To the joy of Dallas Stars fans everywhere, Stephen Johns is finally back in the NHL after being sidelined for more than a year due to post-traumatic headaches. He made his season debut against the Minnesota Wild before the bye week, though he’ll still need more time to get back into the swing of things:
“There’s going to be an adjustment period to getting my game back to where it was,” Johns said after playing 18:29 with two shots on goal and two hits. “Obviously, there’s a big adjustment to the speed and size of the players because I haven’t played in such a long time. There’s going to be an adjustment to pretty much everything you can think of.”
But what probably excites Stars fans even more is that Johns’ return means the team will finally be carrying eight defensemen once more. And Dallas will have a very busy February, so interim head coach Rick Bowness plans to use them all:
“We’re running into a very busy and heavy part of our schedule, so we’re fortunate to be in the position that we have eight NHL defensemen,” Bowness said. “That being said, they all want to play and there are only six spots, so it’s going to be tough on the guys who are asked to sit out for the team. But they also know they are all going to play — 15 games in 29 days in February, and two tough games this week.
You can read more from Mike Heika here.
After what feels like 10,000 years, hockey is back in Dallas! Here’s what the Stars’ lineup might look like tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning:
Heiskanen, Johns, Faksa expected to play vs. Tampa. Stars practiced like this Sunday:— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) January 26, 2020
There are no breaks in coaching — here’s how Rick Bowness spent his bye week:
Dallas comes in at about the halfway mark in Scott Wheeler’s prospect pool rankings, thanks due largely to the team’s top prospects:
In case you missed it — and who would blame you? — the Pacific Division won this year’s NHL All-Star Game:
Connor McDavid set up Tomas Hertl for the winner as the Pacific squeezed by the Atlantic 5-4.https://t.co/zhDKp50wHB— #NHLAllStar on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) January 26, 2020
And now as per annual tradition, it’s time to complain about said event:
Everything about the All-Star Game, from the Skills Competition to the low-effort 3-on-3 tournament, is broken. @THNKenCampbell on why the event continues to do nothing to showcase the game:https://t.co/jL5DH9k67L— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) January 26, 2020
Player tracking has finally arrived. Is that, uhh, a good thing?
The puck and player tracking you saw at the all-star game is coming to the NHL playoffs.— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) January 25, 2020
What did you think of the tracking technology? https://t.co/pKlsNegLQ8
As you’ve no doubt heard by now, NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna passed away yesterday in a helicopter crash with seven others. All of us at Defending Big D send our condolences to those affected by the tragedy. Here’s what various NHL personalities had to say about the late Bryant: