Tag: Dallas Stars

Henrik Lundqvist Gets Emotional When Reporters Ask About Mats Zuccarello

It has not been easy for Rangers fans let alone Rangers players to really accept this trade and move on from the fact that Mats Zuccarello may never and probably will never again be a New York Ranger.

Zuccarello spent nine years with the Rangers, an undrafted free agent who played his first game as a Blueshirt in 2010. Five years earlier the Rangers chose Henrik Lundqvist with their 7th round pick in 2005. Lundqvist has been with the Rangers ever since. Along the way he has seen many defenseman in front of him, been around a lot of different coaches and has played with a ton of players up until this point. A 14-year professional and someone most fans know to be a very competitive and serious guy. Lundqvist is the back bone of this Rangers franchise and has been for quite sometime now. But one other player that is essentially the 1A when it comes to favorite Rangers since 2005 is Mats Zuccarello.

Zuccarello played 509 games with the Rangers and 509 games alongside Henrik Lundqvist. The two host a charity game together and have been known to be best friends for the better of Zuccarello’s nine year career. When the trade speculation surfaced Lundqvist spoke on the issue about how difficult it would be to see his long-time teammate but more importantly friend leave him. As the days went on and the news simmered down, it seemed like things were looking like the two would stay together, at least they hoped.

It is obviously a lot easier to cope with the fact of Zuccarello leaving when it does not actually happen but it is difficult to put into words what it is like with Zuccarello really gone now. And clearly Lundqvist struggled as he choked up during a post game interview and could not finish the reporters question.

This is difficult for any fan to watch and especially Rangers fans. The only time, I could recall Lundqvist showing emotion like this is during a tough Stanley Cup final loss or Eastern Conference final loss but nothing to this extent.

Zuccarello and Lundqvist shared many great moments together from the seven straight playoff appearances, President Trophy in 2014-15, the Eastern Conference finals back to back years and a Stanley Cup loss in 2014. The two have shared the good, the bad and everything in between. But more importantly they were known for their bond off the ice and in the locker room that many fans would not understand nor see.

It is tough for Rangers to see their favorite player walk away after 9.5 years but it is even tougher for Lundqvist to see his best friend walk away after all the memories and times together. Whatever Lundqvist is feeling is something not many fans or players can probably relate too.

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Filip Zadina Set To Play Vs San Jose, Mats Zuccarello Makes Stars Debut Vs Chicago

Filip Zadina, the Red Wings 6th overall selection in the 2018 NHL draft was recalled yesterday morning. Zadina has not played with the Red Wings this regular season and his time up at the professional level this season will probably last 10 or so games. Zadina has been having himself a nice year with the Grand Rapid Griffins collecting 31 points in 45 games. Zadina is set to play on the third line with Luke Glending and Thomas Vanek.

Mats Zuccarello was sent to Dallas last night for a 2nd round pick and 3rd round pick. Dallas turns around quickly for a back to back after getting shutout vs Carolina. Less than 24-hours later they face Chicago in a Sunday afternoon game. Zuccarello has been projected to be playing line two with Jamie Benn and Radek Faksa. Zuccarello has 37 points in 46 games (11G, 26A).

 

Dallas Stars ownerships credits Stars poor play to “f*cking horeshit play” by Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin per Sean Shapiro

Well talk about a headline for you here. The Stars general manager and ownership seem very unpleased with their two superstars, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. The Stars are one point ahead of the Vancouver Canucks and two ahead of the Edmonton Oilers for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference. The Stars are three points behind Colorado for the three seed in the Central division and five behind Nashville for the second seed in the Central. They are in a playoff spot and very close to a top-three spot in their division. Yet the Stars ownership seems to still be very unpleased with how Seguin and Benn are playing.

