Friday, October 19, 2012

Gameday Preview: Stars at Houston Aeros

Texas Stars
2-0-0-0, 4 pts
#3 Western Conference
atHouston Aeros
0-2-0-0, 0 pts
#15 Western Conference
October 19th at 7:05 PM
Toyota Center, Houston, TX

After an unblemished first weekend of the season, Texas will go to its second weekend with a three-in-three on the docket. Luckily, this one will put the Stars in the state of Texas for all three games and home at the Cedar Park Center for two of the three. The weekend starts tonight with a visit to the Toyota Center to take on the winless Houston Aeros. Interestingly, Houston and Texas have both played the exact same two teams en route to their divergent records.

Stars fans should not look at the 0-2 record of the Aeros and expect an easy game, however. Houston is a very talented team. New players to watch for include Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund.

Charlie Coyle, on defense in number 3, already has a goal and an assist in two games of action with Houston. He had a ridiculous 34 points in just 17 QMJHL playoffs games last season with the Saint John Sea Dogs. He was a 2010 first round draft pick of the San Jose Sharks but was traded to the Wild in the summer of 2011.

Jason Zucker in the #16 sweater is tied with Coyle for the team lead in points. Zucker was also a 2010 draft pick, along with Coyle and the Stars' Jack Campbell. Zucker and Campbell played together on the U18 and U20 World Junior Championship teams, winning gold in both tournaments.

Finally, Mikael Granlund is the "big" prospect to watch. Drafted just two spots above Jack Campbell, Granlund has been a YouTube sensation and the toast of the SM-liiga for the past four years. Perhaps most famous for his lacrosse style goal in the IIHF World Championship, Granlund has yet to pot a professional goal in North America. Wearing #64, he was named the Finnish Ice Hockey Player of the Year for 2011 and is a very special player.

Texas will continue with a similar lineup as last weekend, surely. The only questions will be on who, of the last six, gets the scratch. I imagine Scott Glennie and Austin Smith will factor into these games this weekend. Then again, it is hard to take out players who have been successful. It is possible that vet Luke Gazdic even takes a seat this weekend. It's unclear if he's showing enough to keep himself in the lineup.

Texas has a 7-8-1-2 record all-time at the Toyota Center.

Stars injury/call up report:
Sceviour (injury)

Website: aeros.com
Blog (official): Pilot to Gunner
Blog (unofficial): The Third Intermission
Twitter: @Houston_Aeros
Twitter: @aero_joe (play-by-play)
Twitter: @TheJoshFisher (PR)

3 comments:

  1. To your final point about Gazdic; was it me or did he only get a few shifts in the first period and none in the second or third in Sunday's game last week? I didnt notice him much after the opening 5 minutes of the game. Seems he's been replaced by Roussel as "agitator". Your thoughts?

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    Replies
    1. He was less effective than many had hoped, including myself, in the first two games. Roussel has hands for fighting and goal scoring, so Gazdic will have to make a huge commitment to scoring and defensive responsibility to stay in the lineup. Those are divergent goals. His team worst minus-22 last season is not helping matters.

      Unfortunately, the AHL does not keep data (publicly available at least) on ice time. In the NHL, we wouldn't have this problem of guessing.

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    2. I totally agree with his replacement, don't get me wrong. I have been waiting for the last 2 seasons for someone to come along and replace Gazdic. Although he is one the very few on the Stars that will have the odd fight here and there (which he usually loses), as you mentioned, his team-worst -22 is horrid and needs to be shored up. I am hopeful that Roussel gets a chance to prove he is the one to do it.

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