If only Tyler had written this article earlier, the Dallas Stars might be headed for the postseason. Mike McKenna, the 34-year-old(!) consummate professional goaltender, was perfect in relief of Kari Lehtonen on Tuesday night. He will get the start this evening against the Anaheim Ducks, with yours truly in attendance.
Mike McKenna turns 35 next week, and tonight will be his 24th appearance in an NHL game. Look up “journeyman” in the dictionary, and you will find a picture of McKenna:
Playing with his fifth NHL franchise and 15th team in the pros, McKenna has proved a steady third goalie for the Stars this season. He has been on the bench for 15 games and provided plenty of practice time for his teammates while Ben Bishop has dealt with injuries, so he’s earned a lot of respect.
It’s kind of frustrating that the Stars have looked pretty good since they were eliminated from the playoffs, but maybe, while cliché, it is actually good to head into the offseason with some positive momentum. Look at it as a possible premonition of what could be. Either way, Dallas players drew some inspiration from McKenna’s insertion into Tuesday’s game:
Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin each said they were motivated by McKenna’s excitement, and several of the players who have played with McKenna on the Texas Stars said they also drew from the moment.
Cheers to Mike McKenna, let’s hope he gives himself an early birthday present tonight. See more from the other Mike (Heika) at his usual place. [SportsDayDFW]
Scott Burnside had some thoughts on McKenna as well:
The DMN guys had some thoughts on what’s next for Tom Gaglardi. [SportsDayDFW]
Razor “liked” this tweet yesterday. It seems kind of appropriate:
Accountability is essential to personal growth, as well as team growth. How can you improve if you're never wrong? If you don't admit a mistake and take responsibility for it, you're bound to make the same one again. – Pat Summitt— Coach Quotes (@CoachMotto) April 5, 2018
I think I’m starting to understand a few words in Finnish based on the amount of Miro Heiskanen highlights I’ve watched this year:
Minnesota Duluth's Riley Tufte said he initally thought he broke his ankle on Thursday but returned after the "worst pain that I've ever had" in the Frozen Four semifinals. From @drewclaussen in St. Paul: https://t.co/3diwgUwhR2— USCHO.com (@USCHO) April 6, 2018
...and celebration ensued:
Riley Tufte and UMD advance to the national championship game— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) April 6, 2018
Around the League
Lots of clinching happened yesterday.
The New Jersey Devils clinched a playoff spot last night, and there were internet takes everywhere. At least Down Goes Brown brought some humor:
Whatever the St. Louis Blues do tonight in their 81st game of the season, their 82nd will determine whether they make the playoffs. And, as fate would have it, the Colorado Avalanche and Blues meet in that final game of the season Saturday. Who’s ready for a winner-gets-in Game 82?
Also, the Nashville Predators clinched the Presidents’ Trophy:
The Columbus Blue Jackets are in the mix in the East:
FIRE THE CANNON! pic.twitter.com/K4jAwaqrGl— x - Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) April 6, 2018
Whoever wins this series, it will be a loss for Stars fans:
Unless something changes within the organization, I don’t think Ty Smith as a mobile, undersized defenseman would get much love from the Stars:
The man, the myth, the legend. Roberto Luongo hit the millennium mark last night (yes, I know millennium really means years):
Finally, the Sedin twins went out with quite a performance in their final home game. Daniel had two goals and Henrik had two assists (and note the 0:33 and 02:33 timestamps on those goals) as the Vancouver Canucks won 4-3 in overtime.