The Dallas Stars have built their system around good goaltending, so it’s a very good thing that they’re getting it. Braden Holtby and Jake Oettinger are generating spectacular numbers as the team’s de facto tandem. Can it continue?
Stars senior staff writer Mike Heika is fighting his way back from a mild stroke that has made reading difficult for him. But he’s already turning out Stars content again, and the team’s rather extraordinary “goaltending experiment” has drawn his focus. Heika discusses why an alternating schedule makes sense during the busy weeks ahead:
While we all wanted to jump right back to Oettinger on Tuesday, the alternation proved pretty successful. And Bowness said the plan is to do the same thing going forward, with Holtby and Oettinger splitting the next four games.
That makes sense. The Stars have three sets of back-to-back games in the next three weeks, so having two solid goalies is a great plan. It also makes sense to get both goalies playing. Holtby worked his way back to speed with a cameo against Colorado and a full game at Arizona. Then, when he was forced to see 19 third-period shots against Carolina, he was on top of his game.
This leaves Anton Khudobin as the odd man out, but Dobby seems to be making that work, too:
“Right now, those two guys are playing better than he had, and he’s just going to have to work hard,” Bowness said. “If he gets his named called again, be ready to go and take advantage of it. That’s all he can do, and he’s doing a good job of it.”...
“He’s been put in a tough situation, and we get that,” Bowness said. “All he can do is be a pro. That means you come to the rink every day with a great attitude and just go to work. Control what he can control, and that’s his attitude and his work habits. I give him full marks.”
There’s more at Mike’s place. [Dallas Stars]
And here’s a brief personal word from Heika as he continues to recover:
Thanks for all of the kind words on here. My wife is helping me read them. I feel very positive about fixing this.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) December 3, 2021
ICYMI, the Stars were passing a non-COVID illness around over the weekend, but it seems to be resolving itself quickly.
John Klingberg, Denis Gurianov, Luke Glendening and Joel Kiviranta are all on the ice today for practice. https://t.co/RrUHHNHJI8— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126) December 5, 2021
Here were the lines from practice yesterday.
Stars during practice today:— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) December 5, 2021
*No Raffl or Faksa today. Bowness said they were sick.
In other news, the Stars are throwing a holiday party at “The World’s Largest Christmas Light Maze and Market” in Fair Park, and everyone’s invited.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! ☃️— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) December 6, 2021
Join us at @EnchantDallas on Wednesday, December 15 for Night of Giving, supporting @DS_Foundation and @SPSCC1600.
» https://t.co/S0Djeeirn6 pic.twitter.com/OKslsScp50
Around The Leagues
#Murder Was The Case
- It took a shootout to get there, but the Chicago Blackhawks handed the New York Islanders their 11th consecutive loss, 3-2. [Second City Hockey]
- And a four-goal scoring surge in the second period lifted the Winnipeg Jets over the Toronto Maple Leafs, 6-3. [Arctic Ice Hockey]
The Vancouver Canucks are cleaning house, and GM Jim Benning and head coach Travis Green have gotten the broom, along with two of their assistants.
Benning got plenty of rope for a guy whose most significant accomplishment seems to have been trading away players who led the ’Nucks to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.
I think, more than anything, Jim Benning’s ultimate downfall as #Canucks GM was his inability to assess and acquire legitimate #NHL defensemen through draft, trades & free agency. There were other issues, sure, but none more so than building a defence corps — over 8 years— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) December 6, 2021
Meanwhile, the hunt for a new head coach has led the team in a familiar direction.
Hearing tonight that Bruce Boudreau will be the next coach of the Vancouver Canucks.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) December 6, 2021
The Chicago Blackhawks seem to have learned a lesson about how they handled the Brad Aldrich case, and it seems to have been “call Kyle Beach a liar.”
The Blackhawks write in a motion to dismiss Kyle Beach's lawsuit that they have “committed to pursue a reasonable resolution of the issues raised by Mr. Beach as a moral imperative rather than a legal obligation.”— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) December 2, 2021
Unlikely judge will rule on CHI's motion before Dec. 15 mediation. https://t.co/6ukg0AM3cm
And if you thought the hockey community would support and protect victims of alleged abuse, well, Brad Hammett might advise you to think again.
A former WHL player who last summer told his story of alleged sexual and physical abuse says he has been blacklisted by the hockey community and threatened with a defamation lawsuit, but does not regret his decision to go public.⁰— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) December 2, 2021
Story from @rwesthead: https://t.co/8z6it1cmQh pic.twitter.com/XI31B8naT4
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
But there was some good news (and great highlights).
Riley Damiani extends his point streak to seven games, Anthony Louis scores twice and Ben Gleason extends his point streak to three games, but the Texas Stars fell 4-3 in OT to the Rocket last night.— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) December 4, 2021
Check out the highlights presented by @texasorthopedic pic.twitter.com/QghH3jXBMf
Tyler Seguin will always be the last man off the ice, so let’s just get this over with.