Archive for the ‘Alex Auld’ Category

Boy, that was an exciting Olympics gold medal game, wasn’t it? Congratulations to Brenden Morrow for what must have been the dream of a lifetime. I’m sure he won’t be lording it over his teammates when he gets back to town. Even so, Mike Modano should be ready to smack him if need be.

And congratulations to Team USA for a thrilling run through the tournament, all the way to the marquee game on Sunday afternoon. I think I almost broke my voice screaming when Zach Parise tied up the game with 24 seconds left. I wasn’t so happy about Sidney Crosby scoring in OT to win the game, but if it had to be some Canadian, I’m happy it was Sid. He looked pretty happy about the whole thing while they waited for the medals to be awarded.



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I’ve been collecting notes and opinions and rants for the last week or so, but I just haven’t had time to post any of them. Every new one kind of negates the previous one, even though I still want to rant about the previous one.

I was all in a tizzy about Crawford and his insistence on cramming square pegs into round holes without even attempting to shape the pegs a little first. And I kind of freaked out about how he decided to put Jamie Benn at center even though he’s never played the position and even though Mike Modano could use some more minutes.

I also was highly comforted by Mike Heika’s explanation of why Nik Hagman was allowed to leave in free agency and I wanted to remind you all that I miss Nik Hagman. In case you forgot.

And DO NOT get me started on Marty Turco. Believe me. I had pages and pages of rants about that. Let’s just say that I’m glad Alex Auld is getting a few games. I’ll come back to Turco later, maybe.

So, while I was seething all week about the Stars troubles, they went and pulled out a couple of wins. So I’m much calmer.


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I think I’m starting to get a bead on what the Stars really are. They’re, um, not very good.

It’s strange that Morrow and Turco and Richards and Ribeiro and Modano and Eriksson and all the rest are suddenly not very good. Last season was bad because of all the injuries, but I’m convinced that a lot of the Stars’ problems this season come back to coaching.

There have been too many games where Crawford claims they did everything right but just couldn’t win. That smacks of a bad plan.

Installing a system that the team isn’t built for is a recipe for failure. If they’re planning to adjust the personnel once they’re allowed to spend money, that’s fine. But in the meantime, maybe they could play a kind of hockey they’re good at. Just to tide themselves over.

Lately, the few wins we’ve had have hinged on some spectacularly bad luck for the opposition. The wins against the Ducks had comical goals — the kind that the Ducks could legitimately laugh off as fluky. That’s how we win now.

If we have to rely on flukes in our favor, that’s not good.


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Dallas 3, Detroit 1

Not bad. Not bad at all. I guess the win-lose-win-lose-win-lose power is stronger than the PLEASE-NO!-NOT DETROIT! power. It was helped, of course, by the lose-to-bad-teams, beat-good-teams thing they’ve got going on, too.

The Stars looked very good the whole game. The Wings had trouble getting past them into the offensive zone. Alex Auld had a fine game tonight and made some pretty good saves. He got a gift from the refs on that one non-goal, but hey, life’s tough.

Modano had another great game, getting an assist on Loui Eriksson’s goal and just being all over the place all night. James Neal got an assist on Loui’s goal, too, with a beautiful pass. That brings Neal’s point streak to ten games. Matt Niskanen got his back that the scorers took away from him in the last game to give to Neal.

Mike Ribeiro had a much better game than he’s had lately. He got a nice, albeit flukey, goal but he worked hard all game. Brenden Morrow had more energetic game tonight, too. I think Brenden and Ribs got a little shot in the arm by being moved to new lines. Brad Richards added two assists to his impressive total for the year.

One of the best things I’ve seen lately is the improvement in the penalty kill. According to Razor, they had killed 17 penalties in a row at that point. They killed all five against Detroit tonight. And they got two power play goals! Everything’s all topsy-turvy.

Myra and I will be at the game tomorrow night. Let’s break the pattern, boys.

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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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I’d like to apologize to my throngs of readers for being so lackadaisical (or lax-adaisical, as Razor says) about posting recaps of the games. With Twitter and IPB and emailing all through all the games, I pretty much run out of things to say about them.

So I thought I’d get some of my thoughts down before the game started and see if they relate in any way to what really ends up happening. People do previews all across the hockey blogosphere, so it can’t be too hard, right?

Up to now, the Stars are 1-0-2 in their first three games. They haven’t lost outright yet, but they’ve only won once. The thing is, they seem to be playing really well. They looked good in all three games. The famous “new system” must really be working because they’ve been in control of most of the games.

It’s hard for me to understand systems unless Razor spells it out for me, but I think I’m starting to see what they mean by bringing the defensemen in and having a forward cover for him. Razor showed some of it before the Oilers game, but Brenden Morrow, in his weekly visit with BaD Radio on The Ticket, really described it well. I think I can watch for it now.

It sounds like the defensemen can come in and the forwards can cover for them, it’s more like a rotation of all five, not just the forwards up by the nets and the defensemen at the blueline. It’s whoever can get the puck, goes for it and the nearest guy rotates up to cover for him.


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Cedar Park Center

I took a rare hockey road trip this week and took in the Battle of the Stars game Wednesday night with my sainted mom and dad.

We drove from their tiny little town over to Cedar Park, TX, to check out the new Texas Stars arena and the future Dallas Stars. (We might have also checked out a few new housing developments we saw along the way. We’re notorious house-hunters.)

For dinner, we picked a random burger place because we didn’t want to stray too far from the arena once we found it. It turned out to be some of the best burgers we’ve had in a while. If you’re ever in Cedar Park, you should try Moonie’s Burger House. The homemade hamburger buns alone are worth the trip.

The game was fun. There were the regular Stars we all know and love, and then on the opposite end of the rink were all the kids from training camp that we’ve been hearing so much about. Both sides looked in good shape.

The 5-1 score looks more lopsided than it really was. The Texas Stars had some good play on defense and they had a few good chances on Turco. Alex Auld started in goal for the kids, but they switched the goalies out in favor of Climie and Krahn at the halfway point or so.

When the Dallas Stars scored, they played the goal song and there was some reasonable cheering. I got the impression there were mostly Dallas fans in the arena. But when the Texas Stars got their goal, the place went NUTS! So it seems there’s a good start on a fanbase for the AHL team.

My parents had a good time at the game. They enjoy a good sporting event in general, but I think I might be wearing them down on hockey in particular. About five minutes into the game, after a ref got crunched against the boards, my dad said, “I think if I were one of those referees, I’d want a stick, too.”

It was a fun game to watch and the perfect tune-up to get ready for Saturday night’s game. I’m ready now. Nervous, still, but ready.

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