One hundred and seventy nine days after the Dallas Stars lost out on the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference by losing to the Minnesota Wild, Stars hockey returns to the ice today.
Yes, it's been four days shy of half a year since we last saw the Stars play a game that actually matters as the 82-game regular season kicks off tonight with a 7:30 p.m. game against the Chicago Blackhawks at the American Airlines Center.
I can't wait.
Neither, apparently, can forward Adam Burish, who practiced with the team Thursday after battling a groin injury and has moved into officially questionable territory after being doubtful earlier in the week.
"I talked to him and he felt pretty good, but obviously that's his first practice in eight or 10 days,'' Gulutzan said. "He's very close. Whether he gets in tomorrow or not, I don't know, because it's one practice. We'll see. I'm sure he's a real probable for Saturday.'"
Nicklas Grossman and Adam Pardy are both officially out, but since Burish was such a big part of the Stars winning streaks last year, I think all fans would be glad to see him back.
After the jump, breaking down the Stars roster, the Blackhawks are also dealing with some injuries and I don't know if I can take the St. Louis Blues seriously as a playoff contender with Jamie Langenbrunner on their first line.
- The Morning News' paywall guards a story about the teaching background of new head coach Glen Gulutzan. [DallasNews.com]
- I love it when great minds have the same idea. Both of the primary outlets that cover the Stars put together player-by-player looks at this year's roster. [DallasNews.com/ESPN Dallas]
- This wasn't popping up on the Startlegram's site when I went looking for it, um, early this morning, so I give you Mac Engel's column on the start of the season from a more unlikely source. I do find this angle a little interesting as less than a month ago, his wife (columnist Jen Floyd Engel) wrote a column from almost the opposite point of view. [Bellingham Herald]
- It's not only the start of the season in the NHL. The Texas Stars announced their opening-day roster on Thursday as the AHL season also begins today. [100 Degree Hockey]
- Scouting the enemy, part the first: The Blackhawks are vowing to get off to a faster start to the season this year. Considering half of the season series against Dallas takes place in the season's first three days, that is a promise the Stars would like to make them break. [Chicago Sun-Times]
- Scouting the enemy, part the second: Despite hopes that they could play, Dave Bolland and Ben Smith will be out tonight for the Hawks. [CSN Chicago]
- One hundred percent accurate, guaranteed predictions for the NHL season from the Thursday Morning Cupcheck. [Pegasus News]
- Brenden Morrow makes a cameo appearance in this article by Michael Farber, which takes us through the horrific summer that is finally over and offers five league-wide storylines to follow. [Sports Illustrated]
- For whatever reason, TSN has been a lot kinder to the Stars than a lot of the State-side media outlets. In this article, Scott Cullen looks at some teams that might be good bets to take the over on for total season points. [TSN]
- I know, I know, I should give Jamie Langenbrunner more of the benefit of the doubt after all he did for the 1999 Stanley Cup winners. But he's going to start the season as the St. Louis Blues first-line right winger, and I just don't think he's that strong of a player anymore. [StLToday.com]
- And finally, all the stats you never wanted to know about season openers. [NHL.com]