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Archive for July, 2009

See anything you want?

See anything you want?

I cleaned out my garage! In the heat of the day! In July!

I came across a few things I hadn’t seen in a while.

I knew my dad’s childhood dump truck was in a bin out there, and every time I got in the car I thought, “I need to bring that truck in. I’ll do it when I get home.” Today, I finally brought it in.

This is one of my favorite things.

This is one of my favorite things.

And I had had a nagging feeling when I finally hung all my clocks after all this time, that I was missing an important one. But I couldn’t find any others and I figured I was just nuts.

Something's just not right...

Something's just not right...

This is the one I was missing. I had completely forgotten about this clock.

It has a light!

It has a light!

Isn’t it adorable? A little light to shine on the face. This is one of my favorites. I can’t believe I forgot all about it. I took down the wholly inappropriate clock on the top right corner and replaced it with this one.

See?  Much better.

See? Much better.

Isn’t the little light adorable?

Seriously.  Look how cute.

Seriously. Look how cute.

So the garage cleaning wasn’t that bad. To the untrained eye, though, the “after” isn’t much different than the “before.”

And MAN, it was hot.

Hockey’s never coming back, is it?

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I really don’t like this news. TSN is reporting that he has officially signed a contract with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. I haven’t heard yet if he has any outs or anything.

I was mostly resigned to the likelihood that he wouldn’t return to the Dallas Stars, but I was planning to watch him play for whatever team he joined. I wanted him to come back to town with his new team so Stars fans could give him a long standing ovation in his new uniform. It would have been very moving.

Now, we’ll just never see him again. We won’t get to say goodbye.

I’m not mad at either side, surprisingly. I don’t blame Joe Nieuwendyk for wanting to wait and see if he’s healthy or for offering him a much-reduced amount. And I don’t blame Zubov for thinking he can still play and wanting to play for somebody that’s willing to take a chance on him.

I don’t know what I’m going to do; cheering for a team that Sergei Zubov doesn’t play for. I never have before.

He has such a fluid style. He can still deke with the best of them. He can still head straight for a defender and then yoink the puck and spin away at the last second, while the other guy looks around, comically confused.

I’ll miss the way he trails one toe as he serpentines through the neutral zone. Or turns on the heel of his blade as he ducks around the crowd at the net and flips the puck into the top corner.

Or holsters his stick after scoring a particularly humiliating shootout goal.

I’ll miss his beaming, dimpled smile when he or a teammate scores a goal.

Adoration makes him uncomfortable, but it’s his own fault for being so great. It’s pretty much assumed his #56 jersey will go up into the rafters in the AAC the minute he retires, and it had better.

Maybe we can say goodbye on that night.

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There’s a new! Uh-huh! Hockey sensation, Uh-huh!

This summer is INTERMINABLE!

If it weren’t for this episode of The Penguins of Madagascar, I’d have gone completely insane.

See, it’s a retelling of the story of the last two Stanley Cup Finals between the adorable Penguins and the sewer-rat Red Wings.

Seriously. I’m not convinced the new hockey season will ever start.

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After a day-long post and re-post, tweet and re-tweet frenzy of Scott Burnside’s assertion that Sergei Zubov is probably leaving, I still wasn’t ready to think that it was anything new that we didn’t know last week. (Plus, I am skeptical of ESPN’s hockey coverage.)

Last week we knew that Zubie was checking out what he could get as a free agent, and even that if the KHL was his only option, he would consider it. We knew that the Dallas Stars, specifically Joe Nieuwendyk, were going to wait a month to see how well he’s really recovered from his injuries.

But since I believe whatever Mike Heika says, I have to start thinking that maybe he is about to leave us.

“We have made good progress in talks with several teams, and I believe we’ll get something done soon,” [Zubov’s agent, Jay] Grossman said. “I can’t say it’s going to be the end of the week or anything, but there is interest out there and we’re going to pursue that interest and look for the situation that is best for Sergei.”

There’s still a chance that he could decide that the team and city that he’s loved all this time is better at a discount than a team he doesn’t know at a premium. But I guess it’s time to admit that it might happen.

(more…)

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Philippe Boucher had his Day with the Stanley Cup on the 4th of July. He took it to his home town for a parade and to his “cottage” on the lake for a party with friends and family. He even took it through the drive-thru at McDonalds.

You can read about it on the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Stanley Cup Journal page. You can see some pictures in the gallery, too. (They’re mixed in with other Cup days, but they’re close to the beginning.)

The tradition of letting each player and most of the staff from the Stanley Cup-winning team spend a day with it is just one of many reasons that it’s the best trophy in sports.

I’m so happy for Philippe. This was a crazy season for him. It was a crazy season for the Stars (and for the Pens, for that matter). It’s great that things worked out for him. I think I can stop being upset about his being traded. I wish he were still here, but I’m sure he’d say now that he’s glad he got to go to Pittsburgh.

Bouche’s pal, Stéphane Robidas, was one of his party guests. It sounds like he had some fun, too. His communing with the Cup might be just the mojo the Stars need this season.

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Our inveterate GM has been working away. Joe Nieuwendyk has made a couple of moves in the last few days. I’m relieved to say that I’m fairly okay with the latest moves.

They highly-coveted Jonas Gustavsson picked a team where he’s likely to be the starter, which isn’t the Dallas Stars. So, since Joe pretty much had all his eggs in that basket, he had to scramble to find another goalie. (See what I did there?) I wasn’t too impressed with the free agent goalies that were out there, but I hadn’t considered trying a practically-free trade for one.

The Stars traded their sixth round pick to the Senators for Alex Auld. I am perfectly happy with that. Auld seems to be pretty capable of playing plenty of games, and still be okay with being the backup. He’s had some good years and some bad ones, but for a sixth round pick (that was really this year’s seventh-round pick), he’s fine. Maybe this will be one of his good years.

The Stars also added some more defensive depth in Jeff Woywitka. I don’t know much about him, but I could have sworn he was projected to be pretty good. Maybe it’s just because his name is unusual that makes me think he’s been talked about a lot. He’s not expensive or anything, so it’s not a bad deal.

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I was watching World Cup Hockey from 1996 on the great NHL Network, and it was pretty eye-opening.

The NHL Network was very nice to show an American triumph plus lots of American stats on the crawl at the bottom of the screen all day on the 4th of July. I think they also had a special about the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame right after Game 3.

Now, 1996 is way before my time, but not so far back that I didn’t know anybody. Modano, Hull, Guerin, Hatcher, Weight, Tkachuk were there, and more that I had heard of but forgotten about. The Canadian side seemed to have more players that I know less. Joe Sakic and Steve Yzerman were about the only ones I have gotten to know. They had Gretzky and Fleury and Lindros and Odelein…guys like that.

Weight was being his old self, punching a guy in the head after the whistle (for a guy everybody says is “not that kind of player,” he sure acts like it a lot). Keith Tkachuk almost got his head whacked off when Lindros two-handed him over the back of the head with his stick. Then Tkachuk himself was kicked out of the game for whacking somebody else. Gretzky didn’t seem to be much of a factor.

I just have a couple of observations about that series and about what hockey must have been like in 1996 in general.

(more…)

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