Dallas Stars: training camp

Stars to open camp in Idaho next season

January, 7, 2012
After two years of holding training camp in Prince Edward Island, the Dallas Stars are making a change. Next season they will hold training camp in Boise, Idaho, which is the home of the Idaho Steelheads, the club's ECHL affiliate.

Here's press release:
The Dallas Stars will begin their 2012-2013 Training Camp this coming September in Boise, Idaho. The Idaho Steelheads, the Stars’ development affiliate in the ECHL, made the announcement on Saturday night from their home game at CenturyLink Arena in Boise.

The Stars will also host an NHL exhibition game against the Minnesota Wild on September 25, 2012, in Boise, to begin the teams’ pre-season play. Specific dates of the training camp will be released at a later date.

“The Dallas Stars are very excited to begin our 2012 Training Camp in Boise,” said Stars Assistant General Manager Frank Provenzano, who was in Boise as part of the announcement on Saturday evening. “The Steelheads have been a wonderful partner for us in the ECHL and we look forward to having a productive camp here in Idaho this September.”

The Stars have been the Steelheads’ NHL affiliate since 2005. The two teams were also affiliated during the 2003-04 season, Idaho’s first in the ECHL. A host of players have advanced from Idaho to Dallas, including goaltender Richard Bachman, forward Francis Wathier, and forward Tom Wandell.

Other players assigned to Idaho who have gone on to play in the NHL include: F Aaron Gagnon, F BJ Crombeen, F Greg Rallo, G Dan Ellis, G Matt Climie, F Zenon Konopka, F Richard Clune, and F Warren Peters.

Idaho (ECHL) and Texas (American Hockey League) are the primary development affiliates of the Dallas Stars. The three teams are in their third season of working together.

This will mark the first time an NHL team has held its training camp in the state of Idaho. There was one previous NHL pre-season game, in 1997, when the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings played the first-ever hockey game in the downtown Boise arena now known as CenturyLink Arena.

Dallas has spent the past two Training Camps (2010, 2011) in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Isalnd (PEI). The complete Training Camp and pre-season schedule will be announced at a later date.

Tomas Vincour pushing for roster spot

September, 30, 2011
Right wing Tomas Vincour was on the Dallas Stars’ roster when their season ended in 2010-11. He’d like to be on the roster when the 2011-12 season kicks off next Friday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

“I’m still here, so I guess that’s pretty good,” Vincour said. “But you always have to be better. There are always things you can learn. I am not hoping. I am not thinking. I am just going out there and doing my best.”

So far he’s done pretty well. The 20-year-old Czech native, who made his NHL debut in his first professional season, has had a strong training camp and preseason. He’s played in five of the Stars’ six preseason games, picking up three points (one goal, two assists) and a plus-four rating.

“He’s played real hard,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “I had Vinny last year (in the AHL) and we just keep on him about certain habits. He’s worked his tail off at camp and he’s put himself in a good position.”

Vincour, a fifth round pick in 2009, played 24 games with Dallas last season and registered one goal and two assists.

“That was great,” Vincour said of the NHL experience. “I was real thankful I got a chance to play with great players and great teammates.”

He also played 44 games last season with the Texas Stars, where he had 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in 44 games.

Having played under Gulutzan last season with Texas has been a plus for Vincour in training camp and the preseason. He knows the system and what Gulutzan expects, so he can focus on playing. He also has a veteran Czech player he can lean on for advice and guidance this season in Radek Dvorak, one of the team’s free agent signings.

“Rad is an experienced guy and has been around the league for a while. He’s been great to me,” said Vincour. “We’ve been spending a lot of time together.”

Vincour came into camp knowing the road to a roster spot could be a steep climb. The team added seven players in free agency, including five forwards. There are 13 forwards under one-way deals and whether a roster spot is open will depend on personnel decisions, including whether the Stars carry 13 or 14 forwards.

“When I came here I knew all I could do is work hard every day and we’ll see what’s going to happen. It’s not over and there are still a lot of players still here,” Vincour said. “There’s one more game and we’ll see what’s going to happen after it.”

Vincour will play in his sixth preseason game Saturday afternoon when the Stars wrap up their preseason schedule when they take on the Blues in St. Louis. It’s one more chance to make his case.

