Most of us know the unlikely story of Mattias Janmark by heart at this point. As part of a package deal that sent veteran left wing Erik Cole to the Detroit Red Wings, Janmark came in as a relatively unknown prospect to almost everyone except GM Jim Nill, who'd scouted him personally. One exceptional training camp later, the (then) 22-year-old center from Stockholm was penciled into the Stars' 12-man forward corps.
But Nill says the real turning point came a couple of weeks earlier, at the 2015 Traverse City tournament:
"He was a dominant player there," said Stars GM Jim Nill. "That's a good tournament. If you're a dominant player there, you are doing something good."
And coach Lindy Ruff likes what he's seen in Janmark's NHL play:
"I've liked his all-around game. He is on the puck all the time; he is making all the right plays. Positionally, you seldom have to remind him where to be. His overall game has been very good," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "It's like he has played in the league ten years. He makes good plays, hanging onto the puck when other guys would probably dump and chase. He's made some real special plays that have turned into goals. He's a guy you can count on in every situation."
Check out the entire article at Stars Inside Edge.
"He sees the ice well, he works away from the puck, he’s got great legs & has a great hockey mind"-Spezza on Janmark https://t.co/7466k0gtER— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) December 13, 2015
Via Heika: Mike reminds his readers that the Stars can't even playoffs until they make it through the steel-cage death match that is the Central Division. NOTE: Mike's original tweet is gone, so you can link this article here. [SportsDayDFW]
The Stars track plenty of advanced stats, but Lindy Ruff is most interested in this one. [SportsDayDFW]
What does it mean that Ruff played Antti Niemi on both nights of a back-to-back? Heika offers a conjecture. [SportsDayDFW]
Last night in darkness:
- The Chicago Blackhawks shut out the Vancouver Canucks 4-0, and Patrick Kane's point streak remains unbroken at 26. [CBS Sports]
- The Colorado Avalanche took advantage of the Stars-weary St. Louis Blues with a 3-1 victory in which Semyon Varlamov stopped a season-high 42 shots. [Denver Post]
Meanwhile, Jonathan Toews is making a little history of his own.
Most Game-Winning Goals in @NHLBlackhawks History: 98 – Bobby Hull 84 – Stan Mikita 49 – Steve Larmer 46 – Jonathan Toews 46 – Denis Savard— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 12, 2015
The hockey media spend too much time trying to tear down the sport's stars, says P.K. Subban, who knows a thing or two about it. The Montreal Canadiens superstar talked with Shannon Proudfoot for Sportsnet.
Jeremy Roenick thinks the Columbus Blue Jackets are the sort of gritty, determined team that provides a winning model for Team USA in the World Cup of Hockey, and he said this even before he realized that John Tortorella coaches both of them. [NHL]
The Cedar Park crew is pitching their own brand of the social media sass, too.
✔️ 5 points in the last 3 games ✔️ Game-winning goal ✔️ #1 star on the road pic.twitter.com/9ulv0L6kmW— Texas Stars Hockey (@TexasStars) December 14, 2015
This month we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the greatest Jean-Claude Van Damme movie ever made about a hostage crisis during the Stanley Cup finals. Sal Barry talks to the people behind Sudden Death, including NHL players (like Luc Robitaille) who appeared in it and the producer and writer, who also happened to own the Pittsburgh Penguins at the time. [The Hockey News]
Just in case you're skeptical about the majesty and magnitude of this cultural touchstone, here is a video of JCVD's epic battle in a catering kitchen with a guy in a foam mascot suit. "Sudden Death: Iceburgh" was brought to you by stephasaurusrexy. Enjoy.
Speaking of the Pens, and speaking on behalf of the players, Sidney Crosby said "We are sorry – our bad" (paraphrased) regarding their recent struggles. The team held its first practice under new coach Mike Sullivan yesterday. [TSN]
And ICYMI, Kris Letang is injured again. The Pens defenseman will miss two weeks with an upper-body issue. [The Hockey Writers]
Former Calgary Flames star Brian McGrattan remembers the day seven years ago when he called his parents, and the league, about his drug and alcohol dependence: "I need some serious help here because it's not going to end well." [Calgary Flames]
Finally: Did you show up for your selfie in the wrong sweater? Tyler Seguin knows just how to handle that.