The Stars’ overcrowded blue line and the resulting scratches have led to some lively debates so far this season. Sean Shapiro takes a look at Dallas’ defense and examines how the system has helped and hurt the team this year.
It’s a system that’s brought the best — and the worst — out of the Stars young defensemen. Internal competition is a good thing, most of the time, but the Stars have a system in place where one bad game can lead to a handful of scratches.
But despite the added spirit of competitiveness—which has helped players like Julius Honka—Shapiro argues that the negative effects are beating out the positive.
The losses are outweighing the wins, the Stars are struggling to find a middle ground where young defensemen can grow without feeling like they’ll be doomed to the press box for one mistake.
And this all falls back on management, not coaching. While you can argue for or against different scratches Ruff has made, Nill needs to make a move to fix the defense — an addition by subtraction model. He did that in 2014 when he traded away Sergei Gonchar to open up space for young defensemen, and a similar move wouldn’t hurt right now.
There’s more from Shapiro at the link. [Fanrag Sports]
Tonight, the Stars take on the Penguins in Pittsburgh at 6 p.m.
For Lindy Ruff, it’s all about accountability. [SportsDayDFW]
Despite a scary collision with Henrik Zetterberg in Detroit on Tuesday night, Stephen Johns is doing fine and should be available for tonight’s game.
Stephen Johns went through concussion protocol last night and is cleared. Should be ready to play in Pittsburgh Thursday.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) November 30, 2016
The Stars are ranked 12th in Forbes’ annual list of most valuable NHL franchises. [Forbes]
Here’s your listening material for the day.
Wrong Side of the Red Line Podcast: Nine defensemen? Vegas? The All-Star Game? https://t.co/kNOs8IHKLg— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) November 30, 2016
Jamie Oleksiak talks about his sister Penny’s accomplishments. [Windsor Star]
‘Tis the season to purchase your Dallas Stars calendar (or politely request one as a gift).
Congrats to former Star Brad Richards, who will be inducted into the QMJHL Hall of Fame. [QMJHL]
In case you were keeping tabs on Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton, he’s not being shopped, according to Calgary president Brian Burke. [Sportsnet]
With P.K. Subban on the blue line and Pekka Rinne in net, the Predators are looking like Stanley Cup contenders. [The Hockey News]
And speaking of the Perds, Nashville has signed former Stars defenseman Adam Pardy to a one-year contract. [NHL]
Don’t forget to cast your vote for this year’s All-Star Game.
Senators goalie Craig Anderson will take personal leave again as his wife, Nicholle, continues to battle cancer. [Ottawa Citizen]
It’s been an up-and-down season so far for Frederik Andersen, who has adjusted his style a few times in Toronto. [In Goal Magazine]
From Mike Vernon to Mike Richter, five players you probably didn’t realize were picked in an expansion draft. [The Hockey News]
Who’s going to land the head coaching job in Vegas? Here are seven potential candidates. [Sportsnet]
And in case you missed it last night, be sure to watch Julie Dobbs’ interview with Dave Strader.