The Dallas Stars gave up a 3-2 heartbreaker to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. It may have been especially tough for Julius Honka fans; the young D-man was on the ice for Nathan MacKinnon’s second-period goal and sat for 13 minutes because of it.
The Stars’ young D-corps is facing tremendous pressure as well as unprecedented opportunity, and Jim Montgomery knows it, writes Mike Heika:
Montgomery said he is well aware of the battles each player is fighting, and that he wants to help them by giving them opportunities to prove themselves. That said, he still has to select the players who can help the Stars win the next game.
”When they’re not progressing at the same level as other teammates are, that’s when you fall out of the lineup or fall down in the depth chart,” Montgomery said. “But with that, you’ve got to get them back in games. I found when I played and as a coach, when you sit players out, the players that want to be players they learn when they are out and when they come back -- they have an impact on your team.”
It may be that Honka, like Stephen Johns under Ken Hitchcock, will make his turnaround when he decides he simply can’t play scared any more, Heika opines. In the meantime, another player is in a hauntingly similar place to the one Honka himself occupied in 2016-17 – except with a coach willing to write a different adventure for him:
Take Gavin Bayreuther, for example. He was great in camp, got sent back to the minors, battled an injury in Cedar Park, and was called back up on Nov. 15. Bayreuther could have struggled in his first crack at NHL play, but instead was solid. He played 14:48 that first game and then was elevated to 19:11, then 19:48, then 21:42, then 22:35. He played 23 minutes Saturday against the highest-scoring team in the league.
He has moved ahead of Esa Lindell and Miro Heiskanen to play on the top power-play unit, and while that group is badly missing John Klingberg, the coaching staff right now believes the 24-year-old Bayreuther is the best replacement.
Mike has more. [Dallas Stars]
The Stars are getting in on the Cyber Monday action with a flash sale on single-game tickets. [Dallas Stars]
Razor recorded a quick post-Avalanche update from the parking lot.
Around the League(s)
The Weekend In #Murder
- Patrik Laine scored five times as the Winnipeg Jets rolled over the St. Louis Blues, 8-4 [Arctic Ice Hockey]
- The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Florida Panthers 5-4 after Alex DeBrincat’s literally last-second tying goal. [Second City Hockey]
- And the Nashville Predators won the special-teams game as they whipped the Anaheim Ducks 5-2, with help from an Austin Watson hat trick. [On The Forecheck]
Laine’s big night was also a big win for a Canadian fan, who’s now a millionaire thanks to a supermarket contest. [NHL]
As you might imagine, the list of players who racked up a five-goal NHL game before they hit U.S. drinking age is very small and super-exclusive.
Five-goal games before age 21, NHL history:— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 25, 2018
Don Murdoch on Oct. 12, 1976 (19 years, 353 days)
Wayne Gretzky on Feb. 18, 1981 (20 years, 23 days)@PatrikLaine29 on Nov. 24, 2018 (20 years, 219 days)
Wayne Gretzky on Dec. 30, 1981 (20 years, 338 days)#NHLStats pic.twitter.com/3LgK8NkJEG
More big Central Division news: The Chicago Blackhawks have traded Nick Schmaltz to the Arizona Coyotes for Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini.
#TradeCentre ALERT: The #Coyotes have acquired F Nick Schmaltz from the #Blackhawks in exchange for F Brendan Perlini and F Dylan Strome. #TSNHockey #NHL— SportsCentre (@SportsCentre) November 26, 2018
MORE: https://t.co/CQZ8x9Tr1R pic.twitter.com/kIVlKbHVtn
Here’s some recent history for the Hawks and their former first-rounders:
Blackhawks first-rounders:— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) November 26, 2018
2011: Mark McNeill (traded, bust)
2011: Phil Danault (traded)
2012: Teuvo Teravainen (traded)
2013: Ryan Hartman (traded)
2014: Nick Schmaltz (traded)
The cupboard is pretty bare.
Movember, meet Bowvember. Montreal Canadiens defender Jeff Petry has carved out his own campaign for Hockey Fights Cancer month.
Jeff Petry takes @NHL’s #HockeyFightsCancer campaign personally. My talk with @CanadiensMTL defenceman @PetryJ about leading his team’s @PROCUREqc Bowvember initiative to increase awareness of and raise funds for men’s health. @CHCFondation https://t.co/tARTjfC9n9 pic.twitter.com/vFLszPXibQ— Dave Stubbs (@Dave_Stubbs) November 26, 2018
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
ICYMI, the T-Stars lent some muscle (and Ringo the Ringtail) to sorting holiday donations at the Central Texas Food Bank.
Always look more closely at the fan signs. Enjoy.