The Dallas Stars installed new boards in the off-season at American Airlines Center. The Stars play along the boards quite a bit so a bit of a learning period was expected. On October 6th, the Stars made these comments via Mark Stepneski about those new boards:
The new boards and glass put a premium on player safety, which has become a priority for the NHL in recent years. The new system is more flexible than the old one, providing better shock absorption.
"It’s got to be the safest set of boards on the planet," said Cody Bateman of AAC ice operations. "The safety features are far beyond anything you can imagine. It’s crazy how much they flex and move."
The way the new boards are designed, they are livelier than the old ones as well.
"The way they designed the bottom of the dashers, there is not a dead spot. They are hot. The pucks are going to fly and motor around there," said Bateman. "It’s rocket fire. With our speedy team, I thought it was the best thing to do."
Players agreed that there is a difference, and that means there will be some adjustments.
"The boards are as lively as any rink I have ever played in," said forward Shawn Horcoff. "It’s going to take a little time to adjust, which is why we are down here this week. The glass is a little dead, which is nice. It’s going to be interesting. It’s going to change some things – dump ins, rims, chip outs on the boards. It’s going to take a little bit of getting used to."
The impact of these new boards was unlikely to make much of a difference on the likes of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, or Jason Spezza. It did make a pretty big impact early on with the Stars checking line, particularly Ryan Garbutt. The trio works along the boards quite often. The new boards forced them to adjust pretty early in the year.
When the Stars took on the Flyers the Cody Eakin trio got torched by Claude Giroux's unit. Part of the problem was difficulty adjusting to how their passes were reacting to the bottom of the boards. The Stars adjusted as the game went on, but troubles aplenty plagued them early.
This zone exit was early in the first period. Garbutt tried to chip the puck up the boards and out of the zone, a play he has made a million times.
Yet somehow the puck ended up here with two Flyers alone right on the edge of the slot.
Several shifts later Garbutt had trouble in the offensive zone. He tried to rim the puck around back to Alex Goligoski at the point. He fired this puck pretty hard.
The puck died about halfway to Goligoski. The Flyers picked it up for an easy exit.
A third misplay off the boards happened in the same spot as the first. Goligoski attempted to pass the puck off the boards up to Garbutt, but the puck took another crazy bounce.
Garbutt anticipated that the puck would carry further out of the zone, but the puck simply died. The Flyers stole the pass and once again got several shot attempts off to further inflate their Corsi numbers.
The adjustment the Stars made was to carry the puck out of the zone more often. The checking line has been more steady as time has gone on, and a big reason for that was the Stars checking line's adjustment to how they used the boards.