Seguin and Benn performances

Seguin has recorded 3 goals and 4 assists over the last 12 games, he went four-games with zero points and is currently on a three-game drought. On the year Seguin has just 11 goals but also 21 assists making that 32 points in 38 games. A 0.84 point per game average which by NHL superstar standards that is certainly a “horse shit” performance. Looking around the top players, in which Seguin gets paid like one and is one, he should be in the top-15 or higher for scoring in the NHL. Now looking at Benn who has 5 goals and 4 assists in the last 12 games. On the year Benn has 15 goals and 15 assists on the year which is 30 points in 38 games. Again by superstar standards that is even worse than Seguin’s point per game average where Benn is at 0.79, the Stars two superstars are surely underperforming. By the NHL superstar standards the Seguin-Benn tandem combine for just 62 points in 38 games is probably worthy for the owner to call their game “f*cking horse shit” at the moment.

What this outburst from Stars ownership means…

On the bright side, the Stars are still within a playoff spot and very close to a divisional top-three spot with Seguin-Benn playing poorly. The Stars ownership certainly came out and said this for two reasons. (1) To rile up the superstar players for the Stars, this was most definitely aired out there for the public to see so Seguin and Benn take a look in the mirror and go, “well yeah we do need to pick it up”. (2) To show the Dallas Stars other players that the ownership has a certain standard for these guys and if they are not performing or not playing well night in and night out it cannot just be the Stars coach and ownership speaking up to these guys, other veterans and leaders need to speak up and say something as well.

I think with this recent out burst from the Stars ownership will propel Seguin and Benn to go on a tear and the Stars to play a lot better. For now let’s wait and see… it will be interesting to see what the reporters say to Seguin and Benn tomorrow during the morning skate and after their game Saturday night vs Detroit.

NHL News: Don’t Look Now But The Dallas Stars Are Coming…

The Dallas Stars are finally hitting that level of play we all imagined them to when they acquired Alex Radulov and Ben Bishop. Last year did not turn out that way, the Stars missed the playoffs by three points and posted a 42-32-8 record. Well this season early on they started out a little slow, dealing with injuries and the usual rust off the old hands and feet to get going. Now, they have Radulov back healthy, Ben Bishop has 8 wins in 14 starts, a .923 save percentage and is finally giving the Stars consistent goaltending. Even without John Klingberg the Stars are doing just fine.

Stars depth scoring actually alive this season

In the month of November the Stars have already played 9 games winning 5 of them and getting a point in eight of the nine games. The Stars production comes from their top three guys we all know that. Tyler Seguin(20), Jamie Benn(17), Alex Radulov(15) and last year it was mainly those three doing a lot of the work. The Stars struggled greatly with depth scoring last year and it was due to a certain veteran being injured and in a rut all year. Jason Spezza. Spezza had just 26 points in 78 games last season, he is already half way there this season with 13 points in 20 games. That is exactly what the Stars needed last season but are getting it now. On top of Devin Shore chipping his fair share, to say this will continue is unknown but Shore has 11 points in 18 games compared to his 31 points in 82 games last season. Rookie defenseman Miro Heiskanen has helped a lot especially with Klingberg out right now. Esa Lindell and Jason Dickinson are doing their fair share with eight points on the year. 

Putting the puzzle pieces together 

The point of this is that the Stars were getting acclimated to each other last season a lot of new faces in the locker room, new goalie, new rookies, everything. The Stars needed a year to get used to each other, Bishop needed a year to get back into the rhythm of being a number one goalie. Klingberg was just stepping into a huge role last season, they now have a little more depth on the blue line with Heiskanen and Roman Polak back there, the addition of some veteran forwards has helped. The Stars are finally geling and putting the puzzle pieces together here. Do not be shocked when you see this team in the top three of the toughest division in hockey and making some noise come April. The Stars have six games remaining in November and five of them come on the road, if this team splits that or comes out winning 4 of 6, do not be surprised if they hit their stride early. 

NHL Power Rankings: From 20th on up…

20. Dallas Stars: 38-36-8

The Division is too competitive right now, sure the Stars have a lot of good options on their front end, they have two superstars in Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn but lack offensive depth Martin Hanzal has been a bust and Jason Spezza is on the way out. Past the Stars top 3 forwards who else is chipping in? Jason Klingberg is a now solidified number one d option, losing Dan Hamihus is a blow and they have not gained much offensive depth this offseason and their defense is very young. Ben Bishop is a solid goaltender but seems to not be himself since his departure in Tampa Bay. Missing the playoffs is reasonable for Dallas.

