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Archive for July, 2008

How could anybody not love Robi? Seriously.

He’s adorable, he has that French-Canadian accent, he has a sweet disposition. Yet he’s just about as tough as they come.

He gets hit more than anybody, it seems, and most of the time it looks like he’s surely going to have trouble getting up. But he just pops up like nothing happened.

In Game 5 of the Ducks series, he was hit in the face with a puck. His visor got the brunt of it but it did break his nose. Brenden Morrow helped him off the ice as he was bleeding pretty badly. But he only missed a couple of shifts before he was back out there on the power play. Then in Game 6, wearing a full cage, he had a goal and assisted on the game winner.

In the series against the Sharks, his assist on Morrow’s series-winning goal was genius. He wound up to shoot, watched Nabokov drop to stop the shot, and passed it to Morrow, who was standing there all alone. That’s not the work of a defensive defenseman.

Robi can skate like crazy. I love watching him skate backwards, especially. He has a move that he uses all the time, yet it works pretty much every time. If he’s being pressured in the defensive zone, he’ll zoom around the net with the guy right on him and whip around on the other side a good three strides ahead of the guy. He can out-maneuver backcheckers with ease.

This season he really came through for the Stars when both Zubov and Boucher missed huge amounts of time. There’s a really nice article on the Stars site about him and how he shone with all the extra responsibility. He ran the power play a lot of the time, which helped him to score nine goals after having zero in 2006-07. During the playoffs, the power play was really clicking while he was running it. Not to take away from Zubov, who usually runs it, but I think it benefited from the change in styles a little. Maybe next season they can mix it up a little more, knowing what Robi can do.

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It\'s so pretty.

It's so pretty.

Look at the little icicles! And the little frost-sparkles!

Let me just say, that I am so happy they’re doing the Winter Classic again and that it’s on New Year’s Day. I hope they do it like they did last year and have a game after it and a game after that, so we can watch all day. I’ll make some dip, get some veggies and chips, maybe make limeade or something. It’ll be great!

Thanks to Icethetics (via Puck Daddy).

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Watered down.

Thanks to Kukla, I read this interesting post on the Minnesota Wild’s official blog about the myth of expansion watering down the talent pool in the NHL.

I’ve long pooh-poohed the notion that having 30 teams means that they’re forced to drag people in off the street just to fill out their rosters. Same with the notion that back in the era of the Original Six, each team had first-line-quality players on all four lines. But I was too lazy to look up statbits to prove my theory.

The article has some great numbers showing that it’s even harder now than it was then for a player to squeeze into the NHL. And with players sticking around into their late thirties and even into their forties, it clogs the pipeline even more.

It’s hard for the young guys to get in when the old guys never leave. I’m talking to you, Chelios.

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It’s been 50 days since the Stanley Cup was awarded, and it’s 57 days until the Stars open Training Camp. This is my least favorite time of the year.

It reminds me of driving across the Causeway over Lake Ponchartrain to New Orleans. The bridge is so long, that for about eight miles, you can’t see anything but water. Neither bank is visible. I’ve driven across it a couple of times and at first it seems perfectly manageable, then when I lose sight of the shore in my rear view mirror and there’s still no sign of the shore in front of me, my mind starts to play tricks on me. I start to get all existential.

That’s what this time of year does to me. I’ve left the comfort of the buzz from the playoffs now. But the new season is so far ahead that I can’t even start to think about it. So I start thinking about my life and future and work and people and all the stuff I can easily ignore during hockey season. It’s not fun for me.

Update: I’ve had this song in my head all day, and every time it starts over, I think of this Staples commercial from a few years back and it makes me giggle.

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I know, I know. He’s gone, too. But he was a big part of the Stars these last three seasons.

I really liked the kid. He had a gimmick. He was the best shootout guy in the league when he was a rookie and it brought him some national attention. I think he had nine in a row to start the shootout era of the NHL, and then ended with 10 of 13 that season.

Of course, nobody could keep up that pace, but he was a good forward for us. Back in November, against the Avs, Jussi scored four goals for the first time in his career.

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Yes, I know, he’s gone now. Jeff Halpern has moved on to play for Tampa Bay now.

I was so happy when Halpie came to town. He’s a pretty one, and he’s a defensive guy. I knew he was my kind of player. Plus, he has a degree in economics from Princeton! Princeton is one of those schools where even the athletes are smart.

His senior year at Princeton gave him confidence that the NHL was just a phone call away.

The 1998-99 varsity recorded the most hockey wins in school history and shared the Ivy League title with Yale. Halpern was team captain and leading scorer. He was co-winner of the university’s Roper Trophy, for athletic and scholastic achievement.

So we have smart, hot, and a good penalty killer. There’s really nothing else on my list of things to look for in a player.

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Dave Tippett showed off his motorcycles at The Old Bike Shop where he hangs out here in Dallas.

He builds them as a hobby after he tried it during the lockout, just for something to do. He has said that he pretty much enjoys building them more than riding them. He’s finished two of them.

I know he’s in charge and he’s the boss of the team and whatever he says goes, when it comes to hockey, but he is just so adorable.

He just seems like the nicest guy when he’s shootin’ the breeze about bikes or about his place in Minnesota. He was on The Ticket a few days ago and was calling from the Fargo airport and joking about how remote his place is (I bet it’s beautiful up there).

Then when he explains how he talked to Mike Modano about his role and Mo understood what he had to do, or when he says, “We sat down and talked to Loui and explained that he’s not a rookie any more and it’s time for him to be a player,” he sounds almost scary.

He’s like the guy that will joke around with you one minute, then the next he’ll say, “I don’t ever want to see you make that kind of play again,” and you just have to say, “Yes, sir.”

I love him. I’m so glad his contract was extended.

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