Tuesday, September 21, 2010

NHL Preseason Gets underway tonight

A total of 9 games will kick off the NHL Preseason tonight including the new-look Dallas Stars hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at the AAC. Gone are the big names like Mike Modano, Marty Turco and possibly Jere Lehtinen uncertain status, it's the first chance since the team came back from PEI, Canada for the younger guys to step into leadership roles. It's without a doubt that the team is going to have a brand new feel as the team enters a new era of hockey in Dallas.

Looking to become the next superstars for the team and looking to get out of a 2 year playoff drought that last saw them make the postseason back in 2008 when they reached the Western Conference Final against the Detroit Red Wings.

While some like Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson and James Neal will look to get ready for the season, it's also a chance to look at possible line combos and some players looking to make the team. Two of the biggest names include Francis Wathier & Aaron Gagnon who had big years helping the Texas Stars have an amazing expansion season and getting the Stars to the Calder Cup Final before losing to the Hershey Bears in six games.

While others are looking to get ready for their Junior, AHL & European Season who could see call ups during the season like Scott Glennie (Brandon, WHL), Thomas Vincour (Vancouver, WHL) and Philip Larsen (Texas, AHL) who are among the team's top prospects right now.

While their's been a lot of pressure on Jonathan Cheecho to make the team to possibly challenge somebody like Fabian Brunnstrom who has fizzled since his big time rookie season back in 2007.

As for the goaltending battle, it will be a battle between Andrew Raycroft & Brent Krahn to become Kari Lehtonen's Back-up in Dallas, while the runner up will head down to Austin to team up with Richard Bachman who was one of the ECHL's Top Goalies last year and had some stellar moments with the Texas Stars last year as well.

As for tonight's game against Tampa Bay, that should be the big thing to watch tonight with Kari Lehtonen having the night off, both Andrew Raycroft and Brent Krahn both playing tonight, it will be interesting to see who can gain control of the net and give the Stars a chance to win games when Lehtonen is not playing.

However, with Training Camp & now Preseason starting up tonight, I'm now starting to get concerned about the state of the Stars Ownership that they hasn't been much movement recently. But look for more on that as we get close to the regular season.

The longer this goes, the more strict the team will have to come and I would be looking at a 3rd straight year without Playoff Hockey in Dallas, and I would fear that the team would become more irreverent over the course of the season if they is no action on the ownership front, especially if Gallacher or Galgardi decide to leave the race for the Stars Ownership.

While guys like Jack Campbell have already left for their Junior Teams as the OHL & WHL Seasons get underway this week while the QMJHL started a couple of weeks ago.

In addition to the Stars VS. Lightning tonight, some other teams of notice include the Defending Eastern Conference Champion Philadelphia Flyers hosting the New Jersey Devils, we also have the battle of Ontario as the Ottawa Senators VS. Toronto Maple Leafs.

Other games out west include a Pacific Division matchup between Anaheim & Phoenix and a Western Canadian Battle between Calgary & Vancouver who's being looked at as a big time contender in the Western Conference this season.

In case your wondering about tonight's game, they will be no Television coverage tonight and Sports Radio 1310 won't be covering this game either tonight. However, Mike Heika did mention that Tampa Bay Lightning will have the game on their Radio Afflaite 1250 WHNZ tonight.

There's also a report from Mike Heika about Andrew Raycroft & Brent Krahn battaling it out in tonight's first preseason game to impress the Stars Coaching Staff and to be Kari Lehtonen's Backup this season.

Krent, Raycroft set to battle for Stars Backup Goalie Job

Here's some other Stars News & Notes from the preseason.

Brad Richards Donates Half a Million Dollars to PEI Children's Hospital

Stars Monday Notes

Joe Nieuwendyk's Training Camp thoughts

Stars Training Camp Video

Things to Watch for by Mike Heika

Here's a look at the expected roster for tonight's Stars Preseason game against the Tampa Bay Lightning from Mark Stepenski of ESPN Dallas.

Forwards: Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro, Jonathan Cheechoo, Scott Glennie, Toby Petersen, Krys Barch, Thomas Vincour, Aaron Gagnon, Brent Sutherby, Francis Wathier, Mathieu Tousignant, Greg Rallo

Defensemen: Brad Lukowich, Phillip Larsen, Trevor Daley, Matt Niskanen, Marc Fistric, Scott Blindenbacher

Goalies: Brent Krahn, Andrew Raycroft

To read more on tonight's Preseason Action, Click Here.

Here's tonight's Preseason Games (All Times are CDT)

Columbus Blue Jackets VS. Atlanta Thrashers 6:00 PM

Florida Panthers VS. Carolina Hurricanes 6:00 PM

New Jersey Devils VS. Philadelphia Flyers 6:00 PM

Ottawa Senators VS. Toronto Maple Leafs 6:00 PM

Colorado Avalanche VS. St. Louis Blues 7:00 PM

Tampa Bay Lightning VS. Dallas Stars 7:30 PM

Vancouver Canucks VS. Calgary Flames 8:00 PM

Phoenix Coyotes VS. Anaheim Ducks 9:00 PM

Dallas Stars Preseason Schedule

9/21: VS. Tampa Bay Lightning 7:30 PM

9/24: VS. Colorado Avalanche 7:30 PM

9/25: VS. St. Louis Blues 7:00 PM

9/28: @ Colorado Avalanche 8:00 PM

9/30: VS. Colorado Avalanche 7:30 PM

10/2: @ St. Louis Blues 7:00 PM

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