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Archive for the ‘Nicklas Grossman’ Category

Let’s see what we’re looking at here.

The defense isn’t half bad. Oooh! The young defense is going to be overmatched! Ooh! We need a free agent d-man everybody’s heard of! That was the cry during the off-season, and it continues now. But we can’t afford a free agent defenseman in his prime and we don’t need one that’s past his prime. I think the defense is already showing that they are learning the system and are the type that can work it.

Fistric is basically a stay-at-home defenseman that can skate like an offensive defenseman. Same with Grossman. Grossman is leading the NHL in plus-minus right now. Fistric played left wing for two games. Trevor Daley can overtake anybody that might take the puck from him. Niskanen can zig-zag through the opposition just like a forward, and is improving his defensive game. Robidas is still the leader he’s been for a couple of years and is basically in his prime. And Skrastins is actually helping out quite a bit. I like a professional shot-blocker like him. He makes some good plays and blocks a lot of shots.

I might be a little Pollyanna about the defense, but I think it’s doing pretty well. Certainly better than the skeptics predicted.

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Pay attention, boys.

Pay attention, boys.

I finally went to a training camp practice today and it was great fun. Myra and The Kid joined me for the second hour and we analyzed the X’s and O’s together.

Mostly I took pictures, but not very good ones. I have a new camera and I don’t know it very well, so I’ll need some practice with it. I do know I need to override the shutter speed, first thing. Every picture was just a little blurry from all the movement.

This was the first time I’ve seen Marc Crawford run a practice and the main difference from Dave Tippett was that I could hear that he was talking. Tipp’s voice was so low, even when he was yelling, it didn’t escape the rink. Crawford’s probably yelling at the same volume, but he’s WAY up the register.

I followed Mark Fistric around a little bit and he looked pretty good. They did a lot of drills I’ve never seen, of course, and one was for stealing pucks and breaking up passes and Fistric did well. Kind of surprisingly, Krys Barch was doing a good job of poking the puck off the coach’s stick before he had a chance to try to get it past Fistric.

(R to L) Sitting, sitting, standing, working.

(R to L) Sitting, sitting, standing, working.

Fabian Brunnstrom was in the second practice and while they were waiting for the Zamboni to finish re-surfacing the ice, we got to watch him practice his stick handling. It’s fascinating to watch. He was doing his school figures during another lull and carrying the puck backwards and forwards in circles. Before the drills started, I caught him working on a trick shot (although I hate to call it a trick shot because I can see how it could come in handy plenty of times) where he flips the puck one-handed, back-handed, top shelf.

You’re never so good you can stop practicing, kids.

I have a feeling, that started the last month of last season, that we’re about to see what all the hubbub was with Bunny. I expect to see him take off this season.

Crawford had them doing what I decided was a “get back” drill that was fun to watch. They simulated losing the puck in the offensive zone, then racing back to take it away from the forward before he got a shot off. It really showed how Nick Grossman is an underrated skater. He and Fistric both had no problem getting back.

Trevor
Trevor Daley, of course, was just flying around all the time. That guy can skate.

Other than that, there were a lot of kids I didn’t recognize without a program. It won’t be long now until the real games get started.

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Tomorrow is the start of Training Camp. Finally, it’s here.

I don’t think I’ve ever wished more for a season to start than I have for this one. Last season was such a mess, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about a new season starting. But now that it’s here, I need it. I need it to clear out last year’s cobwebs.

This is the Nine-Ten* season. Last season is dead and gone. We don’t ever have to mention that one again. We don’t have to wonder what could have been any more. Now we can turn our attention to what this season can be.

Nine-Ten can be the best the Stars have had in a long time, but it could just as easily turn into a circus again. Who knows what Crawford and Huddy are going to be like? Who knows how all the young kids are going to handle the big coaching changes? Or how the veterans are going to handle it, for that matter?

