Note: Tonight's game will be streamed for free on DallasStars.com, but will only be streamed to those in Texas.
My friends, the day has finally come. Again.
Oh, sure, many will decry the first game of the regular season as the real date of note-it's role is certainly larger, but Dallas Stars hockey will be played at the American Airlines Center tonight for the first time in 149 days. For those of us who consider it our "happiest place on earth", tonight is quite a treat after trekking across hockey's off-season yet again.
That game 149 days ago will no doubt be on the minds of many. An impossibly fun spring for a franchise that didn't have much for five years was ended by the Anaheim Ducks on this occasion.
They started down the long road to avenge that abrupt ending this weekend. They continue it tonight in their natural habitat, at last. Hockey is back.
Of course, with such a large roster still in play it is difficult, bordering on impossible, to prognosticate what we may see tonight from a personnel standpoint. When asked, the boss would reveal only the following:
"We are going to try to get a look at a lot more players this year than we did last year due to the fact that Texas had such a good year," Stars head coach Lindy Ruff told the media on Sunday. "In all likelihood you'll see a set of six defensemen on Monday night and a completely different set on Wednesday night. These first couple games we are going to try to give a lot of different players a look for the years that they had. And, for the most part, everybody has had a pretty good camp."
So in other words, you'll get what you get on Monday, but there could be some good news on that front for a crowd hungry for the return of stick and puck. Either Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin or Ales Hemsky and Jason Spezza will be there.
Rumor has been that they were leaning toward Spezza and Hemsky making their victory green debut at the AAC tonight- Good seats, surely, still remain, so come on down.
The full roster will not be known until morning skate's conclusion, or else closer to game time.
Val Nichushkin is nursing a sore groin, as so many do this time of year, and is being held out of activities for precautionary reasons.
Trevor Daley reportedly is dealing with a sore hip after running into the boards Saturday. He's day to day.
Sergei Gonchar was hit in the head with a puck on Sunday and left the scrimmage in the third period, also day to day.
There is no scheduled television or radio broadcast for this game.
Considered by most to be ahead of the Stars in the division, cup-contender St. Louis returns this season with approximately the same group as the last.
They've started their preseason set already with a 4-3 loss to the Blue Jackets in Columbus last night. The lineup was this:
Peter Mueller-Jori Lehtera-Vladimir Tarasenko
Chris Porter-Maxim Lapierre-Sebastian Wannstrom
Magnus Paajarvi-Philip McRae-Ryan Reaves
Terry Broadhurst-Rob Bordson-Cody Beach
Barret Jackman-Thomas Vannelli
Petteri Lindbohm-Nate Prosser
Chris Butler-David Shields
Tarasenko had a goal and an assist while Jake Allen played the first and second periods, followed by former Star Matt Climie tending to the third and overtime.
That being a fairly young lineup, there's some thought they could bring a more veteran squad to Dallas this evening, but this early in camp it's always hard to say.
The Blues were a busy bunch trying to keep pace with the Central division this off-season. They won the bidding for center Paul Stastny with a four-year, $28 million deal, and kept Jay Bouwmeester with a new five-year agreement, bringing them close to the cap. Negotiations continue with RFA Jaden Schwartz, who like Brenden Dillon and Cody Eakin, has yet to report to camp.
Brandon and I will be live-tweeting during the game, no doubt, but the best way to keep up with a broadcast-less preseason is come on down there. We hope to see you around.