|(Credit: Texas Stars)
Through this weird and winding COVID year, we've finally found ourselves at the end. Tonight's game marks the final home series of the season for the Texas Stars. They sit one game below .500 hockey at home (6-7-3) and one game below overall as well.
The Roadrunners, who looked formidable when Texas faced them in March, have faded. The Stars' series against them was actually the beginning of the unwinding. After losing three straight to Texas, Tucson is 7-12-2 since. Somewhat ironically, Texas is 7-12-3 since the same meeting.
Texas looks to close the year with some positivity towards the future in the lineup as well. Despite the loss of Jordan Kawaguchi to season-ending surgery, recent college free agent signing Adam Scheel is joined now by 2020 first-round draft pick Mavrik Bourque on an ATO. Bourque's major junior league, the QMJHL, was the only one of the three able to successfully play a season. He had 43 points in just 28 games for the Shawinigan in his third year there.
Now with six games left there is at least some sense of normalcy as a highly-touted prospect joins the fold for a few games. Don't forget that Texas is still rostering Ty Dellandrea and, of course, Thomas Harley. Mavrik Bourque might be in his first few games, but it's a low-stakes environment. Heavy minutes for the kid and maybe some power play time? Why not? Bourque, Dellandrea, Mascherin, Damiani and Harley on PP1? I think that would be fun to watch even for just a few shifts.
Injuries and callups
Honka (personal leave)
Kawaguchi (season-ending surgery)