Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Stars Fall to Red Wings 6-5 in Traverse City Championship Game

The Dallas Stars gave up four unanswered goals in the third period to lose the Traverse City Prospect Tournament championship game to the Detroit Red Wings 6-5. Ever since 2008, the Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup has eluded the Stars.

The most interesting subplot of the game was the matchup between the two top line centers. Ty Dellandrea's counterpart was Joe Veleno, a natural scorer whom the Stars famously passed on in the 2018 entry draft in favor of Dellandrea. At the time, Veleno was the most conventional pick available at number thirteen overall, and many expected the Stars to take him as an easy choice.

Veleno scored two goals in the span of a minute to give the Red Wings the lead, finishing the tournament with a dominant total of seven tallies. Dellandrea had a nice game, finishing with a goal, and a decent tournament, but Veleno was better. It probably doesn't mean much, but unfairly or not, these two players will be compared with one another for the foreseeable future.

Defenseman Emil Djuse and winger Tye Felhaber both scored two points a piece, while Riley Damiani, Joel Kiviranta, and John Nyberg also chipped in with goals. Blue chip goaltender Jake Oettinger did not have a great showing overall in the contest but did make some key saves in the early going before the wheels came off the in the third period.

Though the Stars will have to settle for second place, the tournament was a great opportunity for several key prospects to show their skills. Several players stood out, but the main ones that come to mind are Kiviranta, Tufte, Felhaber, and Djuse. The Stars prospect pool is objectively better than it was one season ago. 

Today's lines:
Felhaber-Dellandrea-Kiviranta
Tufte-Damiani-Robertson
Caamano-Gardner-Mascherin
Porco-Cuglietta-Melnick

Gleason-Barteaux
Harley-Djuse
Nyberg-Jago

Oettinger

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Mattinen, Tyszka, Douglas

Monday, September 9, 2019

Riley Tufte Turns in Strong Performance in 5-3 Stars Win Over Blue Jackets

Adam Mascherin finished with two goals, but Riley Tufte was the most noticeable Dallas Stars player on Monday afternoon, turning in a two point outing in a 5-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Both players had goals on the power play while Ty Dellandrea notched one of his own on the man advantage to push the lead to 4-2 late in the second period.

Rhett Gardner opened the scoring with a goal from in close early in the first period to give the Stars a lead they would never relinquish. Mascherin's second goal, an empty netter, came in the waning seconds of regulation when Columbus was threatening after a tipped shot pulled them within one in the third period.

The Stars penalty kill got plenty of work in the contest having to kill of seven total penalties, including one minute and fifteen seconds of 5-on-3. In the end, they gave up two goals on the PK but could have ceded more had Jake Oettinger not played well.

In terms of the lineup, Curtis Douglas came out in favor of Diego Cuglietta. Tye Felhaber found himself on the top line and Riley Tufte played in all situations. On the back end, Tanner Jago was tabbed for third pairing duty.

The victory gives the Stars a decent chance at making the championship game tomorrow provided the New York Rangers lose to the Minnesota Wild. Stay tuned.

Today's lines:
Felhaber-Dellandrea-Kiviranta
Tufte-Damiani-Robertson
Caamano-Gardner-Mascherin
Porco-Cuglietta-Melnick

Gleason-Barteaux
Harley-Djuse
Nyberg-Jago

Oettinger

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Mattinen, Tyszka, Douglas

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Joel Kiviranta Scores Hat Trick in 7-4 Loss to Rangers

Joel Kiviranta was the standout for the Dallas Stars tonight in Traverse, netting a hat trick in a 6-4 loss to the New York Rangers. Colton Point got the start and took the loss, allowing six goals on 22 shots. Number seven was an empty netter with 1:22 left.

The Stars stayed with the same players as last night in the lineup but shuffled the lines. Kiviranta was elevated to the top line, which suited him well, with Jason Robertson and Ty Dellandrea. Tye Felhaber dipped to the third line while Riley Tufte was elevated to the second. Full lines are below.

The tournament takes Sunday off, and the Stars play Columbus on Monday at 1 PM.

Tonight's lines:
Robertson-Dellandrea-Kiviranta
Tufte-Damiani-Mascherin
Caamano-Gardner-Felhaber
Douglas-Melnick-Porco

Harley-Gleason
Nyberg-Barteaux
Djuse-Mattinen

Point

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Tyszka, Cuglietta (scratch)

Friday, September 6, 2019

Dallas Takes 2-1 Win in First Game of Traverse Tourney

Dallas made a strong opening bid in their first game action of any sort in the 2019-20 season, winning Game 1 of the Traverse City Tournament over Minnesota 2-1.

