If there's been one player whose start to the season sums up how the Dallas Stars have played so far, it might be defenseman Sheldon Souray.
Cast aside by the woebegone Edmonton Oilers and considered washed up by most of the NHL, Souray signed a one-year, $1.65 million contract with the Stars this offseason to prove he still had what it takes to play in the big leagues.
The result, at least so far, has been nothing short of spectacular, with Souray racking up a goal and four assists in five games, co-leading the team with five point, and bringing a physical air to the defense.
And the atmosphere that has allowed Souray, whose nickname is apparently and appropriately Hammer, to succeed has also contributed to the team's 4-1-0 start.
"There’s no pressure on me," said Souray. "They haven’t asked anything of me other than to come in, have fun and play my game. The expectations have been kind of low for me. I am not here to save the world, but just help out anyway I can."
After the jump, the Stars prepare for the first West Coast swing of the season, Philip Larsen gets some love and investigators believe they know what happened to the plane carrying Yaroslavl Lokomotiv.
- Speaking of Souray, he was one of the few players who participated in today's optional practice before the Stars hit the road for a West Coast trip this afternoon. Here's a short article on the decision to have a quasi-day off at this point of the season. [DallasNews.com]
- And the main reason for the Stars hot start is, of course, the exquisite play of goalie Kari Lehtonen. Razor details the success the Stars have had with players nicknamed Lehts over the past 20 years. [Razor With An Edge]
- Not to overstate things too much, but this might be the toughest three-game stretch the Stars have had this season so far with road games against the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes. [DallasStars.com]
- I'll admit I'm not much of an expert on Vernon Fiddler, but I learned some interesting things about his early career in the ECHL from this article. [ECHL.com]
- Scott Burnside, who if I remember correctly was one of those who picked the Stars to be at the bottom of the league in the early rankings, now says we shouldn't be surprised that the team is off to a hot start. [ESPN]
- Even though the Texas Stars got absolutely thrashed by Oklahoma City the other night, this local blogger came away with a very positive (and nuanced) impression of prospect Philip Larsen. I like how he emphasizes Larsen's hockey sense, which as we've seen with the developments of Mark Fistric and Matt Niskanen is something that cannot be overrated. [NealLivingston.com]
- Meet the enemy: In another anecdote about why more and more players are donning a visor, Anaheim Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin was hit square in his with the puck the other night and survived with just a cut. [Orange County Register]
- Around the Pacific Division: The Stars won't face the San Jose Sharks on this road trip for some reason only the NHL scheduler understands, which means they won't face a team that's somehow desperate for scoring. [San Jose Mercury News]
- Former Stars winger and friend of BaD Radio Bill Guerin has this advice to the players in the NBA lockout - losing a season isn't worth it. Again, I can't say I necessarily agree with him, but I do appreciate the thought he's put into his point of view. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- Investigators are set to release a report about the cause of the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv plane crash that will blame pilot error, and the KHL is now selling a few pieces of memorial gear with proceeds said to benefit the families. Closer to home, Anne Marie Morrow, wife of Brenden Morrow, Tweeted the Stars wives and girlfriends are putting the final touches on the silicone bracelets that will be sold at Stars games to benefit Love for Lokomotiv.[Puck Daddy/Twitter]