John Klingberg, much like the rest of the blueline unit for the Dallas Stars, has struggled this season. His penchant for turnovers at his own blueline on the power play leading to shorthanded chances against and several key 2-on-1 defensive miscues recently are just a small sample of things that Klingberg has struggled with this season. His possession numbers are not at his usually good rates and his passing has not been as sharp based on the eye test.
His performance to date, however, is not the reason he finds himself in the press box tonight. Mike Heika reports:
John Klingberg missed team meeting, that's the reason he will be scratched. Said he was embarrassed and apologized to teammates.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) November 21, 2016
Klingberg said he's embarrassed he missed team meeting this morning, feels he let team down. Overslept. Said it won't happen again.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) November 21, 2016
It’s not the first time that head coach Lindy Ruff has scratched a player for missing a team function. You’ll remember that Tyler Seguin was scratched the night that Jamie Benn scored four points to capture the Art Ross a few seasons ago after he overslept a team meeting as well.
It seems convenient now that the Stars made two call-ups yesterday on the blueline. With Johnny Oduya hitting IR, and Klingberg scratched, it the Stars would have had just five healthy defensemen to play tonight if they had not called up two blueliners from the Texas Stars. Julius Honka, who is a puck-moving defenseman similar to Klingberg, will hopefully provide a spark to the transition game of the Stars tonight, and Esa Lindell gives the coaching staff another option if they want to really mix it up on the blueline.
Pairings at morning skate were as follows, in no particular order:
Jordie Benn - Stephen Johns
Dan Hamhuis - Julius Honka
Patrik Nemeth - John Klingberg
Esa Lindell - Jamie Oleksiak
Of course, someone has to sit, and the answer is likely found in one of Nemeth, Lindell, or Oleskiak. My guess is that it might be Nemeth who draws out, as he was paired with the scratched Klingberg. Oleksiak would give a little more size to a defense corps that will feature a slightly undersized Hamhuis/Honka pairing.
Honka appears to be getting the most out of his invitation for a taste of the NHL, as he finds himself on the top power play unit as well. Does your mouth water at this potential power play set?
First PP unit: Honka-Spezza-Seguin-Benn-Eaves— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) November 21, 2016
SecondPP unit: Jordie Benn/Hamhuis-Sharp-Roussel-Ritchie-Shore
Forward lines found themselves shuffled a bit.
Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Tyler Seguin
Patrick Sharp - Jason Spezza - Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Brett Ritchie
Lauri Korpikoski - Devin Shore - Adam Cracknell
Curtis McKenzie looks like your likely scratch at forward.
Antti Niemi will get the call in net.