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]
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!
Help us welcome the newest member of the Stars family, James Andrew Bishop!— x-Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) June 15, 2020
Ben and Andrea welcomed their second son on June 13 at 2:22 AM. Both Andrea and James are doing great! pic.twitter.com/vkEFjkEkPy
Iron man Andrew Cogliano celebrated his 33rd birthday on Flag Day.
Join us in wishing a very happy birthday to Cogs! @PMStandleys | #GoStars pic.twitter.com/lEaiSs57sv— x-Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) June 15, 2020
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.
Here’s @THNMattLarkin on why the Jason Botterill firing had to happen and why the Sabres’ replacement GM hiring raises some questions:https://t.co/3vkMSdwN4l— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) June 16, 2020
Can Vancouver, Edmonton, or Toronto compete for hub-city status — and how would the NHL deal with Canada’s 14-day quarantine rule?
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the nation is open to the idea of having an NHL hub city despite Tuesday's extension of the border closure with the U.S.https://t.co/bWWvY5eu1q— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 16, 2020
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.
Ezekiel Elliott is among the Dallas Cowboys players to test positive for Covid-19, per @RapSheet https://t.co/Jn6ni2v63D— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) June 15, 2020
Meanwhile, the CBC is asking the question you’re thinking.
If the #NHL eventually awards the Stanley Cup, it will do so in front of row after row of empty seats.— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) June 16, 2020
1️⃣➡️ How much will the lack of fans bother you? https://t.co/hGtL7QPvHc
Bruce LeVine is not considering a job with the Florida Panthers. He just really, really misses Stars games.
Three months of social distancing is taking its toll. I guess taking a selfie with a bobcat might be fun. pic.twitter.com/qHPdcBmgcX— Bruce LeVine (@BruceLeVinePuck) June 15, 2020