Gameday Preview: Stars v. Houston Aeros

Texas Stars
19-11-3-2, 43 pts
#4 Western Conference
v.Houston Aeros
18-11-3-3, 42 pts
#5 Western Conference
January 11th at 7:30 PM
Cedar Park Center, Cedar Park, TX

Coming off an idle week on the 'playing games' side of things, Texas and Houston have both been far from idle overall. The AHL has been a maelstrom of roster movement in anticipation of the official beginning of the NHL season with training camps starting on Sunday.

Technically, no players have been recalled from their AHL teams yet. Some have already left though, like Mikael Granlund for Houston. Most of the movements so far have been of the ECHL to AHL variety. Texas was no exception in that regard over the past week. The Stars added Austin Smith, Jace Coyle and Justin Dowling from the Steelheads on Monday. Injuries to veterans Tyler Sloan, Travis Morin and Francis Wathier mean that the Stars will likely play that trio this weekend.

The Aeros are sporting some significant injuries of their own. The Third Intermission had to add a disabled list sidebar to their site to keep track:
Bagnall (D) - Leg, 1/6
Connelly (D) - Shoulder, 1/5
Broda (LW) - NR, 12/29
Fontaine (RW) - NR, 12/28
Palmer (RW) NR, 12/26
Scandella (D) - Groin, 12/20
Foucault (LW) NR, 12/11
Bulmer (LW) Knee, 11/25
Brodin (D) Shoulder, 11/2
Add the above to the possibility of losing Zucker as well and these are both depleted teams.

To help aid that situation, the Aeros signed an NHL veteran on Wednesday. Paul Mara has 734 NHL games under his belt and is with Houston on a standard contract, not a tryout. Coach Torchetti told The Third Intermission that Mara should bring veteran leadership to the room.

Speaking of depleted rooms, the Stars were expected to lose Eakin, Vincour, Benn and Dillon to the NHL training camp. However, the CBA will still remain unratified until Saturday. That means that technically Dallas cannot recall their players yet. Some teams like Houston (Granlund) and OKC (Hall, Eberle, Schultz) have already seen their top players depart for the NHL without an official callup. It seems like Texas could get one last look at their NHL-calibre talents tonight and perhaps tomorrow.

Stars injury/call up report:
Wathier, Sloan, Morin (injury)

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