After a mostly glorious first half-season, the Dallas Stars have come down to earth during a brutal road trip to the Tri-State area.
The team is riding a three-game losing streak after dropping a 6-2 decision to the New York Rangers last night in Manhattan. Perhaps worse, they must play two more games in the next four days before they can take five days to rest and regroup.
One enlightening result of the Beatdown in Midtown: Coach Lindy Ruff has demonstrated he will sit anybody, including his two biggest sparkplugs, if he believes they're not performing the way they should.
"It's myself not leading the way," said captain Jamie Benn, who was benched after Viktor Stalberg's goal at 7:50 of the third period. "It was pretty much embarrassing, and I let my teammates down."
After being held off the score sheet in losses to the Devils and Islanders, linemates Benn and Tyler Seguin said they were hoping to lead a strong performance against the Rangers. Instead, both went minus-3 while pushing their scoreless streak to three games.
"They had a tough night, there's no getting around it," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "They had a lot of opportunities against, and by the end of the night, I just didn't play them anymore. They've had a tough trip, and we need those guys. They're going through a tough spell."
A chastened Seguin describes the Stars' troubles this way:
"We're not playing how we need to play," Seguin said. "It starts with our leaders when we're winning and definitely when we're losing. It starts with our line. We're cheating offensively and leaving our goaltender out to dry."
And when the top line did that for the third time on Stalberg's goal, Ruff put Benn and Seguin on the bench for the first time this season.
"We really totally embarrassed ourselves," Ruff said. "We gave the puck away on a few of the goals, gave the puck away late in the period. We got behind the eight-ball again."
Read more at Heika's Dallas Morning News blog. [SportsDayDFW]
ICYMI, the Stars have announced Pevs Protects Night, Saturday, March 12, to honor a new charitable initiative by our beloved #RaptorJesus, Player Development Coordinator Rich Peverley. And in case you missed FOX Southwest's three-hanky mini-doc "Playing for Pevs," Erin has embedded the Stars' online video of the entire program. Go! Watch!
.@DallasStars forward Jason Spezza becomes the 137th player in NHL history to record 500 assists. Congrats to him on a well-earned milestone— Josh Bogorad (@JoshBogorad) January 6, 2016
Cal Clutterbuck feels dissed by Lindy, but Jason Demers got absolved by the NHL, so...we're even, or something. [SportsDayDFW]
Today's the day for the 2016 All-Star roster announcement, but the controversy has already begun.
It's quite possible that the highest scoring defenseman in the Western Conference (@johnklingberg) will not be picked for the All-Star Game!— Owen Newkirk (@OwenNewkirk) January 5, 2016
The dogs bark, but the #MurderDeathKill caravan moves on:
- The Chicago Blackhawks scratched out a 3-2 OT win against the Pittsburgh Penguins behind a two-goal game by Artemi Panarin. [Second City Hockey]
- A Zach Parise hat trick led the Minnesota Wild to a 4-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. [Hockey Wilderness]
- And the Winnipeg Jets thrashed the Nashville Predators 4-1, despite being outperformed for most of the game. [Arctic Ice Hockey]
By the way, the Wild helped tie an NHL record last night.
LDPR, Russia's major political party issued statement urging U20 national team to avenge Finnish participation in 1917 Bolshevik revolution.— Slava Malamud (@SlavaMalamud) January 5, 2016
Meanwhile, the Agonizing Reappraisal has begun after Canada's early exit from the field. Gare Joyce points to a lack of accountability among the teenagers charged with carrying the Maple Leaf to glory, although you may find yourself side-eyeing his absolution of the national sports media and their role in building expectations. [Sportsnet]
Team USA ended up with bronze after defeating Sweden 8-3, and Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Zach Werenski ended up with tournament honors.
And Sweden's superstar William Nylander talked to the media about the ugly play (and apparent concussion) that took him out of the tournament.
In Swedish press today, Nylander appears to say he feels okay https://t.co/QMKfUh8MWL— James Mirtle (@mirtle) January 5, 2016
Finally: Veteran NHL linesman Mike Cvik ended his 29-year career last night with the Flames-Lightning match in the Saddledome. Global News Calgary sports reporter Lisa MacGregor captured this video of the standing ovation he received. Enjoy. [Calgary Sun]
Standing O for longtime linesman Mike Cvik's final NHL game! https://t.co/AKA40Gcijl— Lisa MacGregor (@lisamacgregor) January 6, 2016