Jeff Reese jumped straight into the deep end when he took the job as the Dallas Stars' new goaltending coach. Kari Lehtonen's (possibly fluky) career-worst season and a rotating cast of often ineffective backup tenders left the team out of the playoffs and the fans tearing their shirseys in frustration.
Can the coach who helped Steve Mason get his groove back do the same for Lehtonen and his future backup? Reese sounded pretty calm about it when he talked with Mike Heika:
"I'm not a ‘my way or the highway' kind of guy," said the veteran mentor who was hired by the Stars on Monday. "I was a goalie myself, so I know that you have your own ideas on what works for you. My style is I work with the goalie and make him the best he can be."
Reese is stepping into a whirlwind, as No. 1 goalie Kari Lehtonen is coming off a tough statistical season, backup Jhonas Enroth can become an unrestricted free agent and AHL goalie Jussi Rynnas has left to play in the KHL. Goaltending has been one of the most talked-about areas since the end of the season, and hiring Reese is one of the moves that general manager Jim Nill believes will help make the organization better from top to bottom.
For his own part, Reese says he's ready for the challenge:
"I'm really excit[ed] about coming here, because there is a real electricity and a feeling that they are on the right track," Reese said. "I want to get back to that feeling of chasing a championship again."
There's more at Heika's Dallas Stars blog. [DMN]
Not to overdose on #StarsDraft Minutes, because the first full Roundtable makes its official debut tomorrow, but it's hard to resist posting the first teaser to feature the 'Stache himself. Jim Nill talks draft philosophy and strategy here.
Mike Heika follows up his five best free-agent signings with his five worst. You'll never guess who's at #1, by which I mean you probably have guessed already. [DMN]
This year's Stanley Cup playoffs scored big in U.S. television ratings, even as viewership north of the border fell with each eliminated Canadian team. Fun fact: Las Vegas drew the 10th best U.S. rating for Game 6, which could point to either the cause or the effect of the league's expansion efforts in Sin City. [The Globe and Mail]
Rain was the other big story in Chicago Monday night, as flooding delayed the Stanley Cup's arrival at United Center. Here's a behind-the-scenes story of how it got there, including a police escort and a race to the arena that reportedly reached 100 miles per hour. [ESPN]
Once the Cup finally showed up, the Chicago Blackhawks took turns putting babies in it.
Oh baby. #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/LRrcmQ7EcB— NHL (@NHL) June 16, 2015
Here is a picture of former Dallas Star Brad Richards and a child who seems to have decided that his dad did, in fact, hang the moon. [Puck Daddy]
More Blackhawks with babies pic.twitter.com/pw6Ov2mPYF— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) June 16, 2015
He was a 21-year-old rookie when his Dallas Stars, a year removed from their Cup victory in 1999, lost in six games in the final in 2000. Now, at 36, it was happening to him again. "I don't remember 15 years ago," he said, as a trainer pulled a Lightning flag down from the wall behind him. "I was just young and dumb and thought it was going to happen every time. Now, I'm not sure if this is it, or if I'll get another opportunity."
It's a wrenching read, and it's posted here. [Grantland]
James Mirtle covered the heartbreak in the Sunshine State as the Tampa Bay Lightning fell short in Game 6 — but finds plenty of hope for both the team and its fans. [The Globe and Mail]
In fairness, it wasn't all sunshine for Chicago, either: Two old friends, assistant equipment manager Clint Reis and former player Steve Montador, are no longer here to celebrate with them. The Hawks remembered them during their celebration. [Puck Daddy]
Pierre LeBrun writes about Duncan Keith's long road from "skinny little kid" to unanimous acclamation as Stanley Cup MVP. [ESPN]
Keith has become the latest in a distinguished line of NCAA alumni to win the Conn Smythe Trophy. They include, of course, Cornell man Joe Nieuwendyk, who won it with Dallas in 1999.
Congrats to the alums with the @NHLBlackhawks on another Stanley Cup! http://t.co/S4LGL5W2Kg pic.twitter.com/4yzDl7J2pu— College Hockey, Inc. (@collegehockey) June 17, 2015
Since the 2015 finals have barely ended, of course it's time to start speculating on who the 2016 champions will be. Will the Dallas Stars be in the mix? Craig Custance expects them to bounce back in a big way, and then chooses five other teams as his top contenders. Sportswriters, eh? [ESPN]
On that note, Bleacher Report has posted a — wait for it! — slideshow with their projected 2016 Stanley Cup odds for each team. This link goes to the important part, so you don't have to. [Bleacher Report]
So how has the Texas Stars' Victory Green rebrand been received outside of Dallas Stars fandom? Icethetics scrutinizes the new look. [Icethetics]
The Dallas Morning News has posted a gallery from the Allen Americans' Kelly Cup win on home ice. Cup-winning hockey celebrations are nice. We should definitely have one at American Airlines Center sometime soon. [DMN]
Finally, check out this Superman comic panel, and you can probably guess why we've never heard of Metropolis' hockey team. (The Marauders? More like the Chokers.)
We didn't know Metropolis had a hockey team, but apparently they're no good in OT. MORE: http://t.co/vSTGCnbDAh pic.twitter.com/ZpJq9kI5ee— BarDown (@BarDown) June 17, 2015