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Archive for December, 2007

Dave Tippett

Dave Tippett and most of his staff have been given contract extensions by the Stars’ GM pair of Brett Hull and Les Jackson.

This is good news. I think Dave Tippett has done a wonderful job since he’s been here. It’s often been pointed out that he has the best regular-season record of any active NHL coach. His teams have had some playoff issues, but unlike a lot of people, I believe that it’s been despite his coaching, instead of because of it. I think it’s just a matter of time before he wins a Cup, and I hope it’s while he’s still the coach of the Dallas Stars.

I was pretty upset when Doug Armstrong was fired, but I can see now that it has really lifted a weight off the team’s shoulders. And the man that seems to be benefitting the most is Tip. I don’t have any inside information, but I have read things that lead me to think he wasn’t the only one holding the reins while Army was here. Now, he seems to be settling in with lines and he’s letting the kids play and we’re seeing a looser and much more confident team.

Of course, a contract extension doesn’t mean he can’t be fired on a whim, but I do think it means that the GMs are liking what they’ve seen so far this season.

Ulf Dahlen, according to the press release, has decide to wait until the summer to sign an extension. I’m sure he’s looking to move up in the coaching ranks and doesn’t want to be tied down when this season ends up being a huge success.

I’d hate to see Dahlen go, though. Aside from keeping the hot quotient fairly high for the coaching staff, he is supposedly the architect of the Stars’ 4th-ranked power play and top-ranked penalty kill. We need him to stay. They made a big mistake letting him retire from playing, in fact. Maybe he could be the right-winger we’ve been looking for for Modano!

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Dallas 8, Minnesota 1

That Wild game was a wild game! (Har!)

What an unbelievable game. Turco picked a good night to have trouble. And he did have trouble, but it was early in the game and he straightened out toward the end. The rest of the team bailed him out, not just by scoring eight goals (!), but also by only allowing 17 shots. I think they only got 3 shots in the second period. Sure, they got a goal on one of those three shots, but I think my point still stands.

Almost everybody got a point, and quite a few players had multiple points.

Modano made a beautiful pass to Nik Hagman for the first goal. Mo had a goal in the third, too. He looked good throughout the game.

I was going to point out that this kid, Aaron Voros, gets teased about his resemblance to Modano, but Mike Heika beat me to it. I made a note to myself to watch for him and see if he really does look like him (he kinda does!) and I think I jinxed it because he scored early. He got an assist on one of Pavol Demitra’s easy goals, later, too.

Steve Ott had two assists, and his assist on Jeff Halpern’s shorthanded goal in the first period was a hard assist. He went hard to the net and almost scored, but the puck just stuck to the ice right in front. But Halpern was right behind him to pick it up and score. I love Jeff Halpern, too. He doesn’t rack up the points, but I give him a point for every shift he’s up against the opposition’s best player and that player doesn’t get a point. Like Marion Gaborik, for instance (a minus-3 in the game). According to Vic Ferrari’s awesome time-on-ice numbers, Jeff Halpern and Steve Ott had the Gaborik job.

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Dallas 4, Montreal 1

Despite what Yahoo’s box score would have you believe, there were no power-play goals in this game. And no shorthanded one, either.

Cat, Caitlin, and Jen have recaps of the game that were much more timely than mine. And of course Andrew’s always has a good writeup. So, since it was so long ago, I won’t go into detail about the whole game, just this one thing that bothered me.

That being that the box score on Yahoo Sports, the Offical Game Summary from NHL.com, and the game summary on the Stars site are all incorrect.

The Yahoo boxscore still says that the Stars got four power-play goals and the Canadiens got a shorthanded goal! That’s completely incorrect. All the goals were even-strength. Andrew’s game summary is correct.

The Offical Game Summary was claiming the four PP goals at first, but it has since been changed. First, it was changed to show that only Miettinen’s goal was a power-play goal and there were four skaters and the goaltender listed as being on the ice at the time. But that has been corrected now so that it shows all five skaters plus the goaltender, but it is still counting the goal as a PP goal. Either it’s not a PP goal, or there were too many men on the ice for the shorthanded team. And what penalty was being served at that time? I am pretty sure there wasn’t one.

I haven’t re-watched the game, but I plan to, to verify that it wasn’t a power-play goal.  But even if the official summary is right about it being a PP goal, then they have listed an extra skater on the ice at the time.  

This really bothers me. I’m not even much of a stats person, but I love reading what other people do with them and I wonder how often this happens. I’d hate to get all excited about how awesome our PP is, when it’s basically just made up.  I would never have noticed it if it hadn’t been so wildly incorrect the first time. I play fantasy hockey on Yahoo and I wonder how often people get points they shouldn’t or don’t get points they should, if it’s that sloppy.

