The Dallas Stars enter play Friday night against the Nashville Predators trailing the Detroit Red Wings for the Western Conference's last playoff spot by three points with one game in hand. What's more, is that they do so likely without their backbone in Kari Lehtonen, who suffered apparent groin agitation Tuesday night.
Lehtonen practiced Thursday in Frisco but promptly left the ice after just 10 minutes~ of facing shots. The likelihood of Richard Bachman starting in Nashville rose accordingly.
The Red Wings' point last night puts that much more pressure on the Stars to win what is arguably one of the easiest, if not the easiest, game on their schedule tonight points-percentage-wise against the Preds.
Stars' goaltender coach Mike Valley says Richard Bachman enters the likely start focused and, if possible, pressure free.
You can hear Queen and David Bowie kicking in with "Under Pressure" as background music to his dreams.
"You would think he would feel that way. That's how the normal person would probably feel," Stars goalie coach Mike Valley said. "But, you know what? He doesn't. He doesn't feel that way at all."
Instead, Bachman is ready to play his hardest and do his best not for stats or contracts, but because he truly believes his team has a chance to make the playoffs and needs him to help.
Read all of Mike's glorious prose here at the DMN, which was not pay-walled at the time of this linking, but may soon be.
- First, our night in scoreboard watching, which was pretty awful...
- I watched the third period of Sharks/Red Wings and my impression was that the Red Wings are on a MISSION. Not good news for Dallas. The Sharks took it in a skills competition, which is some modicum of good news, but the Wings took a point. The Stars now trail by three with a game in hand and just nine to play. [Fear The Fin]
- Malik says the Wings "just can't score," proving that a negative view can be taken by both the chaser and the pursued. [Kuklas Korner]
- Meanwhile the Boston Bruins lost to the New York Islanders, of all teams, on the second night of a back-to-back. Combine that with a Montreal Canadiens win and you've got Jagr's new team going from 2nd to 4th in the East. The most realistic positive outcome of spring-time hockey this year is the Bruins making it to the East finals and the Stars 2nd round pick becoming a first. So this is bad news. Go Bruins? [ESPN]
- Twitter's oddest hockey Bromance: Los Angeles Kings and #Lumbus Blue Jackets [Puck Daddy] => Weird.
- Probably our most entertaining link of the day: The Stars official twitter account used the Dikembe Mutombo wagging-finger against the Anaheim Ducks last week as Anaheim failed to claim a playoff spot against Dallas. Gold, Jerry. Gold. [Awful Announcing]
- Craig Custance wonders if the San Jose Sharks are just "teasing us again." I'll just present this one without much in the way of comment. [ESPN]
- Mike Heika opines, and I would certainly agree given what we've been told, that the Stars are probably negotiating a contract extension with Eric Nystrom. How much? Time will tell, but it seems likely to get done before July. [DMN]
- John Kerry is a wank, but accepting a case of beer from a Canadian official on a hockey wager (the women's U.S. team vs the Canadians) is something we can all be proud of in 'the states'. [Washington Post]
- Hockey is about hockey. Sexual preference would seem to have little to do with any of it, but given the rumblings of NFL players "coming out" recently the NHL and NHLPA have decided to get out in front of the unnecessarily thorny issue and announce an official relationship with the "You Can Play" campaign. An informal relationship has existed between the two parties for years via individual members of the NHLPA. It's a step that reportedly makes the NHL the most "inclusive" of the big-four in North America. Here Puck Daddy ponders the implications for the next generation of hockey players. [Puck Daddy]
- Find the full release form You Can Play here. [You Can Play]
- Stars forward Matt Fraser has been named to the AHL's second team All-AHL squad. [DMN]
- The Texas Stars lost another tough one last night, giving up yet another late-third-period goal en route to their 20th regulation loss of the year. They're sliding a bit here in a big way, though are still a shoe-in for the post-season. Brett Ritchie scored his second professional goal in the loss. [Hundred Degree Hockey]