Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 12/2/11
With a wave of injuries hitting their squad during the month of November, the Dallas Stars were forced to tap into their reserves in Cedar Park with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League a bit earlier than they had hoped this season. Defenseman Philip Larsen was the first rookie recalled from the AHL, being promoted after the Stars lost Alex Goligoski to a broken thumb early last month. Larsen, a 21-year-old puck-moving defenseman from Denmark was a fifth-round pick of Dallas in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and had eight games of NHL experience before his latest call-up. Since joining the big club, "Lars" has performed well in the eight games he has skated in to date, chipping in a pair of assists and sporting a plusminus rating of plus-2. He was averaging almost a point per game in the AHL before his promotion to the NHL and of late, he has been logging some minutes on the Stars' power play unit as well. Dallas head coach knows Larsen well after having coached him last season in the AHL in what was the Danish defenseman's first season playing in the States. He was impressed by what "Lars" could do then and is even more impressed now that he's part of his club in the NHL. "Lars brings us some puck-moving ability and he's a real good skater, obviously another right-shot D which helps in your attack a little bit. I thought he's played real good in the games that he's played with us," Gulutzan said. "He gives us some speed and with Goligoski and Daley out, it's nice to have another puck-moving defenseman back there that can play power play a little bit and skate things out of his end, has got a good stick. Against good, pacey teams, he's played real well." Of course, this isn't his first swim through NHL waters, but even he admits this time around is much different than how things have been for him in the past when he was called up by the Stars. "I feel more confident this year. Last year was my first year here in the States and my first year over here, so everything was new," Larsen said. "The longer you're here, the more comfortable you get. And of course, the more confident you get as you get on the ice and get to know the small rinks and the way the game is over here. I'm just trying to do my best and like everybody else, I want to win games. I'm just trying to do my best, have fun and play." But he's not the only rookie on the Stars' roster right now. Winger Tomas Vincour, who just happens to be a close friend of his, was recalled from the AHL just a few days after Larsen and having a familiar face around has definitely helped ease his transition. "It's nice. I had my family in town for a little bit and he had his family in town. It's really nice that he's here too of course," Larsen said. "It's always nice to have someone you know. I also know Loui Eriksson really well and the other Swedish guys. I feel really good when I come up here. It's always nice that the guys are good to you. It makes you feel more a part of the team and that helps your confidence too." Even though it's been some time since Stars center Steve Ott, currently one of the club's longest-tenured players has been a rookie, he has been pretty impressed with what "Lars" and "Vinny" have brought to the table thus far. "Both of them have stepped up in much-needed roles. It's not easy for a young defenseman to come into the NHL and his transition has gone extremely well. So has Vinny, he's come in and played a lot of minutes," Ott said. "Both of them were men amongst boys in the American League and now ready to make that jump to be full-time NHL players."
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