When the abbreviated season that is 2013 is over and the Dallas Stars are a few more steps down the path of their supposed rebuild, it's hoped that there were questions answered this season at the least, though playoffs may not be in the cards.
Questions about Derek Roy. Questions about Brenden Dillon, answered in an overwhelming affirmative. Questions about Cody Eakin with intriguing findings and then some. Reilly Smith is at the top of that list as well, and Mike Heika has spend part of his week getting to the bottom of it.
Smith was sent down to the Texas Stars to get a quick game in earlier in the week after a few healthy scratches at the NHL level. He responded with a goal, an assist and a +4 rating in a game where the other team scored six times. He's able to do more at the AHL level, but knows there's a finer line to find with Dallas.
"That's not the type of game I'm supposed to play up here, so it is different," Smith said. "I'm able to take more risks in the AHL, I'm able to swing back with the puck and create more time, and there is more time down there. That can give me more confidence when I'm up here."
And that's the hope as the season moves forward. The Stars already have moved out Michael Ryder and Brenden Morrow in trades this season, and could move more forwards at the trade deadline. If that happens, Smith will keep moving up the depth chart.
"He went down to Houston, and was the best player on the ice," Gulutzan said. "I think we've been developing our young guys the right way, giving them time here, but giving them ample opportunity time down there to play minutes. He's played some great games, and I think that confidence is going to help him." [DMN]
- The situation in Calgary these days is just fascinating. It makes you wonder what the coverage of Joe Nieuwendyk and a brand new ownership group would be in a similar situation in a Canadian market, rather than one where Bob Sturm and Defending Big D are the ones opining daily. Either way, if you like "reality tv" but hate its usual subject matter then this hockey version of it in Alberta is for you. [CBC - "Time for Flames To Be More Careful"]
- If you want to view some playoff hockey in the metroplex, the Allen Americans have already started and represent everyone's best bet on such a proposition this year by far (hard to beat a certainty in progress, but you take my meaning.) Unfortunately they lost their first playoff game last night. [Allen Americans]
- Brenden Morrow has now played two games in a Pittsburgh jersey since being traded. We'll follow his progress with ferocity, no doubt, but so far there's not much to report. He's a +1 in two games. He hasn't scored or been penalized. Winning and a sure playoff berth must be a welcome change for him. [NHL.com]
- "Asked about Eric Nystrom, his linemate over the past few games, Jaromir Jagr glanced to his right at Nystrom, who was sitting a few away in the Dallas Stars locker room, and smiled."Look at him," Jagr said with a laugh.After a brief pause, he continued.... " You can't make this stuff up. The guys is a hoot. [Stars Inside Edge]
- Mike Heika answers a popular refrain: Why Eric Nystrom there with Benn and Jagr? Why not Smith? Why not Roussel? [Dallas Morning News]
- Apparently the Dallas Stars just don't figure into fantasy hockey at all. [Puck Daddy]
- A Wild win tonight will equal their franchise best win-streak at nine games. Preview... [CBS Sports]
- Fans of other teams are coveting Stars forward prospect Brett Ritchie. Go shop somewhere else, trade nerds. [Calgary Herald]
- The Coyotes lost SEVEN STRAIGHT before last night's win over Nashville. And they have 33 points. Just like Dallas. [Pro Hockey Talk]
This Avalanche post game show deteriorated a bit (A LOT) after the word "penis" was mistakenly uttered.