The Stars traded for a defenseman this morning. Here's the info:
FRISCO, Tex. - The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has acquired defenseman Andrew Hutchinson from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for right wing Lauri Tukonen, who is currently playing for Lukko Rauma in the Finnish Elite League. Hutchinson is expected to join the Stars in time for their upcoming two-game road trip to Calgary and Edmonton.
Hutchinson, 28, has gone scoreless in two games with Tampa Bay this season. In 20 games with Norfolk (AHL) thus far in 2008-09, he has posted a goal and 13 assists for 14 points, tied for the team lead in assists and tops among Admirals defenseman in scoring.
Was talking to Les Jackson about a few things, including the possible ramifications of Sergei Zubov's injury, if it ends up being for any length of time. The Stars have a couple options with defensemen, and if they need to call someone up they'll do it. Granted, whoever they get (if necessary), it's going to be tough to lose another player, especially someone of Zubov's caliber.
Anyway, some other tidbits. His thoughts on the coaches right now: "When you have a team that’s healthy and have everyone on board, then you measure their performance. It's not fair to say right now; it's a tough situation to measure coaches. Their history’s pretty good, and you have to trust we’ll get our team back in order. They’ll do the best they can. They’re qualified people, for sure."
On the injury situation: "It just seems there's one critical error and you pay for it. And when you’re shorthanded, that even magnifies things. We're trying to stretch players to do things they normally don’t do. It's still opportunities for some of the young players. But losing those guys, there's no question it hurts. But nobody really remembers at the end of the year who was in or out. We have a lot of guys who care about our team, and I think we’re just in a bad spell. We're going to have to believe in ourselves. Nobody’s going to help us."
Defenseman Sergei Zubov did not practice today in Frisco, and coach Dave Tippett said they would know more tomorrow about his status. Zubov's been playing through some things for a while now, so who knows if this is part of that or if there's something new. Either way, it doesn't sound incredibly positive at the moment. But what has so far this season for the Stars?
Marty Turco will start tomorrow night against the Edmonton Oilers, who look like a mirror image of the Stars right now (not winning, young'uns in sophomore slumps, coach under fire, etc.). Tippett reiterated what he said following Saturday's game against the Sharks: Considering the makeup of this team right now, they need their goaltender to be great. And so he'll play through it.
Mike Modano was playing wing with Brad Richards at center today (Loui Eriksson completing that line). A few changes in other places, but it looks like the Stars will see what they get out of this line tomorrow night. Here's the rest of the docket: Neal-Ribeiro-Avery Conner-Petersen-Parrish Barch-Brunnstrom-Wilson Defense: Sydor-Daley, Grossman-Robidas, Janik-Niskanen
We went down to the locker room and this was the scene: Guys like Krys Barch, Toby Petersen, Matt Niskanen, James Neal, Loui Eriksson... those were the ones remaining (wait, sorry, Sergei Zubov was in there, too). Now Marty Turco did come out, as did Darryl Sydor, but otherwise, most were cleared out by then.
Just don't know what you can say at this point. There's no building on positives with this group. They get behind and they fall apart. Coach Dave Tippett said this team needs its goaltender first and foremost: "Everybody has to do their part. Certain players we expect a lot more from, and it starts in goal with marty. Right now with our lineup, we just have to have good goaltending to give ourselves a chance."
So Tobias Stephan comes in to cheers from the AAC crowd and stops 10 of 11. Most of his stops were also met with fan appreciation. I asked Tippett if that means Stephan is a consideration for Sunday's game against Edmonton. His answer: "Everything is wide open for discussion."
Yes, your goaltending needs to be the backbone with this injury-riddled group. But the blame hardly stops there. Too many Sharks were able to just skate into points and slots wide open. Too many Sharks were planting themselves right in front of the net. Now Marty said his vision wasn't impaired: "I pretty much saw them all. We got bounces the other night, and tonight not so. The pucks were skipping up off the ice, knucklers and you try to track them and it’s tough. They squeak through. You want to do so much more, be the guy who turns it around but we all have to do this together."
Loui Eriksson, once again, was playing hard from start to finish. I'll even give James Neal credit for not quitting. Obviously seeing those guys bodes well for the future, but what about now? What does it say when two of your best players are 23 and 21 years old, respectively? 17 goals between those two, 39 goals among everyone else (Mike Modano has eight of those, Richards and Brunnstrom have six each).
Anyway, the broken record continues. So do the boatload of problems. Don't know at this point.
Love this kid. He never gives up, either... He holds the puck just long enough to get a spot open on Evgeni Nabokov, and tallies one late here in the third. That's his sixth of the season, and he has four goals in five games since being called back from Manitoba.
Think some of the other Stars could learn a thing or two from Neal and Eriksson?
Make that 6-1 for the Sharks, as it's Tobias Stephan's turn to be victimized. Tomas Plihal was wide open (how many times have I written that tonight?) and clangs on off the post and in for the really, really monumental lead.
The Sharks were absolutely dominating in that period. Doing basically whatever they wanted, the Sharks have a nice little shooting percentage working right now (5 goals on 19 shots? I think a lot of teams would take it). Just shows the distance between these two teams.
Once again, where are the Stars' top players? Loui Eriksson once again outplaying everyone else on this team. Everyone. I wouldn't be surprised if Tobias Stephan is playing this third period. I could be wrong, but why not at this point.
Wow, this is just getting nasty now... Rob Blake just fires from the blue line (Ryane Clowe screening in front), and it gets through as the Stars go down 5-1 with just a tick over three minutes remaining in the second.
Ugly, ugly, ugly. Don't know what else to say about it at this point. Two very, very different teams right now, for sure.