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Archive for August, 2008

Joel Lundqvist is going to find his niche this year. He’s a tough player and a good hitter and he will always have a place on a line with a pair of skilled guys.

He’s a checking winger, and he likes it that way.

That’s a role he played when he was in Sweden, and a role he seems to embrace (he says his twin brother Henrik Lundqvist was always the star-type personality and he was always the guy who liked the behind-the-scenes role).

He can also score important goals. He’s been in the league two seasons and in each he scored three goals (in limited games). But he scored two goals in each year of the playoffs. That’s the sign of a big-game player.

Now that Nik Hagman and Antti Miettinen are gone, Joel should be able to get more ice time and make an even bigger statement. He needs to stay up with the big club all year.

Joel seems like a real sweet kid. His twin brother is quite the man-about-town in New York City, playing for the Rangers, but I think Joel is better-looking. Obviously it’s the haircut. And the gritty play.

His English seems to have improved by leaps and bounds, too. I enjoy seeing him interviewed because he’s so earnest he makes me want him to succeed.

I think this year might just be his year.

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Stu Barnes has announced his retirement from playing in the NHL. That’s the bad news. The good news is that he’s signed on as an assistant coach.

It’s really too bad that he has to retire so soon. I hate to seem him go out because of a concussion. He says he’s symptom-free, but hasn’t tested it at game-level yet. I’m glad to hear that.

I really like Stu Barnes. I really had no idea who he was when he first came to town. I vaguely remembered him from the Stanley Cup run in 1999, since he was a Buffalo Sabre at the time. I was not a sophisticated observer back then and the reason he stood out for me was because he had such a cool, retro first name. I also remember the broadcasters raving about his play and his leadership.

He’s one of those players, to me, that seems to have just arrived and to have always been here, at the same time. I’m surprised at how long ago it was that he was traded here, but I can’t remember what it was like when he wasn’t here.

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Not that far off.

Just to add to my previous rant about making changes for the sole purpose of attracting fans that don’t want to be attracted:

 Didja watch the Olympic water polo last night? Didja? Didja?

Hey, it’s sorta like hockey and these guys are great athletes, but it’s even harder to follow the play on TV. They need a glowing ball. And take those caps off the players so we can see their faces. And maybe they can take the water out of the pool so we can follow [the] action better.

— Stu Hackel, Slap Shot

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Puck Daddy has invited people to list 5 ways they’d change the NHL. (He doesn’t have a category for it, so you’ll have to go looking for them. Sorry.) I’ve basically skipped them, because I almost always disagree with suggestions to improve the game.

Here are some that I think are the stupidest.

Bigger nets. If the nets are enlarged, it will take about 3/4 of a season for the goalies to adjust to it. And you’re right back to normal scoring levels, but now you’ve got a stupid oversized net for no good reason.

Bigger rinks. Have you seen international play? The same people that call for a international-sized ice sheet complain that Europeans aren’t trained to be hitters. That’s why. They have to go too far out of their way make a hit. A defenseman out of position, trying to hit somebody on the big ice, would likely cause some scoring, but you know what would happen then? He would stop going out of his way to hit somebody.

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We here in the Sunbelt are very lucky. We’re about as far from Montréal and Toronto and New York as you can get. The full-on frenzy that surrounds the teams in those towns is something we don’t have here for hockey.

So even though I saw the infamous incident in the playoffs when Mike Ribeiro was a Canadien and he seemingly faked an injury then laughed about it, I hardly thought anything of it. While I went on with my life, the city of Montréal became a raging cauldron of righteous indignation and eventually made Ribeiro’s life miserable.

Doug Armstrong traded Janne Niinimaa to the Canadiens for Ribeiro at the start of the 2006-07 season. Niinimaa was not helping us at all. When he was traded, the amazing part seemed to be that we got rid of him. We barely thought about what Ribs might be able to do for us.

It turned out to be one of the best trades the Stars have ever made. He scored 59 points that season and 83 this past season. He and Brenden Morrow found the kind of chemistry they could once only dream of and he brought the Stars something they haven’t had much of over the years: finesse.

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World traveler.

I’m back from Holland and I’ve had a nap (or two) so now I can finally get back to posting. I’m not sure if that’s good news or not.

I was sent to the Netherlands by my company. We have recently had a series of buyouts and re-orgs (as we corporate types call it) and as of this moment, I’m part of a group from Holland that will work together on software projects. I traveled with the other Dallas coworker that was added to their team.

For a business trip, it was pretty fun, but for a Trip to Europe, it wasn’t that great. Too much work. It was my first overseas trip, ever, and everybody we met, both at work and on the streets and in stores, was very very nice. They all spoke English and they were all very helpful.

My new co-workers and bosses were all very nice and darned funny. Probably even funnier than I realize, since a lot of their conversations were in Dutch.

I didn’t take a ton of pictures, but I took a few.

Taking a hint from some IPB road trips, I took this shot from the window of the cab that took us from the airport in Amsterdam to the hotel.

Dutch windbreaks are very picturesque.

Dutch windbreaks are very picturesque.

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I’m so sorry that birthday post was left up there for a week. I had all kinds of plans to write posts in the evening but there just wasn’t much time to do it. It was mostly work and then watching the Olympics in Dutch.

I had a really good time in Holland. Dutch people are very nice. They’re always anxious to help and luckily, they all speak very good English.

Did you know that Nieuwendyk is a Dutch name?

I’m very sleepy right now. Maybe tomorrow I’ll show you some pictures.

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