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Archive for the ‘Mike Ribeiro’ 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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In Monday night’s game against the Kings, the thing I noticed the most was that the Stars had the puck most of the time.

It wasn’t easy, though, they had to fight for it, and catch it at the blue line, and pass it between forests of skates to keep possession of it. They spent an entire power play in the offensive zone at one point. I thought they might have to clear it themselves so they could get a change.

I probably should have been, but when the Kings scored first, I wasn’t nervous. I thought they were playing so well and spending so much time in the attacking zone that it was just a matter of squeaking a couple through.

I also wasn’t afraid that Kari would melt down or be otherwise fazed by giving up the first goal after all the work the skaters had done at the other end. He is really doing a bang-up job.

There’s still a long way to go before anybody gets any crowns, but it’s getting very exciting. I commend Joe Nieuwendyk for what he’s done so far. I know I was skeptical of his plan, but he seems to know what he’s doing after all. It appears that letting Modano and Turco go was really one of the biggest keys in this surprising (so far) season.

I am still a big fan of Marty Turco as a Star and a person, but it seems the two biggest pluses to this season hinged on letting him go. He’s (a) no longer running or splitting the room, letting Morrow get hold of it and giving the young guys some space to step up, and (b) no longer in the net. It’s pretty apparent that his window closed a couple of years ago and it doesn’t look like it’s going to open back up again this late in his career.

If Kari Lehtonen is playing like he will be playing until he’s 30, this could be really good for a while.

I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but it’s hard not to. Not only is the net covered, but basically all four lines are covered. Guys like James Neal and Mike Ribeiro suffered through some slumps and came out of them. Now everybody seems to be scoring. Even in a game like this one against the Kings, where the score was only 2-1, it still felt like everybody scored.

And hmm, the defense seems to be doing fine. I’m stunned. (Not really. I thought they would be fine. It’s the “experts” who predicted they’d be the Keystone Kops all season.)

I’m not willing to trade anybody good for a disgruntled defenseman, and I don’t want one that doesn’t cost somebody good. I sure don’t want to pick up somebody like Souray off the scrap-heap. I’m willing to take this exact team all the way to the end.

Anyway, I digress. The point is, Woo hoo! The Stars are actually good!

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(Name that movie.)

I know I keep saying it, but this is crazy!

I’ll be honest with you: I’m not a Capitals fan. But they are leading the Eastern Conference and they do have a couple of high-powered offensive guys so it’s a really good win for the Stars.

The Stars started out kind of flat-footed, and Razor spent the first half of the game talking about how great the Capitals are at everything. It’s possible he says that about every team that catches the Stars sluggish in the first period of a game, but it seems a little over the top to me. I might be overly-sensitive since I’m so not a Capitals fan. Dallas has started many a game that way so it’s not really any great feat to look good against them in the first half of the game.

But, like they’ve been doing, the Stars overcame their start and began to push back in the 2nd period. Unlike a lot of games like that, they didn’t give up any goals while they got their legs under them. So when the power play finally spent some time in the offensive zone, Mike Ribeiro was able to finally get the first goal of the game.

Ribeiro is really looking good these days. He’s fighting hard for pucks and making good moves and just climbing all over the puck. Last night he could have had three just in that shift, if the puck hadn’t been bouncing like a ball.

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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.

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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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It’s been hard picturing what Stars Hockey is going to be like this season.

There are so many changes (and a few non-changes) that make the picture murky. I’ve been a Stars fan since about 1998 and Mike Modano and Jere Lehtinen have always been there. Up until a couple of seasons ago, the Stars have mostly always been in the playoffs.

Over the years there have been plenty of peripheral players that came and went. I really liked some of them and wondered what we’d do without them. Then I forgot about them when the next season started. Others I can barely remember. And there are some, like Nik Hagman, that I miss terribly.

I still miss Philippe Boucher, even more so because he’s nowhere to be found. I can’t even watch him play on some other team.

I miss Sergei Zubov terribly, too, and I can’t watch him play anywhere, either.

Now I’ll miss Mike Modano terribly and [I’ll have to pretend] I can’t watch him on his new team. I’ll miss Marty Turco, too. I like the Chicago Blackhawks, so I think I can watch him on his new team. I really like their defensemen, so I am anxious to see what they think about a goalie that can pass as well as any d-man.

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Dallas 1, Los Angeles 5

The Kings even felt sorry for us. Anze Kopitar scored the 5th goal with just seconds to go and basically apologized for it.

That run of games before the Olympic break looked like it might be something building. We were all optimistic and we were just a point out of 8th place. Turco was back, we were scoring. All a mirage, it appears now.

Turco wasn’t at his best. Again. But he wasn’t the only one. Again. Brad Richards passed the puck to a Kings player more often than to a teammate. Steve Ott tripped over his own stick at one point. Krys Barch was Krys Barch.

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