By Martin Iheke
Your Dallas Stars made some news off the ice before sweeping their annual Southwestern Canada road trip this past week. Last Wednesday Northland Properties Corporation officially purchased the Texas Stars, the minor league hockey affiliate of the Stars, from Hicks Cedar Park LLC according to dallasnews.com. Tom Gaglardi, who is the president of Northland and owner of the Dallas Stars now controls both organizations which will make communications and transitions a lot easier. “My goal since taking over as owner of the Dallas Stars has been to create a culture that empowers people at all levels of our organization to strive for excellence,” Gaglardi said according to dallasnews.com. “Part of creating and instilling that culture means that you have to have direct leadership over all aspects of the formative and developmental levels of your team. The acquisition of the Texas Stars is a crucial part of that leadership and development chain, and reaffirms our vision of becoming an elite organization, both at the NHL and AHL levels.”
Another factor here is Cedar Park, where the Texas Stars play, is about a three-hour drive south. That is very convenient for both organizations in regards to player movement or if some of the coaches want to go down there to do some evaluating. This is a terrific move on Gaglardi’s part.
As for on the ice, the Dallas Stars are starting to look like the team that played very well down the stretch last season which earned them a playoff spot. Last Wednesday night, they took on the Vancouver Canucks and early on, goalie Kari Lehtonen was outstanding. He made 11 of his 27 saves in the first period on his way to his 38th career shutout in a 2-0 victory. “That first period we could have come out in a hole and a tough spot,” Stars forward Colton Sceviour said according to NHL.com. “[Lehtonen] made some huge saves early on. That’s something we were able to rally behind between the first and second.” It was the Stars sixth straight win against the Canucks.
The Stars traveled to Calgary to take on the struggling Flames last Friday evening. The game was scoreless in the first period with not much action. It was not until early in the second period when Stars captain Jamie Benn scored his ninth goal of the season to get his team on the board. Shortly after that, Stars defenseman Trevor Daley scored his seventh goal of the season to put them up, 2-0. The Flames did cut the lead in half towards the end of the period but that was it. Lehtonen had only 21 saves in a 2-1 victory giving the Flames their seventh straight loss. “It’s been a long time coming,” Lehtonen said according to NHL.com. “It’s been such an up-and-down season so far. It’s been nice to be able to play a few good games in a row now. That gives confidence to everybody, and I think that’s a sign too that our guys are starting to play really well in front of me.”
Their game at the Edmonton Oilers last Sunday evening did not go as smooth, but they did win in a thriller, 6-5 via the shootout. The Stars had a 2-1 lead going into the second period before they surrendered four unanswered goals in the second that prompted Stars head coach Lindy Ruff to pull Lehtonen and put in backup goalie Anders Lindback. The Stars stormed back thanks to goals scored by Jamie Benn and forward Tyler Seguin to tie the game at 5-5. The Stars ended up winning in the shootout. Lindback was solid in net with 10 saves that earned him his first victory with the club. The Stars have now won four in a row and five out of their last six as they try to get back into the playoff picture. This was a successful road trip and could be the catalyst for this team moving forward.
The Stars will return home to face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night before enjoying their annual Christmas break. They will get back after it on Saturday night when they play at the St. Louis Blues.
12/23 vs Maple Leafs 6:00 pm
12/27 @Blues 7:00 pm