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Texas Stars News & Notes – October 19

Texas Stars goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp, is making the adjustment to North American hockey just fine

Friday, 10.19.2012 / 12:19 PM / News
By Mark Stepneski
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Texas Stars News & Notes \u2013 October 19

If you are a European hockey player and you are making the move to North America, there is the inevitable question about the adjustment to the smaller ice rink. For Texas Stars goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp, the adjustment seems to be going just fine, although it is still a work in progress.

“I’ve played just two-and-a-half games, and the games are what you need to get used to the game over here,” Nilstorp said. “I think (goaltending coach Mike Valley) has prepared me a lot during the practices and it feels better and better.”

Those two-and-a-half games include one regular season start, one preseason start and one half of another preseason game, and so far the 28-year-old Swede has looked sharp as he gets used to the different style of play in North America.

“It’s the angles and the speed of the game here,” Nilstorp said. “Back home they like to pass and here they like to shoot from everywhere, so you have to be focused 100 percent for every single shot. It’s good. It’s fun.”

The Dallas Stars signed Nilstorp, who had been in the Swedish Elite League the past two seasons, to a contract in June. He got a head start on the adjustment to playing on the different ice dimensions by spending a week at the team’s development camp in Frisco in July, and then was back in Frisco in August to skate with other players in preparation for training camp.

“When you play on a certain ice sheet your whole life, you understand angles and where you need to be. It becomes second nature, but when you go into a smaller rink, those angles are changed a little bit,” said Valley. “On a smaller rink, things happen a lot quicker, so you don’t have as much time to get yourself set. You don’t have time to relax for a split second when the puck is in your zone. It’s a different game overall. I think he’s managed it really, really well and it certainly helps that he came over a month early to train with all the guys over here in Dallas.”

Nilstorp was impressive in his first regular season start in the American Hockey League. He stopped 18 of 19 shots, including all 10 shots he faced in the first period, as the Texas Stars won their season opener, 2-1, in San Antonio Saturday night.

“What you see in Cristopher Nilstorp – whether it’s that first game, the exhibition games or in practice –you see a mature goaltender who understands the game,” said Valley. “He plays very controlled and he’s very methodical with all his movements. He has the ability, as he did in that first game, to weather the storm early and make some key saves when you need them, and then he has the ability to stay focused when he is not getting a ton of shots and still come up with the saves when you need them at the end of the game.”

Nilstorp hasn’t been with the Texas Stars all that long, but he’s already made an impression on his new teammates.

“He’s calm in net” said Texas captain Maxime Fortunus. “You can see he’s a little bit older and he’s poised. It’s good for us, especially as defensemen, when you have someone back there who knows what he is doing and is confident in there. It’s a big plus for us. Tough lineup to crack

When the Texas Stars opened the season last Saturday in San Antonio it was interesting to note not only who was in the lineup, but who was not as well.

Among those on the healthy scratch list were veteran defenseman Tyler Sloan and Dallas prospects Scott Glennie and Austin Smith. It’s a sign of the depth of the Texas roster, which currently stands at 27 players.

There are 16 forwards and 15 of them are healthy. Colton Sceviour is out with a hand injury. There are nine defensemen on the roster. On most nights the coaches will dress 12 forwards and 6 defensemen, which means several players will have to sit.

“There were some really good guys that didn’t play and the guys in the lineup have to recognize that and they have to play hard to stay,” said Texas coach Willie Desjardins. “But the whole league is like that because there are a lot of good players in the league.”

And that means competition for playing time.

“It doesn’t matter how long you have been here, we are all battling for spots. At the same time we are battling for spots in the NHL,” said Texas captain Maxime Fortunus. “It’s internal competition and it puts pressure on guys to show what they have every game. You have to show it every game because there are guys pushing behind you.”

After winning that first game in San Antonio, there weren’t many changes for the next game. Taylor Vause moved into the lineup on the fourth line and Mathieu Tousignant was taken out. Nilstorp, who started in goal in game one, was the backup to Jack Campbell for game two. Other than that it was the same lineup.

That meant Austin Smith and Glennie had to spend another night as scratches, but Desjardins said their time will come.

“Both guys can play, they’re good players and they will play,” said Desjardins. “Right now, when you win a game and you have a guy in the lineup you come back with him.”

Upcoming schedule

The Texas Stars have three games in three nights this weekend. They play at Houston tonight, then return home to take on Houston tomorrow and host Lake Erie on Sunday.




1 NSH 62 41 14 7 188 147 89
2 ANA 62 38 17 7 182 174 83
3 STL 61 39 18 4 190 152 82
4 CHI 62 37 20 5 183 146 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 170 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 61 32 22 7 173 160 71
8 LAK 60 29 19 12 162 153 70
9 CGY 61 33 24 4 174 158 70
10 SJS 62 30 24 8 173 177 68
11 DAL 61 27 25 9 191 202 63
12 COL 61 26 24 11 161 175 63
13 ARI 62 20 35 7 137 210 47
14 EDM 62 18 34 10 142 206 46


J. Benn 61 23 37 -1 60
T. Seguin 55 29 30 0 59
J. Spezza 61 14 37 -3 51
E. Cole 56 18 14 4 32
J. Klingberg 47 10 22 4 32
T. Daley 58 16 15 -11 31
A. Hemsky 55 9 17 -7 26
A. Goligoski 61 2 24 4 26
C. Eakin 58 12 13 -3 25
A. Roussel 59 11 11 -11 22
K. Lehtonen 25 13 9 .906 2.96
J. Enroth 13 24 2 .900 3.31
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