The Dallas Stars' 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning was especially sweet on Brenden Morrow Night – marking as it did the retirement of one of the Stars' greatest players, in Victory Green no less, in the presence of the team he helped take to the 2015 Stanley Cup finals.
So you might be forgiven if you missed the essay Morrow shared yesterday at The Players' Tribune, posted right around the time the Stars were holding his press conference. He writes about mistakes on and off the ice, and learning not to repeat them, beginning with the figure-skating lessons he began at age four and continuing into his first foray into junior hockey, at 16 years old and 230 pounds:
When I went to Portland for my first year of juniors, the trainer, Innes Mackie, put me on the scale. I'll never forget him looking me in the eye and then sliding the big weight across the beam ... then looking back at me kind of confused before sliding the big weight over again.
It went on like that for a while before the thing leveled out. At that point, I was just dismissed back to my locker to wait.
A little while later, I'm sitting in my stall and Coach Peterson comes up to me, and he's holding this roll of white tape. He calls me over and walks to a stationary bike, sticks some tape on it and writes my name.
"Brenden, congratulations, you've made the team. Now ride on this thing until Christmas."
And among the many, many anecdotes of playing with and for heroes like Mike Modano, Brett Hull, Marty Turco and Ken Hitchcock, he shares this:
I'll always be thankful for the fans who helped us build a hockey culture in Texas. Stars fans love the game for all the right reasons. I wanted to give them a Stanley Cup so, so badly. It just wasn't in the cards, but I'll always be proud of what we accomplished together.
Read the whole thing here. Do it for Mini-Mo.
In case you missed it, Morrow's career highlight video is crammed full of great moments and old friends.
The Stars produced a tough, even swaggering performance worthy of their former captain last night, writes Mike Heika. [SportsDayDFW]
He also writes that Morrow's retirement is a stark reminder of how tough the good life of a professional athlete can be. [SportsDayDFW]
Photographer Dylan Nadwodny captured this moment among three captains during Morrow's press conference.
And look how excited Ian McLaren was for last night's game:
Lightning-Stars tonight pic.twitter.com/EzDRT6RGpX— Ian McLaren (@iancmclaren) March 17, 2016
So you want to watch that JaBenn sliding knee save, on an infinite loop, set to silent-movie slapstick music? Thank goodness for Instagram, right?
You definitely want to watch this again and again.
The Dallas Morning News posted a gallery of memorable moments from what turned out to be Captains' Night in Dallas (two goals from Jamie Benn, two from Steven Stamkos, and that first NHL goal for Texas Stars captain Stephen Johns).
Congratulate Jamie on reaching a pretty big milestone himself last night.
And Johns racked up many firsts this week: first NHL game, first NHL goal, first Cowboy Hat of the Night.
Our Very Big Defender Starter Kit celebrated on social media, too.
And Razor joins the love-in with his post-Tampa Emporium.
Alas, our joy was alloyed with the news that Tyler Seguin had suffered a skate cut to the back of his right leg in the game's dying seconds. Look for an update later this morning. [SportsDayDFW]
WFAA's Mike Leslie tries to pinpoint the play on which the contact happened. Watch that brief tangle on the boards with Anton Stralman.
Went back and watched Tyler Seguin's final shift - only spot I can find where the cut *may* have happened is here: pic.twitter.com/uOfBcFovcY— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) March 18, 2016
With four defenders approaching UFA status, Jordan Dix speculates on how much Alex Goligoski could get on the free market – if the Stars let him get that far. [The Hockey Writers]
Can you believe other #MDK teams played last night?
- The Minnesota Wild ended up on the load end of the New Jersey Devils' season-high scoring night as the Devils cruised to a 7-4 victory. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]
- James Neal and Ryan Johansen notched two points each to help the Nashville Predators beat the New York Islanders 4-2. The Preds have won 11 of their past 17 games and lost only once in regulation. [The Tennessean]
- Predators at Capitals, 6 p.m. Central time
- Chicago Blackhawks at Winnipeg Jets, 7 p.m. Central time
- Colorado Avalanche at Calgary Flames, 8 p.m. Central time
As it turns out, today marks several awesome hockey anniversaries – first among them being Lord Stanley of Preston's crazy little idea to launch this whole "challenge cup" thing. [NHL]
Hockey player trope o' the morning: Because pain is just an attitude, right?
Kevin Spacey is really, really enjoying being the Florida Panthers' ad hoc mascot.
A five-year-old lawsuit against Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock has been dismissed by a court in British Columbia.
The NHL Players' Association will decide whether or not the salary cap rises to $74 million next season. [TSN]
And Allan Muir predicts several top goalies will be in play as teams prepare for a possible expansion draft announcement by turning targets into assets. [Sports Illustrated]
Finally: Mike Modano tweeted this yesterday. Never forget.