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Archive for December, 2009

It’s all just a racket.

I find it both comical and sad that Time Warner Cable is crying about how News Corp. is a big mean network provider trying to screw the poor pitiful carrier, while sitting at another table, trying to screw a carrier out of one of the networks it provides.

Surely, it’s gotta be against the law for Time Warner to control so many sides of that business. Even when I purposely decline to do business with them, they can still mess up my TV life.

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Dallas 5, Chicago 4

That’s the only reason I’m condescending to write about it. Otherwise, I’d still be holding out for a streak of some kind. I’ve run out of W-L-W-L jokes.

A day before the game, I was pretty optimistic because they had lost the previous game and that means a win. But then I started thinking about how good the Chicago Blackhawks are these days and by the time the game started I assumed they’d lose.  I should have gone with my first instinct.

The first period was pretty impressive by the ‘Hawks.  Most of the way through it I was pretty impressed by the Stars for not being down by 5 or 6 goals.  The Stars actually took the lead, even though they had already given up 20 shots.

Mike Modano opened the scoring with that cool same-leg shot he breaks out every once in a while.  I think it’s one of my favorite moves.  Here’s my opinion: the reason Modano does so well these days on the power play is because he has somebody other than Krys Barch to pass it to him.  I’m sure Barch is a nice guy, but I think at the very least, Brian Sutherby should playing on the 4th line, if Modano has to stay there.  If he’s only going to play for 5 minutes, why isn’t Sutherby playing?  He can fight if need be.  Just because he doesn’t have fights scheduled for weeks ahead of time, doesn’t mean he won’t fight.

Obviously Modano should be on a higher line, but I agree that Wandell is pushing his way up there. It’s not really that Modano is dropping as much as Wandell is climbing.  But Modano needs somebody that can catch and/or make a decent pass.  I think Sutherby is better for that.  Heck, if they’re too full of defensemen, Fistric could be one of Modano’s wingers.

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

My lovely sister (in Tulsa) made this for me, many years ago.

Happy Holidays, everybody!

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Fistric

Mark Fistric is not my official new favorite player. So stop picking on the poor kid!

Sure, I might have entertained that thought. I might have discussed with certain friends, such as Pookie, Schnookie, Myra, Katebits, and Heather B. that he was maybe a frontrunner. And my sisters, maybe. And possibly my mailman. But I never said he was my favorite!

[Do you think they’re buying it?]

Deciding on a favorite player is kind of like househunting. You make your list of what you like and what you don’t like (your must haves and your must not haves), you study the pros and cons of various houses, you kind of like this house or that house because it has lots of pros, but in the end a house picks you.

You find yourself sitting on the couch a month or two after moving in, wondering what exactly it was that compelled you to buy it. And still glad you did.

That’s how this favorite player thing is going. Brad Richards and Brenden Morrow and James Neal and Loui Eriksson and Niklas Grossman and many others all have huge stacks of pros, but I keep coming back to Mark Fistric.

I think it might date back to that one seemingly minor play when he first came up, where he picked up the puck in the corner, then calmly stepped out of the way of a forechecker coming at him at 40 miles an hour, causing said forechecker to SLAM into the wall right next to him. Then he skated away with the puck as if he didn’t notice the guy.

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I wandered out onto the ledge after that last game, didn’t I? I was still hot about it when I wrote the post-game post so I might have lashed out a little.

But Mike Heika has been writing about being patient the last few days and I agree with him.

The Stars are a team in transition, and this is just 30 games into the transition. Yes, there are moves that can be made, and might be made. But the bottom line is new general manager Joe Nieuwendyk has a budget of $45 million for this season, and there’s no indication that will change, even if Tom Hicks does sell the Rangers.

So then you have to ask yourself – if you were the GM – would you try to roll the dice on a big move in attempt to possibly go after the Stanley Cup this year, or do you stay patient and allow your young players to get more experience?

I’m always on the side of not trading away the kids. I think that defensemen take time to develop and you have to let them. I don’t think that there is a “top-six” defenseman out there that is worth what we’d have to give up, or is available for what we have to trade. Players like Dion Phaneuf are overrated, and players like Dan Boyle are unavailable.

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Dallas 3, Anaheim 4 (OT)

I’m starting to wonder if the problem isn’t that the players are still getting used to the system, but maybe it’s just not a good system.

There are just too many games where the Stars have a healthy lead, then cough it up at in the last minute after spending the last period in a major panic.

What is going on? Shouldn’t they have learned the system by now? Or maybe it’s constantly watching to make sure you’re not supposed to be covering for a defenseman joining down by the net, or constantly changing before you ever get anything going or just concentrating so much on “attacking” that you never “defend.”

The Stars couldn’t get it out of their zone in the third period and it wasn’t just the defensemen. Morrow handed the puck to various Ducks, for one thing. The other thing I see way too much is the chance to clear the zone cleanly, squandered by a player that tries to hand it to a teammate further back in the defensive zone.

So many passes to the one guy with 3 defenders on him. Or just standing around until somebody catches up to them.

Mike Modano seemed to be the only one that could make a sharp pass. Or even catch a pass. He had several steals to go along with his beautiful goal. That play with Ott coming down the left and passing it straight across to Modano was as obvious as the day is long, yet Modano shot it right past the goalie.

Brad Richards had a pretty good game, getting 2 more goals to add to his huge point total. But he wasn’t immune to the mistakes that were happening in the third.

Another game that looked won after the first half of the game, only to be given away in the second half. The Ducks scored in the last 90 seconds of a period TWICE! That is not a fluke. That is a trend. This isn’t even the first game that that’s happened. It happens all the time.

I’m not impressed with Marc Crawford so far. I’ll just tell you.

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Dallas 2, Edmonton 3 (SO)

I was listening to the postgame show on The Ticket and Bob and Dan were saying the same thing I was thinking. Everybody wants to say that the defense is too young and inexperienced, but the problems aren’t always on defense. The defense had a good game. Turco had a great game.

The forwards need to score some goals. This is a group that is built to be high-scoring, yet they’re stuck at 2 goals a game most nights. That puts pressure on the defense, whether they’re young or not.

The other thing that is really getting tiresome is the way they let teams get back in the game. They were up on the Oilers 2-0 most of the way through the 2nd period. They were still up 2-1 with just over three minutes left in the whole game, and let the Oilers score the tying goal.

I doubt there were many in the crowd that thought they’d get it back in the overtime or the shootout. Especially the shootout, of course.

I was at this game (I feel like I’ve been going to all the home games lately), and from my un-Ralphie-aided position, I thought the Stars looked good most of the game. The defense actually did pretty well, I thought.

Mark Fistric had a great game back on the blue line. He made a lot of hits and some fancy stick-checks and generally was on the ball the whole game. He had 8 hits and 5 blocked shots.

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