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Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Stars-Lightning postgame thoughts

By Mark Stepneski

Here are some thoughts on the Stars' 4-2 loss to Tampa Bay in the preseason opener at the AAC Tuesday night.

*I don't like to read a lot into the first preseason game as far as team play, but there were some things worth noting. The Stars were pretty sloppy. The execution wasn't great. There was some sloppy defensive play. They were sluggish. Tampa Bay's 31-19 advantage in shots was a fair reflection of how things went. Just the first game and it's the preseason. We'll see how things go as they move along and where they are in preseason games four, five and six.

*Andrew Raycroft and Brent Krahn, who are battling for the backup goaltending job, were OK. Raycroft stopped 16 of 18 shots and Krahn stopped 11 of 13 in the game. It's still early, but neither has really stood out from start of camp in PEI through Tuesday night. Again, still early.

*Jonathan Cheechoo, who is in camp on a tryout basis, hasn't really caught my attention much. Stars coach Marc Crawford said he didn't do anything to separate himself Tuesday night and I think that's been the case so far since camp opened in PEI. Cheechoo's on a line with Mike Ribeiro and Brenden Morrow, who have looked good since day one of camp in PEI and looked good again Tuesday night. The opportunity is there.

*I really liked the play of Aaron Gagnon. He had a pretty goal and an assist in the third period. He had two quality scoring chances in the second period. Marc Crawford said after the game there's plenty to like about Gagnon, including his faceoff ability and his defensive play. He's turned into a very complete player.

*Gagnon's linemates in the game - Tomas Vincour and Brian Sutherby - also had excellent games. Vincour had a couple of assists and Sutherby was very noticeable. That line was very good. Vincour is a really good prospect.

*The more I see Severin Blindenbacher the more I like him. This is still an adjustment for him as he gets acclimated to North America, but he's got a lot of great tools. He definitely doesn't look out of place out there.

*Philip Larsen got off to a rough start in the game, but he got better as the game moved along and he scored a nice goal by jumping up and joining the rush.

*Scott Glennie was OK. This was a big jump for him, since he was playing against a lot of NHL level players. "It was a new experience. It was a lot faster out there," Glennie said after the game. "I could have done a few things a little better. It was a good experience." Glennie got some shorthanded time, made a nice play to set up a shorthanded chance which led to Tampa Bay taking a penalty. I still like the steps he has taken in the last year.

*The announced attendance was 9,527 Tuesday night, but the number of people actually in the seats wasn't close to that. It was a pretty sparse crowd.