Normally when it comes to Keeping Tabs, I highlight all 4 non-Teal Pacific Division teams. Today, there is just one team to discuss - the Dallas Stars. Though L.A.'s John Zeiler is a complete villain for his hit on Adam Foote... to be discussed at some other juncture.
The Dallas Stars just announced that pugilist Steve Ott will be out a month with a broken hand, which was the result of a fight against Anaheim's Steve Montador (hmmm... Steve vs. Steve...).
Like any Sharks fan, I despise the Dallas Stars. After all, we DO boo the word "star" in our otherwise beloved national anthem. However, there are moments when we put aside our mutual hatred - such as when we (and I) gave Mike Modano TWO standing ovations when he eclipsed the American-born goal scorer record last season (previously held by Phil Housley).
Given the announcement of Ott's injury, on the heels of the even more devastating injury to the Stars' captain, Brenden Morrow (out 6 months with a torn ACL), and the recurring injuries to Jere Lehtinen (who returned for 3 games this season between November 11 and 15, scoring a goal on his season debut), I almost have a soft spot developing for Dallas in my teal heart.
[note - the appropriate word is almost]
Formerly formidable Marty Turco, who shut us down in the Semifinals last season, has just 5 wins in 17 starts. He is currently the 3rd worst goaltender in the league for goals allowed, after two former Sharks netminders (Kiprusoff and Toskala), and the second worst (after Pascal Leclaire) for GAA (3.49). He's also in a tie for dead last in save percentage (.872) - although Evgeni Nabokov isn't too far ahead in that department (.892).
Turco's woes have directly contributed to the Stars as a whole - they are at rock bottom for goals against average and save percentage, and are second to last for most goals allowed (leading only the Toronto Maple Leafs).
In looking at the top 50 points leaders in the league, Dallas is fortunate to have one (Mike Ribeiro) even on the list (currently 42nd, with 18 points). However, Ribeiro is still a minus-four for his efforts.
One area where Dallas does lead is in penalty minutes, where they are fourth in the league. Bad boy Sean Avery leads all players with 77 minutes in the sin bin - but he does have a plus-four, which is the best on the team. Actually, only FIVE players on the Stars' roster have a plus-rating.
Newcomer Mark Parrish has notched just 2 points since his memorable 3-goal debut (which was against the Ducks, thankfully - if there's one thing Sharks fans hate more than the Dallas Stars, it's Anaheim). Fabian Brunnstrom likewise had a hat-trick in his debut (his NHL debut, at that), but has had just four points since that night - and just one in the month of November (curiously, the same night as Parrish's hat-trick against Anaheim).
The one rising offensive threat in Dallas' otherwise cooling roster is Loui Eriksson. He had a four-game point streak to close October, and has had 5 points so far in November, raising his totals to 9 goals and 13 points. His most recent goal was the lone one in the Stars' O.T. loss to (surprise) Anaheim. [Sharks fans would have preferred that a third point wasn't given out that night, but what can ya do...].
As I type, the Stars are down 1-2 in Philadelphia. The silver lining to that cloud - the recently called-up Landon Wilson scored his first NHL goal since The Lockout.
Oh crap, Mike Modano just tied the game.
Let's go Flyers... because no matter how much pity one might have for a downtrodden team, a rivalry is a rivalry.