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Archive for the ‘Mark Fistric’ Category

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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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 @ New Jersey (Season Opener), 10/08/10

Now I don’t know what to think. I was all braced for sloppy play and poor goaltending and just general mediocrity and I was okay with it.

Then the Stars went out and played a pretty good game and beat the Devils in overtime. The big guys scored, and the defense made some good defensive plays and the goaltender made some impressive saves.

The game started out more like I expected, with the Stars going down by two goals in the first period. I missed the first half of the first period as I struggled home from Ft. Worth. Both Devils goals were scored while I was listening on the radio.

Once I got home, though, things looked much better. Morrow opened the season’s scoring with the first Stars goal from Mike Ribeiro, both of them looking kind of like the old days when theirs was the best line.

Just like in the old days, Loui Ericsson scored twice, the second one the game winner in overtime. Brad Richards scored the other one to tie it at 3.

Mark Fistric may have fallen and let Kovalchuk and Parise get by him, but he made up for it with an assist on Morrow’s goal.

The defense looked pretty good after they settled down halfway through the first period. There were lots of frantic defensive moves near the net that kept the score within reach. And there were plenty of takeaways in the neutral zone and poke checks at their own blue line to keep the Devils out of their zone.

Stéphane Robidas made a huge block on Jamie Langenbrunner to keep the score tied late in the game.

As Razor said, it was kind of an 18-wheeler of a game. It took a while for it to get up to speed, but it ended up being a pretty exciting, end-to-end, speedy game.

Loui’s shot over Marty Brodeur’s near shoulder just a couple of minutes into overtime was a really pretty one. He seems to be ready to lead the team in scoring, yet again.

Kari Lehtonen looked a little less than impressive early, but really had a good game overall. Kind of like the whole team.

I’m not sure what to think about this game. It’s just the first one–surely they’re not going to play like that all season. But it appears they can play like that, so it’s possible, I guess, that they could be better than mediocre.

If they turn out to be terrible after all, please don’t remind me of my silly optimism on Day 1.

Interesting fact I just read in the AP story: It was the first time Dallas started the season without a member of the 1999 Stanley Cup winning team on the active roster.

Sigh.

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The Dallas Stars obviously want to break up with me, but I just can’t let that happen.

• They fired Doug Armstrong and hired nutty Brett Hull.
• They traded Jeff Halpern and Mike Smith.
• They let Nik Hagman just walk.
• They signed Sean Avery (admittedly, they almost got rid of me with that one).
• They traded my beloved Philippe Boucher for a bag of pucks Darryl Sydor.
• Instead of just firing Hull and letting Les Jackson take over, they demoted Jackson, too.
• They hired my original favorite player, Joe Nieuwendyk, to take over, which cannot end well favorite-player-wise.
• They fired my beloved coach, Dave Tippett.
• And if that weren’t bad enough, they hired Marc Crawford to replace him.

They’re obviously trying to get rid of me.

Well, it won’t work!

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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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There are several kinds of fights over hits. In my opinion, the three basic categories are:
• fights after dirty hits,
• fights after any hard hit on a star player,
• fights after clean hits.

I’m okay with fights after dirty hits. I’m okay with fights after questionable, even clean but hard, hits on players like Modano, Eriksson, Richards, etc. I don’t like fights after normal, everyday, clean hits.

But! There are two subcategories of clean hits. The kind that are normal, common, legal and clean that just piss off the guy that gets hit and the kind that are questionable or result in a scary injury.

I’m with Mike Heika in that I understand fights after clean hits when there’s no way the victim’s teammates know if it was clean or not. A few games ago, against Minnesota, Brad Richards got knocked to the ice by a clean, hard, open-ice hit from Cal Clutterbuck and Steve Ott came in and fought the guy over it. That hit fell into two categories — skill player and questionable hit.

The fans and the broadcasters had the benefit of multiple replays to see that it was a legal hit and Brad wasn’t hurt and everything was aboveboard. Steve Ott didn’t. Plus, you just can’t let players like Brad Richards get hit like that.

Last night, in the game against Phoenix, James Neal made a perfectly normal everyday hit along the boards on Petr Prucha, but poor Prucha suffered a terrible injury. His teammates didn’t get a chance to sit quietly and watch replays from all angles to see if it was the hit or the fact that his head hit a stanchion that caused the injury. It’s too bad that Neal had to fight after a clean hit, but that one is understandable.

The fight after a clean hit that I don’t like is when everybody’s okay and nothing is even questionable and it’s on a guy that can take a hit. Several games ago, Mark Fistric got dragged into a fight with Eric Nystrom in a game against Calgary. That was the fight that Mark got fined for because he hit Nystrom with his own helmet. The fight was pointless, though, because Nystrom was the victim of the hit and just didn’t like it so he picked a fight with Fistric. It was a regular hard hit against the boards and Nystrom went after Fistric. He knew that it was a clean hit because he’s the one that took it. None of his teammates even thought anything about it. He was just pouting.

Those are the kinds of fights after clean hits that I don’t like.

So, to recap:
• Fights after dirty hits — OK.
• Fights after hard/questionable/unnecessary hits on star/skilled players — OK.
• Fights after clean hits that require extensive replays and analysis to determine they’re clean or that result in an injury — OK.
• Fights after obviously clean hits — NOT OK.

Simple enough, right?

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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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