The Dallas Stars came within inches of making the Western Conference Final in 2019. That’s a great outcome for a team trending upward. They also haven’t made the Stanley Cup playoffs in consecutive seasons since 2008. That’s a difficult history that will take more than good summer press to overcome.
Brett Amadon took a good look at what the Stars are doing to get off the struggle bus for NHL.com’s 31 in 31 series. Hiring Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry was at the top of the list for the low-scoring squad:
“What those guys mean is more gritty goals in dirty areas,” [head coach Jim] Montgomery said. “Part of our team process is to win the net-front battle, and we should be able to do it at a higher success rate this year than we did last year.
”That’s on the ice. But off the ice, it’s how to be a pro; it’s the details, the work ethic that it takes to be a high-level player in this League in the regular season. Not for 60 of 82 (games), but for 82 of 82.”
But a new hire in the coaching department could have just as much of an impact, Amadon writes:
[John] Stevens, whose relationship with Montgomery dates to their playing days with Philadelphia in the American Hockey League in 1997-98, coached the Los Angeles Kings to the playoffs in his first season in 2017-18 before being fired 13 games into last season following a 4-8-1 start.
”If you look at his pedigree, he’s won championships as a player and as a coach at multiple levels, and that’s not something that’s easy to do,” Montgomery said. “I think where John is going to help us the most is going to be our 5-on-5 play, especially in the offensive zone, and on face-offs.”
There’s more under the link, and it’s free – including the video preview from Mike Johnson and Dan Rosen, which features a good look at “X factor” Roope Hintz. [NHL]
From Alexander Radulov doing Rad things to Anton Khudobin not mixing in, Stephanie Vail, a.k.a. @NHLGIFS, picks the best of the Stars’ season. Enjoy.
It was Stars all weekend as NBC Sports got in on the preview action, too
Around The League(s)
There’s always hockey somewhere, and the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup provided some real thrills during Team Russia’s ride to victory.
Russia defeated Canada 3-2 in the final of the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup under-18 hockey tournament https://t.co/y95pE76Zn4— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) August 10, 2019
It can be fascinating to see how both elites and prospects challenge themselves during the offseason. Joe Quinn of Power Edge Pro talks about his regimen from his Toronto camp.
.@PEPHockey's Joe Quinn works with many of the NHL’s top stars, including Connor McDavid and John Tavares. @THNRyanKennedy talked to Quinn about how his system trains players and some of the skilled players he gets to work with.https://t.co/4AF4z54Jm5— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) August 11, 2019
I think we can all join Robin Lehner in a collective facepalm.
Robin Lehner's Masterton Trophy from the NHL was... engraved with the wrong team name https://t.co/rlzPbYSC8E— SI NHL (@SI_NHL) August 11, 2019
May Day’s new gear is one more thing to look forward to when we’re all back in American Airlines Center. Enjoy this preview.