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Stargazing: Defending Big D LIVE airs tonight, Dallas Stars Feeling Much Better

Stargazing is a daily assortment of Dallas Stars  and Texas Stars news, as well as a look at what's happening around the Pacific division and the rest of the NHL.

There is actual, no-bull, regular season hockey being played tonight. All is right with the world again.

Today on Stargazing: Defending Big D LIVE information; the brand spanking new SB Nation NHL Power Rankings; the Dallas Stars beat down the Junior Stars and don't feel bad about it; and an old Stars favorite is returning to Texas.

As a reminder, Defending Big D LIVE goes on air tonight at 8 p.m. Central on Blog Talk Radio. We'll have Mark Stepneski from Andrew's Dallas Stars Page on as a guest as we talk about the Dallas Stars preseason and look ahead at the first weeks of the upcoming season. I'll have more information up right before the show airs.

Go to the show page here.

There will also be a chat room available as well.



The Dallas Stars took on the Texas Stars last night in Cedar Park and made sure they weren't embarrassed by their AHL counterparts.

"As the coach of the NHL team, you're always worried about games like these. There's a motivational factor that you're worried about," said Stars head coach Marc Crawford. "I thought for the most part our team paid attention and maintained the good habits that we need to have, so I was quite pleased.

"It was a good matchup. There was good intensity and good speed. I think for the most part we didn't cheat and that's what concerns you heading into the big game, which is Saturday night. We're going to have to be sharp and this served as a great tune-up for us."

Jeff Woywitka had a solid game and had the primary assist on Mike Ribeiro's goal.

"I like to take care of my own end first, but I have the ability to skate and join the rush," said Woywitka. "When I see the chance to jump up and make something happen offensively I am not going to sit back and hold the blue line."

It was an example of a defenseman jumping up and making a smart play to create some offense, something Crawford and his staff are looking for from the team's blue line.

"He read the play extremely well and we want to encourage guys to make a play," said Crawford. "It's a sign of what we can do with our offensive defense this year."

Mark Stepneski has some thoughts on the game:

It was a fun game. There was a lot of pace to it, there were some good hits, lots of good chances and it was very competitive.

The building is great. The crowd was great. They even yelled "Stars" twice during the National Anthem. It was a pretty good night overall. I think the Texas Stars and AHL are going to do well there. The building holds 6,800 for hockey and the announced crowd was 6,223 and that's what it looked like from where I was sitting.

A couple of player notes. Crawford mentioned it after the game and I noticed it during the game as well: Ivan Vishnevskiy looked very good. He was much more noticeable in this game than he was during his time in Dallas. I thought Fabian Brunnstrom looked pretty good too.

So does Mike Heika:

They appeared to grasp the concepts of Marc Crawford hockey a whole lot better after a couple days of team building and practice in Cedar Park, and they seemed more confident and more calm. That's huge coming off of that St. Louis game, where it would have been very easy for the players to question the system. But Jeff Woywitka, who is very much making a case to be in the lineup on Saturday against Nashville, did exactly what Crawford had in mind when he activated from the point, pushed up behind the net and threaded a pass to Mike Ribeiro in the slot for one of the goals. It was a clear display that taking a few risks can pay off.



SB Nation has put together a network-wide power rankings of the NHL, with the Western and Eastern Conference ranked separately as well as an overall Top Ten ranking.

Dallas comes in 9th in the West headed into the season.


The Dallas Stars are feeling good after their three day trip to Austin.

The Stars were coming off a 5-0 preseason loss to St. Louis last Saturday that had the team concerned. That game showed all sorts of holes and a lack of grasping what Crawford is trying to create in his first year as head coach.

But Dallas used three days in Cedar Park for team building and a couple of intense practices and seemed to be more at ease with the system that pushes defensemen to make more decisions and take more chances.

"It was a good trip," defenseman Trevor Daley said. "You get away and get to bond with each other, but you also get away and get to concentrate on working on the ice."


Mark Stepneski has a great article on Toby Petersen, whom I feel is the most underrated player on the Stars.

"Anytime you get a chance to play with players of Otter and Mike's caliber it's a good feeling," said Petersen. "It's one thing to be playing there, it's another thing to be making things happen out there and taking advantage of the situation. I am just going to try to keep things simple, use my speed and make heads up plays out there."

Petersen, who can play all three forward positions and can move up and down the lineup, is versatile enough that he played defense at one point when he was with the Edmonton Oilers.


The AP has a story out about the Dallas Stars trying to overcome a disappointing season last year, while their coach is trying to prove himself as well.

"There's a great group of players here that are disappointed with their finish last season," said Crawford, whose TV gig came after being fired by the Los Angeles Kings for losing records in both his seasons there. "I'm not satisfied with my last stop in the NHL. So I think together, we're all trying to make the next step. We're all trying to recapture some greatness."


The Ryan Coke Experience has their Dallas Stars preview up, and Sean Avery came up in the conversation:

Story of the season:Can this team rebound from Sean Avery? Once Avery was signed for last season, it all went downhill for the Stars. Players were distracted, the media coverage intensified, and Avery’s on-ice play wasn’t helping things. But now that he’s not on the team, it’s up to the Stars to show that last year was an anomaly.


Brad Lukowich is returning to Texas to play for the Texas Stars. He was waived by the Vancouver Canucks and cleared waivers, so he's going to start the season in the AHL down in Austin.

The Moose are already at the five-man limit for veteran players so the Canucks are attempting to place Lukowich on a team that fits for both him and the organization.

"We are trying to help him out," said Canucks assistant general manager Lorne Henning. "He was everything we thought he was but unfortunately he makes too much for the cap."