You can give Brenden Dillon a break if things still seem a little surreal for him.
After all, Dillon was passed over for both the NHL draft and the WHL Bantam Draft before that, things that just don't normally happen to young players on the path to the big leagues.
But a late growth spurt, an impressive junior career and a good sales pitch from the Dallas Stars helped Dillon land in the NHL in relatively quick fashion, as Mark Stepneski details in this profile of the Stars rookie defenseman.
"It really hasn’t sunk in yet," Dillon said. "Looking across the room at Jaromir Jagr, Loui Eriksson, Brenden Morrow, it’s pretty cool. Stephane Robidas, I’m getting to live at his house. Ten years ago, I remember watching him play for the Montreal Canadiens. Now, I am driving to the rink with him. It’s pretty awesome. It’s surreal."
The best part of Dillon's story, especially for Stars fans, is that it's just beginning. This isn't a long-shot player getting his one game to tell his grandkids about. Dillon is developing into a player that looks like he could hold down a spot on an NHL blueline for years to come. And sports sucker that I am, I love the longshot really making it big.
Also in today's links, could the rough start to the season be the best thing for the Stars, Pacific Division carnage and even NHL reporters are tougher than you.
- If you're looking for the optimistic approach to take toward this fairly rocky start to the season for the Stars, Mike Heika goes there in this brief analysis. After all, quick starts to the season haven't worked in the past once the team hit some adversity - maybe learning to deal with the adversity now will be a good thing. [DallasNews.com]
- In case you're looking for more information on today's matchup against the Anaheim Ducks, Mark's got all the numbers for you. [Stars Inside Edge]
- Our own Derek Neumeier takes a look at the progress of the Stars youth movement. [The Hockey Writers]
- Anaheim Ducks.... leaders of the Pacific Division? It's early in the season, sure, but the Ducks have come out flying (sadly not like this), in large part due to the team's improved depth. Plus Shelon Souray is looking like he did in the first half of the season for Dallas last year, and that's always a big plus. [ESPN]
- The Los Angeles Kings continued some of their baffling offensive struggles this season with a 3-0 loss at Nashville. [On The Forecheck]
- There was a lot of build up for the Chicago Blackhawks game against the Phoenix Coyotes since it was the first time the Hawks would get a shot at Raffi Torres since the incident with Marian Hossa in last year's playoffs. The fight happened early, and that was about as interesting as the Hawks blowout victory got. [Chicago Tribune]
- I keep waiting for Gary Bettman to come down and veto this trade between the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins because it's so blatantly cap manipulation. But as of midnight on Thursday, the swap of goalie Tim Thomas' contract for a conditional second-round draft pick (which takes the Bruins out of cap hell while giving the Islanders breathing room with the floor) still stands. [Puck Daddy]
- In a mastery of timing after Wednesday's overtime heroics, Todd takes a look at the golden god of Kladno. [Thursday Morning Cupcheck]
- So you want to be a sideline reporter in the NHL, do you? John Giannone of Madison Square Garden, with a large assist from Marc Staal of the New York Rangers, demonstrates quite nicely that it's not all fun and games down there between the benches. And talking with the booth at the end of this clip officially makes him tougher than me.