If you've ever been to a Stars' open practice at Frisco, then you may have experienced some really cool things, like seeing GMJN chatting with Razor about nothing at all, Brad Richards waving at some person who waved back while you tried to guess who they were, and almost hitting Jussi Jokinen with your rented Chevy Malibu because what on earth is he doing out here going for a jog when there is ice on the ground and you can see your breath. This isn't Finland, Jussi! Be more careful.
The point is, it's really a neat experience. And it's the most enjoyable when these sessions mark the return of our beloved Stars after the too-long wait of summer. If you'd like to see a clip of this year's crop of early arrivals in Frisco, you can check out the video at the end of this article. However, before we move on to gobbling up the latest and greatest piece of Stars-related media that we can find, it seems only right that we pay homage to the clips of the past, those music-less montages that got us here, to experience again the dulcet sounds of swish-click-clack while we fail to stop the grin from spreading all over our face.
Here are some clips from the last three years of early Frisco arrivals, along with a piddling amount of analysis. Try not to get too emotional, please.
Note: A grateful nod to Mark Stepneski's YouTube account, which is a great place to just watch way too many Stars-related videos.
Aww, it's Jere Lehtinen, right off the bat! He never really officially retired, right? Right? He's a right shot...he is sort of playing reverse defense, and we do need a right-handed defenseman...I am not saying, I am just saying.
Andrew Raycroft makes a few saves in a row as well, just to prove that yes, he was an NHL goalie who was really good, once. He did have the best season of any backup goalie since Mike Smith, remember. Now, forget, because Anders Lindback told you to forget, and that guy is big.
And yeah, those behind-the-net angles really show how miraculous it is when players score on straight wristers during the shootout. There is just no room there.
We wrap up with a lazy stretch of 4-on-4 that reminds us how maddening regular season overtime can be, especially in these days before the Stars had found their speedy identity.
Players identified: Three, counting Jere Lehtinen, and in case he doesn't count, I think I found Louie in there as well with his sweater all tucked in high. Are numbers expensive or something?
This is pretty close to pick-up hockey, from the looks of it. There's the cocky guy without a helmet, the randomly-sponsored RedBull jersey, and a complete mishmash of positioning and flow. It is awesome.
I think I picked up Daley and Robidas cutting into the slot at different points to rip a wrist shot, and I noted that slapshots are kind of a no-no in this environment most of the time--you don't want to be the tool who breaks someone's orbital bone with your elephant gun gone awry.
Brenden Morrow's stride is so identifiable, isn't it? I loved watching him feed the puck across the ice before busting to the net. Best wishes in sunny Florida, Mini Mo. Calling Morrow "mini" in person is not something I will ever do.
Fancy low-percentage plays broken up with simple stick checks: 82,694. These defensemen just have no time for your dipsie-doodling. Can't really blame the players for keeping themselves amused though, considering they wouldn't play real games for another 4 months. Stupid lockout.
Let's get this out of the way now: Morrow loved Frisco so much he came back to VISIT! <insertfile:annoying_puppy-eyes_emoticon.png>
Okay, this is how it should be. Up and down, no time or space, figure it out and funnel the puck toward the net. Goalies making four or five stops in a row, suddenly the puck turns around toward the other end. I just love it. Check out the drop pass back to Kari at 2:30, just like in soccer! This is good stuff, tons more fun than the four-on-four nap times in years past. I'm glad someone found a whistle.
Skating in tight spaces is extremely impressive, especially for big players. You can really admire Goligoski, Benn, and I think Garbutt for the way they maneuver and create space in such tiny quarters. Can you imagine how absurd this would look to the old-time hockey players who used figure skates?
When they get into the real action at 5:00, it's almost shocking to see an actual celebration. These guys are so competitive, I mean seriously. Maybe we should just eliminate intermissions and let them play without a clock for sixty minutes, first to 15 wins.
Morrow scores around 7:30, and you will get all nostalgic because he does that yell that rocked San Jose (2:10 mark) back in the 2008 playoffs.
Goals scored: All of them, and they count double when you're playing across the rink instead of from end to end. Bonus observation: Yeesh, do we need some right-handed defensemen.
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Wednesday Links are back to stay until they are no longer relevant. Hey, check out this hilarious video I found on internet of a kid getting totally knocked over from a skateboard.
Trevor Daley has been skating for a while now, and Mark Stepneski caught up with the longest-tenured Dallas Star for a good chat. Apparently Daley and Spezza text all the time, so it's safe to say they have a good unlimited data plan from a quality wireless carrier. I cracked my phone screen this weekend. [Stars]
A brilliantly-named fan asked Mike Heika if the Stars would want to trade Gonchar and Cole to Calgary for Dennis Wideman. You won't believe what happened next! .... Heika answered the question. That's what happened next. Am I doing clickblait right yet? [DMN]
Here's a crack at working out a satisfactory combination for the Dallas Stars' top six forwards, in case you haven't done your homework. Because, just like geometry, it's important to show how you arrived at your answer. [In the Crease]
Check out this podcast for a little bit of Darren Dreger raving about the Stars. Starting at the 2:55 mark, you can listen to him calling the Stars' top two lines "formidable" and then sputtering with laughter at how good Dallas will be. He is also not overly impressed with Colorado. [TSN Podcast]
Seth Jones is ready to figuratively light the ice on fire this year. Will he overcome the baggage of his -23 plus/minus from last year? This is what it is like to be a Predators fan. [On the Forecheck]
It's possible that Cameron-Gaunce-trivia-question-player Tomas Vincour will see time in Colorado this year, but I am honestly not sure because this page is all in Czech. Better idea: read the report in English over at MHH. Okay, looks like he is going to be in Colorado. [Mile High Hockey]
Edmonton has signed Justin Schultz to a 1-year deal for $3.675 million to "prove himself." I remember being really confused at a game in the Honda Center when Ducks fans started booing this young Edmonton player for no apparent reason. [THN]
Johnny Gaudreau always reminded me of Theoren Fleury, but so much more so ever since I ordered and finished Playing with Fire (tip o' the cap to Derek for the recommendation). Flames Nation takes a look at what a reasonable season to expect from JG could look like. [Flames Nation]
For the gamblers out there (Not you, kids!), Puck Daddy runs down the best longshots at the current Stanley Cup Odds. Greg Wyshynski really, really likes Dallas, making him not unique. [Puck Daddy]
Here's a comprehensive look at what an expansion draft (and the subsequent players protected) could look like. Would the Stars protect Garbutt? [The Hockey Writers]
One of the many sites sure to fill (and exceed) the ExtraSkater gap is up (in beta), courtesy of a team headed by A.C. Thomas. [War on Ice]
And finally (finally!) we have video of Dallas Stars Players Skating in Frisco this very month, courtesy of Stepneski. It's like you're right up against the glass pretending not to wince when the deflected shots rocket towards the bridge of your perfect, unbroken nose.