Going into the 2019-20 NHL season, there was a definite buzz surrounding the Dallas Stars.
Even before picking up veterans Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry over the summer, their mix of strong goaltending, capable defenders — including Calder Trophy finalist Miro Heiskanen — and gifted forwards looked to make them a legitimate threat to end the campaign hoisting the Stanley Cup.
Following a 3-2 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets north of the border on Sunday, the Stars are currently 8-8-2 and three points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
The poor play of his team throughout the first quarter of the season seems to have worn on head coach Jim Montgomery. While he didn’t call anyone out by name, his message to his team’s stars was clear while talking to reporters at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg.
“Very disappointed,” he said when asked about the scoring of his top players, according to Matthew DeFranks of The Dallas Morning News.
Are you seeing signs of progress, Jim?
“No. Are you?”
It doesn’t take much more than a glance at the numbers to understand Montgomery’s frustrations.
Tyler Seguin, the squad’s top scorer last season, has three goals and 11 points through 18 games. Jamie Benn, meanwhile, matched a career-high on Sunday by extending his goalless drought to 13 games, according to DeFranks. He only has one goal and six points this season.
“You get pretty much at least one Grade-A scoring chance a game,” Benn said on Sunday, according to DeFranks. “You either put it in the back of the net, or you don’t. From there, you either continue to get chances in each game or you try and set your teammates up. There’s chances there, just got to find a way to put it in the back of the net.”
Alex Radulov — the regular right winger on the top line — has faired a bit better with five goals and 10 points in 18 games, but three of those tallies came against the Minnesota Wild in a 6-3 win at the end of October.
“I don’t think they’re driving pucks too often,” Montgomery said, according to DeFranks.. “In general, our team, not driving pucks to hard areas enough... You need your No. 1 center, you need your No. 1 left winger to step up and do more.”
While that’s far from a compliment for Benn and Seguin, there’s no doubt that what their coach had to say about the two is just a little bit better than being called f*****g horse-s**t.
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