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Bruce’s Brainstorming: Dallas Stars favorite presents, WJC Preview and Random Thoughts

The Dallas Stars were once kids and awaited what gifts Santa would bring. Here are some of the favorite presents players received over the years.

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For many fans of the Dallas Stars, the fact their favorite team is in first place at the Holiday break is a gift not expected nor seen in these parts very often. Only once in the past decade have the Stars held this lofty perch this late in December.

For the players, the holidays usually mean a small break during the grind of the season. A select few try to fly home, up north, for a quick (48 hours or less) visit with their family. Usually, this is the path chosen by the youngest members of the squad who miss Mom’s cooking and are still the children in their families (Looking at you, Wyatt Johnston). 

Watching these accomplished athletes perform, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact they were once kids, too. Like any other kids, Stars players loved holidays and looked forward to seeing what Santa would bring. Here are some favorite holiday presents given to the boys in Victory Green not so long ago.

Tyler Seguin: “The best present I ever got was a scooter. I was 11 or 12 and scooters were getting kind of popular, and you could do tricks on them. I was always a skateboarder and at the time, I really wanted a scooter and that was my favorite present.” 

Colin Miller: “I got a snowboard one year and I was pretty pumped about that. I was kind of young…I think 8-years-old. We always skied or snowboarded when we weren’t at the rink, so I was excited about that one back then.”

Jake Oettinger: “Most memorable one I can remember was a Wayne Gretzky jersey. It was stitched and looked game-worn. It was from the Edmonton days and had the orange and blue colors—really cool. I wore that one outside every day for like two years.”

Jani Hakanpaa: “It’s got to be a hockey stick I got when I was four or five years old. You kind of knew what it was from the way it was wrapped. I opened it up right away and it was the only thing I carried around all Christmas.”

Scott Wedgewood: “It’s a tie between a video game system and a drum set. My brothers and I always shared the video game sets but the drum set was kind of random. There’s a pretty funny video of me and my brother going HAM on it. I don’t know how long the drums lasted, but I was into music for a while and it was pretty enjoyable.”

Mason Marchment: “I got a Ripstik one time. It’s got two wheels, like a skateboard, and wobbles a lot. In my basement back home, I would go downstairs and rip for hours, learned some tricks and it brought me great enjoyment.

Miro Heiskanen: “The best gift I got was a Playstation. It was all I really wanted, and it was fun to get one and play with my friends. I still use Playstation. My favorite games are NHL and FIFA.”

Ty Dellandrea: “I got a hockey stick. I’ll always remember it. The stick was an all-white one kinda like what Joe (Pavelski) uses, but this was a CCM Jet Speed. It was my favorite stick ever. I remember getting that from Santa and being pumped.”

Riley Tufte: “When I was younger, I really loved being out in the snow. One morning, I looked under the Christmas tree and Santa brought me a snowboard. That was a big gift to me because I never really had anything like that, and it was cool seeing the snowboard under the tree.”

And now, some quick random thoughts:

  • The Denis Gurianov situation is heart-breaking. Gurianov is dealing with a family emergency and going home to Russia during a time when the country is shunned (rightfully so) by most of the world. Traveling to be with his family and back is a nightmare. Gurianov will eventually return to the Stars, but there are no guarantees on a timeframe. 
  • Hearing good things about Rhett Gardner and his two-way game down in the AHL. Don’t be surprised if the University of North Dakota product gets a call-up sometime after the new year.
  • The World Junior Tournament Starts on Boxing Day (December 26). The Canadian team is so stacked, they could divide the squad, mix in the next 20 available options, create two teams, and still compete for Gold. I fully expect a Canada-USA final as the Americans have enough talent to pull off an upset.
  • The Dallas Stars have two high-profile prospects playing in the WJC, but for Logan Stankoven and Lian Bichsel success will be measured very differently. 
  • Stankoven is an Assistant Captain on Team Canada. A gold medal at the 2023 tournament will go nicely with the gold he won at the 2022 event, the 2021-22 CHL Player of the Year award, the 2021-22 WHL Player of the Year award and the 2021 U-18 World Championship gold medal, as well. 
  • Bichsel is most likely going to be the best player on an outmatched Team Switzerland. The Stars 2022 first round pick can’t win games by himself, but can see how he matches up against the top international players in his age group. If the Swiss can win a game or two and avoid relegation, this will be a good tournament.

 

Whether you open presents by the light of a Menorah or under a Christmas tree, I hope everyone has a happy holiday season. May your grievances be few, and your feats of strength be many. 

      

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