Like all of us, each of the Dallas Stars coped with the COVID-19 shutdown in their own way. But the Stars who stayed in Dallas had the opportunity to face it together, thanks to their captain.
For professional athletes hoping to make some waves in the playoffs, it couldn’t have been easy. The team practice facility was shuttered. Local gyms were shut down. And as the cherry on the sundae, travel had suddenly become a thorny issue, fraught with physical and administrative peril.
That’s when Jamie Benn told Jamie Oleksiak about the workout setup he was putting together in his pool house. Before long, Ben Bishop, Blake Comeau and Tyler Seguin hauled over their own equipment, plus some pieces they borrowed. Sean Shapiro describes it in his latest article:
There was a squat bar. There were enough stationary bikes for the entire group to ride together after they borrowed a few from players like Joe Pavelski and Justin Dowling, who had returned to Canada. The gym also spread out into Benn’s yard, where the players did some cardio and battled the June Texas heat that some of them truly learned about for the first time.
“It turned into a pretty good setup,” Bishop said. “By kind of pooling all the stuff and getting some stuff from (Stars strength coach Brad Jellis), it was like having the Frisco gym set up inside Jamie’s pool house and garage.”
The players say the regular workouts have helped them both physically and mentally:
“Hockey players love routines. We kind of need them to really be successful,” Comeau said. “Being able to work with the group and have a plan — something to go do with your teammates like that — made it easier to really work and be ready with kind of a moving timeline and not many set dates to prepare for like a normal offseason.”
Oleksiak said it was also a welcome reprieve from a solo quarantine in his apartment.
“I think with all of that you can just fall into a bad routine and just sit by yourself and get stuck,” Oleksiak said. “That was something I thought about before deciding to stay in Dallas. When Jamie mentioned the gym it was something that I thought could be a real help physically and mentally.”
Sean has more. [The Athletic DFW]
Whatever else happens, the Stars don’t want to stumble out of the gate again. Matthew DeFranks takes a look at why this time might be different.
Interim head coach Rick Bowness is feeling good about the Stars’ special teams.
"It got the competitive juices going. It really did. ... We're gonna feed off that energy."— x-Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) July 15, 2020
Coach Bowness liked what he saw from both the power play and penalty kill on Day 2 of camp pic.twitter.com/ZjGpQOZIPi
Bruce LeVine brings this not-so-random observation from yesterday’s practice.
Rick Bowness on the ice for the first time in Training Camp.— Bruce LeVine (@BruceLeVinePuck) July 15, 2020
Good indication that the team is doing well in COVID testing
Mike Heika has more on the exhibition game every Stars fan is looking forward to...
...and mark your calendars for the Stars’ first three round-robin games.
Additionally, the NHL has announced the start times for two of our three round-robin games in Edmonton:— x-Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) July 14, 2020
➖ Monday, Aug. 3 vs. Vegas: 5:30 p.m.
➖ Wednesday, Aug. 5 vs. Colorado: 5:30 p.m.
➖ Sunday, Aug. 9 vs. St. Louis: TBD#GoStars pic.twitter.com/ezegq8RdGP
Around The League(s)
The Calgary Flames aren’t saying (can’t?) why Johnny Gaudreau is working out apart from his teammates.
Gaudreau only linemate still working out in pod of 9 apart from larger group of 23 https://t.co/Lg7QBifdcw— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) July 15, 2020
But being not-Canadian is going to be an issue, as the controversy over NBC’s presence in the bubble reveals. [CBC Sports]
College hockey is facing great uncertainty over its own return to play – which is one reason why the Vancouver Canucks’ new deal with defenseman Jack Rathbone is interesting.
The Los Angeles Kings say Hockey Is For Everyone, and they’re putting their money where their mouth is.
@LAKings scout Blake Bolden is guiding the team's initiative to help eradicate systemic racism and increase inclusion and opportunities in hockey and the greater LA area https://t.co/OBtyUWaj9S @SportBlake @SiriusXMNHL @BlackGirlHockey @kwamster007 @RonMacLeanHTH @KevinWeekes— TheColorOfHockey (@ColorOfHockey) July 14, 2020
Remember the postseason awards? Of course you do. Leon Draisaitl, Nathan MacKinnon and Artemi Panarin are all first-time Ted Lindsay Award finalists.
The players have voted and the results are in!— NHLPA (@NHLPA) July 14, 2020
Your 2019-20 #TedLindsayAward finalists are Leon Draisaitl, @Mackinnon9 and @artemiypanarin. All three top vote-getters are seeking their first TLA: https://t.co/2z2c05bbA6 pic.twitter.com/MU1ePPtqtM
The blue-check Twitter shutdown had a silver lining after all. Enjoy.