Dallas Stars Daily Links: It’s Finally Here

The day of the Winter Classic has arrived, with the Stars hosting the Predators to kick off the new year. Plus, photos from practice yesterday, the turn of the decade in hockey, and more.

A little more than a year after it was announced that the Dallas Stars would host the 2020 Winter Classic, the day is finally here. At 1:00 PM CT today, the Stars and the Nashville Predators will kick off the new decade in the Cotton Bowl in front of 85,000 fans.

As expected, playing outdoors will give the game some quirks. For instance, even though the rink is the same size as always, it feels a lot smaller to the players:

“It’s like it’s a big atmosphere outside and everything feels smaller with so much outside the glass,” Predators goalie Juuse Saros said. “So I really understand what (Ben Bishop) means by that.”

“It’s really small,” Stars goalie Anton Khudobin said. “It’s tiny.”

The oddities aren’t limited to the on-ice product, of course. The NHL is going all-in on the Western stereotypes, going as far as to including *checks notes* pig racing during the second intermission:

You could hear the pigs squealing during the Predators’ practice session, and [Dan] Hamhuis said his daughters were more interested in watching the pigs race than hockey players work out. Khudobin had no idea that pigs would be racing, but when told it would happen during the second intermission, he said he’d have to skip the team meeting to watch.

You can read more about what to expect today from Sean Shapiro here.

Stars Stories

Also from The Athletic, a handful of Stars players share their past experiences playing outdoors:

Amidst all the fanfare, it’s easy to forget that this is still an important game division wise:

Want to see what practice was like yesterday? Say no more:

Here’s a cool behind-the-scenes story on the man behind-the-ice:

Around the League

With Dallas and Nashville the only teams playing today, New Year’s Eve was a very busy night in the NHL, and the Central was no exception:

  • The Minnesota Wild are slowly falling back down to earth, most recently losing 4-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs. [Pension Plan Puppets]
  • Meanwhile the Chicago Blackhawks are making progress towards the playoff bubble with a 5-3 win over the Calgary Flames. [Second City Hockey]
  • In the sole intra-division matchup, the a Kyle Connor hat-trick helped the Winnipeg Jets out-gun the Colorado Avalanche in a 7-4 shootout. [NHL]
  • Finally the St. Louis Blues couldn’t get the job done against the Arizona Coyotes, losing 3-1. [NHL]/

Rough news for the Pittsburgh Penguins, as Jake Guentzel is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season:

Speaking of injuries, Alexis Lafreniere is (most likely) out for the rest of the World Juniors, leaving some big shoes for Team Canada to fill:

You’re probably sick of “turn of the decade” pieces by now (whether or not it’s hockey or even sports related), but this one’s pretty good:

It’s been gradual, but I’m slowly getting on board the “eliminate offsides” train:

Finally, here’s your annual reminder that the All-Star game selections usually suck: