Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas drove from Quebec to Dallas and arrived Sunday evening, and he was on the ice in Frisco Monday morning, skating with the other players who are back in town and getting ready for the season.
"It was a good summer and I am ready to get back at it," Robidas said.
It was a quiet, simple summer for Robidas.
"Just spent some time with the family and had a beautiful summer," he said. "I just spent time with friends and family, all the stuff I can’t really do during the season."
There was, however, some work to be done. He had to do rehab work following shoulder surgery. He underwent the procedure just after the Stars’ season ended in April, but said the shoulder is fine now.
"I feel good,” he said. “I am ready to go."
And he’s excited about the additions the Stars made in the offseason, especially the signings of veteran forwards Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney. Those are two players, Robidas said, who bring a lot of experience, especially when it comes to winning in the NHL.
"I am very excited to see those guys come in," said Robidas. "Obviously, we lost two friends and teammates in Mike Ribeiro and Steve Ott, but the new guys coming in are proven players. They’ve done it before in the league and it’s very exciting. For me as a player, when you see a team get players like that, it proves that we want to win here and we want to win now. We have a young group now, and we added some veterans. We’ve added some really good hockey players that have won the Cup and know what it takes to win."
While the signings of Jagr and Whitney in free agency and the acquisition of center Derek Roy via trade have generated most of the buzz when it comes to the Stars’ offseason acquisitions, Robidas said the signing of defenseman Aaron Rome is a boost, as well.
Rome, who has spent the last three seasons with the Vancouver Canucks, brings some size and toughness to a Dallas blue line that saw Sheldon Souray depart via free agency over the summer.
"Rome brings some grit and he brings that Stanley Cup experience. He went all the way to the Final, and all those years in Vancouver, he played on a good team. He had a specific role and he filled it well," said Robidas. "I like the way he plays. He’s an honest player, he throws his body around, he does the little things right for the team and, from what I’ve heard, he’s a really good team guy. It’s a positive to get guys like that, and that’s how you build a team. You don’t always have to go out and get the best guy on the market, sometimes it is a guy like that who makes a difference on a team. He’s another piece of the puzzle."
Rome joins a defense that is expected to include Robidas, Trevor Daley, Alex Goligoski, Mark Fistric and Philip Larsen. There is an opening for a young player on defense and Brenden Dillon is considered a leading candidate.
"I think we have a good group," Robidas said. "For me, we have all the right pieces to make the playoffs with the team that we have right now. We’re confident with the group that we have."
Robidas said it’s been tough not making the playoffs the last four years, and that the Stars can’t dwell on the past, but they can try to learn from it and move forward.
"We’ve been learning and some young guys have got experience in those years," he said.
"Even for a guy like me, who has been in the playoffs before, you can learn. It’s an 82-game schedule, but every game is important. You never know at the end when you are going to need those points. It’s a team game. We can’t ask one player to do everything every night. Everybody has to know their role.
"You look at the teams that won last year – Los Angeles – they almost didn’t make it, but they peaked at the right time. You never know what can happen and that’s the beauty of it. Even though we didn’t make it, we were pretty close. We’ve just got to make sure we get in and go from there."