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Dallas Stars Daily Links: On Stephen Johns And His Possible Return

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Not even the team knows what to expect – but they’re looking forward to finding out. Plus, Auston Matthews has one for the vaults, the Stars make moves in the Power Rankings, and more.

NHL: Winter Classic-Practice Day Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

At first, those photos of Stephen Johns at the Winter Classic were a bitter kind of sweet for Dallas Stars fans. It was good to see the blueliner back on the ice and joining the march of the cowboy outfits, even as we lamented his absence from the lineup – and wondered if we’d ever see him skate in anger again.

With the news that Johns was on his way to Cedar Park for a conditioning stint, those photos began to look like a teaser of a different kind.

But what can we expect from a player who’s been on the injured list since training camp in 2018? The team itself is still waiting for the answer to that question, as Stars senior staff writer Mike Heika reports:

”I really couldn’t tell you the answer,” [GM Jim] Nill said when asked about specifics. “It’s a medical thing. He’s had to go through this process, and he’s gone through it and done a good job. There’s been some highs and some lows, and he’s battled through it.”...

“This has been the most encouraging we’ve had, most encouraging,” Nill said. “You guys have watched practice, he’s been out there practicing. We’ve got a coaching staff that has really never seen him play before. They’ve been like, ‘Wow, this guy is looking pretty good.’ Talking to Stephen, he’s in a good place in his life right now. So he’s excited to get going.”

And interim bench boss Rick Bowness has enough experience coaching defensemen to be excited about coaching Johns:

[Bowness] joined the coaching staff last season and has never seen him play a game. He said when he looked at film of Johns playing before in the NHL, he was impressed.

”It was tantalizing to watch him,” Bowness said. “I can’t wait to work with that guy. It’s unfortunate that I haven’t seen him play yet in a year and a half. He’s got a lot of great assets out there and he’s looked good in practice, I look forward to working with him.”

There’s more at Mike’s place. [Dallas Stars]


Stars Stuff

The Stars started their California road trip with a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Here’s Jamie Benn scoring a second-period equalizer on the power play:

Anton Khudobin was in goal for the victory, stopping 30 of 31 shots.

Sean Shapiro’s write-up includes some interesting not-so-fancy stats.

And Matthew DeFranks has the receipts.

Around The League(s)

#Murder Was The Case

This happened in spite of Auston Matthews’ eighth (8th) two-goal game of the season so far, and an achievement no American player has reached before.

Rasmus Andersson is only in his second NHL season, but the Calgary Flames know what they like.

The Stars are on the move in the latest Power Rankings.

Are the Nashville Predators looking to shake up their roster as well as their management? Lyle Richardson has the latest.

Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park

It’s going to be a big weekend in Austin Metro as the Texas Stars prepare to host the Toronto Marlies.

This means you (yeah, you) can be among the first to see Stephen Johns in action again.

Finally

Svengoolie? Check. Bueller? Check. Ditka? Bird Check. The Chicago Blackhawks have re-embodied some local icons for ’80s Night, and I don’t care who you are.... Enjoy.