Stars' Winning Attitude Pays Dividends

This Glen Gulutzan guy, man, what a find, huh? The Dallas Stars are the best team in the entire Western Conference through nine games.

Adam Burish fist pumps with glory after tying the game late vs. Phoenix (AP Photo)

The Dallas Stars look rejuvenated, and, dare I say it, better, since the departure of Brad Richards and the beginning of a new season. From an observer's standpoint, that loss to Minnesota to end their season last year is done and over with.

Tell me you thought the Dallas Stars would be the best team in the Western Conference after 9 games. Better than the Blackhawks, better than the new-look Kings, better than the always amazing Detroit Red Wings, and flat-out better than their entire division.

You can see the fire in this team's legs from the drop of the puck until the end. They don't give up through 60 minutes. Take their last game against Phoenix for example. They seemed down and out after Shane Doan gave the 'Yotes a lead late in the third. All it took was relentless forechecking, and Adam Burish sent the game to OT, and eventually, to a long and drawn out shootout win.

As mentioned last time, Kari Lehtonen continues to sparkle. You want to know how much the Stars fleeced the Thrashers in that deal for Kari? The Stars gave up promising defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy, and he's playing for Atlant Mytishchi in the KHL with no ties to an NHL team. Other than that, the Stars gave up a fourth round pick. Ouch.

7-0-0, a .955 save percentage, and a 1.54 save percentage. I may be getting ahead of myself, but is he this year's Tim Thomas? Always in position to make the routine and the amazing save.

Much like an elite team in the league, players need to play their roles. It seems pretty cut and dry that Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson should lead the way in point production, and Mike Ribeiro should be the set-up guy to his teammates. Look at the point spread. That's exactly what's happening.

And how about that Sheldon Souray? The Stars knew they needed offense from the back end, but they knew that Alex Goligoski was not enough. General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk snagged Souray for a good price. Any GM, coach or hockey fan would be happy to see six points in eight games for the price of $1.65 million.

Did I forget to mention the Stars have the lowest payroll in the League? Think about that for a little while, and realize just what's happening right now.


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George Prax's picture

Glen Gu-who-tzan?

Seriously though, I'm happy for the stars, but you gotta wonder how long they can keep it up. Souray's playing over his head, so is Lehtonen, and the offense was underrated after Richards left but you gotta think they're going to slump as teams below them level out. It's a matter of weathering the inevitable storm, and that's where the true value of their coach and their team will be shown.