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Afterwords: Bishop Breaks Record, Breaks

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Aw, raspberries

NHL: Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

What comes next?

You’ve been freed

Do you know how hard it is to lead?

You’re on your own

Awesome. Wow.

Do you have a clue what happens now?

***

Quick hits on this one with another game coming hot and fresh tonight.

  • Ben Bishop didn’t face a shot on goal in the second period before exiting, so the guess here is that he was dealing with a nagging injury prior, was fighting through it, and decided to come out once the Stars had a solid three-goal lead. Obviously this is speculation, but I watched Bishop on the overhead camera for most of the second period before he exited, and he was pretty clearly uncomfortable in the crease from the opening whistle, so I’d bet something happened in the first period that carried over. Either way, it’s the most somber way to break a record I can imagine. Congratulations and condolences as needed.
  • The Stars are uniquely positioned to handle any time Bishop might miss, as if you didn’t know that. As for this weekend, I’d assume the team was planning to go with Anton Khudobin against Vegas anyhow. Still, you never want to lose your starting goaltender, and you really don’t want to lose them to a muscle injury weeks before the playoffs start.
  • We are now talking about playoffs, by the way. Sure, death and taxes, but given the Stars’ position, they’d need an unholy kind of resurgence by a couple of the teams trailing them to put things in doubt down the stretch. Not that a key injury doesn’t set them up for such vulnerabilities, but there’s a reason statistical models I trust have them at 95+% today.
  • That said, St. Louis got dunked on by A Team [feat. Ottawa Senators players], so maybe don’t chalk up any of those games against non-playoff teams just yet.
  • Also, Arizona? What is this, the Pacific Division in 2012? The Coyotes are just being weird now, but man, I kind of really want them to make the playoffs. And by “them,” I mean “the sixteen former Dallas Stars players on their roster.”

***

  • As for this game: This is what you should do against a middling team that doesn’t wake up on time. Dallas came out like a team dead-set on getting Bishop a record, and they generally strangled Minnesota’s offense all night long. Nothing like a low-event team against a lower-event offense to really tear the roof of Xcel Energy Center! The fans were not very excited about this game.
  • Now, I’m not here to make fun of world-class hockey players, but we can all enjoy the fact that Blake Comeau racked up another primary assist while falling down, right? That’s a good metaphor for his season, really. The aesthetics have been his mortal enemy at times, but Evolving Hockey has him as relatively fine net positive for Dallas, right alongside Jason Spezza. So I guess you call that a success, assuming the Stars don’t have better options there. You should probably have better options there, but here we are.
  • Joel L’Esperance scored his first goal, and that is a wonderful thing. Not every guy is going to be Roope Hintz—heck, even Roope Hintz wasn’t Roope Hintz for the first part of the season—but L’Esperance adds something that the Stars appear to need, and I’ll take that over the hockey play of Devin Shore, Fantastic Person right now.
  • The Wild’s only real scoring chances came on their only power play, which was one of the worse penalty calls I’ve seen lately:

Eric Staal drew a holding call against Hintz here, and okay, yeah that doesn’t look like much, but let’s maybe check closer and see what Hintz might have done just so we can understand where the official is coming from, maybe there’s something we

Oh, right, okay, yes, it is Utter Rubbish. Hintz’s hands never left his stick, but Eric Staal drew a penalty by forcibly giving a do-si-do with the old “Imma put my hand through here.” Pierre Lambert made the call, so let’s all congratulate Lambert for making it into the NHL full-time.

Well, we all make mistakes, and at least this didn’t end up being the goal that broke the streak or anything. But for the umpteenth time this year, we find ourselves saying: Poor Khudobin.

  • (Actually, Khudobin probably should have held onto that puck and not allowed a rebound, so it’s not like he’s faultless here either.)
  • Dallas held Minnesota without a shot on goal for about 15 minutes in the third period. It’s hard to overstate just how useless the Wild’s offense was in this one. I mean, what kind of comparison could we ever find to show just how inept a team was at putting the puck into the net, I just don’t

It was telling that, after going offside to sabotage his effort the first time around, Radulov had to resort to the old Blake Comeau and prostrate himself upon the ice to finally get things taken care of. But Radulov, like Comeau also, did just that.

  • These are the sorts of things that can drive lesser coaches to say things they regret. Radulov made a lazy play at the blue line to go offside, and it made things tougher for Dallas. Then Seguin tries to fire a puck through the back of an empty net, and catches it on end to launch it back to Dallas. I’ll tell you what: Devin Shore would have executed on both of those plays. But the Stars have plenty of Stalwarts, so you’re going to have to live with a howler now and then if you want to have the gamebreaking talent Dallas needs.
  • The defense was really smart in this one. Esa Lindell is really sneaky fun to watch when he’s playing with confidence. I’m still worried about the Stars’ second pairing in the playoffs, though. Really wish they’d have sorted that out last month, but the Stars are gonna dance with the one who brung ‘em, if they show up to the sock hop or whatever. (I don’t dance much.)
  • It is good to have great players on your team. Jamie Benn made a really great play to find time and wait for the lane to open up for L’Esperance, who had a lot of family at the game. I guess Minnesota isn’t that bad after all.