It's not easy for a 6'7", 22-year-old first-rounder to sit most nights during a make-or-break year with the team that drafted him. But Dallas Stars defender Jamie Oleksiak plans to make the most of every opportunity he gets this season, and his determination was on full display against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday as he (literally, at times) fought his way into the postgame conversation, in several good ways.
As big as his performance seemed to fans and critics alike, Oleksiak downplayed his own contributions when he spoke to Mike Heika:
"My job is to be ready when I come into the lineup," Oleksiak said. "We had a great team effort, top to bottom here, I just have to come in and play a simple defensive game. I think I did that tonight, and like I said it was a great team win that is a lot easier when you have that firepower up front."
Captain Jamie Benn, who knows a thing or two about dropping the gloves to rally a team, approved of Big Rig's throwdown with Nicolas Deslauriers in the second period:
"It was good to see," Benn said. "He's a good player for our team, and I think his game elevated after that, too. To see him throw his hands up in the air after the fight, he was pumped up and he definitely got the crowd going."
And coach Lindy Ruff reaffirmed the value of Oleksiak and Patrik Nemeth being ready to keep the team winning:
"We've said it all along, it's been hard to have them sitting," Ruff said of Oleksiak and Patrik Nemeth. "He had a big impact on the game for us tonight - arguably, one of our best. He was physical down low and set the tone with the fight he was in. He drew the penalty that got us the goal we needed to get going. I thought he moved his feet and made some good breakouts. It's important that these guys stay ready and step in and help us win games."
Heika has more, right here. [SportsDayDFW]
Murder had the night off on Sunday, with no Central Division teams in play. So let's take one more look back at Saturday, with Steve Hunt.
NHL goalies in the 21st century are some of the best trained and coached professional athletes in the world, says Fluto Shinzawa – and the skaters they work with (and against) have a long way to go to catch up. [Boston Globe]
On that topic, Tabatha Patterson has reviewed the Stars' goalie-platoon plan and the performances to date of Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi. It involves many videos of the Wonder Finns making planet-sized saves. [The Hockey Writers]
UPDATE: Jaromir Jagr may be from the Czech Republic...but did you know he has a Canadian passport? (*bah-DUM-tshh*) The Florida Panthers have posted proof, plus a handy tracker to let you check the progress.
Ed Sarno considers the possibility that John Klingberg is already the new Erik Karlsson. [THW]
And #HotlineKling makes a list of "pricey" fantasy options that are worth your fantasy dollars. "It is difficult not to have him in your lineup because just when you think he will level off, here he comes back again with a performance." [Dobber Hockey]
With the Carolina Hurricanes unable to regain the form that led them to the 2009 playoffs, Andrew Hirsh suggests that it may be time to clean house – and start by trading captain Eric Staal. [Sports Illustrated]
The Detroit Red Wings will reveal their 2016 Stadium Series jersey tonight, but Icethetics previews their teaser images right now.
Jared Clinton looks at five AHL players ready to make the big leap to the big leagues this season, and the Texas Stars' Stephen Johns is one of them. [The Hockey News]
Columbus Blue Jackets defender Cody Goloubef had surgery on Saturday morning to repair the broken jaw he sustained after stopping a Colin Wilson shot with his face against the Nashville Predators on Friday. He will be out of the Jackets' lineup "long term." [Puck-Rakers/Columbus Dispatch]
Daniel Sedin scored three goals during the Vancouver Canucks' win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, and only two fans threw hats onto the ice. 'Nucks fans online decided that this aggression would not stand, and the hashtag #TweetDanielAHat was born. The results were amazing. [CBC]
Arizona Coyotes rookie/Calder Trophy conversation bait Max Domi met Bobby Clarke years ago at a minor-league tournament in Ontario. The brief conversation with the Philadelphia Flyers icon made Domi realize that the Type 1 diabetes they both live with didn't have to be an obstacle to an NHL career. Dan Rosen has more. [NHL]
Now that the Travis Hamonic trade request is out in the open, Luke Fox considers six Western Conference teams who might be able to do business with the Islanders. [Sportsnet]
Finally: Colin Wilson was a little bit of everywhere this week, until he skated his right runner and blade right off his boot. NHL.com has the astonishing video.