Ever wish you could wave a magic wand and just...fix all the Dallas Stars’ struggles? (Of course you have. We’ve all read the comments sections. I mean, come on.)
At this point, Mike Heika writes that he feels a little like the man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz – trying to help people understand what’s going on with the team, but just as confuzzled as they are:
I get it. You're lost in the woods and hopeful I can help. You've been down a long road and you want some answers. You've done your job as fans and now you want me to do mine. Instead, all I have for you is a lot of smoke and noise.
That’s not quite true. Heika does bring a few facts and figures to put the Stars’ shattered lineup and relative lack of experience in context:
When you consider the contributions of Patrick Sharp (20 goals) and Jason Spezza (33) and Mattias Janmark (15) and Ales Hemsky (13) and Cody Eakin (16) from last season, you come up with 97 goals. Add in Valeri Nichushkin (9) and you get 106. Ponder that for a moment. The Stars scored 265 goals last year and led the NHL. Cut out 106 and they would rank a distant 30th behind New Jersey's 182.
I could keep digging and produce other mementos, but you get the picture. I don't have good news right now. While the Stars have shown courage and heart and brains this year, I'm not sure that's enough to get them home. On the good side, the rest of the league isn't pulling away just yet. If the playoffs started tomorrow, Dallas would be the second wildcard team and would meet Chicago in the first round.
There’s always more at Mike’s place.
Heika’s Monday Stars chat included discussion of Jason Spezza’s status, the team’s special-teams struggles, and the now-perennial drop pass controversy. [SportsDayDFW]
Ball-hog or tugboat? Like a good bassist, Esa Lindell is at his best when you notice him least, writes Sean Shapiro. [Today’s Slapshot]
Also at the Slapshot: The Stars aren’t the only squad who have started slower than expected. Adam Gretz looks at them alongside the Predators, Panthers and Kings and says to take a deep breath. [TS]
Most of [the Stars’ injured players], with the exception of [Aleš] Hemský and [Mattias] Janmark, could be back relatively soon. And even without them, the Stars haven’t been completely terrible and have still done some of the things that made them such a strong team a year ago.
Even with a skeleton lineup around their two superstars they are a positive possession team and are still one of the best teams in the league at generating shot attempts during even-strength play. They just don’t always have enough people in the lineup that can finish some of those attempts. That should start to change (hopefully) soon when some of those injured forwards start making their way back into the lineup.
Crisis averted, or something: Jacob Trouba has signed a two-year, $6 million bridge contract with the Winnipeg Jets. [Associated Press]
...which he may have done just to make himself easier to trade.
The Winnipeg Jets still see Jacob Trouba as a big part of their future. Trouba has still not talked publicly https://t.co/QObmP13YOv— Josh Cooper (@JoshuaCooper) November 8, 2016
Fretting about a goalie tandem? Reminding yourself it’s too early to start panicking? Sounds like...tonight’s opponent? [Arctic Ice Hockey]
There was no action in the Dirty Central last night, but today is a different story. Besides the Stars at Winnipeg, we have these:
- Nashville Predators vs. Ottawa Senators, 7 p.m. Central time
- Colorado Avalanche vs. Arizona Coyotes, 8 p.m. Central time
Former Stars prospect Reilly Smith scored a highlight-reel GWG as the Panthers won the Battle of Florida 3-1 over the Lightning last night. [Miami Herald]
Reilly Smith is a wizard. pic.twitter.com/hz7QOtleyP— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) November 8, 2016
Las Vegas NHL Team To Be Named Later Teamy McTeamface will finally get its new name and logo Nov. 15 Nov. 22. (Expect “Desert,” “Golden” or “Silver” somewhere in there.) [NHL]
Yet all this leisure with choosing a name goes out the window when Las Vegas GM George McPhee gets three (3) days to draft his players. [Sports Illustrated]
Teams who are stockpiling goaltenders are walking a tightrope between depth and development. [NHL]
Brianna Decker tallied three points and Hilary Knight scored twice as the U.S. National Team defeated host Team Finland to win the Women’s Four Nations Cup for the second consecutive year. [USA Hockey]
Have any plans for Friday and Saturday? How about a trip to Cedar Park for the Texas Stars’ first Military Appreciation Weekend? The T-Stars host the San Jose Barracuda for this back-to-back, and the team will wear armed forces-themed practice jerseys that will be available for auction at the arena.
Stephen Meserve reports that the Idaho Steelheads have put goaltender Henri Kiviaho on 21-day injured reserve.
G Henri Kiviaho is on 21-day IR in Idaho, retroactive to 11/4.— 100 Degree Hockey (@100degreehockey) November 7, 2016
Congratulations! You finally made it to Election Day in the United States. Greg Wyshynski has your reward: a list of the top five NHL players who should be president (only one of whom would be constitutionally permitted to run, but whaddaya want for nuthin’).
Finally: Great ceremonial puck drop, or greatest ceremonial puck drop ever? Corporal Nero, a military bomb-sniffing dog stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, did the honors for the Ducks and Flames at Anaheim’s Military Appreciation Night. Enjoy. [Puck Daddy]