With September quickly turning into October and the beginning of the true hockey season I figured now would be the best time as any to do one last “working out the kinks” article.
Not only is it preseason for hockey players and coaches, but even for us writers and bloggers. This time of year allows us to get back into the “swing” of things and in some ways try some new things.
So far in the season the Stars have not fared well record wise against opponents, so far only winning one game and even that game was close. Keeping in mind it is only preseason and these games truly don’t matter I figure I would point out to those Stars fans and readers the good of these losses since some are beginning to sweat and worry about the Stars for this season.
Youth in Dallas are buzzing with talent, with a couple of young guns still fighting for one last big club spot (at least it is rumored). Other prospects learned their lessons, honed their skills and were sent back to their junior or minor league team.
As of last night the Stars should be at around 35 players, after sending the other 15-20 or so home. The Stars who took the ice are still majorly young. For example last night Matt Niskanen recorded 22 minutes on the ice and played well according to coach Tippett.
"He's done a great job of adjusting, and that's a big part of the job," Stars coach Dave Tippett said in a quote about Niskanen. "And now, we expect him to take more responsibility. And it's not just him, it's all of our young defensemen. It's time to take the next step."
Niskanen isn’t the only Stars young player to be getting time, Fabian Brunnstrom gets tons of playing time as well and new Star Sean Avery. Avery has provided quite a spark already for the Stars, and with a couple of misconducts already under his belt will sure be a pest to Stars opponents.
To solidify my point of youth being important right now to the Stars here is a summary of last nights game against Chicago from The Dallas Morning News’ Mike Heika:
“The Stars finished a run of three preseason games in four days with a 4-3 loss to the Blackhawks in Chicago. Matt Niskanen, Loui Eriksson and Joel Lundqvist scored for the Stars. Chris Conner and B.J. Crombeen each had two assists. Tobias Stephan allowed four goals on 28 shots, and Dallas fell to 1-3-0 in the preseason. Brian Campbell had four assists for Chicago, which went 3-for-9 on the power play.”
That’s a lot of youth contributing. Scroll to the bad to see my feelings on the four goals allowed on 28 shots.
Another positive to go along with the young players playing is the veterans getting a rest. Mike Modano among others only started playing a few games ago, which to a degree leads me into the bad.
As mentioned, the veterans haven’t played much to this point but when they have played they haven’t contributed much. It is highly possibly the veterans could see just that little of ice time, but on the same spectrum I would expect players like Mike Ribiero and Brenden Morrow to still be more influential on the stats sheet with even five minutes of time than they have been.
Another bad is the losses, sure they don’t matter but it still isn’t a great thing. There is a big “but” here though, as if the Stars are losing for the sake of evaluating youth, then I can swallow the bad record thus far.
I hate to say it but the goaltending has been terrible. As mentioned above if the team is losing for the sake of evaluating, that fine. Likely, I am reminded that is the reason but I can’t help but feel Marty Turco should play more than he has to this point.
In preseason football the starters play and then the young guys get their time to shine, in hockey it seems we are lucky to see a veteran or usual starter. Let Turco play a period, and let the second dressed goalie play two periods. It’s not rocket science.
Onward with the Ugly has been Tobias Stephan’s worrying me as a fan. During one of my many preseason previews I mentioned how in training camp the Stars must address back-up goaltending, and although the Stars seem convinced of Stephan, I am not. If anything I am more worried than ever.
Other News: I bought a new Stars hat this weekend at the mall; it is the same one Brad Richards wore when he was new to the Stars. I can’t lie I feel like quite the stud in it.
Players dropped from Stars on Sept. 26th
PLAYERS ASSIGNED TO AHL:
Trevor Ludwig (Manitoba Moose)
Tyler Shelast (Hamilton Bulldogs)
PLAYER ASSIGNED TO ECHL:
John Lammers (Idaho Steelheads)
PLAYER ASSIGNED TO FINLAND:
Lauri Tukonen - Ilves Tampere
PLAYER ASSIGNED TO JUNIORS:
Jamie Benn (Kelowna - WHL)
For Monday, September 29, 2008:
The Stars travel to Colorado for a three-day trip and will play the Avalanche tomorrow night. The Stars are expected to cut more players today to get closer to 30 players.
Quotes and Summary: Courtesy of Dallas Morning News Dallas Stars Blog by Mike Heika.
Photo: Courtesy of Dallas Stars website.