Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Boston Bruins

Bear Essentials On the Road: Dallas, Texas

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Bear Essentials On the Road: DALLAS, TEXAS (American Airlines Center)

After a night's rest, the Bear Essentials is back on the case. Today, the Dallas Stars provide the Bruins first opponent of the regular season and the first game of two in two days. JB

Where are we going?

Dallas at night. (
The city of Dallas encompasses 384 square miles of rolling prairie, with native pecan, cottonwood and oak trees located along the Trinity River and the numerous creeks that feed it. The elevation ranges from 450 to 750 feet.  As the Southwest's leading business and financial center, it boasts the largest wholesale market in the world and lays claim to being one of the top convention cities in the United States.

Trivia: Former Bruin Brian Leetch was born in Texas.

Where are we playing?
The American Airlines Center hosted the All-Star Game in 2007.
Since opening in July 2001, the American Airlines Center has become the premier venue in the South. It’s grand complex with sweeping vistas and inviting passages comprise five concourses, 142 luxury suites, two 50 person “party” suites, and room for 18,532 hockey fans. Designed by world-renowned artchitect David M. Schwarz and Dallas bases HKS, Ic., the American Airlines Center has hosted over 13 million guests at over 1,000 sporting and entertainment events. The Center enjoyed hosting the 2007 NHL All-Star Game, as well as the 2006 NBA Finals.

Who are we playing?
The Stars arrived in Dallas in 1993, continuing the franchise that had formerly been based in Bloomington, Minnesota as the Minnesota North Stars. The North Stars were founded as an expansion team in 1967. In 1978, the owners of the Cleveland Barons purchased them, and the NHL permitted the two franchises to merge. In 1990, the North Stars were sold to a group of investors when Norman Green gained control of the team. He moved the team to Dallas, where they have enjoyed success, including winning the Stanley Cup in the 1998-99 season. 

When are we playing?
8:30 p.m. Boston time.

Who's playing for us?
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room. A graduate of Boston U. and Northeastern, 'Bish' grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Hub of Hockey in 1993. Since then he has made all four rinks at the Beanpot schools, as well as both Gardens, his icebound homes away from home. Prior to joining the TD Banknorth Garden staff in 2005, Bishop had written for several publications, with his primary focus being college hockey. He coauthored the book Bygone Boston in 2003 and hopes someday to pen a bio of Hobey Baker.
You may have read elsewhere that the Bruins got in fairly late last night and because of the flight delay and tomorrow's game versus the Phoenix Coyotes there was no morning skate for the gentlemen who will play tonight. The only guys who were on the ice were Tim Thomas, Dennis Wideman, Brandon Bochenski, Jeremy Reich and a couple of coaches.

One would guess that this group is the set that is NOT playing this evening. So, that leaves us with...

Manny Fernandez
Tim Thomas



Is the game on?
YES. Tonight begins NESN's hockey coverage. Rob Simpson, Andy Brickley and Jack Edwards are all here and ready to go.

2:23 p.m. ET
The boys have just had their lunch and will, no doubt, look to catch some more Z's over the next three hours or so. I think I may go scout around the building for a little bit as I am not sure when I will be in Dallas ever again.

Seen from the highway last night, I was dazzled by the neon lights and the size of this town.

In the daytime, the American Airlines Center is just fantastic looking. Just beautiful. And folks, the inside is something else, too. If we are not in Boston, Montreal or Toronto, this is a terrific place to start the season.

4:12 p.m.
Okay. I'll admit it. I got lost. And when I get lost, I get looooooooooost.

And when I mean I did not know where I was, I mean it was not just I'm-next-to-Quincy-Market- looking-for-City-Hall-lost. I was in Charlestown-looking-for-Fenway-Park-lost.

L-O-S-T. Not good.

However, before losing my way I enjoyed the artwork at Cathedral of Guadalupe and I did find the Sixth Floor Museum next to Dealey Plaza (the site of the Kennedy assassination), but after I traversed Dallas' Historic West End I ended up completely off my track.

Curiously, I found out that Dallas has a light rail system (like the green line) and a trolley system (think San Fransisco). Next time I will have to ride...but I digress.

I found a CVS where I purchased a diet Dr. Pepper Cherry Vanilla -- which summarily exploded. I got to my room and the key would not work. Yada, yada,yada.

Anyway, I am back and have to pack up before heading over to the arena at 5:45 your time...

6:12 p.m.
We're all checked out of the hotel and hitting the bus to the American Airlines Center. Everyone seems very excited to be heading over to the rink and it is clear that the team is ready for the regular season to begin.

6:42 p.m.
John Bucyk and I are heading to the press box to set up for tonight....remember, the game starts at 8:30 p.m. Boston time.

6:53 p.m.
Safely ensconced in the press box, I have a little time to go through my tape recorder.

I have one really terrific exchange with Milan Lucic on tape. Mr. Lucic, our rookie forward who stands to play his very first NHL game this evening, had a nice surprise earlier this week. You see, Milan had planned on bringing his one and only suit on this trip --  quite a feat since they are mandatory for the bus and the plane and basically for every other situation you can think of.

A vet came to the rescue.

"On Tuesday, Aaron Ward asked me if I had any suits for the road trip," explained Milan. "And I told him I only had the one -- so he felt like he should give me some suits."

Five suits in fact.

"It was really nice of him," said the rookie, who added, "that it was the second good deed I've seen him perform.

"When we were in Stowe we went out to a restaurant and he saw military kids there with their parents. And he paid for their dinner check.

"He's just an unbelievable person," he said.

Bruins fans will be happy to know that the kind disposition that Mr. Ward displays is not unique around the Boston locker room.

"The guys respect each other," said Lucic as a bottom line. "Everyone does. They just want to make sure that everyone is part of the team and it's really helped me get comfortable.

"I enjoy being around the guys a lot."

Lucic has also vowed to try and reciprocate when it is his turn.

"You have to pay-it-forward as they say," said Milan. "Hopefully, when I am his age and a kid comes along I can help him, in the same sort of sense."

About an hour and a half to game time!

7:49 p.m. (Boston time)
Word is that there is a pretty big opening ceremony tonight, so Our Boys will be in the locker room for a little bit after warm ups.

8:07 p.m.
The boys just left the ice...this is how I saw the lines.
Ward-Chara (sg) Fernandez
Alberts-Ference (bg) Thomas
Stuart-Allen GO BRUINS!

I am heading over to the running recap. See you on the flip side! Go Bruins!

8:19 p.m.
Hey! I forgot. The Playmaker contest is up and running! Click the links on the front page and good luck!

8:21 p.m.
Late breaking news. Snezana and Dobro Lucic, Milan's mom and dad, are in the house for big Lu's big game. Mom works for Air Canada and that helped with the ticket cost!

Good luck to everyone!

View More