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Spezza Nominated for King Clancy Memorial Trophy

by Dallas Stars Staff / Press Releases

The Dallas Stars announced today that center Jason Spezza has been voted by his teammates as the club's nominee for the National Hockey League's King Clancy Memorial Trophy. The award is given annually to the NHL player "who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community."

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Klingberg, Roussel to play at World Championship

Honka, Hintz and Nichushkin also under consideration to play at tournament in France and Germany

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Defenseman John Klingberg and forward Antoine Roussel will play at the 2017 World Championship, which gets underway next month in Paris, France and Cologne, Germany, the Dallas Stars announced on Tuesday.

Three other players in the Dallas system - defenseman Julius Honka and forwards Roope Hintz and Valeri Nichushkin - are under consideration as well.

Roussel, who will play for France, will be making his fifth appearance at the Worlds. The only question surrounding his playing in the tournament was a thumb injury that kept him out the final 18 games of the season for the Stars. But he's healthy now and will get to play in a tournament that will be held in his native France.

"It is important. I grew up not wanting to play in the NHL but wanting to play for Team France. That was doable," Roussel said. "When I started playing hockey in 1992, it was just after the Olympics in Albertville. I think that is why my parents started me playing hockey. Maybe more events like this will bring more French players to the big leagues."

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Texas Stars Report

Season ends for Texas Stars, Idaho Steelheads open playoffs in ECHL

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The Texas Stars wrapped up their season, taking two of three games from the San Antonio Rampage last week. The Stars were 34-37-5 on the season, finishing seventh in the AHL's Pacific Division and missing the playoffs for just the second time in the franchise's eight seasons of existence.

The season ended with a 6-3 loss to the Rampage on Saturday. The Stars went 0-3 on the power play and allowed two power-play goals on five shorthanded situations.

"Tonight was kind of a synopsis of our year," Texas coach Derek Laxdal told media after the game. "Power play hasn't been great, penalty killing has been really bad. That was the difference in tonight's game. And we played a lot of kids at different positions. It was a tough one for the guys. They know it is the end of the season. I have to give them an A for the effort."

Injuries in Dallas took a toll on Texas, especially at the forward spot where Texas used 25 different players over the course of the season. But there were ups and downs across the lineup.

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Benn ready to help Stars move forward under Hitchcock

Stars captain will get more responsibility as leader with Hitchcock back in town

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Stars coach Ken Hitchcock loves to talk. Stars captain Jamie Benn, well, not as much. Benn has been more of a lead-by-example kind of guy, picking his spots when to exert some vocal leadership. But Hitchcock wants Benn to be more vocal as he enters the fifth year of his captaincy with the Stars.

"He's quiet because he only thinks it is not his place, but now he has found out it is his place," said Hitchcock. "In this generation, dealing with millennials, you can't have leaders that aren't vocal. They have to be vocal. He's understanding. Some of it is things that I have learned that could help him, but he is going to become a vocal, determined leader and I think it is going to help us go in a positive direction."

That's fine with Benn, who said he is ready to grow more and expand his responsibilities as a leader under Hitchcock, who was named the team's head coach last week.

"There are steps I need to take as a leader. I think Hitch is going to help me out in that department," Benn said. "There's going to be a lot more responsibility, and these are steps that I need to make as a captain and as a leader in helping this team win."

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Prospect Report

Hintz, HIFK fall in Finnish League semifinals

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Stars forward prospect Roope Hintz (2nd round/2015) and HIFK will play for the bronze medal in Finland's top league. HIFK lost its semifinal playoffs series against Tappara, 4-1.

Hintz did not register any points last week as HIFK fell in Games 4 and 5 of the series. Through the semifinals, Hintz is tied for second in playoff scoring in the league with nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 13 games. He ranks fourth among HIFK forwards in ice time at 17:05 per game and third in shots on goal (36), and he's won 54.5 percent of his faceoffs.

HIFK will play JYP Friday in the bronze medal match. Tappara and KalPa will play in the best-of-seven championship series.

Hintz stats: HIFK (Liiga) | 44 GP |19 G | 11 A | 30 PTS | +10 | 18 PIM
Playoffs (HIFK): |13 GP | 2 G | 7 A | 9 PTS | +3 | 4 PIM

Photo credit: Riku Laukkanen / IFK Helsinki

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Seguin relishing opportunity under Hitchcock

Stars coach wants Seguin to be all-around No. 1 center

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

When the Dallas Stars traded for Tyler Seguin almost four years ago they saw him as the team's No. 1 center. Well, it hasn't always worked out that way. Seguin has been the top center at times, but not consistently.

This past season, for example, Seguin started out as the No. 1 center for the first 13 games and centered the top line about 67 percent of the time leading up to the All-Star break. But after that, not so much. He played some on the wing and some down the lineup.

Now, incoming head coach Ken Hitchcock wants to change that. Hitchcock sees Seguin as a center and a number one center. And in Hitchcock's eyes that will entail more than just penciling in Seguin's name in that top center slot when putting together line combinations. It will entail a lot more responsibility for Seguin. More than just being a points producer.

"I've got to work hard in the summer to get Tyler to start thinking like a [number one center]," Hitchcock said. "That means he's got to be out there in critical spaces all the time. That means he's got to kill penalties, he's got to play against the other team's top players, he's got to be out there at the start of games, and he's got to be out there at the end of games. He's got to take key faceoffs. He's got to do everything to become a [number one center]. That's what a [number one] does."

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Ken Hitchcock: 'This is like coming home for me'

Hitchcock returns for a second stint as head coach of the Dallas Stars

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill said he wanted to move quickly on getting a new head coach, and he did. Nill and the Stars made it official Thursday that Ken Hitchcock, the man who led Dallas to the 1999 Stanley Cup, will be behind the Dallas bench once again.

"Ken's resume speaks for itself," Nill said. "Talking with him, I was so thrilled and excited about his passion to get back to coaching. He's recharged, and he wants to make a difference. I know he is the right man for the job."

Hitchcock, who was let go by the St. Louis Blues in February, will take over for Lindy Ruff, who parted ways with the Stars after the team decided not to renew his contract. Hitchcock returns to the team that gave him his first NHL coaching job back in 1996.

"This is an emotional day for me because this is like coming home," Hitchcock said. "This means the world for me."

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Dallas Stars name Ken Hitchcock as head coach

by Dallas Stars Staff / Press Releases

Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the team has named Ken Hitchcock as head coach.

"Ken is an exceptionally talented coach and we could not be happier to have him joining the organization," said Nill. "He is a meticulous coach who brings with him an emphasis on structure and a defensive style of play, which will accent our level of skill nicely. Ken has an incredible hockey mind and we look forward to his guidance on the ice."

Hitchcock, 65, enters his second stint as head coach of the Stars, having previously spent the first seven seasons of his NHL head coaching career behind the Dallas bench from 1996-2002. In his first tour with Dallas, Hitchcock earned a 277-154-72 record in 503 games as head coach. He currently ranks first in Stars franchise history in games coached (503), wins (277) and points percentage (.622). Hitchcock also amassed a 47-33 record in 80 Stanley Cup Playoff games during his first tenure with the Stars, making five appearances in the postseason. He guided Dallas to two trips to the Stanley Cup Final and led the Stars to the franchise's first Stanley Cup championship in 1999.

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Exit Day Notes

Updates on Janmark, Sharp, Roussel, and Nichushkin

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Monday was locker cleanout day for the Dallas Stars and the team's decision to go in a new direction as far as a head coach and bouncing back next season were hot topics. But there were some other items of interest as well, including updates on Mattias Janmark, Patrick Sharp, and Antoine Roussel. And Stars GM Jim Nill also talked about the status of Valeri Nichushkin, who played in Russia this past season.

Mattias Janmark update

The status of forward Mattias Janmark, who missed the entire season following knee surgery, is still up in the air. Janmark underwent surgery in late September to correct a joint issue in his knee called osteochondritis dissecans. According to the Mayo Clinic, it's an issue "in which bone underneath the cartilage of a joint dies due to lack of blood flow. This bone and cartilage can then break loose, causing pain and possibly hinder joint motion."

At the time of the surgery, in which doctors reattached a segment of that bone, the chances of a full recovery were put at 80 percent. Nill was asked Monday if Janmark would be ready to return next season.

"We're in uncharted territory with Mattias. There's been no other athlete that's had this before. He's doing a great job. He feels good about himself," Nill said. "He has two screws that were put in place. Those come out [Tuesday], and then he's going to be shut down for four to six weeks after that. No heavy training. After that, he can get back to training. If there's anybody that can come back, I think it's him."

Janmark skated with the team late in the season and went through some practices, but didn't push the knee too hard. Getting the screws out is the next step as he tries to work his way back to playing.

"It's going to be nice to have the surgery and get it over with," Janmark said. "It's kind of the final step, and then I can start to really work to getting back."

As for playing in the NHL next season, Janmark said time will tell.

"I don't know. I am going to do all I can," he said. "There are other circumstances, like how the body reacts and stuff like that. I feel good, and I have a strong belief that I will, but there is only so much I can do, and the rest will take care of itself."

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Texas Stars Report

Texas wraps up season this week, Honka in the mix for World Championship

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The Texas Stars wrap up their season this week with three games, all of them against the San Antonio Rampage. The Stars, who have been eliminated from playoff contention, went 1-2-0 last week with a depleted lineup due to all the call-ups to injury-plagued Dallas. Texas (32-36-5) will get reinforcements this week now that Dallas' season is done. In the ECHL, the Idaho Steelheads open the Kelly Cup Playoffs this week against Colorado. Here's the latest on the minor league affiliates of the Dallas Stars.

Wednesday, April 5: Texas 4, Bakersfield 3

The Stars jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and then held on for a 4-3 win over Bakersfield at H-E-B Center Wednesday. Cole Ully registered one goal and one assist for Texas and Ethan Werek, Caleb Herbert, and Austin Fyten also scored. Justin Peters stopped 16 of 19 shots to get the win in net.

Saturday, April 8: Charlotte 9, Texas 3

With more players heading to Dallas to help cover injuries, Texas started Saturday with just ten forwards. They added another forward on a PTO, but the depleted Texas team got run over in Charlotte Saturday night. The Stars were outshot 16-2 and outscored 4-0 in the first period and ended up falling, 9-3 to the Checkers. Matej Stransky, who was questionable to play due to injury, scored two goals. Ethan Werek also scored. Justin Peters started the game in net and allowed five goals on 21 shots before being pulled in the second period. Max Lagace played the rest of the way and allowed four goals on 17 shots.

Sunday, April 9: Charlotte 3, Texas 1

Texas added three more players on PTOs Sunday, and all three were in the lineup as the Stars fell, 3-1, at Charlotte on Sunday. Defenseman Gavin Bayreuther scored the lone goal for Texas. Justin Peters stopped 27 of 29 shots.

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