The Texas Stars have just won seven playoffs games in a row, and it’s clear that several young players have leveled up. Dallas Stars assistant GM Scott White also serves as the T-Stars’ GM, and he’s ready to talk about where they are and what they’ve shown during the 2018 Calder Cup run.
White has been watching all the prospects, not just the first-rounders – so he’s had time to assess the roles that guys like defender Dillon Heatherington can play:
“He’s been good. He’s a defensive defenseman, simple with the puck.… Less time with the puck is good for him, so he’s moving it quickly.… He’s grinding, banging guys around in the playoffs. You need all types of defenseman and he fills an important role for us.… He’s a good character guy, good teammate.”
He’s also identified one player who he believes is ready to don a Dallas Stars sweater now:
“[Roope] Hintz has been dynamite. To me, he’s NHL ready. He’s dangerous on the ice, he’s engaged more physically, he’s learned that it’s a grind.… It’s hard for European players to adapt to the North American schedule. It’s such a grind to get to January, and he got through it. Then, the first-round series, he took a couple of huge hits and got right back up and finished a few hits of his own. I think that’s maturity.… He’s a talented player, and I think he’s right there.… I think he’s better at center. You can always move him around, but I think he’s better at center.”
As always, Mike has more. [Dallas Stars]
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
Captain Curtis McKenzie – on quite a roll lately – has another GWG to his credit as the T-Stars defeat the Rockford IceHogs 6-5 on the road. The T-Stars could punch their ticket to the 2018 Calder Cup Finals as early as tomorrow night. [100 Degree Hockey]
Sean Shapiro brings the important stats:
Texas Stars are now 6-1 in OT this postseason. Fun fact: when they won Calder Cup in 2014 they went 6-0 in OT.— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) May 23, 2018
Have a question for Sean? His weekly Stars mailbag goes up Thursday at The Athletic DFW, so you may still have time to throw it in.
Still time to get in your mailbag questions: https://t.co/K0pizxOYzN— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) May 23, 2018
Heika hasn’t forgotten about his Stars chats, either – tag him on Twitter with #HeyHeika to get your questions in.
Howdy folks, we'll have our own Dallas Stars chat at https://t.co/53kiEbMOwf so let's get some questions on Twitter. I'll assemble the questions and answer them on the website. Send your questions to me and tag them #HeyHeika and we'll get started.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) May 22, 2018
Around the League(s)
"Tomorrow is going to be the biggest game in our life, maybe." On Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals having to get past the Lightning and their ghosts of Game 7 past to reach the Stanley Cup Final:https://t.co/zu2gBAbO45— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) May 23, 2018
The home team has its own worries. Can the Tampa Bay Lightning shake off a scoring drought that has struck at the worst possible time?
Victor Hedman and Alex Ovechkin seem to agree on this much:
Lightning D Victor Hedman is 3-2 in Game 7s: "To be able to win in front of our fans tomorrow is all the motivation we need. We need the best game of our lives tomorrow, that's the bottom line."— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) May 22, 2018
Alex Ovechkin laying it out there today: “Lots of people say we’re going to lose to Columbus. Lots of people say we’re going to lose to Pittsburgh. Lots of people said we’re going to lose to Tampa. Tomorrow is the biggest probably game in my life.”— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) May 22, 2018
Meanwhile, in Teams That Don’t Exist Yet: The NHL Board of Governors will meet in Las Vegas two days before the NHL Draft in Dallas, which means the Seattle expansion countdown clock is ticking.
BREAKING: Date is set. NHL Board of Governors will meet June 20 in Las Vegas, per league source. That’s when the #NHL is expected to give conditional approval of an expansion team in #Seattle. #komonews pic.twitter.com/8EErUN4HaZ— Patrick Quinn (@PatrickQuinnTV) May 22, 2018
The New York Rangers finally appear to be almost ready to announce their replacement for Alain Vigneault. Boston University’s David Quinn is their guy, more or less.
Quick analysis of David Quinn as Rangers' Head Coach— Adam Herman (@AdamZHerman) May 19, 2018
- Very hands on mentor of young, talented players
- Any broadcast with Pierre McGuire will become 50x more insufferable
Meanwhile, the New York Islanders made it official yesterday, announcing their hire of Lou Lamoriello. Now the new president of hockey operations takes responsibility for a lengthy honey-do list that includes a long-awaited new deal with John Tavares. [NHL]
Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan discussed the Kyle Dubas hire, and spoke candidly about the pressures involved in getting Your Guy Or Something Like Him before you lose the option (and all the rest of them, too).
"Whether it was Lou, Kyle or Mark, I understood that there was a likely scenario that whichever one I chose, I could quite possibly and quite likely lose the other two." - #Leafs president Brendan Shanahan.https://t.co/b9vcRVbgZN— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 23, 2018
Out west, the San Jose Sharks are circling an extension for Evander Kane that looks like seven years at $7 million AAV.
GETTING CLOSE: San Jose #Sharks and F Evander Kane close to seven-year, $49 million contract extension. When signed, #Sabres would get San Jose's first-round pick in 2019. #NHL https://t.co/ESn8g6svyO pic.twitter.com/hLMw2orBbG— SportsCentre (@SportsCentre) May 23, 2018
Aww, come on, was Patrik Laine’s beard really that bad? (It’s a rhetorical question. The answer is yes, it was.) Enjoy.