Gameday Preview: Stars at San Antonio Rampage

Texas Stars
0-0-0-0, 0 pts
#-- West Division
atSan Antonio Rampage
0-0-0-0, 0 pts
#-- West Division
September 30th at 7:00 PM
Northwoods Ice Center, San Antonio, TX

Welcome back, hockey. We've missed you so much! It's time to take the Texas Stars gear out of the closet and commence a road trip to the Stars first preseason game as the defending West Conference champions of the AHL.

This being Texas's first game, there's not a lot in the tale of the tape. Fans who joined the ranks of the Stars faithful during the playoff run will not recognize over half the team. Such is the nature of the AHL. Players from last year who have departed include veteran defensemen Dan Jancevski, Andrew Hutchinson and Garrett Stafford. At forward, the Stars lost Mathieu Beaudoin, Warren Peters, Tyler Shelast, Sergei Korostin, and Perttu Lindgren. Matt Climie will be on the other side of the ice tonight as well, having signed a deal with the Coyotes in free agency this summer.

However, the Stars, who were a stifling defensive team last year look to some new additions to bring more offensive firepower to the forefront in the 2010-11 campaign. Players like Ondrej Roman, Tomas Vincour, and Philip Larsen look to add to the scoresheet. Coach Gulutzan is determined to still play lockdown defense despite the loss of several key veterans. He will be leaning on the veteran leadership of players like Maxime Fortunus and Brad Lukowich to provide guidance. With current defense struggles in Dallas, coach Gulutzan would do well to provide his defensive corps with a strong basis in blue line fundamentals.

Gagnon has been having a breakout preseason and is going to make it very hard for Coach Crawford to send him to Cedar Park. Severin Blindenbacher and Philip Larsen, two more offensive minded defensemen expected to play for Texas this year, are still with the Dallas. Much like NHL preseason, the AHL preseason is partially geared toward giving younger kids a chance to show through at the next level. ECHL and CHL players should dot the roster. Richard Bachman and Tyler Beskorowany should be your netminders for the evening with the question simply being which one starts.

Stars injury/call up report:

Many players are still with the big club and will not join Texas until later in the preseason.

Blog (unofficial): Rampage with Tony U.
Twitter: @SARampage
Twitter: @SARampage_Voice (play-by-play guy for SA)