The Dallas Stars made the news Friday when Dallas Stars CEO Jim Lites went on a rant due to the poor play of franchise stars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. The must-read rant suggests that ownership is not happy with the duo’s production and expect to see immediate changes on the ice.
In hopes of getting more answers and whether ownership is ready to make some major changes regarding those two players or whether general manager Jim Nill’s job is in jeopardy, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman interviewed owner Tom Gaglardi.
“Our best players have to be our best players,” Gaglardi said. “This is not about trading anyone. This is not about firing anyone. We are in danger of missing the playoffs for the third straight year, and this team is built to win and contend now. We need to take advantage of the opportunity we have in front of us.”
While Gaglardi made it clear that the franchise hopes to impart the importance of turning their season around now, Friedman believes that major changes are coming if the team fails to make the playoffs again. The Stars are currently in fourth place in the Central Division with a 19-16-3 record and 41 points, just two points in front of Minnesota. The Vancouver Canucks, in the Pacific, are one point out of that wildcard spot with 40 points.
- The Winnipeg Jets have to hold their breath after Dustin Byfuglien went down with an apparent leg injury during the third period of Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Wild and didn’t return. Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice had no update on their star blueliner after the game, according to Sportsnet’s Emily Sadler. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound defenseman collided with Minnesota’s Luke Kunin midway through the period and replays show that Kunin’s leg collided with Byfuglien’s knee. The 33-year-old is having a solid season, posting four goals and 29 points in 32 games. Any long-term loss could be crippling for a team that is trying to hold off both Nashville and Colorado in the Central Division.
- Staying with the Jets in the Central, Luke Fox of Sportsnet wonders how long they can keep up their solid play with the play of goaltender Connor Hellebuyck this year. A Vezina finalist just last year, the 25-year-old ranks 27th in the NHL in save percentage (among goalies that have appeared in 12 or more games) with a .909 percentage, same as the league average. Last year, Hellebuyck had a .924. Hellebuyck was vocal at the beginning of the year about the shrinking goalie equipment and more recently about players entering the crease with more frequency. “They don’t want it to change,” Hellebuyck told reporters, referring to the league. “They like the goals. They want more goals and want to take more from us … What needs to happen is a penalty needs to be called.”
- Chicago Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said that there remains no timetable on a potential return for starting goaltender Corey Crawford, who suffered another concussion on Dec. 16, according to the Daily Herald’s John Dietz. Colliton said he’s reached out to Crawford via texts, but he refuses to push the veteran goaltender for a timeline on when he may be ready to return. “That’s part of what my experience (is) going through this,” said Colliton, who retired at age 28 due to concussions himself. “There is no timeframe. You get better when you get better, and putting pressure or me asking him everyday how he’s feeling, that serves no purpose. When he feels better, I’ll know. And then we’ll proceed accordingly.”