Texas Stars recall Zach Kamrass from ECHL

With three games in three nights the Texas Stars have recalled defenseman Zach Kamrass from the Idaho Steelheads.

Stephen Johns is still out with a lower-body injury while Stars coach Derek Laxdal said the team has other “bumps and bruises” that need to be sorted out.

Kamrass is on an AHL contract with Texas, but didn’t appear in training camp with Texas. He has 16 points in 37 games with Idaho.

Here is the official release:

CEDAR PARK, Texas – The Texas Stars, American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Dallas Stars, announced Thursday they have recalled rookie defenseman Zack Kamrass from their ECHL affiliate, the Idaho Steelheads.

Kamrass, 25, is on his first career AHL call-up after appearing in 37 games this season for Idaho with 16 points (3-13=16). The 5-foot-11, 190-pound native of Atlanta, Ga. is currently in his first full professional season after finishing a four-year career at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (NCAA) from 2011-2015. Kamrass (KAM-rihs) appeared in 147 career collegiate games and scored 64 points (13-51=64) over the four-year stretch.

The Stars begin a three-game road trip on Friday in Bakersfield at 9 p.m. CST.

Radek Faksa assigned to the Texas Stars

Here is the official release:

FRISCO, Texas – Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the team has reassigned forward Radek Faksa to the Texas Stars, Dallas’ top development affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Faksa, 21, appeared in 14 games for Dallas, including his NHL debut on Oct. 17 at Florida. He registered two points (1-1=2) in his time with Dallas, scoring his first career NHL goal on Nov. 6 at Carolina. Prior to his recall, he registered two goals (2-0=2) and a +1 plus/minus rating in one game with Texas.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound native of Vitkov, Czech Republic was originally selected by Dallas in the first round (13th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.

‘Just blow it up right now’ after Texas Stars go 0-for-9 on the power play

Travis Morin battles for a face-off in the Texas Stars 5-3 loss to Stockton. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Travis Morin battles for a face-off in the Texas Stars 5-3 loss to Stockton. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

CEDAR PARK – If they could, the Texas Stars probably would have declined the penalties in a 5-3 loss to the Stockton Heat.

Texas went 0-for-9 with the man advantage on Saturday and allowed a pair of shorthanded goals against an undisciplined Stockton team.

And Texas didn’t even generate chances when it had the man advantage.

“Just blow it up right now,” Stars coach Derek Laxdal said. “Right now are units aren’t working and our top guys aren’t working right now.”

Most of the power plays where spent chasing down Stockton clearances as Texas looked stagnant and couldn’t hold possession, even when they had a pair of 5-on-3s and then a 6-on-4 with 49.4 seconds remaining.

“There’s just no timing and no execution,” Laxdal said. “We’ve got to shake it up a little bit and see if we can spark it and get back to a basic power play.”

In fact, the power play inefficiency turned part of the chorus of fans who consistently shout “shoot” into boo birds when Texas left the ice without a shot during a 5-on-3 late in the first period.

That capped Stars worst period of the season as they trailed 3-0 after 20 minutes.

Texas consistently turned the puck over, allowed 16 shots, and the aforementioned power play induced a smattering of boos from the 4,350 announced fans at the Cedar Park Center.

Twice the turnovers ended up in the back of the Stars net – one by Julius Honka and one by Esa Lindell – while the penalty kill was a galvanizing moment for Stockton.

Turner Elson scored on a shorthanded breakaway with 1:58 remaining in the period. Sixteen seconds later Texas gifted a 5-on-3 for 84 seconds, but couldn’t contain the offensive zone and didn’t fire a single shot at Kevin Poulin.

Eventually the period came to an end with Texas failing to pull the trigger on the power play, prompting a couple more boos from the crowd.

The third and fourth lines dragged Texas back into the game in the second period.

First with their effort, than with some scoring touch.

Cole Ully, Cory Kane, and Branden Troock were Texas’ best unit during 5-on-5 play Saturday and started grabbing extra ice time, including more offensive zone starts in the middle stanza.

And they rewarded Laxdal’s confidence when Troock broke through with a twisting wrist shot 8:27 into the second period.

The shot was slightly misplayed by Poulin, but it lit a fire for the Stars.

Texas continued to pressure and eventually pulled within one on Gemel Smith’s fourth goal of the season. Smith won a face-off in his defensive zone on the shift, pushing the Stars into transition before the forward eventually shoveled home a rebound.

Troock, who was subbing in for Greg Rallo during an equipment issue on the third line, appropriately had the primary assist.

Cory Kane, another fourth-liner, tied the game in the third period, but Blair Riley restored Stockton’s lead with 5:06 remaining, beating Jack Campbell on a sharp angle shot.

Texas had chances to tie the game and was gifted the 6-on-4 advantage with 49.4 seconds remaining. But the ninth power play ended just like the first eight, and Elson added insult to injury with a shorthanded empty net goal.

Campbell finished with 29 saves on 33 shots in his second start of the season, while Poulin stopped 31 of 34 shots in the victory.

Morning Skate: Texas Stars looking to continue offensive surge against Stockton

The Texas Stars and Stockton Heat will battle for the second time this season. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

The Texas Stars and Stockton Heat will battle for the second time this season. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

CEDAR PARK — The Texas Stars’ offense hasn’t been stifled very often this season.

Texas is averaging a league-high 4.25 goals per game and have scored at least five goals in six of their 12 games.

The one team that put the Stars at a standstill? Tonight’s opponent the Stockton Heat, who will visit the Cedar Park Center tonight at 7:00 p.m.

A little more than three weeks ago Stockton ousted Texas 1-0. The Stars fired 36 shots, but couldn’t beat Stockton’s Jon Gillies.

“Those games happen sometimes,” Stars defenseman Stephen Johns said. “I thought we played well, 1-0 games are fun to play in. It’s tight, you can’t make a mistake, and I’m expecting the same type of game tonight.”

Stockton hasn’t won a game since Gillies whitewashed Texas on Oct. 21. The Heat have struggled offensively and have only scored 19 goals this season — the second-lowest in the AHL (surprisingly, the Grand Rapids Griffins are last with just 18 goals).

The Heat have been good defensively and limit opponents to 2.88 goals per game, and both victories have come in the form of shutouts by Gillies.

And unfortunately for Stockton, Gillies is injured and is out with a lower-body injury. Calgary did acquire Kevin Poulin in a trade to help out their AHL affiliate, and the newest Stockton goaltender allowed four goals on 34 shots.

Of course, the Stars aren’t taking the Heat lightly.

“They’re a well-coached, aggressive physical team,” Texas Stars coach Derek Laxdal said. “They got some good skill up front. They played last night in San Antonio, so we’ve got to be at our best here.”

Texas will field the same lineup it used in a 6-3 victory against San Antonio on Wednesday, and Jack Campbell will make his second straight start in goal.

Travis Morin missed the morning skate Saturday after the birth of his third son, Bradley Michael Morin, on Friday night. Morin will still be in the lineup this evening.

Projected lineup:
Justin Dowling-Travis Morin-Brendan Ranford
Jason Dickinson-Devin Shore-Matej Stransky
Derek Hulak-Gemel Smith-Greg Rallo
Emil Molin-Cory Kane-Branden Troock

Esa Lindell-Stephen Johns
Ludwig Bystrom-Julius Honka
Patrik Nemeth-Jesse Blacker

Jack Campbell

Texas Stars Mailbag: Looking at Jack Campbell’s first game and AHL suspensions

Welcome to another edition of the Texas Stars Mailbag, which now features a more visual element.

Thanks to @chillyw’s suggestion on Twitter, we’re adding a weekly film study. This week we’ll look at the three goals Jack Campbell allowed in his season debut on Wednesday.

Goal 1: Joey Hishon, 4:20 of the first period.

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This goal happens because Campbell is already set in a butterfly before the shot comes. He’s playing the percentages and taking away the bottom of the net in case Andrew Agozzino fires this shot from the grouping by the face-off dot.

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Here Agozzino fires the shot and Campbell has already set his weight on his left pad. His foot isn’t on the ice and he doesn’t have the ability to push across in case of a deflection.

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The deflection happens and Campbell has to scramble to his right, but Hishon has ample time to put the puck in the net.

Goal 2: Andrew Agozzino, 0:24 third period.

