It’s been a long time since hockey.
The Stars have been cautious with hits in their scrimmages, rubbing players against the board with just a little bit of thought to how it might cause injuries. They haven’t gone full block on slap shots on special teams, and maybe have been a little conscientious when scrambling in tight against the goalies.
That all ends on Thursday. While the Stars have three round-robin games before they start the “first round” of the playoffs, Nashville will have to fight for its life in a best-of-five qualifying series against Arizona beginning Aug. 2. That means the exhibition game could be a pretty fiery warm-up.
For his latest piece, Heika talked with interim head coach Rick Bowness about what he’s watching for as the Victory Green Gang take the ice in anger for the first time since the COVID-19 shutdown:
“Seeing some things that we’ve been working on since the start of training camp, what we’ve been trying to do with the puck,” Bowness said when asked what he would like to see. “Making sure that our defensive structure is where we need it to be. Making sure our forwards and defense are working together and that the trust between the forwards and defense (is there).
“There’s going to be some mistakes and some misreads, but we’re making sure our intensity is up there. We’ll live with mistakes, but we want to make sure our structure is there.”
There’s more at Mike’s place. [Dallas Stars]
“They just lock the game down and make it impossible to do much of anything.” Sean Shapiro zeroes in on why the Stars have been productive while also being dull as dirt.
This one had me salivating. We're about 24 hours away from Stars hockey and @seanshapiro with just the thing to get you ready to make sure you're knowledgeably prepared.— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126) July 29, 2020
How the 1-1-3 neutral zone forecheck defines the boring, effective Dallas Starshttps://t.co/e3U7LF43nF
Jason Dickinson brings the players’ perspective on returning to play.
"For us to get into the game and actually do it in a live situation is gonna be big for us."— x-Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) July 30, 2020
Jason Dickinson says tomorrow's tune-up will be about feeling out and finding their game. pic.twitter.com/ZnfUB93DW1
There really is no such thing as “just an exhibition game” right now, as Coach Bowness suggests.
"The intensity is not going to be your September exhibition game."— x-Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) July 30, 2020
Tomorrow's contest may not count in the standings, but Coach Bowness expects a revved-up matchup with Nashville. pic.twitter.com/AU7ZGFfGP7
Around The League(s)
In On The #Kill Taker
- Gabriel Landeskog got the game-winner as the Colorado Avalanche won a special-teams battle with the Minnesota Wild, 3-2. [Mile High Hockey]
- Corey Crawford and Malcolm Subban combined for 21 saves and Dominik Kubalik scored twice on the power play as the Chicago Blackhawks shut out the St. Louis Blues, 4-0. [Second City Hockey]
- And Connor Hellebuyck stopped 37 shots on goal during the Winnipeg Jets’ 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. [NHL]
Wonder what it’s like to be in the arena for a pandemic game? Toronto Star writer Kevin McGran live-tweeted it.
The preternatural silence in the arena made the Edmonton Oilers’ tribute to the late Colby Cave even more moving.
The Blackhawks are keeping their name, but they also want to keep a promise to respect tribal communities.
Chicago is banning headdresses at home games as part of their pledge to honour the Native American community https://t.co/L2FNBeYOai— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) July 29, 2020
However you feel about faux crowd noise on the NHL’s Corona-casts, you have to admit that Emily Kaplan has a point here,
This ambient crowd noise on the hockey broadcast is OK, but if we really want it to sound realistic, should have recorded fans yelling "shoot!" anytime a player crosses the blue line. (I mean, how are they going to know when to shoot otherwise??)— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) July 28, 2020
Make that HOCKEY TODAY. Enjoy.