With this recent and wonderful 9-0-1 run, the Dallas Stars have moved into what feels like a solid playoff position.
But as Mike Heika details in this article, which was free late Sunday night but very well may be paywalled by this morning, they only need to look at their divisional rivals to know how quickly things can change.
The Phoenix Coyotes recently went on an 11-0-1 run then turned around and went 0-4-1 to fall back into the pack. The Anaheim Ducks had an 8-0-1 run of their own, and we all know how that ended. And the Stars have had bad runs this year following bad play, notably a 4-8-1 stretch after the 11-3 start. They can't afford to do that again with so many teams still nipping at their heels.
So as good as the Stars feel today waking up in atop the division and third in the conference, not to mention just one point back of the sixth-place Chicago Blackhawks with a game in hand, they know there is still a lot of work left to be done.
"There’s no time to rest, no time to pat ourselves on the back," forward Steve Ott said. "We have to stay focused, and we have to stay committed.
- One of the things that has been going really right for the Stars during this run is the penalty kill, which has climbed all the way up to 10th in the NHL after wallowing in the bottom half for a while. [ESPN Dallas]
- No practice or player availability meant the next most interesting thing about the Stars out there was the announcement of the annual Pros vs. Prospects game. I know Eddie Belfour doesn't play goal in these things, but I kind of wish he would so those NAHL kids could get a taste of the awesome insanity. [DallasNews.com]
- Brandon Bibb brought you a projected points playoff positioning post earlier today. Trevor Sudbury complemented that with his weekly wonderfulness with magic numbers. And you have no idea how hard I tried to think of something that meant "magic numbers" that started with two w's to continue my fun with alliteration, but alas, no dice. [Defending Big D]
- Jen Neale over at Anaheim Calling writes about the problems she had with Bruce Boudreau calling out Robidas. First of all, she gives a great example of where a less skilled player (Sheldon Brookbank, for those scoring at home) received a much more obvious headshot and Boudreau didn't squawk about it at all. And second, she writes, it wasn't nearly a big enough incident to deserve that extra attention. [Anaheim Calling]
- And the fine folks over at Puck Daddy think that, if anything, it should just be a fine. Personally, I'd find that a bit much, but it depends on how much of a "protect the star players" mood the league is in at the moment. We should find out today as the Stars play on Tuesday. [Puck Daddy]
- With Brenden Morrow making his basically triumphant return both to the ice and to the penalty box on Saturday, I thought this article on captains that have maybe been in question this season to be fairly appropriate timing. Morrow does not make an appearance, nor should he in my opinion, but a divisional rival does. [Backhand Shelf]
- Matt Duchene has lost his driver's license, and if you're in the Denver area and found it last night, he'd like you to DM him so he can retrieve it. [@Matt9Duchene]
- This kid says he found it. I'd kind of love it to be true that even professional athletes turn to Twitter to find their lost things and it works. [@Kinga310]
- Meet the enemy: The Minnesota Wild continued their tailspin and couldn't do the Stars any favors at all in a 4-3 loss to the Calgary Flames. [Calgary Herald]
- Around the Pacific Division: Other results that didn't help Dallas included the game between the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks scored in the third period to force overtime (of course they did) but fell in the shootout 3-2. [Chicago Tribune]
- Puck Daddy had some really good content Sunday. If you get a minute, check out this post I didn't link about the philosophy of bias in hockey. But also set aside time to read this story about the NHL considering a way for teams to "share" bad contracts in order to facilitate more trades. The kicker for me is at the bottom - it's just another way for the rich teams to get richer, and if the league is really concerned about competitive balance, they won't even consider it no matter how much Brian Burke whines. [Puck Daddy]
- And this was how the Flames broke a 2-2 tie with the Wild halfway through the third period. Pay close attention to the discarded stick and how it helps Jarome Iginla and Curtis Glencross. Oh discarded stick, why do you hate Dallas? Was that for revenge on Stephane Robidas and the toll he's taken on your brethren in recent weeks?