Yesterday the Stars were discovered to be one of two SB Nation hockey blogs that never curse. I would really like to change that right now. Brad? Can I change that?
After last night the Stars remain, against Eastern Conference teams, the opposite of undefeated in 2014. Oh the ignominy. And yet there's no easy fix. You point to the one thing that's wrong. The last four losses have been by one goal, or they would have been if we discounted empty netters. And excluding Kari Lehtonen, and perhaps the Roussel-Eakin-Garbutt trio, the struggles are team-wide. The top line isn't producing, the defense is giving up too much, and young guys who have been counted on like Alex Chiasson and Valeri Nichushkin are struggling.
Big Val in particular has seen decreased playing time recently, and with his recent selection to the Russian Olympic team he's facing a bigger workload than he ever has before. But where does he stand overall? David Kerans of Voice of Russia interviewed Nichushkin and Lindy Ruff, and this is what Ruff had to say:
"[His Olympic selection] can only be a positive... as a young player, he's got a lot of work to do. But you gotta give him credit. As a young player he struggled out of the gates, and he's slowly progressed here. There have been some games where he has flat-out dominated, as an 18 year-old. But he's got a ways to go. He's a hard worker, he's committed to becoming a better player, and I think that's shown through the first 40 games." [Voice of Russia]
With Nichushkin's struggles mirroring those of the Stars, it's going to be crucial for the young rookie to find a way to maintain success at the NHL level. And find it on the world stage.
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Which we will follow with a new installment, that might only run this one time, titled 'Lions Playing Hockey'
Kind of like how every time the Stars play the Bruins from now until infinity we'll hear talk about the Tyler Seguin trade, every time the Predators and Flyers meet there'll be talk about the Shea Weber signing. Only, last night was the first meeting between the Preds and Flyers since the Shea Weber signing. Interesting... [Sporting News]
Down Goes Brown hops up on a soapbox this time, ranting about the existence of the loser point in the NHL. Or as it's also known, the Bettman Point. [Grantland]
This one comes from a site called Baller Life, based out of Normandy, France. Go figure. An interview with Antoine Roussel, and thus a chance to hear his wonderfully unique French accent. Of course, that means it's all in French. There's a cool series of pictures at the end though, if reading French is against your religion. [Baller Life]