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Archive for March, 2011

Linchpin.

I never would have guessed it, but it seems the key to the Dallas Stars’ success these days is Adam Burish. Sure, it’s nice to have Brad Richards back, and Jamie Benn has been out of this world, but when Burish is in, they win, and when he’s out, they lose.

Burish was injured on February 3rd against Boston and was out for eight games. In those eight games, the Stars went 1-6-1.

He came back on February 24th against Detroit for eight games and in those the Stars went 6-0-2.

Now that he’s out again, in the two games since he was hurt, the Stars are 0-2-0.

There is something that he brings that I can’t pin down from my remote perch, but it’s definitely something. And the Stars miss it when it’s gone.

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Jamie Benn

Earlier, I wrote a huge post that started out talking about how much fun hockey seems to be again and why.

Then it devolved into a rambling screed about what killjoys certain bloggers and tweeters can be. I sounded just like them.

So I chucked that one and I’m going to stick to my main point, which is that I am enjoying hockey. I’m learning to avoid stuff online that makes me mad, instead of trying to argue it down.

My friend, Katebits, over at The Willfull Caboose had a great post about that topic so I’ll let you read that instead.

I think the main reason I’m enjoying hockey again is that there is a race on. For the last couple of years, missing the playoffs was something we knew way before the end of the season. And this year I assumed it would happen again.

Then, the dumb ol’ Stars did some winning, laid on the charm, and just generally drew me back in. The Western Conference is so tight right now that every game counts, and it has for a while. One night you’re in, the next you’re out. Sometimes while you just sit there.

I’m happy they didn’t trade Brad Richards. I’m entertained by his and Krys Barch’s trash talking on Twitter (as long as you keep it light, boys).

And while I’m worried about poor Brad’s symptoms, I’m happy that the Stars are trundling along without him. I hope he comes back soon, but I think they’re handling it well.

Don’t even get me started on Jamie Benn. He seems totally oblivious to his own greatness. I know he’s only 21, and you can’t say what will happen over a decade or two, but man. That guy has it all. I wonder if we’ll ever hear commentators marvel over how whoever drafted him in the 5th round is a genius. Since we’re not Detroit, probably not.

Now that he’s back, and Adam Burish is back, the Stars seem to have that fun aura that kind of faded during their losing streak. The rest of the season is going to be something to watch.

For a change.

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Yes. I’m superstitious. All of Dallas Stars fandom (as measured by the people I personally follow on Twitter) are superstitious. Daryl “Razor” Reaugh should be, too.

This isn’t just anecdotal any more, though. Kari Lehtonen has had too many “Ryan Miller Shutouts” (as my Buffalo Sabres fan friends call it), and it’s because every time it gets down to 5 minutes left in a game where the opposition hasn’t scored, Razor will not leave it alone.

Sometimes he just flat out says the word, “shutout.” Blatantly. And then as he’s discussing how dumb ol’ superstitious people hate it when he does that, Kari lets one in. Every time.

Other times, like last night, he calls it a “clean sheet.” I was on Twitter and, at about the 5-minute mark, many of us expressed our fear by tweeting things like, “DON’T SAY IT RAZOR!” and, “Don’t JINX US RAZOR!”

Then he started talking about how Kari can’t seem to keep a clean sheet these days.

We all said, “NOOOOOOOOOO!” And then the Coyotes scored.

There is no way that goal wasn’t caused by Razor’s blatant disregard for established rules in hockey broadcasting.

In the post-game show when it was pointed out that it was his fault, he asked, innocently, “What am I supposed to call it?!”

How about you don’t mention it at all, Razor? We can all see what’s happening. You don’t have to point it out!

We are happy to wait five more minutes for your scintillating analysis of Kari’s shutout stats. The end of the game, when he actually has a shutout, is perfectly fine! WHY CAN’T YOU WAIT UNTIL THEN?!?

This is why Kari doesn’t have one yet. He knows, just as we all do, that Razor mentions it at exactly the same point in every game.

If not for the knight on a white horse that rode in to save the day (Jamie Benn, with 4 seconds left), Razor might have had to go into seclusion until the whole thing blew over. I’m telling you, Twitter was PISSED.

Razor, next time, just TRY to not mention it for FIVE MORE MINUTES, okay? You can time yourself. It’s not going to hurt your career! You’ll still win Emmys and be the toast of the hockey broadcasting world.

And maybe Kari can get a shutout, for Pete’s sake.

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