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Archive for the ‘Niklas Hagman’ Category

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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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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Smashed Filter

Kids, this is why you need a UV filter.

Dallas 4, Toronto 3, OT

I went to the game tonight and as I got out of my car, I dropped my camera bag and it sounded like glass breaking. When I reached my seat I took it out and found that the UV filter was smashed, but the glass on the lens seemed okay. But it wouldn’t auto-focus and I couldn’t turn the manual focus ring. I had to wait until I got home to assess the damage.

If the Stars had lost that game, I’d have been pretty distraught. It’s amazing how much better a win can make me feel.

The Stars started out pretty blatantly bad in the first period. Two shots on goal the whole period. Marty Turco did a fabulous job of keeping them in the game. For a team that is basically the worst in the league right now, the Leafs looked pretty good against the Stars.

The second period looked better, and by the third, they were ahead a little in the play. The defense made some pretty good plays from what I could tell. Fistric had a good game, and so did Robidas.

Brad Richards got two goals but each one was followed closely by a Leafs goal. Richards made some great plays and those goals were very important. Ribeiro’s tip-in goal was extremely impressive. He basically curved it around all the Leaf defenders.

Have I mentioned that I miss Nik Hagman? I kind of wish, if they had to score, that he would get a goal. But I’m happy that they didn’t outscore us. I’ll take it.

I was resigned to the loss and then thrilled by the tying goal. Then I was resigned to an OT loss, so I was doubly thrilled by James Neal’s OT goal.

Great win, and after a little wrestling with my lens, I was able un-jam it so I think it’s okay. Everything worked out. Never give up on the puck, and always use a UV filter. That’s my advice.

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If you’re not reading Down Goes Brown, you really should start. Besides watching Nik Hagman for signs of being traded back to the Stars, I have no interest in the Maple Leafs (sic). Still, this guy makes them fascinating.

Here, he lets us in on some Brian Burke conversations at the Draft.

(Dallas draft table.)

Burke: Hey Joe, got a second?

Joe Nieuwendyk: Sure Brian, what’s up?

Burke: I need a coffee. Two cream, no sugar.

Nieuwendyk: Um…

Burke: Stat.

Nieuwendyk: I’m not actually your assistant any more.

Burke: …

Nieuwendyk: Remember, I resigned two weeks ago?

Burke: …

Nieuwendyk: I’m the GM of the Stars now.

Burke: And an apple fritter.

Nieuwendyk: Right away sir.

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He gets knocked down by the official, kneed in the head, hit in the face by a puck, then dekes the whole Panther team for a goal that would be highlight-reel-worthy all by itself.

Thanks to Puck Daddy for the video.

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Dallas 8, Toronto 2

James Neal is a revelation. Pressure situations seem to make him better. He scored a goal in his very first NHL game. He scored a goal in his first game back after being sent to the minors back in November. And in a game in his home town (essentially) and against the team he loved as a kid and in front of a crowd of family and friends, he goes out and scores a hat trick. Where did we find this guy?

I don’t really follow prospects when they’re prospects, but I do remember names, and he’s one that kept cropping up as someone the Stars were really high on. The same with Loui Eriksson. They’re players that outsiders wonder what the Stars see in them, but the scouts insist, and the coaches are patient, and violá. Scorers.

Trevor Daley is another of those guys and he is really shooting up the charts right now. I think he’s really blossoming now as a two-way defender. They reined in his offensive derring-do to build his defensive game, and now they’re letting go of the reins and he’s taking advantage of it. He got 2 assists in the game and he was often all the way down at the goal. When you have a defenseman like him, and defensive forwards like Eriksson, the shift really can play as five, instead of three and two.

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