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Heads up: Dickinson says he's learned lesson after massive hit

Nashville's Brian Boyle welcomed the Stars forward to his first NHL postseason with a crushing first-period check in Game 1

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jason Dickinson said he felt great Thursday.

The versatile Stars forward was the victim of a huge hit by massive Nashville forward Brian Boyle (6-foot-6, 245 pounds) in Game 1 Wednesday night. And while he did have to sit out in concussion protocol before returning to the game, he said he was ready to go -- and a lot wiser.

Tweet from @BarSouthNCelly: Brian Boyle introduces himself 😳🔥Via @PredsOnFSTN

"Don't come around the boards with your head down, first of all," Dickinson said of the play where he was trying to control the puck and not looking up while on the penalty kill.

"I thought because I was on the PK, I thought I could make a play on the puck. I didn't think he would finish his check there. I might have put myself in a more vulnerable position than I normally would. I mean, he's 6-6, so any hit he throws is going to look dirty, I don't think he was trying to make anything dirty out of that play."

Video: Dickinson says he's feeling well after 'scary' hit

Boyle initiated the contact with Dickinson's chest and got a piece of his head, but Dickinson said he has studied the hit many times and didn't see anything wrong with it.

"It's a little weird," Dickinson said of viewing the hit over and over again. "In the moment, you don't see every aspect of it, and then seeing every angle really does break down exactly what happened. You can say afterward it was kind of stupid on my part. It was a clean hit, and the video is going to show that in every angle. But it was weird to watch myself get blown up like that."

Dickinson said he was eager to return to the game, but also was thankful for the concussion protocol. He said he understands the league is trying to protect players.

"It sucks in the moment, because you're anxious to get back out there and you feel all right," he said. "But it's when you're not feeling all right when it's most important. Guys are so competitive now, and they try to look over it sometimes, but your brain is a crucial part of your body and it's important to take care of it."

Video: Monty says Stars will use off day to refuel, refocus


Rest is big on Thursday

The Stars did not practice Thursday and will return to the practice ice Friday before playing Game 2 in Nashville Saturday. Defenseman Ben Lovejoy said having a day to reset was crucial after a late start in Game 1.

"Slept very poorly last night," Lovejoy said. "An 8:45 game means you go to bed very late. There was a lot of adrenalin going through my body, a lot of caffeine going through my body, so it's very nice to have today to rest."

Lovejoy said you can't underestimate how much rest can mean to a team in the playoffs.

Video: Lovejoy reflects on Stars' winning efforts in Game 1

"This is a very tough time of year mentally, the emotions are incredible," he said. "You win one game and you feel like you're winning the Stanley Cup, you lose one game, you feel like the series is over. We've spoken a great deal about that. We need to be even-keeled, we have not won anything, we're still the seven seed. We can't feel too good about ourselves, we've got a big game coming up."

Stars coach Jim Montgomery said he and the coaching staff used rest a great deal down the stretch during the regular season and liked how the players responded to off days.

"I spent some time talking to other people, and Joel Quenneville said they never went on the ice between games," Montgomery said of playoff strategy, adding that his team will practice when there are two off days. "Our guys are in great shape, so rest and peaking at game time in the most important thing, and we learned that down the stretch."

Video: Zuccarello discusses rise of Hintz, staying humble


Klingberg brings intensity

As one of the lightest players on the Stars at 6-2, 180, John Klingberg doesn't typically get too physical on the ice. But he had problems with Nashville winger Viktor Arvidsson in Game 1, cross-checking Arvidsson when it appeared Arvidsson was trying to to draw a possible penalty by lying on the ice.

"I've played with him, I know how he works, so I think you can read off of that," Klingberg said.

Klingberg drew a roughing penalty on the play, but it was one of the only things coach Jim Montgomery could complain about from his alternate captain, saying his assist on Alexander Radulov's goal in the third period was critical to the win.

Video: Klingberg liked Stars' competitiveness in Game 1 win

"I love the way John played," Montgomery said. "I thought five-on-five, he was fantastic. He managed the game well and he had the puck a lot. He let the game come to him. That second goal was all of his poise. I don't love the penalty, and he didn't love the penalty either, but you love the compete."

Montgomery said he doesn't see any lingering animosity from the battle.

"Arvidsson is a great player and Klinger is a great player," Montgomery said. "It's a great battle and it's what the playoffs are all about."

For complete postseason coverage, visit Stars Playoff Central.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.

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