Stargazing: Dallas Stars Ready For New Season; Morrow Prepared To Play

We are just over 24 hours from the start of the 2010 Dallas Stars season, one where optimism abounds (well, for some of us) and the Stars have the hopes of actually living up to the potential this roster possesses. As the season starts it's a brand new beginning for a team that has seriously underperformed two years in a row and despite the grief over the Mike Modano departure and the ownership issues, there's no doubt that things are certainly looking up.

This is the turning point for the Dallas Stars. A brand new era has begun, with Marty Turco and Mike Modano playing elsewhere and the Stars setting off on their new direction as a much younger team.

We've been giving you our opinions on the upcoming season on DBD lately and as we inch closer to the start of the season we have locked into the opening day roster, we get news on Brenden Morrow's back and everyone's favorite radio host weighs in with his thoughts on the upcoming season.

Oh yeah. A rant on Barch and Brunnstrom today as well!

Don't forget, DBD Live tonight @ 7:00 p.m. CDT!!

Stargazing after the jump.

Good news from practice today as both Brenden Morrow and Tom Wandell appear ready to go for tomorrow night's game against New Jersey. Both players declared they were at 100% and will be on the ice against the Devils. Marc Crawford mentioned that Morrow practiced and looked better as the day went on, so it appears that Morrow should have zero effects from his sore back as the season starts. [ESPN Dallas]

From Mike Heika, here are the projected lines for the game:

James Neal-Brad Richards-Loui Eriksson
Brenden Morrow-Mike Ribeiro-Adam Burish
Tom Wandell-Jamie Benn-Steve Ott
Toby Petersen-Brian Sutherby-Brandon Segal

Nicklas Grossman-Stephane Robidas
Mark Fistric-Trevor Daley
Karlis Skrastins-Matt Niskanen

Interesting that Sutherby is centering that fourth line and not Toby Petersen. It also appears that Fabian Brunnstrom will not be active to start the season, which is a bit frustrating considering the second chance the Stars have given him. Yet you have to figure that Sutherby and Segal are playing on the fourth line to counter the physicality of the Devils, although I'm pretty much convinced that this lineup is the ideal line combination for the Stars.

Petersen, Sutherby and Segal provide grit, physicality and defensive ability on that fourth line while also providing more than decent offensive ability.

What is infinitely frustrating, however, is that the hints of a lineup without Barch and Brunnstrom appears to be the actual reality. I can understand GM Joe feeling the (sorta) need to keep those two, but if they aren't good enough to supplant Segal and Sutherby -- then what was the point? It's tough to look back and say that the Stars should have known that Aaron Gagnon and Tomas Vincour would have great camps, but right now you get the feeling that both of these forwards are ultimately useless.

That being said, it still wouldn't be fair to have Gagnon and Vincour up and have them wasting away on the fourth line. Petersen, Sutherby and Segal are perfectly fine for that role and the Stars will be needing those two young players to get better minutes when they do come up.

The other way to look at it is that Brunnstrom and Barch do provide some decent depth for the Stars and perhaps their exclusion from game one shows the flexibility the Stars have to start the season. Brunnstrom can play all the way up and down the lineup and Petersen is certainly capable of centering the third or fourth line if needed. It doesn't take away some of the frustration, however, but it is great to see the importance of a right-handed shot on this roster actually show up on the way Crawford constructs the lines.

I will say, those top three lines almost make me giddy. There was some thought that Wandell and Benn would both be centering lines but Crawford is ready to start off the season by maximizing the offensive ability of the Stars. This should be a very interesting start to the season as we get our first glimpse at what this "new look" Dallas Stars team can do.

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Here's something interesting: the New Jersey Devils, because of salary cap issues, will start the season with just 20 players on the roster. The Devils will be playing just 11 forwards and seven defensemen against Dallas, and it's going to be very interesting to see how they handle any injuries that might occur to start the season.

Per the Fire & Ice blog, the Devils placed Bryce Salvador and Anssi Salmela on long-term injured reserve, in order to comply with roster and cap rules:

With Salvador and Salmela on LTIR, the Devils are permitted to go above the $59.4 million cap by the amount of their cap hits – a total of $3,512,500. That puts them under the cap by just $84,168 with the NHL minimum of 20 players on their roster, not including unsigned forward Adam Mair, who continues to practice with the team. Right now, they have just 11 forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders.

[Fire & Ice, via DMN Blog]

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Mark Stepneski takes a look at how this opening day roster of the Dallas Stars came to be. He also notes that the opening salary cap hit for the team is just over $51 million, while the actual payroll is right at $45 million. [ESPN Dallas]

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Bob Sturm weighs in with his thoughts on the start of the hockey season. He's back to blogging at DallasStars.com this year and I highly recommend reading his stuff as often as possible. Bob says that the Stars must forget the excuses and the reasons for failure, to live up to their potential and silence all of the doubters.

The doubting has been loud and clear around here ever since the Sean Avery debacle. 

Given that Sean Avery was signed 28 months ago, it is time to silence the doubting.

It is time for this team to not make excuses nor accept excuses.  On this blog, I will discuss reasons at great length for this team's plight and will try to rationalize every short coming over the course of this season (just like I did last year and the year before that). 

It's a great article. Be sure to read the whole thing. [Sturm Blog]

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Finally, Mark Stepneski has an epic season preview up over at ESPN Dallas and I highly recommend checking it out. I won't steal much from that article (please, go read it) but I did want to highlight a couple of very interesting quotes from Marc Crawford:

"It’s the evolution that happens on every team in every sport and we’re seeing it happen before our eyes right now," said Stars coach Marc Crawford.

"Moving on from some of the key guys that were such a big part of the Stars for so many years brings a sense of freshness," said Crawford. "Now you can move forward and all these other people can take over the club now. It’s energizing."

There's no question what he's referring to and I have to agree unequivocally with these statements. I know we all loved Modano and Turco and we will never forget all they did for this franchise but it was apparent that this team could not truly move forward with them.

If the financial situation were any different then perhaps things could have turned out better. We all wanted one last great run for Modano and we all wanted Turco to find glory in Dallas. The truth is that the Stars are having to start over a bit and Modano and Turco weren't 100% on board with what this team was trying to do. They have left and the Stars have a future that is still very bright, and one that could become great much sooner than later. [ESPN Dallas]

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