Archive for the ‘Mike Heika’ Category

Photograph by Trey Hill

The Stars had a great feature going this weekend, where they had Trey Hill taking behind-the-scenes shots of their Western Canadian Road Swing.

Trey Hill has a great style and I commend the Stars for hiring a photographer with style to do some unusual shoots. (I still love the twitpics from @DallasStars, too, don’t get me wrong.) We all have access to the Getty Images action shots from all the games, but it’s not every day that you get the kind of artful, unusual shots that Trey brings us.

I hope he doesn’t mind my using his water bottle picture for this post. It’s my favorite one from Day 1, although the shot of Brad Richards climbing the stair-car stairs with a Nerf sword slung across his back is a close second.

If you’re all into Twitter, like I am, you should follow @squarerootof9. He’s a good.

DallasStars.com has progressed by leaps and bounds this season with their content. They also had a very nice article about a kid that got to go on a road trip with the team. It was very touching.

And check out their “Raw” channel for pre- and post-game media scrums. I’m usually pretty easily distracted during those videos, trying to see what’s going on behind the player that’s being interviewed.

While I’m linking to stuff, don’t forget to read everything that Mike Heika writes.


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I’m listening to Marc Crawford on BaD Radio and after this and Mike Heika’s article on his current positive attitude, I think I have a way to explain it.

He thinks he has a bad team. He thinks the players aren’t very good so why get upset when they fail? “They’re trying hard,” he said. It’s not that they’re not trying, they’re just not as good as teams like Pittsburgh and St. Louis and Los Angeles.

He has no intention of adapting The System or figuring out how to win the game in front of them, even though the rest of the league can see them coming from a mile away.

He’s just biding his time until he gets a team that can win a Stanley Cup in spite of him, like he had in Colorado, 14 years ago.

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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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There are several kinds of fights over hits. In my opinion, the three basic categories are:
• fights after dirty hits,
• fights after any hard hit on a star player,
• fights after clean hits.

I’m okay with fights after dirty hits. I’m okay with fights after questionable, even clean but hard, hits on players like Modano, Eriksson, Richards, etc. I don’t like fights after normal, everyday, clean hits.

But! There are two subcategories of clean hits. The kind that are normal, common, legal and clean that just piss off the guy that gets hit and the kind that are questionable or result in a scary injury.

I’m with Mike Heika in that I understand fights after clean hits when there’s no way the victim’s teammates know if it was clean or not. A few games ago, against Minnesota, Brad Richards got knocked to the ice by a clean, hard, open-ice hit from Cal Clutterbuck and Steve Ott came in and fought the guy over it. That hit fell into two categories — skill player and questionable hit.

The fans and the broadcasters had the benefit of multiple replays to see that it was a legal hit and Brad wasn’t hurt and everything was aboveboard. Steve Ott didn’t. Plus, you just can’t let players like Brad Richards get hit like that.

Last night, in the game against Phoenix, James Neal made a perfectly normal everyday hit along the boards on Petr Prucha, but poor Prucha suffered a terrible injury. His teammates didn’t get a chance to sit quietly and watch replays from all angles to see if it was the hit or the fact that his head hit a stanchion that caused the injury. It’s too bad that Neal had to fight after a clean hit, but that one is understandable.

The fight after a clean hit that I don’t like is when everybody’s okay and nothing is even questionable and it’s on a guy that can take a hit. Several games ago, Mark Fistric got dragged into a fight with Eric Nystrom in a game against Calgary. That was the fight that Mark got fined for because he hit Nystrom with his own helmet. The fight was pointless, though, because Nystrom was the victim of the hit and just didn’t like it so he picked a fight with Fistric. It was a regular hard hit against the boards and Nystrom went after Fistric. He knew that it was a clean hit because he’s the one that took it. None of his teammates even thought anything about it. He was just pouting.

Those are the kinds of fights after clean hits that I don’t like.

So, to recap:
• Fights after dirty hits — OK.
• Fights after hard/questionable/unnecessary hits on star/skilled players — OK.
• Fights after clean hits that require extensive replays and analysis to determine they’re clean or that result in an injury — OK.
• Fights after obviously clean hits — NOT OK.

Simple enough, right?

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I wonder if Marty has a purple Sharpie in his cubicle.

Marty Turco is in a bad spot right now and I feel terrible for him. A lot of it is because I got laid off last week and now I’m hyper-sympathetic to people who are being kicked to the curb.

Sure, Marty’s got more of a nest egg than I do, so he’ll be fine, bill-paying-wise, but it’s still no fun being told you’re not needed any more. And it’s got to be even worse for him since he’s hearing it while he’s still here. At least my former company kept their disdain a secret right up until the last minute.

I like Marty and I always have. I have long assumed that he’s going to win a Cup for some lucky team and I wanted it to be the Stars. He’s bounced back before from slumps and he’s proven that he’s an elite goaltender, even in the playoffs.

Last season I gave him, because everybody had a bad season last season, not just him. I mean, everybody.

This season was when he was supposed to put all that stuff from ’08-’09 behind him and show what he’s really like, but he just hasn’t done it. (more…)

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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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