Devin Shore was off to an amazing start in his first professional season, earning 26 points in his first 23 games with the Texas Stars. Then Ryan Murphy of the Charlotte Checkers gave him the worst Christmas present ever: a hard hit in a mid-December contest that got Murphy a three-game suspension and Shore an early exit from 2015-16 play.
The injury sidelined one of the Dallas Stars' best forward prospects for the rest of the season – but the University of Maine-educated center wanted to make sure those months on the bench weren't wasted, writes Mike Heika:
...[H]e used the down time as a classroom, watching the game from above and trying to assimilate new angles and new information.
"You try not to analyze it too much and get too far into it, but the angles of the game do matter. You need to be a student of the game, and you try to learn every day," said Shore, who majored in finance.
And his role as a young leader at the Stars' prospect development camp let the former Black Bears captain share what he's learned as well as size up other talented prospects:
"It's a high-paced skate in the middle of the summer, and it's a good reminder of what you have to do when you go home," said the native of Ajax, Ontario. "There is a lot of good competition out here."
Read the rest at Heika's place. (Clear your cookies!) [SportsDayDFW]
Heika talked more Stars stuff in his Monday chat, including whether he thinks Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi can make the two-goalie system work better next season. [SportsDayDFW]
And Allan Muir chooses Jamie Benn's next contract as a top story to watch while you wait for hockey to come back.
Now that the NHL has created a Las Vegas expansion team, how will they manufacture a rivalry? Ray Ratto runs down some possibilities (and helpfully coins a few possible names for the Sin City squad). [CSN Bay Area]
ESPN got in on the name game, too, but theirs are (slightly) more serious. [ESPN]
Meanwhile, the search for a real name is being complicated by everything from trademark issues to the NHL's proscription on gambling references. [AP via Salt Lake Tribune]
And the team's express lane to competitiveness could backfire, writes Ken Campbell. [The Hockey News]
Which NHL rookie sensations are most likely to regress in 2016-17? Craig Hagerman makes three educated guesses. [theScore]
Also at theScore: Are the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings being punished for success? Justin Cuthbert compares NHL salary-cap hell with the nuclear spending war going on in the NBA. [theScore]
Sad news: Jack Riley, the Pittsburgh Penguins' first general manager, former team president and inductee to the team's Hall of Fame in 2000, has died at age 97.
Finally: The new NHL 17 "Control the Ice" video features a Jamie Benn cameo, a Kari Lehtonen save, a Tyler Seguin celly and P.K. Subban in a Nashville Predators jersey. What a time to be alive. [EA Sports]