When you’re a veteran who has only played for one team for your entire career, it can be hard to find some chemistry with completely new teammates. That’s an issue Joe Pavelski had in his first season as a Dallas Star after spending 13 years with the San Jose Sharks, and it resulted in a less-than-stellar performance in the regular season.
But head coach Rick Bowness might have finally found the ideal wingers to skate alongside Pavelski: Alexander Radulov and Mattias Janmark.
The trio has been together each day of training camp, and while it’s not easy to judge line combos in practice, the Pavelski line has put the puck in the net more consistently than others.
What gives this line the potential to be great? Pavelski typically does his best work when he gets to set up in the offensive zone. Radulov and Janmark are meanwhile among the Stars’ best at puck possession, which leads to more offensive zone time and thus ultimately more scoring opportunities for Pavelski:
[Radulov and Janmark] protect pucks and buy time. They allow Pavelski to play his game more similarly to his time in San Jose, though, so when the trio is together, good things tend to happen and the Stars typically spend more time in the offensive zone.
Sean Shapiro talks about this trio and more in his piece here.
Speaking of Pavelski, here’s what he has to say about the Stars’ training camp thus far:
"I feel prepared, I feel strong, I feel confident in my body right now. And as a group, we definitely have something to prove and we want to be ready." - @jpav8— x-Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) July 16, 2020
Full interview: https://t.co/vRnvqWq8hJ pic.twitter.com/MO7sbdmwPM
And here’s Miro Heiskanen, who will finally be able to drink in the U.S. when he turns 21 tomorrow:
Note: Stars captain Jamie Benn also has his birthday tomorrow, though he’ll be turning thirty-one.
ICYMI, Stephen Johns has been named a finalist for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy:
An incredible journey, a worthy honor.— x-Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) July 16, 2020
Stephen Johns is a finalist for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy pic.twitter.com/VOFZx4mROv
Johns talks about what being a finalist for the award means to him:
"A lot of times in the past two years, I didn’t think I would be able to compete for a Stanley Cup again. And to be able to do it in the situation we’re in, it’s very exciting."— x-Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) July 17, 2020
It's so good to have you back, Johnsy https://t.co/Wrk7N5kDgl
Around the League
In other awards-related news, the NHLPWA has once more given its annual case for why the Lady Byng should not be voted on by the media:
Nathan MacKinnon (@Avalanche), Auston Matthews (@MapleLeafs) and Ryan O’Reilly (@StLouisBlues) are the three finalists for the 2019-20 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. https://t.co/JRd3a5BWLY #NHLAwards pic.twitter.com/HUWMG7Mjov— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) July 16, 2020
Something also dumb about the Lady Byng voting — most writers conveniently forget defensemen exist when casting their ballots:
Why do defensemen never win the Lady Byng? https://t.co/i7h61yuIVV— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) July 17, 2020
Rogers Palace, home of the Edmonton Oilers, flooded last night. Good thing they weren’t selected as a hub location, right?
Jokes aside, it shouldn’t affect the NHL’s plans, although they won’t know the extent of the damage until later today:
We are assessing the damage & at this time are confident that it will not hamper our planning & preparation & we will be ready to host the return of @NHL hockey as hub city. We will share more information as it becomes available.— Rogers Place (@RogersPlace) July 17, 2020
Finally, Greg Wyshynski gives the new NHL CBA the good-ole “winners and losers” treatment: