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Stargazing: Tom Hicks says 'Nieuwendyk has "restored hunger" for Dallas Stars'

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 Mondays and Thursdays more often now that things are picking up, becoming a daily feature once the preseason begins.

A week from Wednesday, there's going to be hockey played on American Airlines Center ice (and a very pumped up me there to watch). I feel like we've finally crossed that hockey-less desert that is July and August, and the reward is nigh. But enough about that. We have to talk Traverse City. Is Jamie Benn injured? How much is Crawford going to change things? Ivan Vishnevkiy gets some pub, and Daryl Sydor gets a tryout. Previews for the league are sprouting up. Let's see what we can see...

(Lots of) Stars News and Notes after the jump...


Another great thing about September arriving is that our hero Mike Heika is hard at work churning out Stars content. Tom Hicks, who managed to scrape up enough cash to fill his gas tank and come into work, had this to say of Nieuwendyk:

"We have been very good for a very long time here, and it just felt like maybe we needed a different push, a little more hunger," Hicks said of hiring Nieuwendyk, who had been retired as a player less than three years. "I think in watching Joe and what he has done already, it's very evident that he's helped restore that hunger."

And the focus is also on Crawford on things get cranking:

"I think as I get older, and especially after the Kings, I'm seeing that less is more," Crawford said. "There is going to be change, but I think if it's less dramatic, you might have better results. This is a good group, and they're already on their toes, so I think we just have to push them in the right direction."

In fact, the players say they started preparing for last season as soon as they missed the playoffs.

"It makes for a really long summer, and you just don't ever want that feeling again," said defenseman Stephane Robidas, who is among a large group of players already working out in Frisco to prepare for training camp.

Less is more, Crawford says. I hope he doesn't mean he's going to hold back on the officials too.


The Stars prospects allowed an alarming 9 goals in their first Traverse City game, and Jamie Benn had to leave the game early, but the Morning News reports that it was just cramps, and he's fine. Is it too early to be secretive about a hockey injury, I wonder?

Richard Bachman was under siege in the third period, facing 17 shots, but he wasn't that great either. (Last goal was an empty-netter).


Stars lose their opener to the Blues, 9-6, at the Traverse City prospects tournament.


UPDATE: Benn said he had cramps and was fine. He worked out afterward and said he was fine.

Jamie Benn went down in the corner and limped to the bench. He came back for a shift, but went back to the bench again.


Next, what is going on with the U.S. Department of Transportation? A ruling on the eve of the NHL season will restrict Canadian run charter airlines in the U.S. (and subsequently U.S. charter airlines in Canada) from operating between American cities.

Canada's six NHL teams are scrambling to find alternative travel arrangements south of the border after the U.S. Department of Transportation banned Air Canada's charter fleet from flying between U.S. cities.

In a furious exchange with the Obama administration over the mid-August ruling, Canada has launched its own investigation and will soon close its skies to U.S. sports team charters in retaliation, warns Transport Minister John Baird.

The sticking point is an eight-year-old exemption that had allowed sports and celebrity charters to make several pit stops in American cities. Under existing open skies agreements, regular Canadian airline flights can only visit one U.S. city before returning.

In other words, if the Stars have a back to back @Edmonton, @Calgary, they're going to have to send their beautiful Dallas Stars plane ahead, and take another airline on to Calgary for the game?


With a quickie NHL preview sure to leave you unsatisfied, here is the Edmonton Sun (Pacific teams)...

ANAHEIM DUCKS: How will these bruising Birds cope with the losses of blue line studs Chris Pronger and Francois Beauchemin?

DALLAS STARS: Can future Hall of Famer Joe Nieuwendyk be as successful running a team from the GM's box as he was on the ice leading three different franchises to Stanley Cups?

LOS ANGELES KINGS: How much does veteran Ryan Smyth have left in the tank?

PHOENIX COYOTES: Which city will they be calling home come opening night?

SAN JOSE SHARKS: Can they ever shake their rep as playoff chokers?

A comment from Canadian media involving neither Sean Avery or Marty Turco? I love it. The real question is if he can win as a GM in Dallas with half of the cap tied behind Tom Hicks' back.


Doug Armstrong brings the "cap friendly" Sydor in for a tryout:

"Doug knows Darryl better than any of us, but we all know him pretty well," Blues President John Davidson said. "There's s no guarantees on either side. He wants to come and give it a shot and we're happy to take a look at him."

Sydor thinks the Blues would be a good fit. He has been part of two Stanley Cup championship teams, 1999 in Dallas and 2004 with Tampa Bay.

They're talking "veteran leadership" for their "young team". We will always love you Daryl, but as far as veteran leadership for young players goes, last season was not exactly an encouraging sign, depending on how you look at it.


Lastly, the Morning News takes a look at young hopeful Ivan Vishneskiy:

Vishnevskiy admits he was disappointed at times, but when the Stars were facing injuries late in the year, they called him up and put him into the lineup as a regular. He responded with an average of 19:33 in ice time, two assists and a plus-1 in three games. It was like the entire season was saved for him.

"I definitely think it was something that was good for him," Jackson said. "He was curious, and we were curious, and he responded well. He's still just a year out of juniors, so we know he has some developing to do, but this is encouraging."

Vishnevskiy will likely get a big dose of that development this year. He will be one of the leaders of the Stars prospects team this week, will likely see a lot of playing time in preseason, and will probably be one of the leaders of the Texas Stars if he doesn't make the NHL roster.

We've been talking about this in another thread, here. With so many defensemen signed, where do you think Vishnevskiy will spend the season? He's at least #1 on the speed dial this year when the injuries come, right? (Knock on wood if you like, they always come.)

Around the Pacific:


The players say not knowing who owns the team – or even if it will play the entire 2009-10 season – is going to be a huge distraction as they head into training camp next Saturday.

"Yeah, it's on everyone's mind. It effects what you do," said captain Shane Doan.

Baum, in an attempt to keep all three current bidders in place, has declined to rule on any of the key issues. The minute he rules, the losing parties are sure to appeal, further slowing down the process and potentially further devaluing the team. He said he might not even rule on who wins the team until sometime after Sept.14, continuing to leave everybody hanging.

That is rough.