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]
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):
Check out the rosters for tomorrow's BOXX Modular Dallas Stars Alumni Game, which will be held around 5:00 PM, after Stars vs. Oilers. https://t.co/ZYyHRjonFd— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) January 5, 2018
Scott Burnside had a very entertaining chat with Marty Turco, including some great stories from his pre/early Stars days:
Unfettered and unfiltered, okay, mostly unfiltered, our chat with former Stars goaltending great Marty Turco. https://t.co/rcEe1X9aBd— Scott Burnside (@OvertimeScottB) January 5, 2018
So long for now. Until we meet again:
Stars have returned Jason Dickinson to the AHL— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) January 5, 2018
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!:
Quiet. I have something important to say:— Daryl Reaugh (@Razor5Hole) January 5, 2018
Job Security has arrived for NHL coaches.
The last time there were no coaches fired in first half of a season (full season) was 1966-67...when there were only 6 teams#StatoftheYear...so far
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:
From earlier: The NHL releases the all-star voting results without actually, you know, releasing the results. Plus history's greatest uniforms, Mario's five goals and lots more in the Grab Bag. https://t.co/q4YJJ7ZEIG pic.twitter.com/nL9yPf5l15— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown) January 5, 2018
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
Jake Oettinger made 28 saves and Riley Tufte had one assist as the USA defeated Czech Republic, 9-3, to win the bronze medal at the World Juniors.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) January 6, 2018