Once again, Ruff calls out Stars for playing ‘pond hockey’

20 Comments

After allowing the fourth-most goals in the league last year, the Dallas Stars made a bunch of offseason moves designed to keep pucks out of their net.

But if the preseason has been any indication, they’re not exactly working.

“It was disappointing,” head coach Lindy Ruff said after a 4-1 exhibition loss to St. Louis on Tuesday, per the Dallas Morning-News. “We didn’t compete hard enough. I thought some guys did, but they won the puck battles, we threw some pucks away and I thought our power play played pond hockey. That was frustrating.”

(If that pond hockey line sounds familiar, it should.)

Dallas has allowed 20 goals through five preseason games. You can take those numbers with a grain of salt — they’re called exhibition games for a reason — but it still has to be an alarming trend for Ruff and GM Jim Nill, who spent a lot of money this summer on defensive reinforcements (like Johnny Oduya for $7.5 million) and goaltending depth (Antti Niemi, $13.5M).

Also alarming? The fact the same issues keep creeping up.

Niemi allowed four goals on 28 shots against the Blues, finishing with an .857 save percentage. That’s been a problem in Dallas, especially last year when the Stars finished with the NHL’s second-worst save percentage (only Edmonton’s was lower.)

Then there’s the pond hockey thing, which is clearly going to be the knock on Dallas until it shows otherwise.