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Dallas Stars Daily Links: The Hanzal-Spezza Conundrum: Maybe Solved?

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Has Ken Hitchcock finally figured out how to use #90 and #10? Plus, free agent forwards, concussion stuff, and a broken barrier.

They can coexist!

Happy Thursday folks! Slightly slow news day and slightly busy life day for me yesterday, so sorry the links are a bit lighter than normal.

While a lot of Dallas Stars fans (and more specifically, DBD readers and staff, including yours truly) have been pretty confused/bewildered/disoriented/discouraged by both the play and usage of Jason Spezza and Martin Hanzal this season, it’s probably important and fair to remember that both are going through a pretty significant change (holy cow, what a run-on sentence):

While Spezza has seen his playing time reduced and role changed because of the addition of Martin Hanzal, the 30-year-old Hanzal has also been forced to adapt.

Hanzal finished a 10-year run in Arizona last season averaging 18 minutes a game. He was a key player and leader for a team that often had young players and was typically rebuilding. This season, Hanzal is averaging 14:32 a game for a team that has plenty of veterans with defined roles.

Thursday offered a glimpse at how things might look moving forward, even if the TOI seems a bit skewed based on line assignments:

Tuesday in Detroit showed how both Hanzal and Spezza could be used properly. Hanzal played on the “fourth” line but logged 15:51 in time on ice and took 12 faceoffs. Spezza played on the “second” line, logging 13:29 and 13 faceoffs. Spezza scored two goals on the power play, Hanzal scored one goal at even strength.

Let’s all hope that Tuesday night’s performance is an indication of things to come. See more over at Mike’s place. [SportsDayDFW]

Stars Stuff

Scott Burnside’s newest recurring feature features a Q&A with the Star du jour:

More great stuff from Sean Shapiro: how Ken Hitchcock’s more forgiving attitude with Stephen Johns has allowed him to worry less about mistakes, which was not a luxury he had with Lindy Ruff at the helm:

Welcome to the show, Dillon!:

League Stuff

Might the Stars be interested in one of these fellows?:

I think maybe they’re tied together? And if not, it’s not like one is really better than the other. Not to downplay his health issues, but that could be the end for the Blackhawks if Corey Crawford does indeed miss the rest of the season:

Speak of the devil...:

The Bruins commemorated a rather momentous occasion last night:

I bet the sounds in there were amazing. Do you think they still played music during breaks to not make it weird?: