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Dallas Stars Daily Links: The Stars' Jumbotron Leads the Way As Hockey Seeks Attention, Audience Share

They started a joke, which started the whole world watching. Plus, the Benn-Seguin-Sharp line needs a name, and Jake Virtanen needs a face shield.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Where are the preseason hockey broadcasts? I want them. So do you. The lack of such points up one of the NHL's biggest challenges: competing for audience with other major sports that have more give-a-hoot going for them, whether from viewers, advertisers or networks.

The Dallas Stars have been doing their part to help correct that imbalance – and not just because the on-ice product is gripping, but because the in-arena experience has exploded outward.

...[A]nimation of "Let's Get Loud" and in-game Twitter updates are being replaced by playful trash-talking at celebrities [and] jokes about imaginary girlfriends in an attempt to attract more attention and interest in the sport from non-hockey fans.

"One of the challenges the NHL has is trying to stand out. We are more apt to trying things that are a little bit more edgy," Jason Walsh, the Assistant Vice President, Broadcasting and Creative, for the Dallas Stars says. "We need to gather an audience. We need to create a spark."

Jason offers a pithy description of the tone the Stars' media team works to achieve, both in the arena and on social media:

"You're trolling, is what you are doing, but you've got to find a way to do it tastefully," he says.

...

When it comes to in-game trolling, the Stars crew won't attack a specific team or player, but they are not afraid to go after fans or things that are associated with a particular team's city. So, for example, the Stars will never bash on Jonathan Toews, but they will bash on Blackhawks superfan Vince Vaughn and Chicago's renowned deep dish pizza. It's all in an attempt to build a rivalry, Walsh says.

Relive some of the team's greatest hits, and learn more about how their peers are carving their own niches in the brave new hockey-media ecosystem. [Sports Illustrated]

Also posted yesterday, and covering similar territory, was SI writer Peter Roumeliotis' take on the ways in which social media has changed how NHL fans watch the game. Take a look. [SI]

*****

Erin posted a rundown of the Stars' 3-2 preseason loss to the Lightning last night, so buzz on over to the Stars' website to see how long that list of penalties really was. [Dallas Stars]

Nikita Kucherov left last night's game early after a hard hit by Remi Elie resulted in a lower-body injury, but the Lightning expect the Triplet to be ready for the season opener. [NBC Sports]

Also, yesterday was Johnny Oduya's birthday. Now you know. Mark your calendar.

The Stars, the Dallas Mavericks and American Airlines Center have signed a multi-year agreement with Pizza Hut to make the franchise the arena's "official pizza partner.' [Dallas Morning News]

Bovado Sports Betting doesn't like the Stars' chances of winning the 2016 Stanley Cup, so obviously this just means you're going to clean up when they do. [SportsDayDFW]

Conversely, oddsmaker @So_Money_Sports already has some action on the Stars. "I absolutely love this team. They're a bunch of young kids that are getting ready to come into their prime." We must be doomed. [Calgary Sun]

And Sean McIndoe puts Our Gang in the No-Clue Division: "eight teams that are the hardest to figure out and have the widest range of possible outcomes." That said, Sean has a hot sports take about home ice in the first round that you might be interested in. (Do you have whiplash yet, because I can keep going until you do.) [Grantland]

But now for the important stuff: What do we call the Jamie Benn-Tyler Seguin-Patrick Sharp line? Ed Sarno welcomes your suggestions (and offers a few of his own). [The Hockey Writers]

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom is expected to miss up to four regular-season games due to offseason hip surgery. [Washington Post]

The Los Angeles Kings have a lot to overcome (and to answer for) as they approach the 2015-16 season, says Pierre LeBrun. [ESPN]

Now that Brent Seabrook has signed his monster contract extension, the Chicago Blackhawks are once again reported to be shopping Brian Bickell.

Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs wants to do "the best thing for Boston," so the guy who also doubles as chair of the NHL's Board of Governors is letting the rest of the league know that there may not be "a desire or a will" for expansion. [ESPN]

Finally: McJesus botherer and Vancouver Canucks hot prospect Jake Virtanen scored a goal with his face last night. Despite the quantity of actual blood that came from his actual cheek, you'll be happy to know that he came back after a few stitches – and added an assist to his tally. [CBS Sports]