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This goal starts when Agozzino is able to sneak down the left side uncovered. The puck carrier Maxim Noreau is blatantly looking to pass, which should send a message to Stephen Johns and Esa Lindell to take away the cross-ice pass.

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The defensemen fail to take away the pass here. That’s a combination of being slightly out of position and Johns simply missing the puck when he reached to poke away the pass.

This goal isn’t Campbell’s fault, but he is already in a butterfly and is reacting like Noreau was going to shoot. That puts him in a bad position when the pass reaches Agozzino.

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Since Campbell was already down, he wasn’t able to effectively push across. It would have been a difficult save either way, but had he stayed up during the pass he could have slid across and made the save.

Goal 3: Nikita Zadarov, 4:22 third period

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 11.14.35 AM

Campbell is doing the right thing in this situation. You can see him looking around the screen on the top of the crease and has to find his vision through a maize of bodies, it doesn’t help that a pair of his defenders go for the shot block and miss.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 11.14.48 AM

Well-placed slap shot by Zadarov through traffic, Campbell doesn’t have much of a chance here. Correct thought by players laying out to block the shot, but when you miss on the shot block, it can screen the goalie.

Overall, Campbell will likely want the first goal back and could have made a better play on the second even though it wasn’t his fault.

It was a good start for Campell in the 6-3 victory. It will be interesting to see how he improves this Saturday against the Stockton Heat.

Now, let’s dive into the mailbag:

As someone who makes his living writing, I hate it. I suck at math and every game now requires a calculator to figure out the impact on the standings.

This is what I have figured out though: in order for Texas and San Antonio to take advantage of the extra game, they’ll have to pick up at least 12 of 16 potential points. That roughly equates to a 6-2 record, or some other combination of overtime losses and victories.

As league, the AHL really needs to examine this going forward. If five teams are allowed to play by different standings rules, what’s stopping other teams from asking for other rule exceptions?

Update: 8:29 p.m., Nov. 12, 2015

Certain infractions — notably those for checking to the head and all match penalties — are automatically reviewed by the league.

Teams have 24 hours to submit a request for supplemental discipline. If an incident occurs on a Saturday night, we may not necessarily be informed of a request until Sunday evening. Factor in the time it takes to collect all available video (including angles that may be independent of the AHL Live feed) and then conduct the actual review, and the whole process usually takes a couple of days to complete.

This can lead to somewhat awkward situations. For example, Patrick Bordeleau played this past Sunday against the Chicago Wolves after his boarding incident took place on Saturday.

The tape wasn’t reviewed until Monday and the suspension wasn’t passed down until Tuesday.

Obviously this Tweet came in before the suspension was passed down. And we just talked about the suspension process.

But, let’s break down the merit of the three-game suspension Bordeleau received.

Personally, I would have given him four games, but I’m content with the three-game hiatus.

One week earlier the Milwaukee Admiral’s Vladislav Kamenev was suspended two games for boarding. Using that as a baseline, Bordeleau should have gotten at least two games for the hit on Mattias Backman — which caused a concussion.

The additional game was added for the second hit against Jason Dickinson, which came 16 seconds after his first infraction and during the delayed penalty. I would have given an additional two games for that hit — which was more of an elbow combined with a charge.

Curtis McKenzie will be back in Cedar Park before Radek Faksa. And once McKenzie is healthy I expect him to be immediately assigned back to Texas.

Faksa, on the other hand, has played very well and could force the Stars brass to get creative and keep him on the roster when other injured forwards Travis Moen and Patrick Eaves return.

Jack Campbell is currently on a one-year contract with the Dallas Stars and has to prove he belongs with the organization.

Personally, I’d like to see Campbell succeed — he’s a genuinely good person and real pleasant to interact with.

But, can he prove he’s the future for the Dallas Stars? This season is going to determine that. If Campbell can stay calm, poised and healthy, he has the tools to succeed. But, if he gets lost in his own head or can’t control his approach consistently, it’ll be time to move on.

And, yes, I know I kind of dodged the question. But, I think we’ll have a much clearer answer by the end of the month.

It’s going to be Jack Campbell.

And if it’s not Campbell, that would likely signal the end of his tenure in the Dallas organization.