The lines are below and are probably the most interesting items of the game. Nick Caamano, who wore the C, lined up with touted prospects Jason Robertson and Ty Dellandrea across the top. 2019 first-rounder Thomas Harley took top pairing with Ben Gleason, a standout from last year's tournament.

Dallas goals came from Nicholas Porco (assisted by Dellandrea) and Rhett Gardner (assisted by Riley Tufte and Ben Gleason). There was a fight in the first period with Curtis Douglas, the 6'8" winger, dropping the mitts. Dallas ended the first up 1-0 and extended the lead to 2-0 in the second.

Nico Sturm cut the lead to 2-1 but Dallas would hold on to the end, including killing a four-minute minor penalty for high sticking. Dallas outshot the Wild nearly 2:1 in the game.

The Stars are set to play the Rangers tomorrow at 6 PM Central.

Tonight's lines:
Caamano-Dellandrea-Robertson
Mascherin-Damiani-Felhaber
Tufte-Gardner-Kiviranta
Douglas-Melnick-Porco

Harley-Gleason
Nyberg-Barteaux
Djuse-Mattinen

Oettinger

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Tyszka, Cuglietta (scratch)

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Your Roadmap to Texas Stars Opening Night

(Credit: Texas Stars)
Just over a month from now, the Texas Stars will lace them up for the first time in the 2019-20 season. The road to their eleventh year will start this weekend in Traverse City. Here’s the roadmap to puck drop on October 4th.

Traverse City Prospects Tournament
September 6-10 in Traverse City, Michigan

The traditional beginning of the season event returns for the umpteenth year. Texas Stars head coach Derek Laxdal is the head coach of the prospects team in the northern Michigan town of Traverse City, pitted against seven other teams in a quick four-game tournament. The Stars have already released their roster for the event, which contains a plethora of players who will be with the Texas Stars this season and a number who might get a tryout look as well. The games are usually streamed online, since they are available on Fox Sports in Michigan as well.

Dallas Stars Training Camp
September 13-15 in Frisco, Texas

The first chance for most to see the newest crop of Stars comes just a few days after the close of the Traverse City tourney. Dallas opted to keep their training camp close to home this season, very close, with their usual practice facility serving as the venue. Big things to watch for here include those players who are right on the cusp of the NHL. How does Denis Gurianov perform? Where is Justin Dowling slotted? Does Joel L’Esperance play in heavily? However, it’s a lot of drills that are hard to decipher. That’s why we’ve got...

Dallas Stars Preseason
September 16-28

Seven games across 13 days will help the Stars pare down the roster from the giant group they will start with on the 13th. Texas Stars on Dallas contracts figure to all get at least one game in the preseason to see where they are in their development. Cuts will be rolling through this period and assignments to Texas will follow for many. If it wasn’t obvious, the last few players cut figure to be the first callups when injuries occur during the season.

Texas Stars Training Camp
September 23-26 in Cedar Park, Texas

After Dallas has made some cuts, the Texas Stars kick off camp on Monday the 23rd. Derek Laxdal, new assistant Neil Graham, and a bevy of assistants from player development and elsewhere in the organization will get the team ready for two preseason games to end the week. The roster will be full of tryout players looking to make a mark. Many of those will already be on contract to play in Idaho, if they don’t get a PTO in Texas. Either way, Texas knows what they have in Idaho when they need to call on them thanks to this camp. Practices are not open to the public.

Texas Stars Preseason
September 26-27

Bucking convention, Texas will play on Thursday and Friday this year for the preseason. Generally, the first game of the two, this year in San Antonio, is the “ECHL” game, where the players who are tryouts or on contract to the ECHL get a chance to show their stuff. Many cuts are generally made that night, and the team plays again in Cedar Park on Friday with a lineup that looks a lot like what they plan to roll out on opening night, minus any players who are still lingering in Dallas for the last few days before the NHL season opens up on October 3rd.

Opening Night vs. Tucson
October 4

After a week of practice, Texas faces Tucson to open 2019-20 with a roster full of potential stories to tell. Who will grab our attention? Who will demand a callup? Will Texas find its way back to the playoffs?

Monday, August 5, 2019

After Ten Years, Travis Morin Retires as the Face of the Texas Stars Franchise

(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
After originally joining the Texas Stars on a tryout contract in 2009, Travis Morin announced his retirement last week after ten years in Cedar Park and a career arc that now makes his name synonymous with Texas Stars hockey. A 25-game PTO turned into three visits to the Finals, a Calder Cup championship, an MVP trophy and a playoff MVP trophy for the now 35-year old Minnesota native.

“I’ve been thinking about it the last few years trying to figure out how long I would want to play and how I would want things to go,” Morin told 100 Degree Hockey when reached by phone on vacation in Minnesota late last week.

