Dallas Stars' source of frustration

daley.jpgEvery now and then, Pro Hockey Talk will ask for insight from some of the best team bloggers out there. For this feature, we asked a simple question: “Who is your team’s most frustrating player?” Just for fun, I decided to throw my guess in the hat, too.

First, here is my guess for the Dallas Stars.

Trevor Daley – To be honest, my instinct was to say “Matt Niskanen” but I actually thought of this feature idea while watching Daley, so I’ll pick him. Every time I see Daley skate, I cannot help but think: this guy should be so much better than he is.

For the Stars, I prompted the gang from Defending Big D aka Brandon Worley’s old stomping grounds. Brad Gardner was kind enough to answer the call. Believe me, it’s still a great blog, even without our boy Brandon there. (Note: the numbers a bit outdated because I was slow to post this. Not Brad’s fault, instead mine.)

Ask most Stars fans this question and the answer you’ll get most often will probably be Marty Turco, whose struggles in the past two seasons are well documented. I’ve always found the “just blame the goaltender mantra” to be a little incomplete, and quite frankly, lazy analysis.

Can we pick a forward? The Dallas offense ranks 9th in the league. Stars fans often like to complain about Brad Richards’ $7.8 million contract as a weight that’s dragging this team down, but he’s tied for 5th in NHL scoring with 90 points as of this writing and seemingly involved in every single good thing that happens for the Stars, so it’s hard to find frustration there, despite his -11 rating on the season.

No, when I think frustration in Dallas I think defense, and I think Trevor Daley.

After the jump: why Daley is a source of frustration.


When Joe Nieuwendyk and Marc Crawford arrived in Dallas, touting a new “up-tempo” system, Trevor Daley was said to be the guy to watch. Under Dave Tippett and his staff, Daley’s skating and offensive upside were shelved while he was taught to develop a proper defensive foundation. Crawfords’ arrival signaled the unchaining of Trevor Daley and his ample speed.

79 games later, Daley has a growing reputation in Texas for scoring as many goals on his own net (6 by our count this season) than on the other teams net (also 6 now), and is on pace to have fewer points (currently 20) than in each of his last two seasons under Tipett (25 and 24), barring a barrage in the final 3 games.

A late season run in both points and the +/- department has Daley’s critics in the local media asking whether or not he’s finally ready to take it to the next level: A question they’ve asked in each of the last two off-seasons. I hope he is, but as the Stars highest paid defenseman this season, he’s not consistently getting the job done on either end of the ice and would be better suited as a third pairing kind of guy behind stronger players.

This is all to say that our real source of frustration is Tom Hicks and his empty pocket book. It’s not Trevor Daley’s fault he has a little too much weight put on him, it’s Hicks’. Until the ownership changes, the lowest paid defensive group in the Western Conference will continue to wrongly rely on lesser players to perform above their pay grade.

Honorable mention: Sean Avery. The Stars have paid him nearly $2 million this year and the guy hasn’t done a single thing for us…

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    The Buzzer: Sharks dominate at MSG; Leafs edge Kings

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    Player of the Night: Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks

    The Sharks netminder stood tall Monday night during a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers. Jones stopped 33 shots as San Jose won their fourth consecutive game. Logan Couture recorded two points, which included his 200th career NHL assist. He now has six goals and nine points in four games.

    Highlight of the Night:

    Lovely shorthanded finish here by Trevor Lewis to help the Los Angeles Kings cut the Toronto Maple Leafs lead to 3-2 late in their game:

    MISC:

    • Congrats to Tim Heed for scoring his first NHL goal.

    • New York’s power play failed on all six opportunities.

    • The Rangers have won only twice in eight home games this season.

    Frederik Andersen stopped 36 shots and Patrick Marleau recorded his fourth of the year as the Maple Leafs edged the Kings 3-2.

    • Marleau’s goal stood as the game-winner and was the 99th of his career, good for eighth all-time.

    • A weird sequence in the first period saw Jonathan Quick take an elbow to the head and be briefly forced from the game due to a concussion spotter’s call. Oddly, it took several minutes for Quick to be removed from the game, and then he was only off the ice for whistle.

    Factoid of the Night: 

    Monday’s scores:

    San Jose 4, New York Rangers 1

    Toronto 3, Los Angeles 2

    Ducks’ Patrick Eaves diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome

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    Patrick Eaves has only played two games for the Anaheim Ducks this season, and the team updated his situation on Monday.

    Eaves, who hasn’t played since Oct. 13, spent the weekend at a local hospital after being diagnosed with what medical personnel believe to be Guillain-Barré syndrome which, according to the Ducks, is “a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system.”

    The Ducks say the 33-year-old Eaves was feeling weak last week and after seeing specialists, was admitted to the intensive care unit at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, California. Over the weekend he was stabilized and moved out of ICU. He’s expected to make a full recovery, though no timetable for a return has been given.

    “I want to thank Dr. Robert Watkins Sr. and Dr. Danny Benmoshe for their early diagnosis of my condition, along with the proactive Ducks medical team,” Eaves said in a statement. “Thanks to them and the incredible nurses at Hoag Hospital, I’m on the road to recovery. I’ve received tremendous amount of support over the last few days, most importantly from my family, friends and teammates. I’m determined to fully overcome this and return to the ice as soon as possible.”

    According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website, Guillain-Barré syndrome can affect someone at any age and is diagnosed in “only about one person in 100,000.” It’s still unknown how the disease manifests in those affected. William “Refrigerator” Perry and Danny Wuerffel are among those who battled it.

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    Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

    Tale of 2 brothers: 1 victim, 1 rescuer in Vegas shooting

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    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nicholas and Anthony Robone are about as close as two brothers can be.

    They are the only two kids in their family, born and raised in Las Vegas. Nick and Tony share a passion for ice hockey, and as boys used their tape-wrapped hockey sticks to knock a puck around the street.

    Tony followed Nick in becoming a defenseman, and joined him as a student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. A year ago, they pooled their money to buy the three-bedroom house they share.

    So it wasn’t unusual that they were together at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Oct. 1 when a gunman opened fire on the crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, striking Nick, 28, in the upper chest and forcing firefighter and paramedic Tony, 25, into the role of his big brother’s rescuer.

    Nick was at the country music festival with a three-day pass his parents gave him for his September birthday. ”It was going to be a fun night to hang out,” he said.

    Tony, with the Henderson County Fire Department, couldn’t join his brother the first two days, but arrived at the festival grounds at about 8:30 p.m. on the final night after attending the Vegas Golden Knights professional hockey game. The brothers were with a few friends in the middle of the main stage area.

    County music singer Jason Aldean was just a few songs into his set when the popping sounds started after 10 p.m. and Nick felt a piercing pain in his left side. A bullet had entered his chest right above his heart and lung, and traveled down to his side muscle, missing organs but badly bruising the lung.

    Tony treated Nick’s wound as round after round of gunfire rained down on the panicked crowd. In the end, 58 people died. Hundreds were injured in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

    Tony told a news conference two days after the shooting that he and their friend Billy Tufano, an emergency medical technician, helped get Nick to the east side of the stage where they hid behind a police car. They later continued farther east, and eventually got Nick into an ambulance.

    Critically injured, Nick was in surgery for four hours, in intensive care at Sunrise Hospital for five days, and released after 10 days.

    Three weeks after the shooting, Nick is home recovering. He gets around pretty well on his own, he said in a telephone interview last week. He’s expected to make a full recovery.

    ”There won’t be any real rehab to speak off,” he said. ”Just walk around a few times a day,” do some regular breathing exercises and eat a good diet.

    Nick has credited quick attention by his brother and friends at the concert for saving his life. Tony ”NEVER left my side,” he said in a tweet.

    Doctors have estimated it will be six to eight weeks before he can return to work, he said.

    Nick said he’s received unconditional support from Topgolf, an entertainment property with a driving range and restaurants where he’s employed in marketing. He also is an assistant ice hockey coach at his alma mater, where the Rebels hockey team and its fans have rallied around him.

    With the VegasStrong hashtag scrawled on signs throughout the City National Arena, the ”Skatin’ Rebels” won their home game 8-0 in Nick’s honor the Friday after the massacre. A few days later, he felt well enough to visit the team and promise, ”I’ll be back.”

    ”My brother is the toughest guy I know,” Tony said. ”And I think the amount of support from the community, from the hockey community, from the firefighter community, it just represents and reflects the kind of guy he is.”

    The feeling is mutual. ”My brother is a really great guy,” Nick said.

    Report: Wild’s Parise considering back surgery

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    The Minnesota Wild host the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, which could be the same day forward Zach Parise undergoes surgery, according to Michael Russo of The Athletic.

    Per that report, Parise is contemplating back surgery that would sideline the 33-year-old forward — who still hasn’t played a game this season — for up to two months.

    Parise missed the beginning of training camp with a back injury, but had started to skate with the team before suffering a setback and leaving the ice during a session last week. At the time, general manager Chuck Fletcher was hopeful that this setback was only a short-term issue.

    “We’ll see what it means. I don’t want to speculate, but it would have been better if he could have finished the practice, but he didn’t, so we’ll see how he feels,” said Fletcher last week.

    “I try not to get too up or down and things like that. You feel badly for Zach, he’s working hard and he’s in great shape, and hopefully this is just a short-term setback, if it even is a setback. We’ll find out more later on, but I’m sure it’s very frustrating for him.”

    This also surfaced out of Minnesota this afternoon, following the initial report:

    The Wild are about to begin a six-game home stand, which gets underway Tuesday when they host the Canucks.

    With a 2-2-2 record through six games to begin the season, Minnesota has experienced a disastrous list of injuries so far. Not only has Parise not yet made his debut, but Charlie Coyle (right fibula fracture) and Nino Niederreiter are still listed on injured reserve, and Mikael Granlund hasn’t played since the season opener back on Oct. 5.

    The news surrounding Granlund is certainly more positive. He skated again on Monday and coach Bruce Boudreau was hopeful that the 25-year-old winger, who had a breakout 2016-17 season, could be ready to go versus the Canucks.

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    Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.