Dallas Stars Biweekly Links: Building The Stars’ Playoffs Practice Brigade

Saad Yousuf takes a look at candidates for the Stanley Cup support squad. Plus, choosing the hub cities, hockey speaks out against racism, and more.

When the Stanley Cup playoffs finally begin, the Dallas Stars will have a few black aces up their sleeves.

Saad Yousuf of The Athletic recently took a look at the Cedar Park stalwarts and up-and-comers – from Joel Kiviranta to Jake Oettinger – who could accompany the Stars into the playoffs:

Global pandemic or not, this is a mutually beneficial system for both the team and its young prospects. For the Stars, it gives the coaches extra bodies in practice to work with through drills and allows the NHL players to manage their energy and workload to be fresher for the big games. The prospects, meanwhile, will gain invaluable experience in high-intensity hockey.

“It’s huge. The fact is, you can’t replicate playoff hockey. It’s a whole new animal,” Texas Stars head coach Neil Graham, said. “To be around that kind of intensity where every play matters, every battle matters, every blue line matters, it’s huge for their development. At the end of the day, you learn how to win and what it takes to win. That’s big for anyone’s growth.”

That said, the COVID-19 emergency will affect how the black aces live, travel, and participate:

As The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro reported, the Stars will plan to carry three goaltenders and 28 skaters into the hub city where they start their playoff push. However, teams will be allowed to have more players in the training camp period preceding that, so there could be a camp battle for the right to be on the final taxi squad. Texas Stars general manager Scott White, Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill and the rest of the front office are usually the authorities on which players get the call. But Dallas Stars assistant coach Derek Laxdal, who served as Texas’ head coach from 2014 until Dec. 2019, offered some insight on the organization’s selection process.

“There are two different levels of players that would probably be part of the black aces,” Laxdal said. “You have players that can possibly step up if they have to and then players that are part of the development pool that need this experience and be part of the black ace squad.”

There’s more under the link – including a list of likely players and expert commentary from Texas Stars head coach Neil Graham. [The Athletic DFW]

Stars Stuff

Now that the Stars finally have that X, what are their next steps? Matthew DeFranks examines the case.

“You’re going to feel vulnerable and it starts with that accountability and I have to look in the mirror first.” Tyler Seguin talks candidly about this statement and more.

Dallas is in the running to be a hub city – but what are its odds of getting one of the two slots? The smart money may be on Vegas, but Helene Elliott looks at all the pros and cons.

Around The League(s)

Will the 2020-21 season begin with the Winter Classic? And when can non-playoffs teams start practicing? Here’s what the NHL and NHL Players’ Association are working on.

New Jersey Devils D-man P.K. Subban is trying to do something positive, and the league has pledged to join him.

Boston Bruins star Patrice Bergeron doesn’t even do social media, and he’s still owning it.

Because there’s never an overdose of prospect talk, take a look at how the U.S. and college draft classes are shaping up.

And if you’ve been bingeing on hockey movies during your shelter-in-place, this oral history of the making of “Miracle” may be for you.

Greetings From Beautiful Boise

While we’re reminiscing about what it was like when we had hockey...let’s revisit the Idaho Steelheads’ 2007 Kelly Cup team.


Because we all need a little more Anton Khudobin in our day. Enjoy.