Stars 1, Canucks 7
That game was not good.
The Canucks worked the dive to their advantage and the Stars refused to dive, to their disadvantage. But that’s not why they got their heads handed to them.
A save would have helped. Even just a couple of penalty kills would have helped. Maybe a power play goal would have helped.
I was letting the previous game against the Flames kind of roll off my back since I didn’t have to watch it with my own eyes. And since they’ve been on such a run of wins, I couldn’t just dive into negativity after one loss, no matter how humiliating. But two in a row makes it hard to keep a brave face.
I’m going to try, though.
It’s not the end of the world yet. Two horrible games in a row could be a chance for the Stars to remember that it’s not going to be easy. They aren’t great yet. They’ve been pretty good, but they are going to have to work really hard to keep it up for the rest of the way.
The goalies, both Lehtonen and Raycroft, have been propping up the rest of the team for a little while. It’s probably going to be helpful that they get a good look at what the skaters need to work on.
Of course, that’s presuming that both goalies snap out of it right away. Even if other issues are improved, we’ll still need the great goaltending we’ve been having up until now.
And nothing had better be wrong with Jamie Benn. Forget all that other stuff. Nothing had better be wrong with Jamie Benn.
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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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Gosh. Poor Mike Ribeiro, as you have probably heard, suffered a frightening injury in last night’s humiliating game against the Rangers. A Rangers player inadvertently speared him in the Adam’s apple with his stick.
He was originally checked out and released, I heard, then apparently had some swelling and difficulty breathing so he was taken back to the hospital where they performed a “procedure,” which included a tracheotomy!
A cracked trachea is nothing to sneeze at. He will be out 4-6 weeks, although I’m sure they’re just guessing on that. It’s probably not a common hockey injury so they probably don’t have a lot of history to go by.
His absence should give Mike Modano and Tom Wandell some extra ice time, which will be good for them. But as much as I whine about Ribeiro’s individual shifts, he is important to the team. On the other hand, Crawford is already just grasping at straws, so that won’t be much of a change.
I hope Ribs gets well soon. That is a scary injury and I’m sure it freaked him out. It gives me a shudder just to think about it.
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Mark Fistric is not my official new favorite player. So stop picking on the poor kid!
Sure, I might have entertained that thought. I might have discussed with certain friends, such as Pookie, Schnookie, Myra, Katebits, and Heather B. that he was maybe a frontrunner. And my sisters, maybe. And possibly my mailman. But I never said he was my favorite!
[Do you think they’re buying it?]
Deciding on a favorite player is kind of like househunting. You make your list of what you like and what you don’t like (your must haves and your must not haves), you study the pros and cons of various houses, you kind of like this house or that house because it has lots of pros, but in the end a house picks you.
You find yourself sitting on the couch a month or two after moving in, wondering what exactly it was that compelled you to buy it. And still glad you did.
That’s how this favorite player thing is going. Brad Richards and Brenden Morrow and James Neal and Loui Eriksson and Niklas Grossman and many others all have huge stacks of pros, but I keep coming back to Mark Fistric.
I think it might date back to that one seemingly minor play when he first came up, where he picked up the puck in the corner, then calmly stepped out of the way of a forechecker coming at him at 40 miles an hour, causing said forechecker to SLAM into the wall right next to him. Then he skated away with the puck as if he didn’t notice the guy.
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After a day-long post and re-post, tweet and re-tweet frenzy of Scott Burnside’s assertion that Sergei Zubov is probably leaving, I still wasn’t ready to think that it was anything new that we didn’t know last week. (Plus, I am skeptical of ESPN’s hockey coverage.)
Last week we knew that Zubie was checking out what he could get as a free agent, and even that if the KHL was his only option, he would consider it. We knew that the Dallas Stars, specifically Joe Nieuwendyk, were going to wait a month to see how well he’s really recovered from his injuries.
But since I believe whatever Mike Heika says, I have to start thinking that maybe he is about to leave us.
“We have made good progress in talks with several teams, and I believe we’ll get something done soon,” [Zubov’s agent, Jay] Grossman said. “I can’t say it’s going to be the end of the week or anything, but there is interest out there and we’re going to pursue that interest and look for the situation that is best for Sergei.”
There’s still a chance that he could decide that the team and city that he’s loved all this time is better at a discount than a team he doesn’t know at a premium. But I guess it’s time to admit that it might happen.
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One of my all-time favorite movie lines was from the original Fun With Dick and Jane with Jane Fonda and George Segal. They’re in the bank, applying for a loan, and the loan officer says, “Let’s take a look at the pluses and minuses,” then starts listing all their problems. They get a little irked and start to leave, and he says, “I haven’t come to the pluses. Would you wait for me to come to the pluses?”
I think I want to do the minuses first, so wait for me to come to the pluses.
Sean Effing Avery — I’ve said plenty about how I feel about Avery, so I’ll try not to start all over about the whole thing. The Stars players and management and broadcasters don’t want to put the whole blame on him, but I do. If everything had gone well and he was still on the team, I would have still been miserable about it and I would blame him. As it is, of all our options, the way it played out was probably the best. Since listening to everybody tell you it’s a mistake to sign him at all (let alone for four years and 15 million) was an option they chose to pass up.
Other inexplicable summer moves – Okay, Ulf Dahlen’s leaving to coach Frolunda is probably not the fault of the GMs. But the loss of his special-teams genius was felt from game one. Their main inexplicable move was letting Nik Hagman walk. He was our best penalty-killer (especially after they traded Jeff Halpern the season before). He scored goals, killed penalties, agitated opponents, and was just generally the bomb. Of all the guys we lost between the Brad Richards trade and the summer “see ya’s”, he’s the one I miss the most. The PK dropped from second to 24th. It was a bad move.
Marty Turco’s historic struggles – There’s a pattern I’m starting to see in Marty. He gets the big head, apparently. (more…)
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Pierre LeBrun on ESPN.com talked to Brad about his new freak injury. (Thanks to Mark at Andrew’s for the link.)
After Brad broke his wrist (the first one), I checked with my brother-in-law, the chiropractor (in Tulsa), to see if he had any advice on healing broken bones. By the time I got around to posting about it, he was back.
Now that he’s broken another bone, and just in case he hasn’t tried it, my brother-in-law, the chiropractor (in Tulsa), suggests Bone Up to help the break heal faster.
If anybody knows Brad or anybody on the medical staff, could you pass that along for me?
Although we’re not really in as big a hurry now.
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