Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 11/21/11
No doubt about it, Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan is fed up. Not only did his club drop a fifth straight game on Saturday night, a 4-1 loss to San Jose at American Airlines Center on the second night of a back-to-back, a game where the Stars did end a scoring drought that had eclipsed 194 minutes but there are still major issues with this team that started 11-3-0. One of those major issues, if not the top concern surrounding this club is penalties. Through their first 19 games, the Stars are the second-most penalized team in the entire National Hockey League with 316 penalty minutes. Only the Flyers, who have 339 PIM, have had more players sent to the sin bin more than your Dallas Stars this year, which of course makes them the most-penalized team in the entire Western Conference. But it's not like this hasn't been a team effort. Gritty center Steve Ott currently leads the club with 37 penalty minutes this year, but that's not a huge surprise since Otter has led the club in PIM for the last few years. Still, even with him missing six games due to a hip pointer, it is interesting to see him atop that list. Ott is one of four Stars who already have 30 penalty minutes or more, joining newcomer Sheldon Souray, captain Brenden Morrow and grinder Adam Burish. And already knocking on the door of that group is up-and-coming winger Jamie Benn, who has 29 minutes, a total that looks a bit high for a guy who is considered an offensive focal point. Besides wanting to see his team become much harder to play against, there is another mantra that the new Stars head coach has oft repeated in his first season behind the bench. All season, he has lamented the fact that his club isn't getting any breaks from NHL officials. But he is also realistic enough about his club to see exactly why that is happening. "I do have issues with the officiating. I might sound like a whiny coach and I'll go out there and say it. But I had some beefs with the officiating when we were 11-3 and now that we're 11-8, I still have them," Gulutzan said. "I think those beefs are warranted. We've been kind of keeping a log of it." The 40-year-old rookie NHL head coach then went on to discuss what he sees as a culture with this team that has contributed to the Stars not having many if any calls go their way. In short, it's not something he likes and a culture he wants to shift in the other direction as soon as possible. "I think we're on the wrong end of a lot of calls but I think it's our fault. We whine like little babies throughout the game. I don't know if there's been a history of that here or not but every team that I've coached, we've always been at the other end of the scale," Gulutzan said. "We're going to change that culture here and we've got to do it by zipping our mouths one step at a time. The refs are human and if you whine that much, they're not going to give you calls. It's just the bottom line and we're not getting them. We're not getting some calls and it's our fault. That's going to change. That subculture here is going to change." And if there has been something disconcerting about this current five-game losing skein, it's that the Stars have yet to respond to their first bit of adversity this season. Sure, they are without a key contributor at the blue line in Alex Goligoski, who is out for the next few weeks and not having Burish on the ice, who is out with a hand injury, has also taken a toll on this thing. But it's been clear in the last few games that the frustration level with how quickly things have turned has reached a fever pitch in the room. Backup goaltender Andrew Raycroft, who was between the posts for the club in their loss to the Sharks on Saturday evening, can definitely feel such a vibe around him. "Yeah, I think you can see it, especially probably the second half of the game where our emotions were high. We were just a little rattled," Raycroft said. "We just have to keep our heads down, work hard and get ourselves out of it that way with lots of hard work and some patience." However, their coach continues to demand more from them, as he should. "We have to play less frustrated when adversity hits. That's going to change," Gulutzan said. "I'll be glad to go back to Saskatchewan if we don't get out of this but at the end of the day, we're going to do it the way we're going to do it. We're going to be men. We're going to have character. We're going to shut our mouths and we're going to play. And if that's not good enough, then so be it."
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