When news first broke last summer that the Dallas Stars had signed UFA Alexander Radulov, most fans were thrilled to land arguably the best winger on the market. However, a handful of people were concerned about potential character issues, given that Radulov had left the NHL twice to return to Russia and had left the Montreal Canadiens - the team that gave him the chance of a NHL comeback - after only one season.
However, it’s clear now that those fears were misplaced, as Radulov has been an extremely positive impact on the Stars:
“He’s buzzing pretty much non-stop once he arrives at the rink,” Stars captain Jamie Benn said of Radulov. “I don’t know if he’s like that outside of the rink at home, but he brings a lot of energy to this team, and it’s contagious. He’s fun to be around.”
”He’s a battery that doesn’t stop,” said Stars center Tyler Seguin. “He’s just huge on those days where you are really tired.”
Radulov current leads the team in scoring with 53 points in 57 games and is one point shy of his season total from last year and five less than his best NHL season (2007-2008 with the Nashville Predators). Radulov hasn’t just improved his own game, as he makes everyone else around him better as well.
“The in-zone stuff that is hard work, determination and stay with it; he invigorates our group by playing that way,” Stars coach Ken Hitchcock said. “That helps us. He’s brought more guys into that style of game that is necessary to win. His competitiveness at the puck has brought other people’s game up another level.”
You can read more about the Rad Russian in Mark Stepneski’s piece here.
The Athletic DFW officially launched yesterday. Here’s Sean Shapiro’s inaugural piece on the Stars:
Selling satisfaction: How the 2017 trade deadline set the Stars up for success in 2018 https://t.co/xFR5bBdkgT— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) February 12, 2018
Speaking of the youngins, Cedar Park is going to have some old friends back for at least the next few days:
Around the League
It was a quiet night last night in the NHL with only three games. The Chicago Blackhawks were the sole Central team to play, and were crushed by the last-place Arizona Coyotes with a score of 6-1. [Second City Hockey]
Corey Crawford might be back soon for the Blackhawks, but it’s probably too late to save their season. [FanRag Sports]
Speaking of goalie injuries, Corey Schneider (who’s already missed three weeks) is going to be out a little while longer:
The #NJDevils have placed G Cory Schneider (groin/hip) on injured reserve, retroactive to Jan. 23 at BOS. In addition, the club has recalled F Nick Lappin from @BingDevils (AHL). https://t.co/GDmO5yhZQy— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) February 12, 2018
The trade deadline is less than two weeks away. Here’s a roundup of the latest rumors, including the surprising notion that the Vegas Golden Knights could actually be selling, not buying: [Sportsnet]
Meanwhile the St. Louis Blues will be getting a late season addition, but not from a trade:
Last bit on the deadline: If you like to bet over trivial things, DownGoesBrown gives over/under odds for the 2018 deadline in his Weekend Wrap. [Sportsnet]
The women’s hockey tournament is well underway and the men start tomorrow. Greg Wyshnyski and his team give their medal predictions for the games: [ESPN]
Chris Oddo breaks down why you should be watching the men’s tournament (plus, he has a nice section about the Stars and Ken Hitchcock):
Without any NHL players, you’re probably unfamiliar with most of the players. Here are some of the players to watch in Pyeongchang: [ESPN]
Most people will probably either stick to the NHL or try to balance between the two, but some rare few will stick strictly to Olympic hockey. Ken Campbell makes his case for boycotting the NHL for two weeks: [The Hockey News]
Finally, most people assumed that the NHL and Olympics were mutually exclusive this year. But could some Olympic players sign contracts after the games are over?