hockey

Stadium Series provides excitement for fans, players

The Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks clashed in an inter-state rivalry game a few weekends ago, and the reigning Stanley Cup Champions emerged victorious with a 2-1 victory over their enemy to the north.

However, the game had a different venue than usual. Rather than the Staples Center in Los Angeles or the SAP Center in San Jose playing host to the matchup, the battle took place at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, the home of the San Francisco 49ers.

The temperature during the day in Santa Clara was in the 70s, and the puck-drop temperature was 57 degrees Fahrenheit-- not quite typical hockey weather.

Although not completely commonplace, this is not a particularly new spectacle for the NHL. The most familiar locations for Stadium Series games are cold weather cities such as New York and Chicago. Recently, however, the NHL has experimented with playing regular season games in more temperate climates.

The successes couldn’t be better.

Bringing hockey to hotter outdoor climates is not the only enticing feature of the Stadium Series.  Live intermission performances by California’s own John Fogerty and the Grammy-winning Melissa Etheridge kept fans entertained even when the greatest game on ice was momentarily paused.

The NHL has played 15 outdoor games since the 2003-04 season primarily to engage current fans and to create new ones. Levi’s Stadium filled beyond capacity for this year’s tilt with more than 70,000 people in attendance.

Yet, the memories made at outdoor games are not just owned by the fans. The players that compete in front of these record crowds will certainly never forget their experiences, either.

"It was incredible. From start to finish, what an atmosphere," said Sharks captain Joe Thornton after the game. "It was a once in-a-lifetime-type thing for us.”

Sharks coach Todd McLellan also enjoyed the experience. 

“You talk about moments where the hair stands up on your neck," McLellan said, "and tonight was one of those moments.”

The fact that both teams are tied in the Western Conference standings and are currently battling each other for a playoff birth did not seem to matter that Saturday night. Getting the opportunity to play hockey outdoors in front of a large number of passionate fans is something that even professional players and coaches cannot take for granted.

"The fact we lost was disappointing," McLellan admitted. "But to be part of it, I wouldn't trade it for anything."

Stadium Series provides excitement for fans and players

The Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks clashed in an inter-state rivalry game last weekend, and the reigning Stanley Cup Champions emerged victorious with a 2-1 victory over their enemy to the north.

The game was not played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, nor was it played at the SAP Center in San Jose.

Rather, the battle took place at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, the home of the San Francisco 49ers.

Indeed, a hockey game was played outdoors in the Californian Bay Area. The temperature during the day in Santa Clara was in the 70s, and the puck-drop temperature was 57 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Although not completely commonplace, this is not a particularly new spectacle for the NHL. The most familiar locations for Stadium Series games are cold weather cities such as New York and Chicago. Recently, however, the NHL has experimented with playing regular season games in more temperate climates.

The successes couldn’t be much greater.

Last year, the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-0 at Dodger Stadium. Yes, an ice hockey game was played in Los Angeles, California.

Bringing hockey to hotter outdoor climates is not the only enticing feature of the Stadium Series.  Live intermission performances by California’s own John Fogerty and the Grammy-winning Melissa Etheridge kept fans entertained even when the greatest game on ice was momentarily paused.

The NHL has played 15 outdoor games since 2003 primarily to engage current fans and to create new ones. Levi’s Stadium filled beyond capacity for this year’s tilt with more than 70,000 people in attendance.

Yet, the memories made at outdoor games are not just owned by the fans. The players that compete in front of these record crowds will certainly never forget their experiences, either.

"It was incredible. From start to finish, what an atmosphere," Sharks captain Joe Thornton said after the game. "It was a once in-a-lifetime-type thing for us.”

Sharks coach Todd McLellan also shared his thoughts on the scene. “You talk about moments where the hair stands up on your neck," McLellan said, "and tonight was one of those moments.”

The fact that both teams are tied in the Western Conference standings and are currently battling each other for a playoff berth did not seem to matter Saturday night. Getting the opportunity to play hockey outdoors in front of a large number of passionate fans is something that even professional players and coaches cannot take for granted.

"The fact we lost was disappointing," McLellan admitted. "But to be part of it, I wouldn't trade it for anything."

 

Sophomore Spencer Delman has emerged as the star of the Texas club hockey team, becoming the top player in both scoring goals and racking up assists.

Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

As Texas hockey headed into overtime, tied 6-6 with Texas State University, sophomore Spencer Delman skated the puck out of Texas’ zone, dodged a defender and, approaching the face-off dot, shot the puck. To Delman’s surprise, the puck blurred past the goalie’s shoulder, pushing Texas past the Bobcats.  

Delman has become the top Texas player in both goals and assists because of plays like this. 

“Spencer provides a lot of scoring power on offense and helps out on the back check,” junior teammate Greg Doll said.

Before moving to Texas for college, Delman began his 16-year hockey career in the north. He learned to figure skate at age 3 and began playing recreational hockey at age 6.

“I played travel starting at age 7 or 8,” Delman said.

Delman continued his travels for hockey throughout elementary and middle school, eventually joining the Northbrook Hockey League Bluehawks, a nationally ranked high school team. On the Bluehawks, Delman played forward and scored his way to a starting position his junior and senior years, serving as captain senior year and making the All-Illinois High School Association team on the highest level.

“Hockey was a thing my dad did his whole life, and it was something he was very passionate about, so it was always prevalent in the house,” Delman said. “It was definitely not forced upon me, but it sparked my interest, and he was happy that I was happy about it.”

Delman, a computer science student, applied to Texas and hoped to continue playing hockey once he moved.

“My only parameter for anywhere was that hockey existed,” Delman said. “It did not matter in what capacity.”

While the sport isn’t as popular in Texas, he still watches hockey games regularly, specifically his favorite team — the Detroit Red Wings.

“Spencer, coming from the north, plays with a different style,” coach Aubrey Berkowitz said. “He’s scrappy, a high-energy player, and a lot of people have a hard time keeping up with him.”

Delman’s short, 5-foot-6-inch stature plays a significant factor in how he competes, so he models his techniques after the Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews and the Detroit Red Wings’ Pavel Datsyuk.

“They’re known as people who see the ice well,” Delman said “They’re both incredibly hardworking, and both make a lot of smart plays.”

Depending on the personnel on the ice and the situation in the game, Delman plays center and forward on the ice interchangeably. But off the ice, Delman’s character prevails, according to junior Chet Danto, assistant captain and president of the team.

“He’s a very intelligent person and always has a fun fact no matter the subject of the conversation,” Danto said.

Delman has clear hopes for his future in hockey.

“I just want to be able to play as long as I can,” Delman said. “I do not expect it to be my source of income. I just want to be able to keep skating.”

Look past the fights of the NHL

There’s a popular joke, “I Went to a Fight the Other Night and a Hockey Game Broke Out,” and I hate it. It’s a hackneyed joke about a sport that has evolved past its pugilism. Well, I should reword that last phrase. Hockey is a sport that is trying to get past its boxing-like nature.

Last year, 29.76 percent of the 1,230 NHL games had at least one fight occur. This follows the pattern of decline that the NHL has seen over the past 13 years. Through rules changes like Rule 46.6 which states, “No player may remove his helmet prior to engaging in a fight. If he should do so, he shall be assessed a two-minute minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Helmets that come off in the course of and resulting from the altercation will not result in a penalty to either player,” and the mandatory visor rule, the NHL is doing its part to decrease on-ice violence and the numbers show this.

That being said, will the NHL ever abolish fighting altogether? Probably not. At least not in the next few years. Currently, there is too much friction coming from the players’ side in order to enact such a major rule change. For them, both job security and job safety is at stake. For less than skilled players like Shawn Thornton of the Florida Panthers, he provides leadership in the enforcer role. As an enforcer, he protects his teammates from vicious hits on the ice by ensuring that something worse, such as a fight, will come for the offenders later. And, without fighting, a player like Thornton probably wouldn’t have a job in the NHL despite his fantastic leadership ability.

Teams, however, have been phasing out the enforcers role themselves. Thanks to advanced statistics, the ongoing concussion debate, and salary cap constraints, having a player who is solely dedicated to fighting and nothing more is impractical. Especially when considering playoff hockey, a time when overall team depth is so important and fighting is virtually non-existent, having a roster spot for a player without skill is a waste.

