The Stars are entering the “home stretch” of Training Camp and the 2010 pre-season. With three exhibition games left to go, head coach Marc Crawford will be looking at smaller details that go a long way towards being a good hockey team.
“We are looking for things like how well our players can play in defensive positions- whether it’s (Aaron) Gagnon, (Toby) Petersen, or (Brian) Sutherby, or (Brandon) Segal,” Crawford said. “Can they play against top people? Can they shut down top people? Can they, in fact, be given a task especially on the road where they get huge responsibility? How are they able to handle it?
“You are always looking to see your power play execute. This is the time that you want execution on your power play to really take shape. As we get more and more of our lineup together then it becomes very much like a game. (Tuesday’s game) is somewhat of an assessment game - the final two will be more like a dress rehearsal.”
Andrew Raycroft will get the start tonight in Colorado, and will play a full 60 minutes.
“It is a big game for Andrew. He is vying for that backup position with Brent Krahn,” Crawford said. “Competition is what it is. He’s a veteran guy, he has played in Colorado before, so he should be familiar with the rink. We’ll get a good chance to see him against a very good Avalanche line-up tonight.”Injury Update
Goaltender Kari Lehtonen
returned to the ice on Tuesday after resting a sore groin and looked fine stopping pucks and participating in practice.
“Kari was much better today, it looks like he will be full-go (Wednesday), and it looks like we are on schedule to have him play the game Thursday night at home against the Avalanche.,” Crawford said.Tom Wandell
went through a full practice Tuesday, having been out with a shoulder injury since September 19.
“Wandell is still tender, but he is more involved in the physical activity of practice,” said Crawford. “It’s not just getting hit he has to worry about, it’s how many times he extends his arm to check, how many times when he is extending his arm he can fend off people, those are the types of activities we are giving him now. “
Crawford said Wandell might be able to play Saturday’s final pre-season game at St. Louis.
“We are hopeful. We are targeting that final exhibition game for Tom to be able to play; he has made good progression here. As you can see in practices, he is more and more involved in the activity-especially in the physical activity. We have taken most of the constraints off him- he’s about 10 or 15% away from being full-go.”