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Behind the scenes: Edmonton & Calgary

by Staff Writer / Dallas Stars

The division leading Stars headed into their Western Canada road trip on fire. They earned 15 of 18 possible points so far this month and are looking to continue moving up the standings. Get a glimpse of what went on behind the scenes as the team traveled to Edmonton and Calgary.

Photos by Trey Hill

(newest photos at top)

9:42 PM - The Stars fall to the Flames 7-4; losing sucks.

9:40 PM - The bags are packed and headed to the bus.

9:38 PM - Jeff Woywitka waits in the tunnel for some friends who were at the game.

9:31 PM - Time has run out.

9:27 PM - On his way off the ice, a woman in the stands gives Ott a tongue lashing; he remained, as always, a gentleman.

9:27 PM - Tom Wandell & Francis Wathier watch as Steve Ott steps in to spark the team with a late-period fight.

9:22 PM - With the division-leading Vancouver Canucks just a couple of nights away, it seems Crawford's big-picture plan was to make sure Kari got his full rest.

9:20 PM - Stick change.

9:15 PM - Approaching the mid-way point of the 3rd and the Stars were within striking distance.

9:07 PM - Down by two goals, Kari jumps up off his stool for a quick stretch.

9:06 PM - After giving up a quick goal, you had to wonder if Raycroft's night was almost over.

9:01 PM

8:57 PM - The bench lit up with an early 3rd period goal from Neal; all that belief coming out of the intermission seemed to be gaining traction.

8:57 PM - No pictures please.

8:54 PM - The Stars take the ice for the third period.

8:53 PM - Despite the score, there was a palpable sense of belief that they weren't out of the game.

8:42 PM - Brenden Morrow does the 2nd intermission interview.

8:39 PM - Aaron Gagnon comes off the ice at the end of the 2nd period.

8:38 PM - Brenden Morrow comes to the bench after setting a screen on Nicklas Grossman's goal that brings the Stars within a pair with under a minute to go in the 2nd period.

8:35 PM - As Calgary blows open the game late in the 2nd period, Marc Crawford's emphasis on puck protection goes to eleven.

8:30 PM - Stu Barnes talks with Mike Ribeiro, who would finish the night with three assists and an even +/- rating, despite his team giving up 7 goals.

8:30 PM - "Don't give up, boys. Don't give up," Marc Crawford encouraged his team after going down by two goals in the 2nd period.

8:28 PM - Adam Burish and Steve Ott watch play deep in their offensive zone.

8:20 PM - Scotiabank Saddledome's upper deck just minutes before Calgary scored to take the lead in the 2nd period.

8:18 PM - ...And Razor.

8:18 PM - Ralph...

8:16 PM - "Right out of college, I took a PR job with Anaheim and fell in love with the game. Even now, I'm a sponge - constantly asking questions so I can continue to learn as much as I can about the game." - Mark Janko, Hockey Administration Manager

8:15 PM - Assistant GM, Frank Provenzano, takes a look at some stats during a whistle in the 2nd period.

8:13 PM - Goalie Coach, Mike Valley, keeps a close eye on Andrew Raycroft. Raycroft would finish the evening with just 12 saves on 19 shots.

8:07 PM - Ralph & Razor call the second period from a booth in the rafters of the Scotiabank Saddledome.

7:44 PM - The Stars finish the first period tied at two goals a side.

7:38 PM - Skrastins took a stick to the teeth late in the 1st period.

7:37 PM - Grossman and Robidas change later in the 1st period.

7:35 PM - Steve Sumner cleans Matt Niskanen's visor.

7:30 PM - Karlis Skrastins comes off the ice midway through the 1st period.

7:28 PM - The bench comes alive on a game tying goal by Brad Richards, his 19th of the season.

7:27 PM - Marc Crawford was a picture of calm, despite his team giving up the first goal and the heckling of Calgary's fans, who were hungry for redemption after a 7-goal drumming at the hands of the Minnesota Wild just two nights earlier.

