By now, Adam Burish
and Jake Dowell
should be fairly well accustomed to being teammates. Not only will they both be lacing ‘em up for the 2011-12 Stars, but they also have a history of skating on the same side throughout their respective careers.
|Both Burish & Dowell helped Wisconsin to a NCAA hockey championship in 2006. (Getty Images) |
It all started back in the collegiate ranks when this talented duo both skated for the Wisconsin Badgers. After being apart for one year, they became teammates again when Dowell joined the Blackhawks in 2008. Burish and Dowell were both part of Chicago’s Stanley Cup-winning team in 2009.
However, Burish joined the Stars before last season, leaving his close friend back in the Windy City. Dowell had solid production (6-15-21) in 79 games for the Hawks while his fellow Wisconsin native also delivered solid results in his first year in Dallas (8-6-14 in 63 games).
But now, they’re teammates again and both members of this duo couldn’t be happier about it.
“Yeah, it’s fun. We were close in college,” Burish said. “My last two years in Chicago, he was kind of up and down, so we’d get to play together every time he’d be up with us. He’s just a hard working [guy], a good person, a friend, low maintenance who just comes to the rink, does his work, is quiet and then he’s out of here. He’s a good guy to have around. [He’s] just a mentally strong kid. For me, he’s always fun to be around.”
Dowell concurs. “It’s obviously cool. It’s fun. He’s one of my good friends. We played three years in college together and then played in Chicago a bit,” he said. “It’s cool to get back with him. We live in the same city, Madison, in the summer and spent a lot of time together. It’s nice to have a familiar face and someone that can kind of help you out that’s been here a little bit longer. It’s a good comfort for me.”
Of course, his fellow ex-Badger is one of several new faces that Dallas General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk brought in during the off-season to help Burish and the rest of the Stars’ returning core end a playoff draught that has now reached three consecutive years.
“I’m excited. Joe did such a good job of bringing in new pieces that will make us tougher to play against, especially in the West, where you need some big boys to push some bodies around. We definitely have that now,” Burish said. “We’ve got a bunch of rats with me, [Steve] Ott, [Vernon] Fiddler and a bunch of maniacs. It will be fun to kind of share the duties with those guys of having fun out there like that. I’m excited. We were close last year. We lost [Brad] Richards but picked up some pretty unique pieces that will be fun additions and fun to play with. At the end of the day, it should be an exciting year.”
Dowell is glad to be part of that group and admits the vibe he feels with his new employer is similar to the one he felt at Wisconsin when he first became a Badger.
“When I went to college, it was the same type of thing. They brought in a lot of freshmen my freshman year to try to make that a tough team to play against. It was the same way in Chicago, where they were wanting to stress the character and being a tough team to play against. I think it’s kind of the same type of thing here right now,” he said. “They’ve brought in a lot of guys who have a lot of character. We think that we can help out and hopefully we can make it to the playoffs.”
And before coming to Big D, one of the newest Stars admits he did pick his close friend’s brain about what he could expect were he to head to the Lone Star State.
“A little bit, he just told me it’s a good group of people, a fun place to be and a good organization. He didn’t really make it a selling point,” Dowell said. “He wanted me to do what I wanted to do but he told me he likes it a lot and that it’d be a good place [to play].”
Last season, Burish was a great addition to the Stars, not just on the ice but also in the room. One of the best things he brought to last year’s club was an incredible positive energy, something former Dallas head coach Marc Crawford used to mention on a regular basis.
Now in his second year as a Star, he hopes to bring even more of that positivity to this year’s squad.
“Well, that was one of my things that I wanted to bring in here last year. Being a new guy, you don’t want to step on any toes. You just want to come in, work and be a little quieter. This year, I feel a lot more comfortable after being here for a year and getting to know the guys better. So I hope I can even do more of that, maybe be a little more vocal, make guys laugh a little bit and keep guys looser when things aren’t going so well,” Burish said.
He added: “It’s something I’ve always thought was important to bring to a team if you can do it. I’m able to do it and hope I can do more of it this year. I hope that I can maybe bring more energy and more of a positive vibe to the group to maybe get that one extra point to get us to the playoffs.”
On Oct. 7, the Stars open the 2011 regular season and their first opponent out of the gate just happens to be the team both of these guys once skated for, the Blackhawks. Burish went through the experience of playing his former team last year, something that his new teammate will experience firsthand in about three weeks’ time.
“I think it’ll be different because that’s the only other organization I’ve ever been with. It’ll be different but it will also be exciting,” Dowell said. “It’s obviously something that I’ve been looking forward to since I knew that was on the schedule like that. I’m excited for it and I want to make an impression right away to start the season with the organization here and be happy about that.”