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Notes: Trevor Daley welcomed in Dallas, his former home

Petr Mrazek gets his first chance in goal tonight against the Stars

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

DALLAS - Red Wings defenseman Trevor Daley knew it was going to be a little weird walking into the American Airlines Center in Dallas Tuesday morning.

"I walked in here and I had no clue where to go this morning," Daley said . "Guys were like, 'You've never been here?' I had no clue where to go. It's pretty strange coming back. A little bit of emotions but it'll be exciting to get out there and to play."

Daley, who turned 34 Monday, was the Stars' second-round pick, 43rd overall, in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft and spent the first 10-plus seasons of his career there.

There were plenty of people who wanted to say hello to Daley as soon as he arrived for the morning skate.

"It's special," Daley said. "I had some good years here, met a lot of great people. No matter where you go or where you end up, when you show back up and see those faces, it's special. Sometimes things just don't change. It's pretty cool.

"I saw J.J. McQueen over there today. He's a person that I've always looked up to and been with me ever since I got drafted. I got to see him this morning, that was pretty cool. We stay in contact a lot but just to see everybody and the faces, that's the best part. That's what it's all about."

McQueen has been with the Stars for 22 years and is their player development coordinator.

Daley was either injured or had been traded so he had never been to Dallas as a visitor before today.

The Stars are planning a video tribute for him at the first television timeout.

"Finally! It's good to get back," Daley said. "Ever since I left I've been waiting to come back and get a chance to play here. I didn't think it was going to take two years. Obviously it'll be pretty cool. This building, usually when the Red Wings come to town, I remember being on the other side and it's usually a loud building and there's usually a lot of Red Wing fans. I think I might have a lot of fans tonight so it'll be good."

OLD FRIENDS IN TEXAS: Although the Stars are in the Western Conference, there are plenty of ties that bind them to the Wings in addition to Daley.

First is general manager Jim Nill, who spent 19 years with the Red Wings, the last 15 of those as the assistant general manager.

Gemel Smith, a young center on the Stars, is the brother of Wings prospect Givani Smith, who is currently playing for the OHL's Guelph Storm.

Ken Hitchcock, the Stars' head coach, has faced the Wings many times as an opponent and has advised Wings coach Jeff Blashill.

"I got a chance to talk to Hitch a number of times last year, after he was let go in St. Louis," Blashill said. "He's a brilliant hockey mind, I don't think there's any doubt about that. He'll go down as one of the better coaches of all-time. It was really fortunate for me to have that time, I really appreciated it. He was a really good resource for me.

"They're going to not give you anything easy over time. They're going to reload like crazy. They're going to be a hard forechecking team. they're already heavy, so they already spend tons of time in the O-zone, that's what they'll be for sure. That's been whatever team he's coached has been."

Then there's goaltender Ben Bishop, who was a real thorn in the Wings' side when he was with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In 17 regular-season games, Bishop is 11-4-0 with a 1.92 goals-against average and .928 save percentage.

"He's obviously a really big goalie," Justin Abdelkader said. "He takes up a lot of space. There's not much to shoot at. You want to try and get in front of his eyes as much as you can. Be around the net. Funnel pucks in there and get to your opportunities on second and third chances. There will be pucks lying around there. You've just got to get on those."

Bishop has also won his last five games played against the Wings, which includes a 2.39 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.

Luke Witkowski, playing in his second straight game, was teammates with Bishop in Tampa.

"He's big, he covers a lot of the net and he's athletic," Witkowski said. "He's obviously a good goaltender.

"It's tough to score on him, but I've done it in practice, I think I can do it in a game."

LOOKING FOR PETR TO BE GREAT: Jimmy Howard has gotten the Wings off to a 2-0 start, delivering a 1.44 goals-against average and .961 save percentage.

Now Petr Mrazek gets his shot in net.

"I've got great confidence in him, he put tons of work in this summer," Blashill said. "I think he's done all the things he's needed to do to put his game in position to be successful, so as I said in the beginning of the year, we're going to need both goalies will have an impact on our year. Jimmy's been excellent and his game is in a great spot and I believe Petr's is as well."

In three career games against the Starts, Mrazek is 1-1-0 with a 2.33 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.

FACE-OFF WORK: During the morning skate, assistant coach Pat Ferschweiler took a marker and drew marks around a face-off dot to clarify where the players have to be during the draw.

It was a point of emphasis during the preseason about trying to eliminate some of the cheating that goes on.

"I think the thing with lines that all of us coaches are learning right now is you can't take a face-off on your side of the red line without having two people being able to take the face-off," Hitchcock said. "That's the reality of our game, because there's more guys getting kicked out then there are guys taking face-offs. So you better be prepared. We've got centers who will go out on our side of the red line with another guy who can take a face-off, because it's 50-50 whether they're going to get to finish the draw.

"You've got to to be prepared for that, and it's really cost teams already, not being able to a have a quality center ice man out there. You end up bogged down and I've seen three injuries already that have taken place where guys have gotten hurt because they weren't even close to winning a face-off, they get a shot blocked and they're in trouble. You've got to be prepared to adjust to that stuff, because that's the way the way the league's gonna be.

"It's hard not to be jumpy. You want to win the draw. It's hard to stand back and take those draws. Rather than just keep barking that you need to not take it, you'd better have a support cast in there, and that's what we're doing."

Blashill said having more than one player on a line with the ability to take a face-off is definitely important.

"The second guy going in doesn't have much of a chance because if he cheats and get a penalty then you're in a tough spot," Blashill said. "I think some of that is a balance to see how much are they really going to call that penalty. In the preseason they called it all the time. So, our message to our guys is try to win the face-off but do not take a penalty. We had two in our first two (exhibition) games. If they're not calling that second guy as much, then it's more important. If they are, you're kind of just out there with your stick in the dot anyways."

LINEUPS: This is how the lines and defense pairs were for the Wings during the morning skate:

Tomas Tatar-Henrik Zetterberg-Gustav Nyquist

Anthony Mantha-Dylan Larkin-Martin Frk

Abdelkader-Frans Nielsen-Darren Helm

Witkowski-Luke Glendening-Riley Sheahan

Danny DeKeyser-Daley

Xavier Ouellet-Mike Green

Jonathan Ericsson-Nick Jensen

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