The Dallas Stars officially entered their NHL All-Star break with Saturday’s victory over the Winnipeg Jets. It’s a good opportunity to take a look at how they’re playing – and whether the change Jim Montgomery meant to bring has taken hold.
Sean Shapiro of The Athletic DFW has checked the tape, and he’s found...what appears to be some holdover Hitch hockey. The Stars are second in icings at this point in the season with 256 so far – and that runs counter to the stated mission:
In a Q&A with The Athletic back in July, Montgomery said that the Stars’ secondary scoring would go up just because of cleaner entries.
That hasn’t happened. Neither secondary scoring nor cleaner entries have become a consistent staple of this club. There are games where it happens in bunches, and in those cases, things tend to go well. But on an overall basis, the Stars really aren’t the poster children for clean entries.
With the help of Corey Sznajder’s pioneering work in tracking game events by hand, Shapiro drops players into four categories. First are those who regularly make clean attempts at zone entries (e.g. Mattias Janmark, Alexander Radulov and Miro Heiskanen), followed by those with fewer attempts but above-average success (such as Tyler Seguin, John Klingberg and Julius Honka).
The dump-and-chasers include Radek Faksa and Roman Polak, while those with few attempts and low carry-in success include Jason Dickinson and Esa Lindell. What does this say about the team’s adherence to the system?
Players like the blueprint. Andrew Cogliano has played thrice against the Stars and recently joined the team. He said it’s a system “designed for the future of the NHL.” The problem is the Stars aren’t building off the blueprint, and too often go to the old habit of dumping the puck in.
Dallas also has a propensity to attack along the wall when they do enter the zone. Other teams have read into that and almost cheat that way, putting themselves in a better position to pinch off the play. Montgomery wants the Stars to take the middle more often. He’s told the Stars as much, and multiple players said it’s something that they need to better realize as a group. ...
Personally, I think the blueprint is the right one. From that perspective, Montgomery is probably taking a bit more of a beating than he should on social media. But from an application standpoint, this brings in a bigger question: do the Stars have the players who can actually play off this blueprint, and is Montgomery able to really teach it as the Stars had hoped?
There’s much more under the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]
Mark Stepneski checks in with defender Taylor Fedun, who’s having a much better season than he’d dared to hope for in the AHL.
When a player gets traded, their fortunes can change drastically. For Taylor Fedun, he went from fighting for ice time as a veteran in the minors to helping save Dallas' season. https://t.co/y2dUe9Vuru— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) January 21, 2019
ICYMI, WFAA put together a heartwarming story about young Stars fan Anderson McDuffie and his dream day with the team.
Don’t tell anybody, but I think John Klingberg may have been embellishing....
Never forget the McDuffie vs. Klingberg scrap of 2019. pic.twitter.com/0MIvAR0ewB— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) January 21, 2019
And here are a few photos of Tyler Seguin looking all Blue Steel in his Texas Rangers warmup sweater, just for grins.
Around The League(s)
#Kill Your Darlings
- Veteran G Pekka Rinne won the day for the temporarily Ryan Johansen - less Nashville Predators as they defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-1. [On The Forecheck]
- MacKenzie MacEachern opened the scoring with his first NHL tally, but the St. Louis Blues blew a two-goal lead in a 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. [St. Louis Game Time]
- On the other end of the career spectrum, Mikko Koivu scored his 200th NHL goal during the Minnesota Wild’s 4-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. [Hockey Wilderness]
The Carolina Hurricanes won’t run the risk of precipitous last-minute negotiations with star forward Teuvo Teravainen. #UNeedAFinn2Win
JUST IN: #Hurricanes sign Teuvo Teravainen to five-year, $27 million contract extension. Teravainen was scheduled to be restricted free agent July 1. #NHL— SportsCentre (@SportsCentre) January 21, 2019
MORE: https://t.co/NV69mKLl9Y pic.twitter.com/F7BJ000JOb
The list of teams who have struggled the most recently has a few surprising names:
Breaking news: Jack Hughes is good. Really, really good.
17-year-old centre has 53 points in 27 games for U.S. under-18 team https://t.co/DKivvxhrXw— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) January 22, 2019
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
The Texas Stars lost an early lead, and last night’s game, to the Tucson Roadrunners, 6-3.
You’ve seen them on TV in their Stars-themed vestments. Now meet Chris and Jerry, the hockey fans who put “Your Goaliness” in the AAC. Enjoy.