The flip side of signing a big free agent contract is the "prove it" factor involved. Ales Hemsky came to Dallas last year with the hope and hype that comes with $4 million per year AAV. But difficulties in adapting to a new team and an increasingly painful hip ailment stalled his efforts to demonstrate exactly why the Dallas Stars invested so heavily in him.
Spending a quiet summer in the Dallas area, skating in Frisco and rehabilitating his surgically repaired hip, helped Hemsky's comfort level in more ways that one, by his own account:
"I spent the summer here and it made a big difference. I feel a lot more comfortable here," Hemsky said. "I think maybe I put too much pressure last year. I think it was hard. You sign a free agent contract and you want to prove you deserve it. So then you really try hard, and when it doesn't work out, you get frustrated. It's hard, but I think I'm more comfortable with everything now."
And now that he's practically flying around the ice and racking up points almost at will, Hemsky just wants to be what the team needs, and do it consistently.
Hemsky has been a big reason for Mattias Janmark's fast start, and said he likes playing with the young Swede. But he said the key to his progress going forward is simply clearing his mind and doing what is best for the team.
"I honestly don't worry anymore," he said. "I am going to use any opportunity I have, and do whatever they need me to do. My philosophy is do your job no matter what situation you are in. I just want to do my job."
Mike Heika has more, as he is liable to do. Go visit. [SportsDayDFW]
Jason Spezza's hat-trick heroics have officially eclipsed McJesus' My First Tip-In, and the fact that Dr. Giggles is the NHL's First Star of the Night is proof.
Connor McDavid did this last night, too. Just sayin'.
Connor McGoon https://t.co/YeXUNqUsRA— Tumblr Hockey (@TumblrHockey_) October 14, 2015
Oh, look – the Dallas Stars have reached No. 10 in ESPN The Magazine's 2015 Ultimate Standings, which makes them North Texas' highest-ranked professional sports franchise. Strong points: access to players and value for ticket price. Weak points: a 20-place drop in coaching after the 2015 playoffs no-show. [ESPN]
John Tavares worked out his frustrations with losing to the Blackhawks in the Islanders' first game at Barclays Center by scoring a hat trick against the Jets on the way to a 4-2 victory. [AP via Staten Island Live]
Carolina Hurricanes D James Wisniewski had surgery for his torn ACL early yesterday morning. This is the selfie he posted when he woke up. Get well soon, James.
Alex Ovechkin was scratched from last night's Washington Capitals' lineup for "personal reasons," according to the team. His absence may be one reason why the Caps lost to the San Jose Sharks 5-0. [Washington Post]
Stephane Robidas suffered an apparent knee injury in the Toronto Maple Leafs' final preseason game, and now his NHL future is up in the air.
Devin Shore's late-third-period penalty in a tied match against the San Antonio Rampage could have left him with a big share of blame for a Texas Stars defeat in their season opener. Instead, he ended up as First Star of the Game. DBD contributor Stephen Meserve writes about it. [100 Degree Hockey]
Here's Shore again, with bonus GIF-itude!
Arizona-born 2016 ultra-prospect Auston Matthews has eight points and 36 shots in eight games so far this season. He is also the only projected No. 1 NHL draft pick in history to spend his draft year playing grown-man professional hockey, with grown men. He's not going to be good. He already is. [NHL]
Frank Seravalli of TSN spent five minutes with Jaromir Jagr the other day. I'm leaving this here, because you need it in your life or something.
Finally: Antoine Roussel has fans.They are very devoted. What would your Dallas Stars plates say?