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Archive for February, 2008

Dallas 7, Chicago 4

What a game, what a game, what a game!  I got chills. Brad Richards got FIVE ASSISTS. He got five assists in HIS FIRST GAME AS A STAR! Sure, I was skeptical before trade day, but even the most gung-ho Brad Richards supporter couldn’t have predicted that.

He looked like a kid with a new toy. His new toy is a winning team with great players and an efficient system.

His new toy was a pair of linemates that know what to do. That know where to go and where to put their sticks.

His new toy was a checking line centered by the great Mike Modano, distracting the opponent’s best line, so he didn’t have to.

His new toy was a top line centered by Mike Ribeiro, distracting the opponent’s top checkers, so he didn’t have to fight through them.

Everybody else has a new toy, too. A new teammate who’s thrown off the chains of playing for a losing team.

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I may have been a little tired and a little tense on the eve of Trade Deadline Day when I railed against the idea of trading for Brad Richards.

I was a little upset, I admit it. I felt that a trade would upset chemistry and I wasn’t ready to give up Mike Smith yet. (Also, I was petrified that Bouche would be traded so I was lashing out at all trade scenarios.)

I don’t know that much about Brad Richards, so I did what I hate for people to do when they look at Stars players; I checked his line: 18 goals, 33 assists, 51 points, -25 (ouch). That doesn’t look too good.

Yet, I think Modano’s having a pretty good year and his line isn’t much better: 17 goals, 29 assists, 46 points, -12 (also ouch).

The reason I think Modano is having a good year is because I watch him every night and I see all the little details in his game, and how much those things help the team’s game. I never see Brad Richards, so I don’t know what his game is like. I was kind of a Tampa Bay fan when they won the Stanley Cup in 2004 because Darryl Sydor was on that team, and I watched Richards and thought he was great. But I quickly lost interest in them the next season and lost track of all their players.

So I don’t know much more than what I hear about him. Up until yesterday, I heard that he had a huge contract, and was struggling mightily on a team with a mountain of problems, not the least of which is their whack-a-doo head coach, John Tortorella.

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Philippe Boucher is back in the lineup tonight against the Blues!  I’m so EXCITED!

I thought he wouldn’t be back until Thursday, but apparently Nik Grossman was injured slightly in practice so he’ll be in a game sooner.

Today has been a very tense day while I waited to see who would be traded and worried and fretted that it might be Bouche. I’m just now starting to relax a little so I’ll have to write a bigger post about his return in a day or so.

Just know that I’m THRILLED that he’s back from his injury, but even more thrilled that he won’t be traded any time soon.

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Yahoo is reporting that the Stars have traded for Brad Richards from Tampa Bay. The claim is that they’re trading goalie Mike Smith, defensive forward Jeff Halpern, and rookie defenseman Mark Fistric.  All players I don’t think we can spare.

Who’s going to back up Marty now, when we head into the playoffs?  An AHL goalie that’s played one NHL game?  Who’s going to lead the checking lines against the top forwards and keep the penalty kill at the top of the league?  Who’s going to step in for any injured defensemen during the playoffs?

And who’s Brad Richards going to play with?  He’ll have a month to build chemistry with the forwards from scratch.  Chemistry that the team has been building all season. Chemistry that will be altered by tossing another center into the mix, when we’re already overflowing with centers.  Chemistry that will be altered when all the lines have to be rearranged.  Chemistry that will be altered by a guy that is a minus-25 this season and a career minus-55.  For what?  20 goals? 

Hagman’s 20 goals aren’t good enough?  (more…)

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Just for fun, you might check out Slap Shot, the New York Times’ hockey blog.

They have started a little series where they have bloggers from around the blogosphere answer questions about their teams and they post them on the New York Times website.

Little ol’ Penalty Killing was invited to represent the Dallas Stars, if you can believe that. They obviously called the wrong number, but I didn’t tell them that. I just filled out the form and sent it to them and they posted my answers. ON THE NEW YORK TIMES.

Did I mention it’s the New York Times? Because it is.

You can see my first attempt here.

You should also check out all the other blogs that are represented. The Pacific Division is particularly well-represented, and when The Willful Caboose appears with the Northeast Division, that division will be well-represented, too.

Also, I might have forgotten to mention that it’s the New York Times. I’m thinking of spending the day tomorrow, striking up conversations with strangers, then when they ask me what I do, I’ll casually mention that I write for the New York Times.

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Tracy Meyers, of the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram mentions Les Jackson’s thoughts on trades, and whether Zubov’s surgery will affect their plans.

The rumor that seems to be picking up a little is that the Stars have put an offer on the table for Tampa Bay’s Brad Richards, he of the $7.8 million contract for three more seasons.

“We’ve talked, for sure,” Jackson said. “We like the player, but we haven’t done anything.”

Tracy points out that Richards has not really matched the greatness he displayed during the Lighting’s Cup year (although that’s just an interpretation on my part).

Richards, who has 18 goals and 39 assists this season, will earn $7.8 million in each of the next three seasons. Other teams expressing interest in Richards, according to TSN, are Vancouver and Columbus.

I used to really like Brad Richards, and he might just be having a bad year on a bad team, but that is a huge honkin’ contract. For three more years. I’d say we’d have to have proof that he’s going to get his game back, and not choke the team’s salary cap based on an admittedly awesome playoff run that was four years ago.

Maybe the Lightning won’t require our whole farm team plus Smitty, since they really need to get out from under that contract, but that doesn’t really help us if we’re stuck with that deal and he doesn’t pan out. Even if we don’t have to give up much for it, it’s still a HUGE salary for a LONG time.

This article was from earlier this morning and since then, some names have been taken off the market, such as Tanguay in Calgary. Maybe that will send more teams over to Brad’s booth and offer more than the Stars are willing to part with.

Les Jackson is saying the right things, though, so I should probably keep that in mind. I hope he is sincere.

Jackson said the Stars might consider other deals.
“If the right thing comes up, we’ll see,” he said. “Our team is doing good, and I think we have to respect what we have.”

That’s what I think.

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Philippe Boucher has been activated from the IR today! Mark, over at Andrews Stars Page says that the plan is that he will travel with the team to St. Louis, but probably won’t play until Thursday at home against Chicago.

I really don’t think I’m going to be able to make it through today and tomorrow. I am petrified that Hull and Jackson are going to make a terrible trade. I can’t even spell it out, I’m so afraid of it.

I might just have to buy a ticket to the Chicago game to see Bouche return to the ice. I really can’t wait until he does!

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