7:19 PM - Mike Ribeiro talks penalty kill with Stephane Robidas.

7:10 PM - Adam Burish comes hobbling off the ice after taking a puck to the foot. True to form, he would return to the ice just moments later.

7:05 PM - Karlis Skrastins gets focused during the anthem.

7:02 PM - Here they come, your Dallas Stars.

6:58 PM - Coach Crawford heads back to the room to talk with his team before the game.

6:49 PM - J.J. McQueen talks treatment with a banged up Jeff Woywitka, Brian Sutherby & Toby Petersen.

6:45 PM - Adam Burish, along with the rest of the team, head back to the locker room.

6:43 PM - Tom Wandell and Aaron Gagnon have a quick chat.

6:42 PM - It seems the lucky little girl doesn't know just how lucky she is.

6:41 PM - Steve Ott takes a break from stretching to toss a puck to a lucky little girl.

6:35 PM - Warm ups are in full swing.

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6:05 PM - Aaron Gagnon runs back to the room after Donkey Ball; he will be a set of fresh legs for the team tonight.

5:58 PM - Graham Clark, Manager of Communications, fields a late media request for Joe Nieuwendyk about his appearance in the upcoming Heritage Classic.

5:53 PM - After their team seized control of the game with a few quick points, Neal, Fistric and Francis Wathier are proving that winning is in fact fun.

5:52 PM - Donkey Ball heats up.

5:49 PM - Jamie Langenbrunner starts to get loose.

5:48 PM - Loui Eriksson's sweater hangs in his locker, despite the fact that he's a bit under the weather and won't be playing tonight.

5:47 PM - Stu Barnes & Brad Richards discuss cleaning up a few things that popped up in Edmonton.

5:47 PM - Burish goes through his game-prep routine.

5:43 PM - There was a little debate about the best layout for tonight's Donkey Ball match; the narrow tunnel in the Scotiabank Saddledome made for cramped quarters.

5:27 PM - The teams pre-game snack is laid out in the training room.

5:24 PM - The warm-up pucks are stacked on the visiting bench.

5:23 PM - Mike Heika updates the Stars blog on and I've found a home in the space beside him. Together we are "visiting print."

5:01 PM - Graham Clark, Manager of Communications, stands by as Robidas does an interview with local media.

4:59 PM - Tonight's starting goalie, Andrew Raycroft, looks at game film of the Calgary Flames.

4:57 PM - Steve Sumner repairs a tear in Brad Richards glove.

4:55 PM - Karlis Skrastins looks over notes in his locker.

4:55 PM - Early arrivers, Stephane Robidas and Grossman, prep their gear in the visiting locker room at Pengrowth Saddledome.

4:55 PM - Fistric cuts down a new stick just outside the Stars dressing room.

4:32 PM - "Winning is fun," Mark Fistric said about the vibe of the team right now. But, as we got closer to the arena, Nicklas Grossman and Fistric got quiet.

4:28 PM - We snaked through the heart of downtown Calgary.

For the most part, the guys didn't skate this morning because we arrived in Calgary so late last night. At a few minutes after four, they started to trickle down into the hotel lobby and load their bags on the team bus. But, several of the guys wanted to get to the rink early, so they took cabs.

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10:58 PM - Goodnight Edmonton.

10:01 PM - Mike Ribeiro and his team-mates sign autographs and visit with friends and family before getting on the bus.

9:45 PM - Having earned 15 of a possible 16 points to start the year and leading the team to a franchise record 8-straight road wins, Marc Crawford is the man of the hour.

9:44 PM - Morrow takes takes off his tape (the deciding factor in receiving the Warrior Sword) as he stretches.

9:41 PM - The Canadian media was enamored with the first star performance of Jamie Benn.

9:39 PM - Mike Ribeiro answers a flurry of questions in the post-game media scrum.

9:34 PM - The Warrior Sword goes to Brenden Morrow.

9:33 PM - The game sticks are packed and ready for the bus.

9:31 PM - Mike Ribeiro gets ready for a post-game interview with Rogers Sportsnet.

