Best and worst sweaters of all-time: Dallas Stars

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All right, listen… Not all sweaters can be big winners and remembered forever. The Stars have a nice look to what they’ve got and throughout their history in Dallas they’ve done well embracing the black and green. Unfortunately, they’ve got a much better looking past to contend with among NHL fans outside of Dallas.

Instead of picking one side or the other here to suck up to, I’ll make sure to tick everyone off in some way. Here’s to hoping that Brenden Morrow, Steve Ott, or Neal Broten don’t show up at my door and punch me in the gut.

Best: I’m going to do my best to not pick a Minnesota North Stars sweater here because those days are over. With that stipulation in the way, I’m going to side with their current road sweaters that have “DALLAS” emblazoned across the front with the number on the front of the sweater with it. This sweater in particular started as their alternate sweater, but the look was so good already on their home blacksweater, they had to double their pleasure by putting it on the white as well.

It’s a look that goes against the grain for most NHL sweaters and it often reminds fans a bit too much of the NFL. The crazy part here, it’s a good look. It’s clean, has the Stars logo on the shoulders, and looks seamless. Black, green, and gold are the main colors for the team, but the white sweaters pop with ferocity.

Worst: When you create an alternate sweater that instead of making fans and curious on-lookers think of constellations and the heavens the way it was supposed to, makes them think of cows and female reproductive organs, you’ve failed. The “mooterus” sweater is one that rather than being a hockey sweater is an awkward test of human psychology; like an ink blot test that everyone calls out for being “fallopian tubes” instead of “cattle constellation.” It’s awkward, it’s ugly, it makes everyone squirm in their seats because they’re thinking of seventh grade health class.

Old-timey favorite: All right, now it’s time to talk North Stars. Perhaps the saddest part about Norm Green screwing over the fans in Minnesota when he moved the team to Dallas is that we were forced to lose the Minnesota North Stars sweater. With the perfect logo, the fun color scheme, and a look that lives on to this day as a popular one for NHL fans, it’s one I’m still sad isn’t around on the ice night in and night out. It’s one of those perfect sweaters from the 70s and 80s that everyone can say that they love. Much like the Whalers and Nordiques, when the North Stars moved away part of hockey’s heart went with it.

Assessment: The Stars’ current sweaters are great. They’re boring, but they’re great. The home black sweater is just as good as the road white and while the logo isn’t the biggest part of either. While the logo lives on in their white alternate sweater (one that features their great secondary logo on the shoulders as well) the Stars just don’t have that sort of iconic look to them even in spite of winning the Stanley Cup in 1999. I’m sure fans in Dallas will disagree with me on this and hate that the North Stars are even mentioned here, but you’re going to have to deal with it.

Report: Stars make more changes in goal, hire ex-Detroit coach Bedard

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Suspect netminding has plagued Dallas for two straight years, and GM Jim Nill is switching things up accordingly.

On the heels of acquiring Ben Bishop and signing him to a long-term contract, Nill has reportedly hired veteran goalie coach Jim Bedard, per In Goal Magazine.

Bedard will replace longtime Dallas employee Mike Valley, who has been with the club since 2009 in a goalie coach/director of goaltending development role. In Goal reports that Valley told the club he wouldn’t be returning.

Bedard, 60, was with Detroit from the mid-90s to last summer, when he was relived of his duties. His unemployment didn’t last long. Within weeks of being dismissed, Bedard caught on as the goalie coach for OHL Windsor,

The connection to Dallas is quite obvious. Nill and Bedard worked together for years in Detroit, and won three Stanley Cups together.

Related: Bishop has ‘good relationship’ with Hitch, and that’s important

 

 

Penguins prepare for another Game 7, this time as favorites

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Two weeks ago, the Pittsburgh Penguins played a Game 7 that the oddsmakers expected them to lose.

But the Penguins didn’t lose. They went into Washington and shut out the Capitals to advance to the Eastern Conference Final.

Which brings us to tomorrow, and another Game 7.

This time, the game is in Pittsburgh. And this time, it’ll be the Penguins as favorites. 

At online sportsbook Bovada, the Ottawa Senators are +170 underdogs, meaning a $100 bet on the Sens to win Game 7 would pay out $170. Conversely, to make $100 on a Penguins win, a bettor would have to risk $200.

This is not to suggest that betting on Ottawa is the savvy move. It might be, given the potential payout, combined with the fact hockey games are often decided by a lucky bounce or hot goalie.

But just remember: the Penguins beat Tampa Bay in Game 7 of last year’s Eastern Conference Final. The defending champs have proven their worth in these winner-take-all games.

“It’s not something that’s new to them,” said head coach Mike Sullivan. “These guys have been involved in these experiences on a number of occasions, and they have those experiences to draw on. You know, I think they know what to expect, and now it’s a matter of going out and earning it and controlling what they can and doing your very best to get the result that we’re looking for.”

Veteran forward Matt Cullen added, “We’ve been there before. We’ve gone through this. We know what to expect out of our group. We have a comfort level with our plan and the way that we need to play. These are the fun games to play. So as a group, we go into it with a lot of confidence, knowing that we’re going to need our best game and expecting that we’ll bring it.”

For the record, Sens coach Guy Boucher has also experienced a Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final. It came in 2011 when he was coaching the Lightning, who fell to the eventual champs from Boston by the score of 1-0.

Though it wasn’t the result he wanted, Boucher felt privileged to have had the experience.

“It was a tough game,” he said. “It was 0-0 with seven minutes left in the game. It was quite a game and a lot of pressure. What I remember most is the excitement of an opportunity that very few people get in their lives, and I’m part of that. I can’t be blessed more than that.”

Related: The modern-day Sens have never won a Game 7

Weight ‘not afraid’ to say he wants ex-NHLers behind Isles bench

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With the interim tag dropped, Isles head coach Doug Weight is in the midst of retooling his staff.

It began last week, when Weight added longtime NHL defenseman — and former Oilers teammate — Luke Richardson as an assistant coach. That was followed by reports the Isles were interested in hiring another of Weight’s old teammates, Kelly Buchberger, as well as two-time Stanley Cup champion Scott Gomez.

Buchberger was playing as recently as 2004, in Pittsburgh, where he was teammates with the likes of Marc-Andre Fleury and Brooks Orpik. Gomez suited up for 13 games in Ottawa last season.

Clearly, there’s a trend at play here. Weight wants guys like him, veteran NHLers not far removed from their playing days (Weight hung ’em up in 2011). And he isn’t shying away from addressing it.

“I’m not afraid to say it, it’s something I’m looking for and chasing,” Weight said, per the Post. “But that being said, I’m not just hiring guys who play 15 years or 20 years.

“You have to sit with them, you have to see how they view the game, how they are, how they view the players, how I view the game.”

Bob Corkum, a holdover from the Jack Capuano era, won’t be brought back as an assistant. The status of Greg Cronin, another holdover — and who never played in the NHL, it should be said — is still up in the air.

Weight said he’s interviewed eight to 10 candidates to join his staff.

 

Detroit signs Czech d-man Sulak

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The Red Wings have added some depth on defense.

On Wednesday, the club announced it has signed Czech rearguard Libor Sulak to a two-year, entry-level deal. Sulak, 23, is fresh off representing the Czechs at the World Hockey Championship and, prior to that, spent the last two years playing for Znojmo Orli of the Austrian League.

There, he was named the league’s rookie of the year in 2016, and followed that up with a career-high 10 goals and 28 points in 54 games last season.

It’ll be interesting to see if he can push for minutes in Detroit next season. Currently, the club has six d-men under contract — Mike Green, Danny DeKeyser, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Nick Jensen and Ryan Sproul. Xavier Ouellet is also in the mix, but a restricted free agent.

The Red Wings also signed ’16 first-rounder Dennis Cholowski to his ELC last month, and he played one game for their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids.