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Archive for the ‘Minor Leagues’ Category

Cedar Park Center

I took a rare hockey road trip this week and took in the Battle of the Stars game Wednesday night with my sainted mom and dad.

We drove from their tiny little town over to Cedar Park, TX, to check out the new Texas Stars arena and the future Dallas Stars. (We might have also checked out a few new housing developments we saw along the way. We’re notorious house-hunters.)

For dinner, we picked a random burger place because we didn’t want to stray too far from the arena once we found it. It turned out to be some of the best burgers we’ve had in a while. If you’re ever in Cedar Park, you should try Moonie’s Burger House. The homemade hamburger buns alone are worth the trip.

The game was fun. There were the regular Stars we all know and love, and then on the opposite end of the rink were all the kids from training camp that we’ve been hearing so much about. Both sides looked in good shape.

The 5-1 score looks more lopsided than it really was. The Texas Stars had some good play on defense and they had a few good chances on Turco. Alex Auld started in goal for the kids, but they switched the goalies out in favor of Climie and Krahn at the halfway point or so.

When the Dallas Stars scored, they played the goal song and there was some reasonable cheering. I got the impression there were mostly Dallas fans in the arena. But when the Texas Stars got their goal, the place went NUTS! So it seems there’s a good start on a fanbase for the AHL team.

My parents had a good time at the game. They enjoy a good sporting event in general, but I think I might be wearing them down on hockey in particular. About five minutes into the game, after a ref got crunched against the boards, my dad said, “I think if I were one of those referees, I’d want a stick, too.”

It was a fun game to watch and the perfect tune-up to get ready for Saturday night’s game. I’m ready now. Nervous, still, but ready.

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Dallas 0, San Jose 1
Dallas 1, Chicago 3

BradG, in the comments section of Mike Heika’s post about Toby Petersen’s broken foot, explains it all:

The hockey gods called.

They said, “Even if we have to injure every single Dallas Star, you’re not making the playoffs this year.”

During the Chicago game, when the Stars were meandering around and not really doing much, Razor kept saying that they’re just not as good as the Blackhawks. I am not ready to debate that right now. I don’t like to think that that’s true, because I am used to the ‘Hawks being terrible. I see that they’re not terrible any more. I see that they’re legitimate this season.

But I’m not ready to say that we’re not as good as they are.

Now, the Sharks? We might not be as good as they are.

We are limping along with a team made up mostly of recently ex-AHL players. Bob Sturm was making this point on BaD Radio today, and I think it’s a good one. These are pretty good players, most have the potential to be great, but half the team was in the minors this season or last season. Several were in the minors a month ago.

Now that Petersen is injured, we’re really low on centers. I guess it’s a good thing our centers are the ones being injured, because we have a lot of them. But even with our big pile, we’re running out.

I took my friend Chris (in Allen) to the Chicago game and we had a great time (except for the score). I have a hard time seeing what’s really going on in a game I’m seeing live. (more…)

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Mike Heika and Andrew’s Dallas Stars Page are reporting that Mark Fistric and James Neal have been sent down to the minors. And not just down to the minors, way down to the minors.

The Oklahoma City Blazers are in the CHL, which is below the ECHL, which is below the AHL, which is where NHL teams usually send players.

It’s freaking us all out a little bit. I don’t know that much about James Neal but I expected him to start out the year in the minors. But I did not expect Fistric to be sent down. I sure didn’t expect him to be sent to Oklahoma City. That’s like single-A ball.

Fistric was publicly chastised by the coach a few days ago, but there is no way that he has fallen that far out of favor. The Stars haven’t explained the move, or officially announced it, so we’re all hoping that it’s just shuffling for the sake of the cap and they have some deal in the works or some plan to get Fistric back up with the team. I have no idea why they’d pick the new guy, Janik, over Fistric for the long run. Janik is a journeyman and Fistric has top-four potential. In my opinion, he’s already met his top-six potential.

It didn’t take long for the new GMs to start having cap trouble, did it? I hope Sean Avery’s big paycheck is worth it.

Update: Looks like Chicago claimed Janik.

Update: Hold on here. Andrew’s Stars Page just reminded me that we picked up Janik on waivers from Chicago. And then they picked him back off waivers? And now Heika is saying Chicago traded him back to us? Sounds fishy. I guess that’s how the NHL rolls, though. Basically, the Stars and the Blackhawks had this conversation:

Stars: Hey, ‘Hawks, can you do us a favor?
‘Hawks: What favor?
Stars: Well, we…um, have to move some people around. We’re gonna have to put somebody on waivers but we don’t want to lose anybody. How ’bout we give you a 7th-rounder if you’ll pick him off waivers then give him back to us?
‘Hawks: Sigh. I guess.
Stars: Dude! Thanks!
‘Hawks: But this is the last time!

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The Stars have assigned Junior Lessard to Iowa of the AHL.

I’m not sure what’s going on with Lessard.  The few times he’s been up with the Stars, he seems to score every time.  Yet, they keep sending him down.  And, as Mike Heika points out, he cleared waivers, so the Stars aren’t the only team that isn’t impressed with him. I haven’t read much about why, though.   There must be something going on.  Maybe he’s got some defensive issues he’s just not fixing.  The Stars need scoring, but they won’t take it unless it comes with defensive responsibility.  So that leaves out a lot of scorers.  That’s also another reason I’m surprised he wasn’t picked up by another team — there are plenty of teams that aren’t hampered by those qualms.  So it must be more than that.

Chris Conner is in a similar boat, having been assigned to Iowa, too. But it seems he’s being sent down despite his play rather than because of it.

I liked Conner a lot in the few games he played last year, but I’m a little surprised at how well he did in the preseason. I haven’t seen him play yet, since none of the preseason games was televised, so I’m looking forward to his being called up.

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