The Dallas Stars, like any team, are better when their best players are their best players. So it’s cause for celebration when John Klingberg skates past a difficult patch and starts looking like the No. 1 D he is.
Klinger talked with Mark Stepneski about how the tide has turned for him in recent weeks:
"I think with the team playing better lately, the confidence has grown with me," Klingberg said. "I like where [my game] is right now. I think I have been playing defensively really good and offensively I've been in on a lot of chances too."
He also talked about “trying to do too much” during the team’s struggles with injuries to the forward corps, and about how his pairing with Esa Lindell has helped him focus:
"Early in the year we were changing partners a lot," said Klingberg. "I think the coaches wanted to see where guys were fitting into each other and I think lately we've been showing them where the D pairs might be set. I think I'm a little bit more comfortable now playing with Esa the whole time instead of changing D partners and try to always execute together. It's been a lot better now lately for every D."
Mark has more at the Stars’ official site. [Stars Inside Edge]
The Stars face their next big challenge, the Minnesota Wild, tonight in American Airlines Center. The puck drops at 7 p.m. Mike Heika has a preview.
Stephen Johns has a chance to get back into the regular lineup, and he’s focused on staying there. [SportsDayDFW]
Meanwhile, Ruff offers a few words on what the Stars will need to do to beat the Wild.
The Devan Dubnyk trade brought the Minnesota Wild from “the brink of irrelevancy” to a leading position in the Western Conference, writes Tony Abbott. [Hockey Wilderness]
Sean Shapiro talks defense, goaltending and special teams in his latest Mailbag. [Wrong Side of the Red Line]
Also from Sean: a look at the youth hockey teams who got to play on AAC ice yesterday as part of the annual Dallas Stars Metro Hockey League “Rink of Dreams” event.
Last night in the Bloody Central:
- The Chicago Blackhawks got a literal six-pack opened on them as they ended up blanked by the Washington Capitals, 6-0. [Japers’ Rink]
- The Winnipeg Jets’ frustrations continued as they lost to the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. [Five for Howling]
Sportsnet put together a special Things We Learned in honor of Friday the 13th.
Is NHL bye week working the way it was intended? Ken Campbell gives it the stink-eye. [The Hockey News]
Also at THN: P.K. Subban is skating again, Roman Josi is on IR, and the Nashville Predators don’t know how to feel, probably.
And the New York Rangers went all out to honor late NYPD officer Steven McDonald – including a moment of cheer in place of a moment of silence.
Next stop, Hall of Fame: Team Canada legend Hayley Wickenheiser is hanging up her skates after four Olympic golds, two Olympic MVPs and seven world championships.
In Cedar Park: Brandon DeFazio netted a power-play hat trick, but the Texas Stars fell to the Tucson Roadrunners 5-3 on the road.
Meanwhile, in Boise: G prospect Philippe Desrosiers won First Star of the Game as the Idaho Steelheads beat the Colorado Eagles 3-1. They’re now tied with the Allen Americans for first place in the ECHL’s Mountain Division. [Idaho Steelheads]
Rosie’s 52 saves against Colorado mark a new career high.
Idaho G Philippe Desrosiers stops 52 of 53 shots against him for the win. It's his 4th win in a row.— 100 Degree Hockey (@100degreehockey) January 14, 2017
Here’s a good read on Stars prospect Joseph Cecconi and how his great World Juniors performance could boost his career as a Michigan Wolverine.
Finally: What in the world is Tyler Seguin doing here? (This is not a rhetorical question. Shall we discuss in the comments?)