Dallas Stars: Nhl

Memo to Stars, Ducks: Shut up and play

April, 22, 2014
Apr 22
DALLAS -- OK, that's enough chitchat. Let's just shut up and play already.

Both of you.

That goes for you, Anaheim. Yeah, I'm talking to you, too, Dallas. (Feels like a conversation I have weekly at home with my kids.)

It's not that the verbal volleys after Game 3 weren't fun. Who doesn't love a good argument every once in a while?

But, come on. Didn't everyone know things would get more physical with Dallas desperate and the playoffs back in Texas for the first time in six years?

The Ducks felt the Stars crossed that invisible, yet real physical "line" in regard to captain Ryan Getzlaf, the guy with the facemask guarding his lacerated jaw. The Stars felt they were simply playing a desperate, physical game, one they saw played effectively by Corey Perry in Game 1.

You're both right. And you're both wrong.

Antoine Roussel shouldn't have kept going at Getzlaf after the linesmen broke the scrum up near the end of the second period Monday. He landed a couple of punches after the bell. But it's not as if Getzlaf didn't get a good punch at the face of Roussel, either, as everything started.

Desperate teams sometimes do things that aren't particularly nice in those hard areas of the ice. The Stars were hoping to get the Ducks' captain off his game. They wanted to rattle him, and those around him, a bit. The facemask was just the tool to do so.

(Read full post)

Much-needed G Dan Ellis now 4-0 at home

December, 18, 2013
DALLAS -- Dallas Stars goaltender Dan Ellis knew on the flight back from Denver he'd be called on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center.

His team was playing a home-and-home on consecutive nights against the Colorado Avalanche, and starting netminder Kari Lehtonen faced 48 shots in a 6-2 loss in Denver on Monday night.

[+] EnlargeDan Ellis
Glenn James/NHLI/Getty Images"Last night we weren't committed to defense. We were committed to winning tonight," Stars backup goalie Dan Ellis said Tuesday after the second game against the Avalanche in as many nights.

Indeed, Stars coach Lindy Ruff needed his backup, and Ellis delivered in a 3-2 victory over the Avalanche in one of the best finishes of the season at the AAC.

Ellis withstood a chaotic last 25 seconds, stopping five shots, all of them at point-blank range. He also had help from his teammates, who didn't get in front of any Colorado shots on Monday night.

The Stars made a stronger effort in front of Ellis, starting with captain Jamie Benn, who had a crucial block on a shot from the point seconds after he was too casual on an empty-net opportunity that would have given the Stars a 4-2 victory.

The end result was a massive two points for Dallas -- and none for the division rival Avalanche -- as the Stars try to work their way into the Western Conference playoff race. The Stars are eight points out of the second wild-card spot held down by the Minnesota Wild, which has played three more games than Dallas.

"Last night we weren't committed to defense," Ellis said after Tuesday's game. "We were committed to winning tonight.

"The big guy plays a lot of games," he said of Lehtonen. "When you get that much rubber, you need to get a break. He had 50 shots [Monday], and he could have given up a lot more goals."

Ellis' biggest save Tuesday came late in a Colorado power play with just less than five minutes to go in the game when he robbed Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog on a one-timer right in front of the net to keep the game tied at 2-2.

"I've seen a little bit of their power play," Ellis said. "He has a great one-timer. So I had an eye on him. I expected a quick shot. I was able to snag it with my glove."

Two minutes later, Dallas’ Colton Sceviour scored on a breakaway for a 3-2 lead. And Ellis and the Stars held on tight for their 16th win of the season.

Ellis is now 4-0 at home. With more nights like Tuesday's, he might give Ruff greater cause to rest Lehtonen, who has played in 25 of the Stars' 33 games.

Stars realigned under league's new plan

December, 5, 2011
The Dallas Stars got their wish on realignment. They are out of the Pacific Division. In fact, there will be no more Pacific Division. The NHL Board of Governors Monday night approved a realignment plan that will replace the current two conference/six division format with a four conference configuration. Two conferences will have eight teams and two will have seven.

"We are really excited about it," said Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk. "Everyone knew our position on this. We wanted out of the Pacific Division. This makes total sense for us."

