No one is more disappointed in the Dallas Stars’ 2017-2018 season than GM Jim Nill, and he’d tell you so himself. Now he’ll tell you what he intends to do about it.
Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News has taken Nill’s 21-minute exit interview and fashioned a follow-up article that points toward a major organizational renovation:
“We’re not happy where we’re at. We’re as disappointed as anyone,” Nill said. “We’re going to evaluate the situation. It starts right at the top with myself. I am responsible for this. We are going to talk with everyone in the organization and see where we went wrong. We want to be smart about it, but for now, we just want to take the emotions out of it and then sit down, go to work and roll up our sleeves.”
Nill is expected to talk with all players and every member of the coaching staff in the next week. Owner Tom Gaglardi is expected to be in town later this week to also take part in high level meetings. Bottom line, the team wants to know what went wrong. The Stars were predicted by a few to contend for a Stanley Cup, but finished sixth in the Central Division at 42-32-8 (92 points). That not only missed the cut for post-season play, but was drastically below the expectations for the team.
Nill does believe the team can do some addition by, well, addition – notably by bringing over defensive ultra-prospect Miro Heiskanen from the Finnish Liiga and bringing back prodigal winger Valeri Nichushkin from the KHL. But he expressed no regrets about keeping his powder dry before the February NHL trade deadline:
Nill said he studied adding players at the trade deadline but couldn’t find the right fit.
”We looked hard, and in the end, there was nothing there for us to add at the price we were willing to pay,” Nill said. “In the end, when we got down to what we were trying to do, the prices -- what we were going to have to give up -- you have to be very careful.”
There’s more at Mike’s place. [SportsDayDFW]
You can watch the entire Nill exit interview in this video from the Stars:
The 2018 World Championships could provide a little cold comfort for Stars fans. Radek Faksa and Julius Honka are already confirmed for the Czech Republic and Finland, and there may be more announcements forthcoming.
Stars going to World Championship: Radek Faksa, Julius Honka— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) April 9, 2018
John Klingberg sounded like he is leaning towards going.
Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn are undecided.
Esa Lindell didn't think he would go, is a little banged up.
Alexander Radulov said he is not going.
Mark also talked with Tyler Seguin on the hot topic of his contract extension in the latest Stars Notebook.
Around the League(s): Postseason Edition
NHL.com has posted the entire first-round schedule for the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs. The action starts tomorrow as the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers face off in a series that promises to be really ugly in all the best ways.
Alas, there’s some extra salt on the ice this year.
NHL: We don't expect any repercussions from our television partners for not sending players to the Olympic Games they pay billions to broadcast!— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) April 9, 2018
NBC: whoops we had to put two of ur playoffs games here pic.twitter.com/vbBT57tvDq
Matt Larkin posts his top 100 playoffs fantasy rankings and cordially invites you to fight him.
My top 100 playoff fantasy player rankings, a.k.a. the weirdest list ever, where Yanni Gourde finishes ahead of Nathan MacKinnon AND Taylor Hall and everyone probably wants to fight me!https://t.co/OhFlw3U3h9 pic.twitter.com/gysNH9yUPE— Matt Larkin (@THNMattLarkin) April 9, 2018
Mike Morreale takes a look at teenagers who could have an outsized impact on this year’s Stanley Cup race. The roll call includes Central Division hotshots Patrik Laine, Samuel Girard and Eeli Tolvanen, as well as Nolan Patrick, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Mikhail Sergachev – plus the New Jersey Devils’ two 19-year-old standouts, Nico Hischier and Jesper Bratt.
Elsewhere, the rumors of Ilya Kovalchuk’s impending return to the NHL are getting too loud to ignore. [Sportsnet]
Russian NHL correspondent Igor Eronko has passed on this note:
Per source Ilya Kovalchuk is set to sign at 2-3 year deal with #NYR— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) April 9, 2018
"My plan is to play next 2-3 seasons in North America".— KHL (@khl_eng) April 9, 2018
Was it Ilya Kovalchuk's final goal in his KHL career? pic.twitter.com/NIeHeNbc9U
Of course, there’s always a comedian ready to ruin the parade.
Ilya Kovalchuk- I want to go to a contending team and win a cup— X- Gio (@GianniNJD) April 9, 2018
Also Ilya Kovalchuk: pic.twitter.com/1yLfRcYaRf
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park (and Beautiful Boise)
We must not forget that the Stars organization has made the 2018 playoffs in two out of three leagues. Eat your championship hockey and like it: ECHL.tv is already offering playoffs packages for streaming, and AHL.tv is sure to follow.
You’ll probably be seeing more of this guy during the Texas Stars’ imminent Calder Cup campaign. Forward Joel L’Esperance went from alternate captain for the Michigan Tech Huskies to playoff-clinching hero for the Stars’ AHL affiliate within the space of six games.
The Idaho Steelheads begin their Kelly Cup run on Friday, April 13 – and with Mike McKenna back in Cedar Park, the Steel can celebrate the return of goalie Philippe Desrosiers.
Here’s the complete schedule for the Steelheads vs. the Allen Americans (San Jose Sharks) in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Heads up, locals: You’ll get a rare chance to see the Stars’ ECHL team play in North Texas on April 18 and 20 (and on the 22nd, if the series goes to Game 5).
The schedule is set! The quest to #CellyWithKelly starts on Friday! #FeelTheSteel— Idaho Steelheads (@Steelheads) April 9, 2018
Tickets available at https://t.co/S2mgGg7fO4 or by calling 208.331.TIXS
DETAILS: https://t.co/33B8OQaq1V pic.twitter.com/V5Po6mf88W
The Humboldt Broncos tragedy has transfixed the hockey community, and it amplifies the sorrow of the death of “butterfly child” and Ottawa Senators superfan Jonathan Pitre on April 4, at age 17. Canadian artist Silvia Pecota drew this tribute to all the boys.
And the Sens paid special tribute to Jonathan’s memory with a butterfly sticker on their helmets during their April 6 game against the Pens.