Hockey fans like to preach that it is the ultimate team sport, but that doesn’t stop us from honoring specific players. Whether it’s trophies, All Star games, or All-Pro selections, it’s worth honoring the players who stick out from the crowd.
So Sean Shapiro decided to ask Twitter to grade each Dallas Stars player (you can see the results here) and then gave out his own grades. Obviously I’m not gonna share every result, but here are a couple that stood out:
Radek Faksa (A): ...In addition to filling his role, Faksa has provided rare secondary scoring and is doing so while playing against the other team’s top lines. His work in the face-off circle has also improved, and his line is often the Stars best unit on a nightly basis.
Devin Shore (C): ...As an individual, Shore would probably have a “B” grade if he were being used in a proper role throughout the season. But his inability to really prove himself as a top-six forward, and the coaching staff’s willingness to keep pushing him into that role leads to a C.
Shapiro also decided to grade the entire coaching and management staff (yes, even the video coach). Ken Hitchcock and Jim Nill both received B’s from him:
Hitchcock: The Stars are in playoff position at the bye week and have a new mentality from past seasons under Hitchcock... Their have been some head-scratching decisions when it comes to lineups, but the end result has the Stars were they want to be at this point.
Nill: Nill did most of his work in the offseason, making a splash by signing Alexander Radulov and trading for and then signing Ben Bishop... Two other notable signings — Marc Methot and Martin Hanzal — have some questions marks caused by injury... Stars are a better team than they were last season, and things seem to be headed in the right direction.
...That’s kind of it for Dallas news (curse you, bye week). But hey, at least the Texas Stars are still playing!
Here’s a goal from former first round pick Denis Gurianov:
Mark Stepneski provides the official AHL report for the last week. [NHL]
Bet you can’t guess who I voted for:
Idaho announced the retirement of #12 for Scott Burt today. Who will be the first #txstars player to have his jersey retired?— 100 Degree Hockey (@100degreehockey) January 10, 2018
As mentioned above, Seguin and Klingberg made the Central All Star Team. Here are their teammates:
Speaking of the Blackhawks, I think the Arizona Coyotes were (somehow) feeling sorry for them when they were briefly in last place in the Central. That’s the only way I can rationalize this:
Here’s a take on the trade from a Blackhawks perspective: [Second City Hockey]
As someone who secretly wants Winnipeg to do well, this makes me both happy and sad:
Colorado Avalanche prospect Cale Makar (selected one spot after Miro Heiskanen in the 2018 draft) has made a somewhat controversial decision:
Sources say Hockey Canada offered Dman, Cale Makar a spot on the Olympic team. However, it sounds like he has respectfully declined.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) January 10, 2018
Keep in mind that not everyone is up and arms about it, and many people support his decision:
Just my two cents (CDN), FWIW: this kid is free to make any decision he feels is in his best interest as a freshman student-athlete. Whether it’s academic or developmental or sense of obligation to his college team or personal, it’s his call: https://t.co/0Orq9Q0XA9— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 10, 2018
Around the League
Last All Star mention, I promise: ESPN asked its writers who the biggest snubs were on Wednesday. [ESPN]
Vegas GM George McPhee is entering uncharted territory as the expansion team approaches the deadline not as a seller, but potentially a buyer. [Sportsnet]
Maybe it’s recency bias (they had a goal called back the other night), but Connor McDavid doesn’t seem to be a big fan of the NHL’s offsides reviews:
McDavid agrees: Get rid of offside goal reviews https://t.co/KMrCQrJczL— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) January 10, 2018
Scott Burnside takes a look back at the first half of the NHL season and discusses some of the biggest storylines . [NHL]
What happens to Tavares if the Isles miss the playoffs? What upgrades will the Penguins pursue? @THNMattLarkin's top five second-half storylines to watch: https://t.co/VW1MhHmt5g pic.twitter.com/Yxeakh63MU— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) January 10, 2018
Also at THN: a Dallas Star makes a list of five players who could dominate down the stretch. [The Hockey News]
And of course you can’t look towards the future without thinking about the draft (only 6 months away!):
Which GM’s are on the hot seat? Greg Wyshnyski breaks them down from slightly warm to scalding hot. [ESPN]
I’m not a big Pierre McGuire fan, but I’m hoping for the best following his successful surgery: