Ladies and gentlemen, the promised day has finally arrived.
While plenty of other NHL teams have already made their debuts since the NHL season began on Wednesday (the Penguins have already played twice), tonight’s game will be, for many, the most important of them all. For after what has felt like an eternity, we finally get to see what we’ve been waiting for all summer:
The Vegas Golden Knights playing their first regular season game.
Of course we here at Defending Big D are also excited about the game for another, perhaps more relevant reason: Vegas is starting their season at the American Airlines Center, taking on your very own Dallas Stars.
After a busy offseason, the Stars enter the season with high expectations: they’re almost unanimously predicted to bounce back and make the postseason, and several analysts have them reaching the Western Conference Finals or even winning the Stanley Cup.
But despite all this, the Stars are making sure they’re not getting too in over their heads.
"I think you can expect it from yourself, but you can't listen to the noise outside," Bishop said. "You really just have to focus on winning the first game. You can't look too far ahead."
The only goal for this team should be getting to the playoffs, Bishop said.
"The biggest thing is getting there and the only way to get there is to win games in the now so you've got to focus on the first game of the year and get two points and then you focus on the second game," Bishop said. "I think you get in big trouble if you start looking too far ahead and start thinking things are going to happen."
Is this team truly a contender? Did Jim Nill really fix the Stars issues from last year? We won’t truly know until we see some meaningful games played, and that starts tonight.
You can read more about the upcoming Stars’ season in Scott Burnside’s piece here.
Mark Stepneski gives his preview of the first game of the season: [NHL]
He also gives an excellent breakdown of each of the 23 players on the Stars’ opening night roster. [NHL]
After more than a year, Mattias Janmark is finally back in the lineup:
It's been 512 days since Mattias Janmark played in an NHL game. Tomorrow, he'll take the ice for the Dallas Stars, which is no small feat. pic.twitter.com/vH6mPoqBHV— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) October 5, 2017
Sean Shapiro talks about the upcoming season, the Julius Honka situation, and more in his podcast. [Wrong Side of the Red Line]
Here’s ten things to know about the Stars’ newest Russian winger, Alexander Radulov. [SportsDay DFW]
The Stars have announced their alternate captains; the team will rotate between the four, using two at home and two on the road:
The Texas Stars also begin their season tonight, facing off against the Chicago Wolves. Here is their opening night roster: [Texas Stars]
On that note, Landon Bow is the backup goalie for now, but head coach Derek Laxdal expects to switch between him and Philippe Desroisers throughout the season. [100 Degree Hockey]
For the record, I always pronounced it this way myself. Point one for Tyler:
Also Esa Lindell is now pronounced lin-DELL. It no longer rhymes with kindle. This was Esa's request— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) October 5, 2017
Around the League
Scott Burnside gives some predictions for the NHL this season, including Jamie as a potential Hart candidate but Tyler as the more likely Art Ross candidate. [NHL]
Hockey fans love nothing more than to overreact to everything; DownGoesBrown has six such storylines you might see this weekend. [Sportsnet]
Seems like Patrik Nemeth is going to do just fine with his new team:
Patrik Nemeth tonight in Colorado’s 4-2 win over NYR: 1 assist, +2 rating, 2 hits, 3 blocked shots in 18:33 of ice time.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) October 6, 2017
Antti Niemi? Not so much:
Not a good night for Antti Niemi, four goals on 13 shots in 9:16 of work.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) October 6, 2017
Murray didn’t do much better in relief, as Chicago went on to win the game 10-1.
Our other division rivals didn’t fare so well: Nashville got edged out by Boston 4-3 while the Minnesota Wild lost 4-2 to the Detroit. At least they got an early “Save of the Year” candidate out of it, courtesy of Devan Dubynk:
Jack Eichel and Nikolaj Ehlers are the latest examples of the new trend of paying young superstars immediately after the ELCs rather than giving them bridge contracts. What does that mean for the NHL going forward? [FanRag Sports]
Speaking of which, what sort of extensions might Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine get after this season? [The Hockey News]
In case you’re already thinking of what we might do once Kari Lehtonen’s contract is off the books:
Ryan Lambert from Puck Daddy gives some bold predictions for the year, including projecting the Stars to make the Western Conference Finals. [Yahoo Sports]
Some good news concerning the Stars’ 3rd overall pick this year: