For quite some time, I thought the Dallas Stars were foolish for tethering their team to a declining Mike Modano. It’s getting tougher and tougher to deny the underlying wisdom of keeping him around so long now, though, as his absence has hurt the team at the box office more than on the ice.
Sure, the Stars haven’t made the playoffs since Dave Tippett departed, but they’ve been in contention for the playoffs the past two seasons despite playing in front of skeletal crowds.
The official attendance was 11,839 but most hockey people will tell you that those numbers are often, well, “massaged.” Such issues haven’t eluded the team, who must be frustrated that great moments fall on deaf ears in the Dallas market. You know, like this great OT-winner by Mike Ribeiro:
The bigger highlight came after that 3-2 OT win, however, as Ribeiro basically called out Stars fans:
“Hopefully you guys can invite your friends so we can have more people here,” Ribeiro said.
The Stars are 16-11-2 at home, so it’s not like they don’t take advantage of games at the American Airlines Center. That being said, it might be more about getting the final change and the inherent faceoff edge rather than the atmosphere in their building right now.
Scoring highlight reel goals like Ribeiro’s might just bring in a few more fans, though.
The Tampa Bay Lightning expect defenseman Jason Garrison to miss 3-5 weeks with a lower-body injury.
Garrison was hurt in Monday’s 5-1 loss to Ottawa. The 31-year-old played just 4:10 of that game, missing the final two periods.
“That’s a tough one too, because he’s a big minute-munching defenseman for us,” coach Jon Cooper told reporters. “A big body and size.”
Garrison has just four goals and three assists in 52 games, but he’s third on the Bolts in average ice time (18:23), second in blocked shots (76), and third in hits (69).
Matt Carle replaced Garrison for Tuesday’s 4-2 loss in Montreal.
Nazem Kadri‘s “inappropriate gestures” on Tuesday night have left him lighter in the wallet.
On Thursday, the NHL announced that Kadri has been fined $5,000 — the maximum allowable under the CBA — for making a throat slash gesture at Mark Giordano during Calgary’s 4-3 win over the Leafs two nights ago.
The incident occurred after Kadri took exception to a heavy Giordano check. While on the bench, the Leafs forward made the gesture, one the NHL has been cracking down on since 2000.
Former NHLer Nick Boyton was suspended twice for making the gesture, first in 2006 then again in 2010. He was banned one game for each incident.
From the Columbus Dispatch:
The Red Wings had much brass in the building on Tuesday to watch the Blue Jackets play the Islanders in Nationwide.
GM Ken Holland was there, along with special assistant to the GM Kris Draper, and pro scout Kirk Maltby.
It’s believed the Red Wings were taking a close look at Fedor Tyutin, who is likely to be dealt by the Feb. 29 trade deadline.
Tyutin, 32, has this and two more years remaining on a six-year, $27 million deal with a $4.5M average annual cap hit. One of the longest-tenured players in Columbus franchise history — he’s spent eight years with the Jackets, and played in both of the teams’ playoff appearances — Tyutin has fallen on hard times this year, and has been made a healthy scratch on a few occasions by head coach John Tortorella.
Unsurprisingly, Tyutin’s numbers are way down. He’s goalless with just two points through 43 games, and is averaging just 17:47 TOI per night — the lowest total of his career.
It’s not surprising Detroit’s kicking the tires on Tyutin. D-men Niklas Kronwall and Mike Green are both out of the lineup with knee and groin injuries and, last night versus Ottawa, Danny DeKeyser took a Dion Phaneuf shot to the knee.
The St. Louis Blues have not played particularly well since around Christmas.
It’s a story that hasn’t received much attention league-wide, because the Blues’ goaltending has been good enough to cover up a lot of their problems. Brian Elliott had a .937 save percentage in January. He’s up to .958 in February.
But there’s a reason the return of Jaden Schwartz, likely Friday in Florida, has the Blues players so excited.
“He’s a guy that brings a lot of energy to our lineup,” captain David Backes told the Post-Dispatch. “He’s a relentless forechecker who hounds the puck and that’s exactly what we could use right now.”
Backes has clearly been listening to head coach Ken Hitchcock, who’s been growing increasingly frustrated at his team’s inability to play in the opposition’s end. In their past five games, the Blues have managed shot totals of 25, 23, 27, 24, and 22, which isn’t very many at all.
“We’ve needed the power play the last two games, thank God, but we just don’t, we don’t compete when we get checked in the scoring areas near as hard as we have to,” Hitchcock told reporters.
Once Schwartz gets back up to speed, he should help. Last year, he finished second on the team in goals (28) and fourth in shots (184).
But he won’t solve everything, particularly with Alex Pietrangelo sidelined now.
In their 20 games since Christmas, the Blues are in the bottom 10 in score-adjusted Corsi (a measure of puck possession), and that isn’t like them at all.
Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made