Dallas Stars CEO on scheduling snafu: “I take full credit or blame”

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Dallas Stars President and CEO Jim Lites is shouldering the weight of a scheduling glitch regarding start times for Stars’ home games this season.

Dallas originally announced its games would start at 7 p.m. local time, a half-hour earlier than their previous 7:30 puck drops. Lites was at the forefront of the time change, and that’s where Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News picks things up:

[Lites] said he was very excited about 7 p.m. starts, talked to key people, and felt that was the best way to go about things. However, he said in the past month he has heard from broadcast rights holders, building officials, and fans, and there was a real push for the the 7:30 p.m. (or 7:35 technically) starts.

“I take full credit or blame,” Lites said. “It seemed like a great idea at the time, but then when the announcement was made and we heard from many groups who had problems with the change. First of all, the building people like the synergy of the same start time for the Mavericks and ourselves.

“I think you’ll look back and see the Mavericks switched their start times in the past, and then decided to go back to 7:30 because it didn’t work for them. In addition, Fox I believe likes the later start, and so does our radio partner (1310 The Ticket). And, most important, we heard from a lot of fans who said that it would be a problem getting to a weeknight game by 7 p.m., so we decided to switch.”

The decision means 21 of Dallas’ weeknight home games have been switched back to 7:30pm start times, including the home opener against Phoenix on Tuesday, Oct. 16. Five weeknight home games are still scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

Erik Karlsson played through hairline fractures in foot to help Sens advance

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Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins.

It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.

Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).

There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.

Hmm.

Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.

Gaudreau, Granlund and Tarasenko: 2017 Lady Byng finalists

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The NHL officially announced the nominees for the 2017 Lady Byng on Sunday, and they’re a star-studded bunch: Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Granlund and Vladimir Tarasenko.

The PHWA determines “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

(Did Tarasenko help eliminate Granlund’s team in a gentlemanly fashion?)

For more on the three finalists, click here.

MacArthur, Senators end Bruins’ season in OT after controversial calls

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It’s a feel-good story, especially if you can look beyond questions of officiating.

Clarke MacArthur could have very well never played another NHL game considering his lengthy battles with concussion symptoms. Instead, he drew a penalty on the Boston Bruins in overtime of Game 6 and then managed to score the series-clinching goal.

Now, this isn’t to say that MacArthur didn’t rightfully draw a penalty; it most clearly was. And, in the bigger picture, it’s one of those stories that almost makes you wonder if real-life sports actually do follow Hollywood scripts.

People just wonder about some other decisions during that overtime, in particular, making it frustrating for some Bruins fans to see the season end in such a way.

Whether they like it or not, that is the case, though.

The Senators took Game 6 by a score of 3-2 (OT), winning their series 4-2. They can breathe a sigh of relief in avoiding a Game 7, an especially valuable bonus since Erik Karlsson had been pushed hard lately, logging more than 40 minutes in a recent game.

Ottawa avoids a do-or-die contest. Instead, they’ll face the New York Rangers in the next round while the Bruins enter the summer following an up-and-down campaign.

Bergeron takes advantage of slow Sens change, sends Game 6 to OT (Video)

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Every game in this Senators – Bruins series has been decided by one goal, so why not send Game 6 to overtime?

Oh, and speaking of overtime, this contest going beyond regulation makes it 17 OT games, tying an NHL record for the most in a single round.

Ottawa appeared to take a “lazy change” with a 2-1 lead, and Patrice Bergeron made the Senators pay, putting in a rebound to collect the goal that eventually sent this contest to overtime.