“At the end of the year, getting hurt and not being able to finish the season the way I wanted, I kind of wanted to come back for another year. But as the summer wore on, the more and more I thought about it, the internal dialogue was that I was ready for it to all be done.”

Morin noted that even if the Stars had won the championship in 2018, he probably would have returned to make it an even ten years in Texas. After this season, an influx of new prospects shuffled Morin out of Texas’s plans and he had a decision to make. There was interest this summer for Morin to head out elsewhere in the league, if he had wanted. His pedigree is well established as both a veteran leader and a scoresheet contributor.

“In the end, I wasn't going to move my family, and I wasn’t going to leave them for a year just to go play another year. I was ready for it to be done. [Texas] offered me the job with them, and it seemed like the perfect thing for me and my family.”

That mantra of thinking about his family first was a huge part of what kept Morin in Cedar Park for ten years. His two younger boys were born in Texas and his oldest moved here as an infant, and every new contract year, Morin considered his family first and himself second, a character trait that shines through in how he comports himself generally.

“To give myself the chance to do my best, whether it was the AHL or the NHL, was to be somewhere I was comfortable. My family loves it there, I love it there, and they kept wanting me back… I felt like if someone told me there were greener pastures, you never know how it’s going to work out. When I go somewhere new, sometimes it’s going to take me a little while to get comfortable and do what I really know I can do. I looked at it that way. My family was happy, I was happy, and there wasn’t really a good enough reason to uproot that.”

(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)
Morin describes his new role as “fluid”, as it will have him jumping into all aspects of what it means to put together a hockey team at the AHL level. He’ll be in the coaching room with Derek Laxdal and Neil Graham and working on ice with players in practice and other coaching sessions. He’ll be there to offer advice and guidance to players off ice as well. The team is also putting him to work in the front office. With ten years of experience in Austin, Morin is the face of Texas Stars hockey to so many and will act as a team representative at events across the city. He summarizes, “Whatever I can do to keep promoting the game and the team in the Austin area.”

“They’re giving me that opportunity to see all facets of what goes into hockey. It’s giving me a lot of avenues to explore and figure out if there’s a role I want with the team moving forward that I can expand into next year and moving forward.”

Being the ‘face’ of a team and having your jersey retired are quite the career accomplishments for a player who, by his own admission, wasn’t sure he’d play more than a few years in the ECHL when he started.

“I thought maybe this was going to be a couple of year thing and then I'll be in the real world working somewhere probably in Minnesota… To see where it’s all gone has been amazing in my estimation, and I’m very proud of what I did, what I accomplished and what the team accomplished.

“Obviously I wish I had played more in the NHL and maybe scored a goal up there, but in the end, winning a few championships and playing twelve years in some of the best places in their respective leagues to play is pretty good to me.”

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Travis Morin Announces Retirement, Will Join Texas Hockey Ops

(Credit: Colin Peddle/AHL)
The only remaining member of the Texas Stars inaugural team has announced his retirement as Travis Morin, through the Texas Stars this morning, announced that he will end his professional career after ten years spent in the organization and twelve in professional hockey. The Stars will retire his #23 jersey; he is the only player in team history to wear it.

Morin did it all with the Stars, winning the scoring title, league MVP, playoff MVP and a Cup in 2014 and holding almost every meaningful offensive record in team history. He sits 8th on the AHL's list of most games played by a player on a single team at 686. He ends his career as the Stars regular season franchise leader with 686 games played, 560 points, 175 goals, and 385 assists.

The center was drafted by the Capitals in the ninth round, back in 2004 when the draft went that deep,  after four years at Minnesota State-Mankato. He got a few games in Hershey but never caught on. After leading the ECHL Stingrays in scoring in 2008-09 and winning a Kelly Cup there, Morin got a tryout invite to Texas Stars training camp in 2009. The rest is history. Shortly thereafter he was converted to a standard player contract and eventually found himself on contract with the Dallas Stars.

He made his way into 13 NHL games, collecting just one point among those contests. However, Morin's impact on the Dallas Stars is not in his own personal score line. It's in the score line of Jamie Benn and the score line of Roope Hintz. It's how Radek Faksa or Jason Dickinson take a defensive zone faceoff. It's how Denis Gurianov sets up on the power play for a quick goal from the half wall. It's how he taught others to prepare everyday to win and ultimately to win.

Morin will continue to have an impact on the organization as he moves into a hockey operations role with the Texas Stars this coming season. He is expected to act as a skills coach for the club and have a role in business development and community outreach as well.

The Stars will retire Morin's jersey in a ceremony at their October 19th game against Grand Rapids. It will be the first time the organization has retired a jersey.

Read the press release after the break: