The Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers square off at Rexall Place tonight, and for Shawn Horcoff it will be the first time he’ll play against his former team since being traded to the Stars in July.
“I am just looking forward to the game,” Horcoff said. “As the game gets closer, I am sure I’ll be a little more nervous and emotional. It will be fun. It’s going to be nice to play the game, have some closure and move on.”
Horcoff spent 15 years in the Oilers organization and played 12 seasons in Edmonton, suiting up for 796 regular season games.
“It’s probably been a while since I have been this nervous for a game,” Horcoff said. “I am pretty good right now, but we’ll see what happens once the game starts. I am sure after the first couple shifts you forget about it and do what we do.”
Oilers forward Ryan Smyth had high praise for his longtime Oilers teammate.
“There is one thing you can control as a player and that is your work ethic, and he did that. He showed that consistently,” Smyth said. “In my opinion, he earned everything he got in the game today. He was a good leader, he was vocal in the locker room and he led by example.”
Morin in for Stars
Center Travis Morin, called up Tuesday from the Texas Stars due to Ray Whitney (lower body) going on injured reserve, will be in the lineup for tonight’s game. He’s expected to center a line with Antoine Roussel and Ryan Garbutt.
The 29-year-old Morin currently leads the AHL in scoring with 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists) in 13 games.
“The point production speaks for itself. He’s got to be doing a lot of good things,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “Where I have him and us losing a skill guy, I think we need another skill guy going in there. He deserves the opportunity. I’d like to see what he can do. He was good in the last couple of games I played him in the preseason, so maybe it is that time to give him a look and give him that opportunity.”
Morin played three NHL games with Dallas in 2010-11, registering no points.
Ruff discusses Fiddler situation
Stars center Vernon Fiddler’s name popped up in the trade rumor mill over the weekend, and then TSN added some fuel to the speculation when it reported this week that Fiddler went to the Stars a couple weeks ago asking for more ice time and a bigger role with the team.
Stars coach Lindy Ruff was asked about the Fiddler situation Wednesday morning in Edmonton, and here is what he had to say.
“I’ve had conversations with Vern with where he is at, and where he was at last year. Those conversations are between the coach and the player,” Ruff said. “It wouldn’t be fair for me to address the rumors, but I can tell you we have had conversations on where I see his role, where it’s going to end up or where it is going to try to end up, and those have been real good conversations with Vern.”
Fiddler is averaging 11:07 of ice time per game this season, but in six of the 17 games he’s played fewer than ten minutes.
“He’s been very professional. Vern is a good guy. It’s a long season and you have ups and downs,” said Ruff. “Vern is a guy that just wants to play. You want that. You want a guy to come bang on your door and say, ‘I want to play more.’ That’s the guys you are hoping are going to come banging on your door. All that’s been good.”
Larsen looking forward to facing Stars
Stars forward Shawn Horcoff won’t be the only player facing his former team Wednesday night. So will Edmonton defenseman Philip Larsen, who was part of the deal that brought Horcoff to Dallas in July.
"It's going to be special to play the club that drafted you and gave you a chance to play in the NHL," Larsen said. "I'm playing old teammates too, so it's going to be a fun night."
Larsen said he has nothing to prove to the Stars; he’s just focused on trying to help the Oilers win a hockey game.
"To be honest, I haven't really thought about that," he said. "I want to play good every game. I think everybody wants to. I'm just trying to play my game, have fun and enjoy it and contribute where I can help. Of course, I want to have a good game but I think the whole team wants to have a good game. We want to win too. We just have to work hard and stay focused."
Larsen has split time between the AHL and NHL this season. He has 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists) in 5 games with the Oilers.
Who: Dallas Stars at Edmonton Oilers
Where: Rexall Place, Edmonton
When: 9 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Valeri Nichushkin
Erik Cole – Cody Eakin- Alex Chiasson
Shawn Horcoff – Vernon Fiddler – Rich Peverley
Antoine Roussel – Travis Morin –Ryan Garbutt
Brenden Dillon – Stephane Robidas
Alex Goligoski –Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn – Sergei Gonchar
Kari Lehtonen (starter)
Oilers projected lineup
David Perron – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins –Jordan Eberle
Taylor Hall – Sam Gagner – Ales Hemsky
Ryan Smyth – Mark Arcobello – Nail Yakupov
Jesse Jonesuu – Boyd Gordon – David Jones
Andrew Ference – Jeff Petry
Anton Belov – Philip Larsen
Nick Schultz – Corer Potter
Devan Dubnyk (starter)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.