Mike Ribeiro knows exactly why this season will be different.
It's the logical question to ask after the Dallas Stars went into last year's All-Star break looking primed to return to the playoffs only to stumble hard and put themselves in a win-or-go-home situation on the season's final day.
But what happened last year has no bearing on this season, Ribeiro said after Tuesday's practice.
``Why is this year different?'' he asked, repeating the question back. ``Because we went into those breaks on hot streaks playing well, and we went into this break on a cold streak and not playing well. So, we should do it just the opposite this year.''
The Stars do have games in hand on several teams in front of them and got a decent amount of help on Tuesday night (more on that later), but this stretch of games, particularly a busy February will be tremendously important to those changes, a stretch that starts tonight against the Anaheim Ducks.
- How to start strong post-break was the topic of conversation among outlets that cover the team on Tuesday. Mark Stepneski chimes in with his take here. [ESPN Dallas]
- When you give Mike Heika too much time on a plane with Wi-Fi and Daryl Reaugh making remarks about travel nearby, this is what you get. There's even a Bob Sturm reference for good measure. [DallasNews.com]
- There is nothing new to Stars fans in this article about Jamie Benn, but it is nice to see him getting some national publicity. [USA Today]
- Razor has a new proposed change to the game - full time 4-on-4 hockey. While I do enjoy the moments of 4-on-4 and am not at all surprised the Ribeiro endorses the idea, I would have to think long and hard about this one before getting on board. The logic is fairly sound, however. [Razor with an Edge]
- If I'm reading these numbers right, the Stars have the sixth cheapest defense in the league, but a poll by The Hockey News has them ranked 15th in the league in overall strength. [DallasNews.com]
- Mac Engel still wants this team to make an aggressive trade for a Top 6 forward. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- Despite a very interested audience in Engel, the New Jersey Devils will not be trading Zach Parise at the deadline. [New York Post]
- The news on Sidney Crosby? There is no news. Or nothing earth-shattering at least. Despite the reports of a "crack" in some neck bones, he's been diagnosed with a soft-tissue injury that has symptoms that could mimic a concussion. Of course, since you can't test for a concussion, it's easily possibly he has both injuries, so treating the neck may or may not get him back on the ice sooner. [Montreal Gazette]
- Speaking of concussions and players who are now at risk for more, this article brings up an interesting topic. All teams have to insure at least some of their players' contracts. What happens when players with a history of concussion are deemed uninsurable because of the risk of further head injury? [Toronto Star]
- Meet the enemy, part the first: If you're a pessimist, you'll take the fact that the Ducks beat the Phoenix Coyotes 4-1 on Tuesday as a bad thing since they appear to still be flying (together? Sorry, couldn't resist the movie reference). If you're an optimist, you'll appreciate the favor that did the Stars in the race for the playoffs. [Arizona Republic]
- Meet the enemy, part the second: The undisputed star of the game was Andrew Cogliano, who had a natural hat trick in the second period. Impressive. [Los Angeles Times]
- Around the Pacific Division: The more things change, the more they stay the same. The San Jose Sharks opened their post All-Star schedule with a 6-0 rout of the hapless Columbus Blue Jackets. [San Jose Mercury News]
- Other scoreboard watching: A new occasional bullet feature that I'll bring around when I think there are other games of note, though with so much season left, I'll try not to overwhelm you with this. But things went about as well as could be hoped on Tuesday with the Red Wings stifling the Flames 3-1, the Oilers holding off the Avalanche 3-2, the Canucks winning 3-2 in overtime over the Blackhawks and the Predators coming back from a 4-1 deficit for a 5-4 win over the Wild. [Calgary Herald/Edmonton Journal/Vancouver Sun/The Tennessean]
- Marek Zidlicky is currently torpedoing his relationship with Mike Yeo and the rest of the coaching staff of the Wild. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune/Star-Tribune]
- Because I still think this idea is rather neat, here's the daily interview/post-practice interview montage from the Stars.