Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Dallas Stars Recall Curtis McKenzie, Assign Julius Honka

The Dallas Stars have swapped Curtis McKenzie and Julius Honka with the Texas Stars. McKenzie has been a point-per-game player for the Texas Stars. Honka has yet to record a point across 14 games this season.

Here's the release:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has recalled left wing Curtis McKenzie from the Texas Stars, Dallas' top development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL). The team has also reassigned defenseman Julius Honka to Texas.

McKenzie, 26, has recorded 16 points (8-8=16) in 16 games played for Texas this season. His eight goals are tied for 10th in the AHL and share first on Texas, and he is second on the team in points. He also shares third in the AHL and leads Texas with five power play goals this season.

In parts of three seasons with Dallas, he has 21 points (10-11=21) and 120 penalty minutes in 92 regular-season games played. Last season, he set career bests with 16 points (6-10=16), 72 penalty minutes and a +5 plus/minus rating in 53 games played.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound native of Golden, British Columbia was originally selected by Dallas in the sixth round (159th overall) of the 2009 NHL Draft.

Honka, 21, has appeared in six games with Dallas during the 2017-18 season, recording six shots on goal, three hits and five blocked shots while averaging 14:58 time on ice per game. In eight games with Texas, he has produced 11 shots and four penalty minutes.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound native of Jyvaskyla, Finland was originally selected by Dallas in the first round (14th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Landon Bow Authors Strong First Period En Route to Texas Stars OT Win

(Credit: Ross Dettman/Chicago Wolves)
Landon Bow had one of his best performances of his pro career, and Jason Dickinson was the OT hero as Texas beat Chicago tonight 2-1 in overtime. The rookie goaltender Bow stopped 31 of 32 including 19 first period shots en route to the win. The Stars only managed 3 shots in the frame, but neither side scored.

New addition to the Wolves roster Michael Leighton backed up Kasimir Kaskisuo, who was pierced twice on 20 shots for Chicago.

Texas broke the scoreless tie late in the second period with Matt Mangene finishing off a centering pass from rookie Max French. The Stars would take the 1-0 lead into the third period but saw it slip away on the penalty kill. Brandon Pirri notched his fifth of the year off the assist of two NHL calibre players in Jason Garrison and Teemu Pulkkinen.

It didn't take long for the final goal in overtime. Jason Dickinson beat Kaskisuo sneaking down the right wing side after beating Beau Bennett with a nifty move. The Stars moved above .500 with the win, setting their record at 9-8-1-1 as they approach two games in Cleveland on Friday and Saturday.

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Rallo, Dowling, Ully (scratch)
McKenna, Elie (call-up)

Tonight's attendance was 3,049.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Chicago - November 21 2017

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at Chicago Wolves

Texas Stars
8-8-0-1, 17 pts, 0.500
#4 Pacific Division
atChicago Wolves
4-9-1-1, 10 pts, 0.333
#7 Central Division
November 21st at 7:00 PM
Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL

UPDATE (11 AM): So you can scratch the whole goalie issue for Chicago as veteran G Michael Leighton is now in the Wolves fold.

UPDATE (3 PM): Texas has assigned Austin Fyten to Idaho. The forward had been injured this season and has only played one AHL game so far.

The last time Texas and Chicago faced off, no one knew what to make of any team in the AHL, least of all these two. It was the first weekend of the season, and the Stars took two games over the Wolves with a 6-5 scoreline in both. The commentary provided here was that Chicago would be off to a quick start and then fade away as injuries to both Las Vegas and St. Louis depleted their core.

It turns out those comments were very right, perhaps in an absurd way. The struggles of the Vegas goaltenders have been extremely well-documented. Four starting goaltenders have gone down with injury, including both of the goalies who started the season in Chicago. Neither one is expected back tonight. That has left the Wolves with C.J. Motte and Kasimir Kaskisuo in net for the club.

(Credit: Texas Stars)
The Wolves were playing .500 hockey before those goalie callups, but it's been terrible since. Motte and Kaskisuo have combined for a 2-7-0-1 record. Making matters worse, the club lost Shea Theodore, who probably should have never been in the AHL this year to begin with, and Alex Tuch, who netted a hat trick against Texas in the opening weekend.

Teemu Pulkkinen is still a consistent threat at this level though, with 16 points in 15 games. Chicago, nonetheless, comes in with a six-game losing streak.

Texas will have a new look as it rolls out for the second game of a seven-game road trip. Mike McKenna will be in Dallas this evening, and Landon Bow and Philippe Desrosiers will be the goalie choices for Derek Laxdal. Perhaps not tonight, but eventually, you'd have to think Laxdal calls on Desrosiers to see what the kid can do at this level this year. He's 6-1-2 in the ECHL.

And, Texas will be without Julius Honka on defense. It's not expected he'll be back anytime soon either as Marc Methot is out 4-6 weeks recovering from a knee procedure. There are two options here as Matt Mangene could slide back to defense and put a forward in his place or Gavin Bayreuther could figure back into the lineup. Laxdal indicated that Bayreuther would likely be getting some healthy scratches upcoming, including both games this weekend, as he works to improve his game by taking a view from the press box.

Stars injury/call up report:
Elie, McKenna (call up)
Fyten (injury)

Twitter: @Chicago_Wolves
Twitter: @theshaves (Wolves PxP)

Monday, November 20, 2017

Texas Stars Goalie Mike McKenna Recalled to Dallas

(Credit: Texas Stars)
Goalie Mike McKenna has been recalled to the Dallas Stars. According to Dallas media, Kari Lehtonen is unavailable 'indefinitely' for personal reasons. Dallas plays three games in four nights starting tomorrow at home against Montreal.

McKenna has struggled early this year along with the team's defense. He is even 5-5-1 this year thanks to a high-scoring Texas offense. Landon Bow has won the majority of the starts over the past two weeks, but McKenna is the veteran of the pair.

I would expect a corresponding move to recall Philippe Desrosiers from Idaho ahead of the Texas game tomorrow in Chicago. Philippe Desrosiers has been recalled from Idaho to back up Landon Bow.

Here's the release:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has recalled goaltender Mike McKenna from the Texas Stars, Dallas' top development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).

Nill also announced that goaltender Kari Lehtonen is unavailable indefinitely due to personal reasons.

McKenna, 34, has appeared in 12 games with Texas during the 2017-18 season, earning a 5-5-1 record with an .871 save percentage and a 3.51 goals against average. His five wins this season lead all Texas Stars netminders.

Over the course of his AHL career, he has appeared in 441 games, registering a 211-168-22 record with a .912 SV% and a 2.72 GAA with 26 shutouts. The netminder has logged a combined 22 NHL games with Tampa Bay, New Jersey, Columbus and Arizona, recording a 5-11-2 record with an .889 SV% and a 3.48 GAA.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound native of St. Louis, Mo. was signed by Dallas as a free agent on July 1, 2017. McKenna was originally selected by Nashville in the sixth round (172nd overall) of the 2002 NHL Draft.

Julius Honka Recalled to Dallas Stars

(Credit: Texas Stars)
Defenseman Julius Honka has been recalled to Dallas Stars this morning. Honka has yet to score a point in 14 games this season between Dallas and Texas.

Texas plays in Chicago tomorrow.

Here's the release:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has recalled defenseman Julius Honka from the Texas Stars, Dallas' top development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).

Honka, 21, has appeared in six games with Dallas during the 2017-18 season, recording six shots on goal, three hits and five blocked shots while averaging 14:58 time on ice per game. In eight games with Texas, he has produced 11 shots and four penalty minutes.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound native of Jyvaskyla, Finland was originally selected by Dallas in the first round (14th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Jason Dickinson Scores but Texas Stars Lose 5-2 to San Antonio Rampage

(Credit: San Antonio Rampage)
The Texas Stars took the ice once again against the San Antonio Rampage on Saturday evening in the second game of a home-and-home set and the first game of the next seven on the road for the Stars. The Stars faced the Rampage on Wednesday night, a game in which Texas held on to win 4-3. For this game the Rampage had the luxury of icing elite prospect Tyson Jost who was recently assigned to the AHL by the Colorado Avalanche.

The end result was less than ideal. The Stars were competitive in the early going but let the game get away from them in the second half. At one point they allowed three unanswered goals, which was hard to overcome.

The rookie Max French gave the Stars early momentum with his second goal of the year less than three minutes into the game. Denis Gurianov kept his foot on the gas and drew a penalty shot, but only found the stick of Spencer Martin who drew the start for the injured Ville Husso. The French line made a lot of positive noise early. Not only did they account for the lone goal, they also generated a few good looks. One of their shots from the point was deflected in front of the net and hit the post.

Though Texas spent enough time in the offensive zone, puck possession was fairly even among the two teams early on. The Stars turned the puck over in their own zone to set up a point blank chance but caught a break as the puck went wide of the net. The Rampage drew a hooking minor and got their extra attacker out onto the ice during the delayed penalty. They hung onto the puck for about a minute of play and executed a couple of one-timers that Landon Bow shut down.

Bow continued his recent string of strong play in the first period, including on San Antonio's first power play of the game. He had to be on his game as the Stars were outshot 12-7 in the first period. Coming off his two goal game on Wednesday, Stars captain Curtis McKenzie had a quality scoring chance from the right circle that was denied by Martin.

Andrew Bodnarchuk started the second period with a quality chance off of a quick neutral zone transition. It appeared to give the Stars a charge but it didn't last long. After an icing committed by Texas, they were forced to take a draw in their zone and it led to a goal by A.J. Greer to keep up his point per game pace. Alex Belzile kept the pressure turned up for San Antonio and redirected a shot in front of the net to put the Rampage up by one and continue his five game point streak. Both of Belzile's goals this year have come against Texas.

The teams traded power plays on penalties committed by Roope Hintz and Jordan Schmaltz respectively. Schmaltz cross-checked McKenzie after taking issue with a play from the captain that he didn't like. Both penalties were killed off, but San Antonio quickly scored their third unanswered goal as Tage Thompson batted a puck out of the air into the net. It was Thompson's sixth goal of the season.

The Stars couldn't quite tilt the ice back in their direction late in the second period, and Bodnarchuk committed a tripping penalty to send the Rampage on their third power play. McKenzie made a good play on the forecheck to help kill the penalty off, and the Stars went into the locker room down by two.

Coach Derek Laxdal blended the lines in the third period to try and generate some scoring. It was successful in that the Stars had a few early attempts that were initially turned away by Martin, but the strategy eventually paid off. Jason Dickinson followed up on a rebound and scored for his eighth goal of the season. The Stars then had a chance for the equalizer on the power play. Newly acquired Reece Scarlett was driven head first into the boards to draw the penalty. Dickinson had a tip-in opportunity, but the Stars were blanked on the power play going 0 for 3.

The puck didn't bounce the Stars' way later in the third, and a centering pass from San Antonio bounced off of a skate and into the back of the Texas net. The play went under a lengthy review, but the call on the ice stood. Andrew Aggozzino was awarded the goal. As if things weren't already getting away from the Stars, Rocco Grimaldi redirected a puck in front of the net to score and close the door on a potential comeback.

The Texas Stars continue their road trip on Tuesday, November 21st at 7 PM against the Chicago Wolves.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Bayreuther, Rallo, Laberge, McNeill, Ully (scratch)
Fyten (injury)
Elie (call-up)

Tonight's attendance was 6,704.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at San Antonio - November 18 2017

Gameday Preview: Texas Stars at San Antonio Rampage

          Texas Stars               San Antonio Rampage
8-7-1, 17 pts, .531      at      9-5-1, 19 pts, .633
#4 Pacific Division               #3 Pacific Division

November 18th at 7:00 PM
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

Playing the second game of this home-and-home set against the San Antonio Rampage, the Texas Stars took the first step in improving their poor record against their in-state rival this season on Wednesday night. They managed to eke out a 4-3 victory for their first win of the year against San Antonio after three tries. This game is the first of seven consecutive games on the road for the Stars.

For this particular matchup, they will have a fresher version of Jason Dickinson who didn't just step off of a plane onto the ice. The hyper-versatile winger was sent down by the Dallas Stars just in time for Wednesday night's game. Curtis McKenzie, the newly minted Texas captain, is coming off of a two goal game and a productive stretch of recent play. Look for Landon Bow, who has been pushing Mike McKenna for playing time as of late, to get the start in net tonight. Julius Honka has had a frustrating year and has yet to record a point in 13 professional games this year. He will be someone to keep an eye on as well.

As has been the case all season the Stars will be hamstrung by the AHL veteran rules and will have to strategically manage which veterans should see ice time. It's possible that Greg Rallo and/or Mark McNeill could draw into the lineup.

(Credit: San Antonio Rampage)
The Rampage are looking to improve upon their dominant play against the Stars this year, and keep them at bay while making a push in the Pacific division. Whenever they're in the lineup Samuel Blais and A.J. Greer are point per game players, along with the recently acquired Vladislav Kaminev. San Antonio heads out on the road for the rest of November, so they likely have this game pegged as a must win. The Stars are going to have their hands full but need to prove they can find some consistency against superior competition within their division.

Stars injury/call-up report:
Elie (call-up)
Fyten (injury)

Blog (unofficial): Runnin' With the Herd
Twitter: @SARampage
Twitter: @DanWeissPBP (play-by-play for SA)