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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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Saturday, I did something I’ve always wanted to do. I sat on Row A at a Dallas Stars hockey game. Right on the glass.

I had been planning it for a while and when I asked Thomas the ticket guy to find me one, he outdid himself. Once I got my ticket, I was thinking it would be in the right-hand corner of section 124. But no. It was dead behind the net.

This is the view.
View from my seat

This is the view with my zoom lens.
View from my seat, plus zoom

The giant video board looks even more giant when you’re at ice level. On the glass. Like I was.
Video board

This is the lamp. I was basically sitting in the goal judge’s old seat.
The Lamp

I’m telling you I was way down there.
View behind me

As Bill Ollerman says, “Here they come! YOUR! DALLAS! STAAAAAARRRS!”
Big entrance

I’m a big fan of the skatearound. (more…)

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Stars 1, Canucks 7

That game was not good.

The Canucks worked the dive to their advantage and the Stars refused to dive, to their disadvantage. But that’s not why they got their heads handed to them.

A save would have helped. Even just a couple of penalty kills would have helped. Maybe a power play goal would have helped.

I was letting the previous game against the Flames kind of roll off my back since I didn’t have to watch it with my own eyes. And since they’ve been on such a run of wins, I couldn’t just dive into negativity after one loss, no matter how humiliating. But two in a row makes it hard to keep a brave face.

I’m going to try, though.

It’s not the end of the world yet. Two horrible games in a row could be a chance for the Stars to remember that it’s not going to be easy. They aren’t great yet. They’ve been pretty good, but they are going to have to work really hard to keep it up for the rest of the way.

The goalies, both Lehtonen and Raycroft, have been propping up the rest of the team for a little while. It’s probably going to be helpful that they get a good look at what the skaters need to work on.

Of course, that’s presuming that both goalies snap out of it right away. Even if other issues are improved, we’ll still need the great goaltending we’ve been having up until now.

And nothing had better be wrong with Jamie Benn. Forget all that other stuff. Nothing had better be wrong with Jamie Benn.

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For me, that doesn’t mean I’m leaning toward optimism so much as it means I might have put the foot back down that was extended over the ledge.

The four-game winning streak the Stars are on now is kind of weird. It’s hard to believe. Not that it’s not possible, it’s just weird.

The game against the Carolina Hurricanes was fairly definitive. I haven’t been following the Hurricanes that closely, but I think it was a legitimate win. The Stars played well. They didn’t back into the win at all.

The game was very entertaining. Lots of back and forth, lots of almosts, lots of bouncing pucks and cool defensive plays. Ribeiro and Daley were all over the ice. I thought Ribs had a pretty good game.

Right before Neal scored in the first, the ‘Canes tried many times to clear the puck and the Stars kept keeping it in. Woywitka caught the puck at the point as it ran around the glass to keep it in. Neal scored soon after that. Not only were the Stars keeping the puck in the ‘Canes’ zone, they also kept the ‘Canes out of their own zone.

They were responsible and aggressive. The forwards helped the defense and the defense played well. And Kari did a fine job of not messing any of it up. Usually he is covering for people but this time he didn’t have to too much.

(more…)

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Baby Benn De Luxe.


This Jamie Benn kid continues to amaze me.

His shorthanded goal last night was the kind you might see from a seasoned veteran. A seasoned veteran that is also a highly-skilled goal scorer. A seasoned veteran that is a highly-skilled goal scorer AND an intelligent penalty killer.

Yet, he’s just a 21-year-old kid in his second year in the NHL, where he showed up straight out of juniors.

Apparently he was back on the wing last night, although I’m not sure how that translates during the penalty kill. He sees the pass go to the point and he just runs up to the guy and grabs the puck. Even he was surprised that he got it and almost fell over trying to turn his momentum into heading toward the net.

The extreme steal (I’m going to call it) seems to be his forté. He’s done it a couple of times before, not by just picking up a puck a guy dropped, but by fighting the guy for it and winning.

He seems like he’s arrived, but I’m starting to wonder if he’s still developing. Can you imagine? What if he gets better?

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Dallas 3, Colorado 5

They played a pretty good game. Had a lot of shots. Didn’t give up many shots. Yet the opposition still scored five goals.

Five goals a game. That’s the theme of this whole season.

I just have two questions:

1. Why was Sutherby scratched in favor of Barch?
2. Why did Mike Modano only get 8 minutes when he was doing so well in the first?

My guess? Crawford doesn’t know what he’s doing.

There was no way that the Stars were suddenly going to win a bunch of games in a row so it’s really silly to even contemplate it. The surprise was right before the Olympics when they were only one point out of the 8th spot in the standings. That fact was not an indication of the situation. Then, coming off the Olympic break, they went back to not surprising us.

I’m not looking forward to the day Turco moves on, but I am kind of looking forward to it. I know that sounds wrong but that’s the way it is. The problem is that I don’t know what we have with Lehtonen, but I don’t see Turco straightening out.

I think we’ll be a mediocre team while Crawford is leading it. I’m gonna go watch the Coyotes.

Wait. One more thing. Jamie Benn had a great game. And so did the new kid, Brandon Segal. I’m sure Segal will be healthy scratched next game.

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Dallas 1, St. Louis 6

Well. That was terrible.

I can’t tell what was bad about it. It all looked the same.

Marty Turco is not helping. Not helping at all.

Our goalie-of-the-future, Kari Lehtonen, had to come in and mop up. He is a large man. That’s all I’m going to take from his first appearance.

And that’s all I have to say about that awful, awful game.

Oh, wait. Jamie Benn took care of himself in a pointless fight, picked by a crybaby that doesn’t like getting hit. He adds another dimension to the greatness of his game.

That’s all I have to say.

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