Dallas Stars really need a win against NHL’s worst team



today (FSSW/1310 AM The Ticket)

StorylineFor just the second time this season, Dallas has the chance to win three games in a row. Dallas lost to Vancouver in overtime Nov. 13 following wins at Calgary and Edmonton. The Stars are in the middle of a 4 1 1 run and are playing the worst team in the NHL. You always say “they need to win this game,” but they really need to win this game.

MacKinnon has fought through a tough season and been a force to contend with every night. He has two goals and two assists in three games against the Stars this season and leads the Avalanche with 25 points (9 goals, 16 assists). Seguin has topped MacKinnon with three goals and three assists in three games against Colorado this season. He leads the Stars 34 points (11 goals, 23 assists)

Key Number Minus 1.21

That’s the goal differential for the Avalanche, worst in the NHL. Colorado ranks last in goals scored (2.06), goals against (3.26) and that leads them to be last in record (12 21 1).

NotableDallas (15 14 7) is coming off a 3 2 win at Arizona Tuesday and is 10 5 3 at home.

Colorado (12 21 1) is coming off a 6 3 loss to Calgary at home Tuesday and is 8 9 0 on the road. The Avalanche is 1 6 0 in its past seven games.

Dallas is 2 8 4 in games following a win this season.

is expected to start for the Stars. He is 8 10 3 with a 2.83 GAA and .900 save percentage. He is coming off a 3 2 win at Arizona Tuesday and is 9 3 3 in his career against Colorado with a 3.05 GAA and .890 save percentage. He is 1 1 1 in his career against the Stars with a 3.01 GAA and .908 save percentage.

Antoine Roussel jersey cheap (upper body) and Patrick Sharp jersey cheap (concussion) are both close to being ready, but both remain on IR.

Cody Eakin jersey cheap returns after serving a four game suspension for hitting Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist jersey cheap. Eakin’s return allowed the team to assign Jason Dickinson to the AHL Wednesday.

Stephen Johns and Patrik Nemeth jersey cheap are expected to be healthy scratches on defense for Dallas. This is the 10 scratch for Nemeth in the past 12 games.

The Stars are 2 1 0 against the Avalanche this season, losing the first game 6 5 Oct. 15 at Colorado, then winning 3 2 at Dallas Nov. 17 and 3 0 at Colorado Dec. 3.

He said it”You feel for him when they’re bouncing off the back and in front Cheap NHL Jerseys
of people and stuff, but at the same time it’s in our zone, and we’re not pushing it their way. There were some unfortunate plays, but we still take responsibility for that and have to find ways to be better. They were better than us tonight.”

Colorado forward Jarome Iginla jersey cheap on goalie after a 6 3 loss to Calgary.

“We’ve really tried to look at it game by game, knowing Antti has played better at home and Kari has played better on the road. If you look at this game, Kari played a really strong game against them last time, but we also want to get Antti back in, because he’s been really good. We go through this process almost every game, weighing different numbers and trying to balance all of that.

Stars coach Lindy Ruff on the decision to play Friday. Lehtonen had a 23 save shutout Dec. 3 in a 3 0 win at Colorado.

Why Stars’ GM handed NHL draft duties to Les Jackson



GM Nieuwendyk shakes it up by turning Stars’ draft over to JacksonThere might not be a less presumptuous person in the Stars’ organization than Les Jackson.

Having been with the team since its days in Minnesota (expect for a brief hiatus in Atlanta in the late ’90s and having served in positions ranging from assistant coach to co GM, it would be easy for the Stars director of player personnel to demand his say in important matters. Instead, Jackson often waits to be asked or defers to others.

Looking to shake up the amateur scouting department last fall, Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk fired director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt and handed much of the drafting responsibility to Jackson.

“I think it’s the area he enjoys the most, and I think it’s the area where he probably is best suited,” Nieuwendyk said. “His experience, his ability he’s one of the best in the league at preparing for a draft.”

Nieuwendyk didn’t want to get too deep into the reasons for firing Bernhardt, who had been with the team 18 years. “It was time for a change,” Nieuwendyk said. But he clearly felt that some of the mistakes of the past needed to be addressed.

Many have criticized the Stars for picking center/right wing Scott Glennie eighth overall in 2009, because they passed on defensemen such as Jared Cowen jersey cheap, Ryan Ellis jersey cheap, Calvin de Haan jersey cheap and Dmitri Kulikov.

