It’s fun to be a Dallas Stars fan again, so of course the question on many minds is, “How long will it last?” Has the Victory Green gang turned a corner, or is their current success a statistical correction before they inevitably hit another wall?
Sean Shapiro took this question on as part of his latest Mailbag. His answer could provide a thrill of hope for a weary fan base:
In my view, the biggest structural change with the Stars — which comes from both the coaches and the players — comes in the offensive zone, where they’ve gone from playing defense 200 feet away from their net to focusing on offense. This starts with the forecheck, where Dallas was always aggressive, but they actually became aggressive trying to use the forecheck to create instant offense. This was key to unlocking some of the depth scoring.
The team has also adapted to a sliding scale rather than a switch when it comes to the balance of hard work and creativity. Hard work is important, but simply working harder at the same thing doesn’t change anything. Dallas started working smarter in the offensive zone, and there was more of an emphasis on creativity.
He also dives into the issue of who isn’t getting enough credit for their work...
Nationally, it’s still Miro Heiskanen. There should be more hype about his performance this season, and I haven’t seen much of it outside of Dallas.
Locally, I think the contributions of Jamie Oleksiak and Taylor Fedun have flown under the radar. We’ve acknowledged their impact, but at times a team can only be as strong as its third pairing.
...and the Texas Stars’ shocking season to date:
Texas is an example of what happens when you don’t have the organizational depth to surround your prospects. The prospects either sink or swim, and you don’t have the other pieces to keep things moving while they figure it out. In the past, Dallas would place players like Justin Dowling, Travis Morin and Curtis McKenzie in the AHL to keep things moving when the prospects were struggling. They’re gone, and the replacement leadership group hasn’t been as effective with their on-ice play.
I’m not worried about Stars prospects because of a bad AHL record this season, just like I wasn’t overly high on Stars prospects because they went to the Calder Cup Final in 2018. When setting a worrisome scale on prospects, I look at the individual player as opposed to the AHL team’s win-loss record.
There’s much more behind the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]
How about that captain, huh? Jeff Odom takes a look at Jamie Benn’s return to greatness.
Because there’s never an overdose of Beast Mode Benn, go ahead and watch that GWG on repeat.
JAMIE BENN. TAKE CONTROL.— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) November 22, 2019
The Captain forces a turnover and turns into a one-man wrecking crew on his way to the net! He scores and the @DallasStars regain the lead at 4-3! It's punch-for-punch right now at the AAC! #GoStars | : @FOXSportsSW pic.twitter.com/cZ9nsnZwu8
Around The League(s)
#Murder Was The Case
- Jordan Binnington stopped 40 shots as the St. Louis Blues blanked the Calgary Flames 5-0. [Matchsticks & Gasoline]
- The Nashville Predators continued an alarming slide by giving up five (5) power-play goals in a 6-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. [On The Forecheck]
- The Minnesota Wild meted out the Central-on-Central violence, defeating the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in regulation. [Hockey Wilderness]
- And the Chicago Blackhawks were on the wrong end of a Tampa Bay Lightning comeback, losing 4-2 after giving up a two-goal lead. [Second City Hockey]
The Toronto Maple Leafs have at least a little to be happy about now that a new bench boss is in town.
You know what the say...'change is good'— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) November 22, 2019
The NHL Awards are a big deal, but what’s the value of being The Man on your own team? Jared Clinton takes a look at the difference makers, but he put a spoiler in this photo.
We're starting to get a look at which players are the leaders for individual awards, but which players have been the MVPs for their respective NHL teams?@THNJaredClinton with more:https://t.co/greQIPKonC— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) November 22, 2019
The Philadelphia Flyers’ embodiment of chaos is now a more-or-less official cultural influencer. Take a long look at the weird appeal of Gritty, and mascots like him.
Ben Bishop turned 33 yesterday. Let us now give thanks. Enjoy.