It was a strange year for Roope Hintz to become a full-fledged NHL superstar. He gave Dallas Stars fans a cup overflowing with highlight-reel moments, even as they began to wonder if “Game-Time Decision” was his new middle name. It became a sort of ritual – the burst of celebration when he joined the pregame warmups, the quiet dread when his name was missing from the forward lines list.
Now that the Stars’ season is really, really over, the story of how Hintz became the team’s Masterton Trophy nominee is emerging in its fullness. The Athletic’s Saad Yousuf has detailed a sequence of events that started last September:
Hintz’s ailment began in Game 4 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final. Just under six minutes into the second period, Tampa Bay Lightning’s forward Tyler Johnson’s stick got caught in Hintz’s skate and led him to tumble into the boards. Hintz remained on the ice for a little bit before he gingerly walked down the tunnel. Hintz missed the remainder of the series as the Stars fell in six games....
After the season ended, Hintz went back to his native Finland. He took four weeks off in hopes of “settling it down,” but when he returned to training, he felt the groin injury again. Hintz underwent an MRI upon his return to Dallas for the 2021 season, which revealed an issue that required surgery in order to be fixed. While the Stars are still awaiting word from a specialist, Hintz will undergo surgery this offseason. It isn’t expected to be a major operation and Hintz is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for training camp this fall, according to a team source.
Marvel as you must at Hintz’s perseverance, but he has a more matter-of-fact view of what he accomplished:
Aside from the simple fact that Hintz was playing, how he was playing was even more impressive. In games, it was seldom noticeable that Hintz was hampered, even after he took vicious hits and had some dangerous collisions. Bowness said Hintz has been the team’s best forward and the numbers back up that assessment. Hintz has scored 15 goals and 28 assists for 43 points in 41 games.
“I found a way to manage it,” Hintz said. “I’ve been playing well, so why not play and help the team win?”
There’s more behind the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]
The Stars have posted a salute to the fans who masked up and made the ride to see them in person this year.
And they went even further than that.
Around The Leagues
The #Disco is closed. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.
The Golden Knights, Avalanche and Maple Leafs have a chance to win the Presidents' Trophy. More from the Stanley Cup Playoffs Buzz. https://t.co/an9vUGWIne— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) May 12, 2021
What can the right trade-deadline acquisition do for a playoffs-bound team? Tracey Myers examines six cases, from Sam Bennett to David Savard.
Another day, another non-playoffs team parting ways with its coach. The New York Rangers have dismissed David Quinn and most of his staff.
Sure, they got an extra week in the regular season – but to be fair, things just take longer in Canada.
One of hockey's oldest and most heated rivalries is on a collision course to meet in the playoffs for the first time in 42 years— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) May 12, 2021
Here's a quick 100 year history of @MapleLeafs vs. @CanadiensMTL
From @robpizzo ⬇️https://t.co/KzNSEmKJ9O
And a quick reminder that there’s one Benn who’s going to the playoffs.
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
We're back on the road for our last series of the season! The puck drops at 7 pm against the Iowa Wild. Click the link below to listen to the game— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) May 12, 2021
: https://t.co/VQVem7PThC | : https://t.co/bzOmixTYJv pic.twitter.com/jk7VqKpyKe
Meanwhile, Stephen Meserve brings this Adam Mascherin stat that seems to perfectly encapsulate the entire organization’s so-close-yet-so-far season.
Adam Mascherin is 4 behind the leader for goals in the AHL. Unfortunately, 4 back is the closest a #txstars has ever come to the scoring title with Matt Fraser (33 in 2012-13), Travis Morin and Colton Sceviour (32 each in 2013-14) all falling exactly that far short.— 100 Degree Hockey (@100degreehockey) May 11, 2021
I dunno, Dom Luszczyszyn is right about a lot. What do you think?
i understand people think the leafs are cursed and will never win, but i think it’s precisely for that reason that this is the year… a year where none of their fans will get to see it actually happen live— dom at the athletic (@domluszczyszyn) May 12, 2021