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.
Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.
Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.
And what a look it was.
In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.
It was, in a word, fun.
Lots of fun.
A quick sampling of reviews:
Of course, not everybody was a fan:
Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.
But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…