The Dallas Stars keep winning, which can make it tough to focus on the fact that their game still needs work. Mike Heika can see the early fruits of the team's new emphasis on the 200-foot game, and he's found a comparison in a fictional former hockey player who became a golf star by paying attention to the details.
There is flash in every sport, the kind of flash that draws crowds and creates fun. But to win in any sport, you need discipline, you need to work diligently on the details of the game. Happy Gilmore embraced putting, because he knew he needed it.
The Stars are sort of the same way right now. They have the 400-yard drives, they have the flash. They're still working on the short game.
The Stars still can score almost at will, and the goaltending from Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi has improved the team's position measurably this season. But team defense will be key to beating the league's best teams consistently, Heika adds.
The Stars believe there is balance in their task. When they were playing their best offensive hockey against the Blackhawks and Capitals, two of the best teams in the league were unable to generate any offense themselves. So, maybe the plan to attack can also be the best plan to defend.
Maybe...but there are always times when you have to protect a lead, and you won't always have a four-goal cushion.
In other words, every golfer needs to have that club in his bag...he needs to be able to putt, as well as drive.
There's more at Mike's place. [SportsDayDFW]
After a lacerated arm and a struggle to make the Stars line-up, Patrik Nemeth wants his starting job back. [SportsDayDFW]
Tyler Seguin met yet another milestone during Saturday night's game against the Washington Capitals. Hopefully, the Stars will have good news today about the skate cut he suffered during the third period.
Meanwhile, Ed Sarno takes another look at the Erik Cole trade, one year after it brought the Stars Mattias Janmark. [The Hockey Writers]
Last night in #MDK action:
- The Colorado Avalanche dropped a game 4-1 to the Buffalo Sabres' three first-period goals and a great performance by goalie Robin Lehner. [Sports Illustrated]
- And the St. Louis Blues snapped the Tampa Bay Lightning's nine-game home winning streak 2-1 with a 37-save afternoon for Brian Elliott. [NHL]
There's more going on tonight in the Central Division:
- Chicago Blackhawks vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, 7:30 p.m. Central time
- Minnesota Wild at Vancouver Canucks, 9 p.m. Central time
With this goal against the Avs, Jack Eichel respectfully asks you to remember that he's still in the Calder Trophy race, too.
In the same game, Brad Marchand (who's making a serious run at the Rocket Richard standings lately) set a Bruins record for the fastest goal ever to start a game, with a tally earned just eight seconds in. [Puck Daddy]
Also at Puck Daddy: Josh Cooper catches up with forward Mike Richards, who is working past his headline-grabbing separation from the Los Angeles Kings and focusing on bringing a "playoff mentality" to the Washington Capitals.
Will Toronto try to improve its fortunes by making a deal with the New York Islanders for John Tavares? Hard to say, but thinking about it might make Steve Dangle feel better for at least a few minutes, so what the heck. [TSN]
What's so important about shot blocking? Not as much as you may think, says Jordan Dix. [The Hockey Writers]
The Texas Stars are on a winning streak to match the big team, with back-to-back victories at home on Valentine's Day weekend. First came this come-from-behind thriller on Saturday...
...followed by a 2-1 win built upon another astounding performance by so-hot-right-now netminder Maxime Lagace.
In the NCAA, the Ravens hockey team of Franklin Pierce University has been shut down for the season after what is being called a "hazing incident." [The Hockey News]
Finally: #EavesOfDestruction and the first goal of his Thursday Pat-trick against the Blackhawks is this week's Bud Light Frozen Moment. Hold this memory close.