Hey you. You’re swept up in all this Seattle Kraken hype. You want to know more about hockey but don’t know where to start. Well, we want to help make these games easy and fun for you to watch.
Throughout the season, we’ll release Landlubber’s Guides designed with the new fan in mind. This includes basic need-to-know info for you to absorb before you watch Kraken games and highlights.
Let’s dive into the Dallas Stars.
Are They Any Good?
The Stars are 6th in the Central Division, 12th in the Western Conference, but some of that can be attributed to a series of postponements over the holidays. Dallas has four games in hand over 1st place Nashville, who they trail by 12 points. They’re out of a playoff spot, and currently they are not in contention for a wild card berth; but that likely will change as they get those missed games made up. Each of those postponed tilts is against a Central Division opponent.
Dallas started off the season winning 8 of their first 9 games — then losing 5 in a row. Then came the postponements, following which they are 2-1-0 in their last 3. So I guess the correct assessment is that they’re “streaky”. The same can be said for their playoff performance: they failed to qualify for the post-season 8 out of 10 years ending in 2018; they lost to the Lightning in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2019, then didn’t qualify for the playoffs the following year.
Who Should I Look Out For?
Tied for the team lead in points are veteran center Joe Pavelski, who’s still got the juice after 15 NHL seasons, having racked up 13 goals and 17 assists in 32 games...
...and winger Jason Robertson, with 12 goals and 18 assists in 26 games...
Also amassing the points this season are left wing Roope Hintz...
...and Miro Heiskanen, who makes you forget he’s a defenseman with this breakaway goal...
Any Seattle Ties?
Nobody on the team was born here or played locally. The only thing I could find is that one of Dallas’ equipment assistants, Trevor Heinzerling, was the Head Equipment Manager with the Seattle Thunderbirds from 2014-17. Maybe they’ll have a tribute video during one of the TV time-outs.
Odds & Ends
- During the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft the Kraken used the exclusive free agent negotiating period to sign Dallas defenseman Jamie “Big Rig” Oleksiak to a 5-year contract. Oleksiak has 11 points in 33 games with Seattle, and his stats are on par with his performance from last season.
- RW Denis Gurianov and, more importantly, goaltender Braden Holtby were placed into COVID-19 protocol on Tuesday. Their availability is unknown for tonight; expect youngster Jake Oettinger to get the start in net for Dallas.
- The Stars came to Dallas in 1993 when the Minnesota North Stars owners were granted permission to move the beleaguered club to Texas, having been denied opportunities to move the team to both San Jose and Anaheim. Expansion franchises were granted to those cities instead, and another expansion franchise was granted to Minnesota a mere 7 years after the Stars’ departure, with the Minnesota Wild entering the league in the year 2000.
- This past Sunday the Stars were leading St. Louis 1-0 with under a minute to play in the game. The circumstances are complex and involve unusual nuances in the rules, but the net result was that St. Louis scored two power play goals in the last minute to win the game. Needless to say Stars coach Rick Bowness did not take it well:
The puck drops at 5:30pm Pacific time from American Airlines Center in Dallas. Local TV viewers can find the game on ROOT Sports NW; out-of-market fans can find the game on ESPN+. Radio coverage in the Seattle area is available on 950 AM KJR; satellite radio listeners can find the game on SiriusXM channel 219.