When the Dallas Stars signed Adam Cracknell to a one-year, two-way contract in July, both parties were pretty sure they knew what to expect. Cracknell was slated to be a veteran presence with the Texas Stars, whose NHL experience would make him a reasonably dependable midseason call-up in case of injuries.
But injuries have a way of changing expectations. Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News takes a look at the two-way forward who has come up with a chance to start in Dallas rather than Cedar Park:
As recently as last month, Cracknell looked like a nice veteran add with the AHL's Texas Stars. But as the regular season opener on Oct. 13 draws near, the 31-year-old appears to be a possible lineup regular for at least the first month of the season.
"It's unfortunate that guys are having serious injuries, but a team signs guys for depth, and that's what we're here for," Cracknell said. "Now, I have to go out there and show that I can play and contribute to this team."
As a right wing who can play center, Cracknell brings skills the Stars can use as they prepare for the regular season with a raft of injuries. Head coach Lindy Ruff and GM Jim Nill are fans of his work ethic, too:
"I like the energy he has provided," Ruff said of Cracknell's preseason performance. "He got his nose in there, he stuck up for a teammate, that's the type of player that we can easily put in the lineup."
"You have to have those players," Nill said. "We're expecting him to play a big role for us and to grab it."
Read more at Mike’s place. [SportsDayDFW]
The Stars won against the Florida Panthers yesterday, but the rematch is coming tomorrow. This one’s in the AAC.
Sean Shapiro shared what details he could scrounge up from a game we can’t really prove existed:
Maxime Lagace played the entire game for Dallas. By all accounts played well. Shot totals not confirmed, but close to 30ish saves— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) October 3, 2016
Gemel Smith was apparently noticeable again. He continues to have a strong preseason. Ruff has mentioned him several times.— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) October 3, 2016
On an odd note, both teams wore white away jerseys.— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) October 3, 2016
Heika is staying busier and busier now that it’s October: Here he recounts how a failed attempt to buy his hometown team led Tom Gaglardi to the Stars. [SportsDayDFW]
And don’t forget: His weekly Stars chat takes place at 2 p.m. Central time. There may still be time to send your questions. [SportsDayDFW]
Mike Brophy puts former Star Loui Eriksson among 10 veterans on new teams he plans to watch in 2016-17. [The Hockey News]
The chippiness will begin now: The Kings’ Tanner Pearson got shown the tunnel after this illegal check on Oilers D Brandon Davidson during last night’s 3-2 Edmonton victory. [NHL on NBC]
Davidson injury (2 replays in this GIF). Pearson ejected from the game for the hit. pic.twitter.com/r8qpPUgkpN— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 3, 2016
The Blackhawks’ Niklas Hjalmarsson has a DoPS hearing today after a head shot on the Blues’ Ty Rattie during a 4-0 Chicago preseason victory. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
And the Canadiens’ Andrew Shaw got suspended for three preseason games after earning 30 penalty minutes in one shift during his first preseason game. [CBS Sports]
Also at CBS Sports: Chris Peters looks at four preseason storylines, including Tyler Seguin’s fractured heel and other World Cup of Hockey injuries.
Flyers G Michal Neuwirth has added an Ed Snider tribute to his brand-new mask. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
And P.K. Subban looked impressive in his first (sold-out) preseason home game with the Nashville Predators. [The Tennessean]
Johnny Gaudreau hasn’t re-upped with the Calgary Flames – yet – but his agent says they have “no intention” of asking for a trade. [Sportsnet]
Because just admit it, you’re already thinking about the 2017 NHL draft: Meet Brandon Wheat Kings captain Nolan Patrick, the projected first overall pick. [The Hockey News]
The Ottawa Senators have moved their AHL team to Belleville, Ontario, which has left Binghamton, New York (at least temporarily) out in the cold. DBD contributor Stephen Meserve examines the fallout. [100 Degree Hockey]
Finally: The student athletes on college club teams play their games for love (and pay their expenses out of their own pockets). UNT Ice Hockey has posted a GoFundMe page to meet general costs.