I expect them to try really hard at first, hoping to get a better start than the season we’ve all forgotten about. I just hope that they know what they’re doing. I have a feeling that confidence is going to be a big factor.

If they don’t get a good start, I wonder how Crawford will respond. Will every mistake land a kid in the doghouse? Will he give them a chance to learn? Our three d-kids, Mark Fistric, Matt Niskanen, and Nick Grossman, are all coming off their sophomore year, so they should be past that hump and starting to make names for themselves. They still have a few years before they hit their peak, but it’s not going to help them if they’re afraid to make mistakes.

For all I know, Marc Crawford isn’t like that anymore. He says he’s changed. I have no idea what kind of coach he is on a day-to-day basis. I’ve only seen him behind opposing benches and read unflattering things about him.

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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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Our inveterate GM has been working away. Joe Nieuwendyk has made a couple of moves in the last few days. I’m relieved to say that I’m fairly okay with the latest moves.

They highly-coveted Jonas Gustavsson picked a team where he’s likely to be the starter, which isn’t the Dallas Stars. So, since Joe pretty much had all his eggs in that basket, he had to scramble to find another goalie. (See what I did there?) I wasn’t too impressed with the free agent goalies that were out there, but I hadn’t considered trying a practically-free trade for one.

The Stars traded their sixth round pick to the Senators for Alex Auld. I am perfectly happy with that. Auld seems to be pretty capable of playing plenty of games, and still be okay with being the backup. He’s had some good years and some bad ones, but for a sixth round pick (that was really this year’s seventh-round pick), he’s fine. Maybe this will be one of his good years.

The Stars also added some more defensive depth in Jeff Woywitka. I don’t know much about him, but I could have sworn he was projected to be pretty good. Maybe it’s just because his name is unusual that makes me think he’s been talked about a lot. He’s not expensive or anything, so it’s not a bad deal.

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Dallas 4, Los Angeles 5 (OT)

Poor Mark Fistric. He’s finally back up from the minors and he’s played 10 games so far. He’s been pretty darn good in all of them. Yet, we get no post-game interviews with him.

He takes one dumb penalty where the guy practically does a backflip when Fistric taps him on the chin and now he is surrounded by the lockerroom media. That’s not fair.

Marty Turco’s the one with explaining to do. The ref and the player he was punching let it go for a long time, but he just wouldn’t stop until he got called. They were already down to three men and had to wait for one of those to expire before his started!

I don’t know what is haunting the L.A. Kings arena, but we’ve coughed up some terrible games there over the last few years. You’d think we’d learn.

And by the way, I can’t tell you how happy I am to see Fistric back up from the minors. I think he’s really doing a great job since he’s been back here. He’s that defensive defensemen that we really need. He and Grossman work well together.

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Dallas 0, San Jose 1
Dallas 1, Chicago 3

BradG, in the comments section of Mike Heika’s post about Toby Petersen’s broken foot, explains it all:

The hockey gods called.

They said, “Even if we have to injure every single Dallas Star, you’re not making the playoffs this year.”

During the Chicago game, when the Stars were meandering around and not really doing much, Razor kept saying that they’re just not as good as the Blackhawks. I am not ready to debate that right now. I don’t like to think that that’s true, because I am used to the ‘Hawks being terrible. I see that they’re not terrible any more. I see that they’re legitimate this season.

But I’m not ready to say that we’re not as good as they are.

Now, the Sharks? We might not be as good as they are.

We are limping along with a team made up mostly of recently ex-AHL players. Bob Sturm was making this point on BaD Radio today, and I think it’s a good one. These are pretty good players, most have the potential to be great, but half the team was in the minors this season or last season. Several were in the minors a month ago.

Now that Petersen is injured, we’re really low on centers. I guess it’s a good thing our centers are the ones being injured, because we have a lot of them. But even with our big pile, we’re running out.

I took my friend Chris (in Allen) to the Chicago game and we had a great time (except for the score). I have a hard time seeing what’s really going on in a game I’m seeing live. (more…)

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