Tomorrow, the NHL punches in after the All-Star festivities, and the Dallas Stars are among those who will play on the first night back. As the team prepares for its first post-break contest – against divisional rivals the Winnipeg Jets, no less – SportsDayDFW takes a look at 10 stats that defined the first half and will be important to watch in the second.
For example, John Klingberg experienced some much-commented-upon sophomore struggles during the first half of the season, but his overall record is still remarkable – even compared to his breakout 2014-15:
In 65 games a year ago, he tallied 40 points and 98 shots on goal. Through 50 games this season, he's already at 40 points and is up to 102 shots on goal. He's one of three defensemen with more than 40 points this season (Erik Karlsson has 52, Brent Burns has 43). Out of those three, he has the best plus-minus at plus-11. The other two are at plus-3 and minus-9.
There's also the fact that Jason Spezza is now bedded in and is exactly what the Stars signed for (and maybe even more):
This year is different because Spezza seems to be settling in and is finding his comfort zone. He's already matched his goal total from last year with 17 and he has five game-winning goals. One more and he ties a career high.
In bad news, the penalty kill has actually gotten less effective even as the power play has improved:
The Stars' penalty kill has never set the NHL on fire. In those same three years where the power play has gotten better, the penalty kill has gotten worse. In all three years, the penalty kill has ranked in the lower third of the league, with the percentages going down from 81.4 percent to 80.7 percent to 79.9 percent.
Read the whole thing courtesy of The Dallas Morning News. [SportsDayDFW]
In other important stats, Joshua Friemel ranks every Stars fight of the first half of the season. Jamie Oleksiak has three of them – but which is No. 1? [SportsDayDFW]
The Big Rig is back in Dallas as the league returns to business as usual.
The entire NHL takes a rest and travel day today, but on Tuesday the Central Division gets back on the job in earnest. Here's what else is on the #MurderDeathKill menu tomorrow:
- Minnesota Wild at New York Islanders, 6 p.m. Central time
- Nashville Predators vs. St. Louis Blues, 7 p.m. Central time
- Chicago Blackhawks at Colorado Avalanche, 8 p.m. Central time
Gary Bettman has signed a six-year extension that will keep him in position as NHL commissioner until 2022. [ESPN]
First and most importantly, Tyler Seguin celebrated his 24th birthday on All-Star Game day. This also serves as a reminder to the rest of the league that Tyler Seguin is 24. Twenty-four.
Seguin – or, as he calls himself, Seggy – also got mic'ed up and did a little ice-level play-by-play on the fly. This included a swear that rhymes with "hit" that went out on a live broadcast. You'll never guess what happened next. [theScore]
Of course, he also served a birthday donut and snagged two assists. Joshua Friemel has all the details.
Ty-Lord also confirmed to Pierre McGuire that 3-on-3 hockey is serious business you guys, even at an exhibition game.
The league's marketing and social media teams produced these awesome Music City-style virtual neon signs for each captain. Here's the John Tavares version.
John Scott opened the scoring for the Pacific Division in last night's All-Star Game. Now you can keep his goal celebration forever.
Then he got another, on a breakaway. That's two 3-on-3 goals for John Scott. Yes, you read that right.
And Jaromir Jagr, who ended up having more fun than he thought he might, brought the first goal in the Atlantic Division's first-round victory over the Metropolitan team. THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE.
Former Star James Neal scored two of the Central Division's goals in their 9-6 loss to the Pacific.
The Pacific Division went on to win the whole enchilada, and John Scott was named ASG MVP. Credit Brent Burns, Mark Giordano and Joe Pavelski with the victory hoist.
Segs sent his own good wishes.
There's also this bit of inside information from Elliotte Friedman.
The helmet John Scott wore while scoring twice is going to the Hockey Hall of Fame.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 1, 2016
Seriously, everyone is on the Big Man Bandwagon now.
The St. John's IceCaps have changed their name to the St. JohnScott IceCaps on Twitter. pic.twitter.com/GCN0SBDDOv— Chocolate Hockey (@ChocHockey) February 1, 2016
And you'll be seeing this photo or one like it for a while.
Matt Larkin writes that Scott's unlikely story wasn't even the only thing that made the 2016 All-Star Game arguably the best ever. [The Hockey News]
Elsewhere, Sportsnet has posted yet another worthwhile long read – this one Dan Robson's take on the rec-league hockey boom in the high-stress world of Silicon Valley. [Sportsnet]
Finally: Want a permanent keepsake of Seguin's apology for his on-air swear? Steve Dangle can hook you up. (I'm holding out for the travel mug.)