[Note by BW: Don't forget, we'll have a game thread up for today's game between the Stars and NY Rangers today at 5pm CD]
First, a confession.
I am very skeptical of reading too much into where a prospect is at any particular point of his development. I'm a firm believer that the vast majority of players take some sort of learning curve to turn into a quality NHL player, whether that's growing into their body and immediately becoming a dominating force like Jamie Benn or having to work through every level with methodical precision like Loui Eriksson. Other guys have bright starts and flame out spectacularly like Matt Niskanen while others grow for a while then seem to hit plateaus, like Mark Fistric.
So I don't tend to base long term projections over a showing at one tournament or even one full junior or minor-league season. Development is a far too unpredictable process.
But it is fun to watch the Dallas Stars prospects beat the tar out of another team's prospects, isn't it?
Yes, your Want-To-Be Stars (TM @Razor5Hole) blasted the Want-To-Be Carolina Hurricanes 8-2 in the opening game of the Traverse City Prospects Tournament. Mark Stepneski of ESPN Dallas was on hand and offers up the closest thing to a detailed recap you're going to find out there.
"Matt Fraser gave us a nice goal on the first shift which gave a nice atmosphere and everybody just fed off it. It was a great effort by the guys. We just stood back there and kind of rolled them." - Texas Stars coach Jeff Pyle, who is coaching the Dallas prospects
I am a big fan of any coach who calls an 8-2 victory "kind of rolled them."
After the jump, you'll find some video evidence of Matt Fraser's enjoyable afternoon, a behind-the-scenes update from Jamie Oleksiak and a player you wouldn't expect speaking out against headshots.
- Matt Fraser had himself a day. The free agent signing out of the WHL had a hat trick in the first two periods against the Hurricanes and thoughtfully included his linemates by helping Scott Glennie and Brett Ritchie to three assists each. The story includes a short video of the first goal, which occurred less than a minute into the game. More please. [ESPN Dallas]
- Scouting the enemy: The Want-To-Be New York Rangers also got a solid win in their first game, defeating the St. Louis Blues 5-2. Blake Parlett was the statistical marvel with three assists while goalie Jason Missiaen struggled early but settled down eventually. My prediction for tomorrow's game: I misspell Missiaen at least three times even if he doesn't play. Oh, and take the over. [Blueshirt Banter]
- The big blond Lurch, Jamie Oleksiak, has provided us with some behind the scenes details of the Traverse City tournament today. Sadly, none of them holds the secret to beating the stuffing out of the Carolina Hurricanes, but perhaps that was better shown than told. [NHL.com]
- It seems to be about the time everyone is getting to the letter "D" in their 30 previews in 30 days gimmicks. Here's a couple other opinions on this year's team from the NHL blogosphere. [TSN/Blackout Dallas]
- Speaking of previews, here's a fantasy-oriented look at the team from TSN's Scott Cullen. Again, if you're a die-hard, there's not a whole lot of new ground covered, but it's one of the more even-handed looks at individual production potential. [TSN]
- Brenden Morrow executed one of the more memorable, devastating and absolutely clean headshots in recent years when he laid out Milan Michalek in Game 6 of the 2008 Western Conference Semifinals. But he's joining the chorus of players who say it just might be time for the NHL to make any head-high hit illegal in an effort to protect player safety. Honestly, rather than creating new rules at the NHL level, I'd like to see a much greater emphasis on how to check properly (shoulder-to-chest and explode out, not shoulder-to-chin and explode up) at the youth and junior levels, but I don't disagree with anything he says here either. [ESPN]
- Former Dallas Star and stick slapper extraordinaire Jeff Halpern talks about returning to the Washington Capitals. I feel like I should slice the legs of my hockey pants and become a clutch PKer in tribute every time I read about him. [The Examiner]