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Archive for the ‘Antti Miettinen’ Category

It’s almost as bad as Trade Deadline Day.

As I suspected, but hoped against, Niklas Hagman has signed with another team. He agreed to a four-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leaves. I hope he does well and I hope he’s not too miserable at that circus. Maybe he can be the one that turns them around. He can certainly give them some Penalty Killing advice.

Unfortunately, it’s not over. I like the fact that the Stars’ brass have laid low. I don’t want them spending crazy amounts for marginal players just because other teams are willing to. I think we’re fine.

There’s a certain player that I’d rather not mention that needs to sign with Tampa Bay or somebody and get his ass off the market before the Stars try to sign him. I’ll be so relieved when certain players are all signed up with other teams.

There isn’t anybody out there that I would pay a ton for. I liked Brian Rolston, but he picked the Devils (congratulations, Devils fans!) and I really didn’t want Brian Campbell. Thank goodness Chicago doesn’t know him that well and were willing to sign him. Michael Ryder was brought up a lot by Mike Heika over the last little while, but now Heika says the Stars didn’t make him an offer — probably because he already had several ridiculous ones already in his pocket.

Caitlin noticed that the roster on dallasstars.com has already lost Nik Hagman and Johann Holmqvist, but oddly still has Antti Miettinen. I wonder if that means anything.

Hopefully, Wednesday’s signings will clear up some of my worries.

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Antti Miettinen gets a lot of flak. I like him, though. He seems like a good guy and his teammates seem to like him. He’s kind of self-deprecating and he gives hints that he has a sense of humor.

He is criticized for his lack of production, but when he was put on the top line for a while during the regular season, he went nuts. He had 14 points in a 10-game stretch in December when his linemates were Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro. Unfortunately for him, he’s not first in line for that plum spot and when he was moved back to his regular role of 3rd- and 4th-line winger, he tailed off quite a bit.

He was one of many players that had career years this season. He ended up with 15 goals and 19 assists, for 34 points. It’s not hugely impressive, but it’s not too bad for a 7th-round pick.

He’s a good hitter and he’s not afraid of contact. He seems like a really easy-going, funny guy in real life, but he’s tough on the ice. I think he adds to his line by making and taking the big hits, and making some of the more unsung plays. He’s defensively responsible but his troubles lie in his finish. He just doesn’t, usually.

I’d be happy if Mittens were to stay, but he’s a free agent this summer and it’s not looking very encouraging. I would not be surprised if he’s helped by a change of scenery, though, since I think there might be a better fit for him out there. I don’t think he’ll ever break through and be the kind of top-six gem the Stars had hoped they’d stolen in the late rounds, but he’s a really good role player and I hope he finds his niche.

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Dallas 1, Colorado 3

I took a weekend road trip, so I watched the road game against the Avalanche on TiVo delay, right before I watched the home game against the Avs. I just have a couple of things to say about the loss in Denver:

Cheapshot against Brenden Morrow.
Cheapshot against Matt Niskanen.
Cheapshot against Mike Modano.

Stéphane Robidas made a perfectly normal, and not even very big, hit on dumb ol’ Peter Forsberg and Laperriere tried to fight him. Apparently every hit is worth picking a fight over. Except when they slew-foot Matt Niskanen after the whistle. I guess that’s okay.

Dallas 3, Colorado 0

I was mad and all, but the Stars made it up to me with the second game of the night (for me). Everybody was on. The defense was excellent, even with Niskanen back on the shelf tonight. They smothered the Avalanche all night.

The first period was especially tight, defensively. At the end of the period we could hear Bill Ollerman, the AAC announcer, announce the shot counts to a huge ovation. “Shots in the first period… Avalanche, Zzzzzeeeeero! Your Dallas Stars, twelve!” When we came back for the second period the arena officials felt sorry for the Avs and gave them one shot.

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Dallas 7, Chicago 4

What a game, what a game, what a game!  I got chills. Brad Richards got FIVE ASSISTS. He got five assists in HIS FIRST GAME AS A STAR! Sure, I was skeptical before trade day, but even the most gung-ho Brad Richards supporter couldn’t have predicted that.

