First of all, I would like to apologize. It will still be a while before I'm able to avoid the Jamie Oleksiak height puns. It's still way, way too easy.
But the Dallas Stars big defenseman prospect is still earning praise, shortly after his first season in major-junior hockey came to a close. Oleksiak, 19 years old and 6-foot-7, started the season with the Saginaw Spirit before being traded to the Niagra IceDogs.
That's where he really blossomed, picking up 21 points and a plus-27 rating in 28 games, and he was also a big part of the team's run to the OHL championship series.
The reason Oleksiak cited for leaving the NCAA and Northeastern University was the more professional-style schedule of the OHL, which he hopes will make his eventual transition to the Stars minor-league system easier.
"I think it’s been an unbelievable experience for me and I think it’s what I needed in terms of developing as a player," Oleksiak said. "Just getting used to the scheduling and the style of game, I think it closely resembles the pro atmosphere, the pro schedule and the on-ice kind of game that you have to play. And I think for me personally, it’s been a great experience and has definitely made the transition easier for me."
After the jump, reviewing the post-seasons of other Stars prospects, Mike Heika opines on regular-season overtime and stuff.
- While I can see what Mike Heika is going at with this column about importing the "play until someone scores" overtime to the regular season, but to answer his final question, I do think he's been baking in the sun too long. He skips over the two biggest differences in the two sports - the much higher risk of injury from a contact sport and the aerobic/endurance nature of hockey. We routinely hear of players needing multiple IVs of fluid just to get through the double and triple OT games, which is not the case in baseball. I don't doubt extra innings are physically taxing, but it's nowhere near the rigor of hockey. [DallasNews.com]
- The Stars have been very high on brother acts before (see: Michael Neal and James Neal, Kevin Hatcher and Derian Hatcher and Jamie Benn and Jordie Benn), and they might have another opportunity with the brother of Brett Ritchie. He's not NHL draft eligible until 2014, but younger brother Nick Ritchie also appears to be a good one. [The Hockey Writers]
- There weren't all that many Stars prospects that got to enjoy the post-season this year, but what did we learn about those that did? [Hockey's Future]
- If Dustin Brown becomes the second American captain to lift the Stanley Cup, following the Stars own Derian Hatcher, I just might puke. [ProHockeyTalk]
- New trade rumor time! Rick Nash is apparently back on the trading block. Really, who wouldn't want to play for the Columbus Blue Jackets? [Blue Jackets Xtra]
- Has Roberto Luongo also requested a trade? Even the Vancouver Canucks brass can't get their stories straight. [Vancouver Sun]
- Speaking of players who also once wanted out of a team, Patrick Roy is apparently no longer in the running for Montreal Canadiens head coach and Bob Hartley is the apparent favorite. [CJAD.com]
- Sadly soon to be regular rumors of impending NHL labor armageddon. [Toronto Star]
- Your definitive guide to playoff beards. I just wish the Stars would make the playoffs so I could see where some of the more interesting hair suspects like Loui Eriksson and Jamie Benn would fit in. [Five Minutes For Fighting]
- To help tide us over during the summer (please let it just be the summer), the Stars are putting together some Friday Flashbacks. They started off with a young-ish Mike Modano defeating his natural enemies in the wild, Nashville Predators. It features a lot of awesomeness, including Brett Hull's underrated passing, Jere Lehtinen's incredible board play and of course Modano's sweet, sweet hands.