The strength of the Dallas Stars roster is clearly along the blueline, where Sergei Zubov, Philippe Boucher and Mattias Norstrom are considered anchors of a deep group with a lot of talent. One of the guys that is key to giving the team quality depth is veteran D-man Stephane Robidas
, who has slowly but surely developed into a solid everyday NHL defenseman.
Robidas signed a contract extension last December that keeps him in a Stars uniform through 2010. He’ll be counted upon again this season to be one of the regulars that Head Coach Dave Tippett pencils in every night as one of his six defensemen.
“With the contract they gave me last year it was a good sign of what they expect of me,” Robidas said. “I had a good year last season and I feel I’ve proven myself a bit, but I see myself the same way I saw myself one year ago at training camp – I still have to battle and there are a lot of good players here. So I have to keep getting better. I’m not going to rest on my laurels. I have to assert myself and reach a higher level.”
The team expects more out of Robidas this season and he feels the same way. He can continue to improve and make a difference for the Stars.
“We lost in the first round of the playoffs and that still stings and you think about how can you make a difference to make sure that it does not happen again,” he said. “Maybe I’m one of those guys who can jump forward and do a little more for the team. That’s what I’m looking for this year.”
Robidas is determined to keep getting better, and he likes playing in Dallas. He wants the team to get back to the level of winning in the playoffs that the team was accustomed to a few years ago.
“We can’t really think about (the recent playoff losses) because it’s in the past. We have to look forward,” he said. “But in a way it’s a good lesson that should not be forgotten. We’ve got a good team here and we shouldn’t be losing in the first round. We want to play for the Stanley Cup and that is the way this team is built every year. The coaching staff, the GM and the entire organization has their goal set on that every year. The core players are all back and that is good.
“We went through a lot of injuries last year and learned a lot. Brenden (Morrow) is going to be back and that will be good, Mike (Modano) missed some significant time. It’s a big difference when those guys are out of your lineup. I think when you look inside our organization you’ll find some good depth too. We have some good young players – good veterans, good goalies, a good coaching staff and good management, so I think we have all the ingredients to be a championship team”
Robidas is in top shape as camp approaches, something that is key for any athlete to compete at the highest level.
“I feel great. My conditioning is good and I am ready to go for camp. I’m ready to jump right back in there.”
Robidas spent most of his off-season up north in his native Canada.
“I spent most of the summer up in Sherbrooke, Quebec, my hometown. I spent a lot of the summer with my workouts and we’re also building a house up there. It’s going to be on the lake -- Lake Brompton, which is 15 minutes outside of the city. A lot of my buddies live out there. We stayed pretty busy. Spent a lot of time with the family.
“But its good to be back. I can’t wait.”