He looked like a kid with a new toy. His new toy is a winning team with great players and an efficient system.

His new toy was a pair of linemates that know what to do. That know where to go and where to put their sticks.

His new toy was a checking line centered by the great Mike Modano, distracting the opponent’s best line, so he didn’t have to.

His new toy was a top line centered by Mike Ribeiro, distracting the opponent’s top checkers, so he didn’t have to fight through them.

Everybody else has a new toy, too. A new teammate who’s thrown off the chains of playing for a losing team.

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Dallas 6, Nashville 3

To start the game, Jordan Tootoo sucker-punches Trevor Daley. What a jerk. He gets 4 minutes for roughing and Daley gets 2 minutes for defending himself. Tootoo is a punk.

The Nashville fans love him, though. And they booed Modano the whole time. They hate him for, um, setting American scoring records? Standing next to Tootoo while he cold-cocked Stéphane Robidas? Hard to say. Personally, I think Modano’s always wanted a crowd to boo him whenever he touches the puck. Means he’s ticked them off.

Trevor had a really good game. He made several plays skating into their zone as if he were a winger and he made a beautiful play to drop it to Jussi Jokinen who zipped it over to Antti Miettinen, who LAID into it and scored. Just like the goalies, Marty and Smitty, play like extra defensemen, Trevor Daley sometimes plays like an extra forward. He can really skate, and now that he’s matured defensively, he’s working on his offensive game.

Nashville tried the physical game, but we have Anaheim in our division, so the Stars weren’t impressed. There were quite a few penalties in the first period before the Stars settled down. They didn’t get any more until the last 30 seconds of the game. They did give up a power-play goal in the first that tied the game, and killed off a 5-on-3 penalty later.

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Dallas 6, St. Louis 2

Man, what a great game. The Stars’ sixth win in a row. I was expecting a tight game where we barely squeaked out a win, since it’s so deep into a winning streak. But the Stars trounced the Blues. I really don’t expect them to go past the franchise best seven-game win streak, because Razor’s already jinxed it by bringing it up during the last game.

During the pre-game show, we saw that Bouche is skating again. He joined the morning skate, tried some practice wrist shots and general skating, but no high-intensity drills or contact drills. I’m so happy. I can’t wait for him join the lineup again.

Brenden Morrow scored the first goal about five minutes in. It was the first of three power-play goals and it was kind of a softie. The first of a few that the Blues’ backup goalie, Hannu Toivonen, really should have had.

The power play seems to be slowly picking itself up again. The Stars scored three power-play goals on three power-play shots in the game. The PP has struggled some lately, but the 5-on-5 scoring has made up for it. Plus, of course, the league-leading penalty kill. I know that we won’t be getting three PP goals a game now, but it sure does help our average, and hopefully builds some confidence.

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Smitty

Dallas 3, Columbus 1

The game against the Columbus Blue Jackets was not quite as well-played as the Sharks game.  The Stars ended up with 14 shots to the Blue Jackets’ 30.

Obviously, Mike Smith stole the game for us. When we got the second goal in the second period, the shots were 14-5 in favor of the Blue Jackets, yet the score was 2-0 in favor of the Stars. Smitty was very good. He played the puck often and well. Several times he got the puck as it was dumped in and acted like he was going to give it to the nearest defenseman as the Columbus forwards loped in, but then he lobbed it over everybody’s head to a forward at the far blue line.

The Stars were on the good side of the type of game where one team spends the whole time in the other team’s end, then the other team gets a steal and scores. Then goes back to being trapped in their own zone for whole periods. That was us. The “other” team. We spent all our time trying and failing to get out of our own zone, except for the odd escape where we scored.

Not that the goals weren’t pretty. Antti Miettinen made a bee-yoo-tiful pass from the back corner of the net around front to Brenden Morrow. He started around the net but faked and passed it behind himself to Morrow, who shot it. He had to get a certain amount of English on it and curved it just right.

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