Dallas Stars Daily Links: Dallas Must Be Ready to Meet Higher Expectations
If things go sideways this year, we'll find out just how prepared Dallas is. Also, watch Mark Donnelly belt out the Canadian anthem from his knees, read about Hitch's reconciliation with analytics, and mourn the latest victim of Matt "Crusher" Niskanen.
There has been some shade thrown at Boston lately for a lot of things, and I'd like to start off today by linking a nice piece from the Boston Herald (via AP) about the Stars' higher expectations for this year.
I'm going to refrain from using a mention of the New England area to point out that Boston employs Brad Marchand the Serial Diver and Claude Julien Who Hates Divers yet loves Marchand. You won't read a single gratuitous mention of their media's being led around by the nose when management decides to dump an Art Ross candidate with an incredible contract just because they were embarrassed about losing in the playoffs. In fact, I won't even bother to point out how Jack Edwards's shtick panders to a mindset of oblivious and rabid superiority that has been engendered within fans ever since the "Idiot" Red Sox of 2004.
I dunno, maybe I'm just in a good mood. It's a great city, after all. Go Boston!
Anyway, here's the Herald's take on Dallas's sights being set higher this year:
"Last year, Jamie Benn moving back to the wing, Seguin coming in, how were they going to mesh together? And we've seen that they're as dynamic a duo as there is," Nill said. "A lot of questions have been answered. ... We've got the excitement of adding Spezza, Hemsky and these guys. It's an exciting time, good for our team."
It's good to remember that things are still moving. Benn has only been back at wing for a year, and Seguin is still learning how to win faceoffs (and doing it quite well this fall). Hemsky and Spezza are shiny and fresh, but we've yet to see how they'll look over the course of a long road trip, back-to-back matches against tough opponents, or a must-win game at home when the fans are screaming for blood after a tough hit.
The excitement is there, but the expectations mean that the excitement could turn into frustration if things don't break the right way for Dallas. Benn and Seguin are both well-aware of this fact, as the Herald mentions:
"We've been together for a year now. The new players have fit in well," said Jamie Benn, their 25-year-old captain. "We've got a little bit more confidence as a group just making the playoffs, and I think we can bring that into this year."
"We had a great year last year, and this year I think our expectations are a lot higher," said Tyler Seguin, the 22-year-old center.
It's been a lot of fun this summer. We've gone from "Playoffs!" to "Honka!" to "Spezza/Hemsky/Eaves!" and "Lindback/Rynnas!" We've hollered Art Ross predictions across the fence at Pittsburgh, and we've posited the Stars' seeing home ice advantage in Round 1 this year, if indeed they find themselves playing past game 82. But all this gasoline-fueled enthusiasm can go up in just a few games if things start to unravel.
It may seem like we've been patient enough, waiting for real noise to made ever since 2008; but we're most likely going to need just as much patience when the peaks and valleys of the season begin to toy with our emotions.
Of course, Thursday doesn't count. It can't arrive soon enough.
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Monday Morning Links. Have a sip o' summat and take a look:
Mike Heika takes a look at Kari Lehtonen's shaky preseason. [DMN]
Cap-necessitated trades finally went down this weekend: Boston did indeed trade Johnny Boychuk, and Chicago did indeed trade Nick Leddy. The New York Islanders of Brooklyn, soon, were the Other Party in both cases. It would appear that this team is going to kind of try to win, or at least not participate in the McDavid/Eichel prize crane next summer. [Lighthouse Hockey]
Montreal also got in on the transaction rager this weekend by sending Peter Budaj, who didn't have a spot in Montreal, to Winnipeg. Is this a clever ploy by the Jets to make Ondrej Pavelec look somewhat competent? Well, the joke may be on them. Budaj has been good once or twice, ever. [Arctic Ice Hockey]
I still can't get over this whole "how to fix the Sharks?" thing. They will be good, and they could win the cup. They're a laughable mess lately, but the players could still win the cup this year. Not a ton to be fixed outside of the front office. [The Hockey Writers]
Jeff Skinner looks to have suffered another concussion courtesy of Matt "Matty" Niskanen. This is a bummer. For the record, doesn't look like Nisky was trying to dirty up the hit that much, as Skinner turns into it a bit. Either way, it's the latest factor in everyone's consideration of just how much tanking Carolina might be doing this year. One can possibly envision an awkward 0-0 game with 2 total SOG next spring between Buffalo and Carolina, as both teams desperately pull their goalies with 18 minutes remaining in the third, hoping to lose their 64th game. [Pro Hockey Talk]
Despite the URL here, the Flyers are attempting to "bond" through paintball and fishing before the season begins. Darryl Sutter was not invited, it appears. [Pro Hockey Talk]
Icethetics reviews Tampa Bay's (actual) new third jersey. While I like the shade of blue used on the pants bolt and the numbers trim, and the piping is at least a bit different than what we've seen from other teams, these just scream "sigh," if that's even possible. That wordmark is just worthless. I agree with the post that this concept would have been a much better one, even though it uses the tired "circle logo" format. I'm hoping Dallas can really rock a sweet Green-with-black third next year, if they go that route. (Note: Dallas, please go that route, or perhaps toss in some yellow with a retro Minny throwback.) [Icethetics]
How Ken Hitchcock learned to stop worrying and love the bombshell that is hockey analytics. [The Score]
Lastly, Mark Donnelly of Vancouver Antheming Prowess stopped by a junior game to sing "Oh, Canada" while skating. He immortalized the practice with an admirably staid rendition despite a fantastic pratfall or two: