If you had to name the biggest problem on the Dallas Stars the past two seasons, you’d probably say the goaltending. Most people blame it single-handedly for the Stars loss against the St. Louis Blues in that awful Game 7 two years ago, and while injuries were the biggest problem last year, the goaltending tandem of Kari Lehtonen and Antii Niemi didn’t help.
Luckily for Dallas, the crease has been much stronger this season. A large part of that is due to the addition of Ben Bishop, but don’t overlook the work that Stars goaltending coach Jeff Reese has put in:
The Stars rank fifth in goals against average at 2.61, and last week Ben Bishop said it would be nice to compete for the William M. Jennings Trophy this season, given annually to the goalie tandem with the fewest goals allowed.
“I don’t even know what he’s doing,” (Stars head coach Ken) Hitchcock said of Reese. “I have no idea, I feel like when I’m in those conversations I might as well be on Mars.”
Bishop isn’t the only one flourishing under Reese. Kari Lehtonen, all but written off by the fans this off-season, has an identical .918 save percentage (albeit over about half as many games). And the more he talks and works with Reese, the more he improves:
“I think it’s moving in a good direction, we keep learning things from each other,” Lehtonen said. “Last summer he really was learning some new tricks and new things about goaltending and we’ve been trying to implement those in my game, and it’s been great for my game.”
You can read more in Sean Shapiro’s piece here.
Stars hockey is back, folks! Here’s Mark Stepneski with the official preview of tonight’s game against the Blues: [NHL]
With only 25 games left, Ken Hitchcock talks about where the team is at as they try and lock down a playoff spot:
“Are we in playoffs? Not officially, but we’re there.” With 25 games remaining, Hitch gives an update on the State of the Stars, full video on Facebook.— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) February 16, 2018
WATCH: https://t.co/cdnbOYcACN pic.twitter.com/Wue2h8ylHE
Scott Burnside sat down with Tyler Pitlick in his latest On the Fly interview: [NHL]
Let’s all take a moment and enjoy the beauty that is watching Radek Faksa play hockey:
Film Room: How Radek Faksa frustrates big-name opponents https://t.co/lztjcZNUgH— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) February 15, 2018
Big news down in Cedar Park:
The Dallas Stars have extended the contracts for Derek Laxdal and Karl Taylor of the #txstars. Texas has reached the postseason twice in the last three years and are back in the hunt again this season.— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) February 15, 2018
Read: https://t.co/JYPBxVXYTK pic.twitter.com/6mhVk0qTeJ
It was a bad night for the Central last night, unless you were one of the four teams not playing. In which case, it was a very, very good night:
- The Calgary Flames edged out the Nashville Predators in a 4-3 victory. [Matchsticks & Gasoline]
- The Minnesota Wild weren’t nearly as close, as they fell 5-2 to the Washington Capitals. [Jaspers’ Rink]
- Meanwhile, the sky continues to fall in Chicago, as the Blackhawks dropped their eighth straight in a 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. [Second City Hockey]
We had a pair of trades yesterday, both involving the Central:
As the trade deadline approaches, the Nashville Predators are in a great position to go all in for the Cup: [Sportsnet]
Jaromir Jagr turned 46 years old yesterday (I’m not sure if that feels too old or too young). Here are 68 facts about the legendary #68: [ESPN]
You’ve probably heard non-stop about the likes of Rick Nash and Mike Green, but what about some of the more unlikely trade candidates?
In a similar vein, Andrew Berkshire breaks down three players who won’t turn heads but are potentially great bargain deals: [Sportsnet]
Meanwhile, Max Domi is currently on the Arizona Coyotes’ trading block, but should he be?
Trading Max Domi likely wouldn’t work out for Coyotes https://t.co/jo5FSQYhxJ— Olympic Hockey on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) February 15, 2018
Most (if not all) of us wish the NHL was at the Olympics this year, but it’s not always the NHL stars who turn heads at the games: [The Hockey News]
Speaking of which, good news for US Hockey:
Can someone send me one of these? Asking for a friend:
Phil Kessel joins exclusive hot dog hockey card club, thanks to Upper Deck (Photo) https://t.co/EJ8LTze10O— Olympic Hockey on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) February 15, 2018
(Oh, and, uh, sorry for yesterday. I’ll try to stick to Links and avoid breaking the comment section from now on.)