It’s barely June, and it’s already been a long offseason for the Dallas Stars. It’s given their fans plenty of time to think about what might have been if the team had ever been completely healthy – but also a tantalizing idea of how they will look this October.
Stars senior staff writer Mike Heika sat down with head coach Rick Bowness for a look at last season and a preview of the next. They talked about what the coaches are up to during the playoffs, and what they’re already looking to bring to training camp:
We’ve had a couple of meetings with the coaching staff on things we know we can do better and we’re all watching a series, watching teams, and we’re talking about that. We’ve been watching Colorado and Winnipeg [and St. Louis in the first round] so we can get familiar with the teams in the Central Division we didn’t see this year. So, we’ve put a lot of focus on that. Plus, in watching other teams, if we see a faceoff play or a small detail we could use, we talk about that....
We were happy with our camp in July and felt it was productive despite all of the issues. We’re focused on that again. We feel we have a good idea of what we need to do in camp and all of the details we need to address, so we’re confident in that. We know we can improve.
He also confirmed what many Stars fans suspected – that the team really, really missed Tyler Seguin in overtime:
Our No. 1 goal to start is to win that faceoff. If you win the first faceoff, you control the puck and that allows you to do a lot of things like control when the line change is made for yourself or force a change for the other team. Did we have defensive players out there sometimes? Yes, but it was probably with the intent of winning the faceoff. Had we had Seggy, he probably would’ve been out there to start a lot of overtimes. When we had injuries to a lot of our best offensive players, we did go with different type players, but it was always with the intention of controlling the puck and creating opportunities. When we go into overtime, we have the mentality of ‘we’re going for it.’ We did that in the playoffs last year and we tried to do that as much as we could this year. That’s our philosophy. I know it didn’t work out for us this year, but we want to go for it.
There’s much more at Mike’s place. [Dallas Stars]
Jason Robertson: It’s official.
The Stars: Feeling it.
Sami Vatanen: Ready to celebrate.
Around The Leagues
Stanley Cup Roundup
Get on board: Colorado Avalanche to have full capacity crowds starting in round three https://t.co/1yoio6SYgB— Mile High Hockey (@MileHighHockey) June 3, 2021
Mark Scheifele has some Department of Player Safety-style explaining to do today for this charge he put on Evans last night.
Mark Scheifele tossed for flattening Jake Evans after he scores on the empty net. pic.twitter.com/kE6nU3vDCD— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) June 3, 2021
The only good thing in all this was Nikolaj Ehlers, who put his own body between his stunned opponent and the inevitable fist carousel.
This fantastic photo of Nikolaj Ehlers doing what he can to protect Jake Evans has been floating around various social media outlets without any credit to the photographer.— Seth Rorabaugh (@SethRorabaugh) June 3, 2021
David Lipnowski/Getty Images pic.twitter.com/ltWa1Iblb2
John Tavares still hasn’t seen the collision that knocked him out of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ playoffs run – and after seeing how his family has reacted, he’s not sure he wants to.
John Tavares’s knee is fine after the devastating Game 1 collision that knocked him out of the @MapleLeafs’ first-round playoff series. But there are some lingering emotional scars. He still hasn’t seen the hit he took but he knows it was ‘significant.’ https://t.co/n5upoT5rKw— Toronto Star (@TorontoStar) June 2, 2021
Meanwhile, what kind of league holds a draft lottery in the middle of the playoffs? It’s one of those things that can be explained by COVID-19, but just barely.
The Sabres have the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft after winning the NHL Draft Lottery on Wednesday. The Kraken won the No. 2 pick, and the Ducks have the No. 3 pick.https://t.co/x9CBk4AeSZ— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) June 2, 2021
Have any young hockey fans in your household? Sean Shapiro has some news that might be relevant to their interests.
The NHL is now accepting applications for its Power Players program. Power Players a youth advisory board that brings together hockey fans, ages 13-17, to help advise the league on hockey-related topics important to their demographic. pic.twitter.com/T8zXdSdRny— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) June 3, 2021
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
Texas Stars bench boss Neil Graham offers a peek into how a professional team copes with a pandemic (two words: banquet hall).
the Texas Stars Sand Volleyball club has a nice ring to it— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) June 1, 2021
Coach Graham notes the different ways the team bonded during this year of strict protocols.
Watch Coach Graham's full exit interview here: https://t.co/nYIQDkEavS pic.twitter.com/hSuw9NXN3e
Jim Nill is all of us today. Enjoy.