The hockey season is never over until it’s over. Ask the Dallas Stars, who were fighting to stay in a Central Division playoffs spot a month ago. Ask the St. Louis Blues, who looked ready to glide to the No. 1 position and watch the Stars and the Colorado Avalanche beat each other up for the chance to take them on in the second round.
Things have changed – the Victory Green Gang is now tied with the Blues at the top of the Murder Death Kill Division. But other things haven’t – the Stars are keeping their heads down and playing for two points at a time, writes Mike Heika:
...[I]n the span of just over a month, the Stars have found a way to align their chaotic season and the Blues have stumbled at times, meaning that when the two teams meet Friday at American Airlines Center (and then again Feb. 29 in St. Louis), there will be a lot more on the line.
Win these two games, and you could go a long way toward winning a Central Division championship. Lose, and your opponent gets the leg up in trying to get not only another banner, but possibly a much better path in the playoffs.
The Stars’ focus on playing their own game has paid off so far, and in that regard alone, it’s worth continuing:
Truth be told, they have needed to focus on themselves. Bowness took over as head coach on Dec. 10 and has shuffled his lines and defensive pairs around. He had not deployed forwards on a regular basis since he was coach of the Coyotes back in 2004, so that was a transition. The organization handed responsibility for the defense over to John Stevens and called up Derek Laxdal from the AHL to help with the power play....
”We keep as much focus on us and our play as anything,” Bowness said of how much he looks at the standings or the trade deadline or even the next opponent. “Do we watch what the opposition is doing? Certainly, but not to the point that we can get distracted. If you get distracted by the other team, you take away from the details that you want your team to focus on.”
There’s more at Mike’s place. [Dallas Stars]
Here’s one more reason not to miss tonight’s game.
The new Jamie Benn bobblehead promises to be the cherry on the sundae.
Bobbleheads are so realistic these days.— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) February 20, 2020
Arrive early and add this classic to your collection! The first 10,000 fans through the gates Friday get this Jamie Benn #WinterClassic bobblehead. #STLvsDAL | #GoStars pic.twitter.com/HHpBrVCcGc
Thanks to our amazing fans, we raised over $10,000 for @YouCanPlayTeam from @DallasStars Pride shirt sales last night.— Dallas Stars Foundation (@DS_Foundation) February 20, 2020
Help us raise some more money for this great organization- shirts are now available online at https://t.co/fE45qoHOh5. pic.twitter.com/JqoV7AuYOo
Around The League(s)
#Murder Was The Case
- Mark Scheifele scored a hat trick as the Winnipeg Jets downed the Ottawa Senators, 5-1. [Silver Seven]
- Jordan Binnington got another shutout in the St. Louis Blues’ 1-0 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. [NHL]
The Alex Ovechkin watch is back on. He could score his 700th goal on Saturday.
ONE AWAY: #Capitals' Alex Ovechkin scores his 699th career goal in first period against #Canadiens. He was held off the scoreboard for five straight games after scoring 14 in his previous seven outings. #NHL— SportsCentre (@SportsCentre) February 21, 2020
MORE: https://t.co/iaOrLak81W pic.twitter.com/dKipcY9nPz
Will the Colorado Avalanche trade for an experienced goalie to help fill the gap left by the injured Philipp Grubauer?
It’s been a busy week for NHL trades. Ryan Kennedy and Matt Larkin discuss winners and losers in a new vodcast.
The best trade of the past week was _________.https://t.co/iUNzhGAjGL— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) February 21, 2020
Also at THN: Seven players who could benefit from a little fresh air, from Jimmy Howard to P.K. Subban.
The trade market doesn't have a ton of gripping storylines, but there are opportunities for teams to take a flier on a struggling player and make out like bandits.— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) February 21, 2020
@THNStevenEllis on seven players who could prosper in a new environment:https://t.co/oNO7Uhyhk6
The Québec Major Junior Hockey League has postponed a vote on a fighting ban until summer, perhaps hoping that whole traumatic-brain-injury thing will go away before then.
QMJHL leadership will vote on the future of hockey fights TONIGHT https://t.co/MpFDqC3kQR— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) February 20, 2020
Calgary Flames assistant GM Chris Snow has received a terrible diagnosis – but he’s also receiving a new gene therapy that could slow the progression of ALS.
Chris Snow’s ALS diagnosis has been a tough journey for him and his family. His wife Kelsie on how a shot pinging off the crossbar became a sign of hope:https://t.co/pEoq9Iethx— SI NHL (@SI_NHL) February 19, 2020
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
High scorer Joel Kiviranta is back just in time for the Pink in the Rink back-to-back.
The Pink in the Rink jerseys are IN and they are NICE.— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) February 21, 2020
Bidding starts tomorrow, February 21st at 2:00 p.m. and ends on Saturday, February 22nd at 9:00 p.m. through the @DASHauction app.
More info: https://t.co/nj8hOUKlfZ
️: https://t.co/dHERzFPBJu pic.twitter.com/L8Vo3teFB3
Ringo the Ringtail knows how to make an entrance.
An NHL scout posted this. I’m just leaving it here. Discuss.