The Dallas Stars’ injury (and illness) troubles have been a matter of fairly brutal public record for the entire 2016-17 season to date. But as most of the big guns slowly rejoin the team, and the sheer number of missing players gradually starts coming back into something like league average, Lindy Ruff says it’s time to declare his squad healthy and move on.
The Stars you see now are as close to themselves as they need to be, and Ruff wants to to stop talking about getting back up to speed and just do it, writes Mike Heika:
With his team getting close to healthy, the Stars coach said he was tired of talking about all of the injuries that have dominated conversation this season.
"All of our excuses as a team are gone," Ruff said. "We're probably as healthy as we're going to get. Most teams have one or two injuries, so we feel right now it's time to get going."
Ruff talked about the hard-fought win over the Vancouver Canucks and how leaders like Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza will be key if the Stars want to transition from treading water to contending for their playoff position:
"I thought we had a couple forwards that were struggling. My goal was to try and play the guys that were going the best, so I flipped some guys around," Ruff said. "We had some real good looks, but right now we just aren't quite clicking to put a game away. It's going to start with the Seguins, the Benns, Spezza, Sharp, those guys. Until our top guys can push through and make a difference, our games are going to be a lot tighter and we are going to be a little up and down."
There’s more at Mike’s place. [SportsDayDFW]
Elsewhere, Radek Faksa talked with Julie Dobbs about how the Stars’ rotating cast of characters has begun to find its way (and celebrating Thanksgiving with hockey dad Aleš Hemský).
"Ales made very good gravy." pic.twitter.com/Kjsnk4vYWf— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) November 26, 2016
Also at The Dallas Morning News: John Klingberg knows how he needs to play, and he knows he can do it. Read more about how the healthy scratch helped him focus and how partnering with Esa Lindell is making his season more fun.
ICYMI: From stately Reaugh Manor, Razor delivers the post-Vancouver Emporium, brought to you by the letter W and the numbers 7 and 30.
Do you think Stephen Johns is getting his game back in Cedar Park? I think maybe he’s getting his game back in Cedar Park.
And Maxime Lagace got the T-Stars’ first shutout of the season as they defeated the San Antonio Rampage 3-0 for their 300th win in franchise history. [100 Degree Hockey]
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all happiness: Highly touted defensive prospect Mattias Bäckman left early with an injury.
Mattias Backman suffered 'mid-body' injury in the first period. Laxdal calls it 'day-to-day', anticipates calling up D from ECHL.— 100 Degree Hockey (@100degreehockey) November 27, 2016
Last night, it was #Murder in Overtime, all the time:
- Jaden Schwartz potted two goals in 1:03 minutes as the St. Louis Blues beat the Minnesota Wild in a shootout, 4-3. [St. Louis Game Time]
- In another OK Corral confrontation, Markus Granlund grabbed the game-winner as the Vancouver Canucks outshot the Colorado Avalanche, 3-2. [Mile High Hockey]
- And Jeff Carter was the Los Angeles Kings’s hero as they got the better of the Chicago Blackhawks in 3-on-3 OT, 2-1. [NHL]
The Stars aren’t back in action until tomorrow in St. Louis, so let’s find some Sunday reads to tide you over:
Sidney Crosby is doing Sidney Crosby things, a lot.
And Rory Boylen takes a look at why Alex Ovechkin – still the Washington Capitals’ best player – is soaking up fewer minutes this season. [Sportsnet]
First shutout, first 40-goal season, first pandemic, first players arrested for disorderly conduct: As Mike Commito writes, “There was a whole lot of history in the NHL’s first season in 1917-18, and not all of it happened on the ice.”
Las Vegas’ newly named NHL team is now part of the internet’s meme machine – and from the Vegas Magnetos to the Golden Hilary Knights to the Knights Who Say Ni-vada, the meme-ing has been good.
From Johnny Oduya to Jiri Hudler to Trevor Daley to Ryan Miller, Matt Larkin picks his top 30 UFAs for 2017. [The Hockey News]
And from the John Scott Rule to Brent Burns’ incredible new contract, Scott Cullen picks the top 10 storylines of the week in hockey. [TSN]
Another great read from The Players’ Tribune: New York Rangers G Antti Raanta shares his memories of mandatory service in the Finnish Defense Force with four hockey teammates, and how that teenage experience helped inspire a mask design to honor those “who sacrifice a ‘normal’ life for a greater cause.”
Milan Lucic spent some downtime in Arizona visiting longtime friend Craig Cunningham and says the Tucson Roadrunners forward is still unconscious but has “progressed a lot” since collapsing on the ice before a scheduled game with the Manitoba Moose on Nov. 19. [NHL]
As NWHL players face salary cuts and questions about their health insurance, Hannah Bevis examines issues of transparency, growing pains, and whether loving your sport is enough. [The Ice Garden]
Finally: Last night, the Bakersfield Condors collected thousands of stuffed toys for disadvantaged kids – all of them thrown to the ice by fans after the Condors’ first goal in the annual Teddy Bear Toss. Here’s a glimpse of what that looked like. Enjoy.