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Archive for the ‘Joe Nieuwendyk’ Category

I’m so happy that Brad Richards wasn’t traded today. I still, probably naively, have hope that he re-signs with the Stars. Trading him would have taken away what little chance we had.

This team can do something if they stick to it and when Richards comes back from his injury, I think they’ll be able to start pulling ahead. The last two games have been so encouraging. I would have hated to see Joe Nieuwendyk bail on the season.

If he had traded Brad just to trade him, it would have been a mistake. The possibility of losing him for nothing isn’t any more gloomy than losing him for somebody else’s mediocre prospects.

Nobody that needed Brad as a final piece would have been willing to give up their best young players, and that’s what Nieuwy was reportedly demanding. Good for him!

Everybody whined that Nieuwendyk was asking way too much and he’d never be able to trade him at those prices. I always thought he was thinking, “Exactly.” The point was that he didn’t want to trade him!

It’s like, my house is not for sale, but if somebody asked me what my price is, I might say, “500 grand.” They’d say, “You’re crazy! Nobody would buy that crappy house for that!” And I’d say, “I know.” BUT, if they said okay, I’d be outta here so fast, I wouldn’t even pack.

So now we can relax a little and start concentrating on the playoff stretch in earnest. Now that it’s getting closer, and they seem to have come out of their funk, and I watched a game RIGHT ON THE GLASS, I’m really getting excited about the Stars.

I’m all in now.

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After being indirectly insulted all day Monday by all the Dallas Stars bloggers/tweeters who tend to accuse anybody that disagrees with them of being an idiot, or worse, somebody that doesn’t know anything about hockey, I think I’ve settled on an opinion about the latest trade.

Joe Nieuwendyk traded James Neal and Matt Niskanen to Pittsburgh for Alex Goligowski.

First, I’ll say that I hate trades. I never like to see people traded. I almost always get over it, though. I still wish Philippe Boucher were still around, but most other trades I’ve learned to live with.

After the initial shock that Nieuwy would trade a young forward with the kind of potential that Neal has, I can see that he’s probably the one that would have to be traded. He’s good and teams want him, but he’s in a category (forwards) where the Stars have a surplus.

Neal has high potential, but I think it’s apparent that it might take a little while for him to work out his inconsistency kinks and reach that potential. I still expect him to be a star in the league, but he’s young and he has some work to do.

As everybody says, over and over, ad nauseum, the shortage on the Stars is in puck-moving defensemen. So they traded from a surplus to fill a shortage and that’s really all you can do.

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In Monday night’s game against the Kings, the thing I noticed the most was that the Stars had the puck most of the time.

It wasn’t easy, though, they had to fight for it, and catch it at the blue line, and pass it between forests of skates to keep possession of it. They spent an entire power play in the offensive zone at one point. I thought they might have to clear it themselves so they could get a change.

I probably should have been, but when the Kings scored first, I wasn’t nervous. I thought they were playing so well and spending so much time in the attacking zone that it was just a matter of squeaking a couple through.

I also wasn’t afraid that Kari would melt down or be otherwise fazed by giving up the first goal after all the work the skaters had done at the other end. He is really doing a bang-up job.

There’s still a long way to go before anybody gets any crowns, but it’s getting very exciting. I commend Joe Nieuwendyk for what he’s done so far. I know I was skeptical of his plan, but he seems to know what he’s doing after all. It appears that letting Modano and Turco go was really one of the biggest keys in this surprising (so far) season.

I am still a big fan of Marty Turco as a Star and a person, but it seems the two biggest pluses to this season hinged on letting him go. He’s (a) no longer running or splitting the room, letting Morrow get hold of it and giving the young guys some space to step up, and (b) no longer in the net. It’s pretty apparent that his window closed a couple of years ago and it doesn’t look like it’s going to open back up again this late in his career.

If Kari Lehtonen is playing like he will be playing until he’s 30, this could be really good for a while.

I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but it’s hard not to. Not only is the net covered, but basically all four lines are covered. Guys like James Neal and Mike Ribeiro suffered through some slumps and came out of them. Now everybody seems to be scoring. Even in a game like this one against the Kings, where the score was only 2-1, it still felt like everybody scored.

And hmm, the defense seems to be doing fine. I’m stunned. (Not really. I thought they would be fine. It’s the “experts” who predicted they’d be the Keystone Kops all season.)

I’m not willing to trade anybody good for a disgruntled defenseman, and I don’t want one that doesn’t cost somebody good. I sure don’t want to pick up somebody like Souray off the scrap-heap. I’m willing to take this exact team all the way to the end.

Anyway, I digress. The point is, Woo hoo! The Stars are actually good!

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Jamie Langenbrunner, circa 2001. Courtesy of me.

Jamie Langenbrunner is back. Who saw that coming?

I admit I’m not the voracious reader of hockey news that I once was, but I did not see that coming.

When it first looked like Langer would be coming back to Dallas, I was not that happy about it. I probably spend way too much time on IPB and maybe I was swayed by Pookie and Schnookie and Mags and all the other Devils fans over there who have been hoping against hope that he’s in the first bucketful when the Devils start bailing.

He’s not had a good maybe year and a half over there. He’s not the only one, though. He’s apparently known for a while that something was going to happen and he was not reacting well to the spectre of reduced ice time and lower standing on the team.

But once the deal went through, I started hearing that Joe Nieuwendyk’s plan was for him to be on the third line and that he wasn’t going to push Benn out of his plum spot so I started feeling a little better.

Pookie and Schnookie assured me that he is bound to benefit from a breath of fresh air and that since he wasn’t captain here, he can accept other roles.

It reminded me of an article/chat by the great Mike Heika where he pointed out that Turco can accept a backup role in Chicago but he can’t here in Dallas. The same is probably true of Mike Modano. It’s too painful to watch him bringing up the rear here after so many great years. But in Detroit, he’s just a veteran piece to the puzzle. (And, of course, I don’t have to watch him since I can’t watch the Wings.)

When Jamie was traded to New Jersey with Nieuwendyk, I seriously questioned my devotion to the Dallas Stars. It was early in my fandom and I was crushed. Crushed! As it turns out, I do love the team more than any individual players. But I missed Jamie for a long time. I loved the guy.

That was nine years ago. A lot has changed since then. I don’t have the wide-eyed, he-won-the-Cup-here-so-he-will-surely-bring-us-another-one excitement that everybody else does. But I have warmed to the idea quite a bit.

He does bring some playoff experience (although his recent experience wasn’t that great), and he is right-handed. And they only gave up a second-round draft pick, at worst. I just want to make sure that it doesn’t mean any of our future loved ones, such and Benn and Wandell are thwarted in their development.

I’m anxious to see what it’s like to watch Jamie Langenbrunner play for the Stars again. I think it’ll be weird. I hope everybody’s right and he’s the last piece of the puzzle for a big push in the playoffs. (Even though we didn’t know we’d need one when the season started.)

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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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No more No. 9.

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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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