The Dallas Stars are still in the Western Conference fight, but they’ll have to get their fight in order if they want to survive. And as for many people and organizations, the Christmas break is an opportune time to reflect and take stock.
Stars senior staff writer Mike Heika summarizes the issues in a post that invokes every troubled holiday legend from Ebenezer Scrooge to George Bailey:
On one hand, they are 18-16-3 and in the thick of the playoff battle in the Western Conference, despite significant injuries to John Klingberg, Martin Hanzal, Marc Methot and Stephen Johns. On the other hand, well, they’re just sort of … y’know … kinda … amorphous.
If ever there was a good time for an intermission in a classic play, this might be it. The Stars have gone through quite a bit in Act I -- a new coach, the injury problems, an almost daily challenge for a list of characters that might be more confusing than the cast of “Twelfth Night.”
And there are quite a few twists expected in Act II. Could Connor Carrick (foot) or Johns (neck/headaches) or Methot (knee) return to action and change how the defense is playing? How long will it take Klingberg to get up and running after missing 18 games (and now coming back for three inconsistent performances)? Can the Stars finally find consistency in their lines -- and in their overall play?
The Stars still have time to correct course, Heika argues – and that may be the Christmas present they give themselves:
The hope is the Stars are learning, that they are going to get healthier, that they are going to have a schedule that allows them to have more energy. You have heard them say they need to “make hay,” and that opportunity starts with the beginning of Act II.
”I was joking that my kids are getting coal in their stockings because we can’t play a hockey game,” Montgomery said. “It’s time to get away, spend time with your family, and be with your loved ones, because it’s a special time of the year.
“Come back and we’ll get to work on the morning of the 27th.”
Mike has more. [Dallas Stars]
Monty calls out the Stars’ back-to-back problem in his New York Islanders postgame comments.
The second half of back-to-backs have been difficult for the Stars. The holiday break will be a time for the guys to rest and regroup. pic.twitter.com/d71sgc1JCH— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) December 24, 2018
Sean Shapiro tackles them head-on in his latest 20/20.
The Stars played the second game of a back-to-back last night. They looked the part, losing 3-1 in the last game before their holiday break. @seanshapiro has all your observations from the game.https://t.co/9uYv1mJmV8…— The Athletic (@TheAthleticDFW) December 24, 2018
In addition, Sean and Owen Newkirk take you into the break with a new Carcast.
Around The League(s)
#Death Takes A Holiday
- Penalties killed the Nashville Predators, with some help from the return of Patrice Bergeron, in a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins. [On The Forecheck]
- David Perron earned two points and Jake Allen made 28 saves as the St. Louis Blues grabbed a 3-1 victory from the Calgary Flames. [Matchsticks and Gasoline]
- In Central-on-future-Central action, the Colorado Avalanche got overwhelmed by the Arizona Coyotes in a 6-4 slugfest. [Mile High Hockey]
- The Chicago Blackhawks turned back into a bunch of mice pulling a pumpkin with a 6-3 loss to the Florida Panthers and star-of-the-game Jayce Hawryluk. [Litter Box Cats]
Are the Blues on the brink of losing star pivot Brayden Schenn? Ryan Quigley of Knights On Ice examines the rumors from the (potentially) acquiring end.
NHL Rumors: Golden Knights could be targeting Blues forward Brayden Schenn, per report https://t.co/ovwfXhC699— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) December 22, 2018
Sam McCaig knows what not to get the Stars, or more specifically Tyler Seguin.
World Juniors World Juniors World Juniors 2019 WORLD JUNIORS Y’ALL.
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
Just seeing these jerseys again makes for a pretty nice holiday gift. Enjoy.