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Archive for the ‘Dave Tippett’ Category

This has been a very long year for me. I was stressing over the job situation and various other stuff all year, and the fact that the Stars missed the playoffs for the second year in a row just dragged me down further.

So, in an effort to keep from going crazy, I decided to brace myself for the ’10-’11 season and try to be okay with things going poorly. I went ahead and assumed that it wasn’t going to be a good year, that things weren’t going to change much overnight.

There have been some big changes, of course. Our beloved Mike Modano is gone now. I’m not sure what happened to him, but I hope he’s happy. Our once-beloved-but-lately-maligned Marty Turco is gone now. He went to play for the Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks (a much easier story to swallow). I admit I haven’t been keeping up with how that’s going, but I hope he’s doing fine. (Blackhawk fans, it might take a while for the defensemen to get used to his puck-handling. Be patient. [Not that there might not be other troubles.].) And our beloved Jere Lehtinen is kind of forgotten but not gone. If I’m not mistaken, he’s still “thinking about it.”

There has been one big lack of a change – at coach – that bothers me a little. Not that I expected there would be a change, but I don’t expect any kind of championship run until there is. If even then.

I say all this to say that I’m okay with how things are going. The hot start was what I didn’t expect. I’m kind of glad it didn’t last long enough for me to get my hopes up too far. I’m calm. I can live with mediocrity this year because I prepared for it.

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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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The Dallas Stars obviously want to break up with me, but I just can’t let that happen.

• They fired Doug Armstrong and hired nutty Brett Hull.
• They traded Jeff Halpern and Mike Smith.
• They let Nik Hagman just walk.
• They signed Sean Avery (admittedly, they almost got rid of me with that one).
• They traded my beloved Philippe Boucher for a bag of pucks Darryl Sydor.
• Instead of just firing Hull and letting Les Jackson take over, they demoted Jackson, too.
• They hired my original favorite player, Joe Nieuwendyk, to take over, which cannot end well favorite-player-wise.
• They fired my beloved coach, Dave Tippett.
• And if that weren’t bad enough, they hired Marc Crawford to replace him.

They’re obviously trying to get rid of me.

Well, it won’t work!

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In last night’s game against the Phoenix Coyotes, James Neal hit Petr Prucha along the boards and Prucha was injured and carried off the ice on a stretcher. Fortunately, Prucha is out of the hospital and is day-to-day with an “upper body injury.” Hopefully it’s not serious.

The hit was the same kind of “finish the check” hit that occurs dozens of times in every single NHL game. Neal hit him from the side, shoulder to shoulder, and not that hard. The problem was that Prucha’s head hit one of the few stanchions in the arena. Their glass is “seamless” so it doesn’t have a stanchion between all the panes, but there are posts at the penalty box doors and that’s where the hit happened.

Dave Tippett, in his post-game press conference, called it “an obvious hit to the head.” Obviously, he hadn’t seen all the replays.

The Coyotes showed a replay during their broadcast (thanks to Heika’s DMN blog) that was from the nosebleeds behind the goal and it was not close up by any means.

The Stars, on the other hand, showed the replay in slow motion from the main game-play camera, behind and above the penalty boxes.

You can see that Neal hits Prucha’s shoulder with his own shoulder and that Prucha’s head whips against the steel post. It’s a terrible, terrible result from a normal and common hockey play.

James Neal didn’t deserve to have to fight for that hit, but I can understand why the players thought he should. I don’t fault the Coyotes for calling him out during the game. And Neal did the right thing in accepting a fight. But that’s it. It’s over now. We all truly hope that Prucha is okay. Nobody likes to see someone get injured like that.

Neal doesn’t deserve to be called out by his own former coach as a headhunter in the post-game show. Tippett should know better than that. He also doesn’t deserve a suspension or a fine and he doesn’t deserve to be hated forever by all Coyotes fans because of that hit. Sure, Coyotes fans can hate him because he’s a Dallas Star or because he has scored on them a couple of times or because he’s beautiful, but that hit doesn’t warrant it.

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I never check ESPN anymore. It’s no place to go for anything related to hockey.

But through my favorite Coyotes blog, Five For Howling, I found this nice little feature on Dave Tippett and his staff and how they run the Phoenix Coyotes.

Tipp never sways from the working-as-a-team theme, even with the coaches.

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Check out despair.com. You'll be glad you did.

Dallas 2, Phoenix 3

They keep saying they’re looking for consistency, but as Ryan Lambert, the Puck Daddy What We Learned guy, points out, win lose win lose win lose win lose is consistent. They need to start winning games when it’s their turn to lose one.

I’m almost expecting them to win against Detroit on Wednesday night. I never assume that, but this win-lose-win-lose thing might be more powerful than the usual pattern against Detroit of lose-lose-lose.

Phoenix is doing a lot better this year, of course, now that they have a decent coach. Yet, they’re not doing so well that the Stars can take them lightly. As we saw.

The habit of spotting every team two goals is getting pretty tiresome. At least the Coyotes only got one before we tied it up the first time. That was a great goal by Modano, by the way. Not many can do what he does with his backhand.

I’m sure Dave Tippett was pretty pleased with the win even though he tried to play it off as just another game. I’m glad he’s having some success in Phoenix, but I don’t want to see them win against the Stars again this season. We couldn’t even beat them last year, when Gretzky was throwing fits on the bench and they were losing everywhere else.

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It’s more like that stretch of I-635 between I-35E and the airport. Just kind of wavy.

After that nice win against Vancouver, we lost to the Minnesota Wild after giving up two goals to them in the first, the battling back, only to give up a third. Then Minnesota hung on to win.

Then we went to meet up with the league-leading San Jose Sharks and tried to do the same thing. It was only slightly different, in that we waited until the second period to give up 2 goals, and the third period to fight back to a tie. If we’re going to insist on doing it that way, I think the Sharks game version is better. It gives the opposition less time to go ahead again.

This time, though, we did the impossible and won in the shootout. Marty Turco was brilliant in the shootout, like he used to be in the old days. Crawford kept his promise and picked some new guys for the shootout this time. He kept James Neal, who hit the post for the third time this season. He needs to adjust the sight on his stick, I think.

The genius move, though, was calling on Stéphane Robidas. Robi skated in and just straight-on roofed it. No dekes for him. That won the game for us and got a huge cheer from me.

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