After closing out 2013 with a win over Los Angeles, the Stars were 20-12-7 and making a playoff push in the West.
Then, 2014 happened.
Turning the calendar basically turned on the Stars, as they’ve gone a woeful 1-7-1 to start the year. As a result, head coach Lindy Ruff said it’s do-or-die time for his ailing club.
“There’s no doubt that we’re at red alert,” Ruff said, per the Dallas Morning-News. “We know that.”
Dallas started the year about as badly as it could’ve imagined, losing its first six games in regulation while being outscored 26-12. According to the Morning-News, it was the first time the Stars lost six in regulation since the 1995-96 campaign, a year in which the team went 26-42-14 — the worst record in the 20 years the club has been in Dallas.
A 5-2 win over Edmonton last Tuesday briefly stopped the bleeding, but the Stars returned to their losing ways after that with defeats to Boston and Minnesota.
As such, the club that was chasing the playoffs three weeks ago now finds itself nine points back of eighth place in the conference. That’s forced GM Jim Nill to take a different look at how he might approach the trade deadline.
From the Morning-News:
If the Stars don’t stop their slide, there’s a chance that the playoffs will become too far out of reach and general manager Jim Nill will have to start making roster decisions.
The 16-day Olympic break begins Feb. 9. Most teams will have a pretty good idea then if they will be buyers or sellers at the March 5 trade deadline. That means a lot of people in the Stars’ organization have a lot on their minds right now.
“I do look at wining every game. I look at all of the issues that go into that and what we can do better,” Nill said. “But I also have to look at the big picture, so it is a little different for me. We need to win, but we can’t win at all costs.”
The Stars to have one big opportunity on the horizon to turn things around. After tonight’s game in Nashville, they begin a five-game homestand against Minnesota, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Colorado and New Jersey.