Note: Tonight's game is apparently being broadcast on the radio in Florida. Check it out here.
After a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues Monday night at the AAC the Dallas Stars take to the road for a swing through Florida, meeting up with the Panthers this evening and Lightning Friday.
The Stars were given a much-needed off day Tuesday after skating Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday- Many scrimmaged or played in the preseason three out of the four.
As such, little information is out there to be had about who is suiting up. Val Nichushkin seems a good bet to be resting his reportedly sore groin. Jason Spezza, Ales Hemsky, Antoine Roussel, Ryan Garbutt and Vern Fiddler played on Monday, so it would seem likely that misters Benn and Seguin could put in appearance this evening.
Jussi Rynnas will likely see some time in the Dallas net as competition heats up between Anders Lindback and himself, and Jack Campbell could get a twirl as the exhibition season rolls on.
That's a rather long-winded way of telling you that we don't know what's going on tonight. Hey, it's preseason.
Stars lines at skate for Fla tonight: Benn-Seguin-Garbutt, McKenzie-Morin-Eaves, Cole-Faksa-Stransky, Smith-Dowling-Hemsky.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) September 24, 2014
Monday night's game was streamed on the Stars website to Texas residents. There's some speculation the same could the case this evening, but we'll await something more official, as nothing has been confirmed.
Turning our attention to the Florida Panthers we see that the media focus is anywhere but on the ice. This passage from Puck Daddy is particularly poignant where some comments from Panther management this week are concerned...
"We want people who are there to be paying a fair price, the same price and enjoying a great product on the ice. We can get 15,000 in there if we gave away 5,000 seats. We don't want to do that. It's not fair," Cifu told George Richards of the Miami Herald.
The Herald reports that the Panthers "devalued their product" giving away tickets and putting loads of them on the secondary selling market. This behavior effectively angered their season ticket holders, many of whom dropped their full-price plans as other fans attended the games on the cheap.
"There is total transparency,'' Cifu told the Herald. "Everyone in [a given] section is paying the same price. All of the things that franchises which are [fighting] to sustain themselves have done, we think was an operational mistake." [Puck Daddy]
A couple of things come to mind as Stars fans when reading something like that. The first being that, as a fanbase, we escaped a seemingly identical fate. Look at the number of fans at Monday night's game to see that.
The other being that this exact same message came from the Stars after former CEO Jeff Cogen vacated the position, leaving for Nashville. The Stars had been doing exactly that (mass ticket giveaways) and decided to start building value back into a ticket. Three-to-four years later it appears to have paid dividends.
Not particularly having anything against the Panthers, we hope it works out for them as well.
On the ice the Panthers make you think of the Edmonton Oilers, if only vaguely.
Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad and Aleksander Barkov. Erik Gudbranson and Dmitry Kulikov... they have talent, yet it has seen near last place finishes. This season they bring in new head coach Gerard Gallant, who's been in the NHL and has experience in "the Q" (QMJHL). His style is said to be an offensive one, so the Stars could be in for a run and gun affair this evening.
Add to those nice pieces the return of Roberto Luongo and the acquisitions of Dave Bolland, Juss Jokinen, Shawn Thornton and Willie Mitchell. That's not a bad bunch. Not bad at all.
That being said, they finished 29-45-8 last season, good for 15th in the Eastern Conference. So there's nowhere to go but up for this group.
The gobs of rabid media in Miami haven't been able to get a hold of and blog and/or tweet anything about their expected line combinations to this point, so we'll update that later today. Florida swept the two-game season series from Dallas last year, including that particularly troubling loss in April that made things that much harder down the stretch, and an opening night victory at American Airlines Center.