As weird as it sounds, fighting in hockey has a place. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think fighting should be first on the NHL’s marquee. But, I do think that within a regular season team construct, fighting is a valuable way to ensure that more physically minded players on the ice do not destroy skill players. The enforcer role will eventually be eliminated, as I think it should, but I do believe players should be able to retaliate as they see fit in such a physical sport. With all of that said, hockey should always be seen as the sport it is and not for the fighting that has been occurring less and less often.

Why to follow the NHL

As you may have noticed, both the NBA and NFL have had their share of controversies. The NBA has dealt with two racist owners, former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson, and the NFL is continuing to deal with a storm of incompetence and player misdeeds. However, the NHL has kept its nose clean. Basically, what I'm saying is that, if you want a guilt-free sports entertainment experience, watch and follow the NHL.  But, of course there are more reasons why you should divert your attention from the controversial NBA and NFL and instead pay attention to the NHL.

First of all, the sport is absolutely insane. Thanks to 45 second shifts for players, an average speed of 23 mph for skaters (compared to 16 mph for an average NFL running back), and a hard, rubber puck flying around, there is plenty of pandemonium to be in awe of. All game long, mobs of players crash the nets attempting to get the puck out of trouble or into the net. All game long, skaters are looking to grab the puck on a breakaway after a failed line change. And, all game long, fans are kept at the edge of their seats. For the fan who is bored by constant commercials in the NFL and never-ending timeouts and fouls at the end of NBA games, the NHL is definitely the sport for you. There is beauty in the chaos.


Another reason to like hockey? Canadians are nice. That sounds weird, but hockey is Canada’s gift to the world and its players are incredibly likable. Take for example, superstar player Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins. After being named the EA Sports NHL 15 cover athlete, he still went home to Quebec in the summer to raise $100,000 for children in his native city. So, while he could have basked in the glow of his achievements, he instead chose to give back to the community. This example of Patrice Bergeron is not an isolated case, but one that exemplifies the effort hockey players give off the ice.

The biggest reason to like hockey has to be the playoffs and the chase for the best trophy in sports, the Stanley Cup. As soon as the regular season ends, players on playoff teams start growing their beards and getting ready for the most intense playoff experience in sports. Players play differently in the playoffs, as they are more aggressive offensively, defend more tightly, and hit more often. The NHL playoffs are most definitely an intense experience. And this doesn’t even take into account the anxiety and emotion fans feel as their team bears down in the final minutes of an elimination game that has gone into overtime. Oh, and don’t forget about that Stanley Cup. It’s huge, weighs about 35 pounds, and players cannot wait to put it above their head in triumph after a hard-fought playoff run. Ordinary players are made heroes when their names are engraved into the trophy after winning it all. The Cup is everything.

If any of this sounds good (and it should), you’re in luck. You can start the NHL season fresh as it returns in a few weeks on Oct. 8. 

 

 

Junior Mark Judice is in his first year playing for Texas. He played junior hockey in Austin prior to joining the Horns.

Photo Credit: Jarrid Denman | Daily Texan Staff

Mark Judice is a rarity in Austin. He didn’t grow up throwing a football or bouncing a basketball. Instead, he glided around on a rare surface in Texas — ice. 

Judice, a junior defenseman on the Texas Longhorn Ice Hockey team, is the only player from Austin on the Longhorns’ roster. Judice began playing hockey at age 5. His love for the game connects him to the close-knit community hockey has become, even in the middle of Texas. 

“The older players gave me lessons,” said Judice, regarding the local skating lessons he received growing up. 

Juidce still remembers the first stick and pair of skates he used, as if he had received them yesterday.

“The first stick I got was wooden and cheap, but the first graphite stick I played with was an Easton Z Bubble,” Judice said. “Since I was 12 years old, I’ve worn the same skates, a pair of Bauer
Vapor 19s.”

His parents played a role in encouraging Judice’s love for hockey, even in the hockey-starved state of Texas. They took him to practices and games, fighting Austin traffic on the way to the rink. In that time, they too became part of the hockey community. Junior hockey in Austin does not exist without the players’ parents — who serve as coaches, doctors and snack providers for the teams and players. 

“I didn’t know that the parents played a huge role,” Judice said. “They were our coaches, trainers and managers, and they took us to weekend tournaments, practices and games.”

