John Klingberg, the Dallas Stars’ number-one defenseman, is easily one of the NHL’s best defensemen, period.
With six goals and 33 assists in 43 games this season, he leads the league in defender points. His +12 plus-minus and +112 shot-attempt differential both place him among the top 16. Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News asks what you’ve been asking, loudly:
So the question is: Should Klingberg be in the discussion for the Norris Trophy, given to the top defenseman in the NHL?
“One hundred percent,” Stars captain Jamie Benn said. “He’s such a dynamic player, and a leader on this team. And I think this year he’s taking his game to another level, and it’s showing out there on the ice.”
As longtime (read: deeply embittered) fans know, no Dallas Star has ever won the Norris Trophy, although Sergei Zubov tried really, really hard. And Klingberg is 29th in D-man TOI, which could hurt his chances at consideration. But head coach Ken Hitchcock thinks that given time, Klingberg “should be up there with the best”:
“He’s got special gifts,” Hitchcock said. “I think because he’s able to manage the game, we don’t get hemmed in near as much. I think that’s a good sign.”
Mike has more. [SportsDayDFW]
Has the Stars’ successful home stand finally revealed their team identity? Hitch thinks so.
Heika also brings his Cold Facts, as well as this conversation starter: Should Hitch spread out the scoring of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov, or just keep them together and let them run amok?
If you stayed for the Alumni Game yesterday, you got a great chance to watch former Stars doing bits.
Fiddler, Turco, Belfour and Morrow are just a couple of the guys that are out here for the BOXX Modular Dallas Stars Alumni Game! pic.twitter.com/ROu5lElbP8— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) January 6, 2018
Around the league(s)
Last Night, In #Death
The Stars’ CBA-mandated break began after yesterday’s victory, so the next four days will be a waiting game as their Central Division rivals play out their schedules. But things went almost as well as they could for Our Gang on Saturday:
- The St. Louis Blues dropped a road game to a hot Philadelphia Flyers team, 6-3. [Broad Street Hockey]
- On the night they retired Milan Hejduk’s No. 23, the Colorado Avalanche got an emphatic win over the Minnesota Wild, 7-2. [Mile High Hockey]
- Only the Nashville Predators refused to cooperate in helping the Stars up the standings, outlasting the Los Angeles Kings 4-3. [On The Forecheck]
Does any other division even think they’re tough? Because that’s just adorable when you look at life in the #MDK:
Keep an eye on the #Murder ball today – if you can, because for some reason all the Central games are on at the same time:
- Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers, 2 p.m. Central time
- Winnipeg Jets vs. San Jose Sharks, 2 p.m. Central time
- St. Louis Blues at Washington Capitals, 2 p.m. Central time
Is it really possible that the league’s top-scoring defenseman may not receive an invitation to the All-Star Game? Jared Clinton says nah: John Klingberg is on his list for the eventual Central Division selections, but he anticipates a high-profile snub for Segs.
A five-hole target for the shooting accuracy event is one possible change the NHL could make to the All-Star Weekend skills competition.
The weekend’s big controversy came when Team Sweden captain and New York Rangers prospect Lias Andersson – angry and heartbroken after the Tre Kronor’s finals loss to Canada – threw his silver medal into the stands.
SB Nation’s Satchel Price disapproved, but reminds us all that the World Juniors are a big draw precisely because the emotions run so high.
Lias Andersson shouldn’t have thrown his medal, but it’s a reminder of what makes the World Juniors unique. https://t.co/Lqq3OnWEVb— SB Nation NHL (@SBNationNHL) January 6, 2018
ESPN’s Chris Peters provided some context for Andersson’s outburst.
Lias Andersson on tossing his medal to a fan: He wanted it more than me. He can put it in a box or something.— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) January 6, 2018
Also noted this age group has lost in finals before and this was their last chance to break that trend.
Hockey Graphs’ Ian Fleming, who supported the move, offered this:
"We want more personality in hockey. Players are too dull."— Ian Fleming (@imfleming16) January 6, 2018
:Lias Andersson tosses silver medal away:
"NOT THAT KIND OF PERSONALITY"
And for another perspective, here’s how the winners marked their feat. (Note that this inclusion does not mean Your Correspondent supports glib, reductive stereotypes of millennials, because they’re like 40 now anyway, right?)
How millennials celebrate a gold medal. pic.twitter.com/IhbQn4922S— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 6, 2018
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
Head coach Derek Laxdal talked about what the T-Stars need to do during their upcoming road trip.
Derek Laxdal discusses tonight's disappointing 4-2 loss against the Bakersfield Condors before the Stars hit the road. pic.twitter.com/7aBJqKvzbE— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) January 7, 2018
Hockey brothers Brady Tkachuk and Matthew Tkachuk probably don’t want to fight each other, but here’s what might happen if they did. Enjoy.