The long and horrendous wait is over everyone. Dallas Stars hockey is really back and the long summer is finally over. For many of you, you are already aware that the Stars played their first preseason game Tuesday night in Montreal (more on this game in a second). But nothing makes the return of the hockey season real until you can see your team in their home building. The Stars open up the AAC for the first time this year tonight, hosting the Colorado Avalanche in downtown Dallas. I’m almost heart-broken that I will miss the game and experience of being back in the arena for the first time in months, but I plan to be there Saturday as they host the St. Louis Blues.
The Stars got the preseason started in an exciting manner Tuesday night, winning 6-3 over the Montreal Canadiens up in Canada. The first game under new head coach Glen Gulutzan was promising. The Stars played an overall strong game, controlling the play at times and other then a scary 10 mins to start the 2nd in which the Canadiens scored three goals to cut it to 4-3, looked very impressive. Of course it was only preseason and I know that. But what we saw (or heard for those that only had the radio feed) was a team that looked better at moving the puck out of their own end and that skated very well.
The top line of Brenden Morrow-Mike Ribeiro-Michael Ryder was clicking right away, scoring twice in the first to help the team build a 3-0 lead. They also lead the powerplay, and helped a unit that went 2-for-2 on the night. A couple of young-guns saw a good amount of ice time and looked great in the contest. Winger Tomas Vincour and defensive prospect Philip Larsen both impressed me and looked stellar in the contest. Larsen finished with an assist on a powerplay goal in the 2nd and finished a +2. Vincour didn’t find his way onto the score-sheet but did it with his play and skating. Last season we saw little glimpses from him in his stint with the big club, and he looked like he has kept improving Tuesday night. He had a little more confidence, looked smarter, and kept making me cheer for him. Both probably won’t end up at the NHL level to start the season, but should receive a call-up at some point with what he have seen from them in a couple of short stints and with how the staff is talking about them. Oh and that Tyler Beskorowany kid was impressive in the crease. The Stars former 2nd round pick came in after Raycroft sucked it up a little and the team allowed Jeff Woywitka of all people to score, and moved around well. He stopped everything he faced, which wasn’t much, and definitely looks like he is still on track to find himself in the NHL in another year or two. Especially if Raycroft keeps allowing goals to Woywitka. We get him out of here and improved the D, and of course he shows up and scores on us.
It may have only been one game, and one preseason game at that, but Glen Gulutzan might already have my support. I liked the hire, and especially the firing of Marc Crawford, over the summer. But some of the things I saw in the game Tuesday were things I rarely saw in recent years. They looked quicker, smarter with the puck, and prepared. And God and all of us know that they often didn’t look prepared half the time the last two years. Am I forming a little man/hockey crush for the new coach? Possibly, time will tell. But in only one contest he made we trust in him and this new system more then I trusted in Crawford and his.
Tonight in Dallas you can expect to see some of the other players that did not take the ice in the first contest should be the lead guys tonight. Young stud and fan favorite Jamie Benn should be on the top line tonight with Loui Eriksson, and you can expect to see Ott, Daley, Burish, Souray, and Fiddler. So while half of the expected starting roster played the first match-up, quite a few top players will be on the ice tonight with some of the new faces and prospects. Top prospects Jack Campbell (G) and Jamie Oleksiak (D) both with suit-up and play tonight, giving fans a chance to see the Stars last two first round picks. Puck drops at 7:30 in the AAC, and tickets are still available. If you don’t have plans, I highly encourage picking up some cheap preseason tickets (already cheap) and going out to see the action live. Stay tuned to BlackoutDallas for Stars news, post game thoughts after the action tonight, and of course our thoughts on the Modano retirement tomorrow after the press conference.
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Topics: Brenden Morrow, Colorado Avalanche, Glen Gulutzan, Jack Campbell, Jamie Benn, Jamie Oleksiak, Loui Eriksson, Marc Crawford, Michael Ryder, Mike Ribeiro, Montreal Canadiens, Philip Larsen, Tomas Vincour, Tyler Beskorowany