Many players go through their entire NHL careers without ever winning a Cup. Some of them never come close, while others fall just short of the finish line. So you can’t blame Jason Spezza, who turned 34 in June, for feeling a fire under his feet this season.
"I think there's a sense of urgency," said Spezza, set to begin his fourth year as a member of the Stars, having been traded to Dallas in the summer of 2014.
"I think we have a chance to be an elite team," he said. "I think the pain that we went through last year, missing the playoffs and really underachieving after winning the West, I think will fuel us and I think it will gives us a full buy-in this year."
The closest Spezza has ever gotten to winning the Cup was back in 2007, when the Senators went 12-3 on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals but then lost to the Anaheim Ducks in just 5 games. The Senators failed to make the playoffs 3 times the following 7 seasons and only made it past the first round once; in 2014, Jason Spezza was traded to the Dallas Stars. Unfortunately, the Stars’ playoff success hasn’t been much better, and after a rather disappointing 2016-17 campaign, the veteran found himself with a lot of time to reflect.
"For me, it was a very focused, because I don't plan on having a long summer like that for a while. So I think it did my body some good and gave me a chance to work on some things. But I also did a lot of reflecting on how I can help things along in the room. What I have to do with my role, how I can help Jamie (Benn, the team's captain), just kind of looking at the big picture type stuff too."
Spezza remains optimistic about the upcoming season, even if it means serving in a different role or playing in a different position than he’s used to. And Spezza has expressed that he hopes to finish his career in Dallas, and hopes that means staying around after his contract expires in two years. But before he can worry too much about the future, Spezza knows that he and the Stars must focus on one thing: winning.
You can read more about Spezza and his career in Scott Burnside’s piece here.
Radulov, Methot and Bishop. The newest additions to the Dallas Stars roster give their thoughts on this year's team and expectations. pic.twitter.com/L0Mh1XBxTr— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) September 16, 2017
Yesterday was the second day of training camp for the Stars; here’s some footage courtesy of Mark Stepneski. [Between the Blue Lines]
Sean Shapiro gives his thoughts about camp so far, as well as providing the line combinations and defensive pairings. [Wrong Side of the Red Line]
Mike Heika talks about the fast pace that’s being set in training camp, and how Hitchcock’s beginning to separate the top players from those who are struggling. [SportsDay DFW]
More training camp observations, this time from Stepneski and Burnside. [NHL]
Sunday’s camp will be divided into two groups: veterans, who’s spot on the roster is more or less guaranteed, and prospects and fringe players, who will be participating in a scrimmage as they fight for a spot.
Here is roster for veterans practice: pic.twitter.com/y8FNGtvChQ— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) September 16, 2017
Here are scrimmage rosters: pic.twitter.com/aLRnHXU7C3— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) September 16, 2017
Mike Heika has an excellent piece on R.J. Umberger as he tries to mount an NHL comeback. [NHL]
John Klingberg and some other Dallas defensemen discuss the upcoming season. [NHL]
Around the League
Lyle Richardson talks about some NHL rumors, including Doughty clarifying his comments about wanting to play for a cup contender. [The Hockey News]
With the NHL sitting out of the Olympics, Team Canada GM Sean Burke has his work cut out for him in assembling a roster:
With the NHL requiring each team to have an emergency goaltender on hand for each game, Sonny Sachdeva recalls some of the rare cases when a team actually needed one. [Sportsnet]
Finally, hockey is officially back, as the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings squared off for the first preseason game of the year.
Goodbye 2017-18 social life pic.twitter.com/FXPvXFr6o9— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) September 16, 2017
The Canucks went on to beat the Kings 4-3 in overtime.