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Dallas Stars Daily Links: Finding A Path to the NHL In a Nontraditional Market

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The Stars want to grow the NHL’s next generation. Plus, the Pens’ game-changing video coach, and the Erie Otters’ salty netminder.

NHL: Dallas Stars at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

As the Dallas Stars look for the next generation of hockey talent, they’d do well to start in their own backyard, writes Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News.

Stars youth hockey programs have already produced major-league talent: Columbus Blue Jackets defender Seth Jones was born in Arlington and is a veteran of the organization’s Bantam Major team. Yet, Heika writes, perhaps no player represents the nontraditional path better than Auston Matthews, whose DIY approach put Scottsdale, Arizona on the NHL prospect map:

Matthews' dad, Brian, saw his young son's interest in hockey and started letting him hang out at Ozzie Ice, an indoor rink near their home in Scottsdale, Ariz. There, in hundreds of 3 on 3 games, Auston developed the skills he's showing on the ice now.

While the current version of Matthews has also been polished by trips through the U.S. National Development Team in Ann Arbor, Mich., as well as one season in the Swiss league under former Stars coach Marc Crawford, the skills were started by repetition in small games at a young age.

The Stars are looking to make these Southwest success stories a regular thing:

Jason Farris, the Stars' chief operating officer, grew up in British Columbia and learned hockey the traditional Canadian way. Now, based in Texas, he is open to trying new avenues to help development in the Stars' youth programs. Farris said the team has emphasized skating, patience and fun. And while that doesn't always sit well with parents who want more games, Farris said you do develop players differently in Texas.

...

"It's a daunting task for a kid who has never skated to come out on the ice and try it," said Damon Boettcher, who is in charge of managing the D-FW area's Dr Pepper StarCenters. "It's not easy, and it takes some time, so we want to make sure our programs are patient and supportive."

There’s a nice long read at Mike’s place – if you can ignore the headline, which implies that Nashville has done something to build a local hockey fan base that Dallas hadn’t already done decades ago. [SportsDayDFW]


Elsewhere in Heika, his latest player profile is on Tyler Seguin: “the tip of the spear” in a transition year.

As the fourth anniversary of the Seguin trade approaches, Andrew Forbes does a “where are they now” review. [The Hockey Writers]

The NHL Scouting Combine began yesterday in Buffalo – and Joe McDonnell, the Stars’ director of amateur scouting, says this draft class may actually be “a little deeper from other years” despite the lack of consensus generational players.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals get yet more Stadium Series games, this time against each other, in 2018, in the home of the U.S. Naval Academy.

In his latest column, Sean McIndoe offers a Stanley Cup rooting guide for fans of all 28 teams that aren’t there. [Sportsnet]

Last night, in Final Stage Part 1:

Pens coach Mike Sullivan echoed many other commentators when he said the Pens got outplayed even in victory. [NHL on NBC]

Sullivan also said video coach Andy Saucier’s successful coach’s challenge changed the entire game. [NHL]

It’s no secret that the Perds’ defensive strength is a major factor in their success. Travis Yost takes a closer look at the team’s two top pairs.

David Legwand, the first player ever drafted by the Predators, writes about the long road to the team’s first finals appearance. [The Players’ Tribune]

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman opened the Stanley Cup Finals with more 2018 Winter Olympics news: The league has banned NHL players from participating in PyeongChang, whether or not their teams are willing to let them go.

And it’s official: The Tampa Bay Lightning will host the 2018 NHL All-Star Weekend.

Top 2017 prospect Gabe Vilardi and the Windsor Spitfires defeated top 2015 prospect Dylan Strome and the Erie Otters to win the Mastercard Memorial Cup on Sunday.

The City of Windsor has already found $40,000 Canadian to pay for a victory parade. [CBC]

Finally: Erie Otters goalie Troy Timpano has apologized for throwing his stick at a cameraman after the Memorial Cup loss. You, on the other hand, may find it cathartic. Enjoy.