The Dallas Morning News
Dickinson shakes off huge collision
Check by 66 Predator led to concussion exam before winger’s return
NASHVILLE — Stars winger Jason Dickinson could laugh about it on Thursday afternoon, one day after Brian Boyle temporarily knocked him out of the Stars’ 32 win over Nashville in Game 1 with a massive hit in the first period.
Boyle flattened Dickinson during a Predators power play, running him over with a check through Dickinson’s chest as he tried to exit the Stars zone. Dickinson immediately dropped his stick and lay on his back on the ice before skating to the dressing room on his own.
“Don’t come around the boards with your head down, first of all,” Dickinson said. “I thought because I was on the PK, they were on the power play, I thought I could make a play on the puck. I didn’t think he’d finish his check there. I might have put myself in a little bit more vulnerable position there than I normally would. He’s 66, so any hit he throws is going to look dirty. I don’t think he was trying to make anything dirty out of the play. I feel fine.”
Dickinson underwent concussion testing and missed more than 20 minutes of game time. He said he failed one test, which led to more testing and delayed his return to the game. Dickinson finished the game by playing 9:18, including 2:30 on the penalty kill.
Dickinson is a decentsized player, checking in at 62 and 200 pounds (five pounds shy of Jamie Benn). But Boyle is listed at 66 and 245 pounds, making any collision a mismatch.
“He kept his shoulder tucked, I watched the video after,” Dickinson said. “There’s nothing in it that looked malicious to me. It was just the size advantage, my position on the ice, it set up for a scary hit. I’m lucky that I feel fine today. There’s no repercussions.”
Hours before he made his NHL postseason debut Wednesday night, Dickinson reflected on from where he’d come.
A year ago, he was preparing for an AHL playoff push. In training camp, he was fighting for a roster spot. This season, he had to prove himself an everyday player. And during Game 1, he began on the Stars’ top line with Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov.
“Just everything, mentality, confidence, just everything coming into every game is completely different,” Dickinson said. “A complete 180, where I’m going into games thinking I’m going to make a difference whereas last year, I was going into games just to play is how I see it now. I thought I was going in to make a difference, but it’s so different this year.”
Dickinson is a potential difference maker for the Stars in the playoffs. He’s versatile in that he can move up and down the lineup, smart enough to play with Seguin and Radulov but sound enough to play in the bottomsix in a defensive role (like he did for most of Game 1 once he returned).
It’s his defense that gives him confidence on the offensive end.
“That’s my goal is to limit chances against,” Dickinson said. “It’s hard to put a number on it, one to two per game is really good. So if I can keep it under five, under four even, that’s a good game. That includes PK and everything. I think that’s where my game started to find itself and then from there, I grew into more confidence with the puck, more confidence making plays.”
Taking a day: Montgomery said that the Stars came out of Game 1 healthy, and that lineup decisions had not yet been made. The Stars practice at 1 p.m. Friday after taking the day off Thursday.
Montgomery said he spoke to other coaches, including threetime Stanley Cup champion Joel Quenneville, on how they handled practice time in the playoffs. Quenneville said “they never went on the ice in between games,” but the Stars will because of the long gap between the first two games.
Stars defenseman Ben Lovejoy said he barely slept — if at all — Wednesday night after the game, which started at 8:45 and ended at 11:15, so the 35yearold used Thursday to take it easy.
“Slept very poorly last night,” Lovejoy said. “An 8:45 game means you go to bed very late. There’s a lot of adrenaline going through my body, a lot of caffeine going through my body. It’s very nice to have today to rest, to try and not think about things.
“This is a very tough time of year mentally. The emotions are incredible. You win one game, you feel like you’re winning the Stanley Cup. You lose one game, you feel like you’re going to get swept and the series in over.”