Dallas’ power play is just awful


Amazingly, this thing where I write about a team’s awful power play, then watch it snap out of its funk is a perfect two-for-two now — it first worked with Anaheim three weeks ago, then with Columbus two weeks ago (after going 0-for-36, the Jackets have scored nine PPG in seven games and still owe me a Mountain Dew).

So welcome to the analysis of your awful power play, Dallas.

The Stars went 1-for-6 with the man advantage in Sunday’s disappointing 3-2 loss to Florida, which capped off a five-game road swing in which Dallas went 1-for-22 on the power play.

“We need to step up as a group and find a way to score,” Jamie Benn said, per the Dallas Morning News. “It’s got to make a difference tonight in a game like that when you have so many opportunities.”

It’s worth noting this isn’t the first time Dallas has struggled on the PP. It took until Nov. 21 for the Stars to finally score with the man advantage at home this season — a span of eight games and 26 opportunities at American Airlines.

The team also went through a ghastly slump from late January to early March where it scored just once in 26 man advantage situations.

Add it all up, and there’s little surprise to see the Stars near the bottom of the NHL in terms of power play efficiency. They sit 24th among 30 teams with a 15.5 percentage, this despite the fact they have two of the league’s top-10 scorers in Tyler Seguin (third, 82 points) and Jamie Benn (10th, 75 points).

Head coach Lindy Ruff seems cognizant of the fact that his two big guns need to be front-and-center on the PP. That’s why he switched things up a bit during Sunday’s loss, and saw positive signs for the future.

“I think after we changed and we put Jamie around the front and put two D out there, we spent most of the time in their zone,” Ruff said. “We had a lot of good luck, couple of re-directions.

“It looked like a power play again.”

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

Anaheim Ducks v Vancouver Canucks
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Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.

The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.

According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”

Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:

The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.

Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two:

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier

Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.