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Stargazing: Stars Enjoy Solid Start, 3-Day Break

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Stargazing is a daily assortment of Dallas Stars  and Texas Stars news, and whatever other random ramblings are bouncing around inside our heads. Note: These posts are not intended to be in-depth analysis articles, but rather a gathering of news from around the internet on the Dallas Stars.

After waiting five months for a Stars game to watch, a three day wait seems trivial in comparison. Still, I find myself looking forward to Wednesday and wishing we had another performance like Saturday to consume to tonight. My impatience aside, the Stars find themselves with some much needed days off, and we should be glad for the time to rest those tired legs; Brad Richards in particular, who still has a sore groin.

That also gives the online Stars community time to take a breath and comment on their start as a whole. Are you happy with this start? Is it better than you'd hoped for? Worse? I wrote before the season started that I felt the team needed to get off to at least a .500 start in October if they wanted to be in playoff contention. At 5-2-4 with three remaining games in October, they've guaranteed themselves at least .500.

We'll take the temperature of the Stars online community, and get the latest updates from practice, today on Stargazing.


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Every now and then, Dallas Stars.com will roll out an amusing little piece from "Hockey Historian" Seamus O'Callahan:

It's almost November and the Dallas Stars, honestly, could not have asked for a better first month of the season. Oh, there's still three games to go in October but this team is doing what it needs to do - earn points.

It's really as simple as that.

Think back to last March when the Stars were in the thick of a playoff race and every point was precious. Guess what? These points earned in October count the same as the ones in March. Stockpiling a few now certainly does not hurt.

Last year, Dallas got off to a tough start, going 5-8-3 for 13 points in its first 16 games. The Stars have 14 points in its first 11 games so far this season, earning points in nine of them with a record of 5-2-4. Dallas has come away with points in the standings 82% of the time so far.

After the jump, Bob Sturm weighs in on the Steve Ott "controversy" and more reaction to the Stars 5-2-4 start...

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Bob Sturm of The Ticket likes Ott's results, but not his methods:


Now, about Mr. Ott;  I must say that he made me cringe a few times last night with what appeared to be dive bombs in the vicinity of the knees of St Louis players.  I love tough, abrasive hockey, but I could live without anyone blowing a knee on a low hit.  You know, he goes for those knees, then they are going after Richard's or Ribeiro's. We won't appreciate it when that happens.  On the other hand, we need him on that wall.  The Stars play noticeably better and with more emotion when he is stirring up the opponents.  So, how do we reconcile what he does with how he does it?  Not sure.  But, this team needs him to be who he is.  And for him to be what he can be, he has to be on that edge.  And, as we all know, he can occasionally step over the edge.

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Richard Durrett reports Modano skated for at least some of practice today, and seems to be moving in the right direction. I remain skeptical.

FRISCO -- Mike Modano skated for most of Monday's practice and said his cracked ribs felt fine. The question now is whether they'll continue to feel that way after a few more days of skating.

Modano's plan is to practice hard Tuesday and see how it feels, but he doesn't have a timetable for a return.

"It feels good one day, that's a good step, and we hopefully turn it into three or four days in a row," Modano said. "It seems like I get to two or three days, and then I feel something."

We've heard this sort of thing with these older guys so many times now, I have to say I hardly blink when I hear it. They'd like to have Modano back, but they're certainly learning how to deal without him. Sad, but true.

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Meanwhile, Andrew's says that Lehtinen could actually do some practicing tomorrow as well:

Jere Lehtinen could practice tomorrow. Stars coach Marc Crawford isn’t putting a timetable on either Modano or Lehtinen, but said the fact the both players are moving in the right direction.

Matt Niskanen, who missed the last two games with a head injury, practiced today and Crawford listed him as probable for Wednesday.

Niskanen will be back, but do you want him back? I know some had been calling to see both Fistric and Woywitka on D at the same time, and then it happened on Saturday. Here's a radical thought...bench Brunnstrom and move Fistric back to the wing? Hello?

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The Stars had a "fun" day at practice:

Mostly a fun day today.

The Stars worked on a few things early and then had an ``Olympic'' 3 on 3 tournament. The players were divided up by country, region or age group, with trios such as Morrow-Ribeiro-Robidas (Canada, but not Ontario), Neal-Daley-Barch (Ontario), Sweden (Grossman-Brunnstrom-Eriksson), USA+ (Niskanen-Modano-Petersen-Skrastins)(Modano bailed early so they nationalized the captain of Team Latvia), plus a couple of other teams.

By the way, Toronto plays the Ducks tonight and Jonas Gustavsson (groin) is expected to return and play in goal. If he plays well, he will likely get the start Wednesday against the Stars. That would be an interesting game, seeing how the Stars were so interested in him in the summer.

On that second note...how satisfying would it be to beat Gustavsson? On the other hand, how mortifying would it be to be the Leafs first win this year? (Becuase the Canadian media will cover it like a Stanley Cup Final win) Maybe Anaheim can get that out of the way tonight.

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The Stars find themselves in 6th place today [ESPN]

The Stars have started the 2009-10 season 5-2-4, and their 14 points are good enough for sixth in the Western Conference. They haven't lost in regulation on the road, and they certainly are playing with confidence.

That was not what Stars fans saw through 11 games last season. Then, the Stars were 4-5-2 (10 points) and were outscored 45-34. Interestingly, despite this system that stresses offense, the Stars have just three more goals at this point than they did last year. But they have allowed the opponent to score just 32 goals -- 13 fewer than last season.

The difference in offense isn't all that surprising given the smaller sample size of last seasons October. Included in those first 11 games were two 5-4 losses against Columbus and Colorado, and a 6-5 loss to the Capitals at home. That high scoring would dwindle as the season went along, and the bodies piled up.


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