9:31 PM - Jeff Woywitka hangs back for a minute to talk with his cousin.

9:29 PM - Victory was certain, even before Adam Burish's empty-net goal was added to the scoreboard.

9:11 PM - The emotions rise.

9:07 PM - Assistant Equipment Manager, Dennis Soetaert, begins to pack up gear; they typically have the entire team packed and loaded on the bus within 30 minutes of a game's final horn.

8:41 PM - Steve Ott waits for his 2nd intermission interview with Razor.

8:39 PM - The stars leave the ice after a late barrage in the 2nd period where the Oilers move within one goal.

8:23 PM - Edmonton native and Stars fan Allison Currie sports her homemade "Ottimus Prime" shirt; just a few seconds later, she and her brother Travis would be the only fans in section 224 cheering as Neal makes it 3-1 Dallas.

8:18 PM - The Oilers Octance Girls wait for the next whistle.

8:15 PM - With the Stars up 2-1 midway though the 2nd period, Rexall Place had grown quiet.

8:13 PM - The goal judge flips the switch on the red lamp as Mike Ribeiro gives the Stars a 2-1 lead.

8:06 PM - Mike Valley watches the face-off after Kari's incredible glove save early in the second period - a save that everyone in the press box agreed was a thing of beauty.

8:02 PM - The Stars retake the ice.

8:01 PM - Razor recaps the period, which crescendos with his description of Jamie Benn's 1st period highlight reel goal.

7:55 PM - Kari Lehtonen & goalie coach Mike Valley discuss some adjustments during the first intermission.

7:47 PM - Trevor Daley comes off the ice at the first intermission.

7:45 PM - A late period defensive zone draw.

7:34 PM - The call on the ice stands, good goal. Face-off at center ice in a tie hockey game.

7:33 PM - Otter, Benn & Neal discuss the upcoming face-off.

7:32 PM - Coach Crawford awaits the decision among heckling from Oiler fans as referees review Ryan Jones goal at the 12:51 mark of the first period.

7:27 PM - Brian Sutherby gets involved in a dust up midway through the first period.

7:26 PM - A Stars fan celebrates Jamie Benn's highlight reel goal in the first period.

7:05 PM - You could hear a healthy Stars contingent own the anthem with their traditional "Stars" chant.

7:03 PM - Kari leads the team onto the ice.

6:59 PM - Kari is the first one out of the room; puck drop in nine minutes.

6:50 PM - Ten minutes to game time, Producer Jason Walsh & Director Mark Vitorio prepare to make magic happen...



6:41 PM - There were a sprinkling of Stars fans at the warm-up.

6:33 PM - Eriksson in interviewed by Rogers Sportsnet

6:30 PM - Richards head out to the ice for warm-ups.

6:27 PM

6:24 PM - Jeff Woywitka, native of Vermilion, Alberta (about 100 miles East of Edmonton) has the honor of a pre-game interview with Razor.

6:19 PM

6:17 PM

6:05 PM

5:52 PM - Richards brings out Neal's shin pads with newly added foam protection; Neal appears to be the front runner for the Warrior Sword tonight.

5:50 PM - More than half the team participates in the pre-game ritual. It's competitive, but you can tell the guys have that elusive chemistry. Razor commented that all the good teams have what this Dallas Stars team seems to have - fun.

5:44 PM - Taping off the now fork-lift free court.

5:41 PM - Jamie Benn attempts to move a fork lift parked on the guys Donkey Ball court.

5:36 PM - With just an hour and a half to the puck drop, all skates have been sharpened.

5:35 PM - Director of Team Services, Jason Rademan, is either checking in with the office in Dallas or ordering a burrito from Chipotle.

5:34 PM - Octane, the Oiler equavalent of Dallas' Ice Girls warm up before the game; Oilers Octane are the first cheerleading team associated with a Canadian hockey club.

5:30 PM - Rolling out the nets used for warm-ups.

