Tuesday tidbits from Frisco

I spent a few hours in Frisco today. Some more players have arrived in town to skate and then work out off the ice with strength and conditioning coach J.J. McQueen.

Defensemen Karlis Skrastins and Matt Niskanen are the latest additions to the skating sessions, joining Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro, Stephane Robidas, Kari Lehtonen and Toby Petersen.

Skrastins arrived late last week and Niskanen got into town this week. I talked to Niskanen after he was done with his workout. As has been mentioned previously, he’s stepped up the conditioning work this summer. He’s determined to bounce back from a rough 2009-10 season, which he considered a step back.

“I was pretty happy with my first two years. I certainly had some spots where I wasn’t that good. But last year, as a whole, I was pretty disappointed with my own play and as well as where the team went,” Niskanen said. “It was kind of gut check time for me this summer, and coming into camp this year I’ve got to re-establish myself as a better defenseman within the group and in the league.”

I’ll have more on Niskanen in the days ahead.

Also joining the group this week was forward Matt Tassone, a sixth round pick in 2008. Tassone has had some injury problems (shoulder, neck) the past couple seasons and the Stars opted not to sign him to an entry-level contract this summer. But the team has helped him deal with those injuries, and Tassone said he is good to go.

Tassone, who arrived in town Monday after a 30-hour drive from Canada, will play for the Stars at the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City. He's hoping to make an impression there.

"One of my goals is to earn an NHL contract," said Tassone. "I've got to prove myself. I'm here, I'm good and my injuries aren't a problem and won't affect how I play. I've just got to go out there, play my game and I should be good."

Right now his contract status is TBA, but it looks like he’ll end up with the Texas Stars this season. I’ll have more on Tassone as Traverse City gets closer.

Marc Crawford and some of the coaches were around today as well. Saw assistant coaches Stu Barnes and Charlie Huddy, but didn’t see associate coach Willie Desjardins.

Here’s a few minutes of video of the players skating today.