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Dallas Stars Daily Links: Stars Have a “Good Problem” Again

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What does Martin Hanzal being healthy mean for Jason Spezza’s role? Plus, the Alumni Game, “Unfettered” Marty Turco, and a nice Glen Gulutzan tirade.

Dallas Stars v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Okay, I’m going to tread lightly with this one, not sure how the DBD community is going to like this “good problem” the Stars have.

Martin Hanzal has had five different injury issues this season and has played in 26 of 42 games. He has 3 goals and 4 assists on the year. He is now healthy, and though he played on the fourth line in his return to action, Ken Hitchcock envisions him playing a top-6 role on the Stars in the near future, likely at the expense of Jason Spezza:

While Hanzal’s various injury issues have created an opening for Jason Spezza to build second line chemistry with Mattias Janmark and Alexander Radulov in recent weeks, Hitchcock said his plan is to get Hanzal up to 16 or 17 minutes and possibly play him in Spezza’s place.

”I think that depends on how each guy is playing. We won’t be afraid to make that change,” Hitchcock said after starting Hanzal on the fourth line Thursday in a 4-3 win over New Jersey. “Hanzal with Radulov and Janmark the last game they had 16 scoring chances. That was a good set-up before Hanzal went down, and we’re not afraid to use it again.”

Ken Hitchcock thinks the two players are different, but also the same:

“I think Hanzal and Spezza are interchangeable,” Hitchcock said. “They’re different, but they both make plays off of the rush. Hanzal is underrated off of the rush, and Spezza is very good off of the rush. So I don’t think it’s a big change there.”

The bottom line (no pun intended) is, both of these guys are pro’s pros and will do what’s asked of them:

Ask either Hanzal or Spezza, and they will defer to the new coach and say they want to help in any way they can. In fact, their actions so far in handling the assignments back up those words.

See the rest over at Mike’s place. [SportsDayDFW]

Stars Stuff

PSA: If you’re reading this in the morning and are free for the rest of the day, why not head out to the AAC and watch two games for the price of one? The Alumni Game, in support of the Dallas Stars Alumni Association (and then the work they do with the community/youth hockey) will start a little bit after the end of the Stars/Oilers game ends (probably around 5 pm):

Scott Burnside had a very entertaining chat with Marty Turco, including some great stories from his pre/early Stars days:

So long for now. Until we meet again:

Ken Hitchcock and Brett Ritchie talk about the importance of getting 2 point tomorrow before the break. Hitch also wants to remind the players that they shouldn’t stress too much if they are behind in points following the break as other teams will still be playing during the time off:

Mark Stepneski wrote about my description of the video above, except much more eloquently. [NHL]

Around the League

Razor has a stat bomb for you!:

Matt Larkin’s Ask Me Anything mailbag is back, and he’s talking Jets, Golden Knights, Oilers, and more:

Hey, I remember that guy! Baseball players take note: that is one hell of a bat/stick flip:

Down Goes Brown’s Weekly Grab Bag is another classic. I especially like his idea for the Seattle hockey team: the Seattle Soundgardens:

Jared Clinton has 5 players to watch as the trade deadline approaches, and I notice several wingers on there who could provide some offensive punch. Interesting...

In case that didn’t scratch your potential trade target itch quite enough, Jonathan Willis sees Jared Clinton’s 5 players to watch and raises him:

(Very Brief) WJC Update