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Ruff will have ‘fun’ assembling Stars’ top power-play unit

Jul 10, 2014, 4:04 PM EDT

OTTAWA, CANADA - APRIL 12: Jason Spezza #19 and Ales Hemsky #83 of the Ottawa Senators talk strategy during a stoppage of play in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 12, 2014 at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Getty Images

The Dallas Stars finished 23rd in the NHL last season with a 15.9% power-play conversion rate. After trading for Jason Spezza and signing Ales Hemsky, head coach Lindy Ruff likes their chances of turning things around in 2014-15.

“With the pieces we have, we should have a really good first unit,” Ruff told the Dallas Morning News. “We can’t do what we did last year. We started out at 4.3 percent at home for two months, and you can’t recover from that. We became too fancy a power play at home, not enough pucks to the net and not enough second opportunities. We really improved that in the second half, but to be consistent, we have to get off to a lot better start.”

The question now is where everyone fits. Spezza and Tyler Seguin, for example, both like to play off the left half wall. One solution would be to shift one of them to the point. Jamie Benn and Hemsky are also expected to be on the top unit, but the latter brings them up to three righties, so either Alex Goligoski and Trevor Daley will probably round out the unit and setting up shop at the right point.

Whatever the Stars decide to do, this is the type of problem Ruff likes to have.

“It’s fun pushing the pieces around,” Ruff said.

  1. pjblake2redwings - Jul 10, 2014 at 4:09 PM

    Dallas is going to be putting the puck in the back of the net a lot this year. the rest of the west better watch out

  2. stepanup - Jul 10, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    Dallas Stars will be frequented on my NHL Gamecenter account this year. Can they play the Avalanche 82 times? I’d watch all of them.

    • avfanforlife - Jul 10, 2014 at 7:44 PM

      Good one

  3. endusersolutions2013 - Jul 10, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    On the subject of Ruff, the three active coaches with the most wins are all central division – Ruff, Hitch and Coach Q. Here’s how their records stack up

    Today
    Name RS Wins/rank Win % Playoff Ws Playoff W%
    Coach Q 706 (#3) .614 99 (#4) .547
    Hitch 657 (#7) .602 74 (#12) .521
    Ruff 611 (#12) .559 59 (16) .551

    I project after next 2 seasons
    Coach Q #2 in RS Ws, #3 in playoffs
    Hitch #3 RS #7 in playoffs
    Ruff #8 RS #12 or 13 in Playoffs

    1st are prety much a lock for HOF, Ruff good chance if he finishes 2-3 more good years with the stars.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Jul 10, 2014 at 5:23 PM

      (Meant to say 1st two:(

  4. soro17 - Jul 10, 2014 at 5:44 PM

    What is the plan for the very real situation where Spezza collides with Hemsky in the warm-up and both are gone for 6 months?

    • kennyadler1 - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:26 PM

      #bitterOttawafan

  5. kaptaanamerica - Jul 11, 2014 at 2:55 AM

    The Stars legitimately have two scoring lines that will be dangerous. They stack up well against the rest of the West. The Hawks don’t have the 1-2 punch at centre that Dallas does.

    This team is gonna be good, provided the goalchie and defense step up. I’m looking at Brandon Dhillon to have a good year.

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