October 9 Wrap Up

Mike Heika reports that Ralph and Razor have signed extensions through the 2013-14 season.  Good to hear because they make a great combo of both knowledge and listenability.

Also, according to Heika, we in today’s skate the lines were as follows:

Morrow-Ribeiro-Ott
Lundqvist-Richards-Eriksson
Neal-Modano-Avery
Barch-Petersen-Crombeen

Grossman-Robidas
Daley-Niskanen
Fistric-Boucher

Kind of disappointing that Brunnstrom wasn’t included in that, but he did make the roster.  I’m kind of excited to see him out there.  I will say I like Modano with Avery.  Modano needs a protector on the ice.

In other news, the Stars announced their opening day roster.  It’s pretty much what was expected and is as follows:

FORWARDS: Avery, Barch, Brunnstrom, Crombeen, Eriksson, Lehtinen, Lundqvist, Modano, Morrow, Neal, Ott, Petersen, Ribeiro, Richards
DEFENSE: Boucher, Daley, Fistric, Grossman, Janik, Niskanen, Robidas, Zubov (IR)
GOALIE: Stephan, Turco

Lots of press for Sean Avery today.  There’s an article in the Dallas Morning News which has been picked up nationally by the AP.

Meanwhile, Tracey Myers of the Star Telegram writes a wrap up of last season focusing on the optimism it gave the team for this year.  Pretty good piece overall of the optimism surrounding the team which is good to hear that it appears they have heart this year which has seemed to be missing at times in the past.

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Roster Shake Out

Mike Heika is reporting on his blog that Doug Janik has been re-acquired for a conditional 7th round pick.  He also thinks the Stars are likely to be recalling Mark Fistric and James Neal from Oklahoma City of the CHL.  All 3 of these moves had been procedural moves until Zubov’s placement on the Injured Reserve was official due to salary cap implications.

These 3 moves bring the roster to 24 players currently which means one player has to be trimmed to get to 23 players.

Centers:
Mike Ribeiro, Brad Richards, Mike Modano, Steve Ott, Joel Lundqvist, Toby Petersen
That’s 6 centers on the roster, but most likely you see Ott and Lundqvist slide out to wing positions.  I see Ribeiro centering the first line, Richards on the second, and Modano slotted in on the third line.  Petersen likely ends up with 4th line duties.

Left Wing:
Brenden Morrow, Loui Eriksson, Sean Avery, Fabian Brunnstrom, James Neal
Morrow obviously leads up line one to pair with Ribeiro as that combo worked well last year.  Eriksson likely notches up with Richards again on the second line.  Meanwhile Sean Avery gets to play big brother and protect Modano on the 3rd line.  Fourth line duties fall to James Neal who should be recalled today.  Brunnstrom slots out to right wing instead.

Right Wing:
Jere Lehtinen, Kris Barch, BJ Crombeen, Chris Conner
This is a bit of a depleted group.  Looks like Lehtinen will miss the opener with his groin injury.  This leaves first line duties to Ott who will slide on with Morrow and Ribeiro again to see if they can keep the play they had together last season going.  Second line falls to Joel Lundqvist who will slide from LW to be with Richards and Eriksson again.  Third line duties will likely fall to the new youngster Fabian Brunnstrom as he locks up with Avery and Modano to see if he can add his scoring prowness to this line and make it a lethal third line.  Finally the fourth line duties look to be split between Barch and Crombeen depending on if a bit of extra grit is needed from Barch.  Conner looks to be the odd man out and most likely sets sail for the AHL to start this season again.

Defense:
Philippe Boucher, Trevor Daley, Mark Fistric, Nicklas Grossman, Doug Janik, Matt Niskanen, Stephane Robidas, Sergei Zubov (IR)
This is where it can all be shaken up a bit.  Boucher will have to slot in somewhere and after missing most of last season doesn’t have chemistry built up with anyone along the blue line really that features many youngsters.  I think first line duties fall to Grossman and Robidas to start the season.  Grossman is a good mix with Robidas as he adds a bit of power to Robidas flair.  Second line looks to be Niskanen and Daley.  Both can help both ends of the ice and should be good two-way.  Finally third pair seems to be Boucher and Fistric.  This leaves Janik as a scratch.

Goalies:
Marty Turco, Tobias Stephan
Not much surprise here.  Turco is the starter and Stephan assumes the backup role which he had a bit of last season.  Look for Turco to start around 65-70 games this year likely while they ease Stephan in.

Morrow-Ribeiro-Ott
Eriksson-Richards-Lundqvist
Avery-Modano-Brunnstrom
Neal-Petersen-Barch

Niskanen-Robidas
Daley-Grossman
Fistric-Boucher

Injured Reserve: Zubov
Hurt: Lehtinen
Scratches: Janik, Crombeen

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October 8 Round-up, 2 days til opening night…

With opening night on the horizon about 48 hours away against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the papers are talking more and more about the Stars.

Sergei Zubov has been placed on the IR according to the National Post as he continues to recover from his offseason hip injury after he missed 46 games last year.  This will leave a hole on the defense for someone else to fill in for a while.

Tom Hicks is confident in the Stars chances this year in a piece in the Star Telegram today.  One thing that stuck out to me that he said was…

“That nucleus of young players, which I think you’re going to see more and more in sports, is more competitive. They’re oftentimes better. They have the legs, they have the spirit, they have the heart and a lot to prove.”

That is good to hear that Hicks is willing to stick with the youngsters that have shown some promise rather than go out and spend big bucks for someone slightly better but 10 years older.  I think I like this comment more in my fact of being a Rangers fan than a Stars fan, but a good comment for both teams to work off of and seems to be giving Hicks confidence based on the success of youngsters on both teams.

According to the Raw Feed blog, the Stars have released Konstantin Pushkarev and assigned D Ivan Vishnevskiy to the AHL.

The Stars who terminated their relationship with the Iowa Stars last season are going to be creating a new AHL team in Austin called the Texas Stars that plans to begin operations for the 2009-2010 season.

Ticker News…
Ben Eager was suspended 3 games by the NHL for his stick swinging incident directed at Sean Avery in the Oct 2 preseason game….Doug Janik was claimed on waivers by Chicago from the Stars, though expectations are he may be back with the Stars soon

Next will be a look at the likely roster for opening night…

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So I’m back…

and ready for another season.  This year work and all isn’t as crazy so it should go much better.  The only change to the format this year will be that the wrap up posts will be done in the evenings rather than the mornings.  This could change later in the season, but for the time being that works best with my schedule.  There may be days though the wrap up may go up early afternoon.  The first regular season game is but a few days away, so let’s start in on this, GOOOOO STARS!

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