For those of us lucky enough to attend on of the Texas Stars preseason games, it was awe inspiring. The team was offensively and defensively minded. Winning every single preseason game, many became excited about the season to come with the precaution that things can change in an instant. Preseason does not a season make.
In this league and lockout environment, competition is tough. There are numerous NHL players that have their way to the AHL with the likes of Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins to name a few. The players vying for a permanent roster spot in the AHL must bring their A game each shift.
Unfortunately for many of the Stars, after the season started, this was not the case. The shots on goal have been almost out of this world, but the points on the big screen don't reflect the effort. Last Saturday's game against Lake Erie had 49 SOG yet the Stars were oly able to salvage one point as they lost in a shootout.
Defense hasn't been much better. Stars sit last in the league on the penalty kill. Cam Barker, who spent the last few years in the NHL, looks lost out on the ice and is currently at -4.
Goaltending has been less than stellar. There was much ado about Jack Campbell at the end of last season, but is at .868 SV%. Nihlstorp and Campbell have traded places often this season. Neither is a shining star (pun intended) at this point. Jack Robinson was recently recalled from Idaho. Perhaps this is an opportunity to shake things up a bit. Last year, Andrew Raycroft lost his NHL backup spot to Richard Bachman. Or maybe Campbell might benefit from some time in the ECHL.
Some might say that it is too early in the season to gripe about the way things are going, but this year the bar has been raised and there should be no excuses for lackluster performances.