As the Dallas Stars get ready to take on the Boston Bruins tonight at the AAC, in a game that many regard as the biggest of the season, we get some good news as we learn this morning that Brenden Morrow will not only play but looked just fine out on the ice tonight.
"We'd need something pretty special to keep him out of tonight's game," coach Glen Gulutzan said about Morrow.
When asked about how this injury compared to what bothered Morrow earlier in the season, the coach said it was completely different. While Morrow is still dealing with pain, the injury should not physically limit him going up against the Bruins.
"The stuff earlier in the year was mechanical, this is just a bruise that's going to bug him but it's not mechanical. He looked fine, in fact he looks better when he has a day off. He'll be 100 percent."
Morrow has been nearly exceptional for the Stars since returning from the IR after resting several injuries and the loss of the Stars captain for a big game like tonight's was going to be near-disastrous. With the Stars already missing Sheldon Souray and Stephane Robidas, the Stars could ill afford to head into tonight's game any more shorthanded.
Much of the focus on tonight's game, other than the fact that the Stars are taking on the big, bad Boston Bruins -- is that there will be a raucous and sold out crowd at the AAC tonight. In a season in which the attendance issues have been front and center, it's going to be good for the team to play in front of an amped up crowd.
"I think it's going to be exciting for the fans in Dallas for sure but I'd be lying if I didn't say there's a little bit of excitement for myself too," said Gulutzan. "To have them here on a big night for us and a big game for us is exciting and you could see it with the guys on the ice this morning. Hopefully we'll feel that energy tonight in the building."
More after the jump on the atmosphere of the game and how the Stars plan on taking on the Bruins after the jump.
Gulutzan was asked about the difference tonight's big crowd will have on the team and whether the players and coaches notice when the building is a bit deflated. Just like any sports team, he admitted that it's tough when the crowd isn't as big or as animated as they'll be tonight.
"You notice sometimes here when there's not much energy in the building and you can't make it yourself," Guluzan said. "Sometimes if you have that energy from the crowd it helps to propel your team. I think tonight we'll certainly have the juice but we have to make certain we play within our structure, we'll have energy and the building will have energy but we have to make sure we stay within our structure and stay disciplined."
Gulutzan used the atmosphere of the game to segue into his team's approach for the game tonight and given the history between the Bruins and the Stars -- not to mention how the Stars tend to badly lose games when they lose control of their emotions -- Gulutzan made it a point to keep referring to his team's effort against the New York Rangers.
On the road and facing one of the hottest teams in the NHL, the Stars didn't let their emotions take control and they played a very decisive and frustrating game against the Rangers and walked away with a gritty 1-0 victory. This test against the Bruins is going to be much tougher, especially considering the fact that the Bruins lead the NHL in just about every statistical category.
"I look at that team and the funny thing is, and I don't mean anything bad by this, but they don't do anything special but they do everything well. To find a weakness on our scouting report -- we had to kind of make one up this morning. They're a solid team."
The Stars have let these sorts of games get out control in the past and let their opponent dictate the sort of game that will be played. Against such a dangerous team like the Bruins, the Stars can't allow themselves to get pulled into a game of fighting and physicality, especially if it means the best players on the Stars are leaving the ice.
This is a game the Stars must remain in control, while feeding on the emotions that will exist with the home crowd and big atmosphere and more importantly, it's a game the Stars must find a way to win to help turn things around after a bad week.
"Everyone knows they've been a tough matchup in the past but it's going to be a big crowd and it's going to be exciting and it's going to be pretty easy to be revved up for this one," said Brenden Morrow, who will be at the epicenter of the Stars' gritty approach to this game.
There's no doubt going to be a range of emotions on the ice tonight and after watching a listless Stars team lose to the Blues and Blue Jackets, there should be no worries about the Stars being worked up to play this game tonight. Morrow also echoed his coaches sentiments, however, saying the Stars must stay within their game plan and not let things get out of control.
"I think we just need to do a better job of staying within our structure. We talk about living in the real world all the time, we know we're a gritty bunch."
Finally, everyone knows there's a history between these two teams -- even if they only play once a season. When asked about what he remembers from last year's debacle in Boston, Morrow made it clear he's focused on the only thing that really matters from that game.