Patrik Nemeth and Jamie Oleksiak know what they have to do this year, and how they respond will decide their futures and that of the Dallas Stars as well.
In the space of about a year, the Stars parted ways with two former first-rounders, Scott Glennie and Jack Campbell. Nemeth and Oleksiak have reached a similar fork in the road, says Mike Heika:
Either they grab a full-time spot in the lineup, or they will be moved to create space for younger players such as Julius Honka and Esa Lindell.
It's a tough place to be, but it's the realization that professional sports is a job and players have to deliver.
"You don't try to think about it that way, but it is a job," said Oleksiak. "They have to make business decisions and players have to earn their spots."
GM Jim Nill thinks both are ready to seize their moment, and Nemeth says he learned something important during his difficult 2015-16 season:
Part of being ready was learning from the psychological pressure that was 2015-16. Nemeth had bounced back from a lacerated arm, so he understood battling injury, but battling his own mind was another test.
"It was tough," said Nemeth, who had two goals in a 6-3 preseason win over Los Angeles Friday in Las Vegas. "You learn to not think too much ... and when you get the chance, just go out and play."
There’s always more at Mike’s place. [SportsDayDFW]
Sean Shapiro has posted his Stars season preview at NHL.com.
Shapiro also names the five biggest questions as the new season is about to begin. [NHL]
Bruce LeVine says Nemeth’s Vegas show has put him in a great position for that first game.
Lindy Ruff wanted someone to step up and grab the final defenseman position for Opening Night. Patrik Nemeth has earned that spot.— Bruce LeVine (@BruceLeVinePuck) October 8, 2016
Elsewhere in the #MurderDeathKill Division, LeVine talked to the Colorado Avalanche’s Erik Johnson about the team’s new coach (and Team USA’s trials at the World Cup of Hockey).
Patrick Sharp spent his Saturday skating with the young rookies during Girls Hockey Weekend.
Have the Florida Panthers lost Jonathan Huberdeau? The star winger and Calder Trophy winner needed help leaving the ice last night after a freak injury from New Jersey Devils forward Sergey Kalinin’s skate.
From Mathew Barzal to Pavel Zacha, Jared Clinton identifies 10 rookies who could start the season on nine-game NHL tryouts. [The Hockey News]
Las Vegas Team To Be Named Later Teamy McTeamface has given itself a target of November 18 to unveil whatever Knight-related name Bill Foley has chosen.
Looks like the Las Vegas team will finally announce its name on 11/18. Let the countdown begin! pic.twitter.com/0vhTkwKNQX— Icethetics (@icethetics) October 9, 2016
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on the 2018 Winter Olympics: The IOC has given the NHL until January 15, 2017 to decide whether it will send its players to PyeongChang.
Nail Yakupov and the Edmonton Oilers have been divorced for less than 48 hours, but already they’ve thrown enough shade to grow caladiums in. Yak said he looks forward to playing for the Blues because “I don’t know what winning is.” [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
And here Peter Chiarelli is, just trying to get his team into the playoffs. [Sportsnet]
Elsewhere, Bruce Boudreau wants the Minnesota Wild to hit more.
Wild are ‘nowhere near as physical’ as Bruce Boudreau wants them to be https://t.co/GIOSk0uosx— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) October 8, 2016
Detroit Red Wings forward Ben Street spent Friday night in the hospital after taking a skate to the neck during a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto will be out for a month with a lower-body injury. [Broad Street Hockey]
Meanwhile, teammate Radko Gudas will face a DoPS ruling today after another questionable hit, this time a shoulder to the head of Boston Bruins rookie C Austin Czarnik. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
And Bruins left wing Zac Rinaldo was placed on waivers after not playing in any of the B’s preseason games. [CSN New England]
In the AHL: The Texas Stars outshot the San Antonio Rampage 29 to 19, and Ludwig Byström won Second Star of the Game – but the team lost its final preseason game 3-1.
Finally: This may be either the funniest or most unfortunate arena ad placement ever, but it’s practically guaranteed to make you do a double take. Enjoy.