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Archive for the ‘Jeff Woywitka’ 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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For me, that doesn’t mean I’m leaning toward optimism so much as it means I might have put the foot back down that was extended over the ledge.

The four-game winning streak the Stars are on now is kind of weird. It’s hard to believe. Not that it’s not possible, it’s just weird.

The game against the Carolina Hurricanes was fairly definitive. I haven’t been following the Hurricanes that closely, but I think it was a legitimate win. The Stars played well. They didn’t back into the win at all.

The game was very entertaining. Lots of back and forth, lots of almosts, lots of bouncing pucks and cool defensive plays. Ribeiro and Daley were all over the ice. I thought Ribs had a pretty good game.

Right before Neal scored in the first, the ‘Canes tried many times to clear the puck and the Stars kept keeping it in. Woywitka caught the puck at the point as it ran around the glass to keep it in. Neal scored soon after that. Not only were the Stars keeping the puck in the ‘Canes’ zone, they also kept the ‘Canes out of their own zone.

They were responsible and aggressive. The forwards helped the defense and the defense played well. And Kari did a fine job of not messing any of it up. Usually he is covering for people but this time he didn’t have to too much.

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Dallas 3, Pittsburgh 6

I’m just speechless.

SEVENTEEN goals against in the last three games. Seventeen!

This is a problem with the entire team. The goaltending is not helping cover any mistakes and the defense and the forwards are making a lot of mistakes.

And Marc Crawford is doing nothing about it. The so-called system is obviously not working. Just because it’s a system doesn’t mean it can win games.

The players have no confidence. How could they? They aren’t scoring and they aren’t defending. Crawford makes no adjustments to help them. I don’t know what he’s doing.

He scratched Mark Fistric in favor of Woywitka. Fistric is the one defenseman we have right now that can actually defend! Fistric is a plus-13 and the next best plus-minus is plus-3. He actually helps defend the net. Skrastins is having a terrible run of games, yet he was out there for 20 minutes.

He insists on putting Barch on Modano’s line when Barch can’t catch a simple pass or even stay on his skates. Fabian Brunnstrom may not be the toughest guy out there, but he could take a pass and send it back without falling down.

I checked out the recap from the great Mike Heika and here’s Crawford’s assessment of the game:

“I think we elevated our game today, and we have to keep looking for improvements,” Crawford said.

I don’t think “elevated” means what he thinks it means.

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Dallas 2, Edmonton 3 (SO)

I was listening to the postgame show on The Ticket and Bob and Dan were saying the same thing I was thinking. Everybody wants to say that the defense is too young and inexperienced, but the problems aren’t always on defense. The defense had a good game. Turco had a great game.

The forwards need to score some goals. This is a group that is built to be high-scoring, yet they’re stuck at 2 goals a game most nights. That puts pressure on the defense, whether they’re young or not.

The other thing that is really getting tiresome is the way they let teams get back in the game. They were up on the Oilers 2-0 most of the way through the 2nd period. They were still up 2-1 with just over three minutes left in the whole game, and let the Oilers score the tying goal.

I doubt there were many in the crowd that thought they’d get it back in the overtime or the shootout. Especially the shootout, of course.

I was at this game (I feel like I’ve been going to all the home games lately), and from my un-Ralphie-aided position, I thought the Stars looked good most of the game. The defense actually did pretty well, I thought.

Mark Fistric had a great game back on the blue line. He made a lot of hits and some fancy stick-checks and generally was on the ball the whole game. He had 8 hits and 5 blocked shots.

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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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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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