Dallas Stars Daily Links: Bubble Life as a Black Ace
Thomas Harley is soaking in every moment of this playoff run — even if he isn’t actually playing in any of the games. Plus, the Lighting win the East, why there aren’t more families in the bubble, and more.
One of the most fascinating stories when it comes to the Stanley Cup Playoffs are the “Black Aces,” young players who join the team and practice with them but rarely see any playoff action. You might think they’re there just for some extra warm bodies, but the experience is invaluable for the players’ development — just ask Thomas Harley:
“Being here, I can tell I’ve gotten way better,” he said. “Just competing against NHL guys day in and day out has brought my game up. Even with the black aces, you have to compete to win the battle every single time. If you don’t bring your best game every day, you’re gonna get walked around; you’re gonna get embarrassed out there.”
To put the cherry on top, some of the aces have actually seen playoff action — Jake Oettinger has dressed as the backup for most of the playoffs and played for a period last round against Vegas, while Harley got to go up against the Colorado Avalanche in the Round Robin. The takeaway? Playoff hockey is intense:
“I played pre-season and I played in one of the playoff games and there was no comparison between the two: that game against Colorado was nuts,” [Harley] said. “It was so much faster and so much harder than in pre-season. It just shows how hard it is to win a Stanley Cup. If every game is like that, it’s an absolute grind to win it.”
You can read more about Harley’s time in the bubble from Ryan Kennedy here.
The Stars are just four(!) wins away from a potential Stanley Cup victory. They wouldn’t have made it this far were it not for Rick Bowness:
Rick Bowness isn’t just coaching the Stars into the Stanley Cup Final, he’s also a source of inspiration for the team. On the man who created a family atmosphere in the bubble and how he adjusted to do the best coaching job of his career. https://t.co/JRSAmtZZQp— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) September 18, 2020
How have the Stars been killing time in the bubble? Matthew DeFranks has your answers:
From golfing 🏌️ to axe throwing 🪓 , here’s how the Dallas Stars have been spending their off time in the bubble | @MDeFranks | #GoStars https://t.co/RlH93FXcJS— SportsDay Stars (@dmn_stars) September 18, 2020
Everyone, say hello to Justin Dowling’s daughter, Perri:
“When people see her they typically take a double-take... People have been here for 50-plus days, only seeing people they work with, and then there is Perri, the baby in the bubble.”— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) September 17, 2020
Meet the only family, so far, that’s made it into the NHL bubble https://t.co/cTh5puohfq
Around the League
As you’re most likely aware of by now, the Tampa Bay Lightning won in overtime last night to win the Eastern Conference Championship:
Quick Cap: Anthony Cirelli’s overtime goal sends the Lightning to the Stanley Cup https://t.co/nX7A5GdgrC— Raw Charge (@RawCharge) September 18, 2020
Unlike the Stars, the Lightning had no superstitions about touching the Prince of Wales Trophy:
The Lightning bucked superstition and handled the Prince of Wales Trophy after advancing to the Stanley Cup Final with a 2-1 overtime win against the Islanders in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final.https://t.co/Tj6gpaR3VR— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) September 18, 2020
Here’s the full schedule for the Stanley Cup Finals, including a back-to-back to minimize time in the bubble (and avoid Sunday Night Football):
The 2020 #StanleyCup Final series schedule. #GoStars | #GoBolts pic.twitter.com/nQcWKSxXBt— #StanleyCup Playoffs on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) September 18, 2020
Now that its the Finals, expect a lot of fans to jump on the Dallas bandwagon. Down Goes Brown makes his case for which teams’ fans should cheer for the Stars (and which ones shouldn’t):
New post: 30 teams, 30 reasons to root for either the Stars or the Lightning. It's the 2020 Stanley Cup final rooting guide. https://t.co/KUHROMLZQW pic.twitter.com/uYUZ5uwpus— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown) September 18, 2020
The Lightning are the undisputed favorites to win it all, but are they too worn out to see things through to the end?
With Steven Stamkos out and Brayden Point clearly playing through an injury, the Lightning's depth is certainly being tested. And so far, Tampa has passed every test. Now comes the final exam.@THNKenCampbell has more:https://t.co/7bbC2EqNvD— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) September 18, 2020
Justin Dowling might have his family in the bubble, but the same can’t be said for most remaining players:
Why aren’t there more families in the NHL bubble?— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) September 18, 2020
“To be honest, the whole thing was not quite as billed... It seemed like they didn't want the families in there when it really got down to it. The boxes they made families check were a little unrealistic." https://t.co/YbvGb72YXK
Edmonton will play bubble host again for this year’s World Juniors, but scouting the 2021 draft class will still be difficult:
Even with world juniors, scouting for 2021 NHL Draft is an arduous task | @coreypronman https://t.co/tfTk5xuWFe— The Athletic NHL (@TheAthleticNHL) September 17, 2020
Alexander Radulov. His name is Alexander Radulov. And there’s a million goals he hasn’t scored. Just you wait. Just you wait.