He hasn’t scored a goal, but Valeri Nichushkin is doing a lot of things right for the Dallas Stars

Matthew DeFranks, Stars beat writer for SportsDayDFW.com and The Dallas Morning News, answered your questions about the team in a recent live chat. Here are some highlights:

Q: In an ongoing saga — will Val end the year with zero goals?

DeFranks: I sure hope he scores. He’s doing a lot of things right, especially on the defensive end, and you’d like to see him catch a break at the other end of the ice. You could also argue that Nichushkin is being used properly by Jim Montgomery and his staff. He’s playing fourth-line defensive minutes while also on the penalty kill. He’s not viewed as a goal-scoring top-six forward. And that’s fine since he’s not being asked to do that.

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Here’s what Montgomery said about him after the Rangers win: “He’s helping us win hockey games. His penalty kill, he’s relentless with his pressure. He was on the ice, his line, for that goal for. Him, Dicky and Rich were instrumental in that goal being scored. He’s doing what he was doing in November when he was helping us win hockey games. We’re not a team that is going to score a lot of goals, but we need everybody invested with our puck pressure and how we want to play. That’s probably his best asset is how he handles pucks.”

Q: What do you think the Stars’ goalie strategy will be if/when the playoffs start?

DeFranks: Teams have shown that you typically need two goalies to make it through the postseason (hello, Washington and Pittsburgh), and Anton Khudobin has certainly earned the trust to spell Ben Bishop at key moments. But Bishop cheap nhl jerseys china
is playing pretty well right now and his .928 save percentage is second among goalies with at least 30 games played. That’s really good. So Bishop should remain the No. 1 guy, but I could envision a scenario where Khudobin gets every third or fourth start. Of course, the other side is that you don’t want to mess with a hot goalie, so any thought of alternation may be moot.

Q: Do you think Radulov’s off-ice behavior could ever become a problem? Or has that always come with having Rads on a team?
DeFranks: I don’t want to blow this out of proportion. Alexander Radulov should have been on time, especially with his team in a playoff race. That much is clear. But this behavior is not often duplicated, so it’s usually not something to worry about (Tyler Seguin and John Klingberg are among Stars to be scratched for a game for tardiness). Jim Montgomery punished him and held him accountable, and the team should be moving forward now. Though it should be noted that this is not the first time Montgomery has publicly disciplined Radulov (he was benched for half a period in January for talking back to Montgomery).

But it’s also easier to say those things after a win versus after a loss.

— Click or tap here to view the entire chat.

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