Sometimes, NHL players need to sit out a game to clear their head, maybe deflate their expectation balloon and just refocus on the task at hand. It happened with Chris Bourque from the Boston Bruins, whose expectations were hugely inflated in part because of who his father is, and he looked like a completely different and better player after sitting it out for just one night.
Now it’s time for Alex Goligoski from the Dallas Stars to take a night, sit in the press box as a healthy scratch and try to get his stuff together.
The Stars weren’t expected to make too many personnel changes ahead of their face-off with the Edmonton Oilers at 10 p.m. Eastern tonight. But then head coach Glen Gulutzan called Goligoski out publicly and declared that he would be sitting it out this evening.
“Alex needs to get back to Alex’s level…pretty cut and dried,” he said.
Goligoski’s problems may stem from expectations related to his paycheck. He is making $4.2 million this season, which makes him Dallas’ highest-paid defenseman. He’s actually one of the highest-paid team members overall: his cap hit of $4.6 million is second only to Jamie Benn as the highest on the roster. Yes, he even makes more than Jaromir Jagr or workhorse goaltender Kari Lehtonen.
To this point in the season, he’s played in 10 games and registered three assists with a +2 rating. However, he’s capable of doing more and he knows it: last season, he played 71 games, had 30 points (nine of them goals) and an even rating. That output was literally twice as much as he produced in his first year deep in the heart of Texas, too.
So, when the Stars visit another locale known for their oil riches, don’t expect to see number 33 out there on the ice. It’s up to him now to decide what he’ll do after being scratched tonight.