He’s back. After spending the first month plus of the season with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League, where he posted solid numbers (10-3-13) in 15 games, Tomas Vincour
has returned to the NHL, a place he got to know pretty well last season.
The 21-year-old forward from the Czech Republic appeared in 24 games for the Stars last year and had one goal and one assist under former coach Marc Crawford. This preseason, he was one of the final players to be sent to the minors.
And while that might have discouraged some players, all that did was motivate him to work even harder so that he could return to Dallas in very short order. “When I got sent down, I knew that if I was going to come back here and play for Dallas, all I had to do was work hard every day to be the best player down there,” Vincour said. “I’ve been trying to do my best all year. It’s exciting, that’s for sure. I’m looking forward to the game tonight.”
One big difference for him between this season and last is that the Stars now have a fellow product of the Czech Republic on the roster in veteran forward Radek Dvorak
. The two became friends during preseason and spent much time together. And it’s clear there is plenty of mutual respect between these two wingers.
“Yeah, he’s been around for a while. He’s got some experience,” Vincour said. “I can learn a lot from him every day. I learn something new from him all the time. Every day’s an experience for me.”
Not only is it great for Dvorak to have a fellow countryman on the roster, but he also likes the huge upside he sees in his fellow Czech and if he can impart any knowledge gained from a long and successful NHL career, he’s more than happy to do so to his young teammate.
“You could see tonight [Monday], he’s a guy who works every shift. He’s a skilled guy who can make plays and sees the ice really well,” Dvorak said. “I think he was playing great in Austin. He’s got the energy and passion for the game. He’s a good guy. He wants to stay up. He’s still young and he has a real great future in Dallas. It’s nice to have him here right now. Tonight he was playing great. You could see him on the forecheck and backcheck. He was making plays and smart decisions with the puck. That’s what we need from him.”
But Dvorak isn’t the only one impressed with what Vincour or “Vinny” brings to the Stars. New head coach Glen Gulutzan, who knows the young forward well from having coached him in Cedar Park the last two seasons, also likes the skill set that the 21-year-old Czech adds.
“He’s got 10 goals in the American League already. He’s earned it [the call-up to Dallas],” Gulutzan said. “He was here for 24 games last year. He went down to the minors, put up good numbers and was their best player. We’re all about winning here. We said at the start of the year that we’ll bring in guys if we feel they can help us. He’s earned it and we’ll give him a chance to see what he can do here.”
Stars captain Brenden Morrow
is another veteran who likes what he has seen thus far from his young teammate. “He’s a big, physical guy. He’s quick on pucks on the forecheck and he’s got a great shot if he has the opportunity to use it,” Morrow said. “The NHL’s a whole other beast than the AHL. I know he’s been dominating some games down in the AHL level and hopefully he can bring some of that confidence to this level and do the same thing here.”
Not only did Vincour see at least one familiar face in Dvorak on the roster when he was promoted, but he also had another player he knows well from his time in the AHL for the last few seasons in defenseman Philip Larsen
, who was recalled by the Stars just over a week ago.
In fact, Larsen and Vincour are good friends and it just so happened that the timing of Larsen’s promotion to Dallas came at an interesting time.
“He got called up and his parents, they flew to Austin. So I went to the airport to pick them up and took them out for dinner,” Vincour said. “The funny thing is their luggage didn’t show up, so I didn’t know his address. So I put in my address and the luggage shows up at three in the morning. That wasn’t karma at all. It was a good thing and a bad thing right away. We’re really good friends. He’s a great guy. We’ve spent a lot of time together.”
But close friendship or not, he admits Larsen owes him big for helping his parents out during their stay in Cedar Park. “Oh yeah, he owes me a lot, not for picking them up but for getting their luggage at three in the morning. He’s going to buy me dinner probably every day for the rest of the season,” Vincour joked.