Valeri Nichushkin’s first game of the season wasn’t a particularly memorable one. The young Russian looked lost at times, and a bit slower than what Dallas Stars fans remembered seeing.
But things aren’t all doom and gloom for the Stars’ former first round pick, as Montgomery was happy with Nichushkin’s performance in the preseason. And his talent and skill still catch the eyes of his teammates, such as alternate captain Jason Spezza:
“He skates well and he pushes the D back on the other team,” Spezza said. “I think when he’s playing well he’s protecting the puck and moving it quick. When he’s playing too much one-on-one he’s tougher to play with. But when he’s driving and really challenging defenseman, and making good reads, he’s really strong to play with.”
Many fans cite former head coach Lindy Ruff as the reason Nichushkin went back to Russia, but both Nichushkin and Ruff insist they had a good relationship, as well as GM Jim Nill:
“That was unfair to Lindy. But that’s media,” Nill said. “Some media created that. Lindy and Val had a great relationship. They would go out to suppers together, they had a great relationship. But when media creates a story that’s the way it goes.”
You can read more in Sean Shapiro’s excellent piece here.
They may not be putting up flashy numbers (yet), but the Stars’ third line deserves some praise:
It’s mailbag time! First up is Mike Heika talking about secondary scoring and more: [NHL]
And here’s Sean Shapiro tackling the Julius Honka situation among other things: [The Athletic]
Not strictly Stars speaking, but...
3-0 final. Back-to-back shutouts in Montreal by the #LAKings. 36 saves by Jack Campbell for his first career shutout.— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) October 12, 2018
This is, I think, my third links since the regular season started, and yet it’s only the first time there have been Central Division games to recap. The early season schedule is weird.
Anyways, 24 out of 31 of the league’s teams played last night, including all six of the Stars’ division rivals:
- The Colorado Avalanche dominated the Buffalo Sabres 6-1. [Mile High Hockey]
- Elsewhere, the St. Louis Blues snuffed out the Calgary Flames with a 5-1 victory. [Matchsticks & Gasoline]
- It took an extra inning, but the Minnesota Wild came away with a 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. [NHL]
- Finally, the Nashville Predators got some early revenge for last years’ playoff series by shutting out the Winnipeg Jets 3-0. [On The Forecheck]
Disclaimer: I did not watch the Predators-Jets game, and I do not believe in (most) sports conspiracies. That being said...
Tyler Myers just got a 10-minute misconduct for giving the referees a fake applause. Jets have taken 8 penalties in a row— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 12, 2018
And while we’re talking about the Predators, Austin Watson had his suspension reduced from 27 games to 18 by an arbitrator. Watson was suspended by the NHL for domestic violence: [Sportsnet]
So you don’t have to open a new tab just to check the standings:
Around the League
Remember when Kevin Shattenkirk was arguably the biggest free agent in 2017?
Rangers’ benching of Shattenkirk part of his recovery process https://t.co/gnRfAEGrTI— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) October 11, 2018
Need fantasy help already? Here are some players you might want to look out for in specific categories: [ESPN]
Yes Alex, I’ll take “Things That Won’t Surprise You” for 400:
No more numbers 22 and 33 in Vancouver next season. https://t.co/86xrQKdtd8— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) October 11, 2018
It’s all but confirmed Seattle will be the newest city with an NHL franchise, but don’t count out Houston in the long term: [The Hockey News]
People can talk about Corsi or Fenwick or PDO all they want, but this is the only kind of fancy stat I need:
Vegas Golden Knights have gone nine straight games without a regulation win since letting Imagine Dragons play on the ice before a game— DL (@davelozo) October 12, 2018