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Archive for the ‘Karlis Skrastins’ 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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Saturday, I did something I’ve always wanted to do. I sat on Row A at a Dallas Stars hockey game. Right on the glass.

I had been planning it for a while and when I asked Thomas the ticket guy to find me one, he outdid himself. Once I got my ticket, I was thinking it would be in the right-hand corner of section 124. But no. It was dead behind the net.

This is the view.
View from my seat

This is the view with my zoom lens.
View from my seat, plus zoom

The giant video board looks even more giant when you’re at ice level. On the glass. Like I was.
Video board

This is the lamp. I was basically sitting in the goal judge’s old seat.
The Lamp

I’m telling you I was way down there.
View behind me

As Bill Ollerman says, “Here they come! YOUR! DALLAS! STAAAAAARRRS!”
Big entrance

I’m a big fan of the skatearound. (more…)

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I’m trying not be so incredulous all the time.

The Stars won again. (!?!?!?!) (Sorry.)

This time it was on a sneaky shot from the high slot in overtime from the adorable Stéphane Robidas. In the post-game show when he came by to talk to Severin and that other guy (that kept calling it the NFL), Robi said it was sort of a set play. Brad Richards came into the zone and went straight for the net and just about all the Wild players followed him. That left Robi out there at the top to fire in the winner.

Karlis Skrastins got the opening goal and Steve Ott added one in the 2nd period. Then they kind of lollygagged long enough to let the Wild tie it.

Let me just say, Steve Ott and Trevor Daley have really been stepping up their games lately. Otter has everybody pissed at him and still scores. And for the opposition, there is just no telling where Trevor Daley is going to be. He is all over the place. The guy that’s covering him surely has trouble predicting where he’s going to go, and he can skate so fast that he seems to just magically pop up somewhere else.

Adam Burish got them back in the lead in the third, but it didn’t last. With just a few minutes left in the game, the Wild tied the game to send it to overtime.

I’m still very leery of overtime, a feeling I admit is left over from last season. This season they’ve been actually winning a lot of those, so I probably shouldn’t just assume the game is lost if they have to go into OT. I should enjoy OT like I used to, when there was a chance we could win it. Because an OT win is a thrilling one, no matter what time of year it is.

I’m not going to predict how long this streak will last, because I’ll blame myself when it ends. But it sure is fun while it’s lasting.

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This has been a very long year for me. I was stressing over the job situation and various other stuff all year, and the fact that the Stars missed the playoffs for the second year in a row just dragged me down further.

So, in an effort to keep from going crazy, I decided to brace myself for the ’10-’11 season and try to be okay with things going poorly. I went ahead and assumed that it wasn’t going to be a good year, that things weren’t going to change much overnight.

There have been some big changes, of course. Our beloved Mike Modano is gone now. I’m not sure what happened to him, but I hope he’s happy. Our once-beloved-but-lately-maligned Marty Turco is gone now. He went to play for the Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks (a much easier story to swallow). I admit I haven’t been keeping up with how that’s going, but I hope he’s doing fine. (Blackhawk fans, it might take a while for the defensemen to get used to his puck-handling. Be patient. [Not that there might not be other troubles.].) And our beloved Jere Lehtinen is kind of forgotten but not gone. If I’m not mistaken, he’s still “thinking about it.”

There has been one big lack of a change – at coach – that bothers me a little. Not that I expected there would be a change, but I don’t expect any kind of championship run until there is. If even then.

I say all this to say that I’m okay with how things are going. The hot start was what I didn’t expect. I’m kind of glad it didn’t last long enough for me to get my hopes up too far. I’m calm. I can live with mediocrity this year because I prepared for it.

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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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Boy, that was an exciting Olympics gold medal game, wasn’t it? Congratulations to Brenden Morrow for what must have been the dream of a lifetime. I’m sure he won’t be lording it over his teammates when he gets back to town. Even so, Mike Modano should be ready to smack him if need be.

And congratulations to Team USA for a thrilling run through the tournament, all the way to the marquee game on Sunday afternoon. I think I almost broke my voice screaming when Zach Parise tied up the game with 24 seconds left. I wasn’t so happy about Sidney Crosby scoring in OT to win the game, but if it had to be some Canadian, I’m happy it was Sid. He looked pretty happy about the whole thing while they waited for the medals to be awarded.

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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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