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Archive for October, 2009

Smashed Filter

Kids, this is why you need a UV filter.

Dallas 4, Toronto 3, OT

I went to the game tonight and as I got out of my car, I dropped my camera bag and it sounded like glass breaking. When I reached my seat I took it out and found that the UV filter was smashed, but the glass on the lens seemed okay. But it wouldn’t auto-focus and I couldn’t turn the manual focus ring. I had to wait until I got home to assess the damage.

If the Stars had lost that game, I’d have been pretty distraught. It’s amazing how much better a win can make me feel.

The Stars started out pretty blatantly bad in the first period. Two shots on goal the whole period. Marty Turco did a fabulous job of keeping them in the game. For a team that is basically the worst in the league right now, the Leafs looked pretty good against the Stars.

The second period looked better, and by the third, they were ahead a little in the play. The defense made some pretty good plays from what I could tell. Fistric had a good game, and so did Robidas.

Brad Richards got two goals but each one was followed closely by a Leafs goal. Richards made some great plays and those goals were very important. Ribeiro’s tip-in goal was extremely impressive. He basically curved it around all the Leaf defenders.

Have I mentioned that I miss Nik Hagman? I kind of wish, if they had to score, that he would get a goal. But I’m happy that they didn’t outscore us. I’ll take it.

I was resigned to the loss and then thrilled by the tying goal. Then I was resigned to an OT loss, so I was doubly thrilled by James Neal’s OT goal.

Great win, and after a little wrestling with my lens, I was able un-jam it so I think it’s okay. Everything worked out. Never give up on the puck, and always use a UV filter. That’s my advice.

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Let’s see what we’re looking at here.

The defense isn’t half bad. Oooh! The young defense is going to be overmatched! Ooh! We need a free agent d-man everybody’s heard of! That was the cry during the off-season, and it continues now. But we can’t afford a free agent defenseman in his prime and we don’t need one that’s past his prime. I think the defense is already showing that they are learning the system and are the type that can work it.

Fistric is basically a stay-at-home defenseman that can skate like an offensive defenseman. Same with Grossman. Grossman is leading the NHL in plus-minus right now. Fistric played left wing for two games. Trevor Daley can overtake anybody that might take the puck from him. Niskanen can zig-zag through the opposition just like a forward, and is improving his defensive game. Robidas is still the leader he’s been for a couple of years and is basically in his prime. And Skrastins is actually helping out quite a bit. I like a professional shot-blocker like him. He makes some good plays and blocks a lot of shots.

I might be a little Pollyanna about the defense, but I think it’s doing pretty well. Certainly better than the skeptics predicted.

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I just saw a cute story over on Andrew’s Dallas Stars Page about a Stars fan that bought a Maple Leafs fan on ebay.

Apparently, the Leafs fan has decided to jump ship and has sold his loyalty to the highest bidder (proceeds going to a cancer charity).

I think he’ll enjoy being a Dallas Stars fan. He can probably get Stars game tickets plus plane tickets for the price of tickets to a Leafs game. And there’s no waiting list. And best of all, no grammatical errors in our team’s name!

Welcome to Stars fandom, ex-Leafs fan!

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Did you ever see Dallas from a DC-9 at night?
Well Dallas is a jewel, oh yeah, Dallas is a beautiful sight.
Jimmie Dale Gilmore

I’m back (in Dallas) after spending glorious, fun-filled, fall-foliage-filled, sight-seeing-filled, walking-filled week at Stately IPB Manor in beautiful South Jersey. I had a great time and I took a ton of pictures. I even saw a hockey game in a foreign building for the first time and it was pretty exciting. Pookie and Schnookie and Boomer were excellent hosts.

I’ll show you some pictures, once I get them all off my camera and up online.

And now that all the fun and excitement of vacation is over, I’ll try harder to post more about the actual Dallas Stars.

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I’d like to apologize to my throngs of readers for being so lackadaisical (or lax-adaisical, as Razor says) about posting recaps of the games. With Twitter and IPB and emailing all through all the games, I pretty much run out of things to say about them.

So I thought I’d get some of my thoughts down before the game started and see if they relate in any way to what really ends up happening. People do previews all across the hockey blogosphere, so it can’t be too hard, right?

Up to now, the Stars are 1-0-2 in their first three games. They haven’t lost outright yet, but they’ve only won once. The thing is, they seem to be playing really well. They looked good in all three games. The famous “new system” must really be working because they’ve been in control of most of the games.

It’s hard for me to understand systems unless Razor spells it out for me, but I think I’m starting to see what they mean by bringing the defensemen in and having a forward cover for him. Razor showed some of it before the Oilers game, but Brenden Morrow, in his weekly visit with BaD Radio on The Ticket, really described it well. I think I can watch for it now.

It sounds like the defensemen can come in and the forwards can cover for them, it’s more like a rotation of all five, not just the forwards up by the nets and the defensemen at the blueline. It’s whoever can get the puck, goes for it and the nearest guy rotates up to cover for him.

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Dallas 2, Nashville 3 (SO)
3 out of 4 penalties killed

Hockey is finally here. There have been lots of things that wanted to make me feel like that, but opening night at the American Airlines Center seems to be the only thing that worked.

My lovely sister (in Keller) went to the game with me and we met up with Myra and Hub and Kid from Laughs 2 Loud. Our seats for our partial plan are really pretty good. They’re right at the top of the escalator and it’s one of those jagged sections so we don’t have a lot of people in front of us. I’m going to enjoy that spot.

The game didn’t start out too well. It was only a couple of minutes into the game before Jason Arnott scored the first goal. It was a lucky bounce, but kind of disheartening there for a few minutes. It didn’t help when they scored again just a few minutes into the second period.

I thought the Stars really picked it up after that. They seemed to have quite a bit more time in the offensive zone and did a lot of good defensively — lots of puck stealing by the Stars — but I was still surprised when I saw they had 40 shots on goal during the game. Dan Ellis, the Preds goalie (and a former Stars goalie prospect), did a fantastic job against the them. He was the main reason they couldn’t score in the second half of the game.

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Cedar Park Center

I took a rare hockey road trip this week and took in the Battle of the Stars game Wednesday night with my sainted mom and dad.

We drove from their tiny little town over to Cedar Park, TX, to check out the new Texas Stars arena and the future Dallas Stars. (We might have also checked out a few new housing developments we saw along the way. We’re notorious house-hunters.)

For dinner, we picked a random burger place because we didn’t want to stray too far from the arena once we found it. It turned out to be some of the best burgers we’ve had in a while. If you’re ever in Cedar Park, you should try Moonie’s Burger House. The homemade hamburger buns alone are worth the trip.

The game was fun. There were the regular Stars we all know and love, and then on the opposite end of the rink were all the kids from training camp that we’ve been hearing so much about. Both sides looked in good shape.

The 5-1 score looks more lopsided than it really was. The Texas Stars had some good play on defense and they had a few good chances on Turco. Alex Auld started in goal for the kids, but they switched the goalies out in favor of Climie and Krahn at the halfway point or so.

When the Dallas Stars scored, they played the goal song and there was some reasonable cheering. I got the impression there were mostly Dallas fans in the arena. But when the Texas Stars got their goal, the place went NUTS! So it seems there’s a good start on a fanbase for the AHL team.

My parents had a good time at the game. They enjoy a good sporting event in general, but I think I might be wearing them down on hockey in particular. About five minutes into the game, after a ref got crunched against the boards, my dad said, “I think if I were one of those referees, I’d want a stick, too.”

It was a fun game to watch and the perfect tune-up to get ready for Saturday night’s game. I’m ready now. Nervous, still, but ready.

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