The Dallas Stars are about to face what may be the toughest weekend of the regular season, seemingly depleted by injury and bad luck. How will they respond?
In his latest Observations, Heika contemplates the challenges heaped upon the Stars, and how their answer will define this team for better or otherwise.
...Chicago survived Patrick Kane's broken collarbone last season, fought through to qualify for the playoffs, and then watched as Kane returned to the lineup and helped lead Chicago to the Stanley Cup. It was a genuine example of team play overcoming adversity.
Meanwhile, Montreal lost Carey Price this season and completely fell apart. Maybe the Stars needed to experience their adversity at Bell Centre so they could understand just how significant one player can be. Maybe they need to be scared a little bit.
And he echoes what many fans have said: that the team has much to gain by refusing to be content with backing into the playoffs at this point in the season.
Yes, the Stars can fail for the next few weeks and still make the playoffs. Yes, they could be crushed by adversity now and still respond later. But, the scenario everyone would like most is that they fight the dragon this weekend and grow stronger because of it.
The Stars have maybe the toughest stretch of the season – five home games against Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Tampa Bay and the Islanders – and they need to show a little something. Maybe it's the best players, maybe it's the kids, maybe it's a goalie trying to earn the start in the first game of the playoffs. Somebody needs to grab this moment.
Get the entire story from Heika's blog. [SportsDayDFW]
Also in Heika: The Stars' biggest challenges have hit just as they're approaching the most important back-to-back they'll play this year. [SportsDayDFW]
And Mike discusses why he thinks Jason Spezza could be this Stars team's answer to Joe Nieuwendyk in the Stanley Cup playoffs. [SportsDayDFW]
As you know if you read Erin's news item yesterday, the Stars have called up rookie defender Stephen Johns to help stanch the sudden bleeding on the Dallas blueline.
It seems Patrick Sharp, who would know, thinks the Stars chose well.
Patrick Sharp raved about Stephen Johns at his introductory press conference. Might be exactly what Stars need on the blue line this weekend— Bruce LeVine (@BruceLeVinePuck) March 9, 2016
The recently wounded Jason Demers, ever ebullient, is already sending messages of good cheer.
Thanks for well wishes ! A little hurdle but positive vibes be back strong! The boys got this ⭐️— jason demers (@jasondemers5) March 9, 2016
So the ESPN roundtable has some opinions about Dallas goaltending. [ESPN]
Last night in Trouble:
- A match penalty on Ryan Reaves and a late equalizer by Artemi Panarin couldn't stop the St. Louis Blues as they downed the Chicago Blackhawks in a shootout, 3-2. [NBC Sports]
- Two goals and an assist from Johnny Gaudreau boosted the Calgary Flames to a 3-2 OT victory over the Nashville Predators, who still maintained a 14-game point streak. [On the Forecheck]
- Semyon Varlamov earned a 37-save shutout as the Colorado Avalanche ended the Anaheim Ducks' own 14-game point streak, 3-0. [Anaheim Calling]
Johnny Hockey scored his two goals against the Preds in about 10 seconds. Wanna see?
Matt Larkin takes a look at the Hart Trophy race and places Jamie Benn among the top five dark-horse candidates. [The Hockey News]
It's never too early to start thinking about next year's outdoor series, so the NHL has announced four games for 2016-17.
New Puck Daddy: NHL announces four outdoor games for 2016-17 season https://t.co/3a9ZA5CoY9— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) March 10, 2016
The NHL's GMs may not be ready to discuss expansion – yet – but they are planning to talk about expansion draft rules during meetings in Boca Raton to begin March 14. [theScore]
From yesterday's trending Twitter timeline:
Nearly a year after CapGeek founder Matthew Wuest's death from colon cancer, his wife, Melanie Patten, has finished her blog post about their last days together on the palliative-care floor of Victoria General Hospital.
Have Gary Bettman and the NHL been so focused on building the game in the United States that they're losing the plot in Canada? With plummeting broadcast ratings and yet another round of media layoffs, Toronto Sports Media thinks maybe they have. [TSM]
Finally: Henrik Lundqvist took a delay-of-game penalty just to get a whistle after he injured his neck in this collision with Rangers teammate Ryan McDonagh. Sean McIndoe devotes his latest Down Goes Brown column to a visual history of goalies going postal, from Ed Belfour to Tuukka Rask. [The Hockey News]