The Stars will play in a conference with Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis and Winnipeg.

The new alignment will mean less travel for the Stars and fewer late starts to games, which will help on the television side of things. Those were two key issues for the Stars.

The new format would include a more balanced schedule with every team playing every other team at least once in a home-and-home series.

The top four teams in each conference will make the playoffs and the first two rounds of the playoffs will be held within each conference. The rest of the playoff format will be worked out this spring.

The plan is expected to be in place next season.

How the Stars schedule will look

Since the Stars are playing in an eight-team conference, this is how their schedule will break down each season.

They will play 38 games within the conference. They will play three of their division rivals six times (18 games) and four of their division rivals five times (20 games). Which teams they play six times and five times will rotate season to season.

They will play 44 games against teams in the other three conferences. They will play two games each – one home, one away – against the other 22 teams (44 games).

Carlyle out as Ducks coach, Boudreau in

December, 1, 2011
There's a been a shakeup in the Pacific Division coaching ranks. The Anaheim Ducks axed Randy Carlyle after last night's win against Montreal and announced that they had hired Bruce Boudreau, who was canned by Washington on Monday.

Last night's win snapped a seven-game winless streak (0-6-1) for the Ducks, who are in 14th place in the Western Conference with a 7-13-4 record.

The story is here.

It's official: Stars sold to Gaglardi

November, 18, 2011
The Dallas Stars officially have a new owner. A bankruptcy court in Delaware on Friday approved the sale of the team to Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi and confirmed the Stars’ prepackaged bankruptcy plan.

The NHL Board of Governors approved Gaglardi earlier this week by a fax vote, and the sale closed Friday afternoon.

Today’s events bring to a close a tough chapter in Stars’ history that began when Hicks Sports Group ran into hard financial times, defaulted on $525 million in loans in 2009, put the club up for sale in early 2010 and eventually saw the team run by the league and lenders.

Gaglardi is the President of Northland Properties Corporation, which he and his family run. The company owns and operates hotels and restaurants Canada and employs more than 10,000 people.

Gaglardi leads the ownership group of the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League. The ownership group includes Shane Doan, Mark Recchi, Jarome Iginla and Darryl Sydor.

Gaglardi, a life-long hockey fan, has strong Texas ties. His mother is from Longview and he has family in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

He’ll take over a team that, according to court documents, lost $37.9 million in the last fiscal year and $91.5 million over the last three seasons. The Stars are expected to lose $31 million this season.

Court documents state that Gaglardi is “committed to keeping the Stars in Dallas and rebuilding the franchise both in terms of on-ice success and the fan experience.”

Gaglardi, whose bid for the team has been estimated at $265 million, has hired former Stars president Jim Lites to return as the team’s president. That’s a job Lites held from 1993 to 2007, except for a brief period in 2002 when he was the president and CEO of the Phoenix Coyotes.

Gaglardi will be introduced at a news conference in Dallas on Monday. He will drop the puck at the Stars-Oilers game on Monday night.

Ex-Star Sean Avery arrested

August, 5, 2011
Former Dallas Star Sean Avery is in trouble again, and this time his actions have landed him in jail. Avery was arrested in California early this morning after police said he shoved an officer who was responding to a noise complaint at Avery's Hollywood Hills home.

The 31-year-old Avery, currently a New York Ranger, was booked on suspicion of battery on a police officer.

The story is here.

Tuesday tidbits: Razor to Twitter?

June, 21, 2011
It appears Dallas Stars broadcaster Daryl Reaugh is considering taking his unique outlook on things to Twitter. But he's not there yet and someone with the Stars who is dialed into Razor's thinking on all this says he still needs some encouragement. That person has pointed me to a Facebook page, where fans are pushing Razor to get on Twitter. You can find that page here. I think the idea is for you to hit the "Like" button.

*The NHL board of governors met Tuesday. The Atlanta Thrashers' move to Winnipeg was approved. Details are here.

*Also, the board approved broadening the rules on hits to the head and boarding, and you can read about that here.

GM Joe at the GM meetings

June, 8, 2011
NHL GMs met in Boston on Wednesday. One bit of news was the proposal to broaden Rule 48, which was put in place this season to eliminate those blindside hits to the head.

Now, the GMs want to take the word "blindside" out of the rule to allow more kinds of hits to fall under the rule.

"I think it is a broadening (of Rule 48), incorporating more of the hits that we don't like to fit within the rule. But now it has to go through its proper channels. We've made the recommendation. We'll meet with the competition committee. We obviously have to get input from the players' association and move this thing forward as the summer moves along," Nieuwendyk said.

More here from ESPN.com's Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun.

Nieuwendyk also talked to reporters in Boston about his search for a head coach and his efforts to try to trade the negotiating rights of Brad Richards, who will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Pierre LeBrun had an update on that in a story on some of the other items from the GM meetings.
The Dallas Stars have interviewed four candidates so far in their head-coaching search: Kirk Muller, Peter Horachek (Preds assistant coach), Ken Hitchcock and Glen Gulutzan (Stars AHL coach).

GM Joe Nieuwendyk said he's nearing a decision this month.

"I'd ideally like to have it done before the draft, but certainly before free agency," he said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, trade talks involving the rights to pending unrestricted free agent Brad Richards continue.

"I have had discussions with teams. It's our intention as well to move those rights along, and so we're working towards that," Nieuwendyk said.

Richards, of course, would have to approve any trade. My impression is that there are mixed signals coming from the Richards' camp on whether Richards would be agreeable to waiving his no-trade clause, so we'll just have to be wait and see. I am not holding my breath waiting for it to happen, but I am not ruling it out either.

As for coaching search, Nieuwendyk talked about what he's looking for in a head coach earlier this week during a media briefing in Frisco.

"I am looking for a guy that can relate to players and grow with a young group of players," Nieuwendyk said. "I want a longer-term guy. I don't want the recycling. I want a long-term guy that can build with our young group of players. ... The offensive side of things hasn't been bad. Obviously, I'd like to be a little bit better on specialty teams. I think the structure and the fall back, forming more of an identity. That will be important in the qualities."

If you ask me, that sounds like Gulutzan. Although the more I learn about Horacheck, the more I am impressed. We should know who it is in a couple of weeks or so.
NHL realignment will not happen this coming season, but it will come in 2012-13 and it may involve a more balanced schedule. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman hinted at the schedule adjustment while addressing the media prior to the opening of the Stanley Cup Final in Vancouver Wednesday.

Bettman said that while realignment will be coming now that the Atlanta Thrashers are moving to Winnipeg, there’s not enough time to give it proper treatment prior to the 2011-12 season. As a result, Winnipeg will play in the Southeast Division for one season as the league sorts through the realignment issue.

Several teams will be looking to take advantage of realignment, including the Stars who could benefit from moving out of the Pacific Division and into a more time friendly and travel friendly division such as the Central.

“We have a number of clubs that would like to address specific issues on realignment. All those clubs need an opportunity to be heard,” said Bettman. “That's a process we'll go through the first half of next season, looking at the issues that clubs want to raise, looking at various possibilities, and trying to figure out what will make the most sense moving forward.

“If I had to guess anything, and this is purely speculation, as much as I hate to do that, because ultimately it's a Board decision, I think we'll wind up moving towards a slightly more balanced schedule to accommodate the variety of issues I've heard so far from the clubs.”

What that more balanced schedule will entail isn’t clear, but it could include more inter-conference games to ensure that each team plays in every NHL building during the season.

A few other notes:

*Bettman announced that he is creating a new department of player safety that will be headed by Brendan Shanahan, who also will be in charge of supplemental discipline next season. He will be taking over for Colin Campbell, who has stepped down from handling discipline but will his retain his position in the Hockey Operations department.

“First, I know this is one aspect of Colie's job that he hates. It could be the most thankless and worst job in hockey, particularly after enduring it for more than a decade,” said Bettman. “Two, both Colin and I believe that it is time to take a fresh look at the standards that we use, and if we're going to move to harsher discipline, that change needs to send a clear message, and we think it would probably be best to do it on a clean slate. Having Brendan, who only recently came off the ice after a wonderful career, will give us the adjustment and the focus and the credibility that this change will bring about.”

*NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said next season’ salary cap is expected to top $60 million and could go as high as $63.5 million.

*The Florida Panthers became the first of the teams looking for a new head coach to fill the vacancy, announcing today that they have hired Kevin Dineen. He takes over for Peter DeBoer, who has fired after three seasons behind the Florida bench. Dineen has the spent the last six seasons as the head coach of the Portland Pirates of the AHL.

Calder Trophy finalists

April, 19, 2011
The league has started releasing the finalists for the various awards. Today it was the Calder Trophy, which goes to the NHL's top rookie. The finalists are Logan Couture of San Jose, Michael Grabner of the New York Islanders and Jeff Skinner of Carolina.

Here's the release from the league:
San Jose Sharks center Logan Couture, New York Islanders right wing Michael Grabner and Carolina Hurricanes center Jeff Skinner are the three finalists for the 2010-11 Calder Trophy, awarded “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition,” the National Hockey League announced today.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association submitted ballots for the Calder Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 22, during the 2011 NHL Awards from the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel Las Vegas. The 2011 NHL Awards will be broadcast by VERSUS in the United States and CBC in Canada.

Following are the finalists for the Calder Trophy, in alphabetical order:

Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks

Couture was a key contributor in all areas on a Sharks team that captured its fourth consecutive Pacific Division title. The 22-year-old center ranked second on San Jose in goals (32), game-winning goals (eight) and plus-minus (+18); placed third in shots (253) and face-offs (888); fourth in power-play goals (10) and sixth in points (56). He led all rookies in game-winning goals, power-play goals, shots and face-offs, finished second in goals and points and was fifth in plus-minus. The Sharks' first-round pick in the 2007 Entry Draft tallied seven of his game-winning goals on the road, the most ever by an NHL rookie.

Michael Grabner, New York Islanders

Grabner didn't start the season with the Islanders, but ended it as the club's goals leader with 34, a total that also led NHL rookies. Claimed on waivers from Florida on Oct. 5, Grabner surged near the top of the rookie scoring race with a run of 16 goals in 15 games from Jan. 15 to Feb. 15, a period also highlighted by a first-place finish in the Fastest Skater event at the 2011 NHL SuperSkills. His six-game goal streak from Feb. 1-15 matched the longest by any player this season. The 23-year-old Villach, Austria native led all rookies in shorthanded goals (six), ranked second in shots (228) and seventh in plus-minus (+13).

Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes

The Hurricanes reaped immediate dividends from their top pick in the 2010 Entry Draft as the 18-year-old Skinner, selected seventh overall last June, led all rookies in scoring as the League's youngest player. His performance over the first half of the season earned him a berth in the 2011 NHL All-Star Game, played in front of a hometown crowd in Raleigh. He went on to lead all rookies in points (63), rank second in assists (32) and third in goals (31). Skinner netted his 30th goal of the season Apr. 6 against Detroit, becoming the seventh-youngest player in NHL history to reach the milestone (18 years, 325 days).

Swedish ref to make history in Dallas tonight

November, 16, 2010
Tonight's Dallas Stars-Anaheim Ducks game at American Airlines Center will feature a National Hockey League first. Marcus Vinnerborg of Sweden will become the first European referee to officiate an NHL game.

"You can’t set this as a goal for yourself because until now the NHL has been a closed world to European officials. I feel fortunate to get this opportunity and to be appreciated by them,” Vinnerborg told IIHF.com.

Vinnerborg was hired this past summer to work primarily in the American Hockey League and the plan was for him to get some NHL games as well. His first opportunity comes tonight. His next NHL assignment is Wednesday's game between San Jose and Colorado.

Tiebreaker change targets shootout

August, 22, 2010
It looks like the shootout has become a target around the NHL these days, and in a first step the league is going to make a shootout win a little less than important than it used to be. It will still be worth two points, but it won't help teams when it comes to that first tiebreaker in the standings.

E.J. Hradek of ESPN The Magazine broke the news of what's coming:
The league will change its regular-season tiebreaking system for 2010-11, an NHL source told ESPN.

The first tiebreaker will be a combination of regulation time and overtime victories, with shootout wins excluded. In the past, the first tiebreaker had been total wins of any kind.

So, a shootout win isn't a win if two teams are tied in points. Only regulation and overtime wins will count in those scenarios. The standings become a little more complicated - and time will tell how the league will present them - but more value is given to games decided by players in a team situation.

The tiebreaker change is another sign that there is a growing sentiment that too many games get settled in the shootout and that gives the postgame skills competition too much influence on how things shake out in the regular season.

That was evident in last week's NHL Research and Development Camp, where the league tested several scenarios for settling games in overtime. Those scenarios included reducing the number of players over a longer overtime and having the teams switch sides to create the long line change, which can create more mistakes and more scoring chances.

The switching sides to get the long line change seemed to go over well among several people, including former Stars coach Ken Hitchcock.

"You're going to get tired guys on the ice and a little mistake ends up being a big mistake," Hitchcock told NHL.com. "I feel that 4-on-4 (overtime) now is just a stall to get to the shootout where there is more strategy and more control, and I think we've got to look at allowing the players as a team to decide the game rather than two or three individuals."

I like the teams changing sides and creating the long line change. It's a simple and subtle move that could help settle more games in OT.

Time will tell if changes will be made to OT to cut down on the number of shootouts. For now, though, there's going to be a change in the tiebreakers and the goal is to lessen the impact of winning games in shootouts. It won't come into play a lot, but there are a few ties in the standings at end of the season. The new rule could play a role in playoff seeding, who gets in the playoffs or draft position. It's a significant change.

Nhl, NHL Rules

Hybrid icing goes over well at NHL camp

August, 19, 2010
Among the ideas that were tested at the NHL’s Research, Development and Orientation Camp in Toronto Wednesday, hybrid icing seemed to be the biggest hit.

Hybrid icing is a mix of regular icing and no-touch icing.

Here’s the league’s description of hybrid icing, which is used by the United States Hockey League:
During a potential icing, the linesman, by the time the first man reaches the face off dot, will determine which player would reach the puck first. If it is determined to be the attacking player, icing is waved off. If it is the defending player, icing is blown immediately. (Tie goes to the defender) It basically enables on-ice officials to whistle the play dead avoiding a dangerous collision at the end boards.

“I am strong believer [in hybrid icing] from what I saw today,” former Stars coach Ken Hitchcock told the NHL Network. “It doesn’t look any different from icing, but it is a lot safer for the players.”

None of the ideas being tested at the camp is expected to be implemented this coming season, but hybrid icing is one that could come into play down the road.

There was an adjustment to faceoffs as well. Instead of the linesman dropping the puck for the faceoff, the puck was put on the ice and the faceoff commenced on the sound of whistle. The goal is restore "fairness and integrity" to faceoffs.

Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk, an excellent faceoff man in his playing days, said something needs to be done about faceoffs but he wasn’t completely sold on what he saw Wednesday.

“It’s frustrating for the linesmen and it’s frustrating for the fans when one guy doesn’t go in there right away and he tries to time it, there’s an unfair advantage,” Nieuwendyk said on NHL.com. “It definitely takes the advantage away. I would like to see it tweaked a little bit more. There’s something special about a faceoff and the battle created there. There doesn’t seem to be much of a battle within this faceoff. It just seems to be push the puck out and the play goes on. I like the battle part of it, but I like what they are doing in taking the advantage away for somebody.”

The camp continues Thursday. The league has a nice breakdown of all the ideas with descriptions and the rationale behind each. You can find that here.

The league’s official site has a special section on the camp here.

If you go to the NHL video area and click on the “Just Added” tab, there’s a lot of video of the camp, some of the ideas in action and interviews with league officials, general managers and others.

NHL to put new ideas to the test this week

August, 16, 2010
More than 30 of the top prospects for next year’s NHL Draft will be on the ice in suburban Toronto this week for a camp where they’ll get to make an impression on NHL teams, and they’ll be lab rats as well.

The 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp will be held Wednesday and Thursday at the Toronto Maple Leafs practice facility. The main focus of the camp is to test some potential rule changes and other ideas that could enhance the game.

Veteran coaches Ken Hitchcock and Dave King will be directing the prospects on the ice. A lot of league officials will be watching, including NHL Vice President of Hockey and Business Development Brendan Shanahan.

"I think everyone involved with the NHL thinks that our game is in really good shape," Shanahan told NHL.com. "I think that this is just a way of being progressive and keeping ourselves well informed of not just the fact that things work but why they work. Most companies or industries have research and development and that's exactly what this is: it's studying our own product."

None of these ideas is expected to be implemented this season, and who knows if any will ever see the light of day. If some do they may end up being variations of what’s done at this camp. That’s why you experiment. See how it looks and go from there. Give the league credit for being open to ideas.

Some of the ideas already exist elsewhere. No touch icing will be among the ideas tested. Others have been floating around for a while. Not being allowed to ice the puck when shorthanded will get a look.

There will be variations of rules already in place. There are no line changes now for a team that ices the puck. In this camp the league will test no line changes for a team that goes offside and the faceoff will be moved into the zone of the offending team.

Overtime will get at a lot of attention. In one scenario the league will examine three minutes of 4-on-4, three minutes of 3-on-3 and then three minutes of 2-on-2. That will be followed by a five-man shootout.

The league will use that same overtime scenario, but have teams change ends of the rink to get the long line change like the second period of regulation. The hope is that the long line change will create more mistakes and more opportunities. That will be followed with a shootout that has three players. If the shootout is tied after three shots then players who have already shot can shoot again.

There also will be a 4-on-4 overtime with the long line change followed by a five-man shootout.

Faceoffs will get some attention too. The goal is to cut down on cheating. In one scenario the puck will no longer be dropped. Instead, it will be placed on the ice and players will battle for it on the sound of the whistle.

In another test the puck will be dropped for the faceoff, but if there is a violation the non-offending center can pick his new opponent in the faceoff circle. I don’t think the opposing goalie is an option, but a defenseman would be.

Another test with faceoffs entails moving the dots in the attacking zones to the middle of the ice, leading to draws in the slots.

Again, they are just ideas to be evaluated. It can’t hurt to try and some may actually turn out to be good ideas and better the game.

The league’s official site is promising extensive coverage of the camp and there will be coverage on the NHL Network, which will provide a recap on both Wednesday and Thursday nights. According to NHL Network's online listings it’s scheduled for 9:30 pm Central Time on both nights.

For a complete list of ideas that will be tested you can go here.

NHL.com’s special section on the camp, which includes an archive of stories, can be found here.

Brad Richards ranked 28th in THN's Top 50

August, 13, 2010
The Hockey News 2010-11 Yearbook has been released, and that means the THN’s list of the top 50 players is out as well.

Brad Richards is the only Dallas player on the list, coming in at No. 28. He wasn’t ranked last year. In fact, no Dallas Star was on last year’s list.

Here’s what THN had to say about Richards, who had 91 points (24 goals, 67 assists) in 80 games last season:
Where ya been, big guy? After a couple of miserable, injury-plagued seasons, Richards re-emerged as one of the NHL’s top setup men and a 90-point scorer. He has a great ability to pass the puck, but he also shoots the well enough to play the point on the power play. The combination makes him dangerous with the extra man.

Richards ranked 11th among players THN listed at center. Ahead of him were Sidney Crosby, Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Toews, Henrik Sedin, Evgeni Malkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Steve Stamkos, Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards and Joe Thornton. Seven of those centers were ranked in the top ten players overall.

The top ten players on The Hockey News’ list are:
  1. Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh
  2. Alex Ovechkin, LW, Washington
  3. Ryan Miller, G, Buffalo
  4. Pavel Datsyuk, C, Detroit
  5. Jonathan Toews, C, Chicago
  6. Henrik Sedin, C, Vancouver
  7. Duncan Keith, D, Chicago
  8. Evgeni Malkin, C, Pittsburgh
  9. Nicklas Backstrom, C, Washington
  10. Steven Stamkos, C, Tampa Bay