After several weeks of outrageous fortune and inconsistent play, you probably could understand if the Dallas Stars are a little down in the mouth.
So you might be surprised to learn that Our Gang is pursuing a de facto “no harshing morale in the clubhouse” policy, but it’s true, writes Mike Heika. There’s a good reason for them to focus on raising each other up rather than tearing each other down:
...Players in peril often look for teammates to throw life preservers to each other, and that's pretty hard if everyone is drowning.
One theory is that the bunker mentality of shared adversity can toughen the group as a whole, but the players say they'd rather rely on positivity and not dwell on the bad things.
"Negativity breeds negativity, and I think that only makes it harder," said center Jason Spezza. "We have to try to breed positive feelings around here."
Spezza, an old hand at staying motivated through adversity, reminds that tough times come during even the best of season, and the only way out is through:
"We look back on it with rose-colored glasses, but there were tough times, too," Spezza said of a 50-win season that brought the Central Division championship. "You always have tough times, and you have to be able to deal with that. The way you become good as a player and as a team is getting yourself out of your slumps as quickly as possible."
There’s more at Mike’s place. [SportsDayDFW]
The Stars make their next stop in Denver to play the Colorado Avalanche tonight at 8 p.m. Central time. Watch for an official preview here. [Dallas Stars]
NHL All-Star voting is on like Donkey Kong, and you can vote for Speznasty, Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and John Klingberg, so do it.
Klinger got quite a bit of love already: Fans chose his celly as the AT&T Photo of the Month for November.
Sean Shapiro talks trades, call-ups, and why Radek Faksa breaks so many sticks in his latest Mailbag. [Wrong Side of the Red Line]
Friday was a quiet night in the #MDK: Only the Minnesota Wild were in action, and they lost in a shootout to Kris Versteeg and the Calgary Flames, 3-2. [Matchsticks and Gasoline]
By the way, Versteeg scored the Flames’ first goal off a rebound from fellow Flame and former Star Jyrki Jokipakka.
After racking up 171 PIMs among them during their last matchup, the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs will be monitored by NHL player-safety officials this evening, just to make sure no one actually dies out there. [Sportsnet]
The Stars may be struggling, but are any other NHL teams substantially better off? Jimmy Hascup looks around the league and sees “a lot of parity (or mediocrity, if that’s how you want to view it)” at every level. [USA Today]
Remember when the NHL suggested that players could go to the 2018 Winter Olympics if they’d agree to extend the CBA? Well, the NHL Players’ Association has officially said, “Yeah, no.”
Meanwhile, IOC President Thomas Bach says “all the rational arguments” show that NHL participation in the Games is a win for everyone. [The Canadian Press]
For some Stars fans, their appreciation of Julius Honka is enhanced by that missing chiclet on his upper left. If that sounds like you, you may enjoy Sports Illustrated’s compilation of some of the best hockey smiles in history.
How often will your team win if they score the opening goal – and what difference does it make who scores the second? Garret Hohl examines conditional probability and whether it’s actually important to strike first. [Hockey Graphs]
Also at Hockey Graphs: Carolyn Wilke looks at the difference between transition-focused and stay-at-home defense as the difference between “winning” and “not losing.”
Finally: The San Jose Sharks had way more fun with their Friday Star Wars Night than they should have. Check out the rotoscoped laser effects as more-beard-than-man Brent Burns pops a goal. Enjoy.