If you were a Dallas Star looking for some sort of milestone, be that your first point or your 400th, then Friday was apparently your time to shine.
Three of the Stars picked up milestone moments in Dallas' 4-3 shootout victory over the Phoenix Coyotes. Two rookies - center Antoine Roussel and defenseman Brenden Dillon - picked up their first career goals, with Dillon adding his first assist for good measure. And on the other end of the spectrum, winger Michael Ryder's second-period goal was his 400th career point.
Roussel opened the scoring on a breakaway, and it was about everything the native of France could have asked for.
"That was fun. That was my third shift I think, and I was excited about it," said Roussel, who won six of seven faceoffs in the game. "I was always dreaming of getting a goal in my first shift, but it came on my third shift instead. So that’s not too bad. It was just perfect."
The Stars, who picked up two points for the first time since their win over Detroit more than a week ago, now have to battle their back-to-back demons when they face the Coyotes in the desert on the second night of a home-and-home series. Hey, if there's one money off their back, what's one more, right?
Also in today's links, checking in on Derek Roy's health, 20 years of Gary Bettman and the worst flubbed call of the season? Only you can be the judge.
- Jamie Oleksiak was supposed to be the big rookie debut of Friday, and in the long run he will almost certainly make the biggest impact of any of the Stars rookies on the ice last night. But Roussel's big night made him the center of attention post game, as Mike Heika details in this paywalled game story. [DallasNews.com]
- Here's how our friends over at Five for Howling saw the game. Spoiler alert: They were quite impressed with the game of Martin Hanzal. [Five for Howling]
- Derek Roy won't be back for the Stars for today's game, but he's moving forward with his groin injury and has started skating with his teammates again. Hopefully he will be ready for Monday's game against the Colorado Avalanche. [DallasNews.com]
- Even before making his NHL debut, Jamie Oleksiak was having a pretty good Friday. The defenseman was named the AHL's rookie of the month for January just hours before he played with the Dallas Stars for the first time. Oleksiak had 10 points, eight penalty minutes and a plus-11 rating in 11 games. Not too shabby. [Stars Inside Edge]
- Justin Bourne is pulling some pieces out of the archive over on Backhand Shelf, and his piece on how hockey players deal with the physical ordeal of back-to-back games is quite timely for the Stars. No mention of how travel plays into all this, but I'm also sure hockey players are so used to travel after games that it's just another part of routine day. [Backhand Shelf]
- Bettman is marking 20 years as NHL commissioner (and I would pay such good money to have him videotaped with a cake with 20 wafer hockey sticks). What's his impact been on the league? As much as his negotiation style makes me crazy, the business of the NHL has unquestionably thrived. [ESPN]
- You can debate the prominence of performance-enhancing drugs in professional hockey all you want. But I am glad to the NHL trying to get a hand on sleeping pill use among players. There are times it is definitely appropriate, but there are also instances to rein in. [Sports Illustrated]
- As someone who lives out in the Phoenix area now, I can personally attest to the fact that Coyotes fans are as sick and tired of this whole ownership mess as you are, if not more because of their emotional involvement. And now rumors are that while Greg Jamison couldn't meet the Glendale deadline for a previously-negotiated lease, a new investor is out there and he might be Bill Gallacher, who previously had interest in the Stars. [Fox Sports Arizona]
- Those of you who have seen me comment on the in-game threads know that I tend to be a defender of referees everywhere. And I think what the ref thought he saw on this play was Kent Huskins head snap around really hard (which it does because he was totally not braced for this hit). But I also understand why David Backes is angry about being ejected. It wasn't a check to the head by any definition of the penalty. [Puck Daddy]
- If I were a reasonable, responsible blogger, I would probably embed the video of the game highlights from the shootout win over the Coyotes, or maybe the video of the shootout itself. But I am in deep, unhealthy love with this series of ads/mini-features about hockey in Dallas. I only caught it out of the corner of my eye when they were on television during the Stars first game against the Red Wings, so I was thrilled when they were put online recently.