The biggest cause for consternation so far in the young season, aside from the, uh, underwhelming goal scoring, has definitely been the defense. Not even so much the performance of the defense (though it hasn’t been special), but more specifically who is actually playing in each game. One of the links below, which I’m sure will draw the ire of many readers of this site, is a glaring example of that. This issue isn’t specific to this season, either; rather, it’s plagued Jim Nill for his entire tenure as GM:
General manager Jim Nill has been seeking the perfect mix, and that has caused a blending of both sweet and sour. He's tried short-term veterans, up-and-coming youngsters, and steady home-grown types, and he still hasn't found the right formula.
However, he might be getting close to something approaching the right mix. While there are definitely too many chefs in the kitchen right now, the Stars might finally have a core group to build around:
The Stars are getting close. They could have three of their four core guys already on the team in John Klingberg, 25, Esa Lindell, 23, and Julius Honka, 21. They could have their next core guy a year away in Miro Heiskanen, 18.
Ken Hitchcock, whose lineup decisions have not pleased everyone, also thinks they’re getting close. He also really seems to like Jamie Oleksiak. But he has coached many teams deep into the playoffs before, and he knows that defense is the way to get there:
"When you look at the teams that are consistent in the West, it's because they have two or three defensemen who can dominate the game," Hitchcock said.
See more over at Mike Heika’s place. [SportsDayDFW]
I’ll just leave this here for you all...
Hitch says Oleksiak in tomorrow, Honka out.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) October 18, 2017
I have a feeling this news will get slightly less reactions:
Hitch says Bishop in goal tomorrow.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) October 18, 2017
Ken Hitchcock believes the power play can improve on what has already been a pretty good start. [SportsDayDFW]
Scott Burnside’s 5 Takeaways from Tuesday night’s win. [NHL]
Is Dallas becoming Draft Town?
2018 Drafts in Dallas— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) October 18, 2017
NHL: @DallasStars ✅
NFL: @DallasCowboys ✅
NBA: @DallasMavs ❓
Mike Heika answers some questions about Alex Radulov’s Stars start, low goals per game, and not sticking to it for 60 minutes. [SportsDayDFW]
Take a listen to Scott Burnside’s latest podcast, I guarantee you will enjoy it:
Time for some Burnside Chats with our friend @FrankProSports who makes good coffee and of course Ken Hitchcock. https://t.co/r0ghf50T89— Scott Burnside (@OvertimeScottB) October 18, 2017
In other podcast news, Sean Shapiro and Owen Newkirk decided that since they carpool to games together, they might as well record a podcast on the way home. And thus, a Carcast was born. [Wrong Side of the Red Line]
I also guarantee you will enjoy Razor’s Emporium:
Bishop, Faksa, Hamhuis. All impressive in last night's win. But who does @Razor5Hole give the POG to? pic.twitter.com/JKdnJ5pa7M— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) October 18, 2017
Martin Hanzal is a-okay with playing his former team. [SportsDayDFW]
Around the League
It’s the middle of the week, so let’s power rank!
- Somehow the Blackhawks have only played 4 games? [Sporting News]
- A little more on the Hawks: despite the number of goals they’ve scored, they are getting outshot by 4.5 shots per game. [SportsNet]
- The Hockey Writers say you shouldn’t draw any conclusions about teams until (American) Thanksgiving, and then draw some conclusions. [The Hockey Writers]
Not terribly surprising: Russia and its roster of KHL-ers has the best odds to win Gold at the Olympics. [Sporting News]
Ryan Lambert opines on the Flames’ arena battle, Golden Knights goalie issues, slashing penalties, and more. [Puck Daddy]
Potentially very bad news for the Bruins:
Tuukka Rask has to be helped off the ice after a collision with Anders Bjork in front of the net.— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) October 18, 2017
31 32 Thoughts this week take a look at teams that are feeling a bit of pressure after poor starts:
31 Thoughts https://t.co/Jn65FsVM9W— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 18, 2017
Matt Larkin thinks the Capitals need to trade for a defenseman NOW. I wonder what they’d be willing to part with in return? [The Hockey News]
That is some pretty good company to be in:
Nikita Kucherov became the sixth player in the NHL's modern era (since 1943-44) to score in each of his team's first seven games. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/p17Eg42hoa— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) October 18, 2017
Be careful who you entrust with your money, as Dany Heatley and others can attest to:
NHL player agent accused of defrauding players of $12M https://t.co/T8e2Od7T8m pic.twitter.com/tlNbkPpLQq— HockeyNightInCanada (@hockeynight) October 18, 2017
Dave Lozo breaks down the burgeoning Vegas hockey scene:
Wrote about the scene in Vegas last week, which was pretty cool and definitely unique: https://t.co/egcC0CovD3— Dave Lozo (@davelozo) October 18, 2017
RIP Gord Downie, the Tragically Hip frontman who meant a great deal to a great many people in the hockey world. [SportsNet]
And remember, even when you’re scolding someone, you can still be polite:
When the referee is feeling extra Canadian pic.twitter.com/DMMu9b16nh— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) October 18, 2017