The Dallas Stars still don’t know when they’ll officially be allowed on the ice at Comerica Center. But interim head coach Rick Bowness already knows what he and his staff want to work on.
The NHL’s Return to Play Phase 3 begins July 10, 2020 – which will also be the first time coaches and front-office personnel will have been inside the building since the COVID-19 emergency began, as The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro reports:
The ice surface the players will skate on is now closed to the public until at least the end of training camp, likely the end of July. For the time being, no one else is allowed into the facility. Stars general manager Jim Nill said the Stars have security in place to enforce these measures, and people who typically have badge access to the facilities — like Nill and the coaching staff — have seen that temporarily revoked.
“Phase Two changes for the players; it doesn’t change for the coaches,” Bowness said. “We’ll still have our Zoom meetings, and we’ll do a lot of communicating away from the rink. Until they allow us back into the rink, nothing is really going to change.”
When that happens, Bowness will get the chance to implement some changes in offensive play at a level that might have been impossible for an interim boss in different circumstances:
Avoiding poor-percentage plays means more controlled breakouts and zone entries, according to Bowness. He said it means the team needs to think more about keeping the puck on its stick rather than giving it up to chase it again. This applies throughout the lineup, though it’s even more important for the Stars’ top skill players, who at times have played too much like depth forwards.
For Bowness, the biggest issue when it comes to approach and application is consistency. He says there is evidence that scoring could be there, and that’s why he’s encouraged, but it was never consistent enough. Usage of effective players like Denis Gurianov is also something Bowness has taken time to examine, and he’s done some internal reflection on how he can find better fits in that regard.
Sean has much more. [The Athletic DFW]
Which free agent has given the Stars the most bang for the buck? It may not be who you think, or it may be exactly who you think.
Defensive prospect Thomas Harley has earned a pretty big honor (or honour, Canada, sheesh).
Marty Turco and Brenden Morrow are all in for COVID-19 relief – and you will be too, if you win this auction.
We’ve accepted the #ALLINCHALLENGE— Dallas Stars Foundation (@DS_Foundation) June 17, 2020
Golf with @mturco35 and @minimo1zero⛳️. Plus you’ll join them for dinner and a @dallasstars home game in the Alumni suite!
Bid now: https://t.co/uuBlOH4F1J@allinchallenge | #GoStars pic.twitter.com/n9tyCdDoxV
Around The League(s)
The Buffalo Sabres are using their downtime to take on some household projects, apparently.
Final head count in #Sabres' Tuesday house cleaning appears to be 22. It's a bloodletting that may be unprecedented in #NHL history - certainly in one day by one franchise.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) June 17, 2020
If Terry Pegula wanted lean, he's got it now. Scouting staff of 21 has been reduced to 7. pic.twitter.com/q5HyJUoJL3
The fallout extends into Buffalo’s AHL affiliate – even though Chris Taylor’s Rochester Americans have consistently been a playoffs team during his tenure.
A day later, former Amerks coach Chris Taylor on his firing: 'I'm still shocked.' He told me he had no inkling whatsoever he would be unemployed today, not even after Botterill was fired. My story on a good guy who didn't deserve this fate. https://t.co/hZt5Ht7swR via @DandC— Sal Maiorana (@salmaiorana) June 17, 2020
I must assume Tyler Seguin was out of the building when NHL beat writers made this list.
Connor McDavid (@cmcdavid97) tops @NHLdotcom's Super 16 rankings of the best centers playing in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers! Agree?— NHL (@NHL) June 18, 2020
See the full list ➡️ https://t.co/8fjiAEA06p pic.twitter.com/Ms9zc1Y3yY
And speaking of which, here’s something that really came out of nowhere.
Two former Stars, Jordie Benn and Kevin Connauton, spoke with Greg Wyshynski about expecting the unexpected when you’re expecting during a pandemic.
"I think once the baby gets here, it's going to be a lot harder thinking about leaving for that long."— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) June 16, 2020
On the NHL's new dads (who thought they really nailed the offseason birth timing!) and an uncertain summer season
How do you even lose 47 of 48 games? Well, it isn’t easy, as it turns out.
1-45-2: Inside the unbelievable, awful, no good, historically very bad year of the Battle Creek Rumble Bees, owners of the worst record in modern pro hockey history https://t.co/B6QRuiH52v— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) June 17, 2020
There are a lot of things Wayne Simmonds loves about hockey, and one particular thing he hates. The Players’ Tribune brought back this 2018 article just in case it’s a different world.
"When somebody calls you a racial slur, it pierces [your] bubble. The world becomes very real again. It can be a lonely and infuriating feeling."— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) June 16, 2020
In 2018, @Simmonds17 recalled the times he heard racial slurs on the ice.https://t.co/jxD8OaH1dO
Greetings From Beautiful Boise
Yes, there will be hockey, and the ECHL and Idaho Steelheads will be there.
BREAKING : Steelheads announce 2020-21 Home Schedule.https://t.co/Ar6QJ5Bnrq— Idaho Steelheads (@Steelheads) June 11, 2020
Remember when Alexander Radulov scored the game-winning goal in the 2020 Winter Classic? Enjoy.