After leading the
On Dec. 28, Dallas led the division with a 27-7-3 record and 57 points, and the
"First of all, they're a great team. That's where we want to get to," Stars General Manager Jim Nill said of the defending champion Blackhawks. "And it's a good challenge for us now, and we'll just kind of go from there."
Where they're going is the question. The Blackhawks have been hitting stride but the Stars have been hitting turbulence.
Dallas will take a three-game losing streak and 1-4-2 slump into its game Tuesday against the Kings at Staples Center. The Stars lead the
"We went through a tough stretch the last two weeks, right after Christmas. A lot of games. We didn't play well enough," said Nill, who spent nearly 20 years in the
"We've got to play better. We've got to manage the puck better. We got away from that, and it cost us. We don't like to use excuses, but fatigue was a big part of it. We played 11 games in 15 nights, with all the travel. It was tough, but that's where the team has got to mature."
Nill hasn't been afraid to make bold moves to rebuild his team. Early in his tenure he pulled off a seven-player trade to land
For now, he seems inclined to let players work through their problems.
"I like our team. I like our depth," he said "If we stay healthy, I like where we're at. If there's something that comes along that makes sense and makes us better we're always going to look at it but I like the team we have."
All-out All-Star mess
The Internet-fueled campaign to elect enforcer
A recap: Reddit and the Puck Daddy blog, among others, promoted Scott's election in part to mock a process that allowed fans to vote for only four All-Stars. The NHL and the Coyotes asked Scott to withdraw but Scott, who had special T-shirts made for teammates and planned to take his family to Nashville for the Jan. 31 game, declined to bow out.
Conspiracy theorists saw the three-way trade — which sent him out of the division, away from his pregnant wife and to a team that didn't want him — as a plot to keep him out of the All-Star game and replace him with someone the league approved. That might be a stretch. As of Monday, the NHL hadn't decided if Scott will play.
It was juvenile to use Scott as a pawn for publicity and bill him as a goon in the land of the skillful, but the NHL was foolish to leave its voting open to such manipulation. In the end, more people are talking about the All-Star game than otherwise would care about it and its ever-changing, never-satisfying format.
Let Scott play. Laugh with him, not at him. Then have players and coaches pick future All-Star participants if the NHL insists on continuing a game whose time has passed.
• San Jose forward
• Long Beach native