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Dallas Stars Biweekly Links: Roman Polák On Staying Home

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The defender from Ostrava talks about why he probably isn’t coming back to Dallas, even for the NHL postseason. Plus, Botterill is out in Buffalo, Canada’s tricky path to hosting a hub city, and more.

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NHL: Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, Dallas Stars fans woke up to the news that defender Roman Polak has decided to stay home permanently. The 14-year NHL veteran has signed a three-year deal to play in the Czech Extraliga — and even though the contract technically requires him to finish his NHL season with the Stars, GM Jim Nill has promised to honor Polak’s wish to remain in his home country.

Polak himself says the impetus to play NHL hockey just isn’t there anymore. The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro has posted a new piece on the latest developments, with Polak’s quotes, originally in Czech, translated by journalist Jiri Vitek:

“When Stephen Johns started playing again after a two-year break caused by concussions, they gave him big ice time,” Polak said. “Our coach told me and Andrej Sekera that we will be rotating. I play one game, Andrej plays another game. It was difficult to find motivation because (it) doesn’t matter how well or badly I play, I won’t play next game in any case. And Andrej had the same opinion as me.”

Polak said, “Sometimes, I was sitting on the bench asking myself, ‘What am I doing here? I don’t want to be here.’”

So who stands to gain if the Stars field a playoffs team without Polak? Followers are already fancasting hot prospect Thomas Harley, but Shapiro thinks the real winner will be another veteran presence:

If Polak doesn’t come back to Dallas, Sekera would likely be the beneficiary. Sekera would have little competition for the sixth defenseman spot alongside Jamie Oleksiak in the playoff lineup, while Taylor Fedun would move up the depth chart to seventh after getting bumped to the eighth defenseman role. He hasn’t played in the NHL since Jan. 11.

There’s more under the link. [The Athletic DFW]


Stars Stuff

John Klingberg told NHL Now that he misses his teammates, which means we all have something in common now.

Best wishes to Andrea and Ben Bishop as they welcome another little Bish!

Iron man Andrew Cogliano celebrated his 33rd birthday on Flag Day.

Around The League(s)

Jason Botterill couldn’t build a successful team around Jack Eichel, so Kim Pegula has reversed her own statement that the Buffalo Sabres weren’t looking for a new GM.

Can Vancouver, Edmonton, or Toronto compete for hub-city status — and how would the NHL deal with Canada’s 14-day quarantine rule?

It’s not hockey-related, but Ezekiel Elliott is Exhibit A for asymptomatic people still being COVID-positive — and how important testing and contact tracing will be when play returns.

Meanwhile, the CBC is asking the question you’re thinking.

Finally

Bruce LeVine is not considering a job with the Florida Panthers. He just really, really misses Stars games.