Judice played junior hockey for the Austin Road Runners for 10 years, and then two years into his time at Texas, he decided to slip the skates back on and play the game he loves. It took a little pressure from a friend on the team, but Judice is happy with his decision. The club hockey team gives him the opportunity to become re-acclimated with the brotherhood hockey provides. 

His career in college hockey is off to a good start. Judice currently has six points in his first twelve games, and plays point on the team’s power play. His coaches are impressed with his performance, especially because it’s Judice’s first year of competitive hockey since juniors. 

“They said that I could really play hockey,” Judice said. “I’m very lucky to have made the club.”

Players compete in the street hockey league. Street Bird Hockey is a new league in Austin that is open to all skill levels and focuses on the love of competition and good times.

Photo Credit: Emily Ng | Daily Texan Staff

There is no puck, there are no skates, players don’t fight and — as in true hockey tradition — there is plenty of beer and good times. This is Max Retter’s and Molly Muranka’s version of hockey and they’re bringing it to Austin. 

The Street Bird Hockey League is their creation. The idea was sparked after watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs when the pair became intrigued by the idea of playing hockey themselves. After they weren’t able to find a non-skating street league in Austin, they decided that the best solution was to create one of their own. 

Street hockey does not stray very much from its inspiration on ice. The game is played with a ball rather than a puck, and players wear shoes and minimal equipment. Protective gear is worn at the players’ own discretion. 

Though competitive, the league has a clear and simple goal: to “organize a league where people can play street hockey...and have lots of laughs.”

The Street Bird Hockey League is catering to a specific group of hockey enthusiasts. 

“It’s pretty much for people who like watching hockey, but don’t know how to play ice hockey,” Muranka said. “You don’t need any experience. We have one guy that showed up yesterday from Reddit and he was really worried. I think he scored twice.” 

The league features various social events hosted for the players, and because of a love of beer, participants are asked to be at least 21 years of age. 

However, Adam Annen, a member of the league, doesn’t want anyone to get the wrong impression. 

“We’re not running around with a stick in one hand and a beer in the other,” Annen said. 

Annen first heard about Street Bird after picking up a flier on his lunch break. He has been active with inline hockey leagues throughout the Austin and Round Rock areas, but enjoys the experience of Street Bird. 

“I think the biggest appeal to me is to get together with friends and share something that I love doing,” Annen said. “I think hockey, unlike other mainstream sports, has a pretty strong sense of community because it isn’t as popular as football or basketball...so it has a sort of pride to it in that way.” 

Street Bird provides a very family-like camaraderie and that aspect is heavily emphasized. 

“We all help each other out with borrowing equipment, to sharing tips, to giving rides to the sporting goods store,” Annen said. 

In order to join Street Bird, players must sign a liability form and then they are free to play. Practices are held at 8 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday at Metz Park. Both Retter and Muranka encourage people of all skill levels and abilities to go out and play.

Texas Stars goalie Cris Nilstorp is expected to start for the remainder of playoff games.  Nilstorp, originally from Sweden, said fan support has greatly aided the Stars in their success this season.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

The Dallas Stars, Texas’ lone National Hockey League team, took home their only Stanley Cup in 1999. Since then however, it seems that many Texans’ appreciation for hockey has bowed in the presence of their true love — football. Missing the playoffs for the fifth season in a row this year, the Stars didn’t do much to win back widespread Texan support from 13 years ago. But there’s another hockey team in Texas that might be up to the task. Allow me to introduce the Texas Stars, Dallas’ America Hockey League affiliate.

Formerly known as the Iowa Chops until 2008, the team was renamed the Texas Stars in 2009, and in the same year relocated to Cedar Park, Texas. The move from Iowa gave hockey fans in Central Texas a new team to cheer for. Playing in the then-brand-new Cedar Park Center in front of a fresh fan base, the Stars won the AHL’s Western Conference in their inaugural season. Although they fell in six games to the Hershey Bears in the 2010 Calder Cup Finals, the team’s success that season was promising. 

This season was the Stars’ most successful one in their brief history. Finishing with a record of 43-22-5-6 (22 regulation losses, five overtime losses and six shootout losses) this year is the first time they have finished in first place in the South Division. 

Their 97 points also earned them the Western Conference’s top seed in the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs. Overall, the Stars finished this year’s campaign tied for the third-best record in the AHL. 

The Stars have already begun their quest for the 2013 Calder Cup. They are currently in a best-of-five series against the Milwaukee Admirals, the west’s eighth seed. Differing from the best-of-seven series format of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, the AHL uses a best-of-five format for its first-round series, and a best-of-seven format for the remaining rounds. As is the AHL playoff format, the Stars played the first two games of the opening round on the road in Milwaukee, Wis., where they left with the series tied 1-1. They will be back home in Cedar Park for games three, four and five if necessary. 

Stars head coach Willie Desjardins admitted that his team is in a tough battle with the Admirals.

“The first two games were tight, and we thought they would be,” Desjardins said. “Milwaukee has played well down the stretch, they don’t give up a lot and both teams are geared up for the playoffs.”

With the series squared at one, the team says it’s excited to be back home for some playoff hockey in Texas.

“It’s always good to play at home,” said Cris Nilstorp, the Stars’ expected starting goalie for the remainder of these playoffs. “Our fans are great, and I’m sure they are going to help us tomorrow night.”

A few of the Stars’ players were called up to Dallas this year to fill in for injuries or just to get NHL ice time. One of those players was winger Alex Chiasson. He said he enjoyed his time with Dallas, but he’s glad everyone is back together again.

“For me, coming back down here is great,” Chiasson said. “It’s the experience I’m looking for. I haven’t played in a real playoff atmosphere for so long. I’ve spent most of this year with this group of guys and it’s a great group to make a run with.”

The Stars hope to capture their first-ever Calder Cup and bring the hockey fervor back to Texas.  

On Hockey: Central division report card after first third of the season

Last week, I took a look at the Pacific Division at the one-third mark of the season. This week, we’re going to jump over to the Central Division, which, in my opinion is the most competitive one in all of hockey.

1. Chicago Blackhawks (15-0-3)

Wow. I’ve raved about them in past blogs, but I have no choice but to reiterate the praise and awe that they deserve for their performance so far. 18 games and zero regulation losses. 33 out of a possible 36 points. Their goalies, Corey Crawford and Ray Emery, both possess a goals allowed average (GAA) of 2.10 or fewer, and both hold a save percentage of .930 or better:. Simply phenomenal. Their offense is unbelievably talented - Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa are on a tear right now. They have solid scoring depth, backed by a superb defense that allows the fewest goals in the league, and is also the league’s second-best penalty-killing unit. They already boast the best goal differential in hockey. Just wait until Patrick Sharp finds his 35-goal-a-year stride. This team looks unbeatable right now.

Grade: A++ (if there is a grade that high, they certainly deserve it).

2. St. Louis Blues (10-6-2)

There is no question that they are overshadowed (just like everyone else) by the dominance of the Blackhawks. But quietly, this is a very good team. I love the Blues’ offensive depth – they have eight players with at least three goals, and that has them at sixth in the league in goals per game. Their power play of 30.6 percent is absolutely lethal. The defense, on the other hand is a little lethargic right now. The only thing that is confusing about them so far: goalie Jaroslav Halak features both a 1.70 GAA and only a .911 save percentage. What’s up the that? Anyhow, I really like the way this team is constructed and I think they will finish second in the central. Given how tough this division is, that’s actually saying something.

Grade: B+

3. Detroit Red Wings (9-7-3)

I wrote in the first edition of my power rankings a couple of weeks ago, that this team has been on a roller coaster this season. They still are, but seem to be finding their way after whopping Vancouver and Nashville at home last week. Their offense is aging, but still has the talent to be competitive. Henrik Zetterburg and Pavel Datsyuk are still top-line caliber players that can carry a team through a rough offensive stretch. The Wings also have also found a keeper in young center Damien Brunner. Their defense is suspect (as it has been since Nick Lidstrom retired a couple of years ago) and Jimmy Howard has been a little inconsistent in net. In this division, you can survive offensive droughts as long as you have a quality defense and a hot goalie stopping pucks. This is an “A” team that is not quite playing like it right now.