“He’s playing again [Saturday], so it’s another big game for these kids,” said Gulutzan. “Colton Sceviour, same thing. Big game for these kids.”

A year makes a big difference for Larsen

With his first year of playing hockey in North America now under his belt, defenseman Philip Larsen is feeling a lot more comfortable these days.

“You’re in a different country. It’s small things. Everything is new and exciting,” said Larsen, a fifth round pick in 2008. “This year when I came I knew how everything works and that makes me feel more comfortable with all the people. I am more relaxed now.”

Larsen spent most of last season with the Texas Stars. He had 22 points (4 goals, 18 assists) in 54 games. He also played six NHL games with Dallas, registering two assists.

With that year of experience there’s a higher comfort level on the ice as well. Larsen, 21, has played well in training camp and the preseason, making his case for more NHL time this season. He’s picked up an assist and a plus-three rating in four preseason games.

“You’re used to the small rink now and what kind of game it is,” Larsen said. “You know when to move when a big guy comes to hit you. All those small things. All those things you learned last year, it helps you know what to expect this year.”

Preseason finale

The Stars play their final preseason game Saturday afternoon, taking on the Blues in St. Louis. Game time is 1:30 p.m.

Colton Sceviour making case for NHL time

September, 28, 2011
Now in his third year of professional hockey, forward Colton Sceviour feels it’s time that he starts making his case for being an NHL player. So far this preseason the 22-year-old has been doing just that.

Sceviour has had a strong training camp and in three preseason games he has picked up three points (two goals, one assist) and a plus-three rating.

“Coming in this year that was my goal, to come in and make a statement in camp. I want to be up here and I want to be up here all year. That was my mindset going into the camp,” Sceviour said. “I think I’ve made a little bit of a statement so far, but obviously it takes more than a couple of decent games, a couple of good games to prove that. I just want to keep playing like I’ve been playing and prove that I have the ability to play at this level full time.”

The young forward is still a long shot to land a spot on the opening night roster, but he’s made a strong case for being at the top of the call up list this season.

Sceviour is a versatile, two-way forward who can play center and both wings. Last season he finished third in scoring for the Texas Stars of the AHL with 41 points (16 goals, 25 assists) in 77 games while playing in all situations, including penalty kill and power play.

It was his second season playing under now Dallas Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan. His familiarity with Gulutzan and the system the coach is putting in place in Dallas has been a major plus in camp and the preseason for Sceviour.

“It is definitely an advantage,” Sceviour said. “Coming in and playing for a coach you’ve play under for two years and he’s running the same systems when you played for him, you don’t have to think, you can just go out and play and think about what you have to do personally. It just makes the game a lot easier to go out and play.”

The 2007 draft pick (fourth round) made his NHL debut last season, getting called up when the Stars were hit hard by injuries and playing in a game at Philadelphia.

“That game was great, it was fun. It was an awesome experience,” said Sceviour. “Now I want to have more of those. It gets you greedy.”

The Stars thought he was a guy who should be pushing for NHL time coming into this season. And so did Gulutzan, and that was before he became the new bench boss in Dallas.

“When I left Colton in April after we lost to Milwaukee in playoffs we talked about how the price of poker had gone up for him,” Gulutzan said. “When he talked in April, I said now you’ve got to show them in the third year of your deal that you are knocking at the door a little bit, and he is.”

Injury notes

Stars captain Brenden Morrow, who has not been practicing since tweaking a knee in the preseason opener against Montreal, is skating.

“He’s going to be close. It’s up to Brenden now,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “He skated [Wednesday] and said he was pretty good.”

Still, Gulutzan said there is no need to rush Morrow back into preseason action with the season opener still more than a week away.

Forwards Jamie Benn (groin) and Adam Burish (groin) are skating as well.

Stars vs. Florida

The Stars will play their sixth preseason game and their final one at home when they host the Florida Panthers Thursday night at American Airlines Center. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Roster at 32

The Stars roster now stands at 32 D Jordie Benn, G Tyler Beskorowany, D Brenden Dillon, F Matt Fraser, F Ryan Garbutt, F Luke Gazdic and D Dan Spang were assigned to the Texas Stars on Wednesday.

Stars cut roster by seven players

September, 28, 2011
Forward Matt Fraser, defenseman Brenden Dillon and goalie Tyler Beskorowany are among the seven players assigned to the Texas Stars today, cutting Dallas' roster to 32 players. Here's the list of players assigned to Texas.

