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Archive for the ‘Fabian Brunnstrom’ Category

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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Dallas 5, Chicago 4

That’s the only reason I’m condescending to write about it. Otherwise, I’d still be holding out for a streak of some kind. I’ve run out of W-L-W-L jokes.

A day before the game, I was pretty optimistic because they had lost the previous game and that means a win. But then I started thinking about how good the Chicago Blackhawks are these days and by the time the game started I assumed they’d lose.  I should have gone with my first instinct.

The first period was pretty impressive by the ‘Hawks.  Most of the way through it I was pretty impressed by the Stars for not being down by 5 or 6 goals.  The Stars actually took the lead, even though they had already given up 20 shots.

Mike Modano opened the scoring with that cool same-leg shot he breaks out every once in a while.  I think it’s one of my favorite moves.  Here’s my opinion: the reason Modano does so well these days on the power play is because he has somebody other than Krys Barch to pass it to him.  I’m sure Barch is a nice guy, but I think at the very least, Brian Sutherby should playing on the 4th line, if Modano has to stay there.  If he’s only going to play for 5 minutes, why isn’t Sutherby playing?  He can fight if need be.  Just because he doesn’t have fights scheduled for weeks ahead of time, doesn’t mean he won’t fight.

Obviously Modano should be on a higher line, but I agree that Wandell is pushing his way up there. It’s not really that Modano is dropping as much as Wandell is climbing.  But Modano needs somebody that can catch and/or make a decent pass.  I think Sutherby is better for that.  Heck, if they’re too full of defensemen, Fistric could be one of Modano’s wingers.

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Dallas 2, Nashville 3 (SO)
3 out of 4 penalties killed

Hockey is finally here. There have been lots of things that wanted to make me feel like that, but opening night at the American Airlines Center seems to be the only thing that worked.

My lovely sister (in Keller) went to the game with me and we met up with Myra and Hub and Kid from Laughs 2 Loud. Our seats for our partial plan are really pretty good. They’re right at the top of the escalator and it’s one of those jagged sections so we don’t have a lot of people in front of us. I’m going to enjoy that spot.

The game didn’t start out too well. It was only a couple of minutes into the game before Jason Arnott scored the first goal. It was a lucky bounce, but kind of disheartening there for a few minutes. It didn’t help when they scored again just a few minutes into the second period.

I thought the Stars really picked it up after that. They seemed to have quite a bit more time in the offensive zone and did a lot of good defensively — lots of puck stealing by the Stars — but I was still surprised when I saw they had 40 shots on goal during the game. Dan Ellis, the Preds goalie (and a former Stars goalie prospect), did a fantastic job against the them. He was the main reason they couldn’t score in the second half of the game.

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Mike Heika talked to Marc Crawford after Tuesday’s game about the “spotty” play of the Stars.

“We are going to correct the things we can and go back and reinforce the system’s strong points of play, but we are also going to demonstrate some patience as well. It’s going to take a constant reinforcement to get it.”

I think this is a good plan, this demonstrating some patience, but I don’t know if we’ll really see that when the games start counting.

The Dallas Stars got such a terrible start last season that they’re determined this one will be good. But if they’re still trying to learn the system and trust their own creativity and end up losing some extra games, I wonder if the coaching staff will bail on the whole patience thing and just play the half of the team that is already getting it.

I don’t think it will behoove guys like Fabian Brunnstrom to lose playing time because he might make a mistake. Or if he isn’t scoring like crazy in the first few games.

The same goes for the young defensemen like Niskanen and Fistric. Really all of the defensemen are going to need some patience.

Of course, I can’t see any of this new system yet, or how well anybody is playing it. I’m just going by what Mike Heika says, essentially. It just sounds, from the quotes I’ve been reading, that it’s pretty different from what our veterans are used to.

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Pay attention, boys.

Pay attention, boys.

I finally went to a training camp practice today and it was great fun. Myra and The Kid joined me for the second hour and we analyzed the X’s and O’s together.

Mostly I took pictures, but not very good ones. I have a new camera and I don’t know it very well, so I’ll need some practice with it. I do know I need to override the shutter speed, first thing. Every picture was just a little blurry from all the movement.

