When the heroes are holed up in Box Canyon and surrounded by hostile forces, you can always count on reinforcements to arrive. Of course, that only happens in the movies, and that’s not the kind of drama the Dallas Stars are headlining in 2016-17.
But with Ales Hemsky “ahead of schedule” and nearly ready to start practicing again, can the team still benefit from the return of its spirit animal? Mike Heika writes about what the Stars have missed since Hemský’s injury in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey kept him out of all but one game this season to date:
Hemsky, 33, last season found a niche on the Stars, playing on a line with Radek Faksa and Antoine Roussel. That line was one of the Stars' most consistent in the second half of the season and in the playoffs. Hemsky finished with 39 points (13 goals, 26 assists) in 75 games and added an element of speed and skill to the Stars' second-six forward group.
"He had an understanding of where we needed him to play, and I thought he played really well," coach Lindy Ruff said. "That line for the last six weeks of the season was quite possibly our best line all-around. He turned into a solid two-way player, and his speed on the entries on the power play was almost unstoppable. He's a big piece for us."
"I have had many surgeries before and I came back well, so I think I will be fine," Hemsky said. "I had so much fun at the end of last year and I enjoyed my role, and I would love to have that role again. I know I can come back. I have worked pretty hard to get to where I am right now, so I really am excited."
You can read more at Mike’s place. [SportsDayDFW]
Elsewhere, Hemmer’s wife, Julie, offered her own assessment.
He's all yours Lindy, take him outa the house PLEASE! https://t.co/S7IzZcFLCV— Julie Hemsky (@JugarNspice) February 11, 2017
At least the pregame provided some amusement, as both the Stars’ and Preds’ Twitter accounts trolled the NBA’s “make nice” rule. [SB Nation]
Elsewhere in Heika, he examines the case for the Stars choosing “sell” mode at the March 1 trade deadline.
And Sean Shapiro teased this bit of happy talk after yesterday’s loss.
Stars fans looking for a positive, I've got a lengthy feature coming tomorrow on prospect Denis Gurianov and his transition to the AHL.— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) February 13, 2017
And because a big part of the Stars’ silver celebration will be the retirement of No. 26, Jared Clinton looks at where Jere Lehtinen fits among the five best two-way wingers of the post-expansion era. [The Hockey News]
Kevin Shattenkirk is on pace for a career-best season, and it’s virtually certain that the Blues will trade him at the deadline. Will he stay in the Western Conference, or even in the United States? [Sportsnet]
Speaking of the Penguins, and the trade deadline, Marc-André Fleury has an amazing new mask for the Feb. 25 Stadium Series game – which could be among his last with Pittsburgh.
It’s like 13 years of being a Penguin put on a single mask. https://t.co/4HRIABZIdT— Pensburgh (@Pensburgh) February 6, 2017
Last night, in #Death:
• Gustav Nyquist is probably facing suspension for spearing Jared Spurgeon in the face during the Detroit Red Wings’ 6-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild (in which the Wild also scored three power play goals). [Puck Daddy]
Based on the response from NHL Player Safety, it could be a long one.
Detroit's Gustav Nyquist has been offered an in-person hearing for high-sticking Minnesota's Jared Spurgeon. Date and time TBD.— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) February 13, 2017
Finally: If you didn’t know referee Wes McCauley, you probably won’t be able to forget him after watching this call from yesterday’s Canadiens-Bruins game. Enjoy. [BarDown]