27-33-2-2, 58 pts
#15 Western Conference
|Oklahoma City Barons
39-17-4-5, 87 pts
#1 Western Conference
March 23rd at 7:00 PM
Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City, OK
[UPDATE 1:02 PM: Campbell is starting tonight against OKC.]
With playoffs clearly out of reach for the Texas Stars, what is the rest of the season about for them? As previously discussed, it's about the future. The future is now in terms of talent. Texas gained three ATOs this week, two of them Texas draftees. All three could be in the lineup on Friday night.
It is easy to say that Austin Smith will join Taylor Vause among the forward ranks this evening. Austin will wear number nine, as he did in college, in honor of his favorite player, Mike Modano. What isn't clear is whether Jack Campbell will join them.
Campbell has tweeted that tonight's game is a "big game" and he "can't wait". That could just mean that it's his first game with a pro team and it's a big one for him any way you cut it. However, it could also mean that he's getting the start.
Personally, I would not start Campbell in either game this weekend. The earliest I would consider it would be Lake Erie. I think you give him a few games to be in the trenches with the team and ride the pine. From there, why not start him as much as you can? On the other hand, what is there left to lose? Campbell allowed nine goals in his last OHL game and still won. It's not like he isn't used to goals against.
However, there is something to be said for the emotional/mental side of goaltending. We've seen it a lot this season in the body language of Raycroft and Beskorowany. Get down early and you can, if you aren't in the right frame of mind, see that affect your overall game.
Dallas wants to make sure that they do not get into any sort of situation where they hurt Campbell's development by having sent him down into the end of a losing season. Starts are surely what they want, but do they want him to be positively carpet bombed by the best in the league or ease him into it?
That remains to be seen tonight.
Stars injury/call up report:
Vincour, Benn (callup)
Schultz, Fortunus, Tousignant (injury)
Blog (unofficial): NewsOK's Barons Hockey
Blog (unofficial): Oil Field Hockey