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Archive for the ‘Coaches’ Category

This has been a very long year for me. I was stressing over the job situation and various other stuff all year, and the fact that the Stars missed the playoffs for the second year in a row just dragged me down further.

So, in an effort to keep from going crazy, I decided to brace myself for the ’10-’11 season and try to be okay with things going poorly. I went ahead and assumed that it wasn’t going to be a good year, that things weren’t going to change much overnight.

There have been some big changes, of course. Our beloved Mike Modano is gone now. I’m not sure what happened to him, but I hope he’s happy. Our once-beloved-but-lately-maligned Marty Turco is gone now. He went to play for the Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks (a much easier story to swallow). I admit I haven’t been keeping up with how that’s going, but I hope he’s doing fine. (Blackhawk fans, it might take a while for the defensemen to get used to his puck-handling. Be patient. [Not that there might not be other troubles.].) And our beloved Jere Lehtinen is kind of forgotten but not gone. If I’m not mistaken, he’s still “thinking about it.”

There has been one big lack of a change – at coach – that bothers me a little. Not that I expected there would be a change, but I don’t expect any kind of championship run until there is. If even then.

I say all this to say that I’m okay with how things are going. The hot start was what I didn’t expect. I’m kind of glad it didn’t last long enough for me to get my hopes up too far. I’m calm. I can live with mediocrity this year because I prepared for it.

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Dallas 3, Pittsburgh 6

I’m just speechless.

SEVENTEEN goals against in the last three games. Seventeen!

This is a problem with the entire team. The goaltending is not helping cover any mistakes and the defense and the forwards are making a lot of mistakes.

And Marc Crawford is doing nothing about it. The so-called system is obviously not working. Just because it’s a system doesn’t mean it can win games.

The players have no confidence. How could they? They aren’t scoring and they aren’t defending. Crawford makes no adjustments to help them. I don’t know what he’s doing.

He scratched Mark Fistric in favor of Woywitka. Fistric is the one defenseman we have right now that can actually defend! Fistric is a plus-13 and the next best plus-minus is plus-3. He actually helps defend the net. Skrastins is having a terrible run of games, yet he was out there for 20 minutes.

He insists on putting Barch on Modano’s line when Barch can’t catch a simple pass or even stay on his skates. Fabian Brunnstrom may not be the toughest guy out there, but he could take a pass and send it back without falling down.

I checked out the recap from the great Mike Heika and here’s Crawford’s assessment of the game:

“I think we elevated our game today, and we have to keep looking for improvements,” Crawford said.

I don’t think “elevated” means what he thinks it means.

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The Dallas Stars have named Charlie Huddy as Marc Crawford’s new assistant coach. I really should know more about him, considering the fact that I was kind of an Oilers-blog groupie for a while. I do recognize the name, but I don’t know how Oilers fans felt about him.

If what Mike Heika thinks is true (and it usually is), he’ll do well developing our d-kids.

I honestly think he has one of the most important jobs in the organization in the next two or three years, as he will have a direct hand in developing youngsters like Matt Niskanen, Nicklas Grossman, Mark Fistric, Ivan Vishnevskiy and maybe even Philip Larsen.

If what I’m hearing is the case, he’ll be joining Marc Crawford in changing the mood to more skating and more offense. He has the players to do it. Even a kid like Fistric, who’s mostly a stay-at-home defenseman, can skate and move the puck well. If we’re about to see Daley finally get to kick off the reins and be the offensive guy we all thought he’d be, I’m all for that. If Matt Niskanen can keep up his improvement after, really, only 3/4 of a sophomore slump, we’ll be in pretty good shape.

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There’s still no official confirmation, but everybody seems to believe that Joe Nieuwendyk has failed to take my advice against doing anything drastic and has fired Dave Tippett.

I’ve kind of gone through several feelings about it over the course of the day. I was pretty shocked at first, and not happy about it at all. I’m still not happy about it, but I think I can live with it.

Six seasons is a long time for a coach in the NHL. I just hate to see him go. I have a feeling he’ll win a Cup someday soon. I just hope he doesn’t take it out of the Stars’ hands.

