The Dallas Stars, their fans, and fantasy-league GMs everywhere got the grim news yesterday that John Klingberg will be out at least four weeks after undergoing hand surgery. But as tough as Klinger’s loss will be, there are reasons to believe the Victory Green gang can survive, and perhaps even thrive, until their No. 1 defender returns.
Rick Bowness projects so much hard-earned confidence in the Stars’ blueline that you feel you must believe him. Even as the team struggled to find its balance early in the season, the assistant coach says “one of the good things about all of this unrest is that the defensemen are ready to fill any role,” writes Mike Heika:
Rookie Miro Heiskanen is left-handed, but doesn’t mind playing the right side. Julius Honka is right-handed, but can play the left side. The current group of six defensemen consists of four lefties and two righties, but Bowness said he doesn’t even look at handedness right now when planning strategy.
“You can delegate ice based on performance or what’s working, and you’re not restricted to trying to get a right-handed player on his right side or a left-handed player on his left side,” said Bowness. “With these injuries, you can’t be restricted, you have to have everybody play with everybody.”
Bowness tells Heika that the big leaps forward made by the Stars’ two youngest blueliners are a strong reason for optimism:
“Julius is much more under control than he was, and Miro … I just stay out of his way,” Bowness joked about the strong play of the Heiskanen. “Honestly, I do a lot of coaching with Miro on the bench in the game as things are happening, and with Julius, I do a lot more coaching with video.”
Mike has more. [Dallas Stars]
Jim Montgomery and Esa Lindell talked to the media about yesterday’s Klinger news.
And Heiskanen runs the Stars’ No. 1 power-play unit until further notice.
Monty says Klingberg will be out at least 3 weeks, (upper body) maybe more upon doctor examination. Miro Heiskanen now becomes the undisputed #1 defenseman for the Stars. The teenager will have to deliver.— Bruce LeVine (@BruceLeVinePuck) November 9, 2018
The Hondell pair was in action during practice yesterday, as Esa Lindell prepares to play without John Klingberg for the next few weeks.
Honka was paired with Lindell at practice today, and he is one of the players the Stars will count on to step up over the next month or so with Klingberg out. https://t.co/ehkpE7bsSI— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) November 9, 2018
Joel Hanley is up from Cedar Park to reinforce.
The Stars will honor Jason Spezza’s 1,000th game this afternoon at home as they face the Nashville Predators.
⬇️ Saturday Game Day Notes ⬇️— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) November 9, 2018
• 1:00 PM puck drop!
• Pregame ceremony for Jason Spezza's 1,000th NHL game (arrive early!)
• Tollway will be closed southbound at Oak Lawn, exit there or take 75 or 35 (leave early!) pic.twitter.com/PiE3bd1wP8
Around the League(s)
Last Night In #Death
- Mikael Granlund earned three points as the Minnesota Wild romped all over the Anaheim Ducks, 5-1. [NHL]
- Chad Johnson made 33 saves as the St. Louis Blues shut out the San Jose Sharks, 4-0. [St. Louis Game Time]
- And in Central-on-Central violence, Blake Wheeler got a goal and four assists in the Winnipeg Jets’ 5-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche. [Mile High Hockey]
What does the fantasy wire say about Klinger’s injury?
Who's the best #FantasyHockey waiver wire pickup to replace @johnklingberg?@NHLJensen and @NHLReese debate the merits of Miro Heiskanen, @NPionk95, Samuel Girard and @vince_dunn in the latest episode of @NHLFantasy on Ice! https://t.co/x20E2c1h2b— NHL (@NHL) November 9, 2018
The Pittsburgh Penguins are struggling, and Jim Rutherford thinks it’s because “[some] guys show up at games and think that Sid, Geno, Phil and Kris are going to get the job done.”
Had a chat with GMJR today. A trade is almost definitely on the way. He had some interesting stuff to say. Read about it here: https://t.co/zMHwXpF29I— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_PGH) November 10, 2018
Willie O’Ree is finally being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame this weekend.
Time to ring in the new class.
Meanwhile, Dom Luszczyszyn looks ahead to predict future first-balloters.
By the numbers: @domluszczyszyn on who's next for the Hall of Fame over the next three years: https://t.co/o1X5KuUgQF— The Athletic NHL (@TheAthleticNHL) November 9, 2018
Bonus Dom: He'll be answering all your fantasy hockey questions at Noon ET: https://t.co/4n61RIIlgH
Team Canada got the win over Finland and now faces its bête noire, reigning champions Team USA, in the Four Nations Cup final.
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
It’s Military Appreciation Night in H-E-B Center as the Texas Stars take on their I-35 rivals, the San Antonio Rampage.
The #txstars would like to thank everyone who donated tickets to our Fall Military Appreciation Night pres. by Rebath of Austin— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) November 9, 2018
Tomorrow, the Stars salute our armed forces when the puck drops at 7 p.m.
Read: https://t.co/2aZFkD23Q0 pic.twitter.com/wTb3qp6ACO
I did not know about this, and now I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Enjoy.