The Dallas Stars shot out of the gates this season with a surprising 4-0 start, even beating hated rivals, the Detroit Red Wings in an emotional contest along the way. Since their strong beginning, the Stars have recorded one more win, but three losses.
Even with the losses, Dallas sits just two points behind the Pacific division leaders, the Los Angeles Kings, who they will face Thursday night in Texas. The Kings also have three losses on the year, but have played one more game. They dropped their last contest to Chicago on Wednesday evening.
With the upcoming match for top of the division, the Dallas Stars have made some adjustments over the last couple of weeks to their roster. Following the game Tuesday against Anaheim, Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas was slapped with an automatic one-game suspension as a result of the boarding and subsequent game misconduct penalty.
To fill the gap left by Robidas’ absence, Dallas has recalled defenseman Phillip Larsen from their AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars. Larsen has played in every regular season game for the Stars this year, which has helped him adjust from the style of play he faced last season in Sweden. Larsen will likely see some playing time on Thursday night, as the Stars need a right-shot during the power play.
In his time with Cedar Park, Larsen has had two assists and has a plus-two rating. Aside from the fact that he seems to be a quick, study and dedicated athlete, Larsen has learned a lot from veteran partner Brad Lukowich. Larsen and Lukowich have been paired on defense for the Texas Stars.
The Stars also assigned left wing Fabian Brunnstrom to the Texas Stars after he failed to earn playing time in Dallas. After a breakout rookie season, Brunnstrom’s productivity dropped considerably last year and he lost much of his ice time to rookie star Jamie Benn.
This season, it appears that newcomer to the team from the Chicago Blackhawks, Adam Burish would be the one to win the roster spot. Stars coach Marc Crawford hopes the additional playing time that Brunnstrom receives in Cedar Park will help develop his skills and bring him back to the consistent producer he was in 2008-09.
The Dallas Stars made some moves off the ice as well already this season by adding former NHL player Gary Roberts as a player development consultant. Roberts played 1,224 career games in 22 seasons in the NHL. He has trained several young players, including the Stars’ James Neal before coming on to the Dallas staff to assist with the conditioning and developing of players throughout the club, at both the NHL and developmental levels.