Dallas Stars Daily Links: On Stephen Johns And His Possible Return
Not even the team knows what to expect – but they’re looking forward to finding out. Plus, Auston Matthews has one for the vaults, the Stars make moves in the Power Rankings, and more.
At first, those photos of Stephen Johns at the Winter Classic were a bitter kind of sweet for Dallas Stars fans. It was good to see the blueliner back on the ice and joining the march of the cowboy outfits, even as we lamented his absence from the lineup – and wondered if we’d ever see him skate in anger again.
With the news that Johns was on his way to Cedar Park for a conditioning stint, those photos began to look like a teaser of a different kind.
But what can we expect from a player who’s been on the injured list since training camp in 2018? The team itself is still waiting for the answer to that question, as Stars senior staff writer Mike Heika reports:
”I really couldn’t tell you the answer,” [GM Jim] Nill said when asked about specifics. “It’s a medical thing. He’s had to go through this process, and he’s gone through it and done a good job. There’s been some highs and some lows, and he’s battled through it.”...
“This has been the most encouraging we’ve had, most encouraging,” Nill said. “You guys have watched practice, he’s been out there practicing. We’ve got a coaching staff that has really never seen him play before. They’ve been like, ‘Wow, this guy is looking pretty good.’ Talking to Stephen, he’s in a good place in his life right now. So he’s excited to get going.”
And interim bench boss Rick Bowness has enough experience coaching defensemen to be excited about coaching Johns:
[Bowness] joined the coaching staff last season and has never seen him play a game. He said when he looked at film of Johns playing before in the NHL, he was impressed.
”It was tantalizing to watch him,” Bowness said. “I can’t wait to work with that guy. It’s unfortunate that I haven’t seen him play yet in a year and a half. He’s got a lot of great assets out there and he’s looked good in practice, I look forward to working with him.”
There’s more at Mike’s place. [Dallas Stars]
The Stars started their California road trip with a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Here’s Jamie Benn scoring a second-period equalizer on the power play:
Patience from the Captain! 🚨@DallasStars | #DALvsLA pic.twitter.com/CcejCMCqFD— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) January 9, 2020
Anton Khudobin was in goal for the victory, stopping 30 of 31 shots.
"I think it was a great effort by everybody." - Dobby#DALvsLAK | #GoStars pic.twitter.com/tBZzPBGhUK— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) January 9, 2020
Sean Shapiro’s write-up includes some interesting not-so-fancy stats.
Stars 20/20: Another comeback, another win, and the NHL’s best team for three months roles on https://t.co/vkCcbobPC0— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) January 9, 2020
And Matthew DeFranks has the receipts.
Since 1-7-1, the Stars have a .750 point percentage across nearly 12 weeks. For almost three months of the season, Dallas has been the best team in the NHL.— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) January 9, 2020
Around The League(s)
#Murder Was The Case
- Blake Wheeler played shootout hero as the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 in extra minutes. [Pension Plan Puppets]/
This happened in spite of Auston Matthews’ eighth (8th) two-goal game of the season so far, and an achievement no American player has reached before.
Auston Matthews is the first player in @MapleLeafs history to score 30 or more goals in each of their first four seasons. #LeafsForever https://t.co/isGyPrJC9q— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) January 9, 2020
Rasmus Andersson is only in his second NHL season, but the Calgary Flames know what they like.
Andersson is in his sophomore season with the Flames https://t.co/puf3EN7lE2— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) January 9, 2020
The Stars are on the move in the latest Power Rankings.
NHL Power Rankings: The Maple Leafs and Lightning are getting back on track as the race in the Atlantic Division heats up https://t.co/TG9EaPUPPG— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 8, 2020
Are the Nashville Predators looking to shake up their roster as well as their management? Lyle Richardson has the latest.
Rumor Roundup: Penguins on the hunt for help, Predators could make more changes and the Flames and Sabres are two teams to watchhttps://t.co/l5a77NpxxK— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) January 9, 2020
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
It’s going to be a big weekend in Austin Metro as the Texas Stars prepare to host the Toronto Marlies.
The #txstars face off against the @TorontoMarlies for back-to-back games this Friday & Saturday at 7PM.— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) January 8, 2020
Tickets start at just $17 with Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Family Four-Packs!
🎟️: https://t.co/dHERzFy0RW pic.twitter.com/5nr2rmk5nR
This means you (yeah, you) can be among the first to see Stephen Johns in action again.
If there was any concern about #txstars not having Joel Hanley this weekend as a shutdown defender, can I introduce you to Stephen John's career AHL stat line? pic.twitter.com/yPMsZVgxHB— 100 Degree Hockey (@100degreehockey) January 8, 2020
Svengoolie? Check. Bueller? Check. Ditka? Bird Check. The Chicago Blackhawks have re-embodied some local icons for ’80s Night, and I don’t care who you are.... Enjoy.
We made sure all of your favorite Chicago icons of the 80s were ready for 80s Night at the @UnitedCenter!— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) January 9, 2020
Join us! Tickets: https://t.co/0Eaie8oX9C pic.twitter.com/1kUjdqgYdJ