'Tis the season to be doing predictions and listing "contenders." Or, 'twas. Now, however, hockey is back, real games have been played, and we can start to forecast performance based on actual game action and ridiculously small sample sizes. It's just like last year, if you remember that.
One such list was Yahoo's Top 10 Cup Contenders piece. While everyone knows which two teams are atop the rankings, there were a couple of interesting tidbits in this piece about the Stars, including some fond reminiscences of the 1996-2003 period during which Dean Lombardi was the GM in San Jose.
GMs all know that the West nowadays is full of high-level competition, with the Central being a particularly concentrated dose. Lombardi spent some time wondering why everything is so much tougher out here in the conference with two fewer teams:
"Why isn’t somebody trying to catch the Rangers or Boston or whatever?" Lombardi says with a laugh. "It’s unbelievable."
Lombardi isn’t alone in his exasperation.
"Why couldn’t some of the Eastern teams jump in here?" says Ducks GM Bob Murray with a smile. "Just kidding. Dallas, for example, oh my god. It’s going to be great for the fans in the West, but it’s tough to be in the Western Conference right now." [Yahoo]
It's good to know that the Ducks are still very much afraid of the Stars, because they should be.
Why, you ask? Well, let's see if Tyler Seguin might have any ideas:
Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin broke out last season; now the Stars add Spezza and Hemsky. The defense remains a question mark, but Seguin says: "We have guys that are kind of like Jamie Benn, that haven’t been seen yet in that spotlight. We have guys that are going to fool some people and surprise some people." If Seguin’s right, look out. The Stars have scary speed and skill. [Yahoo]
More guys "kind of like Jamie Benn," you say? Assuming he wasn't being overly literal and referring to Jordie, who is by a wide margin the human most similar to Jamie Benn in the world, I wonder who Seguin might have had in mind.
Enjoy watching the Dallas Stars play real hockey tonight, folks.
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Now that you're going to see them in action, how about reviewing where they came from? Mark Stepneski gives you the "how did they get to Dallas?" for every player on the roster. [Stars]
Mike Heika has a scouting report for you for the game tonight. I'm already groaning at the Jonathan Toews hype we're going to hear. [DMN]
And Mark Stepneksi has another game preview for your perusal as well. I am loving this. [Stars]
The Stars are ready to get going. Hear them talk about just how excited they are for this year! [Stars]
And M. Heika also looks at the Erik Cole situation that we hope will be quietly over and done with after tomorrow. Thank goodness we're not in you-know-what-city, or else the pilot of the tardy plane might well be fearing for her/his life right now. [DMN]
Derek Neumeier says: Seguin will be the ____ scorer in the NHL. Derek also throws in another prediction for every other team in the NHL as well, just because he's that kind of guy. The best part? These predictions are free of charge, so you can read every word without paying long-distance fees! [The Hockey Writers]
Props to Willie Desjardins and his blond sidekick Glen for their 4-2 win over Calgary last night. [Nucks Misconduct]
Elliotte Friedman looks at Martin Brodeur's terms of departure in his latest 30 Thoughts. [SportsNet]
If you don't remember just how amazing it is that Manny Malhotra is still playing in the NHL, check this piece out. Him's a guy, one o' those guys worth rootin' for. [Macleans]
The Hockey News is reporting that the NHL and its officials have a five-year deal in place. I'm guessing the NHL threatened to force them to wear GoPros all season if they didn't sign "right now, guys." I have also been seeing that every single referee and lineman will be wearing a visor this year as well, which I can kind of understand. [THN]
Chris Pronger, future safety maven? Only if Matt Cooke doesn't get hired first! [Sporting News]
Here is a copy of Chris Pronger's interview for the Department of Player Safety that I stole from their headquarters: