The Dallas Stars’ current logjam in net is a seemingly never-ending spring of features, analysis pieces, and hot sports opinions. But that doesn’t make the issue any less important – especially when a putative prospect like Jake Oettinger is making a case for a full-time job with the big team.
The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks started this week’s Stars notebook with some Otter thoughts – and he suggests the Stars, too, have a lot to think about when it comes to every fan’s favorite sea creature:
Oettinger has clearly been better than [Anton] Khudobin this season in the NHL. Even in the AHL, Oettinger had a .913 save percentage and 2.62 GAA in 10 games. Meanwhile, Khudobin has sputtered to a .873 save percentage and 3.73 GAA in seven games, including Thursday’s seven-goal outing in Minnesota....
Dallas, of course, could trade [Braden] Holtby ($2 million cap hit this season) or Khudobin ($3.333 million cap hit through next season), but that would eat away depth at a position that already has a mystery in Ben Bishop, a currently injured starter in Holtby and an underwhelming backup in Khudobin.
One thing is certain – Oettinger will benefit from playing as many games as posssible, whether in the NHL or for the Texas Stars:
“As a goalie, even if you play well, it’s nice to get back in there, but especially if you don’t play well,” Oettinger said. “I was playing pretty much every game down there. To just get the opportunity to know you’re playing all the time was really good for me.
“I think that’s the biggest thing I need, just more and more games. Obviously, practice is practice. But that’s where I think I’m going to get the most work done is by just keep getting games and getting more comfortable.”
Matt has more. [SportsDayDFW]
First, the big news: Tanner Kero is up, Riley Tufte is down.
The Athletic’s Saad Yousuf examined how special teams bowed up against the Blues, even beyond Roope Hintz’s history-making shorty spree.
Behind Roope Hintz, Stars cure an ailing penalty kill and ride it to victory over Blues https://t.co/xIFejbYCQP— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126) November 21, 2021
ICYMI, this is why Otter changed masks during the Stars’ 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.
Jake Oettinger's mask was dented by Pavel Buchnevich's shot in the third period. That's why he had to switch, and it was actually last year's mask he used.— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) November 21, 2021
“I don’t know exactly which one, but whatever one I head-butted.” pic.twitter.com/MtIBkfIMUx
Around The Leagues
In On The #Kill Taker
- The Minnesota Wild ran afoul of the law of averages over the weekend, taking a 5-4 loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday night... [Hockey Wilderness]
- ...and then dropping a 5-4 shootout to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday. [NHL]
- Not even a natural hat trick from Matt Duchene could save the Nashville Predators from themselves, or from a 6-3 drubbing by the Montreal Canadiens. [On The Forecheck]
- The Chicago Blackhawks played all weekend, too – but after losing 5-2 to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday... [Copper And Blue]
- ...Marc-André Fleury earned the shutout as they picked up two easy points against the Vancouver Canucks, 1-0. [Second City Hockey]
- And the Arizona Coyotes showed signs of life with two OT wins: on Saturday night, 2-1 against the Detroit Red Wings... [Five For Howling]
- ...and on Sunday with a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. [NHL]
The pandemic wasn’t all bad for NHL players. Mark Lazerus writes on how playing a series in one city, rather than scrambling around the map, offered both physical and mental benefits.
I wrote about Jonathan Toews' series-style schedule idea two years ago. The pandemic prompted the league to adopt it last year. Players generally loved it.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) November 19, 2021
So why was it ditched for this season, and will we see some form of it again next year?
My story: https://t.co/cQQtTqkgTH
If you’re having a hard time recognizing the Stars from week to week, just imagine what it’s like being Sean McIndoe.
As hockey rivalries go, the USA vs. Canada is a gift that keeps on giving – and the women’s national teams are playing like they’re already in a Winter Olympics rematch.
Comeback complete ✅— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) November 22, 2021
Trailing by four goals late in the second period the Spits force a shootout where goals by @DallasStars prospect Wyatt Johnston (@johnston0055) and Daniel D'Amico (@DanielDamico89) secure the @SpitsHockey victory on home ice pic.twitter.com/YDLc1aCgZj
The Seattle Thunderbirds’ Conner Roulette gets into position and delivers on this nifty power-play goal.
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
Stars fall 5-4 in OT after battling back from slow start against Grand Rapids.https://t.co/KHZY9n97Pp— 100 Degree Hockey (@100degreehockey) November 20, 2021
Ben Gleason was the OT hero in Saturday’s 4-3 victory.
The Texas Stars picked up a thrilling 4-3 overtime win Saturday over the Grand Rapids Griffins thanks to a goal from Ben Gleason just 27 seconds into the extra frame at H-E-B Center at Cedar Park.— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) November 21, 2021
Here are the facts, presented in the exciting infographic form.
This guy celebrated yesterday. Have a great year, Ben Bishop.