The Dallas Stars got a weekend off in the middle of a long road trip, and they spent it well. A side trip to Whistler and Kelowna on the way to Vancouver (and owner Tom Gaglardi’s team dinner) has given the team quality bonding time in some of Canada’s most spectacular scenery.
Even the front-office folks are enjoying the back-to-roots feel of this excursion, writes Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News:
"Places like this are great, because it does take you back," said Stars general manager Jim Nill as he stood at Meadow Park Sports Centre in Whistler on Sunday and watched the sun streaming through big windows and hitting the ice during practice. "We all started playing in places like this, and you get a little bit of that feeling again, just playing hockey for the fun of it."
Stars coach Ken Hitchcock said it was a call back to weekends skating outside during the day. It was all structured and planned ahead by the organization to make the most of the time away from home, but Hitchcock said you have to look at team building in a different way these days.
"We are in the people business. Yes, we're in the winning business, but we're in the people business," Hitchcock said. "What's changed now is we didn't structure anything. The players did everything themselves, and I think that the best way to do things. It's what happens in that locker room that's the key."
And captain Jamie Benn is a big believer in the value of these side trips as team-building experiences:
"In the end, we have to lean on each other more than anyone else," Benn said. "We go through a lot as a team throughout the year, and we need to have trust in each other, and times like this help build that. We have a lot of new guys, so we're still working on all of that."
There’s more at Mike’s place. [SportsDayDFW]
Scott Burnside, who took today’s featured photo, posted his own dispatch from the road. You can read it at the Stars’ official site. [Dallas Stars]
The team posted video from the spot where the Vancouver Olympics held Alpine skiing events in 2010 – and wait ’til you see the naturally lit rink where the Stars skated.
Life on the road isn't easy, but the team was able to take in the beauty of Whistler, BC before practicing for tomorrow's game in Vancouver. pic.twitter.com/pkSg54nTfP— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) October 29, 2017
Native British Columbians Dan Hamhuis (Smithers) and Capt. Benn (Victoria) were the center of attention everywhere they went.
They love Dan Hamhuis and Jamie Benn in Whistler, BC. pic.twitter.com/qno3MrDp2R— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) October 29, 2017
Meanwhile, Radek Faksa bought lunch for some locals.
He and Heika also shared some tweets from the Stars’ Sunday practice in Whistler.
Stars practicing in Whistler, B.C.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) October 29, 2017
Stephen Johns (concussion symptoms) back on the ice. Still think they will keep lineup same as Friday
Ben Bishop in goal tomorrow vs. Canucks. Martin Hanzal questionable. Doesn't sound like Johns is ready, so same 6 defensemen as last game.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) October 29, 2017
And Burnside shared a feature on D-man Greg Pateryn, who appears to be coming into his own with the Stars.
Here's another look at a story that reminds us of the power of perseverance and single-mindedness. https://t.co/FfjQTkgrWx— Scott Burnside (@OvertimeScottB) October 29, 2017
Mark your calendars for Nov. 6: The Stars’ home game against the Winnipeg Jets will also mark Hockey Fights Cancer night and the return of Trevor Strader to the AAC.
Around the league(s)
Blake Wheeler scored a hat trick during the first period, and also a place in the Jets’ record books.
Blake Wheeler and the Jets made history today with the franchise's first first-period hat trick https://t.co/6FosVWStze— SI NHL (@SI_NHL) October 30, 2017
Maybe the Pens had such a bad night because Phil Kessel can’t sleep – clown will eat him.
Did you know that the Vegas Golden Knights (8-1-0) are the league leaders in PDO – colloquially known as “puck luck”? You probably guessed it. Here’s why it can’t last.
The Knights are one step closer to being a real team: They have a celebrity superfan. Lil Jon has been a hockey enthusiast since Atlanta still had the Flames, and he talked about his love for the game (and the time he got to carry the Stanley Cup in his car) with the AT&T SportsNet Intermission Report.
Leo Komarov got very lucky to not take 2+ minutes for this hit on Shayne Gostisbehere pic.twitter.com/taAOGTlMmC— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) October 29, 2017
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
The Texas Stars beat “one of the dirtiest teams in the AHL” plus the San Jose Barracuda during an active weekend in California. Here are the details of Saturday’s victory (and upcoming games) in a handy-dandy infographic.
In case you were wondering, yes, Stu Bickel received a three-game suspension after Friday’s contest for dragging Justin Dowling to the ice and punching him repeatedly in the back of the head. [BarDown]
Could T-Stars C Travis Morin have a 70-point season in 2017-18? Sean Shapiro also takes a look how Denis Gurianov and Roope Hintz are doing in a new post.
Doing some last-minute Halloween prep? Keeper of the Cup Phil Pritchard has a great decorating idea: a pattern for a Stanley Cup jack-o-lantern. Enjoy.