Radek Faksa is becoming an old hand at getting called up to the NHL. This latest one is his third, and each time the transition from the AHL is smoother.
“Every time I get called up it’s easier for me a little bit,” he said. “I know what to expect, and it’s better for me.”
The Stars recalled Faksa on Friday after center Jason Spezza went on injured reserve with an upper-body injury. That Faksa got the call was no surprise. Faksa has played well in his first two stints with Dallas this season.
“[I’ve just liked] his game,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “I thought he skated well; his penalty kill was good. I can play him in some key defensive situations. There is the size up the middle. For me, the biggest thing is his skating has come a long way, which has made him an effective player.”
And Faksa has been playing well in the AHL. Since being reassigned to the Texas Stars from Dallas in early January following his second call-up to the NHL, Faksa has 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists) and a plus-12 rating in nine games.
“Well, it’s not about the points,” Faksa said. “It’s about the team, and we are playing good. We’ve been winning, and it’s always fun to win.”
But the points have been coming at a steady clip for Faksa in the AHL this season. In his past 20 games, Faksa has registered 22 points (12 goals, 10 assists). He has 26 points (15 goals, 11 assists) in 28 games for the season, ranking second on Texas at .93 points per game.
At the NHL level, he has a different role. He’s used on the fourth line, in defensive situations, and on the penalty kill.
“In my mind, I’ve got to do defense first,” Faksa said. “For sure I want to do some offense too, so if I get a chance to go to the offense, I will do that.”
But whether it is defense or offense, the 22-year-old Faksa is just looking forward to another opportunity with Dallas.
“It’s always nice to be back in the NHL,” he said. “It’s always a privilege to play in the NHL, so I am excited to be back.”
Special teams were a big issue in Saturday’s 5-1 loss to Chicago at American Airlines Center. The Stars surrendered a power-play goal 34 seconds into the game, failed to score in more than ten minutes of power play time and gave up two shorthanded goals.
“Our specials teams lost us the game,” said Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski. “We just have to find ways to be better. We can’t be giving up goals when we’re not scoring them, especially. We’ve just got to nip that in the bud.”
The Stars special teams have been struggling for more than a month. The power play is 6-43 (14.0 percent), and the penalty kill is 35-45 (77.8 percent) over the past 14 games. During that same stretch, the Stars have allowed six shorthanded goals and scored one. When you add it up, the Stars have been outscored 16-7 on special teams over the past 14 games.
The Stars have allowed nine shorthanded goals this season, second-most in the NHL. Only Arizona (ten) has allowed more.
“Those are killers,” Goligoski said.
“After a big game like that, you want to respond, and we need better efforts from our whole team. It starts right from the goalies, up to the defenseman and up to the forwards. We all have to be better and take a look at ourselves in the mirror and expect more out of ourselves.”
-Stars center Vernon Fiddler on responding to Saturday’s 5-1 loss to Chicago
*Sunday was a scheduled day off for the Stars.
*The Stars will practice Monday at 10:30 a.m. in Frisco before heading out on their next road trip, which will see them play at Minnesota (Tuesday) and at Chicago (Thursday).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.