Key acquisitions: Valeri Nichuskin, Blake Comeau, Marc Methot, Miro Heiskanen

19. Calgary Flames: 40-33-8

Calgary Flames 18-19 previewThe Flames definitely improved in the offseason and this may come back to bite me but taking a look at the Pacific division it is going to be a dog fight once again the Golden Knights, Sharks and Ducks did not get worse, the Kings got better and the Flames are the team battling for that final wild card spot at the moment. The Flames have James Neal to add some insurance in the goal scoring department, with already Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, but after Matthew Tkachuk and the second line what are the Flames going to do? Same on the back end, losing your top scoring defenseman is tough luckily adding Noah Hanafin is a plus but Hanafin and Hamilton are at different points in their career where Hamilton may have the upper hand right now. Flames have to hope Travis Hamonic finds his way this season and Mike Smith stays healthy and remains a solid number one option. For me I don’t see the Flames ending anywhere that much better than last year.

Key acquisitions: James Neal, Noah Hanafin, Elias Lindholm, Troy Bouwer

18. Colorado Avalanche: 45-30-7

The Av’s finished way above and beyond than what anyone thought they were going to, but with St. Louis has done this offseason there is a slight chance the Avalanche finish above St. Louis this season. The Avalanche and Flames will be the two battling for that final wild card spot in the West, or even missing it. The Avalanche have a superstar in Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Ratanen coming off an unbelievable year with a ton of young talent surrounding these two with Tyson Jost, Alex Kerfoot, Sven Andrighetto and some other solid veterans in Matt Calvert, Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Nieto. With a solid back end in Tyson Barrie and Erik Johsnon with some great tools in Ian Cole, Nikita Zadorov and Samuel Girad this won’t be the end of the Avalanches playoff years but like I said St. Louis has improved drastically they won’t miss the playoffs this season.

Key acquisitions: Matt Calvert, Ian Cole, Phillip Grubauer

17. New Jersey Devils: 39-33-10

New Jersey Devils 18-19 previewThe Devils had a fantastic and unimaginable run last season sparked by Taylor Hall and some small additions in some young forwards but to do it again will be very difficult for the Devils. With an aging goalie in Corey Schneider, Keith Kinkaid not being a viable number one option and losing John Moore on the back end the Devils have a lot of holes in their line up. Without the same year by Taylor Hall, the Devils will be missing the playoffs in my opinion. The Devils do not have much forward depth nor do they have a study blue line. The Devils could possibly make a run at the wild card with the Islanders, Rangers and Hurricanes not being great but I think Florida bumps them for that final wild card spot.

Key acquisitions:

16. Florida Panthers: 45-30-7

The Panthers have now Mike Hoffman a 30-goal scorer, on top of Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Evegnii Dadanov, Vincent Trocheck and Nick Bjugstad with a solid number four defenseman and the only question mark remains in the crease for the Panthers sure, Roberto Luongo is a solid goaltender but at this age what can he do more? Jonathan Reimer going to be able to withstand the pressure and be a solid 1-2 option for the Panthers. The two will split time for most of the year but the Panthers had a hot run at the end of the year last season and with the addition of Mike Hoffman it will give a ton of fire power to this already solid Panthers defense. If the Panthers back end and Luongo can stay healthy they will make a playoff run, a short lived one but a run at least.

