Stars Season Breakdown (And I Don’t Mean The Mental Kind) Part 3

It’s time for Part 3 of the Stars Season Breakdown, where I look at the individual contributions of probably the most hotly debated part of the Stars system: our defense.  Again, these guys show up in order of 5v5 Time on Ice this season.

If you missed Part 1 (Top 7 TOI Forwards) or Part 2 (Bottom 7 TOI Forwards), click those links.

Let’s take a minute to re-familiarize ourselves with where Dallas landed as a team this year. These 10 game averages are 5v5 play and Score Adjusted. All data sourced from

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Mail Bag: The Stars Are Bad For Our Heart Rates, Too

Time for another Two Bearded Ladies Mail Bag! Thank y’all so much for sending us these questions. We definitely have the best readers.

Anonymous Asked:

so … how do you explain that in every game they play whenever they outshoot the other team they lose … It’s coming to a point that when I watch the shot count on the screen and see that the Stars have more than the other team I can’t help thinking “mmm, that’s not good”. Also this team is not good for my heart rate.


M: Love. If we could explain that, we’d be co-captaining the Dallas Stars.

C: At this point, the only thing we can really look at is how many scoring chances the Stars give up per game. Usually, even if they’re out shooting the competition, they’re still ending up above league average scoring chances against per 60 (SCA/60). The difference between Scoring Chances and “Shots on Goal” is that they’re weighted by where they were shot from and whether it was a rush, breakaway, etc, and so are a better predictor of goals. Against Tampa we had an (5v5, score adjusted) SCA/60 of 31.2. Against the Islanders, which we had to win in OT, it was 37.3. League average is 25.

We are playing better defensively (against Anaheim it was only 15.3) as a whole, but we have a long way to go before we’ll really see that pay off.


Anonymous asked:

How would the Stars survive a zombie apocalypse? What would their plan be? Would they come up with a plan or just take it minute by minute? Who would be the surprising leader? Who would get caught by the zombies?


M: Where are they when apocalypse strikes? Because if they’re in their own homes, god knows. That would be a mess of everyone trying to get to a central location with their families. If they’re at the training facility just having a normal practice when all hell breaks loose, I predict minute-by-minute planning (nothing about this team strikes me as the long term planning type) and John Klingberg as your surprising leader. Turns out he’s GREAT at headshots with his hockey stick. Close combat isn’t ideal with zombies (you don’t want to become infected yourself) so Jamie and Tyler practice accuracy shots with pucks at zombie’s heads. They are also surprisingly effective at this, but naturally not able to react quickly with a horde. They manage to survive for a surprisingly long time in the Dr Pepper Arena before they run out of snacks and powerade. They send out the pitbull line to scout and lose Roussel and Garbutt (sorry boys) when they start a fight they can’t win against a handful of fresh zombies. Eventually they make their way to Ikea where Klingberg and Nemeth feel right at home. The employees and customers of Ikea have managed to hold off the zombies with stylish yet affordable home furnishings. They survive there on the meatballs until the National Guard arrives to take everyone to a more secure location. (All of the families survive because I’m not a monster.)

C: What she said. Also, Spezza learns to knit. Why? Because he seems the type.

M: If Spezza learns to knit, Hemsky learns to spin. They all end up on a ranch somewhere that Jamie names Apocalypse Ranch because he has no imagination. They keep sheep. For the knitting. (And other things, obviously, like cows and chickens. McKenzie turns out to be an excellent gardner.)

C: It’s probably Faksa’s goat farm.

M: They have to get rid of his fainting goats though. They let him keep a few that he bottle raised and named after family members in the Czech Republic.


Meep Asked:

Oh, a few things: Since this season is essentially done, do you think Tyler and Val should take it slow with coming back? I know they wanna be back asap, but it’s not like they could fix this anymore.


M: That would assume the only reason they’d come back is because of a playoff push, and not because they’re better. Stars organization unequivocally said that they weren’t rushing Tyler’s return on Saturday. Val’s taking a lot longer, but is still within the time frame they’ve been updating us with all season. So I don’t know that Val’s continued absence is because they’re taking it slow or just that he isn’t actually ready yet.

Another thing to consider, beyond what the medical staff approves, is that these are hyper competitive dudes that just want to play hockey. They got to the NHL by way of this hyper competitive attitude, and FUCK, Pascal Dupuis didn’t let MISSING ONE THIRD OF HIS LUNG stop him from playing five games. (This, by the way, is fucking stupid and not actually an attitude I advise ANYONE take to their health and wellbeing.) That said, the Stars staff is well aware of what Tyler’s going through, (the Pens staff were very much in the dark re: Dupuis) and would take his own opinion into account, probably, but not actually make decisions based on it.

C: Players playing while injured makes me so upset. LUONGO, I AM LOOKING AT YOU.


What steps would you like the Stars, or rather Jim Nill, to take during the off season? What are your dream trades, who would you like to see traded away etc.


M: Carolyn’s going to say Reimer for Sceviour and a pick and I’m not going to dispute that at all. I don’t know if we resign Enroth at this point, and we wasted a third round in a deep draft on him. Clearly we’re gonna need an upgrade in goal and honestly, TO BE QUITE HONEST AND FRANK, I wouldn’t be unhappy if we could unload Kari’s contract on someone, I just don’t know who would take him. Dream trade: Brent Seabrook for either Daley or Goligoski and probably a pick/prospect.