D Jordie Benn
G Tyler Beskorowany
D Brenden Dillon
F Matt Fraser
F Ryan Garbutt
F Luke Gazdic
D Dan Spang

Stars make roster moves

September, 26, 2011
The Dallas Stars cut their roster to 39 players today by moving six players.

They sent D Jace Coyle, D Hubert Labrie, D Brad Lukowich, F Ondrej Roman and F Mathieu Tousignant to the Texas Stars of the AHL.

They also released F Stephen Schultz from a professional tryout. Schultz is under an AHL contract with Texas for this season.

Friday Frisco update

September, 23, 2011
FRISCO -- It was a pretty quiet day in Frisco. The Stars practiced in two groups again today, a little less than two hours for each group.

I talked to a couple more guys about Mike Modano’s retirement. This time it was captain Brenden Morrow, who played with Modano starting back in the late 90’s, and Toby Petersen, a Minnesota native who followed Modano when he was playing for the North Stars.

Here are a couple of quotes.

Morrow on Modano’s impact on hockey in Dallas

“We all owe a lot to him. He put in a lot of time and effort into getting the groundwork done here in Texas in selling the game and starting it from the grassroots. None of us were part of it, but we’ve heard the stories of the time and effort that he put in. The stuff off the ice we are very grateful for and then his career speaks for itself.”

Morrow on his first pro season (1999-00) and playing with Modano

“He was in his prime. I remember training camps, just watching him shoot pucks and skate down the ice. Everything seemed effortless, but it was done with a lot of power and grace. He was a fun guy to watch. Playing with him you had to tell yourself to quite watching him and go play because it was pretty impressive to watch.”

Petersen on Modano’s impact on USA hockey

“It was and still is huge. Growing up in Minnesota, when he played for the Stars, he was the guy and it was nice to see a guy who wasn’t from Canada coming in and making such a big impact on the American hockey scene. I don’t think it can be stated enough how big an impact he had on the USA Hockey program.”

Petersen playing with Modano

“It was an awesome experience, seeing the way he went about his business and just seeing the raw talent he had. It was great to be part of a team with him.”

Modano notes

* Mike Modano has been added to the Dallas Stars alumni game, which will be played October 2.

*The Stars added Modano to the team’s roster today, placing an “A” next to his name.

*The NHL Network will be airing a tribute to Mike Modano on Saturday at 6pm ET/5pm CT titled "Mike Modano: American Icon." The program takes a look at his life and career, starting from his childhood in Livonia, Mich., through his final game with the Dallas Stars in 2010.

Friday’s practice lineup

Group 1




Group 2


Jordie Benn-Fortunus


Wednesday practice update/Thursday lineup

September, 21, 2011
FRISCO -- The Stars were back in Frisco today, holding their first practice since returning from Canada, where training camp opened this weekend.

The Stars will play their preseason home opener Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche at American Airlines Center. Here's the lineup for that game.



Lehtonen (starter)

You can start to see what coach Glen Gultuzan is contemplating with as far as line combinations, or at least at the moment. He had Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro and Michael Ryder as a trio Tuesday night in Montreal. Thursday night he'll roll out the possible combinations of Steve Ott, Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson and another of Adam Burish, Vernon Fiddler and Radek Dvorak.

"We're still looking for chemistry. We have an idea. We have a game plan," Gulutzan said. "We also have an ulterior game plan. We may go with a couple things here and we may change come the weekend just to give our team some options. I think with depth you have options. We want to make sure we have three solid lines that can play against the top lines in the league and we want to make sure that our fourth line is a line that gets out there to give us energy, contribute and give the team a little bit of a lift and spark when it needs to. We're looking for that balance."

Injury notes

*Gulutzan said the Stars will continue to be cautious with defenseman Stephane Robidas, who is coming off hip surgery during the offseason. Robidas, who sat out Sunday's scrimmage as a precaution, continues to practice but the Stars will be careful about putting him into preseason games.

"We're just taking it slow with Robi," Gulutzan said. "He's practiced and he can practice. He's going to be ready, but these [preseason] games don't give any points. I think we'll just let him simmer until he's really chomping at the bit and then we'll let him loose. He's been on his program and his rehab and he's right on course. When he' says he is ready we'll put him in."

