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Stargazing: Andy Moog Announced as Dallas Stars Assistant Coach

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Stargazing is a daily assortment of Dallas Stars news, as well as a look at what's happening around the Pacific division and the rest of the NHL. Stargazing will run every other day or so, now that things are picking up, becoming a daily feature once the preseason begins.

Yesterday we finally got to see the Dallas Stars back on the ice together, after a long summer with no hockey and plenty of change. By all accounts it was a spirited affair where all of the players seemed ecstatic to finally be playing together again. According to our first-hand account, Mike Modano was all smiles throughout the practice but it was the reports that Brad Richards was more jovial than ever that really made me feel good about things.

After such a long offseason, all of the front-office changes and seeing the financial burden that has handcuffed this team, I had forgotten just how much the Dallas Stars really make me smile. There's something about the thought of Brenden Morrow (remember when he was just a baby-faced winger fighting for playing time while dating his linemate's daughter?) barking orders across the ice as Modano and Lehtinen yuk it up along the boards, as Turco gives advice to a young goaltender, as Loui Eriksson goes about quietly being incredibly awesome....it all makes me feel insanely proud to be a Dallas Stars fan. Because no matter what is going on in the front office, no matter what sort of finance problems Tom Hicks might be having, these players love to play hockey.

But I digress.

After the jump: Andy Moog officially becomes the Dallas Stars new assistant coach, a surprise development in the outlook on the opening day roster and once again Morrow is under pressure as the team's captain.

Dallas Stars news & notes:

When we learned that Mike Valley was to become the new goaltenders coach for the Stars, we went ahead and assumed that meant that Andy Moog would be promoted to fill the vacant assistant trainer position. Today, the Stars made the hiring official. According to the Dallas Stars press release:

Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk announced today the National Hockey League club has named Andy Moog as assistant coach and Mike Valley as goaltending coach.
 
"Andy Moog is someone we wanted to become more involved as an assistant coach on our staff," said Nieuwendyk. "He brings a lot of experience and creativity to our team of coaches and already has a solid working relationship with most of our players."

Moog will be the "eye in the sky" for the Stars most nights, but could also spend time behind the bench as well. It's a great move for the Stars, especially since it appeared that he and Turco were butting heads a bit. 

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Scott Glennie is out for the preseason with a strained groin. He'll still be at training camp, participating in film study and meetings, but won't play. He was going to go back to the juniors this season anyway, but it's unfortunate that we won't see him on the ice for the Stars during the preseason at least. But hey, at least he got his own feature in NHL.com!

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Mark Stepneski has a good rundown of the news of the day, including coach Mark Crawford saying he's eager to finally get back out on the ice after a long time away from coaching: [Andrew's Dallas Stars Page - Stars Training Camp: News and Notes]

"I am really anxious to get started," Crawford said. "It's been a year-and-a-half since I've been in a practice. I got my skates sharpened. I'm probably more anxious than the players."

The Stars have three days of practice before the team's first preseason game, which is Wednesday against Tampa Bay at the American Airlines Center.

"We've got a pretty set agenda, a pretty tight agenda," Crawford said. "We really want to have a good working three days before we get ready for our first exhibition game. I think we can accomplish a lot. We had a real good first day. The guys were terrific with all the testing and protocols. We purposely let them go out and have their skate because we felt it was best for them - even though most of them have been skating - to get those jitters or any of that other stuff out of the way so that we can start in earnest tomorrow."

He also has this GREAT quote from Brenden Morrow, about how he's feeling as he hits the ice again:

"Everything physically is 100 percent. It might take a little bit mentally for me to believe that I am capable to doing everything I want to do. I try not to think about it," Morrow said following Saturday's skate. "The more scrimmages and more reaction drills I am in, where I am not thinking about it, the better I'll feel. That's been my mindset getting ready for Canada camp and this camp was to try to get in as many scrimmages where things happen quickly and you don't have to think about what you are doing. That helps me a lot."

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Speaking of Brenden Morrow, not only is he under pressure from himself, the fans and the coaches to return to top form and be the leader of the Stars. His teammates are anxious for him to take that role again as well:

"Just having Brenden back on the ice makes our team tenfold better," said goalie Marty Turco. "You can just see his intensity already."

"Obviously, they had a lot of injuries last season, but I think the injury to Brenden Morrow was significant," said new Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk. "Having him back and having him healthy means a lot to this team, and to the whole organization."

"He looks good to me," said center Mike Ribeiro, who has been playing practice hockey with Morrow in preparation for the season.

Asked how long it should take for the two to strike the kind of chemistry that made them one of the NHL's best duos two seasons ago, Ribeiro said: "I feel it coming already. We need a little work, but I think we feel pretty good out there; we know where the other is."

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Expect to see a spirited and energetic training camp once practices officially start today. The team knows it's slow start last season was their downfall, and are determined to not let that happen this year:

"We've done a lot of talking and a lot of planning, and we believe it will go smoothly," Crawford said as he prepared to return to the ice after a year away from coaching. "I can tell you this: The juices are really flowing right now and we can't wait to get out there."

"You look at last year, and we were fighting uphill the whole way," said defenseman Stephane Robidas. "We thought we were working hard, we thought we were prepared ... we weren't. It's a good lesson for us. We are coming in this year knowing we have to be better and knowing we have to work harder."

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Mike Heika drops a subtle, but earth-shattering bomb on us this afternoon:

So maybe those calling for Lehtinen and Modano to anchor the checking line have been right, and maybe the right wing spot with Ribeiro and Morrow is wide open. Fabian Brunnstrom would probably be the guy who would be in line to take that spot, but it appears the Stars might try Jamie Benn at right wing, as well.

 

Hmm, could make for an interesting camp.

What? No more details on that little nugget? Hopefully we'll get a more definitive outlook on this today once practices start.

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Around the Pacific: