March 08, 2012
Louie Loui: Loui Eriksson And The Dallas Stars Are Good
Did you know the highest scoring player in the Western Conference since New Year's Day is Dallas' Loui Eriksson?
The fact that Loui Eriksson is good comes as no surprise to Dallas Stars hockey fans. But I think much of the rest of the NHL wanted to wait and see how well Eriksson would play without the departed Brad Richards this season. The answer is just fine, thank you very much. Eriksson leads the Stars with 23 goals and 61 points, which puts him on the same pace as the last couple of seasons.
More importantly, Eriksson's strong play has Dallas in the thick of things in the Western Conference playoff scene. In fact, they are the Pacific Division's first place team, which would actually give the Stars third seeding in the NHL's bizarro world.
Eriksson is a slippery and elusive offensive player, often sneaking undetected into open areas. He has a very quick release and uses his long reach to his advantage. He can surprise defenders with a deceiving burst of speed. He is a very conscientious player in his own zone, too.
In some ways Eriksson's lack of recognition defines the Dallas Stars very well. Due to ownership question marks at the beginning of the season, no one gave the Stars much of a chance at the playoffs in 2012. But quietly Joe Nieuwendyk added some nice, complimentary players (Vern Fiddler, Michael Ryder, Sheldon Souray) on a shoe string budget and a no name coach (Glen Gulutzan) who has turned out to be a world beater.
The Stars have surprised many this season, but I don't think anyone will be giving them much of a chance in the wild Western Conference playoffs. Maybe the Stars will do what they do best yet again - surprise everybody.
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You're the most perceptive observer in hockey. Keep killin it Joe. I tell everyone that likes hockey to come here.
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