Another day, another national perspective season preview on the Dallas Stars that asks some hard questions and ultimately predicts another early golfing season.
This time from The Hockey News...
For all the rave reviews over GM Jim Nill's blockbuster trades, not enough attention was paid to the middling defense corps. Stephane Robidas will be 37 by the time the season is over and Trevor Daley has peaked as a second-pair, defense-first guy. Brenden Dillon had a strong rookie year and Kevin Connauton or Jamie Oleksiak could break the roster this season - but are those guys going to improve the blueline enough to push them into the playoffs?
Stars fans want to summarily refute any implication these days that the team won't be improved, but they do bring up a good point here about the defense. Until there's on-ice, regular season evidence that indicates otherwise there's not much argument against it.
It's Lindy Ruff's great task - Plugging the holes in a defense (a team defense, not just the blue-liners...) that was one of the league's worst last year. If he can be the x-factor there then the lack of new personnel on the back end can be circumvented.
From @MikeHeika in Twitter: "Interesting little update on Stars. John Klingberg will not go straight to Sweden, but will play first preseason game. Stars loved him in TC" ... That is interesting. There are some who'd like for him to make the transition to North American now and fast track things, but he has another contract to play Frolunda in Sweden.
Craig Custance reports here, via Puck Daddy, that more and more NHL execs could be warming to the idea of a 3-on-3 overtime period following the 4-on-4 portion. Because the shootout is terrible, has nothing to do with hockey, and is used as a playoff berth defining crutch by some teams in Arizona and also probably in other places. It (3-on-3) may be a gimmick but it's the lesser of two evils. [Puck Daddy]
Pretty generic piece about Lindy Ruff here at CBC and his summer of change. [CBC.ca]
If you're so inclined you can pay for this ESPN Insider post. Robert Vollman and Corey Pronman use some advanced metrics to determine who's trending up and down for each team. For the Stars they have Rich Peverley recording a better statistical season than last year, and Vern Fiddler being less valuable. [ESPN $]
The Ft Worth Star Telegram, which is still a thing, evidently, says that standard fees for the convention center garage will will apply this weekend for training camp. Just FYI. [FWST]
The Leafs held firm and Nazem Kadri agrees to a pretty reasonable bridge contract. The Stars have an RFA of note next year in Brenden Dillon after none of any dramatic consequence this summer. We're betting he's not going to get pushed around either. [Puck Daddy]
Video detailing the ice being laid down at the AAC. [Stars.nhl.com]
This is not hockey related. You've been warned. Just an acknowledgment here of the events in Columbus last night and the Honduras/Panama game that sends the United States to their 7th straight World Cup in 2014. Don't groan at soccer. International soccer is awesome. [SB Nation]