All Dallas Stars fans know the legend of Mike Modano. Most of them also know how he fundamentally altered his own playing style during Ken Hitchcock’s first coaching tenure. As the story goes, the high-flying Modano forfeited a chance at any number of scoring records to become a two-way center – and the Stars won a Stanley Cup because of it.
Tyler Seguin, that other franchise center, had a longstanding (if not necessarily accurate) reputation as a goal assassin who cherry-picked his opportunities and left the defensive responsibility to his line-mates. He seemed the natural heir to this particular Modano legacy when Hitch rolled back into town.
If anyone wondered whether Segs could be That Guy, they shouldn’t have, writes Tim Cowlishaw in The Dallas Morning News:
Even in the Hitchcock world of tighter checking and its heavy emphasis on defending, Seguin is tied for sixth in the NHL with 29 goals, although none of the players on the top line rank in the top 20 in overall scoring. Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov are just outside it with 53 points, and Seguin’s right behind them with 51.
”A couple of years ago we’d all have crazy numbers,” Seguin said, briefly reliving the days of [Lindy] Ruff’s go-for-broke style, “But now it’s all about checking the other team’s best players. In Boston, Claude (Julien) really had that defensive element that I recognize in Hitch’s system. There we had a great goalie in Tim Thomas, and here we have two. It’s the right way to play.”
Seguin is relishing the opportunity to play in every situation – but Hitch is withholding his highest grade, for now:
“The next step is beating the other team’s top line. When he can kill penalties, be effective on the power play and battle the other team’s best and win those battles, that’s when he’s a No. 1,” Hitchcock said. [SportsDayDFW]
The Stars take on longtime Pacific Division enemies the San Jose Sharks today at 7 p.m. CST. After you’ve read the DBD preview, check out Mark Stepneski’s official version.
Razor talks face-off percentage, Marc Methot, Tyler Pitlick ’s save of the game, and the Ben Bishop Experience in his latest Emporium.
Could Methot be the perfect partner for Stephen Johns?
Johns and Mattias Janmark, heroes of the Stars’ Friday victory over the St. Louis Blues, offered some insights from Stars practice yesterday.
Speaking of Saturday practice, Mark shared a few player updates from Frisco:
Ben Bishop in goal tomorrow.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) February 17, 2018
Antoine Roussel skated before practice and skated briefly in practice. Hitch said they’ll see where Roussel is tomorrow.
Martin Hanzal didn’t practice. Day off.
Marc Methot came out of last night’s game fine, practiced today.
And @NHL shared some John Klingberg love:
Around the League(s)
The Night In #Murder
- Luke Witkowski scored his first NHL goal as the Nashville Predators lost to the Detroit Red Wings 3-1. [Winging It In Motown]
- The Chicago Blackhawks halted an eight-game losing skid with a 7-1 thrashing of the Washington Capitals. [Second City Hockey]
- And the Minnesota Wild lost 3-2 in an 11-round shootout with the Anaheim Ducks. [Hockey Wilderness]
Four Blackhawks fans were ejected after aiming racist taunts at Caps forward Devante Smith-Pelly. The incident occurred during Hockey Is For Everyone Night in United Center.
“There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or our country for racism and I think it’s disgusting. There's no place for it," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said postgame. https://t.co/ghXI7qaFWU— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) February 18, 2018
Meanwhile, Evgeni Malkin hit the 900-point milestone during the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 5-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Evgeni Malkin has tallied 1-1—2 to reach the 900-point mark (361-539—900 in 762 GP). Since entering the League in 2006-07, only Alex Ovechkin (994) and Sidney Crosby (991) have collected more points than Malkin. #NHLStats #TORvsPIT pic.twitter.com/7Sf40WFgnv— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 18, 2018
Who’s a contender, and who’s a pretender? Sam Blazer takes a look possible buyers and sellers as the NHL trade deadline approaches.
Winter Olympics Action
Olympic hockey is made for shocking upsets, and last night it was Team Japan’s turn. The women’s squad – and overtime hero Ayaka Toko – defeated Team Sweden for the first time in history, 2-1. It’s also the first time a Japanese team has beaten a European squad in an Olympic game.
Smile Japan! #JPN beat Sweden #SWE for the first time in Olympic ice hockey history after 5 defeats (men+women) previously! Story and more photos: https://t.co/qGAUZyOYqB— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) February 18, 2018
Photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images pic.twitter.com/dyXivjYgqm
THN has more, include Canada’s loss to the Czech Republic and Russia’s shutout of Team USA.
The Finland-Sweden game begins at 6:10 a.m. CST, and it promises to be a stemwinder.
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
Mike McKenna earned the shutout in the Texas Stars’ 1-0 win over the Milwaukee Admirals.
With the 27th shutout of his AHL career, Mike McKenna moved into 10th place all-time after a 1-0 win over the Milwaukee Admirals. Sheldon Dries tallied the lone goal for the #txstars.— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) February 17, 2018
Read: https://t.co/WQkw3z9uq9 pic.twitter.com/efwLE9dGnT
University of North Texas Ice Hockey has earned the 2017-18 Texas Collegiate Hockey Conference championship – and the opportunity to participate in ACHA regionals in Utah. Club teams don’t receive university funds for these trips, so Mean Green alumni have stepped up. They’re just a few hundred dollars away from their goal – check their progress, and chuck in a buck if you can. [UNT Hockey | GoFundMe]