Glennie has played one NHL game, while Kulikov has logged 198 and Cowen 82. In 2010, Dallas surprisingly took goalie Jack Campbell, passing on highly rated defensemen again in Cam Fowler jersey cheap and Brandon Gormley jersey cheap.

Now, there’s no telling how those picks will turn out over an NHL season, but it’s clear the Stars are pushing to be at the top of their game when it comes to the draft.

“It’s how you build a team, even more so in this age,” Nieuwendyk said. “You have to be able to acquire your top level players through the draft, because it costs too much to just try to buy them.”

Jackson concurs. He understands the importance of the draft and the importance of his job. Having sat in the GM’s chair, he knows all about tough calls.

“I’ve always taken it very seriously, and I’ve always done my best, but I do understand the importance,” Jackson said. “You need to be able to find players who will grow with your organization and who will form the backbone of your organization. That’s what we’re going to try to do.”

Ironically, the number of Stars’ prospects seem deeper Wholesale Jerseys China
than it has been in a while. Philip Larsen (149th in 2008) is an NHL player. Free agents Brenden Dillon jersey cheap and Matt Fraser jersey cheap appear ready to push for an NHL position this season. Reilly Smith jersey cheap (69th in 2009), Alex jersey cheap Chiasson (38th in 2009) and Glennie (eighth in 2009) are knocking on the door. Patrik Nemeth jersey cheap (41st in 2010) and Jamie Oleksiak jersey cheap (14th in 2011) are ahead of schedule.

So should the pressure be this heavy? Did the draft team really need a shakeup?

Nieuwendyk obviously felt it did. Now it’s up to Jackson to make this decision look good.

“We operate as a team, and we trust the work that our guys do in the field,” said Jackson, adding that the team doesn’t put that much emphasis on the recent combine because it’s a snapshot vs. hundreds of games of scouting accumulated over the year.

“So, yes, there does have to be one guy in the end who makes a final recommendation, but it’s not without tons of help and hours and hours of research.”

John Klingberg jersey cheap online



VANCOUVER, British Columbia Gavin Bayreuther is a good defenseman, and the Stars are hoping he can add to a mix of 20 something blue liners who eventually solidify the back end for years to come.

The skilled defenseman out of St. Lawrence University who signed a free agent contract with the Stars on Wednesday is a solid prospect who is worth the risk of a two year contract. And while the soon to be 23 year old still probably needs a year of AHL experience, he adds to a mix that continues to get thicker.

Bayreuther joins Dillon Heatherington (acquired in trade from Columbus) and 2014 first round draft pick Julius Honka as defensmen who are knocking on the NHL door. And when the NHL group already includes 22 year old Esa Lindell and 24 year olds John Klingberg jersey cheap, Stephen Johns and Jamie Oleksiak jersey cheap, Dallas is walking a fine line between experience and talent on defense.

“We are very Young jersey cheap, and the NHL isn’t a developmental league, but we think we have good players,” said Stars general manager Jim Nill. “I think you want to collect talented players with different skill sets and let them make the decisions for you. We’ll put them in the positions where we hope they succeed and where we give them the best opportunity, and then we see what happens.”

Bayreuther adds to the skilled side of the defense. The 6 1, 195 pound lefty had 111 points (35 goals, 76 assists) in 142 collegiate games and is seen as a solid power play quarterback with a good shot.

“He’s going to need some time in the American League,” Nill said. “It’s a matter of increasing his strength, getting used to the speed of the game, getting used to playing against older guys. Some guys, they do that relatively fast. Some guys, it takes a year or two. He’s one of the top college defensemen who is a very good athlete, so we think there is a lot of potential there.”

Heatherington, 21, is a bigger, more defensive defenseman at 6 4, 220. He has 110 games of AHL experience and, like Bayreuther, is expected to finish out the season with the Texas Stars and then get ready for Stars camp next fall. Honka, 21, was able to jump straight into the AHL in 2014, so he has 184 AHL games under his belt and will be called up to play eight to 10 NHL games to finish the season, Nill said.

When Honka does get the call, that could mean players like Patrik Nemeth jersey cheap and Greg Pateryn will be facing more healthy scratches. It could also mean that Oleksiak and Johns are under even more pressure to make an impression before tough decisions are made this summer.

It’s a bubbling cauldron for the Stars on defense. Klingberg, Lindell and veteran Dan Hamhuis jersey cheap look like locks for next year’s roster, but all other positions on defense seem up in the air.

