The Return of Modano?
Last night's loss to the Vancouver Canucks exhibits the need for the Stars' injured players to hit the ice again, fast.
The Stars have owned shootouts since the rule's introduction two years ago after the lockout, going 15-2 in 17 tries. Sergei Zubov's slick move on Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo failed with a shot that glanced off the crossbar. The Stars then had to move six players deep into its roster in the ensuing shootout, and Luongo held off five more shots until Vancouver was able to slip one by Marty Turco for the 2-1 win. Turco, though hit with the loss, continued his spectacular play with 20 stops, very little of them the routine variety.
Brendan Morrow and Mike Modano, both excellent shooters, along with other forwards Eric Lindros and Steve Ott, all remain on the injured list.
The Stars did pick up a point in the standings, but continue to stare across a wide gulf separating them with the Ducks in the Pacific standings. Second place is up for grabs as Dallas gained on the idle Sharks. With mid-season approaching, can Turco and Mike Smith continue their stellar play, and can the newcomers on the bench hold off some tough teams in the current Canadian swing until the captains come back?
While it has been fun watching coach Tippett juggle his line, the Stars are in desperate need of some stability to continue the success they have had in their 9-6 December. A lack of offense will become more glaring as the season progresses and the playoff seeding falls into place.
Otherwise, Modano will have plenty of time to enjoy the charming company of fiancee Willa "I hate the Carters" Ford come April.