*Gulutzan said the Stars also will be cautious with Brenden Morrow, who tweaked a knee in Tuesday night's game against Montreal.

"He's going to go on the Robidas program," Gulutzan said. "You never know with Brenden. He came off last night and I didn't see a grimace on his face or anything. I thought he lost an edge. He hurt his finger last night, too, which he has done many, many times and you can't see it in the guy. We're going to put him on the Robidas program, too."

*Scott Glennie is day-to-day, but is not expected to be ready by the weekend.

Texas Stars open camp next week

The Texas Stars will open training camp next week. Players report for physicals on Monday and the first on ice session is Tuesday at Cedar Park Center. More information is here.

Thoughts on camp so far

September, 21, 2011
Every day counts and everyone matters. That is the motto this year for the Dallas Stars. GM Joe Nieuwendyk has brought it up a few times when I’ve talked to him. Some of the players have as well.

That’s been the theme of training camp, which shifts from Prince Edward Island to Frisco today. The focus of a lot of what has gone on during practice so far has been the details of team play, the backbone or spine of the team as head coach Glen Gulutzan likes to call it.

Defensive zone play was a big focus early on. Defensive structure is a key area where Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk wants the team to improve on this season, and Gulutzan’s teams seem to always play with good defensive structure. At least that was what I saw when I went to Cedar Park to watch the Texas Stars play the last two seasons. His teams don’t give up a lot of quality chances. I'm betting there will be an improvement in that area this year.

I’ll say this about Gulutzan, he is detailed and organized. Taped just outside the locker room door the other day there was a list of the day’s lines and defensive pairings along with diagrams and hand-written notes on what appeared to be one of the items on the day’s practice agenda. It’s not uncommon to see him talking to a player, answering questions or further explaining some point about what he’s implementing. As Nieuwendyk pointed out, Gulutzan comes from a teaching background and that’s what makes him a good coach.

Gulutzan keeps things moving along too. The Stars practice with pace. He said after the first days that if you want to play with pace, which the Stars do, then you have to practice with pace. Even his post practice interviews are done with pace.

As far as players that stood out, I asked Nieuwendyk about it and he noted that he liked Vernon Fiddler bringing his work ethic to the rink each day. That goes back to that “every day counts” part of the team motto.

Fiddler is an important part of the equation this season on the “everyone matters” front as well. Depth is key to the Stars’ fortunes this season. It’s hurt them the past few seasons and it’s something that Nieuwendyk addressed this summer. Guys like Fiddler, Radek Dvorak and Jake Dowell are key guys as far as the forwards. Adam Burish, Tom Wandell and Toby Petersen, too.

The NHL regular season is a long grind. A marathon. Everybody who suits up during the season – including anyone who comes up from the minors – needs to contribute in some way. It’s not just about who ends up putting up the big stats, but guys who can do all the little things and chip in now and then on the score sheet. So, it was nice to see Fiddler and Dvorak click in the team’s first scrimmage Sunday night at the Charlottetown Civic Centre. Good to see a guy like Travis Morin look pretty good and a young guy pushing for time like Matt Fraser play well. Minor league vets liked Francis Wathier and Ray Sawada looked solid.

Of course, you need your top guys to be your top guys and it was a positive that Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro and Michael Ryder clicked in the first preseason game Tuesday night in Montreal. Jamie Benn and Steve Ott looked pretty good together in the scrimmage. Benn has been very impressive, even in those pre-camp skates in Frisco. Loui Eriksson is, well, Loui Eriksson – a top player in this league. Ott, Benn and Eriksson had a shift or two together in Sunday’s scrimmage and looked very good as a trio.

On the defensive side of things, newcomers Adam Pardy and Sheldon Souray – both trying to have bounce back seasons – look poised to do that based on the first few days. This was my first chance to get a good look at Pardy and I liked what I saw. I think he’s taller than the 6-2 they have him listed as and he moves really well. Souray looks engaged. The kids pushing for time – Brenden Dillon and Philip Larsen – both played well. Dillon was paired with Stephane Robidas in PEI and I think that really was a plus for him.

Some of the younger prospects stood out as well. Jamie Oleksiak shook off some early nerves and really came on. He was paired with Brad Lukowich and you could tell that paid some big dividends for the big guy. Brett Ritichie didn’t look out of place out there either. Jack Campbell played well in the scrimmage, his first real taste of NHL training camp action.

