Hey there, folks. Whatcha doing, reading a website? Cool. Cool. Cool cool cool. Let's see if I still remember how to do this.
The Stars' recent run is certainly something. What Tyler Seguin called the team's "best road trip" sees the boys in green returning home with pride, if also an infinitesimal chance at the playoffs. And despite all the clamoring for better draft position, it really seems like these wins means something to a team that has been through the ringer this season.
The Washington Capitals, of course, have much more hockey to worry about this year. They have lost six of their last nine games, and while the playoffs still seem all but a certainty with 82 points banked already, Barry Trotz isn't happy with the team taking some off-days during games that are kind of important:
"You can’t carry another guy on your back. This league is way too good. If there’s a guy next to you not pulling his weight, you can’t carry him. You either get rid of him or give him a shake and tell him to get on the bus and traveling in the right direction.
"I don’t think right now we can say we’re a good hockey team. I can’t say that."
Despite the slew of mixed metaphors in the first paragraph up there, Trotz's point seems pretty clear: the team is not playing cohesively.
It doesn't really make sense, right? The Stars, who are all but done for the season and missing two of their best young players in Nichushkin and Klingberg, have looked absolutely unstoppable for extended periods of time lately. Sure, it's the weaker conference, and yes, the Stars have little to lose at this point; Still, it's strange that the team with so much more to hope for this season is drawing the ire of their coach for coasting while the team that has, in one sense, failed to meet expectations this year has found a higher gear recently, even with four(!) rookies on the back end.
Do you remember the last Dallas/Washington game this year?
It was ugly. The Stars (as always) sprinted out to a lead, but their second-half play (so to speak) was about as disappointing as you can get for a team at home defending a lead. The Capitals began to look every bit like a first-class team, and Dallas just tried to hang on and counterpunch enough to survive. They would, of course, and there was something to be proud of in that game as well.
Last night, though, was different. Kari Lehtonen stood tall when he needed to--that second goal was Froot Loops in your underwear craziness--and the Horcoff line spent roughly 132% of each shift possessing the puck in the offensive zone. The Caps couldn't find a way through the Stars' green blue line, mostly. Ovechkin was effectively neutralized for almost the entire game.
So at the end of the night, you saw the team that has every reason to coast walking out with a dominant victory, while the team hanging on to a WC1 playoff spot found themselves with more questions than answers after 60 minutes.
Are these the Stars we'll see in October? Probably no, not exactly. But these are the Stars we can see, and on the second night of a back-to-back against a team with offensive firepower leaking out of their ears, the Stars played some pretty good defense. That's something.
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Does anyone know how to fill out an expense report without disclosing the fact that every single meal during a trip was eaten at 7-Eleven? Asking for a friend.
Here is your recap of a game in which the Stars scored some goals and the Capitals scored some goals. [Stars]
Razor suggests that he would make a good president, displaying his willful/pretended ignorance of the Natural Born Citizen Clause. [Stars Video]
Chicago's Joakim Nordstrom has been "banned"--the NHL's words--for his boarding of Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Patrik Nemeth's boarding call last night did not look like this at all. [NHL]
"Hi, I'm Doug Wilson, and I will be my franchise's saboteur for the evening." Turns out Joe Thornton is sick of his GM talking about the captaincy. Like, "he needs to shut up" sick. Woof. [SJ Mercury News]
Andrew Hammond won yet another game last night, this time doing so whilst adorned with a Hamburglar-themed goalie mask. Yes. [NHL]
The "Steve Ott Jersey" has been summarily discontinued by the Sabres, as their attempt at designed novelty was as ill-fated as it was paradoxical. I will never forget that picture of Steve Ott, though. [Buffalo News]
Elliotte Friedman proposes some measure of video review (via tablet) for future goaltender interference calls. Oh great, more obnoxious tablets in the world. [30 Thoughts]
Greg Wyshynski, on the other hand, is not a fan of giving the on-ice officials video review capability. Differing viewpoints! [Puck Daddy]
Check out this Norris Trophy race with actual statistics that go beyond plus/minus. Graphs, even. Graphs! [NHL]
Katie Baker has some BakeTakes for you on the Central Division, among other things. [Grantland]
Finally, here we have incontrovertible evidence that the universe hates the Columbus Blue Jackets this year: