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No Picasso? No problem as Stars learn how to win close games

Dallas is working to manage the intricacies and brushstrokes of what it takes to finish during crunch time

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

Winning is an art.

An excruciating, inexorable, enigmatic art.

An art that can be exquisite -- when you finally understand it.

Right now, the Stars are somewhere between finger paintings and Francisco Goya, and the hope is they understand the difference.

"They're not all Picassos," said goalie Ben Bishop, who brushed his way to a shutout with 23 saves in a 1-0 victory over Boston on Friday. "But it's a character win, and we'll take it."

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In search of elusive goals, Stars try to master art of discipline

Learning to focus on the process and not the result is a rigid test for Dallas' young forwards

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

From the first time most future NHL'ers picked up a stick and started firing tennis balls against a garage door, they have always been trying to score goals.

It's the most exciting part of the game for most players, and the one that usually gets the most practice.

And yet, it's still the hardest thing to do in hockey.

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Rinky Dinking Podcast: How impressive is Heiskanen's transition to NHL?

Razor and Heika discuss the defensive situation and how the 19-year-old rookie has made the leap to for Stars

by Daryl Reaugh and Mike Heika / Rinky Dinking Podcast

Daryl 'Razor' Reaugh and Mike Heika debate the Dallas Stars' defensive situation with the latest injury to All-Star John Klingberg and what the team can do to remedy it. Also, why goaltender Anton Khudobin has been so good to open the season, how Miro Heiskanen has made the transition to the NHL and vice president of communications Tom Holy drops some Tyler Seguin knowledge.

'Rinky Dinking' is available now for download on iTunes, Spotify and DallasStars.com.

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Hey Heika: Which legend's number should be retired next?

DallasStars.com's Mike Heika answers Twitter questions from fans in his latest mailbag

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

With no games for a couple days, it seems like a good time to delve into the questions that are vexing you, the fan, and by proxy, your team, the Dallas Stars.

Let's attack these issues with the relentless that Jim Montgomery expects:

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Can Stars channel Radulov's energy in right direction?

Executing with missing pieces is hard, but mixing in the nuclear reactor that is the winger changes Dallas' formula

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

In hopes of controlling the swirling ball of chaos their team has become, the Stars on Monday dropped in a concentrated pill of more chaos.

And in this Marvel Universe season, it kind of worked.

Stan Lee would have been proud.

With a defense held together by salvaged parts from a potato gun and a Dora the Explorer wristwatch, the Stars added an explosive mix to the picture in the person of Alexander Radulov. Like an electric surge of Avenger energy, Radulov helped the Stars look a little more like themselves.

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Gleason just happy to be 'one of those lucky kids' in NHL

The last-second call-up impressed coaches in a whirlwind debut, and that's a good thing for the 20-year-old blueliner

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

One thing seems pretty clear in the NHL -- every coach wants to win every game.

When you understand that fact, you can read a few things in about players and how they are treated.

Take Ben Gleason, for example. Probably the 11th man on the Stars depth chart of defenseman, Gleason took advantage of a rare opportunity Saturday. Called up because of injuries to four Stars defensemen and an illness by Roman Polak, Gleason drove three hours to make his NHL debut, and killed it.

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Feel-good loss? Though OT defeat 'stings,' Stars find silver linings

The result wasn't a storybook ending, but it might be a game Dallas looks back on and says, 'This is where it started'

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

I'm a sucker for schmaltz.

Especially sports schmaltz.

So when Jason Spezza scurried to pick up the puck that was the first NHL goal for Denis Gurianov Saturday, the wheels were turning in my head. Here's a grizzled veteran who is being honored for playing in his 1,000th game understanding just what this moment means to a young player. While Bobby Orr and Don Cherry and Sidney Crosby congratulate Spezza with messages on the video board and highlights are played from his career, the 35-year-old is tending to the history of the game.

C'mon, they make movies about this stuff.

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Shorthanded? Scrambled? It's no sweat for Stars' cool hand

Unfazed by the rash of blueline injuries, seasoned assistant Rick Bowness believes a makeshift unit will step up

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

Dallas just might have a secret weapon that will help deal with this blight of blueline injuries.

The Stars learned Friday that John Klingberg will miss four weeks after having surgery to repair a broken hand. Also currently unavailable on defense are Marc Methot (day to day with a lower body injury), Stephen Johns (out an undetermined amount of time with neck/headache issues) and Connor Carrick (still sidelined by an ankle injury).

Dillon Heatherington has already been recalled from the AHL and has played four games this season and 10 overall in the NHL. Joel Hanley was recalled Friday and has 22 games of NHL experience over three seasons with Montreal and Arizona.

But while the Stars appear shorthanded and possibly scrambled on defense, they do have one guy who thinks everything will be just fine -- veteran assistant coach Rick Bowness.

"I've seen it so many times before, and all you do is you deal with it," said Bowness. "That's really the only answer -- we're good."

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With Klingberg out, Stars must keep finding ways to persevere

Dallas has earned its standing by becoming a tough bunch, but its biggest hurdle might be still to come

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

Tyler Seguin couldn't buy a goal, so he stole one instead.

It was kind of emblematic of the Stars' season so far.

Battling a 12-game goal drought, Seguin slipped in front of a Brenden Dillon pass and flipped in just his fourth goal of the season Thursday to help the Stars to a 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks. It was a moment of significant relief for Seguin, who had to will his way through the slump with determination and hard work.

Of course, a lot happened between the Seguin goal in the second period and the final horn, but all of it is tied together.

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Old soul: Heiskanen displaying maturity beyond his years

The 19-year-old rookie has learned and adjusted to the league quickly: 'A lot of these things you can't teach'

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

When Stars GM Jim Nill refused to include Miro Heiskanen's name in potential trade talks last summer, many people said it was a smart decision that would pay off in the long-term.

Right now, 15 games into the season, it's looking pretty smart already.

The rookie defenseman is third on the team in time on ice at 22:08 -- and in more recent games, he has played as many as 27 minutes. It's a testament to just how quickly the 19-year-old has learned to adjust to NHL play, because time on ice tells you just how much a coach trusts a player.

"His stickwork is flawless … and his reads," said Stars head coach Jim Montgomery. "It's amazing to say a 19-year-old covers up other people's mistakes, but he's doing a lot of that out there. His hockey sense is off the charts."

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