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Dallas Stars Daily Links: Jim Nill Wants the Stars to Start Fast and Defend Their Territory

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The Stars' GM talked training camp with Mike Heika yesterday. Plus, it's NHL media day all week, and it's an especially good time to be glad you're not a Blackhawks fan.

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

By the time you read this, the Dallas Stars may already be deep into their first practice of 2015 training camp. As we come to grips with our anticipation and trepidation about the season to come, Jim Nill sat down with Mike Heika to talk about what he expects from the next five days in Cedar Park.

First of all, Nill says the team wants to start better and beat more of its Murder Death Kill Central Division opponents:

"We know we need to play better defensively," general manager Jim Nill said. "We've got to have a better start, division record is important, and we have to be better at home. Those are the three or four factors where we have to be better."

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"A big part of this year is taking the next step," captain Jamie Benn said. "Jim has done a great job of bringing in the players, and now it's on us. We've got to raise our game as a group here."

Nill also reiterates that Benn and Ales Hemsky will be handled with care as they continue to recover from off-season hip surgeries.

"They're right on pace where they should be," Nill said. "They're going to probably practice, probably not scrimmage early on. Exhibition game-wise, we're going to take it easy with them. If they can get in one or two exhibition games, that will be enough for them."

Benn, who led the NHL in scoring with 87 points last season, said he plans to be on the ice for the season opener Oct. 8 against Pittsburgh.

He also sounds supremely confident about the Stars' new goalie-platoon scheme with Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi:

"We've got two No. 1 goalies," Nill said. "If there is an injury, if one of them is struggling, we have time to get it corrected. Both goalies are excited. They played together as young guys, they've played for Finland at the Olympics, there's a comfort level there."

Check it out here, where you can also get a good look at the SportsDayDFW redesign. [Dallas Morning News]

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Mark Stepneski has more about how the Stars plan to start the season on the good foot. [Stars Inside Edge]

If you didn't see the Chicago Blackhawks' press conference yesterday, well, at least now you don't have to try to unsee it.

Meanwhile, this post by writer-editor, rugby player and 'Hawks fan Eliza Eaton-Stern has been RT'ed a lot over the past 48 hours or so. [The Other Half Sports]

[Women sports fans] put up with indignities of all sorts because sport brings us joy and is a part of who we are - from childhood, in many cases. It has brought us friends and gives us a catharsis when the little things in our lives are stressing us out. We accept this bargain, because there's more good there than bad, and because we understand as women that if we wanted to avoid anything that doesn't treat us totally and completely like sentient beings with full agency and rich backstories, we'd basically have to avoid the world entirely. (Except you, Mad Max: Fury Road.)

But eventually, given enough cause, even the most die-hard will throw her hands up and say, "Yeah, I'm out."

Is NHL 16 worth your gaming bucks? Steve Dangle would like to answer your questions.

Recently retired Senators legend Daniel Alfredsson has returned to the team as senior advisor of hockey operations. [Ottawa Senators]

It's media day all over the league this week, and therefore it's practically raining cool hockey stuff. Here's T.J. Oshie playing Hacky Sack with a puck.

The San Jose Sharks are having fun with after-effects.

The St. Louis Blues offer a behind-the-scenes look at those glamorous turn-around shots.

And the Calgary Flames have already picked the meme they're about to revive.

We've already documented highlights of Stars Media Day, including the cornucopia that was the John Klingberg Snapchat takeover, but here's a bonus photo for everyone who wanted to see Val Nichushkin stapled to Jason Spezza's wing this season.

Bonus audio: Patrick Sharp told Austin's AM 1300 The Zone that he "feels like a rookie again" now that he's a Dallas Star. [Sports Buffet]

And for those of you who will follow the team down to Cedar Park Center some time this weekend, a public service announcement:

Another signing sighting: The Florida Panthers and forward Jonathan Huberdeau have agreed to a two-year deal. [Florida Panthers]

From the What's Up With That? department, the Toronto Maple Leafs just traded five prospects for New York Islanders forward Michael Grabner. Species 1967 breaks down Lou Lamoriello's first big trade as GM. [Pension Plan Puppets]

In goalie mask news, Carolina Hurricanes G Eddie Lack has a new, Muppet-themed helmet. Consider that Eddie is a countryman of John Klingberg and Patrik Nemeth, and you just figured out where this is going. [CBS Sports]

Yesterday was Alex Ovechkin's 30th birthday. This video will make you smile.

On the other side of the country, Kings defender Slava Voynov may circumvent a long immigration trial (and his likely deportation) by announcing his intention to return to Russia with his family. (Los Angeles Times)

And Anaheim Ducks D-man Clayton Stoner has been charged with illegally killing a grizzly bear in British Columbia in May 2013. [ESPN]

Finally: This sounds like a dare, folks. Go for it.