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Dallas Stars Daily Links: Aleš Hemský Is “Ahead of Schedule,” and Probably Already Too Late

At least he could make some games worth watching. Plus, the #MDK is rife with trade rumors, and Fleury’s new mask may be a farewell to the Penguins.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Dallas Stars
Aleš Hemský is on the way, but are the Stars out of “hold my beer” moments?
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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."

You may recall that Hemský was ready to start 2016-17 in near-midseason form until his injury in the Czech Republic’s last World Cup game. How is he doing now?

"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.

Meanwhile, Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and pretty much everyone else are kicking themselves over the Stars’ “unacceptable” collapse against the Nashville Predators last night. [SportsDayDFW]

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.

Now that the Stars have made some important announcements regarding their 25th anniversary in 2017-18, take a look at Icethetics’ handy visual guide to future NHL milestones.

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]

Also at Sportsnet: Matt Duchene is at the center of the Avs’ We Must Move Now to Save the Future vortex, and the Penguins are said to be interested. [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.

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.

• And the New York Islanders handed the Colorado Avalanche yet another loss, 5-1. [Mile High Hockey]

The Montreal Canadiens have had a terrible February; they enter their bye week on a 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins, and Michel Therrien’s job may be on the line. [Sportsnet]

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]