The good news: The Dallas Stars just snagged six of a possible eight points and went unbeaten in regulation. The bad news: They lost every other game and managed to drop a decision even while outshooting an opponent 43-24.
The catch: They did all this during the same four-game road trip.
Josh Bogorad's latest column examines how the Stars' changes in performance this season have also changed our expectations of what they should and should not be accomplishing – even as we understand, rationally, that they literally cannot win them all:
The bottom line is this. If you play .750 hockey anywhere, you're living right. If you play it on the road, it's even better. You needn't get caught up in the details. The road trip the Stars just had is one that any team would be happy to take, any time. Heck, it's a homestand they'd take, too. However, life in professional sports doesn't always offer the luxury of being objective. Surroundings almost always determine how the present is viewed.
If it's not too triggering, he also offers some comparisons with last season to help put things in perspective:
The Stars weren't happy with either loss on the road trip, but they could be happy with the road trip overall. After the loss in Edmonton, they said as much. They've earned that objectivity. That's what an NHL-leading 20-5-2 record buys you. The ability to rationally look at what happened, take the positives as well as any negatives, and not allow things to derail you.
The most telling example of how you are affected by events is how you respond from them. After last year's Minnesota loss, Dallas lost their next three games. After the loss to Detroit, they went on to lose their next four. This year, when things have gone south, the Stars have consistently come back better.
It's a fine read to put you in the mood for the team's homecoming tonight. [On the Radar]
Last night in death and grief and sorrow and murder:
- The Nashville Predators beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 with the help of two power-play goals from defender Roman Josi. [CSNNE]
- The Colorado Avalanche honored their 20th-anniversary team with a home victory in overtime over the Minnesota Wild, 2-1. [Denver Post]
The Texas Stars are back home, too. They begin a four-game stretch in Cedar Park and San Antonio tonight.
From the Board of Governors meeting: There's one big reason why NHL owners may not want to vote for expansion, and that's the expansion draft. [TSN]
Meanwhile, the salary cap could rise to as much as $74.5 million – a $3.1 million increase – for the 2016-17 season. [Sportsnet]
Heika also talked about the Stars' playoff prospects, and whether Tyler Seguin can play even better offense, during yesterday's weekly chat. [SportsDayDFW]
Does Dallas finally have a new set of Triplets to rival Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin? Tim Cowlishaw says yes, we do, and their names are Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and John Klingberg. [Dallas Morning News]
The Stars would really like to remind you that you can vote 10 times each day on the All-Star ballot. Really, really.
Valeri Nichushkin belongs on the Stars' top line, say the NHL's fantasy forecasters. [NHL]
And the Stars are once again at pole position in the NHL Power Rankings.
Niagara IceDogs goalie Brent Moran was a piece of a major OHL intraleague trade on Sunday. He joins fellow Stars prospect Alex Peters with the Flint Firebirds. [Dallas Stars]
Participating nations are starting to post their preliminary rosters for the 2016 World Junior Championships, and the Stars' 2015 second-rounder, Roope Hintz, has been chosen to attend Team Finland's selection camp. [CBS Sports]
Bryan Bickell has thought about returning to the NHL "every day" since the Chicago Blackhawks assigned him to the Rockford IceHogs. Here's what he had to say after his Sunday call-up. [Chicago Tribune]
Meanwhile, Logan Couture is just as glad to be returning from injury to the San Jose Sharks' line-up.
If you're the one who suggested fans may want to get together and pay Brandon Prust (or at least his $5,000 fine) for spearing Brad Marchand in the area, collect your internet points: A group of Vancouver Canucks fans is doing just that. [Sportsnet]
Meanwhile, in Glendale, the Arizona Coyotes are "actively researching" moves that will place them closer to Phoenix and the East Valley, including plans for a new downtown arena and a possible return to their old home at Talking Stick Resort. [NHL]
Finally: The WHL's Calgary Hitmen owned an eight-year-old world record for collecting stuffed toys for charity during a hockey game...until they broke it themselves in the Saddledome on Sunday. In this video from the Hitmen's 2015 Teddy Bear Toss game, center Jordy Stallard's triggering goal happens at 0:24. The rest is the pure spectacle of 28,815 fuzzy buddies raining down on the ice. Congratulations, Hitmen. [Calgary Sun]