With the Dallas Stars now just over halfway through the season, it’s as good a time as any to bust out the report cards and give some midseason grades.
Sean Shapiro went through and evaluated each player, and it should be no surprise that Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin made easy A’s:
Bishop should have made the NHL All-Star game. He leads the Western Conference in save percentage and has been a stabilizing and calming force for a defense that has used 12 different players.
Khudobin has made a habit of stealing points for the Stars and in his most recent outing, set a franchise record with a 49-save shutout. The Russian netminder has stabilized the franchise’s backup goalie position and the team seems to feed off his energy in key moments.
Shapiro also graded the coaching staff as well as the front office, the latter of which got a D+/C-:
While Lites made the infamous comments, Jim Nill co-signed the hockey language and the idea that this is the best team he’s built in the Gaglardi era. That’s not true, and many of Nill’s big bets have not panned out. Hanzal, Nichuhskin, and Comeau have failed to help the team diversify its scoring.
You can read more behind the paywall: [The Athletic]
Man, what a fun win over the Washington Capitals. Let’s take a look at some highlights, shall we?
First up was Tyler Seguin, who opened up the scoring:
...and here’s Seguin again with the second goal, the OT game-winner:
If I’m correct, the Three Stars of the Game would have been picked before the OT goal. But even if they were picked afterwards, Khudobin would have likely still been the First Star. I mean just look at this:
Wait a minute... am I happy right now? Can’t have that, so here’s Jim Montgomery to get the pessimistic juices flowing again:
"Our struggles come from when we have success. We get way too comfortable and we have games like we did tonight." Monty gives some honest feedback on tonight's game. pic.twitter.com/pMXI2LGdlY— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) January 5, 2019
In other news, Miro Heiskanen shows some love for fellow rookie Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks:
Miro Heiskanen showing fellow rookie @luka7doncic some love before warm ups tonight.— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) January 5, 2019
Make sure to vote @dallasmavs Luka Doncic to the #NBAAllStar Game! https://t.co/OZWquhMK7c pic.twitter.com/XLUf2KZksi
Defending Big D founder Brandon Worley gives his thoughts on the whole CEO Jim Lites saga, including whether or not the Stars really want an “honest” media: [Mooterati]
I could write a whole piece on the following comments (and probably will), so I’ll just keep quiet for now:
Jim Montgomery on Val Nichushkin, who he says has never been a goal scorer pic.twitter.com/gAxiTiXRpF— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) January 4, 2019
- The Nashville Predators picked up a point, but ultimately fell to the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 in overtime. [Winging It In Motown]
- Elsewhere, the Winnipeg Jets weren’t so lucky, as they lost 4-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are currently riding an eight-game winning streak. [Pensburgh]
- Speaking of streaks, the Colorado Avalanche finally snapped their seven-game losing streak with a 6-1 win over the New York Rangers. [Blueshirt Banter]
The Avalanche won mostly due to their dominating top line, but don’t let that overshadow their problems:
Without depth to support the top unit, the free-falling Avalanche won't be able to hang with top teams. So now is the time for Colorado to address one of its biggest issues, writes @THNJaredClintonhttps://t.co/wNTgAQUXz9— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) January 4, 2019
Continue to enjoy it while it lasts, everyone. Which is hopefully for quite some time.
Around the League
This picture has different meaning today... 3 days, 3 NHL clubs. Lots of miles. Ottawa, Vancouver, Philadelphia. What is "later" when you kiss your kids and say "See you later"? https://t.co/adtpeO2AFL— Roman Jedlicka (@jedli) January 4, 2019
Greg Wyshynski weighs in on the NHL’s youth movement in his latest Wysh List: [ESPN]
Speaking of young hockey players: USA! USA! USA!
U.S. outlasts Russia, advances to world juniors gold-medal game https://t.co/JXpmo1rGDW— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) January 5, 2019
Down Goes Brown comes up with a fun spin on the Lites comments in his latest Grab Bag: [The Athletic]
I think Ovechkin deserves a break from the All Star Game, but don’t tell that to Brett Hull:
Brett Hull says "the fans deserve to see a superstar like" Alex Ovechkin at the All-Star Game.https://t.co/zFxsodyIOh— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 4, 2019
The Dallas Stars Foundation 2019 calendar is out now, and you should get one because dogs: