what to make of NHLPA rejecting league’s Olympics pitch



Here are some of the highlights:

Question: We’re nearly a third through the season. Who is your Stars MVP? League MVP?

Heika: I think Tyler Seguin jersey cheap is hands down the team MVP. He has kept his scoring going at a time when the team really needs scoring. He also has kept Jamie Benn jersey cheap moving forward at a time when Benn’s numbers could have looked really bad. Runner up probably goes to Patrick Eaves jersey cheap jersey cheap.

For me, Carey Price jersey cheap is the league MVP. He might not even be the top candidate for the Vezina because of the work of Devan Dubnyk jersey cheap, but Price changes the Canadiens so much. They were out of the playoffs last season when he was hurt and have the best record in hockey when he is healthy. That, to me, says a lot about his value. If you have to have a skater, Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby jersey cheap. If McDavid wins the scoring title by 20 (and he is on pace to do that), he’ll probably win the Hart running away. That’s how these things work.

Question: Are there any dominant teams in the NHL this season? Or is parity high?

Heika: Well, the real question is whether or not you can have a dominant team during the regular season. Dallas, St. Louis and Washington were really good last year during the regular season. All looked mortal in the playoffs.

I think Montreal, Chicago and Pittsburgh have looked dominant Cheap Jerseys from China
at times and are really tough to beat at home, but they aren’t heavy favorites the way New England (NFL) or Golden State (NBA) would be in the playoffs. The league’s parity is showing up mostly in the middle of the standings, as the division between playoff teams and non playoff teams is tiny. There are 25 teams with payrolls of $70 million or higher and the cap is $73 million, so that helps create parity.

That said, you would still take the top teams over the middle teams in the first round, so I guess that is as dominant as it gets for this league.

Question: What are your thoughts about the NHLPA rejecting the NHL’s offer to allow players to compete in the 2018 Olympics in return for an extension of the CBA?

Heika: It’s what they needed to do.

The league is seeing less and less benefit from the Olympics or from the other international tournaments. It wanted to make clear to the players, who love the international tournaments, that these things cost money and have financial implications.

Both sides made their point in the first step of the negotiations.

I think instead of using these tournaments as a negotiating ploy, the rejection will allow both sides to sit down and assess if the Olympics or the World Cup is a good idea. The reports from the World Cup, I believe, are that it was not a financial Success jersey cheap (and it was held in Canada where you have the best chance for financial Success jersey cheap), so what was the real benefit? Now, we’re not even 30 games into this season, and people are complaining about the compressed schedule causing injuries and hurting the quality of play. That has to spark a debate about whether it was worth it and whether they should just halt tournaments for a couple of years.

I know the players want the tournaments, and players like Alex jersey cheap Ovechkin say he will go no matter what, but I think if both the NHL and NHLPA have a serious discussion, the decision might be that both sides want a break from the Olympics.

Stars’ current level of hockey has them right in the middle of the playoff hunt



The odd arithmetic of playoff qualification has laid itself out pretty clearly for the Stars after their last three games.

In going 1 Chinese Wholesale Jerseys
0 2, Dallas picked up four of six possible points despite winning just one game. That’s the twist in the parity driven NHL, where you can pick up points even while losing.

But at the heart of that run is math that is a little more logical. The Stars earned those points in defeat by producing a brand of hockey that was significantly improved from what they had been playing.

In those three games against Washington, Minnesota and Buffalo, the Stars averaged 36.3 shots on goal and gave up an average of 27.3. Jamie Benn jersey cheap, Tyler Seguin jersey cheap and Jason Spezza jersey cheap jersey cheap scored three points apiece. And while the special teams haven’t exactly been fixed, they were outscored only 4 3 in that span, a step in the right direction.

“I think we’ve worked as hard as we can possibly work these last three games, and we finally got some breaks to go our way,” coach Lindy Ruff said. “You’ve got to win games, and you’ve got to produce. We’re sitting there close, but when we come out of the break, we’ve got to win.”

The Stars are 20 20 10 after 50 games, and as they exit the All Star break Tuesday with a home game against Toronto, they have a real opportunity to make a run at the playoffs. The pace for the second wild card playoff spot in the Western Conference is about 88 points. That means Dallas needs somewhere near 38 points in the final 32 games or a point pace of about .593.

That’s a realistic goal if the team plays like it has been.

“Yeah, for sure,” captain Jamie Benn jersey cheap said when asked if the gap was manageable. “We wish we were in a playoff spot right now, but we can make up three points. We just have to take advantage of our next three home games here.”

Dallas finishes out a six game homestand this week before it attempts to tackle its road demons. It can face the journey one step at a time, knowing that a few proper paces have already been put in place. Veteran winger Patrick Sharp jersey cheap appears to be back to full health after suffering from concussions earlier in the season. He had two goals Thursday in a 4 3 win over Buffalo. Patrick Eaves jersey cheap jersey cheap has two goals and an assist in the last three games. Radek Faksa is returning after missing two games with a lower body injury.

There is a possibility for this team to play its best hockey.

“I don’t think we have quite hit our stride the way we know that we are capable of,” Sharp said. “I think the last three or four or five games we have played really well, and hopefully that’s a sign of things to come.”

While the season statistics that have the Stars among the worst teams in special teams and goaltending don’t offer much hope, the more recent numbers do show that the defending Central Division champions could start playing a little more like last season.

“Win them all . try to win them all,” Ruff said of his plan. “We got four out of our last six points, but I think we could have won all three of them.”

And just being in position to make that declaration says a lot about how this team is getting better.

what about Jets in game



The Jets got what the Stars wanted Thursday.

Exactly what they wanted.

