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Archive for the ‘Ex-Stars’ Category

Brad

I guess it’s time to update my category list and move a bunch of players around. And coaches, too! Don’t forget coaches.

First of all, I’d like to say that I was shocked and saddened by the news of the plane crash carrying the KHL team Lokomotiv. I was already going to miss Karlis Skrastins and now I get all teary whenever he’s mentioned. It’s very sad. I really liked him while he was playing with the Stars. He was underappreciated, I thought. I’m a big fan of responsible, dedicated, unsung but important defensemen. They’re getting fewer and fewer these days. The defensemen that really should be forwards get all the press these days, but those like Skrastins are the ones that get the job done. From all accounts he was the nicest guy in the world and we’re going to miss him. We were going to miss him anyway.

On to less serious topics.

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Brad Richards entertains offers on UFA Day.

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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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I’m so happy that Brad Richards wasn’t traded today. I still, probably naively, have hope that he re-signs with the Stars. Trading him would have taken away what little chance we had.

This team can do something if they stick to it and when Richards comes back from his injury, I think they’ll be able to start pulling ahead. The last two games have been so encouraging. I would have hated to see Joe Nieuwendyk bail on the season.

If he had traded Brad just to trade him, it would have been a mistake. The possibility of losing him for nothing isn’t any more gloomy than losing him for somebody else’s mediocre prospects.

Nobody that needed Brad as a final piece would have been willing to give up their best young players, and that’s what Nieuwy was reportedly demanding. Good for him!

Everybody whined that Nieuwendyk was asking way too much and he’d never be able to trade him at those prices. I always thought he was thinking, “Exactly.” The point was that he didn’t want to trade him!

It’s like, my house is not for sale, but if somebody asked me what my price is, I might say, “500 grand.” They’d say, “You’re crazy! Nobody would buy that crappy house for that!” And I’d say, “I know.” BUT, if they said okay, I’d be outta here so fast, I wouldn’t even pack.

So now we can relax a little and start concentrating on the playoff stretch in earnest. Now that it’s getting closer, and they seem to have come out of their funk, and I watched a game RIGHT ON THE GLASS, I’m really getting excited about the Stars.

I’m all in now.

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After being indirectly insulted all day Monday by all the Dallas Stars bloggers/tweeters who tend to accuse anybody that disagrees with them of being an idiot, or worse, somebody that doesn’t know anything about hockey, I think I’ve settled on an opinion about the latest trade.

Joe Nieuwendyk traded James Neal and Matt Niskanen to Pittsburgh for Alex Goligowski.

First, I’ll say that I hate trades. I never like to see people traded. I almost always get over it, though. I still wish Philippe Boucher were still around, but most other trades I’ve learned to live with.

After the initial shock that Nieuwy would trade a young forward with the kind of potential that Neal has, I can see that he’s probably the one that would have to be traded. He’s good and teams want him, but he’s in a category (forwards) where the Stars have a surplus.

Neal has high potential, but I think it’s apparent that it might take a little while for him to work out his inconsistency kinks and reach that potential. I still expect him to be a star in the league, but he’s young and he has some work to do.

As everybody says, over and over, ad nauseum, the shortage on the Stars is in puck-moving defensemen. So they traded from a surplus to fill a shortage and that’s really all you can do.

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Photograph by Trey Hill

The Stars had a great feature going this weekend, where they had Trey Hill taking behind-the-scenes shots of their Western Canadian Road Swing.

Trey Hill has a great style and I commend the Stars for hiring a photographer with style to do some unusual shoots. (I still love the twitpics from @DallasStars, too, don’t get me wrong.) We all have access to the Getty Images action shots from all the games, but it’s not every day that you get the kind of artful, unusual shots that Trey brings us.

I hope he doesn’t mind my using his water bottle picture for this post. It’s my favorite one from Day 1, although the shot of Brad Richards climbing the stair-car stairs with a Nerf sword slung across his back is a close second.

If you’re all into Twitter, like I am, you should follow @squarerootof9. He’s a good.

DallasStars.com has progressed by leaps and bounds this season with their content. They also had a very nice article about a kid that got to go on a road trip with the team. It was very touching.

And check out their “Raw” channel for pre- and post-game media scrums. I’m usually pretty easily distracted during those videos, trying to see what’s going on behind the player that’s being interviewed.

While I’m linking to stuff, don’t forget to read everything that Mike Heika writes.

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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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