Dallas Stars headcoach Ken Hitchcock is taking a different approach to preseason games than Stars fans have seen in years gone by. When most teams are icing lineups that meet the minimum requirement of eight veteran players and using the rest of the spots to evaluate talent trying to make the roster, Hitchcock wants to be sure Stars fans are getting a lineup worth the price of admission.
“We’re playing a good lineup, and the reason for that is, we owe the people who pay good money to watch us play. We owe them a good lineup and we’re going to do that. We’re going to play a lot of good lineups in exhibition, but especially at home, I want to see top lineups play.”
Usually in these preseason games coaches try to steer away from playing their best guys, lest they get injured before the games really start to count. But this year with the new coaching staff and personnel, the six preseason games on the Stars schedule will provide fans, especially at home games in Dallas, with a lot more excitement. It should give everyone new and old a chance to work out the new system in place by Hitchcock.
Stars expected lines for the night:
Jamie Benn-Tyler Seguin-Alexander Radulov
Mattias Janmark-Jason Spezza-Brett Ritchie
Radek Faksa-Martin Hanzal-Tyler Pitlick
Nick Caamano-Devin Shore-Curtis McKenzie
Defensive pairings will be the most interesting in the preseason, as we see Hitchcock’s process to establish a consistent top six. Pairings tonight will start as follows, but don’t be surprised if they change over the course of the game:
Marc Methot-John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis- Greg Pateryn
Esa Lindell-Stephen Johns
Ben Bishop will start in net, playing the first two periods while Mike McKenna will play for the third period.
Hitchcock will waste no time seeing his old team, even if it is preseason. The St. Louis Blues and head coach Mike Yeo will be evaluating a lot of forward talent in this preseason game, as most of the big guns upfront won’t be playing. That means no Vladimir Tarasenko to terrorize the Stars defense, so the results of tonight’s game should be taken with a heavy dose of salt.
The Blues forwards tonight will be Ivan Barbashev, Samuel Blais, Kyle Brodziak, Robby Fabbri, Klim Kostin, Jordan Kyrou, MacKenzie MacEachern, Wade Megan, Justin Selman, Vladimir Sobotka, Alexander Steen, Robert Thomas, and Tage Thompson. With that many new faces, we may have to wait for reports out of morning skate to see how lines are assembled.
Likewise on the defense. Blueliners active for tonight are expected to be Robert Bortuzzo, Vince Dunn, Carl Gunnarson, Nate Prosser, Jordan Schmaltz, Thomas Vannelli, and Jake Walman. Stay tuned for how those get paired up and who has the unfortunate duty of trying to shut down the offensive threat of Seguin-Benn-Radulov.
Carter Hutton and Jordan Binnington will split net duties tonight for the Blues.
Unfortunately, the Dallas Stars will not be streaming or broadcasting preseason games on TV. It does appear that the Blues have a stream available at KMOX.com and possibly via blues.nhl.com, but it is likely only available to those living locally. A stream of the radio broadcast from the Blues side should also potentially be available on HD radio on Y98 HD3 in St. Louis.
Of course, if you live in the DFW metroplex, you can always head down to the American Airlines Center and watch your Dallas Stars play live. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. local time.
We’ll have some observations in real time via our Twitter, so make sure to follow @DefendingBigD and let us know there or in the comments below anyone you want to see us specifically watch in tonight’s matchup.