The Stars are in a bit of a rut.
The team has lost three straight games. During that stretch, the Senators, Devils and Wild scored a combined 10 goals to the Stars’ 2.
Forward Jason Spezza notched one of those goals in his team’s 3-1 loss to the Wild on Friday night. After the game, Stars head coach Jim Montgomery called Spezza, along with rookie defenseman Miro Heiskanen, his two best players on the ice that evening.
Spezza will carry the second-highest cap hit on the team ($7.5 million), per Spotrac.com, for the second season in a row. And last year, he only posted 26 points in 78 games.
But the 15-year veteran is off to a strong start this season. In seven games, he’s recorded 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists). That point total is the fifth highest on the team thus far.
After a hard practice at the team’s rink Cheap Dallas Stars jerseys in Euless on Saturday, the veteran spoke to reporters about his strong start to this season, his take on his first-year head coach and the team’s up-and-down start.
This interview was edited and condensed for space.
On the first-year head coach Jim Montgomery and the hard practice last Saturday
I love what he’s done. He’s pushed us. I think we would’ve practiced like that whether we won or we lost. But there was some extra fire at practice today. He’s demanding of us to raise our expectation of what we are.
It’s his team and he’s the boss. He knows what to do. He’s won at all his levels. I don’t feel like he’s a rookie coach you need to talk to. It’s best to let him do what he’s doing because everything is well thought-out. He’s not a guy that’s flying by the seat of his pants.
How are things going for you after last year’s disappointing season?
I feel good. I’ve worked hard. Last year I didn’t like the way things went. I expect more of myself and I think my game is coming around.
Do you think about maybe being a step slower and the league is getting faster?
I’ve never been fast. It’s never worried me, being a step slower than everyone. That was not my problem last year. (It) was thinking too much and playing outside of my game. I think that I just have to work hard at getting back to what I do well, (which is) creating. It’s been good, it’s been what I expected. And I think I have more to give, too.
You seemed to have an emotional reaction to your goal against the Wild?