Stars’ News & Rumors: Thomas Harley & Practical Jokes

In this edition of Dallas Stars News & Rumors, Thomas Harleys records career point No.1, and teammates pull a sneaky prank on Michael Raffl. 

Harley Hits A Milestone 

Sunday’s game against Buffalo was a big one for 20-year-old Thomas Harley. The young defenseman played in his seventh straight NHL game, the longest streak of his young career. He was also paired with John Klingberg in the top-four for the second time. However, the biggest moment came in the second period when he poked a puck down the wall to Joe Pavelski. Pavelski made a crisp pass to Roope Hintz, who slipped a shot through the legs of Craig Anderson, resulting in a 2-0 Dallas lead and the first point in Harley’s young career. 

“It’s been coming for the past couple games,” Harley said. “You grow up dreaming it’s going to be a little more memorable than just a poke back down the wall. They don’t ask how, they ask how many? So I’m happy.”

Harley has been impressive lately, forcing coaches to keep him with the NHL team on an ongoing basis. Not only has he started to produce but he has played increased minutes and looks much more comfortable on both ends of the ice. 

“Thomas is very smart,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. “When he gets it, his head’s already up. He’s already looking and he kind of knows what he’s going to do with it next. He makes very few poor decisions because of that.”

The Stars are happy to see Harley ahead of schedule but remain patient with his development.

“Mistakes are going to happen, and the key is to not make the same mistake,” Bowness said. “As a defenseman, you’re going to make mistakes. This league is very fast, and they force mistakes. He’ll learn from them.”

Thomas Harley Mississauga Steelheads-Stars' News & Rumors: Thomas Harley & Practical Jokes
Thomas Harley of the Mississauga Steelheads. (Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

If Harley can continue to improve, he gives Dallas another double threat on the backend to go with Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen. For now, he has certainly made decisions much harder on the coaching staff, in the best way.

“There comes a time when we’ve got to keep him here and see what he can do,” Bowness said. “When you do that, he gains experience, you see who he plays well with, who he plays well against and how he handles different situations. His progress has been good.”

The Michael Raffl Helmet Debacle 

Sunday’s game was also memorable due to a fun and fruitful prank that took place before puck drop. Forward Michael Raffl decided to get a drastic haircut this weekend after his daughter teased him about going bald. The buzzcut was a topic of discussion and the center of many jokes at Stars practice on Saturday. 

“There were two new players at practice on Saturday. Marian [Studenic], and Michael [Raffl],” Bowness joked. 

Sunday, as Raffl got prepared to take the ice for warmups, he noticed that his helmet was not where he left it. It became clear that someone had stolen it, forcing him to take warm-up without it, showing off the new look to a sellout crowd. 

“I had to,” Raffl said of the decision to defiantly skate out without his “bucket” on. “I didn’t show any weakness. I didn’t care, I was walking out there.”

Raffl had the last laugh though, scoring two goals for the first time since 2016 and leading the Stars to a 4-2 victory on home ice. When players and coaches were asked about the incident following the game, there were plenty of smiles to go around. 

“We always want the guys to come to the rink and enjoy it,” Bowness said. “I don’t want them to look at it as a job, I want them to look at it as a game, and let’s have fun playing the game and have some fun in the room. But when it’s time to play, you play. You’ve got to enjoy it though. It goes by so fast. These guys are going to blink and their career is going to be over.”

Dallas is no stranger to dramatic haircuts. To begin this season, Roope Hintz decided to cut off his well-known blonde flow. The result? 11 games without a goal and a lot of attention and questions about curses from the fans and media. Now, this haircut for Raffl had a very different result but it certainly seems there are some strange vibes happening down in Texas. 

The Stars host the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night [March 2] before heading out on the road for a vital three-game road trip against Central Division opponents. 

With the victory on Sunday, Dallas jumped Edmonton in the standing, landing them in the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Both Edmonton and Anaheim won their games last night so the Stars are back on the outside looking in.  

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