Do the teams keep separate track of this stuff? Is this common? I feel like I should tell someone in authority, but who would that be? And would they even care?

By the way, the Stars’ Penalty Kill is second in the league!  Or is it?

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Dallas 3, Calgary 2 (OT)

Not in the face!

During the post-game show for the Canucks game the other night, Razor pointed out that teams that are coming home from long, successful road trips, tend to lose their first game back. He was right. That’s what the Flames did.

During this game in the third period, Razor, who had been marveling at Nik Hagman’s tenacious play the whole game, said, “Nik Hagman’s gonna get one here in a minute.” And it wasn’t even that long and Nik Hagman tied the game. It was amazing to see.

Razor really knows his stuff.

And you can’t go too long talking about amazing things without having to mention Mike Ribeiro. On his first shift, that Phaneuf guy (don’t get me started) hits Ribeiro hard and knocks him down (perfectly legally, I’m sure). Ribs bounces back up and finishes his shift, then when it’s his turn again, he comes out and scores one of his artistic, patient goals.

When he sees Morrow get the puck behind the goal, he comes flying off the boards to the middle and catches Morrow’s pass. Then he just skates slowly by Kiprusoff who can’t decide what to do so he lays down and Ribs pops it up over his leg.

Then the Flames get a couple of goals. Not sure how that happened. And then Hagman gets his to tie it in the third.

Then, in overtime, Zubov adds a little of his own genius to Ribeiro’s and they combine for the game-winner just a minute or so into the overtime period. Ribeiro is positioned in front of the net, just to the goalie’s left, with his stick out to the left. Zubov, from the point, fires a pass that hits Ribeiro’s stick in just the exact spot that sends the puck on almost a 90-degree angle right between Kipper’s legs. Un. Believable.

Not a bad road trip. Lost one, won three. San Jose lost again tonight, so they’re burning up some of their games in hand. I really hate it when Anaheim and San Jose play each other because I want them both to be routed. I don’t like having to pick a side. But until Anaheim catches up to the Sharks (which could be any day), I have to pick them. They’ve played each other a lot recently so maybe they’re almost done.

The Montreal Canadiens are up next.  Just about everybody that works for them now was here during the Stars’ Cup run in ’99.  If there’s anybody out there that doesn’t know, Brenden Morrow (Stars captain) is the son-in-law of Guy Carbonneau (Montreal head coach) (and essential cog in the machine that was the ’99 team).  Don’t anybody be nervous, now.  Brenden.

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The always-hilarious RudyKelly, over at BoC, and his pal Megalodon (I think) have come up with a glossary of hockey terms for those of you that might be new to the game. And don’t forget Part II. Even funnier. And also very true in many ways. 

Well, mostly just funny. 

 No, also very true.  I’m sticking with that.

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Dallas 2, Vancouver 3

Again, I don’t like talking about games we lose. It’s not that I thought they played that poorly or gave the game away or that I now hate the Canucks or anything. I just don’t like being negative about the Stars. Sue me.

But, in the interest of at least noting the game, I will say that it was actually higher-scoring than I would have predicted, but the goalies did a fine job for their respective teams. I thought they each gave up one soft one and the other goals were well-deserved and weren’t necessarily caused by specific defensive lapses (at least as I remember a day later).

All the Finns got points, as Caitlin, over at Hockey Coma, points out.  Antti Miettinen got yet another goal.  He’s an example of why I don’t bash coach Tippett and his staff at all.  I think they know what they’re doing. 

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Dallas 2, Edmonton 1 (SO)

I get pretty tired of the hockey bashers claiming that games that are 2-1 are inherently boring. I’m sure I’ve said that before. But this was a really exciting game. There was lots of skating and tons of chances on both sides and the goalies were just standing on their heads.

Turco didn’t allow any goals in the shootout and that was basically the difference in the game. Jeff Halpern’s goal was the result of a beeee-yootiful pass from Modano that faked out Roloson who left the net empty for Halpern’s shot.

Dustin Penner’s goal was just a hard-working goal that popped up over Turco’s head.

I suspect there is some game-planning going on by our opposition lately, the goal being not to give us any power plays. As a result, we didn’t get one until halfway through the third period. We did get one in OT, but failed to score on it.

The Oilers have been ruling the shootout this season. They were 10-1 coming into the game and were bringing a 3-game shootout-win streak with them. But these are the Stars. We know our way around the shootout. Tippett moved Zubov to the middle and he got the only goal in the shootout, using his signature move. I liked the slow-motion replay from behind Zubov as he takes his shot where you can see the net billow at the top.

During the postgame interview, Dave Tippett was asked by the Edmonton media if he had been keeping an eye on the Oilers because they were so good at the shootout. Tippett says, in effect, Hey, we’re pretty good at it too, you know.

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