Dallas Stars’ Ben Bishop is coming to the end of a long injury journey

Flashback to August 31, 2020. The Dallas Stars lead the Colorado Avalanche 3-1 in the second series of the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers. In an unexpected twist, Ben Bishop was named the starting scorer for Dallas after missing most of the first two innings of the season following knee surgery. Now fast forward to the end of the first period. The stars led 5-0 and Bishop was dragged after four consecutive goals. That was the last time Bishop played in a hockey game. Today, that will change.

While his NHL future remains unknown, he will finally get his chance to play after being loaned out on a bench to the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League.

Bishop is back on a long road

It’s been 465 days since Bishop played a game for the Dallas Stars and the road to recovery has been bumpy. After having knee surgery during the NHL’s suspension in March 2020, he played in just three playoffs all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. After losing to Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6, it was time for another knee surgery to repair the damage that occurred during the playoffs. This time, he is expected to be absent for most of the 2020-21 season.

As the season goes on and the Stars languish through injury, both the team and their fans remain hopeful that Bishop will be able to return and propel them into a playoff spot. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. At the April trade deadline, Stars general manager Jim Nill announced that both Bishop and Alexander Radulov would be out of action for the rest of the season.

“Like we did last year, they don’t know how long it will take to get better” Bishop said. “And when we look at the schedule, it doesn’t really make sense to try to come back for the final week of the season. Can’t really go to Austin to play and be back for three games, so continuing to give him a break and trying to make him stronger all summer makes more sense. ”

Ben Bishop Dallas Stars-Stars'Ben Bishop is coming to the end of a long injury journey
Ben Bishop, Dallas Stars (Jess Starr/ Hockey writers)

Not only was Bishop unable to compete in the AHL to prepare mentally, but the Stars were in the midst of a packed schedule that left them with almost no time to practice. The team’s lack of practice affected all of the injured players as Bishop, Radulov and Tyler Seguin all struggled to regain the pace of the game. Although the road back is long, Bishop is more than glad that his chance has finally come.

“It was a long process,” Bishop said. “That’s what it was. Those were the cards I was dealt. You got to play them. I spent some time preparing, and here we are. I’m excited. Also a little nervous. wait. It’ll be fun. We’ll see where it is.”

Don’t forget what Bishop has to offer

With number of injuries Bishop has faced In one’s career, it is sometimes easy to forget what one has achieved while healthy. He’s a Stanley Cup Finalist, a three-time Vezina Trophy finalist for the tournament’s top scorer, and delivers 2.32 (GAA) vs 0.921 billion goalscoring performance averages. saving rate in his career. In his three seasons in Dallas, he has been consistent, holding a save percentage of 0.923, GAA 2.33, a 74-48-11 record and 14 shutdowns. As the 2018-19 knockouts rolled around, he was even more heroic, almost single-handedly taking Dallas to the Western Conference Finals.

Bishop said during the 2021-22 training camp. “It’s just about getting that strength and trusting back into that knee. It’s been a long time. You can shoot all you want, but insofar as fighting through screens and other things and regaining that trust, you have to overcome more hurdles. With the naked eye and feeling it, I felt like I hadn’t missed a beat.”

If Bishop could return to the NHL at any point this season, it would be impossible for the Stars not to give him a chance to prove he can still play.

What happens next for Bishop?

Bishop is scheduled to start Thursday night’s game for the Texas Stars when they face the Chicago Wolves at home in Cedar Park. The conditioning period could stretch to three games before Dallas needs to reevaluate its position.

“I really didn’t know what was going to happen,” Bishop said. “I would go into the game and treat it like any other game I’ve ever played. The expectation is to go down, play well and see how the knee goes up.”

Having brought in three goalkeepers, the Stars will be in dire straits if Bishop can return. While Anton Khudobin seems on his way out, they will still be left with the problem of overloading in the fold. Both Jake Oettinger and Braden Holtby played extremely well making the situation even more difficult. Luckily for Dallas, Oettinger is in the final year of his entry-level contract, meaning he could potentially move down to the AHL without a waiver.

If Bishop shows he can play, the Stars will likely move Oettinger down to the AHL, trade Khudobin and allow Bishop a chance in the NHL alongside Holtby. If Bishop fails to return or performs below expectations, his future could become even more uncertain.

For now, the first step on Bishop’s road back comes on Thursday night at the AHL. While the Stars also play on Thursday against the Los Angles Kings, chances are many Star fans will be keeping an eye on the game in Austin.

https://thehockeywriters.com/dallas-stars-ben-bishop-end-injury-journey/ Dallas Stars’ Ben Bishop is coming to the end of a long injury journey

Subhankar Mondal

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