While the top line of Jamie Benn, Loui Eriksson and Steve Ott heated up late to lead the Dallas Stars to a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in the second preseason game of 2011-12, much of the attention in the post-game news conference focused on some of the younger players making a push for the NHL roster.
Colton Sceviour scored two goals, but the more impressive forward may have been Tomas Vincour, who had a cup of coffee in the NHL last season and earned a mention from head coach Glen Gulutzan in the post-game press conference as a young player who has caught his eye. Pint-sized defenseman Philip Larsen was the other.
Gulutzan went on to talk about how, while the roster looks fairly set on paper, he believes general manager Joe Nieuwendyk has the freedom to make an unexpected move to keep a young player up if his play warrants it.
There are only so many players that can go to the AHL without having to clear waivers, so the realistic chances of a Vincour making the team out of training camp remain slim. But I find it very encouraging to hear at least lip-service paid to the idea that this team might be willing to stash a higher salary in the minors or chance losing a fourth-line ceiling guy to waivers in order to let a guy who has earned it get his shot.
Remember, the Mike Modano signing/retirement press conference is at 1 p.m. today, and coverage will be streamed live on DallasStars.com.
After the jump, more on the Stars victory over Colorado, a few more stories about Modano and Brendan Shanahan is off to a rousing start as the NHL's new discipline czar.
- For those of you who couldn't make it out to the American Airlines Center last night, and from the looks of the attendance, that's a whole lot of people, here's the game story from ESPN Dallas. [ESPN Dallas]
- A kind of wide-ranging piece on how the team is adjusting to new head coach Glen Gulutzan. There is some interesting reading between the lines when it comes to talk about how nice it is to have an "upbeat" coaching staff even though thye never directly reference the former regime. [Fox Sports Southwest]
- Harrison Mooney of Puck Daddy breaks down exactly why the ceremonial contract for Mike Modano will not pose a problem for the Stars under the current CBA. A lot of people, present company included, thought for the Stars to sign Modano like this, they would have to eat the cap hit for the season, but as he correctly points out, the biggest issue is really the 50-contract limit. [Puck Daddy]
- Who stands alongside Modano as one of the four best major-sport athletes in DFW history? [Dallas Observer]
- How many other athletes lasted 18 years after their franchise moved from its original city? Very, very few, according to the Wall Street Journal. [WSJ.com]
- The Stars are making a big push to be one of the teams getting a new division in the upcoming realignment, apparently aiming for the Central or the Southeast. The story also has a brief note on the Jamie Benn contract negotiations. [ESPN.com]
- This is only tangentially related to hockey, but the NBA lockout looks like it might be headed towards season-shortening Armageddon. The league is set to cancel training camps and some exhibition games, which were scheduled to start in early October. [San Francisco Chronicle]
- In a stunning moment of idiocy during the Philadelphia Flyers-Detroit Red Wings game in London, Ontario, someone from the crowd tossed a banana onto the ice during a shootout attempt by Wayne Simmonds. [Philly.com]
- Finally, speaking of idiocy, that word was used a lot last season when talking about the NHL's Wheel O'Justice and suspensions. Well new discipline czar Brendan Shanahan has been nothing short of a complete180 in his brief tenure so far. In addition to handing down a pair of justifiably harsh suspensions, including 10 games to repeat offender Jody Shelley, he is posting videos breaking down why each act is illegal and how he came to his decision on suspension length. That's remarkably transparent and a great step forward. Now he's just got to keep it up. [NHL.com]