Stargazing: Dallas Stars youngsters stating their case

Stargazing is a daily assortment of Dallas Stars news, as well as a look at what's happening around the Pacific division and the rest of the NHL. Stargazing will run every other day or so, now that things are picking up, becoming a daily feature once the season begins.

It's Monday morning, and you've got games on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday to look forward to. That's a lot of Stars action, with 3 home games in there. I strongly encourage you to come out to the AAC and support the boys, check out the new HD scoreboards, and pick up the schedule magnets...the whole thing. It's a good time. No, I'm not getting paid to say that.

In the mean time, we'll catch you up and roundup the news from the weekend, including a victory in St. Louis. There's also a lot of talk out there about Stars youngsters Jamie Benn and Philip Larsen, and for good reason. NHL.com released their Stars preview this weekend, and Brandon unveiled his season preview here over the weekend as well. So let's try to sort through some of this and get ready for some Stars hockey. The season starts in 12 days!

Stars News and Notes:

Follow the jump for all of the above and more...

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Mike Heika's got nothing but love for the young man Philip Larsen, and I was impressed with is play last weekend as well. He looked like he belonged out there.

"From the first scrimmage, you could watch the kid and say, 'Oh, yeah, he can play,' " defenseman Stephane Robidas said. "Even if it was a short time, I think he opened up a lot of eyes when he was here."

Larsen was assigned to Frolunda in Sweden on Sunday, ending his first training camp with the Stars after 10 days. The 149th overall pick in the 2008 entry draft will play his second season in the Swedish Elite League and then will probably return to North America next season and try to make the NHL roster.

"That's my plan," Larsen said.

Give the fact that he's likely to be a cheap option next year, you shouldn't rule him out. It's all about cheap with Mr. Tom Hicks.

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Meanwhile, a name everyone knew coming into camp, Jamie Benn finally made a loud case for himself on Saturday night scoring 2 goals against St. Louis. Some wonder if he could convert to the right side:

"He's equally talented on either wing," Crawford said. "The process is the same, you have some strengths coming on that offside with the ability to cut to the inside, and the ability to shoot through screens.

"I think he has such good hands and such good puck protection skills, that's what you need to play the off wing."

Benn has seen a lot of time as the right wing on a line with Mike Modano and Steve Ott in training camp. That position is likely reserved for veteran Jere Lehtinen, who has been nursing hip and groin soreness. Lehtinen is expected to be ready by the Oct. 3 season opener.

Personally, I think he's looked talented, but some time in the AHL down in Cedar Park wouldn't hurt. It's a question of when he'll be here, not if.

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Please don't forget to read our very own Brandon Worley's season preview, and vote for where you think the Stars will finish this season.

There is no way to accurately predict whether this team will respond to a new coach, a new system and a brand new atmosphere being implemented by Joe Nieuwendyk. On one hand, this is a talented and driven group of hockey players that can win on any given night and be dominant, especially with Marty Turco in net. On the other, this is also a team that is not overwhelmingly deep on defense and has many questions to answer after such a disappointing season last year. With Anaheim and San Jose making doing their best to improve, the Stars will have nearly the same team on October 3, 2009 as the did one year ago. Whether that's good or bad is the big question.

If this team stays healthy and Brenden Morrow continues to be the leader we all know him to be, this team has all the ability to make the playoffs. My prediction: 5th in the Western Conference.

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NHL.com has a lot of the Sean Avery-Marty Turco-Brenden Morrow injury generic type things to say about the coming season, but also ask a good question:

Ironically, the defensive-minded Stars allowed 257 goals, which tied Colorado for the worst mark in the Western Conference. Having Zubov for only 10 games because of a bad hip certainly hurt and now he's back in his native Russia to likely finish off his fine career.

Holdover Mark Fistric is a big body while top prospect Ivan Vishnevskiy, a 2006 first-rounder, is a talented puck-mover that will be given every opportunity to win a roster spot. And there is Robidas, who at 32 is coming off two strong seasons and now is the new anchor on the blue line.

The prevailing question is whether that's enough for the Stars to compete in their zone, especially with Crawford wanting to open things up.

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Sunday, we hear the NHL players and AHL players skated separately again, but Vishnevskiy skated with the NHL players...

Anyway, AHL and NHL practices again. The team will get down to 30 players by Monday as the Texas Stars will start camp Monday in Cedar Park.

Skating today with the NHL players were:

Neal-Richards-Eriksson
Morrow-Ribeiro(Wandell)-Brunnstrom
Ott-Modano-Benn(Petersen)
Barch-Sutherby-Sawada

Grossman-Robidas
Daley-Skrastins
Fistric-Niskanen
Woywitka-Hutchinson
Vishnevskiy

Turco
Auld

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We've heard Jere Lehtinen and Scott Glennie's names amongst the injured this camp, and we add to that now Warren Peters, and Mike Ribeiro?

Warren Peters suffered what appears to be a fractured orbital bone in his fight with B.J. Crombeen in Saturday's game and will be out for a little while.

There should be more of an update tomorrow, but it's a bit of a blow.

Peters is one of the few veteran forwards they had in Austin who could be an easy call-up as the 13th forward for the Stars.

While Ribeiro didn't play in Saturday's game, he DID participate in practice this weekend, so it seems he's fine following his "hand and groin soreness."


Around the NHL:

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