Jim Nill Feels Dallas Stars' Defense Improved by Upgraded Forward Group

Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE

Jim Nill said Tuesday he feels his defense is made better by virtue of the strengthened forward group.

Tyler Seguin's Dallas Stars career began today at an American Airlines Center press conference, and it began, rather unfortunately, under the inauspiciousness surrounding his off-ice activities, perpetuated by the Boston media on his way out.

Seguin, Jim Nill and Jim Lites, of course, are eager to put it behind them.

"I'm excited to earn the respect of my teammates, the management and definitely the fans," Seguin told Dallas media. "On my last team I was the only single guy, so I'm excited to meet some new faces."

Call it the opposite of what Mike Modano said of going to Detroit, eager to meet some older ones. Seguin comes from a Boston team that was one of the top-ten oldest in the league last year.

Then the questions about the Twitter incident started. Immediately. Tyler's sure his phone was in his pocket when the tweet was sent. They think it's best to shut down the account. Nill says Tyler is the only one who really knows what happened so he trusts him. Etc.

I'm betting you can read about that and all the quotes elsewhere.

After several false starts and a lot of phraseology about turning the page and getting a fresh start, the gentlemen at the podium finally did, and Shawn Horcoff summed up what's truly exciting about all of this quite nicely.

"I think the biggest thing in deciding (to waive NTC and come to Dallas) was that I have a lot of belief in [Nill]," Horcoff said. "I think he's going to do the moves necessary to bring winning back here and to be competetive and get in the playoffs. To get all the right ingredients for us to do that, and that really appealed to me."

That's the respect Jim Nill has across this league.

After seeing the Oilers get a few too many lottery picks over the last 13 years Horcoff was ready to leave, despite a no trade clause.

"For me it was just really time for a change. I think for my family also," Horcoff told media. "13 years anywhere is a long time, never mind in a hockey career [...] I knew it was going to happen at the end of the year. It was a mutual decision. The team was kind of ready to go in a different direction and so was I."

Horcoff described himself as a strong two-way player, specifically expressing his desire to "shore up the defensive" game of the Stars.

"Everyone knows it's a great city to live in, but the biggest thing is that we want to get back to winning," he continued. "When I first came in this league that's what the Dallas Stars were all about. It was a tough building to come play in. They had great teams. Every year they had a chance to win the Stanley Cup and we're going to do everything we can to get back to that."

Horcoff, Peverley and Seguin shore up the Stars down the middle - One of Nill's top priorities after evaluating the roster. At the wing, however, he feels they're set.

"I think we're very strong on the wing. If there was one strength when I came here it was on the wing," Nill said, listing off Benn, Whitney, Cole, and to the delight of some, Alex Chiasson and Brett Ritchie.

He feels the additions at center will improve the team's all around defensive game.

"Everybody talks about 'maybe your defense is a bit weak', [but] I think our defense is better now because our forwards. We've upgraded that," Nill said.

"I think that changes your whole game. Now you're more into a puck possession game, you're not chasing the whole time. You're not spending time in your own end. I think you're going to see our defense is going to be a pretty effective weapon for us moving forward."

Puck possession. There's that phrase. It's music to a Stars fan's ears. The proof, however, will be on the ice in October.

Quickly:

  • Seguin will wear #91, a la Brad Richards. No problem there. Horcoff, however, will don #10, which could pluck the emotional strings of some Stars fans so soon after Captain Brenden Morrow's departure. I'll admit the thought of anyone wearing #10 after Morrow had not crossed my mind. What say you about that?
  • Jamie Benn and Ray Whitney both reached out to the new players immediately upon acquisition by the sound of it. Captaincy war? I kid.
  • Did you know Shawn Horcoff has one green eye and one brown?
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