When teams say they bring in a player due to “leadership” and other intangibles, many fans tend to roll their eyes. But when a team brings in a player that makes the team better AND improves the locker room? That’s the holy grail right there.
Take the Dallas Stars, for instance. Last year, they grabbed the big fish of Free Agency in Alexander Radulov, who turned out to energize his fellow teammates in addition to putting up big points. And the Stars seem to have found a similar spirit this past offseason in fellow Russian Anton Khudobin:
“We do play a game, and he’s one of the guys that recognizes that,” Stars coach Jim Montgomery said. “His energy and enthusiasm, and his love and passion of the game is infectious.”
“I try to have fun,” Khudobin said. “If you enjoy it, then you will enjoy everything, all of the processes and steps, and then it is fun for everybody.”
Kuhodbin isn’t the only one finding his place. Blake Comeau, who also signed this past offseason, is also having a positive impact on his new teammates, and not always in the way you’d expect it:
In a recent practice, Comeau put hard checks on his teammates against the boards during drills. That’s something you don’t always see in the NHL.
”I’m a fan of that, especially right now when we’re trying to increase our competitive levels,” Montgomery said. “How hard he works and how hard he competes -- that’s why he was such a valuable asset to get in the offseason.”
You can read more in Mike Heika’s piece here.
About Last Night...
The Stars won their third preseason game last night! They prevailed over the Minnesota Wild once again in a 5-3 victory, led by a two-goal performance by Jamie Benn.
Speaking of the captain, here’s what he had to say in the post-game, specifically about linemate Roope Hintz:
Jamie Benn comments on Roope Hintz's game tonight, saying he's NHL-ready. pic.twitter.com/z3MtKzR9Mx— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) September 25, 2018
Here’s what the rookie had to say about his own two-point performance:
It was a big night for Roope Hintz. Monty wanted to see what he could do on the top line and Hintz made the most of the opportunity. pic.twitter.com/n0DMIgxXhL— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) September 25, 2018
Even coach Jim Montgomery had high praise for the young forward:
Monty on Hintz’ hair: “I wish I had it.”— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) September 25, 2018
You can read more about the game in Sean’s 20/20: [The Athletic]
Around the League
In case you’re still wondering about some last minute trade targets...
With the usual proviso that things can change with one phone call, it sure sounds like things are dead quiet on the RFA front right now. No sense of progress or imminent breakthroughs on Nylander (TOR), Theodore (VGK) and N Ritchie (ANA).— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) September 24, 2018
Or, at least that was the case until later in the evening, when Vegas announced a seven-year extension for Shea Theodore. [@GoldenKnights]
The Stars have been placed into DownGoesBrown’s “Middle-of-the-Pack Divsion” in his season preview: [The Athletic]
It’s official everyone: Seattle is building a hockey arena:
Seattle one step closer to NHL after arena plan approved https://t.co/lRsdBhr7U6— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) September 25, 2018
How do the Stars’ forwards stack up against the rest of the league? Greg Wyshnski ranks each of the teams’ forward core: [ESPN]
Presented to you with no context:
Sleep with one eye open tonight, bird. pic.twitter.com/wLmGBa0Oyh— Gritty (@GrittyNHL) September 24, 2018
Okay, you can have your context: the Philadelphia Flyers have a new mascot. And all jokes aside, he’s absolutely terrifying. So distract yourself from the horror with this:
Gritty is having a rough first day— SB Nation (@SBNation) September 25, 2018
Completely unrelated: here is a look at some of the most absurd mascots in NHL history: [NBC Sports]
Here’s a cool little story involving Radulov, a replica jersey, and one lucky fan:
So this is actually pretty cool.@DallasStars player Alexander Radulov had a terrible, crumpled jersey during one of the games. Someone from the Stars locker room approached a fan with a #47 @Fanatics Radulov jersey so he could swap it out on ice during the game #GoStars pic.twitter.com/OItkovat0I— Jeffrey Kahn (@jkahn_5) September 24, 2018