Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff has been through a lot of opening nights during his coaching career, but that doesn’t mean he sees Thursday night’s season opener against Florida as routine.
“I’m psyched. I can’t wait. I am disappointed that we have one more night to go. It’s fun. You have that anxiety to get it going,” Ruff said. “It’s not just another game. It’s the start of something really new. It’s something really exciting. I don’t look at it as just another game. It’s a lot of different guys that we’ve put together and a lot of guys that have gotten along well together as a team. I am excited to see that develop.”
The players are no different. They went through a full practice in Frisco on Wednesday, and are ready to get going as well.
“We’re sick of practicing,” said captain Jamie Benn. “After a month of training camp, we are chomping at the bit here. We’re ready to go.”
There’s a lot of excitement and optimism surrounding the Stars with all the offseason changes. There’s a new coach in Ruff, a new GM in Jim Nill, several new players and a new logo and new uniforms.
“I think everybody is excited. Everybody is starting fresh and there is a good vibe around here,” said defenseman Trevor Daley. “The last five years aren’t where we want to be. When you have a drought like that, change usually comes. I am pretty excited about it.”
The Stars will be looking for a good start, not only in Thursday’s game against Florida but over the first part of the season as well. Getting off to a good start can put crucial points in the bank and provide some early season confidence.
“You definitely want to be at the top of your game on day one,” said Benn. “That’s what we are going to do. We want to be hot from the start, get some wins, get some confidence and go from there.”
“A good start is very important, especially with the Olympic year,” said Daley. “You want to get off to a good start because once you get past that Olympic break it’s a sprint to the finish. It would be a benefit to go into that Olympic break with a good lead.”
A good start has been a talking point since the Stars hit the ice in Fort Worth to open training camp almost three weeks ago.
“We’ve been trying to get off to a good start since day one of camp,” said Ruff. “From the scrimmages, we talked about playing well and practicing well, and going through the preseason we talked about getting off to a good start. We’ll talk again, making sure that when we play for real that we do the right things that are going to help us win.”
And the first opportunity to do that comes Thursday night at American Airlines Center.
*Ruff said defenseman Trevor Daley (upper body) is expected to play Thursday vs. Florida.
“He looks like he is ready to go,” Ruff said. “I fully anticipate him playing tomorrow night.”
*Forward Rich Peverley (irregular heartbeat) won’t play Thursday, but Peverley said he expects to be available for Saturday’s game against Washington.
*Defenseman Aaron Rome (hip surgery) practiced with the team on Wednesday. It was his first practice since having a procedure done on his hip last month.
“Today was more get out with the guys and have a little more fun, and then conditioning after,” Rome said. “I felt good. I felt like it was a step in the right direction.”
Rome is a couple weeks away.
Wednesday’s practice lineup
Here’s how the Stars lined up in practice on Wednesday.