Right now the rumor is that they are talking to Marc Crawford. I think that’s a huge mistake, but they never listen to me. Maybe they should. I think my record is pretty good.

I think they should give Ulf Dahlen a call and see what he’s up to these days.

I checked out the great Andrew’s Dallas Stars Page to see what Mark thinks about it and he basically summarized all my thoughts.

Overall, I thought Tippett did a very good job during his time here. The Stars were a good team before the lockout and were a good team after the lockout. Tippett had a lot to do with that.

A lot of people will focus on the playoffs, but at the end of the season, as Brian Burke likes to say, only one team gets to hold a parade. Winning it all isn’t easy and getting close to winning it all isn’t easy either. There are a lot of teams around the NHL that would love to have had the success the Stars had during the years Tippett was head coach.

I was always a fan of Tipp’s. I feel sure his phone is already ringing off the wall and I hope he goes to a team I like.

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I think it’s a good idea. It’s not the only good idea, but it’s one of them.

As you have probably heard, the Dallas Stars are bringing Joe Nieuwendyk back to town to be the General Manager. He was one of the biggest keys to the Stars’ Stanley Cup win in 1999 and he helped take the team back to the Finals the next year.

Then Doug Armstrong decided to put his stamp on the team and traded Nieuwendyk and Jamie Langenbrunner to the New Jersey Devils. (This whole “putting your stamp on the team the minute you take over” thing hasn’t worked out that well. See: Brett Hull.) I was crushed that day, let me tell you. I was only three years into my hockey obsession and I figured that was the end of it. I had decided halfway through the Cup run that Nieuwy was my favorite player, and Jamie was a close second. How was I going to be a Stars fan if both of them were gone?

NHL Center Ice saved me, but that’s another story.

So, I’m all for Joe Nieuwendyk coming back to town. (more…)

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One of my all-time favorite movie lines was from the original Fun With Dick and Jane with Jane Fonda and George Segal. They’re in the bank, applying for a loan, and the loan officer says, “Let’s take a look at the pluses and minuses,” then starts listing all their problems. They get a little irked and start to leave, and he says, “I haven’t come to the pluses. Would you wait for me to come to the pluses?”

I think I want to do the minuses first, so wait for me to come to the pluses.

Minuses:
Sean Effing Avery — I’ve said plenty about how I feel about Avery, so I’ll try not to start all over about the whole thing. The Stars players and management and broadcasters don’t want to put the whole blame on him, but I do. If everything had gone well and he was still on the team, I would have still been miserable about it and I would blame him. As it is, of all our options, the way it played out was probably the best. Since listening to everybody tell you it’s a mistake to sign him at all (let alone for four years and 15 million) was an option they chose to pass up.

Other inexplicable summer moves – Okay, Ulf Dahlen’s leaving to coach Frolunda is probably not the fault of the GMs. But the loss of his special-teams genius was felt from game one. Their main inexplicable move was letting Nik Hagman walk. He was our best penalty-killer (especially after they traded Jeff Halpern the season before). He scored goals, killed penalties, agitated opponents, and was just generally the bomb. Of all the guys we lost between the Brad Richards trade and the summer “see ya’s”, he’s the one I miss the most. The PK dropped from second to 24th.  It was a bad move.

Marty Turco’s historic struggles – There’s a pattern I’m starting to see in Marty. He gets the big head, apparently. (more…)

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I haven’t posted anything since the debacle against the Kings, because I just don’t know what to say.

We came back to win against the Ducks, but I didn’t get the feeling that we were on any kind of roll. And I was right, because we turned around and handed the next game to Montreal.

They didn’t even want it!

The Habs tried to lose that game, but the Stars said, no thanks, we’ve got it.

And now I’m watching the Stars play the St. Louis Blues and I just don’t know what to say.

Going into this game, we were tied with Edmonton and Nashville, two points behind Columbus and one point ahead of Minnesota.

Columbus won.

Edmonton, Nashville, and Minnesota all lost, yet every single one of them got a point.

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