The Dallas Stars made big headlines last Friday for the wrong reasons. The aftershocks almost drowned out what would have been much bigger news under different circumstances: The organization has finally, finally landed an NHL Winter Classic, to be held in the Cotton Bowl.
Say what you will about NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, but he’s a hard man to shock, and even harder to knock off message. Sean Shapiro of The Athletic DFW participated in a media call with Bettman and reports his comments on the choice of Fair Park as a 2020 destination:
We’ve constantly tried to focus on unique and special situations, and that speaks to the markets or to iconic venues. In Dallas, we have the benefit of accomplishing both. We are going to a — quote, newer, but it’s really not so new, market — and we’re are going to an iconic venue. We’re putting the Cotton Bowl back in play on New Year’s Day.
Bettman addressed the state of the Stars as an organization...
Whether it’s been Tom Gaglardi’s commitment to the team, or to the American Airlines Center, or to the city of Dallas, particularly with the Dr Pepper rinks, this is a team that is committed to the community, is involved in grassroots program and is involved in growing the fan base, whether or not there is the occasional frustration on the ice in terms of performance isn’t how you define a team long term. All the vital signs are great for this franchise for the Stars long term.
...as well as the controversy surrounding Jim Lites’ public flaying of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin as team leaders:
I’m rarely shocked anymore, I’ve been doing this a long time. When I saw it, people can draw their own conclusions as to whether or not somebody in a similar situation would do the same thing. But I think more than anything it speaks to the frustration, of which is everybody wants to be doing better.
Sean has more under the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]
The fallout from Lites’ comments continued as the NHL Players’ Association weighed in:
Sean Shapiro devotes several paragraphs to the situation in his latest roundup.
Shap Shots: Giving honest thoughts on the Benn and Seguin vs. Lites saga https://t.co/BvynGc77b9— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) December 31, 2018
And the Captain and Segs are a big topic in a new NHL.com mailbag.
Around The League(s)
#Death In The Winter
- The Chicago Blackhawks lost another Winter Classic as the Boston Bruins’ power play (and Tuukka Rask) carried the day in Notre Dame Stadium, 4-2. [Stanley Cup Of Chowder]
- Other teams get to play on New Year’s Day, too, and the Nashville Predators celebrated with a 4-0 shutout of the Philadelphia Flyers. [On The Forecheck]
The #MurderDeathKill Division got another big win – namely, the 2020 NHL All-Star Game.
It's a great time to be a fan of the Calgary Flames or Winnipeg Jets.https://t.co/IRuyJmaP9R— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 2, 2019
Because it’s never too early to talk about the offseason, apparently, Brian Costello takes a look at what the goalie market might look like. [The Hockey News]
Also at THN, Jared Clinton sums up the action so far from the 2019 World Juniors.
World Juniors Notebook: Russia, Sweden take top spots in group actionhttps://t.co/CqUC6Ev0qd— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) January 1, 2019
But Team Canada captain (and Anaheim Ducks prospect) Max Comtois seems determined to steal the show.
Max Comtois' penchant for embellishment is not going unnoticed. Especially by Russia. https://t.co/yepMceWD2n— Yahoo Sports Canada (@YahooCASports) January 1, 2019
I’ll just leave this here. Enjoy.