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Stars Close Training Camp With Intra-Squad Scrimmage

Team Green vs Team White helped to shake off some rust in advance of the first preseason game of the season on Tuesday.

Dallas Stars v Los Angeles Kings Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Jason Spezza said yesterday that the scrimmage today was going to be “sloppy”. There were definitely moments where that was the case, such as passes shot just out of reach of a linemate or a player tripping right into a teammate, sending both of them to the ice.

But there was more than that.

There was pace. The Stars on both sides of the ice flew as they pressured offensively and then got back to play defense.

There was also aggression. Not in the “I’m fighting a guy to get noticed” kind of way, but in the puck pursuit. When a player had the puck, the opposing team was on top of him, often with more than one hounding the puck carrier to eliminate outlets for passes and force turnovers.

And there were turnovers. It was the first real look at Montgomery’s puck possession / aggressive style described by various players over the weekend. It was fast, it was hard working, it was turnovers that created offense the other direction almost immediately, and it was fun.

Most of all, it was fun to watch. The chip-and-chase wasn’t completely gone, rather players would chip the puck up if there was not another outlet available to them, but then they would hustle to the puck. It wasn’t the slow-the-game-down slog that Ken Hitchcock’s teams often appeared to have in place last season, but rather it appeared that the team had the green light to go in and pursue the puck.

There was also a lot of support. At times, the entirety of the five-man unit on ice could be seen entering the zone within strides of one another, with the blueliners playing up more than we’ve seen in seasons past. Gone were the guys hanging back in case the forwards lost control of the puck, but rather it was expected that the unit was going to gain entry into the zone to begin with.


Lines for the scrimmage squads looked like this at 5-on-5.


Valeri Nichushkin - Jason Spezza - Alexander Radulov
Mattias Janmark - Radek Faksa - Tyler Pitlick
Remi Elie - Roope Hintz - Erik Condra
Michael Mersch - Justin Dowling - Denis Gurianov

Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Gavin Bayreuther - Julius Honka
Joel Hanley - Niklas Hansson

Ben Bishop
Landon Bow


Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Blake Comeau
Gemel Smith - Jason Dickinson - Brett Ritchie
Adam Mascherin - Devin Shore - Jason Robertson
Nicholas Caamano - Ty Dellandrea - Colin Markison

Miro Heiskanen - Stephen Johns
John Nyberg - Roman Polak
Reece Scarlett - Jakob Stenqvist

Anton Khudobin
Colton Point


*It’s very hard not to be fully aboard the Miro Heiskanen hype train after this weekend. Not only did the coach call him out as a player that’s caught his attention, he more than looked on the level as the Stars’ best NHL players today. His skating is insanely good, his decision making is top-notch, and then you find yourself lulled into him making good plays when all of a sudden he does a drop pass back to an open forward you never knew was even open and a shot on goal has happened in the blink of an eye.

*Valerin Nichuskin showcased some playmaking abilities today that were more dynamic than his last NHL stint showed. Instead of passing the puck to pass it to a shooter (usually Jason Spezza, whom Nichushkin seemed to defer to a lot) he made passes to players that were in positions to create quality chances. It is hard to describe other than it felt that more of his passes were with purpose instead of passing it just because another guy on the ice was more experienced.

*Denis Gurianov was very good in today’s scrimmage. He seems to be picking up Montgomery’s style fairly well so far, and having success out of it — he scored two goals in today’s intra-squad scrimmage.


*Dillon Heatherington was initially listed on the roster to participate in today’s scrimmage, but was held out as he deals with a minor injury. We’ll have to wait until Tuesday to hear an update on his status, as the team has a day off tomorrow.

*The top power play unit is expected to play in Tuesday’s preseason game. That means you have a chance to see Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov, Jason Spezza, and John Klingberg if you haven’t gotten a ticket to the game at the American Airlines Center yet.