5:15 PM

5:14 PM - Morrow is meticulous when preparing his sticks

5:13 PM

5:10 PM - Kari and Andrew Raycroft discuss Lehtonen's new Tombstone themed mask

5:10 PM - Aaron Gagnon studies statistics with an hour and a half to go before wearm-ups

DAY TWO (1/20/11) - EDMONTON

12:20 PM - With both morning skates wrapped up, the ice crew prepares the surface for this evenings tilt.

12:12 PM - Kari removes the tape off his stick before heading to the bus.

12:10 PM - The media, including Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News, waits to speak with Coach Crawford.

12:07 PM - When asked by TSN about gaining points in the first seven games to start the new year, Ott replied, "We've been doing a lot of things collectively... and when you go down the list and you put all those things together, you're going to be hard to play against."

12:04 PM - TSN takes a few minutes with Adam Burrish to talk about The Warrior Sword.

12:02 PM - Associate Producer, Doug Foster, talks with Karlis Skrastins, gathering notes for this evening's broadcast.

12:01 PM - The media scrum in the visitors locker room.

11:56 AM - Razor is the poster child for proud Canadians.

11:53 AM - Stephane Robidas chats with an acquaintance who stopped by the bench to say hello.

11:48 AM - Practicing one times from the top of the circle, the guys took turns popping the water bottle.

11:40 AM - Crow gathers the players at center ice.

11:34 AM - The rafters tell their own story.

This is oil country. The fans in Edmonton still live and die with their team regardless of their record.

11:29 AM - Since going to the visor 17 games ago, Brenden Morrow has scored 12 points (9 goals, 3 assists).

11:21 AM - Mike Ribeiro uses his stick to flip some stick-um to himself.

11:19 AM - Goalie Kari Lehtonen stretches during the morning skate; he has never played an NHL game in Rexall Place.

11:06 AM - Steve Sumner sharpens Brenden Morrow's skate.

11:00 AM - Doors closed for a team meeting.

10:59 AM - The team reviews game tape on the opposing goaltenders.

10:55 AM - Steve Ott tapes his socks.

10:53 AM - Loui Eriksson shapes his stick blade while a few of the guys stretch & warm up.

10:47 AM - A few of the Oilers stay on the ice after their morning skate.

10:45 AM - Coach Crawford heads back to the room after a quick chat with some old friends.

10:37 AM - The Great One's statue; despite recent struggles, it's hard to miss the history that just oozes out of this place.

10:26 AM - Adam Burrish takes a quick phone call before heading to the room.

10:24 AM - Richards climbs off the bus and heads into the arena.

10:20 AM - Rexall Place seems to be the perfect summation of this city; it just looks and smells like hockey.

10:09 AM - We had a little hockey weather this morning, despite the fact the weather man was calling for "spring-like conditions".

10:06 AM - The bus to the morning skate is loaded up.

Time lapse video from the team hotel as the sun rises on Game Day in Edmonton.

(newest photos at top)

6:45 PM - James Neal rolls his bag through the snow to the player's bus.



6:42 PM - Burish & Woywitka at the top of the jet way.

6:41 PM - Tom Wandell, Stephane Robidas & head equipment manager, Steve Sumner.

6:41 PM - The temprature hovered at about 0°F as Razor deplanes.

6:02 PM - Ralph watches a full moon rise out his window.

6:00 PM - The sun sets over Western Canada.

5:39 PM - Goalie Coach Mike Valley talk with Mark Janko & strength and conditioning coach, J.J. McQueen.

5:21 PM - "This is the Crow you never see. He's got a face full of the wisdom of life." - Ralph Strangis

5:20 PM - Coach Marc Crawford talks with Assistant GM Frank Provenzano somewhere over the US/Canada border.

3:42 PM - Ralph was attempting to get a bit of work done on the flight, but The Hurt Locker sucked him in...


2:02 PM - Richards makes his way up the stairs to the plane.

2:01PM - The team's plane to Edmonton awaits.

1:58 PM - Brad Richards is interviewd by WFAA Channel 8 before hopping onto the team's charter to Edmonton.

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