Stars were the most successful AHL franchise over the previous five years, Dallas has been one of the least successful NHL franchises in that time. Be careful what you wish for.

    2. Carl,
      What a phenomenal comment. I absolutely think this is some of the best stuff we've had in the comment section on this site ever. Very well thought out.

      The blame certainly comes from multiple places on the team. You're very right, I think, in pointing out that AHL-level scoring is something that is missing here (Jeffrey, Mueller, Hedden) and that is something the team needs. The team clearly hoped for more from players like Rallo. Also, players like Eaves and Nichushkin getting injured has affected the depth of those type roles. Morin and McKenzie are in Dallas and that may not have been the plan for the season.

  2. Kinda off topic -- but I see Cirque is at the CPC on the 29th. Any word if the center jumbotron will be out of commission for either of the games the two days before that?


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