“There are no guarantees with any player, but you have to trust your assessment and your development staff and do the best you can to get the most out of the players,” Nill said. Wholesale Jerseys
“You’re dealing with human beings, and you have to see how each one develops. John Klingberg jersey cheap has 200 games now, so he is at a different stage. Other players have gained a lot of experience this year. It’s a process, and it’s a fine balance between patience and winning.”

In the long run, Nill still believes patience will lead to winning. That’s why he’s adding depth to an area where he believes there will always be need.

“It sounds harsh, but there is a chance that all five or six don’t develop,” he said. “As long as there are two or three, then you can set yourself up for a long time. Give yourself the best opportunity to find the best players.”

Jason Spezza jersey cheap here



today (FSSW/1310 AM The Ticket)

StorylineIt should be a big deal when the defending Stanley Cup champions come to town, but even that seems meaningless in this disappointing Stars season. Former Stars defenseman Trevor Daley jersey cheap is out with a knee injury and still has not made his return to AAC since being traded to Chicago. New defenseman Greg Pateryn arrived Tuesday and won’t play. Remi Elie probably won’t make his NHL debut. It is what it is for Stars fans right now.

Lindy Ruff has liked matching Cody Eakin jersey cheap against Crosby in the past, but the guess is he gives Faksa the assignment tonight. Faksa has 28 points (8 goals, 20 assists) in 60 games this season. Crosby ranks second in the league with 67 points (34 goals, 33 assists) in 54 games. In 11 career games against the Stars, Crosby has 15 points (8 goals, 7 assists) and is plus 5.

Key number 3.48

Pittsburgh leads the NHL in scoring with 3.48 goals per game and in shots on goal per game at 34.1. Dallas ranks 29th in goals against per game at 3.23 and last in save percentage at .894.

NotableDallas (23 28 10) is coming off a 6 3 loss at home against Boston Sunday and is 17 10 6 at home. Dallas is 3 8 0 in its past 11 games.

Pittsburgh (28 14 8) is coming off a 4 2 win over the Flyers in their outdoor game Saturday and is 13 10 5 on the road. Pittsburgh is 8 1 3 in its past 12 games.

Antti Niemi jersey cheap will get the start in goal for Dallas. He is 10 9 4 on the season with a 3.19 GAA and .899 save percentage. He is 6 2 1 in his career against the Penguins with a 2.42 GAA and .926 save percentage.

Matt Murray is expected to start in net for the Penguins. He is 23 7 3 with a 2.27 GAA and .926 save percentage. He has never played against the Stars.

Patrik Nemeth jersey cheap and Jamie Oleksiak jersey cheap were healthy scratches last game. One will come in to take the place of Jordie Benn jersey cheap, who was traded to Montreal Monday.

Dallas ranks 30th in penalty kill Success jersey cheap at 73.3 percent and 30th in power play goals against at 54.

Pittsburgh ranks 7th in power play Success jersey cheap at 21.7 percent and has 44 power play goals.

Pittsburgh is second in the NHL in third period scoring at 80 goals. Dallas has allowed more third period goals than any other team in the league at 73.

Pittsburgh is 26 0 0 when leading after two periods. Dallas is 1 21 2 when trailing after two periods.

Dallas is 8 14 4 vs. the East. Pittsburgh is 12 4 5 vs. the West.

Lauri Korpikoski jersey cheap will play his 600th NHL game and Brett Ritchie his 100th.

In 41 career games against the Penguins, Jason Spezza jersey cheap jersey cheap has 48 points (17 goals, 31 assists) and is plus 14.

He said it”It’s an opportunity Wholesale NHL Jerseys
for our group to accomplish a lot of stuff inside a game because we felt we were right there with them last year. And same type of team, a lot of speed, create a lot of chances. We know we’re going to get chances. We’re going to play against some players that can make some special plays.”

Stars coach Lindy Ruff on facing the defending Stanley Cup champions

“The last couple of practices I’ve really liked. It seems like he’s got himself in a better place. Even the day before yesterday, I liked his practice. The goal is to get him back in there, get him playing again. I think he got a little bit out of sync and all we’re trying to do is get him back in a better place.”

Stars coach Lindy Ruff on starting Antti Niemi jersey cheap in goal for just the second time in the past nine games

“He’s getting closer. There’s a good chance we could see him in the next couple games. Not today, but after that, I think we’d take a chance of trying to get him up and running. I don’t think it’s going to be easy for him to have that much time off, but he’s at a place now where I think he’s going to be cleared to play.”