This was the first time I’ve seen Marc Crawford run a practice and the main difference from Dave Tippett was that I could hear that he was talking. Tipp’s voice was so low, even when he was yelling, it didn’t escape the rink. Crawford’s probably yelling at the same volume, but he’s WAY up the register.

I followed Mark Fistric around a little bit and he looked pretty good. They did a lot of drills I’ve never seen, of course, and one was for stealing pucks and breaking up passes and Fistric did well. Kind of surprisingly, Krys Barch was doing a good job of poking the puck off the coach’s stick before he had a chance to try to get it past Fistric.

(R to L) Sitting, sitting, standing, working.

(R to L) Sitting, sitting, standing, working.

Fabian Brunnstrom was in the second practice and while they were waiting for the Zamboni to finish re-surfacing the ice, we got to watch him practice his stick handling. It’s fascinating to watch. He was doing his school figures during another lull and carrying the puck backwards and forwards in circles. Before the drills started, I caught him working on a trick shot (although I hate to call it a trick shot because I can see how it could come in handy plenty of times) where he flips the puck one-handed, back-handed, top shelf.

You’re never so good you can stop practicing, kids.

I have a feeling, that started the last month of last season, that we’re about to see what all the hubbub was with Bunny. I expect to see him take off this season.

Crawford had them doing what I decided was a “get back” drill that was fun to watch. They simulated losing the puck in the offensive zone, then racing back to take it away from the forward before he got a shot off. It really showed how Nick Grossman is an underrated skater. He and Fistric both had no problem getting back.

Trevor
Trevor Daley, of course, was just flying around all the time. That guy can skate.

Other than that, there were a lot of kids I didn’t recognize without a program. It won’t be long now until the real games get started.

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The Dallas Stars have named Charlie Huddy as Marc Crawford’s new assistant coach. I really should know more about him, considering the fact that I was kind of an Oilers-blog groupie for a while. I do recognize the name, but I don’t know how Oilers fans felt about him.

If what Mike Heika thinks is true (and it usually is), he’ll do well developing our d-kids.

I honestly think he has one of the most important jobs in the organization in the next two or three years, as he will have a direct hand in developing youngsters like Matt Niskanen, Nicklas Grossman, Mark Fistric, Ivan Vishnevskiy and maybe even Philip Larsen.

If what I’m hearing is the case, he’ll be joining Marc Crawford in changing the mood to more skating and more offense. He has the players to do it. Even a kid like Fistric, who’s mostly a stay-at-home defenseman, can skate and move the puck well. If we’re about to see Daley finally get to kick off the reins and be the offensive guy we all thought he’d be, I’m all for that. If Matt Niskanen can keep up his improvement after, really, only 3/4 of a sophomore slump, we’ll be in pretty good shape.

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A roller-coaster would have been nice.

A roller-coaster would have been nice.

I predicted a roller-coaster season, but I never would have predicted the Tilt-A-Whirl season we’d have instead.

People always say, when we’ve just lost a close game, “If they don’t make the playoffs they’ll be looking back at this game…” There’s no way we could pick out a game from this horrifying season to point a finger at. There were just too many. You couldn’t even pick a section of games to point the finger at. There were so many really bad stretches.

But you have to hand it to the Stars. They didn’t give up. They didn’t lose 7 in a row down the stretch and 9 out of 10 (so far), because they gave up. They were trying. They just couldn’t do it.

Last night, after the Flames got their second goal, I thought they looked defeated. You could kind of see that they were finally admitting they weren’t going to pull off a miracle. Still, they picked themselves up and kept trying right until the end of the game.

Fabian Brunnstrom had a really great game. I thought his line, with Neal and Lundqvist, did a pretty good job. I really think that he’s going to be great. It’s kind of different for the Stars to have players that think scoring first. His defensive game will improve, but the Stars need to be careful not to quash his offensive game. We need guys who think offense first. We’ve got plenty that think defense first.

Poor Mike Modano seemed to be giving his end-of-season interview after the game. He’s not any more used to missing the playoffs than any of us are. Steve Ott has pointed out before that he’s never missed the playoffs at any level until now.

I hope tomorrow’s final home game ends with a warm ovation and not any booing. They did the best they could with everything that went wrong this season. Even with only four games to go, there are players out there I don’t recognize. After the start they had, the fact that they were even close as long as they were was pretty impressive.

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