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Bishop says Stars can't look too far ahead

Goaltender wants new team to focus on short term before thinking playoffs

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- In order for the Dallas Stars to return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, goalie Ben Bishop says they have to avoid looking too far ahead.

Bishop was acquired by the Stars in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings on May 9 for a fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft and signed a six-year, $29.5 million contract on May 12.

"I always kind of set two goals: Win the first game and make the playoffs, and that's it," said Bishop, who will be in Dallas on Wednesday after training here. "Kind of go game by game there. You can't get too far ahead of yourself. You can't look six months down the road. You've got to focus on training camp and getting better. You've got to get those first two points before you can get four and six and what not. You've just got to focus on the short term. You can't look too far ahead.


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"Obviously, if you do well in that short-term window, those first couple games, and then the next few games, those points build up. Then as it gets closer, you can look at the playoffs. Right now, it's kind of get into training camp and worry about those first two points."

Bishop is part of a makeover the Stars felt was necessary after they missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs and fell to 79 points last season, following a first-place finish in the Central Division and Western Conference in 2015-16 with 109 points. 

Ken Hitchcock was hired to replace Lindy Ruff as coach on April 13, and several free agent forwards were signed: Alexander Radulov (five years, $31.25 million), Martin Hanzal (three years, $14.25 million), Tyler Pitlick (three years, $3 million), and Brian Flynn (one year, $700,000, according to Defenseman Marc Methot was acquired in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights.

"I think before the acquisitions they made this summer, they were already a talented team," Bishop said. "Two years ago, they won the division and had over 100 points. They had the talent and they had the skill. When you go find a team that has players that are that elite with the [Tyler] Seguins and the [Jamie] Benns, it's tough to find guys that are that good and then have a couple of them on your team. For a goalie, that's nice knowing those guys can put the puck in the net."

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Bishop helped the Tampa Bay Lighting reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2015 before losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games. The 30-year-old was 18-15-5 with a 2.54 goals-against average and .910 save percentage last season, including 2-3-2 in seven games with the Kings after he was traded to Los Angeles by the Lightning on Feb. 26. He is 148-80-25 with a 2.32 GAA and .919 save percentage in eight NHL seasons with the St. Louis Blues, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay and Los Angeles.

Bishop, who played for the Texas Tornado of the North American Hockey League in 2004-05 and went to high school for one year in nearby Frisco, Texas, said he feels he's coming to a team that's ready to win.

"The first and foremost thing was having a good team, and I'm kind of at the point in my career now where you want to win," he said. "You're right there and you feel like you're in your prime. You want to take advantage of it, and obviously going to Dallas with a good team, hopefully we can take advantage of it."

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