National pundits haven't been kind to the Dallas Stars in their projections for this season.
Mark Stepneski of ESPN Dallas has compiled a list of several major outlet's publications here, and he read that list to coach Glen Gulutzan at Wednesday's practice.
But Gulutzan, like a good, media-savvy coach, took it all in stride.
"I like the eighth best. I wonder who that guy was that went out on a limb. I think those are perfect. Who doesn’t like the underdog role? The expectations are low, obviously, nationally. Our expectations internally are a little higher than that. That’s fine. We’ll embrace that role. You don’t want to make any promises, but the promises you do make is that we’re going to play hard, exciting hockey and we’re going to be hard to play against. Most nights if we do those things, and it’s a process to win, but it’s a process that if you do those things, you put yourself in a position to always have success and that is what we are planning on doing."
Personally, I'm already a little tired of the "hard to play against" mantra, but the rest of it is exactly what you want your coach saying to the media. If he can be this cool and collected behind the bench, I think I'm really going to like his style.
After the jump more from yesterday's practice, I don't understand how many previews can overlook Jamie Benn, the Metroplex is honored by TSN (no, the other one) and the St. Louis Blues might have completed their sale before the Stars, though that's news to the person reported to be buying them.
The other major news out of practice was the growing list of guys who won't be available for Friday's season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks, which has one definite member and two other probables. Adam Pardy was placed on injured reserved and officially ruled out of the first few games with a rib injury he suffered during the preseason, and Adam Burish has been officially listed as doubtful.
The status of defenseman Nicklas Grossman is less clear. General manager Joe Nieuwendyk has said the big Swede won't play this weekend, but Gulutzan was more cagey. Whatever the case, youngster Philip Larsen will stay with the team and is likely to start the season opener. As a side bonus, that will help the Stars stay cap compliant, at least for now.
- Recent Stargazing podcast guest Craig Custance offers ESPN Insiders this take on Sheldon Souray, inspired to look for potential AHL-and-back success stories by the recent demotion of Sean Avery. [ESPN Insider]
- There isn't a whole lot of new news in this piece from the Startlegram, but it is notable because that paper and the DMN have had a content-sharing agreement in recent years, and the FWST hasn't provided any unique Stars stories except columns. I wonder if this is a sign times are changing, and more media outlets covering the team is always good. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]
- Yet another preview with nary a mention of Jamie Benn, which is made even more egregious by the fact that this article is trying to mention the five most important players for every team in the Pacific Division. Is anyone keeping a tally of how many times Benn has been left out? [Yahoo]
- Nobody likes Steve Ott, but at least the Denver Post took notice of him trying to behave and made him the focus of their piece on the new rule changes. Sticktap to user Tsudbury for pointing this one out. [Denver Post]
- Mike Keane is only 44? I thought he was Carbonneau-age during the Stars 1999 Stanley Cup run. Huh. [DallasStars.com]
- The Defending Big D staff isn't the only group closely following the Texas Fox Sports Southwest] playoff run. Several of the Stars players are big fans as well. [
- All the recent sports fun in the Metroplex prompted The Sporting News to name the area its best sports city of the year. Sure wish the Stars could get in on that act... [The Sporting News]
- Scouting the enemy: Brandon Saad, the Blackhawks first round pick from this year's draft, will make his NHL debut during the season-opening home-and-home series. So, what were you doing at 18 years old? [NHL.com]
- Lest you think the Stars are alone in their injury issues, here's a very comprehensive list of all the guys who are already battling something as the season starts. [The Score]
- One of many ongoing sales dramas in the NHL involves the St. Louis Blues, who may or may not be on the verge of completing the sale at this point. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Matthew Hulsizer, who you might remember from the Phoenix Coyotes drama, has verbally agreed to a deal with the current ownership, but Andy Strickland says Hulsizer doesn't know what anyone is talking about. [StLToday.com/True Hockey]