Grade: B

4. Nashville Predators (8-6-5)

This team is offensively starved, ranking last in the league in goals per game. That really is unbelievable considering the weapons on their roster. Their third-ranked defense, seventh-ranked penalty kill and a god-like Pekka Rinne in between the pipes are keeping them afloat in the central. But Rinne can’t start every game, and he certainly won’t repeat last year’s sterling season (when he won 40 games , and was probably robbed of the Vezina award) if his team is only averaging 1.9 goals a night. The offense is well-balanced though, and it should start to heat up soon. The defense is thriving even after losing Ryan Suter to free agency. If they can put it all together, they can be a dangerous club in the playoffs.

Grade: B-

5. Columbus Blue Jackets (5-12-2)

Well, let’s be nice – they’ve got some work to do. They rank no higher than 20th in the league in any offensive category. Their single bright spot has been the penalty kill, which ranks 10th in the league. Overall, they have an under average roster that lacks star power. Not much else to say about them.

Grade: D

Overall, this is an elite division. It is home to four playoff-caliber teams, which should make for some extra exciting hockey down the stretch of this season.

After a four-year absence, Texas’ lone NHL team will still be playing this May

After a four-year drought, the Dallas Stars will be making a return to the playoffs this season. The kids and superior goaltending will be leading the charge.

Of course, Stars fans have a plethora of reasons to be excited about the team’s chances to contend. It’s also well known that the Stars are no strangers to coughing up their playoff chances in the last week or two of the season. So it’s understandable why most hockey fans outside of Dallas are writing them off.

But cast the doubts aside: This team is once again ready to represent Texas in the playoffs.

It was a busy and productive offseason for the Stars. The new ownership group led by Tom Gaglardi as well as GM and former Dallas Stars center Joe Nieuwendyk have shown a commitment to improve this team from the ground up with an emphasis on youth development.

Sure, through trades and free agency most teams acquire seasoned veterans for their knowledge of and experience with the game. The Stars certainly brought in their fair share of veterans this offseason (center Derek Roy, defenseman Aaron Rome) and even geezers in the form of a couple 40+ year-olds: center Ray Whitney and living legend right winger Jaromir Jagr, who turns 41 this week.

But homegrown talent, originating from draft picks, is where many teams find their success on the ice. This is the Stars' single greatest strength. This year, that class of players is a major part of the team’s core. It is headlined by 23-year-old rising star center Jamie Benn and winger Loui Erikkson, 27, along with fleet-footed forward Cody Eakin, 21, and the mammoth defensemen Brendon Dillon, 22, and Jamie Oleksiak, 20.

In a season where every team is playing 48 games in 99 days, physical and mental fatigue will certainly set in. The Stars will need the energetic legs of its younger players to compete the whole year. These kids are ready though, and they’ll provide that energy while leading the team into the playoffs.

If the single most important aspect of successful hockey teams is the infusion of talented youth, then elite goaltending is an extremely close second.

In hockey it is often said that the goaltender is the backbone of the team, and the “most important defenseman.” It is no secret that the Stars have a special one of their own.

Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen has earned elite status as a goaltender. Over the last two seasons he has posted a combined goals allowed average (GAA) of 2.44 and a save percentage of .914. In those two seasons, he ranked in the top 10 in the league in number of opponent shots faced.

He has improved every year he’s been in a Stars uniform. So far this season, Lehtonen is tied for second in the league in wins, and is boasting a GAA of 2.30 and a save percentage of .928. In a lockout-shortened schedule where the Stars play a gauntlet of exclusively western conference teams, those numbers are highly respectable.

When he’s on his game, Lehtonen is easily a top 10 goalie in the NHL. He constantly keeps the Stars in game with his lightning-fast glove, and an ability to control the puck off rebounds in traffic. He possesses great net play and instincts, knowing when to cover up the puck or shoot it down the boards and out of the defensive zone.

His only flaw is that he is somewhat prone to injury. During his tenure with Dallas he has dramatically cut down his time on the injured reserve list. The Stars will need Lehtonen healthy
and consistently on his “A” game this season.

It’s been almost 10 years since the Stars truly competed for the Stanley Cup. While the Stars are not yet a championship-caliber team, they are well on their way to re-establishing
themselves as one. But for now, get ready, Texas and the rest of the hockey world – you’ll be seeing the green, black and gold on the ice in May, taking their next big step back to glory.