 

 

FREE NHL Picks: March 20, 2018

Pittsburgh Penguins(41-26-5) vs New York Islanders(30-32-10)

The Islanders are out of a playoff spot, for anyone that truly believes they still have a shot you sir are delusional. They have now dropped 9 of their last ten games, lost 3 of those in overtime and are currently on a three-game losing streak. They’ve picked up 5 points of the last possible 20 points and 1000 percent out of it. They have 9 games remaining after tonight and, right now it does not look good for New York. They usually play Pittsburgh well, but right now this deep in the season with the Penguins looking to make a run at first, I can’t see them dropping to the Islanders. These two have faced off three times prior to this and 2 of the three games have gone to overtime, the Penguins hold the season series 3-0, looking for the season sweep here. In their last ten, the Penguins are 5-4-1, playing mediocre hockey as of late. On top of the Penguins struggles they are a decent road team, posting a below .500 road record, 15-18-4, also dropping 4 of their last five road games. The Penguins are certainly the better team, even with Tristian Jarry or Casey DeSmith in net the Penguins are most definitely the favorites here tonight, going Penguins.

Dallas Stars(38-27-8) vs Washington Capitals(41-25-7)

Day 1 of 9 without Ben Bishop starts tonight, the Stars get their first test vs the Capitals and Kari Lehtonen gets his first start in a week. The Stars are in serious trouble here as the Kings won Monday night they now sit two points out of a wild-card spot and have a very tough remaining schedule ahead of them. They are 2-4-4 in their last ten while posting a 14-17-5 road record. A lot of pressure is on the Stars top three guys of Radulov-Benn-Seguin, the only three who really do anything for this team and now they are really going to be called upon. As the Capitals more than likely have a playoff spot locked down, they still could drop out of first so every point is crucial for this team as well. The Capitals are 6-4-0 in their last ten coming off a loss to Philadelphia, with the Penguins behind them by 2 points and Flyers by 4 points. These last few games will not be easy for Washington and the race for the number one seed in the Metropolitan division is going to come down to the wire. Tonight, I may go with the road dogs here the Stars know how desperate they will need to play and how crucial this game is, I see a full team effort and a solid performance out of Lehtonen, call me crazy, going Stars.

Florida Panthers(36-27-7) vs Ottawa Senators(26-34-11)

The Panthers got the first job done of the week, now they have to face yet another non-playoff opponent and this game is another MUST win, going back to back won’t be easy but the Panthers with a win over Montreal Monday night sit now three points out, with two games in hand. The Panthers will probably go with James Reimer as Roberto Luongo started Monday night. Reimer last start came against the Bruins March 15, in which he posted a 46 save shutout. When Luongo was out Reimer did play his part fairly well and did all he could to keep the Panthers afloat. On the season Reimer has 17 wins, 3.06 GAA and .910 save percentage. Ottawa though, will not be an easy opponent, playing spoilers hockey and a team playing a little better over the last month, they will give the Panthers a run for there money. The Senators are 5-4-1 in their last ten with a 15-14-6 home record and having beat teams like the Lightning, Dallas, and Vegas recently this team is not going to be an easy feat. Also, the Panthers and Ottawa faced off just last week(March 12), where the Senators beat the Panthers 5-3. These two have met two times already and the series is tied 1-1, after the Senators beating Florida I see Florida coming out flying. Going Panthers here tonight.

Philadelphia Flyers(37-25-11) vs Detroit Red Wings(26-35-11)

Wow, the wheels have fallen off the wagon for Detroit here, just a little while ago I feel like I remember seeing this team with a .500 record, but after dropping 10 straight the Red Wings are really struggling they are 0-9-1 in their last ten. The storyline of tonight will be Petr Mrazek’s return to Detroit since the trade and also if the Red Wings can snap out of their drought and actually win. The Red Wings and Flyers have met now two times already and each game has been a one-goal game, one game went to overtime as well. But with the Flyers battling for some playoff separation from the Blue Jackets and posting a 3-6-1 record in their last ten, I would find it very hard to see this team lose. Mrazek will come out hungry I think and the Flyers will run this team into the ground. Going Flyers tonight.

Toronto Maple Leafs(43-22-7) vs Tampa Bay Lightning(49-19-4)

The Lightning have clinched the playoffs making them the second team to do so, but tonight will have a playoff atmosphere to it, so the Lightning better not think this is going to be some wash away game. These two have met now three times already and every game has been a playoff-type game, the Lightning hold the season series at 2-1, winning the last matchup in a shootout. If anyone caught the Kings vs Wild game Monday night, this game will look very similar to that one. The Leafs will be without Auston Matthews again tonight, as well Frederick Anderson is uncertain for tonight. The only issue the Lightning have is playing without Ondrej Palat, not a big loss. The Lightning come into this game posting a 7-2-1 record in their last ten with a 26-8-2 home record, coming off a road win vs Edmonton. The Leafs come into this game with a 6-2-2 record in their last ten, on a four-game win streak, with an 18-14-5 record. The Leafs will probably go with Curtis McElhinney, who is coming off a 33 save shutout vs Montreal and a win in his last three starts. The Leafs are flying high right now even without Matthews. This is going to be the game of the night for sure, even with the Leafs 9 points behind the Lightning, they are a hungry team right now and they are running with a ton of momentum into the playoffs now. Going Leafs tonight.

Other games on tonight…

Blue Jackets vs Rangers: Preview around 3 pm…

Oilers vs Hurricanes: Grab a cup of joe for this one. Oilers.

Kings vs Jets: Jets 

Avalanche vs Blackhawks: N/A

Canucks vs Golden Knights: Vegas 

Devils vs Sharks: SHARKS are hot, at home, Devils been on the road for five days now, going Sharks.  

Ben Bishop out 2-weeks: Is Dallas done?

Recent news came out that Ben Bishop will be out for at least two weeks after he left Sunday nights game making just three saves. Bishop left during the first period after he robbed Winnipeg’s Bryan Little. The save seemed to be a nice save, but it came off a little awkward, Bishop slid over and assumingly he must have tweaked and or pulled something in his left leg.

Well, the news is out and Bishop is out. Two weeks a matter of fact, which means for the entirety of the season. This could not have come out at a worse time, one the Stars are points within a playoff spot and have several teams battling for the same exact spot the Stars are battling for. Two, moments ago when Bishop was out before the Stars struggled a tad and they did go on a small skid. Three, the goalie they relied upon for several years and a goalie that did not prove much for Dallas is now being called upon to play major time for the Stars. This really could not have come at a worse time, as I said before with the playoffs on the line but also the Stars are playing so poorly right now as well dropping 8 of their last ten games and at a time where they really need to rely heavily upon a starting goaltender, especially looking at their remaining schedule…

Stars remaining schedule…

Looking at the Stars remaining schedule, are we sure Kari Lehtonen can’t do this. I mean he has been pretty solid as a backup goaltender this year. The Stars have 9 remaining games and 8 of them come against playoff teams. Which especially is concerning because the last two games of the year come against two teams they will probably be battling with for the last or first wild-card spot. The Stars play Washington(away), Boston(home), Vancouver(H), Flyers(H), Minnesota(A), Minnesota(H), Sharks(A), Kings(A), Ducks(A). Looks like the Stars have 9 games left, 8 against solid teams and of those 9 games as well 5 come on the road. The schedule is definitely not in favor of the Stars and panic mode may be in full effect for any Stars fan.

Stars Lehtonen and McKenna hold it down…

The Stars have Kari Lehtonen to rely upon now though as well Mike McKenna who they recently recalled. On the year so far Lehtonen has started in 22 games posting a 12-10 with 2.46 goals against, .913 save percentage and one shutout. In Lehtonen’s last five games though he has picked up one win, allowing 15 goals, 135 shots. This is the least amount of games started Lehtonen’s career since he has been healthy and has come into the league. On another note, goalie Mike McKenna has been recalled from the Texas Stars, Dallas’s affiliate team. During his time here he has started in 30 games posting a 15-9-4 record with 2.69 goals against average and .907 save percentage. McKenna the former 6th rounder in the 2002 draft, signed as a free agent by Dallas, comes into the Stars organization at an extremely crucial time as the Stars could possibly miss the playoffs for the eighth time in 10 seasons. No pressure Lehtonen and McKenna.