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Dallas Stars Daily Links: The Return of Martin Hanzal

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The Stars’ veteran is getting his first taste of NHL action since this past February tonight against the Sharks. Plus, NHL awards talk, Devin Shore is “hip,” and more.

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Many people assumed that Martin Hanzal’s career was over. Recovering from spinal surgery is no cakewalk to begin with, so making a return to a hard-hitting professional sport like hockey makes it even more difficult.

But when the Dallas Stars take on the San Jose Sharks tonight, Hanzal will be in the lineup. It will be his first NHL game since this past February, and the forward is obviously glad to be back:

“It was a long process, very long,” [Hanzal] said. “I wouldn’t want to do it again because when you don’t play hockey for ten months, it is boring. I miss this. I feel great right now. I think I can bring something to the team. I just want to go to the game and start playing hockey.”

Hanzal will slot in onto the second line with Devin Shore and Jason Spezza. Head coach Jim Montgomery is excited for what Hanzal can do to boost the team’s top-six firepower:

“I think [Hanzal] has the ability to give us a true second line,” Montgomery said. “Devin Shore has had a really good year and so has Jason Spezza. To me, it puts in our top two lines probably our six best offensive minds. We have other players who have good offensive minds, but they are probably the most creative.”

You can read more in Mark Stepneski’s piece here.


Stars Stories

Here’s what the rest of the Stars’ lineup should look like tonight in Dallas:

Wanna know what Hanzal brings to the Stars? Sean Shapiro did a film room on the veteran center a few days back: [The Athletic]

Tired of the same ol’ writers talking about the Stars? Well here’s Fox Sports TV host Brien Rea to give you a breath of fresh air:

Everyone is raving about Denis Gurianov over in Cedar Park, but fellow Texas Star Joel L’Esperance has been just as (if not more) impressive: [SportsDay DFW]

With only so many roster spots on a given team, even the best of friends can be each other’s competition:

Have a question about Valeri Nichushkin? Sean Shapiro probably answered it in his most recent mailbag: [The Athletic]


Central Census

It was a busy Thursday night for not only the NHL, but the Central Division too:

For what it’s worth, it’s probably fair to assume that the Stars will be one of the top five teams in the Central this year:

(Editor’s note: Don’t jinx it, Tyler!)


League Links

Are the Dallas Stars likely to win a Stanley Cup in the next five years? Uhh, just say “yes” and keep scrolling:

Who’s going to be competing for some individual hardware this next June? Greg Wyshnyski breaks down the races for the NHL Awards: [ESPN]

With that in mind, Thomas Chabot is doing his best Erik Karlsson impersonation for the Ottawa Senators this year, but is he a potential Norris winner?

Dom Luszczyszyn’s model projects two Stars to be among the Top 50 players in the NHL for the 2021-22 season: [The Athletic]

Early this season, the Anaheim Ducks were one of the worst teams in the West. They’re now among the best:

Shane Wright is the latest young hockey player to apply for Exceptional Status in the OHL: [The Hockey News]


Finally...

As a young adult fresh out of college, I should probably be into what’s currently “hip” and “cool.” But, uhh, can someone explain this to me?

(For the record, if I had to guess, I’d say it’s a Fortnite dance. Either that or dentists’ new way of teaching kids about dental hygiene.)