C: I would also take Bernier for Sceviour and a pick, as it would be another integral step to collecting all the hockey players with Brothers Forever tattoos.I do think either Daley or Goligoski will have to go over the summer, in part because we have a deep, if young, Defensive roster, and Nill is obviously going to be looking for a number one guy. If it’s Phaneuf (bleh), I could see the Leafs preferring Goligoski, but if we’re going to get Seabrook (plz plz plz) I think that Daley would fit better with Chicago’s super fast style of play. Defending Big D did an interesting article about trading partners, and Nill hasn’t been fond of in-conference trades (neither is Bowman) so I’m worried this might put a damper on possibly getting Seabrook.

I also think that either Oleksiak or Jokipakka will be traded as part of a package over the summer. So maybe it will be Reimer for Jokipakka and a pick.

M: LITERALLY ANYONE BUT PHANEUF. Also Stars organization seems like Jokipakka better than Oleksiak at this point, if the amount of time Jokipakka has spent up in Dallas is any indication.

C: Yes, but by the same logic, this would make him more valuable to other organizations. If we could get Reimer without giving up the pick, that would be even better.


Should there be coaching changes made? I mean clearly the PP hasn’t done quite as well as we’d want it to, or as consistent as we’d need it to. … Okay nothing has been as consistent as we need it to, *sigh*.


C: I wouldn’t be surprised if you see front office shake ups this summer. Nothing drastic like Lindy getting canned, but probably some of the support staff will go. The Stars’ power play has been limp and lifeless (M: one could almost say flaccid) (C: except then one would have to shudder) except for a few brief stints. They did score two power play goals against Tampa, so maybe it’ll kick back to life here and save someone’s job.

I think, despite our defense of him on our podcast, that Mike Valley will be out of a job come summer. Apparently Valley has also had a hand in some of the goaltending scouting that we were harping on, so I’m less keen on him sticking around. Also, it appears a good replacement, Jeff Reese, is no longer with the Flyers org, and by all accounts he did some excellent work with Mason and restoring his confidence. Rumor is that Reese & the Flyers “parted ways” because he was trying to make sure that Mason wasn’t played while injured, but Mason was put in net anyway. I would definitely not mind having a guy like that in our organization.

M: Former Flyers though, gross.

C: Dallas can rehabilitate him, though! I mean, not having to wear orange will do wonders for the soul.

M: So accurate.


@erozyskie asks:

@beardiestladies @merrinish How do you keep your beards so full? Conditioner? Mac & cheese loading? The world needs to know! 😀


M: I condition mine with only the finest of pizza oils. Every night. From Papa Johns.

C: Garlic butter does wonders for follicle stimulation.

Defense (Doesn’t) Do Dallas

(3/11/15: I have to issue a pretty massive correction to this article, as I was using the incorrect definition of what the NHL considers at Takeaway. It does change the outcome of many of my charts/graphs, however the conclusion as a whole remains unchanged – the Stars offense is not being as defensively responsible as needed. All data is from the same time period, so will not include any updates from recent games.)

After this weekend’s disastrous games, I think it’s time to dive back into defensive metrics and why we seem to be failing miserably at holding onto a lead.

One of the terms commonly thrown around when discussing defense is “Shot Suppression”. The stat that best represents this is Fenwick Against. Fenwick is just Missed Shot & Shots on Goal (it leaves out blocked shots, which are included in Corsi). Why leave out blocked shots? Well, over large sample sizes, Fenwick has a slightly better correlation to possession. Also, there is some disagreement as to whether shot blocking is luck or skill. Since we’re looking at the full season of data, Fenwick is an appropriate measure here.

All numbers from War-on-ice, 5v5, and are score adjusted (because lord knows, we’ve played from behind a lot lately), unless otherwise noted.

Now, everyone knows we have a defensive problem, but it’s one thing to know there’s a chink in the armor, and another to see the giant gaping hole. Dallas is currently 22nd in the league in Fenwick Against Per 60 (FA/60). Last season, they were 15th.


2.23 FA60 Rolling Average

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Armchair GM: Picking a #1 Defenseman

As the trade deadline draws nearer, the talk of picking up a #1 Defenseman becomes more and more frantic for most Stars fans. There are a lot of rumors floating around, focusing mostly on three potential trade candidates: Brent Seabrook, Dion Phaneuf, and Cody Franson.

Everyone wants to be an armchair GM, and this article will help guide us through that process. So really the first question we have to ask ourselves is this: What makes a number one defenseman in the league?

It has to be more than just the ability to play big minutes: there have been games when Jordie Benn has played 26 minutes for the Stars this year, but clearly he’s not a #1 guy.

I would argue it comes down to two things, with a few caveats. First, you must have good possession numbers. The more you have the puck, the less your opponent can have it. In fact, it’s being argued that possession is the most important stat for a defenseman, as fewer and fewer teams use Dump & Chase as their strategy. Second, you must be able to prevent scoring chances against your team. Scoring Chance For % is currently the best indicator of winning, and since a Dman has little influence of the For number, his biggest realm of influence is the Against number (SCF% = SCF/(SCF+SCA)).Read More »