Or three-quarters empty? Just joshing there. As I turned off the television last night, my first thought was, ``OK, they're done.'' But as I talked to players today and saw that the Stars are just a point or two (if you're using the tiebreakers) out of eighth place and a spot in the playoffs, I had to say, ``Well, maybe they still have a chance.''
To be sure, if this team had just gone .500 over the past 10 games instead of 2-7-1, they would be in just peachy shape. So that does seem to indicate that they still have a chance to make a run at it. I mean, you look at the teams that are in right now, and they have been on good rolls lately. Vancouver has turned its season around in a month, Nashville in a couple of weeks. St. Louis has found a way to get back into the mix, as well.
But if you look at those teams, you see reasons for their turnarounds. Vancouver started to adapt to Mats Sundin and finally got goalie Roberto Luongo up and running. Nashville got Steve Sullivan back from injury and found a way to get rookie goalie Pekka Rinne on a solid run. St. Louis saw the return of Andy McDonald from injury and watched Chris Mason go on an incredible run. The Stars had that too _ a month ago when Jere Lehtinen and Steve Ott came back and Marty Turco was on a roll. Now, Lehtinen is out again. So is Brad Richards, and Brenden Morrow and Sergei Zubov. And as near as we can tell, none are coming back soon.
Fabian Brunnstrom practiced today and is close to returning. Mark Parrish said he's fine after his collision Tuesday with Jay McKee, but he'll probably sit out a game. But if either can play, they don't really bring the impact needed. Joel Lundqvist is expected to be back in the lineup after three healthy scratches, and he could have his hair on fire.
But, again, how much difference can he make overall? So, yes, the Stars have at their disposal the opportunity to save the season. Do they have the necessary equipment and fuel? Maybe that's why the glass seems so empty.