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’ Tyler Seguin out for at least first two games vs



So it’s no surprise that these guys protect injury information with their lives. They fear you’re going to target the injury, they fear you’re going to change your game plan, they want to keep you guessing. It’s all a part of the sanctity of “The Room,” where anyone on the outside is the enemy.

Tyler Seguin jersey cheap is injured. We sort of know what the injury is, but we’re not really exactly sure. The Stars want it that way. Seguin suffered a partial cut of the Achilles tendon March 17, had surgery to stitch that up, and then rested 11 games. He returned to play in Game 2 against Minnesota, sustained a new injury, and has not skated since.

Maybe it’s his calf, maybe it’s still his Achilles. Asked Wednesday if he could help the fans out a little, Stars general manager Jim Nill clarified at least what Seguin isn’t doing.

“He can’t skate yet, I can say that,” Nill said. “He’s day to day, and once he gets on the ice, it’s probably four to five days from there.”

Look, we’re not medical experts and the Stars are not giving us much to speculate on, but it sure seems that Seguin is not going to be an option anytime soon. That being said, the bunker mentality can help here, as well. The Stars know they have to try to win without the fourth leading scorer in the NHL over the past three seasons. They know they have to take on different roles, and they did just that in the first round.

Jamie Benn jersey cheap stepped up and led the NHL in scoring with 10 points (four goals, six assists) in six games, while Jason Spezza jersey cheap jersey cheap was third with nine (four goals, five assists). Patrick Sharp jersey cheap added three goals. If the Stars have depth in any area, it’s definitely in scoring.

Nill said the entire team responded positively to the loss of Seguin. Dallas went 8 2 0 down the stretch and then won the first round series. With Seguin out, they are 11 4 0.

“I have to give a lot of credit to our team for stepping up,” Nill said. “From the top player all the way through, they have responded to Tyler’s injury and we have played some of our best hockey after that. I think when you look at the pressure of fighting for the division championship and having to do that without one of your best players, it’s a great accomplishment to finish first.”

“When you lose a guy of Seguin’s caliber, it becomes kind of imperative that everybody kind of helps and gets on board and kind of picks up the slack,” Spezza Cheap NHL Jerseys
said. “We’ve had different guys step up different nights, and that’s kind of the tale of how you have to have Success jersey cheap in the playoffs.”

But there are many who will pick the Blues in this series because of Seguin’s absence. If the Stars are going to need to outscore St. Louis, then all hands need to be on deck, right?

Nill said there’s a reason the team is confident even without Seguin. In the final stretch, Dallas won at San Jose, at Los Angeles and lost a 3 1 game at Anaheim. It was a test of whether the Stars could play grind it out hockey.

“I look at the LA game, and we were clearly the better team, they had to adjust to us,” Nill said. “With what we have been through, we feel very good about facing challenges. We’ve been challenged this year, and we’ve responded.”

And, the bunker mentality has been a key part of that.

Big shotsHere are the top five scorers in the NHL over the past three seasons. The Stars have two in this group, but are missing Tyler Seguin jersey cheap with a lower body injury.

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.

it took a team effort drop the Stars’ defensive numbers into the NHL’s cellar



VANCOUVER, British Columbia The Stars are on pace to have the worst goaltending numbers in the NHL this season, but players and coaches say those stats have been earned by the entire team.

While Dallas sat 30th in goals against average at 3.29 and 30th in save percentage at .892 heading into Thursday’s game at Vancouver, Kari Lehtonen jersey cheap and Antti Niemi jersey cheap have maybe faced higher percentage scoring chances than any other goalies in the league.

“It goes a lot deeper,” captain Jamie Benn jersey cheap said. “They’re an easy target to pick on, because if you see the Dallas Stars jersey cheap are giving up 5, 6, 7 goals a night, everybody points a finger at the goalies first. But it’s 18 other guys playing in front of them, and it’s on all of us.”

The goaltending/team defense issue has been front and center during a stretch Cheap Jerseys from China
that has been the worst of the season. Dallas has been outscored 17 4 in losses to Ottawa, San Jose and Edmonton and has used both goalies in all three games. The Stars have pulled their goaltender 13 times, most in the NHL.

That’s part of the structure of having two goalies who are equal, and coach Lindy Ruff said a lot of his moves have been to motivate the team, not to punish the goalie.

“The goaltender didn’t leave the guy uncovered at the side of the net. The goaltender wasn’t the one who didn’t get in the lane on the penalty kill,” Ruff said after a 7 1 loss Tuesday at Edmonton. “Let’s spread it around a little bit here. We need more from them, but we need more from the leaders of the team.”

Ruff said the leading scorers have been trying to create scoring too much at times and have been guilty of allowing opponents to go on the counterattack. Benn played a role in the first two goals in San Jose en route to a 5 1 loss Sunday. Jason Spezza jersey cheap jersey cheap had a turnover that put the Stars on the penalty kill and turned into a game changing goal against Edmonton.

Patrick Sharp jersey cheap leads the Stars at minus 20, Spezza is minus 16, Tyler Seguin jersey cheap is minus 15 and Benn is minus 9. Those are the four worst on the team. Ruff said he would like to see the top players playing with the intensity of fourth liners such as Curtis McKenzie jersey cheap and Adam Cracknell jersey cheap, and that could create not only fewer chances against but maybe more puck possession and attack zone time.

“The model for us are the McKenzies and Cracknells. They’re really out there trying to prove they can be an everyday NHLer, and the 100 percent [they give] doesn’t drop off on any shift,” Ruff said.

“Our best players have got to do the right things. Sometimes that’s boring or hard, because the other team is trying to check you, the other team is trying to catch you from behind, the other team is trying to make it tough on you.”

And while the Stars might be changing coaching staffs at the end of the season, Ruff said he believes in the system that allowed Dallas to post 50 wins last year. He said he is going to push his team to be aggressive and play hard at both ends of the ice until the season is over.

“I know it’s hard, but we had a lot of Success jersey cheap with that format last year, and I’m not changing now,” Ruff said. “If one piece is missing inside our D zone, our D zone isn’t that good. But if every piece is there doing their job, it can be hard to create against us.”

“As hard as it is right now, you have to play for each other and play as a team,” Lehtonen said. “If even a couple of guys let down, it just doesn’t work. You need everybody at this level pulling the same rope, and that means goalies have to do their part too.”.