As the 2015-16 season nears the halfway point, the Dallas Stars are finding a balance between finesse and physicality that's helping them win games as well as send messages.
Sunday's game against the St. Louis Blues was a case in point, writes The Dallas Morning News' Gerry Fraley. The Stars got mad, got even and stood up for each other, and it made a difference.
It started when Blues' forward Robert Bortuzzo, a lower-level talent, speared Stars captain Jamie Benn during a stoppage in play. An enraged Tyler Seguin flew to the defense of Benn, his linemate.
The hostility carried over into the second period. In the first seven seconds, Stars forwards Antoine Roussel and Travis Moen took on Troy Bouwer and Bortuzzo in legitimate angry bouts.
The role of fighting in hockey is well documented, if not always well understood (or well justified). But Moen, the battle-hardened vet who took on the important work of showing Bortuzzo how the cow ate the cabbage, indicates that it's just what teammates do for each other.
"[Jamie Benn]'s the best player in the world," said Moen, inserted into the lineup because of his physical style. "We had to let them know that you can't do that and get away with it."
Read the entire thing at the Morning News website. [DMN]
The Stars are back in action tonight as they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets in Nationwide Arena. DBD will have all the gameday features you've come to expect, so whet your appetite with Mark Stepneski's preview. [Stars Inside Edge]
More falling action from Sunday's tussle with the Blues: Kari Lehtonen earned league honors as Third Star of the Night for his 22-save shutout.
And in case you missed it, Razor pondered whether Jamie Benn's captain material is made of marble or space-age polymers in his post-Blues
Last night, in Murder
Death Dallas Kill (™ viralphrame):
- James Neal scored twice and Mike Ribeiro racked up three assists to propel the Nashville Predators past the New York Rangers, 5-3. [NHL]
- The Minnesota Wild beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 with Devan Dubnyk in net, despite six fresh stitches in his right wrist. [WRAL]
- And Nathan MacKinnon broke a 14-game scoring drought with a hat trick as the Colorado Avalanche defeated the San Jose Sharks, 6-3. [Mile High Hockey]
The Dallas Morning News takes a look at how Dallas and Texas exemplify the best (Dirk Nowitzki) and worst (that anonymous yet infamous Houston Rockets employee) of the intersection of sports and social media, with input from noted Twitter ninjas Tyler Seguin and Daryl "Razor" Reaugh. [DMN]
"When you're watching sports on TV and you see something, it's like, 'I can't help myself,' you want to comment on it," says Stars analyst and former NHL goalie Daryl Reaugh. "I'm probably like everyone else now, where I don't think I ever watch television without my phone and Twitter on."
Huw has the DBD summary for yesterday's World Junior Championships action, and New York Islanders goaltending prospect Linus Soderstrom grabbed international headlines for leading Team Sweden to a 1-0 shutout of Team USA. [CBS Sports]
The Montreal Canadiens have traded forward Zack Kassian to the Edmonton Oilers for goalie Ben Scrivens – and Kassian, a former 13th-overall pick, is probably down to his last chance to prove himself in the NHL, says Mark Spector. [Sportsnet]
Meanwhile, in the Metropolitan Division, the Washington Capitals shut out the Buffalo Sabres 2-0 for their eighth win in a row, which also featured this unreal Russian-split-to-a-glove-save by
gymnast goalie Braden Holtby.
The Caps' game was notable for another reason: A lower-body injury ended a 412-game streak of perfect attendance by blueliner John Carlson. [Puck Daddy]
And as the year-end lists roll on, Sean Leahy selects the top 10 fan moments of the year, from Jonathan Pitre at the NHL Awards to Patrick Sharp making a 16-year-old Blackhawks devotee's wish come true. [Puck Daddy]
Did Jake Muzzin deserve a suspension for a head shot to Boyd Gordon during Saturday night's Kings/Coyotes game? Kerry Fraser takes a look at Rule 48 (Illegal Check to the Head) and makes his ruling. [TSN]
In Chelyabinsk, Russia – hometown of Sergei Gonchar, Valeri Nichushkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov – hockey is more than a sport. Kuzya has composed a piece for The Players' Tribune about the devotions learned in his native rinks.
We would save some money and go buy some Coca-Cola and take it to the security guard as a little gift, and he would open the gate for us. So we got to skate all alone. It was unbelievable. This was important time. After 15, 16 years old, no one can teach you skill anymore. When you are young, it's automatic. That's when you need to learn skill.
The American Hockey League celebrates its 80th anniversary this season, and in observance, Joe McDonald has collected all the Slap Shot-style stories you can eat. [ESPN]
Team Canada star Shannon Szabados has become the first woman to record a shutout in a men's professional hockey league with a 33-save game in the Columbus Cottonmouths' 3-0 victory over the Huntsville Havoc. [The Hockey News]
Finally: Colton Sceviour and his goal against the Blackhawks made this week's Bud Light Frozen Moment. Enjoy.