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Archive for the ‘Penalty Killing’ Category

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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Dallas 1, Columbus 4

I guess we all could have predicted the loss last night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

I wouldn’t have predicted all the fights and the five-minute major plus game misconduct for James Neal, though. I was at the game, so I didn’t get to see anything up close. Therefore, I won’t argue whether or not Neal deserves a suspension for the hit (he’s been suspended two games). At the time, though, I thought the Jackets player was okay at first and didn’t see him fall back down again. The hit didn’t look that vicious to me on the replay that I craned my neck to see on the press box TV. They didn’t show the hit in the arena.

I’m interested in seeing that sequence of events when I watch the game on my TiVo. I’ll also want to see why there were so many fights. I usually assume that if Trevor Daley is in a fight, he’s legitimately angry. When Krys Barch fights, I don’t usually have to break down what led up to it.

I apologize for not having any in-depth analysis. When I’m at the game, I talk a lot more and I hear Razor explaining things 100% less than when I’m on my couch watching it on TV. (Not that I have any in-depth analysis then.)

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Dallas 3, Detroit 1

Not bad. Not bad at all. I guess the win-lose-win-lose-win-lose power is stronger than the PLEASE-NO!-NOT DETROIT! power. It was helped, of course, by the lose-to-bad-teams, beat-good-teams thing they’ve got going on, too.

The Stars looked very good the whole game. The Wings had trouble getting past them into the offensive zone. Alex Auld had a fine game tonight and made some pretty good saves. He got a gift from the refs on that one non-goal, but hey, life’s tough.

Modano had another great game, getting an assist on Loui Eriksson’s goal and just being all over the place all night. James Neal got an assist on Loui’s goal, too, with a beautiful pass. That brings Neal’s point streak to ten games. Matt Niskanen got his back that the scorers took away from him in the last game to give to Neal.

Mike Ribeiro had a much better game than he’s had lately. He got a nice, albeit flukey, goal but he worked hard all game. Brenden Morrow had more energetic game tonight, too. I think Brenden and Ribs got a little shot in the arm by being moved to new lines. Brad Richards added two assists to his impressive total for the year.

One of the best things I’ve seen lately is the improvement in the penalty kill. According to Razor, they had killed 17 penalties in a row at that point. They killed all five against Detroit tonight. And they got two power play goals! Everything’s all topsy-turvy.

Myra and I will be at the game tomorrow night. Let’s break the pattern, boys.

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Tomorrow is the start of Training Camp. Finally, it’s here.

I don’t think I’ve ever wished more for a season to start than I have for this one. Last season was such a mess, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about a new season starting. But now that it’s here, I need it. I need it to clear out last year’s cobwebs.

This is the Nine-Ten* season. Last season is dead and gone. We don’t ever have to mention that one again. We don’t have to wonder what could have been any more. Now we can turn our attention to what this season can be.

Nine-Ten can be the best the Stars have had in a long time, but it could just as easily turn into a circus again. Who knows what Crawford and Huddy are going to be like? Who knows how all the young kids are going to handle the big coaching changes? Or how the veterans are going to handle it, for that matter?

I expect them to try really hard at first, hoping to get a better start than the season we’ve all forgotten about. I just hope that they know what they’re doing. I have a feeling that confidence is going to be a big factor.

If they don’t get a good start, I wonder how Crawford will respond. Will every mistake land a kid in the doghouse? Will he give them a chance to learn? Our three d-kids, Mark Fistric, Matt Niskanen, and Nick Grossman, are all coming off their sophomore year, so they should be past that hump and starting to make names for themselves. They still have a few years before they hit their peak, but it’s not going to help them if they’re afraid to make mistakes.

For all I know, Marc Crawford isn’t like that anymore. He says he’s changed. I have no idea what kind of coach he is on a day-to-day basis. I’ve only seen him behind opposing benches and read unflattering things about him.

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I’m sure he’s never heard that joke before. Actually, he may not have. That song is from the 30’s and he’s barely 30. Plus, it’s not funny.

I think I’m really going to like Steve Begin. In his first interview, he totally gave me a shoutout! He said he loves Penalty Killing!

Actually, his quote was, “I play a simple game, up and down, and I try and bring a lot of energy. I am a defensive player, I enjoy working on the PK.”

Same thing, though. Right?

I think we all know how much I love defensive forwards. And how much I love a guy that can kill penalties. And how much I love foxy players with French accents.

He’s going to have to try hard to make me not like him.

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Dallas 4, Nashville 1

Before I start on the Preds game, I just want to talk a little about the game against the Rangers. I’m still stunned by that game.

I’m still giddy. I misspent a lot of time over the weekend reading Rangers blogs and comment threads and a message board or two. I actually started to kind of feel sorry for them. Rangers fans are NOT happy with their team. Or their coach. Or their manager or their owner.

The Rangers are supposedly interested in picking up Sean Avery off re-entry waivers once he gets through all the steps. Don’t forget, they won blah blah games more when he was in the lineup than when he wasn’t. Nobody has any other stat than that. Doesn’t that tell you something? For one thing, he has no other stats to speak of.

Anyway, I was cracking myself up thinking that the Stars were inspired to pound the Rangers so they’d be even more inclined to get Avery. Maybe pick him up off the first waivers and take his whole contract. The “experts” seem to think the Rangers could use a “spark.”

The Rangers were awful Friday night. They lost interest in the game after that 4th goal where Ribeiro just sidled up to the net and whipped it right in. To be honest, I would have, too.

The arena was wild.

You might have been able to understand if the Stars didn’t do so well against the Preds. It was their third game in four days and there was the possibility of a crash off that high of scoring 10 goals.

But while they might have seemed a little sluggish (I didn’t notice it), they still won.

When Sutherby got the shorthander five minutes in, I knew it was going to be okay. Brian Sutherby is turning out to be a really good pickup. He’s caught up now, it seems, and he’s really chipping in, both with offense and with energy.

The penalty killing is improving and the power play is really doing well lately. They got a shorthander, a power play goal, an even-strength goal, and an empty netter. The only goal missing was a penalty shot.

Okay, who’s next?

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Last season, the Stars had the second-best penalty kill in the league. These were our penalty killers, in order of short-handed time-on-ice per game.

2007-08:
Mattias Norstrom – 3:14 (retired)
Sergei Zubov – 3:02
Philippe Boucher – 2:49 (traded)
Stu Barnes – 2:37 (retired)
Jere Lehtinen – 2:27 (injured)
Trevor Daley – 2:24
Steve Ott – 2:21 (injured)
Niklas Hagman – 2:16 (released)
Matt Niskanen – 2:11 (scratched)
Stephane Robidas – 2:11
Nicklas Grossman – 2:11
Mike Modano – 1:57
Brenden Morrow – 1:44 (injured)
Mark Fistric – 1:17 (demoted)

These are the ones we have left.

2008-09:
Stephane Robidas – 2:38
Trevor Daley – 2:34
Nicklas Grossman – 2:23
Mike Modano – 1:55
Sergei Zubov – 1:52

Sure, lots of other guys are out there on the penalty kill now, but they’re not that good at it.

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