Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow went through the same roller coaster of emotions many fans did as negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA had their ups and downs over the past few months. And when the two sides announced a tentative deal on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Morrow was raring to go.
“For the past month you’d get your hopes up and then talks would die down a bit, then they’d get going again and your hopes would go up,” said Morrow. “We all knew this was the last push and if something didn’t get done the season would be lost, just like before. The word cautiously optimistic is thrown around, and that was us. When I got that text message at 6:30 in the morning, there was no chance of going back to bed. The first thing you think of is getting on the ice. It was a Sunday, and there was no chance of that.”
That meant a trip to the gym to put that pent up energy to good use, but Morrow did hit the ice Monday morning, joining a small group of other Dallas Stars players at the team’s practice facility in Frisco. Stephane Robidas, Ray Whitney, Derek Roy, Vernon Fiddler, Kari Lehtonen and Richard Bachman were among those joining him.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Robidas. “Everybody is pretty excited. Everyone is very happy to get back to the rink. All the guys that have been in town, we’ve been skating quite a bit and been training. Now, we’ve got a chance to be in our building and knowing that we are going to get going very soon, it’s very good news for all of us.”
Monday was a day for the Stars to spend more time looking forward to the season, and less time looking back about what has transpired over the past few months.
“I never thought it would go that long. There’s been a lot of drama, but it’s over. It’s in the past, we’ve got to move on and get ready for opening day,” said Robidas.
When training camp will start is still up in the air. So is the start date for the season. The NHL is expected to release that information in the near future. The players know that camp will be short, and getting up to speed for the season will need to be done quickly.
“We’ve got to do it quick, but everybody kept in shape, been skating and training,” said Robidas. “For some guys it could be beneficial, more time in the gym and time for recovery.”
One player who benefited was Roy, who had offseason shoulder surgery. He’s spent the last few months recovering from the surgery, and was cleared to play last week.
“I am ready to go,” said Roy. “I worked real hard to get back into shape and to get my shoulder back and ready to play.”
And Monday’s skate was particularly enjoyable for Roy, who spent most of the past few months – outside of three practices with the Texas Stars- working out on his own.
“It’s exciting to be back in the locker room with teammates,” Roy said. “I was here for a few months by myself working out, and the staff has been great. It’s been fun to see some guys on your team to pass the puck to, and joke around in the locker room. It’s been a good day.”
More good days are ahead as more teammates arrive in town, and the time for the puck to drop on the start of the season draws closer.
“We’re looking forward to it,” said Morrow. “It’s going to be nice when the room starts to fill up and we can get out on the ice and get the fans back enjoying some hockey.”