Happy Friday everyone! One more sleep and a wake up and then Stars hockey is BACK. Hopefully it’s back to how it was before the break, where the Stars finally seemed like they were starting to gel and really started to look like a contender. While the beginning of the season was quite frustrating for a lot of us, Mike Heika is here to hit us with a dose of reality and remind everyone just how big of a fundamental shift the team was going through:
This team for four seasons under Lindy Ruff wanted to “activate” defensemen and outnumber the opposition at the opponent’s net. But new coach Ken Hitchcock wants to work his system out of a defensive base and allow the offense to be created by turnovers, counterattacks or relentless play once possession and puck placement are established.
Thinking that would happen in 10 or 20 games probably was optimistic, to say the least...
On top of that, the team was trying to incorporate several players who were acquired during the offseason (20% of the roster when everyone is healthy with Bishop, Methot, Pitlick, Hanzal and Radulov) which led to some growing pains while everyone learned to play together. Now that they’re getting more comfortable, a lot of the new guys are playing pretty, pretty good:
Players such as Radulov (38 points in 43 games) and Pitlick (plus-10 in 41 games) have fit in seamlessly among the forwards, while Bishop is playing most of the games in goal (19-11-2, 2.50 GAA, .917 save percentage).
See more over at Mike’s place. [SportsDayDFW]
Scott Burnside had a chat with Jim Nill, who also believes the Stars are trending in the right direction. [NHL]
The Captain opines on being the captain:
It’s mailbag time for Sean Shapiro. Shoutout to our boy Tyler Mair for getting his question answered first (paywall alert):
Around the League
The Hurricanes officially have a new majority owner, Tom Dundon. If you’ve heard that name before, it’s because he’s a pretty big deal in Dallas, including being a primary investor in Top Golf, which makes him a-okay in my book. He has also promised to keep the team in Raleigh. [Sporting News]
Here’s a little more on Dundon from LeBrun:
Got a chance to speak this evening with new Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon. He's good pals with Mavs owner Mark Cuban, which is where he's getting some early counsel: https://t.co/FER3kMoWmM— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) January 11, 2018
This article (and this chart) was very encouraging to me:
Wrote about digging a bit deeper than just the standings to figure out who's good and who's not. It's time to finally have the conversation about this year's Pittsburgh Penguins: https://t.co/uJ1wE1zqx6 pic.twitter.com/BiZYS9CdRG— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) January 11, 2018
Canada has released their men’s Olympic hockey roster, which includes several former (and not terrible) NHL players, including former Dallas Stars player Derek Roy. (Ed. note - Bonus quiz: what player did the Stars draft with the 2nd-round pick they got back for Roy in 2013?) [SportsNet]
ESPN’s Power Rankings say that the top worry for the Stars is to get Jason Spezza going...:
The new ESPN NHL Power Rankings have dropped! In which we chronicle possible concerns and headaches for teams in the second half of the season. https://t.co/GrDi4VOrck— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) January 11, 2018
Potentially bad news for the Lightning from last night:
TB just announced he will not return. Hopefully not serious https://t.co/ukt1rsf8af— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 12, 2018
Here’s some video of the injury for the non-squeamish. I am very squeamish about injuries and accidentally saw that on Twitter.
As a Naval Academy grad (and a reasonable person), I’m going to have to side with Vegas on this one: