Thursday, September 26, 2013

Quick Hits with Justin Dowling: Possible Linemates, Dallas Stars Camp and NHL Chances

Justin Dowling (Credit: Steven Christy)
Justin Dowling is a big part of the core returning player group for the Texas Stars this season. He got a chance to head to Dallas Stars training camp this preseason and is looking to improve on his performance from last year when he collected sixteen goals and fourteen points in 38 AHL games. I got a chance to chat with him after practice on Wednesday.

Calgary was affected by massive flooding in the summer. Was your family impacted at all?
"We were just on voluntary evacuation for a few days. We were up on a hill, so everything was safe."
On getting to head to Dallas Stars training camp for the first time:
"It was good and a lot of fun. It is good to see where you stand up against the NHL guys like Jamie Benn and Ray Whitney. It's good to see where you need to improve."
On what he wants to work on to get to that NHL level:
"I want to make sure I have a good start to the season. I want to work on some little things like the defensive zone and tweaking a few things here and there. I want to work on having a harder shot with [Doug Lidster]. I just want to get off to a good start."
On who might fill the void as the third on his line with Mike Hedden:
"It doesn't matter who is the third player. We have so many good players here and coming from Dallas still. There isn't a guy who wouldn't fit with all the talent in Dallas."
On getting a chance to play again with Brett Ritchie, who was that third player at times in the playoffs:
"We didn't do too much with Ritchie in Dallas but we expect a lot from him. He's a big body and a great hockey player. If he plays [on our line], we are going to do our best to make him the best player he can be on the ice."
On his relationship with Idaho Steelheads head coach and GM Brad Ralph, who he is seeing again for the first time after his callup to Texas last season:
"Brad called me once a month or so [after the callup] just to check in and see how I was doing. Ralph and I had a great relationship, and it was always great when he would call me to see how I was doing. We just talked about life in general, not necessarily about hockey all the time. I always appreciated those calls."
On Brad Ralph's advice to him for advancing his career to the NHL level:
"He's said that he likes me as a player and he knows that somewhere along the line I'll get an opportunity so I should keep plugging away. Don't let my head get down or too down on myself. Stay positive. He was a great player back in the day and he knows what he's talking about."
Texas Stars camp continues today with practice at 9:30 AM.

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