It’s probably fair to say that Jim Nill has just made the most important hire of his tenure as Dallas Stars GM. New bench boss Jim Montgomery is the team’s third head coach in five years, and the stakes are high for an organization that has fallen short of its own expectations for success.
Mike Heika, now a senior writer with the Stars’ official site, takes a new look at Nill’s tenure in a new piece for his former home, The Dallas Morning News. Nill says that even after four decades in professional hockey, he keeps learning new things – including how the new generation rolls:
...Nill learned in Detroit to allow prospects to get “overripe” with time in the minors, but he says that today’s NHL allows you use younger players in bigger roles and the Stars will start doing that. He also said that while he grew up in an environment where GMs stayed out of coaching decisions (something he did with [Lindy] Ruff and [Ken] Hitchcock), he knows that he must take a stronger role in helping Montgomery transition into the NHL.
What will that mean for the talent already on the roster? You might well ask:
In addition to starting with a core of solid NHL players that includes Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov, John Klingberg and Ben Bishop, the Stars also should get some strong internal additions next season by bringing back Valeri Nichushkin from the KHL, Miro Heiskanen from the Finnish Elite League and by creating more playing time for Julius Honka and Jason Dickinson.
There’s more from Mike at his old address. [SportsDayDFW]
New bench boss Jim Montgomery continues to make the media rounds. Here he is with the NHL Network panel.
In World Championship action, two Stars were better than one as Sweden bested the Czech Republic. Mattias Janmark and Radek Faksa got points, and Klinger collected big minutes:
Sweden defeated Czech Republic 3-2.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) May 6, 2018
Mattias Janmark: 1 goal, 1 assist for Sweden.
John Klingberg: No points, 23:56 ice time for Sweden.
Radek Faksa: 1 assist for Czechs
Here’s Marky in his office:
Mattias Janmark gets the puck into Czech net to make it 2-0. Initial shot came from Mika Zibanejad. pic.twitter.com/LVHPViNVn8— Aivis Kalniņš (@A_Kalnins) May 6, 2018
Elsewhere, Heiskanen and Honka put in time for Finland during an 8-1 victory over Latvia:
Miro Heiskanen had one assist and played 17:57 in Finland's 8-1 win over Latvia.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) May 6, 2018
Julius Honka had no points and played 17:42 for the Finns.
Around the League(s): Half a Conference Final Edition
The Tampa Bay Lightning have punched their ticket to the Eastern Conference finals with a 3-1 Game Five win over the Boston Bruins. Next up: the last team standing in the Pittsburgh Penguins - Washington Capitals Stanley Cup playoffs series.
The Bolts can do this at will, apparently:
Big matchup of the game was the Point line against Bergeron, and the Lightning scorched the earth on it - no shots for anybody, at all. It's one way to contain Bergeron, I guess. pic.twitter.com/8TmHQYigMu— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) May 6, 2018
At least we’ll always have the memories of Brad Marchand going Troll Level: Ott.
It was a big night for moving on out West, too. The Vegas Golden Knights extended their dream season by dispatching the San Jose Sharks 3-0 in Game Six. They’ll play the winners of the Nashville Predators - Winnipeg Jets series for the Western Conference championship.
Emily Kaplan takes a look at the New Guys That Could (even if the Knights are not so much a band of misfits as the beneficiaries of the most favorable expansion draft in history).
Ryan Reaves, who joined the Golden Knights at the trade deadline, might sum it up best. "The whole roster is full of guys whose teams said 'We don't want you' or 'We want other players more.' It's a bunch of guys who are hungry. And they all can play." https://t.co/2GhjeYhsML— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) May 7, 2018
Alas, Vegas’ good fortune brings its own downside:
The Golden Knights have killed my dream of western conference final filled with West Side Story tweets— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) May 7, 2018
TSN’s Scott Cullen brought some fast facts and vital stats from last night’s series finales.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: The Golden Knights and Lightning are moving on their respective Conference Finals; Fleury, Schmidt, Coburn, Vasilevskiy and more. https://t.co/5gNiLPMqGX @TSNAnalytics pic.twitter.com/EGvrowMnyj— Scott Cullen (@tsnscottcullen) May 7, 2018
And the Associated Press offers a preview of tonight’s action, in which the Caps have a chance to kill their ghosts (a.k.a. the Penguins) once and for all.
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
The Idaho Steelheads’ second-round elimination from the Kelly Cup playoffs has at least paid some dividends for the Texas Stars. Philippe Desrosiers will add goaltending depth as the T-Stars seek to win their own Round Two against the Tucson Roadrunners.
The T-Stars have some big Calder Cup home games coming up this week – plus an opportunity to win the series in H-E-B Center.
Saturday marked the 10th anniversary of Cinco de Morrow – the night (well, early morning) when captain Brenden Morrow sent the Stars to the 2008 Western Conference Finals halfway through the fourth overtime. Here’s to more memories like this one. Enjoy.