The goaltenders have looked fine. Tyler Beskorowany has been a guy who has really stood out to me. It should be a good battle between him and Richard Bachman for playing time in Cedar Park.

It’s still early and a long way to go before the opener and a long, long season ahead. But so far it’s been a promising first few days of camp/preseason.

Stars lineup for tonight

September, 20, 2011
Here's the Stars lineup for tonight's preseason game in Montreal. Game time is at 6:30 p.m. and the game will be carried on The Ticket with Ralph and Razor calling the game.




One other note, the Stars have apparently assigned Brett Ritchie and Alexd Theriau back to juniors. Both players were on my flight to Toronto this afternoon.

Tuesday morning skate update

September, 20, 2011
CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island -- The Dallas Stars are on the ice this morning for their final practice in Prince Edward Island. The squad for tonight's preseason game at Montreal is on the ice right now.

It's a little different than the list of possible players the team sent out last night and we should get a roster later today. But here's who is on the ice this morning and the lines they are rolling.




I am off to catch a flight back to Dallas. Tonight's game is at 6:30 p.m. and will be carried on the Ticket with Ralph and Razor providing the coverage and the analysis.

A fresh start for Adam Pardy

September, 19, 2011
CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island -- Dallas Stars defenseman Adam Pardy’s road to the NHL wasn’t exactly a smooth one. Sometimes it was more like a roller coaster ride, especially his first season as a pro when he was transferred between the AHL and ECHL eleven times.

“Honestly, I never thought I had a chance in hell of making it. I didn’t think I was going to get past the East Coast League,” Pardy said. “I think in the month of March it was six times I was up and down, up for four or five days, down for four or five days. It was pretty intense and the NHL seemed pretty far away.”

That was the 2005-06 season. The ECHL team he spent time with was the Las Vegas Wranglers. The coach back then was Glen Gulutzan, now the head coach of the Dallas Stars. Gulutzan said he and Pardy reminisced recently about a conversation they had at the end of the defenseman’s up and down first pro season.

“There was a time there in Las Vegas when he was our seventh defenseman as a young kid,” Gulutzan said. “In our year end meeting I asked him, ‘Where did you start when you first got here?’ He said, ‘I was probably your worst D.’ I said, ‘Where did you finish?’ and he said, ‘I thought I finished in your top four.’ And he was in our top four by the end of the year. And I told him, “Now that’s the jump you’ve got to make next year in the American League and the year after that you’ve got to make that jump to get into the NHL.’ Lo and behold he has.”

Now the two are together again after Pardy signed a two-year, $4 million contract with the Stars on the first day of free agency this past summer. The Stars like the 27-year-old defenseman because he has size (6-2, 220 pounds) and mobility.

“What he brings us is that big body that can move on the line,” said Gulutzan. “He’s a defender that can get in the way of the shots and he can penalty kill and he can play left or right side. The ability to have a big, mobile young guy like that defend like that is important.”

Pardy likes the Stars because they are a good fit and present him with something that he saw as slipping away in Calgary, where he played the last three seasons.

“It’s an opportunity. Near the end in Calgary it just seemed like things were going nowhere. It was coming to a dead end,” Pardy said. “This is a new opportunity and challenge. It’s going to be fun. New contract, new team. Lot of great guys here and it’s been easy to fit in and adjust. There are a lot of guys my age, whereas in Calgary there were a lot of older guys. I’m excited to get out there and get the opportunity to play. I’ve played for Gully, so there’s that familiarity. It’s a fresh start.”

It’s also a chance for Pardy to bounce back after a rough final season in Calgary, one that ended early due to a shoulder injury. He had surgery in February. Sunday’s scrimmage at the Charlottetown Civic Centre was the first opportunity to put the shoulder to a good test.

“[Sunday] night was the first bumps I’ve taken and it felt great,” said Pardy. “It was nice to be back, it was such a long time since I played a game. It was good to get that feeling back.”

The Stars holding camp in PEI is a homecoming of sorts for Pardy, who was born in Newfoundland and attended Andrews Hockey School in Prince Edward Island as a teenager. The school is now located in the CARI Complex, where the Stars are practicing during their stay in PEI. It was in Summerside, PEI when Pardy attended. Pardy is one of several young players to attend that school and go on to an NHL career.

“It was a good time,” said Pardy. “It’s nice to be back. It’s good to come back east, kind of get that laid back feeling, nice people, good food. It’s been a fun few days here and nice to get things going.”

And get that fresh start underway.

Monday training camp notes

September, 19, 2011
CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island -- Here are some notes from day three of Dallas Stars training camp in Prince Edward Island. The Stars practiced in two groups again, each session lasted about an hour-and-a-half. This is the last full day of practices before the team starts on the preseason schedule. They play at Montreal Tuesday night. The game will be carried on the radio – Ralph and Razor doing the honors on The Ticket.

As far as the focus of that game in Montreal, Gulutzan said he will be looking at how the team is implementing all those backbone elements he has been talking about the first few days.

“The backbone and refining it,” he said. “We’re getting questions now and that’s good. We’re getting questions from players about this situation and that situation and that’s where the true learning occurs. Players are starting to think, what about this other alternative. That’s what hockey is, it is other alternatives and other things happen on the ice. Now the players are engaged and we’ll kind of refine, modify and get clearer and clearer as we go.”

Gulutzan also said the team will start working on special teams tomorrow. They’ll be using game days to focus on the power play and penalty kill.

“Going forward we are going to use our practice days to practice our backbone and pregame skates to practice our specialty teams,” Gulutzan said. “We’ve got to maximize that game day opportunity. That 50 minute skate in the morning, instead of just having a loosen up skate that maybe we’d have during the regular season, we have to use that hour or 50 minutes for specialty teams.”

Roster trimming

Gulutzan said he and Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk would meet Monday to discuss a timeline for whittling down the roster, which now stands at 49 players. A couple of the junior players could be headed back to their teams as early as Tuesday.

Glennie still out

Forward Scott Glennie, who did not participate in Sunday’s scrimmage due to what the team called a “tweak” did not practice on Monday.

Stu Barnes’ new gig

Stu Barnes, who had been an assistant coach with the Stars, is now officially a hockey operations consultant. Barnes was looking for a change so he could spend more time with his family. The new position will allow him to do that, but he’ll remain a big part of the what the Stars do.

“Barnsey is a valuable guy, not only for myself but for the coaching staff,” said Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk. “He’s a hardworking guy that understands a lot of different aspects and he’ll be good for me and he’ll be good for the coaching staff.”

Barnes is helping out with the on-ice coaching at training camp with associate coach Willie Desjardins not with the club due to the death of his father.

Practice lineup

Group A




Group B


Jordie Benn-Daley


Vernon Fiddler defines hard to play against

September, 18, 2011
CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island -- The Dallas Stars want to be a harder team to play against this season. Hard to play against is Vernon Fiddler’s identity. He said it has to be.

Being hard to play against is a term that gets tossed around a lot. In Fiddler’s case, there are several parts to the equation.

“He provides us a presence in faceoffs, he can play against the other team’s top lines, he's a top penalty killer in the league. It's that versatility, that hard to play against style of play,” said Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan. “You can’t misconstrue [hard to play against] for body checks. The faceoff circle, the PK, the tenaciousness on the forecheck and backcheck, those things are actual hard things to play against. He’s going to bring that to our club.”

Fiddler said hard to play against is is doing little things that can be a big nuisance to the opposition.

“It’s being a pain in the [butt], doing little things that get other players off their game,” he said. “It’s nothing is given easy out there. Every inch that they get they have to earn it. That’s how I feel I can contribute to this lineup.”

Fiddler, who signed a three-year, $5.4 million contract with the Stars in July, was a top priority for GM Joe Nieuwendyk in free agency. The 31-year-old Fiddler is an important part of the Stars’ plan to have a strong group of role players that will give them a deeper, more balanced lineup.

“Probably the biggest key will be Vern Fiddler,” said Nieuwendyk. “Here’s a guy that will be our third line center, kind of solidify that line and give us an identity on the bottom grouping of our lines.”

The Stars are familiar with Fiddler, who spent the last two seasons with Phoenix and was with Nashville before that. Stars captain Brenden Morrow has learned even more about Fiddler now that he is seeing him on a daily basis.

“I didn’t know how fast he was,” Morrow said. “He’s a speedy guy, really reliable; someone that Gully can put out in any situation and feel comfortable with him out there.”

And Fiddler’s reputation of being hard to play against? Morrow said some guys annoy you with words, but Fiddler does it with his work.

“He gets under your skin because he doesn’t give you any free space out there,” said Morrow. “Seeing him skate out there, now you know why. He’s such a slick skater he can get around pucks and get around you, turn pucks over and he doesn’t give you any space. That’s what’s kind of annoying.”

Mix in some annoying with the team’s skill and Fiddler thinks the Stars will be just what they are hoping to be – hard to play against.

“You look around the dressing room with young (Jamie) Benn, Morrow, [Mike) Ribeiro, Loui (Eriksson) and (Michael) Ryder, there’s some scoring punch there,” said Fiddler. “We’re going to have some tough lines to play against, not only are they scorers but they are guys that are hard to play against like (Steve) Ott. You look at our lineup and you see some hard guys to play against. That’s what we’ve got to get to, getting teams to be scared to come into our building and being miserable to play against.

Video: Stars scrimmage in PEI

September, 18, 2011
CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island -- Here's some video of Sunday's Dallas Stars scrimmage at the Charlottetown Civic Centre.

This is about three minutes from the second period during which, unfortunately, there was no goal scoring.

Team Black wins scrimmage in a shootout

September, 18, 2011
CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island -- Team Black defeated Team White 4-3 in a shootout in the Dallas Stars scrimmage at the Charlottetown Civic Centre Sunday evening. Tom Wandell scored the lone goal of the shootout, roofing a shot over goalie Jack Campbell to give Team Black the victory.

"It was nothing really. I just a made a move to the left and put it up high," said Wandell. "It was nice though. It was nice to score."

Wandell's goal came after the first nine shooters failed to score in the shootout, which the two sides went to right after the game ended in a regulation tie.

Team Black goalie Richard Bachman stopped Steve Ott, Jamie Benn, Vernon Fiddler, Radek Dvorak and Loui Eriksson in the shootout. Campbell stopped Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro, Michael Ryder and Toby Petersen before Wandell's goal.

Francis Wathier, Travis Morin and Morrow scored for Team Black. Morrow' shot from the slot with 10:15 remaining tied the game at 3-3 and forced the shootout.

Vernon Fiddler led the Team White attack, picking up a goal and an assist. Fiddler set up the game's first goal 31 seconds into the night. He won an offensive zone draw back to Radek Dvorak, who ripped a shot from the right circle past Andrew Raycroft. Fiddler scored early in the third period, roofing backhand shot over Richard Bachman early in the third to give Team White a 3-2 lead.

Steve Ott also scored for Team White, banging home a rebound past Bachman after Jamie Benn made a great rush through the Team Black defense and got a shot on net.

"Playing along side Jamie Benn makes things a lot easier out there," said Ott. "He skated up the ice, made a couple nice moves, had a nice shot and I picked up some garbage and then put it in. I'll hopefully see that a lot this year if I get the opportunity to play with him. He's such a gifted player that there are going to be a lot of loose pucks laying around."

Robidas, Glennie sit out

Defenseman Stephane Robidas and forward Scott Glennie did not participate in Sunday's scrimmage. Glennie had what a team official called a "tweak" and was held out for precautionary reasons. Robidas also was held out for precautionary reasons, but the Dallas defenseman said he was fine.

Gulutzan's thoughts

Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan watched Sunday's scrimmage from suite at the Charlotte Civic Center and offered this take on what he saw.

"I thought it was good. We've had two days of practice and I thought we certainly tried to implement some of the stuff we were doing," Gulutzan said. "You can still see some turnovers there, guys are still in the summer hockey mode a little bit. A few more turnovers than you'd like. But that is part and parcel for this time of year. You've got to get those little speed bumps out, but I like what we did."

As for players that caught his attention, Gulutzan didn't get into too many specifics.

"I thought there were lots of good guys. Obviously you seen Benny (Jamie Benn) flying around out there. I thought he had some real good jump," Gulutzan said. "I liked the way all the goalies played. There were some chances and they all made some real good saves. Nothing really stood out at me tremendously. I thought a lot of guys played pretty well."


There was a lot of line juggling during the scrimmage, but here's what it looked like at the start.

Team White


Jordie Benn-Daley


Team Black