The Dallas Stars are back in American Airlines Center. They’re looking good. They’re even winning! But does any of it matter? You hear it all the time: “It’s just preseason.”
Well, it’s not “just preseason” to Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Two of the Stars’ brightest believe they have something to prove, and they’re starting now:
Both started slow and both finished with numbers below their typical scoring efficiency, so starting out healthy is seen as a gift from the hockey gods this year.
"I'm excited," said Seguin, who had 72 points in 82 games last season. "I was sitting on an exercise bicycle last year, so this is a lot different."
As for the captain, Jamie Benn is relishing the experience of starting the preseason completely healthy for the first time in what seems like ever:
Benn has played 322 of his past 328 games, but he also has had double hip surgery and the core muscle surgery, so he has often battled through while not 100 percent. He said he feels as healthy as he ever has entering this season.
"I feel great," said Benn, who had 69 points in 77 games last season. "It was definitely nice to get away and refresh the mind and body, and just get a great summer of training in. I missed that, so I feel good. I think refreshed is the best way to describe it."
There’s much more at Mike Heika’s place. [SportsDayDFW]
Mark Stepneski has the official Stars write-up on last night’s 5-3 victory over the division-rival St. Louis Blues.
NHL.com beat writer Sean Shapiro shared his postgame thoughts on YouTube.
VIDEO: Thoughts after the Stars open preseason with 5-3 victory https://t.co/TQlfdFaWt4— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) September 20, 2017
And the Stars Rewind has a good look at last night’s highlights, including a first NHL preseason goal for Nicholas Caamano, first goal as a Star for Tyler Pitlick, and first goal of a comeback season for Mattias Janmark.
Caamano is making a great impression with the big team this week: Fans will get at least one more chance to hear from him this month.
Hitch says Caamano has "moxy of an older player" and no one thought he'd still be here. He's going to be back in lineup on Thursday.— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) September 20, 2017
Mike McKenna stopped all 11 shots he faced in the third period to take the W, but the important thing is how hyphy he got over Grubes.
Meanwhile, Jason Spezza and Ben Bishop are near the top of the list of fantasy-league players on track for a bounce-back from injury – a list that also includes former Stars Patrick Sharp and Trevor Daley.
And both John Klingberg and Julius Honka figure prominently in a list of projected points leaders among fantasy defensemen. [NHL Fantasy]
The Hockey News roundtable previews the season in #MurderDeathKill with a new podcast on the 2017-18 Central Division.
Around the league(s)
The Blues have been dealt some setbacks during their own preseason, including the losses of forward Zach Sanford (dislocated left shoulder) and D-man Jay Bouwmeester (fractured left ankle) to injuries.
Patrik Berglund.— Dan Buffa (@buffa82) September 19, 2017
May be time to bubble wrap some players for a couple weeks. #stlblues
New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle announced yesterday that he has chronic myelogenous leukemia, and that he still hopes to play in the Oct. 7 season opener against the Colorado Avalanche: “We think we have a good plan of attack here.” [NHL]
Dr. Michael Farber, Devils team doctor, says Brian Boyle diagnosed with a type of leukemia. Says it's early in disease and treatable.— Andrew Gross (@AGrossRecord) September 19, 2017
The good wishes are still pouring in from fellow players, including Steven Stamkos, Ryan McDonagh and former Star Jason Demers.
Danny Webster of DBD sibling site Knights On Ice talked to Cody Eakin, who’s looking at a bigger role with the team that expansion-drafted him.
We talked with Cody Eakin about a fresh start in Vegas and his time in Dallas. Also, what to expect Monday in camp: https://t.co/3EVmIr9aXa— Knights On Ice (@knightsonice) September 18, 2017
Nino Brown grades the Ginger Ninja as a “B+” acquisition in a deep analytical dive into George McPhee’s expansion-draft roster. [Hockey Graphs]
Former Texas Stars G Maxime Lagace, who signed with the Golden Knights in July, made this highlight-reel save on Nathan MacKinnon to help seal last night’s 4-1 win over the Avs.
The Nashville Predators have made it official and named Roman Josi their eighth captain. Ryan Ellis will be associate captain, with Mattias Ekholm, Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen as alternates.
Roman’s Empire: Josi Named 8th Captain in Franchise History https://t.co/38Wbru64oK— On The Forecheck (@OnTheForecheck) September 19, 2017
Jagr Watch: Jaromir Jagr continues to talk with as many as three NHL teams and says he’s open to almost anything but retirement.
Jaromir Jagr’s open to many things, but not retirement or a tryout https://t.co/CEEHEKj88a— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) September 20, 2017
The Globe and Mail’s Barrie McKenna calls the bluff on the Calgary Flames’ pay-up-or-I-blow-my-head-off tactic to get more tax funding for their new arena.
Today – 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21, local time – marks the first preseason NHL game to be played in China. The Los Angeles Kings and the Vancouver Canucks take on culture shock, jet lag and each other in Shanghai and Beijing.
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
The T-Stars shared some sweet photos from training camp yesterday.
They also have a few more tickets available for Bowling With the Stars, benefiting the Texas Stars Foundation. [Texas Stars]
Count on Antoine Roussel to be THE MOST ready for the new hockey season. Judging from this, the Rooster is in full fighting-Frenchman mode already. Enjoy.