- Mark Stepneski, ESPNDallas.com
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FRISCO -- The first of the Dallas Stars free agent signings from this summer has arrived in town. Defenseman Sheldon Souray hit the ice Wednesday morning in Frisco with several other Stars players who are skating on their own.
Souray said he wanted to get into town as soon as possible to start getting acclimated to his new team.
“I wanted to come in early and see these faces and get a clear idea of what they are seeing and what they want from me,” Souray said following the skate. “You always want to come in and make an impression and how you play is going to dictate a lot of where you are going to play. I think we are all starting with a bit of a fresh start (because of a new head coach). I am looking forward to seeing what they want from me. I know what I want from myself and that’s most important. Whatever they want I’ll do, but I am focused on getting my game back to where I think it should be.”
Souray said the Stars have a good mix of defensemen and he wants to do what he can to fit in and help both on the blue line and with the team as a whole.
“I just hope to come in here and complement them, whether it’s playing big and using my size and my experience. If I get a chance to play some special teams, chip in there,” he said. “I am just looking to jell with the group early. They’ve got guys who have been here for a while, guys who know what the systems are and what the organization is like. I think with a new coach we all start on a new page a little bit. There’s a canvas that needs to be painted and I want to be one of the guys that helps all the guys. I may be the oldest guy here now.”
The veteran defenseman played last season in the AHL. Since signing a one-year, $1.65 million contracts with the Stars in July there’s a been a lot of talk about how motivated Souray is to prove that he can still be an effective player in the NHL. He said the motivation has remained consistent through the summer, but what’s gathering steam is the anticipation of getting started.
“I think the excitement builds. The motivation is there. I think I am focused this year and looking forward to having a good start. I am healthy. The mind is clear,” he said. “You hope you translate those emotions, those feelings and that preparation into good results.”
Souray, 35, has been bothered by injury issues the past few years, but he said all is good right now on the health front.
“I feel great. I think you are as young or as old as your body feels. I’ve had a tough couple of years as far as injuries, but it was nice to have a long summer this year and put the pieces back together. I feel better than I have in four or five years. I’m looking forward to starting the season healthy and ahead of the eight-ball. “
Also skating in Frisco for the first time today were defenseman Nicklas Grossman and Tom Wandell. There were 12 skaters today, including local kid Adriano Mungioli. Kari Lehtonen and Andrew Raycroft did not skate today, so Mike Ribeiro put on the goalie gear and manned one of the nets. Not sure who the other goalie was, but he wasn’t one of the Dallas prospects.
Here are a couple videos. The first one is of some four-on-four play. Souray is on Team White, which is shooting on Ribeiro. The second video contains a few clips of Ribeiro in goal, including some shootout stuff against Grossman, Wandell, Mungioli and Philip Larsen.