CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island – I caught up with Joe Nieuwendyk just as the Stars were winding down their final practice session in Prince Edward Island and asked him about his thoughts on team’s four days in PEI.
“Coming here has made guys be together and brought closeness to our group,” Nieuwendyk said. “It just has had a great feel to me with Kari Lehtonen kind of leading the way. I think he’s been awesome all summer and in the game yesterday.
“I’m seeing some real positive, upbeat guys. I think because expectations are not high on our team guys really want to prove people wrong. They’ve worked hard and we’re seeing some chemistry with lines with [Steve] Ott, [Jamie] Benn and [Fabian] Brunnstrom. If Brunnstrom can continue to go the way he is that would be a huge bonus for us.
“[Brenden] Morrow and [Mike] Ribeiro look excited and look like they are going to have a big year for us. [Adam] Burish brings some speed and grit to our lineup. The [Brad] Richards line will always be the Richards line. We’ve got a lot of good pieces. … With a year under our belts with Marc Crawford’s system, I think we are going to be in good shape.”
Nieuwendyk said it’s still early, but he thinks Matt Niskanen has looked good and said Trevor Daley has been moving up ice the way the team expects.
On the possibility of the team coming back to PEI for training camp, he said they are in discussions with officials in Charlottetown.
“We had such a great experience. When we get back to Dallas we’ll review everything,” Nieuwendyk said. “I think there’s a very good chance. We had nothing but a positive experience. We’ll engage in those talks sooner rather than later.”