The Dallas Stars have never been a team afraid of physical play or fisticuffs.
With a history of players like Shane Churla and Derian Hatcher and a current generation of Brenden Morrow, Steve Ott and the recently-traded Krys Barch, the Stars have always been more than willing to oblige when gloves drop to the ice. And while I don't think the Stars will ever give up that edge, they are definitely trying to move away from so many five-minute majors.
Joe Nieuwendyk talked about the change in the culture, not just of the Stars but of the entire NHL, when he talked about why enforcer Eric Godard has not seen any time at the NHL level despite being signed this summer as a free agent.
``I do think the way this season had played out has changed how I look at that player,'' Nieuwendyk said. ``When we signed Eric, the thought was that we didn't want players like Jamie Benn or Brenden Morrow or Sheldon Souray to have to fight. If teams were taking liberties with Jamie Benn, we wanted to have the option of allowing someone else to step in. But, as the season has gone on and with so much emphasis on hits to the head and concussions, that player just hasn't been seen as much.''
The Stars have also been trying to cut down on the numbers of fights overall, especially useless ones that swing the momentum to the other team.
``I think we're still very tough, but we also have to know what we do best,'' forward Steve Ott said. ``I think we're a team that is hard to play against, but in a way that doesn't involve as much fighting. We're a team that has structure and discipline. That's our strategy. And truthfully, it's not a good game plan to get in a slugfest with the Boston Bruins. That's not our best game.''
After the jump, more on tonight's game against the Boston Bruins, Sean Avery is back on the waiver wire and the always amusing hockey hugs.
- Brenden Morrow said his wonky knee was better than he expected, and he is listed as probable for tonight's game. [ESPN Dallas]
- A look at the year in hockey, Razor style. [Razor with an Edge]
- I am nearly positive Adam posts on this site, if the flickr account name is consistent. And I know he is on Twitter as well. But he had a very interesting day at Stars practice courtesy of Toby Petersen and his wicked snapper. [DallasNews.com]
- Even though the Stars couldn't score on the power play in a 4-1 loss to to the Columbus Blue Jackets, coach Glen Gulutzan said he saw some encouraging signs. [ESPN Dallas]
- Just before HBO can catch his profanity at the Winter Classic, the New York Rangers have placed Sean Avery on waivers (again) for probable demotion to the NHL. This shouldn't put the Stars in a cap issue for the moment, but it raises some interesting questions when everyone gets health again. [Slam Sports]
- Speaking of fights, there was a doozy of one in the Florida Panthers game against the Rangers. I expect several players might get a call from the Shanahammer after this one, including Michael Del Zotto and Tomas Kopecky for their front of the net shenanigans. [Puck Daddy]
- While I understand the intense interest the Winter Classic receives, a big part of the appeal is that it's a once-a-year event. Please, NHL, do not try to do anything beyond a possibly Canadian version every once in a while. [The Hockey Writers]
- It's been a very newsy day in the hockey world as the Colorado Avalanche announced Matt Duchene will miss at least four weeks with a knee injury. [NHL.com]
- Meet the enemy, part the first: To the surprise of absolutely no one who's seen them play over the last eight weeks, the Bruins are starting to be heralded as the new favorites to win the Stanley Cup. [Montreal Gazette]
- Meet the enemy, part the second: The Stars might have no interest in repeating the last few games against the Bruins, but the folks in Boston would be just fine with another similar round. [Boston Herald]
- Around the Pacific Division: Another quiet night in the division, so I will attempt to bring back sad memories instead with this story about how the Anaheim Ducks are planning to honor Jean-Sebestian Giguere, the goalie of my 2003 nightmares. [Sacramento Bee]
- No Stars again, but I got a huge kick out of the fifth and first entries on the weekly hockey hugs list. [Puck Daddy]
- MacBook still evil, video still locks it up. Working on it. If you're looking for multimedia to you prepared for tonight's game, I suggest listening to the Jack Edwards interview linked in Brandon's post from yesterday. It will get your rancor up.