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Archive for the ‘Sergei Zubov’ Category

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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It’s been hard picturing what Stars Hockey is going to be like this season.

There are so many changes (and a few non-changes) that make the picture murky. I’ve been a Stars fan since about 1998 and Mike Modano and Jere Lehtinen have always been there. Up until a couple of seasons ago, the Stars have mostly always been in the playoffs.

Over the years there have been plenty of peripheral players that came and went. I really liked some of them and wondered what we’d do without them. Then I forgot about them when the next season started. Others I can barely remember. And there are some, like Nik Hagman, that I miss terribly.

I still miss Philippe Boucher, even more so because he’s nowhere to be found. I can’t even watch him play on some other team.

I miss Sergei Zubov terribly, too, and I can’t watch him play anywhere, either.

Now I’ll miss Mike Modano terribly and [I’ll have to pretend] I can’t watch him on his new team. I’ll miss Marty Turco, too. I like the Chicago Blackhawks, so I think I can watch him on his new team. I really like their defensemen, so I am anxious to see what they think about a goalie that can pass as well as any d-man.

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I really don’t like this news. TSN is reporting that he has officially signed a contract with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. I haven’t heard yet if he has any outs or anything.

I was mostly resigned to the likelihood that he wouldn’t return to the Dallas Stars, but I was planning to watch him play for whatever team he joined. I wanted him to come back to town with his new team so Stars fans could give him a long standing ovation in his new uniform. It would have been very moving.

Now, we’ll just never see him again. We won’t get to say goodbye.

I’m not mad at either side, surprisingly. I don’t blame Joe Nieuwendyk for wanting to wait and see if he’s healthy or for offering him a much-reduced amount. And I don’t blame Zubov for thinking he can still play and wanting to play for somebody that’s willing to take a chance on him.

I don’t know what I’m going to do; cheering for a team that Sergei Zubov doesn’t play for. I never have before.

He has such a fluid style. He can still deke with the best of them. He can still head straight for a defender and then yoink the puck and spin away at the last second, while the other guy looks around, comically confused.

I’ll miss the way he trails one toe as he serpentines through the neutral zone. Or turns on the heel of his blade as he ducks around the crowd at the net and flips the puck into the top corner.

Or holsters his stick after scoring a particularly humiliating shootout goal.

I’ll miss his beaming, dimpled smile when he or a teammate scores a goal.

Adoration makes him uncomfortable, but it’s his own fault for being so great. It’s pretty much assumed his #56 jersey will go up into the rafters in the AAC the minute he retires, and it had better.

Maybe we can say goodbye on that night.

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After a day-long post and re-post, tweet and re-tweet frenzy of Scott Burnside’s assertion that Sergei Zubov is probably leaving, I still wasn’t ready to think that it was anything new that we didn’t know last week. (Plus, I am skeptical of ESPN’s hockey coverage.)

Last week we knew that Zubie was checking out what he could get as a free agent, and even that if the KHL was his only option, he would consider it. We knew that the Dallas Stars, specifically Joe Nieuwendyk, were going to wait a month to see how well he’s really recovered from his injuries.

But since I believe whatever Mike Heika says, I have to start thinking that maybe he is about to leave us.

“We have made good progress in talks with several teams, and I believe we’ll get something done soon,” [Zubov’s agent, Jay] Grossman said. “I can’t say it’s going to be the end of the week or anything, but there is interest out there and we’re going to pursue that interest and look for the situation that is best for Sergei.”

There’s still a chance that he could decide that the team and city that he’s loved all this time is better at a discount than a team he doesn’t know at a premium. But I guess it’s time to admit that it might happen.

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The Stars have signed a UFA!

Karlis Skrastins is our new veteran defenseman. The Stars wanted a veteran at a discount and I think he’s a good find.

Skrastins broke the record back in 2007 for consecutive games played by a defenseman at 495. He’s durable. He’s experienced and he’s a stay-at-home guy.

I think he’ll be good for what they want him for. He’ll bring some leadership and help Stéphane Robidas herd the d-kids around. It’ll be good for the Niskanen, Fistric, and Grossman to have him to lean on but still be the main guys. A higher-profile defenseman like Bouwmeester would have made at least one of them expendable.

I’m relieved Nieuwendyk didn’t go for Bouwmeester on the open market. He was too expensive and had too many suitors. He has no playoff experience and has been a big fish in a little pond for a long time. There’s no telling what he’s really like. I’m sure he’s a great defenseman, but you’d have to pay for him before you knew if he was a good fit.

The road to the playoffs is littered with teams that spend all their money on UFA day.

I’m happy with this signing. It leaves room for Zubov, if he wants to come back (pleeeease come back, Zubie) and it covers the need for a veteran at a bargain price. It’ll also give them a chance to give Ivan Vishnevskiy some time on their new minor league team before they bring him up.

Now, if we can get a cool right winger at a bargain that would be great.

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My new goal is to just stop getting so upset. As Myra and Kristine both pointed out in the comments on my last rant post, even if Avery is an a-hole, they’re all grown men and they should be able to work around it.

Time for them to buck up. Time for them to show that they can make their own chemistry. I don’t care what they have to do. Brenden Morrow and Mike Modano know what it’s like to have new people in the room. Marty Turco and Sergei Zubov have had new guys every year.

Sure, it’s too bad they got rid of all their penalty killers and replaced them with rookies and “sandpaper” but what can you do. The remaining penalty killers just need to be on a shorter rotation, that’s all. Lots of teams have half the team that can’t kill penalties. I don’t know if they’re good teams, but that’s not really the point I’m trying to make here.

Sure, it’s too bad Brett Hull ignored all his players and all the players on the Rangers and the Kings and racked up our cap room to sign Sean Avery. But what’s done is done. Time to learn how to work with a guy like that.

It’s time for Brenden to smack everybody in the back of the head, in turn, and tell them to straighten up. Then he can have Modano smack him and tell him the same thing.

We’re all grown-ups around here, so I guess we all (including me) will have to learn to live with what the team has turned out to be. They have plenty of talent to get the job done. They just need to get the job done.

(Of course, it would help a lot if Avery acted like a grown-up in the first place.) (Okay, that was the last one.) (For now.)

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Dallas 2, Kings 3 (SO)

I give up. We lost again. To the Kings.

It wasn’t that bad a game, but we just couldn’t score. Marty kept us in it pretty well. Jere Lehtinen scored in his first game back and generally looked pretty good. Mike Modano had a really pretty goal at the end of some vintage Mo-to-Zubie-to-Mo passing. (I loved the sound of Mo’s goal as it clanged off pretty much all the iron.)

Even the power play looked good. The dang thing just didn’t score. I don’t get it. They mixed stuff up, they moved their feet, they zipped the puck around, the controlled the zone, and nothing.

Oh well. Instead of being all depressed about the way the season is going so far, let’s just enjoy Mike Ribeiro’s brilliant shootout move.

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