It’s been a newsy sort of Wednesday in the world of the Dallas Stars, who are having the rare road-day without travel as they stay settled in New York City after their wild 7-6 win over the New York Rangers.
That win came at a cost for both sides. On Dallas’ end, beyond the years it took off the lives of those watching (and perhaps coaching), it has knocked Johnny Oduya out for at least a game with a reaggrivated ankle injury. He missed a handful of games earlier in the season with a similar problem.
Oduya played just 8 minutes and change in the win and appeared to get tangled up with Rick Nash just before Pavel Buchnevich’s goal. He did not play the rest of the game.
Even with that injury and the one to Jamie Oleksiak, who is out with a hand issue, the Stars are still okay at least for Thursday as they have been carrying eight defensemen for the whole season. The move means both Stephen Johns and Patrik Nemeth will stay in the lineup when Jordie Benn returns against the Islanders. The call-up situation likely depends on the report on Oduya, with obvious options being Julius Honka and Mattias Backman.
The Stars weren’t the only ones to take a hit. Chris Kreider is $5,000 lighter after being fined the maximum amount allowed by the NHL’s department of player safety after whacking Cody Eakin over the head with Eakin’s helmet in their fight last night. The fine is on par with previous suspension for helmet punches, including Mark Fistric on Eric Nystrom when the former was with the Stars and the latter with the Calgary Flames.
Yes, it still should have been a major in the game, but at least they handled the off-ice discipline portion correctly.
Finally, Tyler Seguin made his weekly radio appearance with The Ticket and, after discussion of the bet he lost that means he has to help host for a full 3-hour show sometime this summer, he had a few interesting things to say about the state of the team and why this year has been different than perhaps many expected.
“This year we’ve lost a little bit of our speed, and that was a big part of our identity that we’re trying to get back,” Seguin said. “It could be some players we’ve lost sure, but it’s also how quick we get the puck back and how quick we get the puck through the neutral zone... That’s the part of our game that hasn’t been up to our identity this year, and we’re trying to get that back.”
It’s been back in flashes - more recently that the morose early part of the season that was decimated by injuries. And although it’s been hardly what the team imagined to this point, Seguin said the message the team is trying to send to each other is they’re still part of the pack fighting for a playoff spot with three months left to play.
“Definitely been a bit of quite the ride and a long way to go,” Seguin said. “I think we have to step back a little bit and realize it’s pretty (simple). You just put this whole first part of the year away. When you look at the standings, we’re still in the race.
“The time is now for us, and that is the message we’re sending to each other... The west still has 5-6 teams fighting for the last couple spots and we’re right there in the race.”