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Archive for the ‘Things I Love About Hockey’ Category

Jamie Benn

Earlier, I wrote a huge post that started out talking about how much fun hockey seems to be again and why.

Then it devolved into a rambling screed about what killjoys certain bloggers and tweeters can be. I sounded just like them.

So I chucked that one and I’m going to stick to my main point, which is that I am enjoying hockey. I’m learning to avoid stuff online that makes me mad, instead of trying to argue it down.

My friend, Katebits, over at The Willfull Caboose had a great post about that topic so I’ll let you read that instead.

I think the main reason I’m enjoying hockey again is that there is a race on. For the last couple of years, missing the playoffs was something we knew way before the end of the season. And this year I assumed it would happen again.

Then, the dumb ol’ Stars did some winning, laid on the charm, and just generally drew me back in. The Western Conference is so tight right now that every game counts, and it has for a while. One night you’re in, the next you’re out. Sometimes while you just sit there.

I’m happy they didn’t trade Brad Richards. I’m entertained by his and Krys Barch’s trash talking on Twitter (as long as you keep it light, boys).

And while I’m worried about poor Brad’s symptoms, I’m happy that the Stars are trundling along without him. I hope he comes back soon, but I think they’re handling it well.

Don’t even get me started on Jamie Benn. He seems totally oblivious to his own greatness. I know he’s only 21, and you can’t say what will happen over a decade or two, but man. That guy has it all. I wonder if we’ll ever hear commentators marvel over how whoever drafted him in the 5th round is a genius. Since we’re not Detroit, probably not.

Now that he’s back, and Adam Burish is back, the Stars seem to have that fun aura that kind of faded during their losing streak. The rest of the season is going to be something to watch.

For a change.

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Jere Lehtinen didn’t get the attention he probably deserved, but from what I hear, he liked it that way. Stars fans and his coaches and his fellow players knew how great he was.

I’m a big fan of Jere Lehtinen’s. But just like everybody else, I’ve hardly talked about him all these years.

I have been assuming that he would decide to retire, especially since it’s December already and he hadn’t joined the team. But even though I pretty much knew it was going to happen, I felt surprisingly sad to hear the official announcement.

Over the last couple of seasons, I have thought that he might be a little too oft-injured to help the team that much, and then I assumed he was going to retire so I haven’t really been thinking about him that much this season. But watching his highlight reels and listening to people talk about him has brought back a lot of memories. Watching him skate and seeing his odd goal celebration really takes me back to a time when I thought we were going to the Finals every year.

I’m not as wide-eyed and optimistic as I used to be, but I think we might have a few guys coming up in the ranks, namely Loui Eriksson, that I hope will be able to step into Jere’s skates.

Jere is the last of the players from the ’99 Stanley Cup team so the page is finally really turning for the Dallas Stars. It’s tough and sad and scary, but it’s exciting, too.

I already miss him, though. Actually, I miss him again.

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Modano's AAC*

I have thought and thought and thought, all day, about what to say about that game last night and about Mike Modano himself. I just don’t know where to start.

So much has been said about what a great player he is. What a great guy he is. All I can do is agree. I don’t know what else to say.

Last night was the Dallas Stars’ last home game of the season. The team is out of the playoffs and they were playing another team that is out of the playoff and as games go, it was meaningless. Yet it was pretty much the best game I have ever seen in person.

Modano is at the end of his current contract and he’s going to be 40 years old in June. Yet he looks and skates like a 30-year-old. The Stars are missing the playoffs for the second year in a row and there is a new GM in town and a new “coach” and a bunch of new skilled kids that need playing time. Therefore, everyone is assuming that Mo will retire.

That’s how we started the game.

For the benefit of my family and friends that just read PK and don’t follow the Stars, here’s a quick run-down of what happened, as told to my lovely sister (in Keller).
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I pick on Brett Hull a lot, I admit it, but he has done a ton for the Dallas Stars organization and don’t think I don’t appreciate it.

The Stars had a tribute ceremony before the game against the St. Louis Blues Wednesday night.

I wasn’t able to see the Blues game in person, since I was traveling, and I couldn’t see it on TV because of stupid Versus, but the ceremony is up on the Dallas Stars site. It made me a little teary, I’m not gonna lie.

When the Stars won the Stanley Cup in 1999, I was a hockey fan rookie. I enjoyed it and I thought it was exciting, but I had no idea what an accomplishment it was. I know that when it happens again (fingers crossed!) I’ll have a completely different viewpoint. I hope I get a chance to prove that soon.

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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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Philippe Boucher had his Day with the Stanley Cup on the 4th of July. He took it to his home town for a parade and to his “cottage” on the lake for a party with friends and family. He even took it through the drive-thru at McDonalds.

You can read about it on the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Stanley Cup Journal page. You can see some pictures in the gallery, too. (They’re mixed in with other Cup days, but they’re close to the beginning.)

The tradition of letting each player and most of the staff from the Stanley Cup-winning team spend a day with it is just one of many reasons that it’s the best trophy in sports.

I’m so happy for Philippe. This was a crazy season for him. It was a crazy season for the Stars (and for the Pens, for that matter). It’s great that things worked out for him. I think I can stop being upset about his being traded. I wish he were still here, but I’m sure he’d say now that he’s glad he got to go to Pittsburgh.

Bouche’s pal, Stéphane Robidas, was one of his party guests. It sounds like he had some fun, too. His communing with the Cup might be just the mojo the Stars need this season.

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Thanks again to Empty Netters.

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