The Dallas Stars don’t play again until Wednesday, so it could be a long, slow weekend – except for the 2019 NHL All-Star Game. (Which still qualifies as a long, slow weekend in many books.) Why not inject a little Science! just to make it more fun?
Stats wizard Dom Luszczyszyn did exactly this for his latest piece in The Athletic. He qualifies up front that his calculations are really just a way “to highlight some of the amazing seasons being had by the players representing each division.”
But he doesn’t give the Central Division much of a chance, claiming they’re represented by the “weakest” skating core among all divisions. And the shots fired get real as he lists someone near and dear to our Victory Green hearts among the Lowlights:
Miro Heiskanen is having a nice season for a rookie – just not for an All-Star. I get it, all the other Stars are playing like horseshit, but that doesn’t make the first year defender look less out of place.
Although, in his Snubs section, he does suggest that a certain netminder deserved to be included:
Amazingly, the guy leading the Predators in scoring on defence this year isn’t Roman Josi, nor is it P.K. Subban (though he missed time with injury) – it’s Mattias Ekholm. He’s by far the biggest omission here, especially now that the defensive stalwart is on a surprising 59-point pace. Ben Bishop warrants consideration too.
Presumably, Dom may have changed his tune a little after watching Miro last night. He was the only blueliner, and the fastest rookie, to compete as Fastest Skater – one of the marquee events in the annual skills competition.
There’s more behind the paywall. [The Athletic]
Miro spoke for the camera after finishing a blistering fourth in Fastest Skater and talked about That Spill that started the evening.
You’ve already read Taylor’s article on the selection of the Nashville Predators to the 2020 Winter Classic. Sean Shapiro adds that the entertainment factor has multiple meanings:
According to Stars president Brad Alberts, Nashville made the most sense for a number of reasons. Divisional rival, team trending up, team Dallas could play in playoffs at some point, also a good chance to sell the music element of the two cities with the connections there— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) January 25, 2019
And the hype begins...now.
Dallas Stars vs. Nashville Predators at the Cotton Bowl in the Winter Classic. This is the correct call.— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) January 25, 2019
Take a look at the reaction from our sister site, On The Forecheck.
Around The League(s)
Puck and player tracking is coming to stay, as Gary Bettman talks up how the technology will enter standard use next year.
How will the data be used? Not for determining future raises, says the NHLPA:
One of the "protections" Mathieu Schneider refers to on puck and player tracking is teams cannot use data in salary arbitration.— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) January 25, 2019
Kendall Coyne is 5'2" and she's like a second behind McDavid's time from the last ASG. That is absurd. She is blindingly fast.— Andrew Berkshire (@AndrewBerkshire) January 26, 2019
The clip closes with one of a handful of super-cringey Pierre “You Know No One Wants To Lose To You, Right?” McGuire moments that prompted reactions like these:
At the arena, so I didn't see it in real time, but did Pierre's interactions with Kendall Coyne break the record for most problematic in the shortest amount of time? #NHLAllStar— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) January 26, 2019
Elsewhere, Johnny Gaudreau beat Patrick Kane to win the Puck Control competition for the second year in a row. Make this man the face of the USA in the NHL now.
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
There’s still hockey in Austin Metro, and the Texas Stars broke their recent losing streak with a hard-fought 5-4 victory over the Stockton Heat last night.
Denis Gurianov’s scoring touch is a gift that keeps on giving as he prepares for an All-Star appearance of his own.
Denis Gurianov scored in the 2nd period tonight and is preparing to take the ice for his 1st All-Star Classic after the weekend. pic.twitter.com/UhnlwlfnxK— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) January 26, 2019
The mascots have landed. Enjoy.