Winnipeg took a 4 3 win over Dallas at American Airlines Center and gained its first three game winning streak of the season. In doing so, it took points from the Stars in the battle for playoff positioning in the Western Conference and seized the potential for serious momentum going forward.

Dallas, meanwhile, slipped back to the all too comfortable .500 mark in the NHL standings at 21 21 10 (52 points) and lost center Jason Spezza jersey cheap jersey cheap for at least a few games because of injury.

Talk about dj vu all over again.

It would be easy to argue that the Stars were the better team. They had an 83 43 advantage in shot attempts and a 42 29 advantage in shots on goal. They won the hits battle at 26 16. They won the faceoff battle at 33 26. They did a lot of things right.

But Benn was stopped on a breakaway in the second period when the Stars had three skaters to Winnipeg’s five, and the Jets scored right after that save. Benn hit the crossbar late in the third period with a chance to tie, and Brett Ritchie slipped a puck just wide with an open net and a chance to tie in the dying seconds.

On the goal that proved to be the game winner for the Jets, Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen jersey cheap gave up the puck behind the net and didn’t skate back around in time to stop Nikolaj Ehlers’ shot.

And because of all that, the Jets were the better team. They have been during this season series as they lead 3 1 0 with the final meeting on Valentine’s Day in Winnipeg. That could be huge, because the Stars are in a fight with six teams trying to get the two wild card playoff spots in the West, and the Jets are one of those teams.

And while Winnipeg has played two more games and is only two points ahead in the standings (25 25 4, 54 points), it has been dominant within the Cheap NHL Jerseys
Central Division. The Jets are 13 4 1 in games against Central opponents, while Dallas slipped to 8 10 4 within the division.

It’s been like having a gif of a missed shot rolling on your Twitter feed for the entire season.

“We had our opportunities, but we gave them their opportunities too and they made the best of it,” Benn said. “That’s a tough one. I thought we were going pretty good tonight, actually.”

Pretty good is fine when you’re leading the division like the Stars did last season. It’s not so great when you’re trying to dig yourself out of hole.

“We had plenty of good chances to make a difference,” Ruff said. “It seems like a common theme, but I like the work that went into it.”

Another common theme has been injuries. Spezza took a huge hit from Adam Lowry jersey cheap and immediately left the game. Ruff said that he would have more on the injury Friday but added that “he’s going to miss some time. It’s probably more than days.”

Days in which the Stars need to find way to respond.

“We have to let this one go,” winger Patrick Eaves jersey cheap jersey cheap said. “We can’t sit on this one too long. We will learn from our mistakes and be ready for Saturday [when the Chicago Blackhawks jersey cheap visit].”

How NHL expansion could affect the trade deadline



Here are some highlights:

How do you think NHL expansion is going to affect the trade deadline? Is it possible for a team to trade for someone only to have them shipped to Vegas? That would suck.

Heika: Yes, that is a concern. A team could acquire someone and then have to Chinese Wholesale Jerseys
expose them in the expansion draft, and that is a risk. That’s why pending UFAs such as Patrick Sharp jersey cheap and Patrick Eaves jersey cheap jersey cheap are desirable, because Vegas is probably not taking a player who can turn around and leave in free agency.

That said, teams also need to have the proper players to expose in the expansion draft (there are rules on amount of games that have been played this season, so that Vegas has a good selection). You could actually see teams acquire players with the intent of losing them.

Now, all of this can be done at the end of the season before the June 20 expansion draft, so the trade deadline might not affect much. My guess is that’s when a lot of the goaltender shuffling might happen. Teams that have a good Young jersey cheap goalie who might be in jeopardy of being taken probably want to keep them through the playoffs.

Trying to be a glass half full guy here: Does a down year now maybe help the Stars when it comes to expansion? Maybe Vegas won’t want our people since we had a bad year.

Heika: No, Vegas takes one player from every team, so the Stars are going to lose someone good. But they lost Alex jersey cheap Goligoski, Jason Demers jersey cheap, Vernon Fiddler jersey cheap and Colton Sceviour jersey cheap last summer, so the expansion draft isn’t that big of a deal. Good teams lose good players every summer.

The positive of this year is it gives an unvarnished look at the franchise. You have a clear assessment of all of your weaknesses and all of the areas where you need help. So maybe getting a new coaching staff is very needed, and you wouldn’t have seen that with a kind of OK year that ended with a playoff loss. Maybe the goalie share program really is a disaster and you might have talked yourself into another year if you were sitting 15th in GAA and save percentage. Maybe the Young jersey cheap defensemen and the 8 man defense has exposed itself as a really bad idea, and now you have to make hard decisions instead of waiting on Oleksiak, Nemeth and Johns.

The glass half full approach is maybe this year will force management to make significant changes and potentially improve the franchise for years to come. That’s the hope anyway.

What do you think the Stars could get for Sharp/Oduya in a trade? Which ex Blackhawk do you think has the highest chance of getting shipped off?

Heika: Oduya is not even playing, so I’m not even sure he is in the conversation for a trade until he tests his ankle injury in a game.

My prediction is that Dallas and Chicago find a way to make a trade for Sharp. He is exactly what Chicago needs, and Dallas could eat half his remaining salary or take an existing contract back if Chicago offers something good in the form of a prospect or draft pick.

They can make this work, and dealing Sharp back makes sense for everyone.

Which Stars player do you think has been underperforming the most this year?

Heika: I said Jason Spezza jersey cheap jersey cheap last time, and then saw he was the Normandy Homes Three Stars of the Game winner, so I’ll change it up.

Antti Niemi jersey cheap wins this week. He has pretty much fallen off a cliff in the past two months and lost any confidence the coaching staff once had in him. He also might have lost any confidence he had in himself.