A three-game winning streak has the Stars on the upswing as they wrapped up the first quarter of the lockout shortened season and other news and notes from around the NHL.
It was a bit of a roller-coaster ride for everyone involved. From a fairly unfavorable schedule with a slew of road games and quick turnarounds to injuries and contract negotiations that stripped the team of center depth for a while, it also may not be the best set of games to judge the team on.
But with a record of 6-5-1 and riding a three-game winning streak, the Stars said they believe things may be coming together after the rocky start.
"You’re trying to juggle all these balls, and you are trying to find chemistry and now in these last three or four games we are starting to find some consistency in our lines and in our D, and it makes a big difference," said (Stars GM Joe) Nieuwendyk. "Now, we have to take our game to another level."
Consistency was difficult to come by for the first nine games, with Jamie Benn working on the new contract and Derek Roy battling a wonky groin. There were also injuries to Jaromir Jagr and Aaron Rome, along with a defense that was still feeling out its chemistry.
Things have settled in the past three games as the Stars picked up an overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers as well as regulation victories over the Avalanche and Ducks. Is that a sign of things to come or only a brief respite from the team's previous issues? Only time will tell, but the attitude about where the team currently stands has definitely been on the upswing.
Also in today's links, Twitter helps keep us informed about all the latest Stars news, I don't understand why players keep deciding their teeth are the best things to use as a weapon against things that have been pressed up against sweaty, nasty hockey gear and Alex Chiasson experienced one of a hockey player's worst nightmares.
- Brett Dougherty was at the Dr Pepper StarCenter late Saturday night and caught something pretty cool. Apparently Jaromir Jagr and Tomas Vincour took it upon themselves to get some drills in. I know the inner child somewhere in Vincour had to get a huge kick out of the work with the Czech legend. [@bdougherty1102]
- It was a sad day in the world of Dallas Stars hairstyles, apparently. [@jamiebenn14]
- You might have noticed the look on Loui Eriksson's face after he scored against the Ducks in Friday's victory. He's been snakebitten here lately, and Gerry Fraley talked to him about what the mini-breakthrough could mean in for the rest of the season. [DallasNews.com]
- Gulutzan wouldn't blame the penalties Antonie Roussel took in his stint in the NHL as the reason the center was sent back to the Texas Stars on Saturday, at least outright. But he definitely hinted around it after Sunday's practice. [Stars Inside Edge]
- Razor jokingly Tweeted that Mike Heika had run out of ideas after resorting to a Q&A with the Stars color announcer. But I always love features like this (such as the sadly apparently-on-hiatus Unlaced series from Ralph Strangis last year). It's always fun to get to know more about the people we spend so much of our time and emotional energy paying attention to. [DallasNews.com]
- Around the Pacific Division: Anyone know what's going on with the Los Angeles Kings? Even when they catch a break, like scoring the game-tying goal against the Detroit Red Wings in the final minute of regulation, they can't avoid the disaster of giving up the game winner 40 seconds later. [USA Today]
- Those of you who get nervous against facing a team on a losing streak can relax a little about Tuesday's rematch with the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers snapped their skid with a win over the Columbus Blue Jackets thanks to a fantastic effort from their goalie. [The Copper and Blue]
- Dear NHL players. I'm not sure when biting became a thing to do when someone else stuck their finger/glove/arm in your face. But it's becoming a disturbing little trend over the past several years, with Mikhail Grabovski being the most recent apparently guilty party. Please stop. It's just gross. [Backhand Shelf]
- This is definitely a substance-over-style attempt at a $5,000 center ice shot. But when you're nine years old and it works, no one is complaining. [Puck Daddy]
- I still love the Hockey Players with Pets tumblr account, even though it reminds me just how much I miss the annual Dallas Stars Foundation "players with their pets" calendar. The most recent entry is Richard Bachman with his dog Buzz, who was graduating from puppy school. So cute. [Hockey Players with Pets]
- Alex Chiasson has had a heck of a season with the Texas Stars, adding another goal in Sunday's 3-2 victory over the Toronto Marlies. But he had a moment he'd certainly rather forget on Saturday. With the Stars leading 1-0 and about to go on a brief 5-on-3 power play, Chiasson sent a hard pass back to the point. Problem was, the pass skipped past the defensemen and ended up in the Texas net for the game-tying goal. Ouch.