If you told me the Dallas Stars hadn’t played a game in 2019, I’d probably believe you. I mean, I know it’s only been a week or so, but it feels like a lifetime since I last watched a Stars hockey game.
Thankfully, the time for despair is over. The Stars will resume their season tonight against the Buffalo Sabres at home. And one of the biggest stories of the evening will be the homecoming of Jamie Oleksiak:
“I wasn’t going to be surprised because we had some guys coming back in Pittsburgh, and when I heard it was Dallas it threw me off guard,” Oleksiak said. “A million emotions run through my head. I am glad to be here now. It’s always a little bit easier when you know guys in the room. Obviously, a new coaching staff but I think it’s been a pretty good transition so far.”
Oleksiak spent a little more than a year with the Pittsburgh Penguins before being traded back to Dallas. And the Stars’ former 1st rounder hopes to bring to the table more than a fancy new contract:
“Got a lot more experience under my belt, a little more comfortable in certain situations, and a little more confidence in my game and whatnot,” Oleksiak said. “I am just going to keep trying to build off that. I’ve kind of learned to not worry about the little things and look at the bigger picture. No matter what happens on the ice -- good or bad -- I stick to my game and help the team get wins.”
You can read more from Mark Stepneski here.
Other Stars News
Since No. 5 is currently taken by Connor Carrick, Oleksiak will be wearing No. 2 for his second stint in Dallas. Here’s how he’ll factor into the lineup:
Monty was pretty clear that the expectation is to have Oleksiak in the lineup every night. And noted it was obvious that Klingberg, Lindell, Heiskanen, and Polak were staples.— Josh Bogorad (@JoshBogorad) January 29, 2019
So, as he put it, it’s competition for that 6th spot. And for the moment, it belongs to Fedun.
And here’s the first look at him back in a Stars (practice) uniform:
Some other, minor roster updates:
The Dallas Stars have recalled center Roope Hintz from Texas (AHL).— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) January 29, 2019
Also, the Stars have placed right wing Tyler Pitlick (upper body) on injured reserve retroactive to Jan. 17.
Around the League
Artemi Panarin is no longer willing to discuss an extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets mid-season. Is it time for the two to part ways?
When it comes to Artemi Panarin, the Blue Jackets are in a bind. And with no certainty about a contract extension, it might be best for Columbus to move him and ensure he's not lost for nothing, writes @THNJaredClintonhttps://t.co/PADYhvvXSF— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) January 29, 2019
For what it’s worth, Columbus management seems ready to move on if necessary, though what “necessary” means is anyone’s guess. [NBC Sports]
I know being a borderline playoff team sucks, but it’s kind of nice knowing the Stars aren’t in prime “Lose for Hughes” territory:
New post: NHL teams never tank, because Gary Bettman says so. But if they did, which ones would be in the best position down the stretch to Choose to Lose for Hughes? Find out in the Tank Index. https://t.co/iC0SkVmdIA pic.twitter.com/tYJRmVVyVY— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown) January 29, 2019
Most people assume Elias Pettersson will win the Calder Trophy, but at least Miro Heiskanen is getting some attention:
Beyond Pettersson: A look at the rest of the Calder Trophy field https://t.co/oGRkKORWW2— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) January 29, 2019
Bad(?) news for the Nashville Predators, who will be without Austin Watson for the forseeable future:
The NHLPA and NHL announced today that Predators forward Austin Watson has been placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program.— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) January 29, 2019
Watson will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by program administrators. https://t.co/sApzCUnZ2O
The new player tracking data will be cool, yet at the same time disappointing due to a lack of access for fans: