In this edition of Dallas Stars News & Rumors, some updates on John Klingberg and Radek Faksa, and a big night in Dallas as they retire Sergei Zubov’s jersey to the rafters.
Klingberg & Faksa Look Ready To Go
John Klingberg and Radek Faksa both missed the Stars’ last game against the New Jersey Devils. The game was the second that Faksa missed with a non-COVID-related-illness while Klingberg was ruled out late on the day of the game with an upper-body injury. The good news for Dallas, both players were on the ice for team practice and morning skate prior to the game.
“Well, they practiced this morning and we will see how they feel tomorrow morning,” Bowness said. “We are hoping they are both players.”
Klingberg has played well despite the constant drama surrounding his future. While it is clear that he is dealing with a lot, he has still produced offensively with one goal and 21 assists in 34 games this season. Of course, he would like to add more offense, especially in the goal column.
Faksa on the other hand, has not had his best overall season. Of course, he has been responsible in the defensive zone, matched up with the opponent’s best players, and won a ton of faceoffs, but this season, Dallas was really looking for more out of him offensively.
As one of the most underrated defensive players in the league, Faksa consistently shuts down top lines with some of the best players in the world. The 28-year-old has done this his entire career but has been inconsistent on the other end of the ice.
From 2016-2020, he scored more than 10 goals in each of the four seasons, including a career-high 17 during the 2017-18 season. Since then, however, he only tallied six goals in 55 games last season and has just two so far nearing the halfway point of 2021-22. For a team that struggles to score goals like Dallas, they could really use a boost from players like Faksa on the scoresheet.
Jacob Peterson missed most of practice on Thursday after testing positive for COVID. However, after two negative tests, he skated at the end and is likely going to be available to play on Friday night against the Washington Capitals.
Sergei Zubov Jersey Retirement
Speaking of Friday night, it will be a very special one for the Stars and the city of Dallas. Prior to the game against the Capitals, former Stars’ legend Sergei Zubov will see his jersey raised to the rafters of the American Airlines Center.
“The thank you will go both ways,” Zubov said. “This team, this town welcomed me, and they made everything possible for me. They made this a home for me, and I really appreciate that.”
Zubov spent 16 seasons in the NHL, 12 of which came with the Dallas Stars. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion (New York Rangers in 1994 & Dallas in 1999) and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2019.
In 1,068 career games, the Russian defenseman racked up 771 points (152G, 619A), doing most of his damage as one of the best power-play specialists in the game. He ranks second all-time in points and first in assists among all Russian-born NHL defensemen. He also holds franchise records in Dallas for games played, goals, assists, and points.
“When I was at Vancouver, we played these guys in the playoffs, we had a tough time controlling him,” Rick Bowness said of Zubov’s time in Dallas. “He’s the best I have seen at coming up the ice. He was so good at finding the right guy that was open and the timing of the pass. He never put his teammates in a tough spot, he had an innate sense of finding the right guy at the right moment. He is one of the best power-play guys I ever coached against. He gave me lots of sleepless nights.”
Fans are encouraged to attend the “Forever56 Green Carpet Show” beginning at 515pm, where Zubov and a long list of former Stars and NHL players are scheduled to attend. Then, be sure to be in your seats by 6pm to see the ceremony before the puck drops at 8pmCT.
Tonight is a big game for the Stars in many ways. Most importantly, there are a huge two points available at home against a very good Washington team. On top of that though, they will get to witness a very special moment and hear from so many former players and friends that will tell just how special of a player Zubov really was. And finally, Braden Holtby will play the first game against his former team since leaving Washington in 2020. It is sure to be a special night at the AAC, so get there early. Be Loud. Wear Green. Go Stars.
Sam Nestler is a credentialed Dallas Stars contributor for the ‘The Hockey Writers’. Growing up in New Jersey, Sam has been playing hockey since he was 7 years old. Developing a love for writing in college, Sam uses his hockey knowledge to create analyses and articles on every aspect of the game. Sam also hosts his own podcast on Spotify, the “Slapshot Sammy’ podcast, breaking down action across the Stars, the NHL, and college hockey. Check out the podcast here, and give his latest article a read!