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Archive for the ‘General Hockey’ Category

I think this bodes well for Robidas' season.

Just like Razor says that it’s preseason for the broadcasts, too, it’s also preseason for us fans.

As a newbie season-ticket-holder, I have some decisions to make and some ideas to try out before I settle in for the season. Last night’s game against the Avs was my first chance to do some tests.

I have a permanent place to sit. A couple of season ago, I had a ten-game package with Myra and company, so I kind of know what it’s like, but this is FORTY-ONE games. Not ten. So I was anxious to see what I was going like and dislike about the location.

First of all, what kind of purse should I carry, if any? I don’t want to carry a purse at all, but I have too much stuff for my pockets. My car key fob, credit card, driver’s license, phone. And when I do carry them in my pockets, I tend to drop stuff when I try to take other stuff out of my pocket. Also, I panic repeatedly when I forget I didn’t bring my purse. But my regular purse is a mess. It has a bunch of stuff I don’t need and it just gets in the way. Last night I tried a new cross-body purse that’s pretty small and hands-free as a kind of compromise. It will take some getting used to, wearing my purse like that. Not sure if it’s much better than just pockets — I somehow dropped my debit card and lost it. Dumb purse. I’ll have to keep working on that one.

The view from my seat is great. It’s right in the corner, on the first row of an upper section. The glass on the balcony doesn’t bother me at all. There seem to be some characters in the vicinity, but nothing I can’t handle yet. It was just the first preseason game, so I’m only guessing that these are other STHs like me.

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After hearing about the exciting adventures Katebits and Heather B. had recently, I started to think maybe I should re-dedicate myself to some blogging.

Also, coincidentally, the season is about to start up. I’m finally starting to get really excited about it. I’ll be picking up the pace here pretty soon.

In the meantime, check out Top Shelf Cookies and The Willful Caboose to see what Heather B. and Katebits got to do. I can’t even comprehend the excitement and fear they must have been feeling. It must have been unbelievable.

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Jamie Benn

Earlier, I wrote a huge post that started out talking about how much fun hockey seems to be again and why.

Then it devolved into a rambling screed about what killjoys certain bloggers and tweeters can be. I sounded just like them.

So I chucked that one and I’m going to stick to my main point, which is that I am enjoying hockey. I’m learning to avoid stuff online that makes me mad, instead of trying to argue it down.

My friend, Katebits, over at The Willfull Caboose had a great post about that topic so I’ll let you read that instead.

I think the main reason I’m enjoying hockey again is that there is a race on. For the last couple of years, missing the playoffs was something we knew way before the end of the season. And this year I assumed it would happen again.

Then, the dumb ol’ Stars did some winning, laid on the charm, and just generally drew me back in. The Western Conference is so tight right now that every game counts, and it has for a while. One night you’re in, the next you’re out. Sometimes while you just sit there.

I’m happy they didn’t trade Brad Richards. I’m entertained by his and Krys Barch’s trash talking on Twitter (as long as you keep it light, boys).

And while I’m worried about poor Brad’s symptoms, I’m happy that the Stars are trundling along without him. I hope he comes back soon, but I think they’re handling it well.

Don’t even get me started on Jamie Benn. He seems totally oblivious to his own greatness. I know he’s only 21, and you can’t say what will happen over a decade or two, but man. That guy has it all. I wonder if we’ll ever hear commentators marvel over how whoever drafted him in the 5th round is a genius. Since we’re not Detroit, probably not.

Now that he’s back, and Adam Burish is back, the Stars seem to have that fun aura that kind of faded during their losing streak. The rest of the season is going to be something to watch.

For a change.

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All this talk about which team Cliff Lee is going to sign with has gotten me all worked up again about long-term deals. The talk is that he wants more than six years and the Yankees are offering him six seven. The Rangers don’t want to offer even that much, but it’s still all up in the air.

Ever since Rick DiPietro signed his 15-year contract with the New York Islanders, I’ve wondered what in the world a player would want with a contract that long, let alone the team.

The list of cons from the team’s point of view is already much longer than the pros. The pro is that you don’t lose a guy that you feel is a great player. The con is that when you inevitably want to lose him, you can’t. Either his contract is still so young that nobody wants to take on all those years of the cap hit, or the player is in his last throes and is not good enough for someone else to take over the cap hit.

In my opinion, though, the player should be even less interested in a deal like that. I guess the thing they want is to be guaranteed a paycheck for 12 years, but it seems risky.

Maybe DiPietro knew that he’d spend most of his career on the IR. Otherwise I haven’t been able to explain why he’d chain himself to the Islanders.

The current trick is to pay the player almost all of his money in the first half of the contract and only owe him a few hundred thousand at the end of it. But the cap hit is averaged out over the life of the contract. Sure, a $5-million cap hit seems like a steal in the first 2 years, but when the team is struggling in the 10th year and you’re playing on the 4th line, or you’re in the pressbox, it’s not going to seem like a steal anymore.

No team spends 12 years at the top. Certainly not in a cap league. And certainly not if they give players those crazy deals. If you’re a player and you sign a sweet 12-year, high-dollar deal when things are going great, you should brace yourself for some awful years, because you’re sticking around no matter what.

Conversely, plenty of teams could spend 12 years at the bottom.

If you sign a deal with a team that seems destined for greatness (or just achieved some), things might be good for a year or two.

But what if the team starts to struggle and they can’t rebuild because your contract is hanging around their neck for the next 8 years? Fans will hate you. Media will hound and criticize you. Your GM will shop you every year, hoping for a team for whom you’ll waive your no-trade clause, just to get you, the anchor, off their books.

What if the team starts to struggle and they fire the coach you love and hire, say, Ken Hitchcock? Or Marc Crawford? You just have to take it.

What if the team signs some idiot that you can’t stand being around?

What if the GM makes bad deal after bad deal and even though you’ve given up on ever winning anything with your God-forsaken team, your stats suffer because you’re dragging AHLers and slackers up and down the ice?

What if ownership changes and they stop doing anything?

Too bad. You’re stuck. Nice contract you got there. I guess the money is worth the risk of never winning anything.

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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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Well, hello there.

I’d like to send out a big, heartfelt congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks and their fans for winning the Stanley Cup this year. It was a pretty exciting Finals series and the good guys won. The Chicago fans were great and I’m extremely jealous of them.

I have a few random thoughts about the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs and I’ve decided not to try to arrange them in any kind of meaningful way. Just so you know, right up front.

• As seen above, and elsewhere, Patrick Sharp is a handsome, handsome man. He’s also a pretty good goal-scorer and a fairly good defensive forward and he shoots right and the ‘Hawks might have to part with somebody important next season. Just puttin’ it out there.

• The Blackhawks have a topnotch site and they pack it with fun videos. This timelapse video of the day of the Stanley Cup parade is pretty cool. You should check out their commercials and their behind-the-scenes videos. The Dallas Stars could learn a thing or two from them. (I’ll rant some other time about the slide into boring that the Stars site has taken.)
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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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