Archive for October, 2008

October 31, 2008

Tonight’s NHL Results

by Kristine

For a summary of the wins and losses from Thursday’s games, including team points, click the link below.

read more »

Advertisements
October 30, 2008

Game Review – 10/29/08 (DAL vs MIN)

by Chelsea

Game:

For some reason, my brain keeps mixing up “Minnesota” and “Mittens”, which led to this review almost being “DAL vs MIT”. Pretty smooth, I know.

Last night, our Dallas Stars hit the ice at 7:30 to go up against the Minnesota Wild, a team who entered the match with a freaky 24/24 PK and a 6-0-1 record. It was the first game against ex-Star Antti “Mittens” Miettinen, who left Dallas as a free agent and was signed by the Wild. Upping the stakes further, it was the first season start for backup goalie Tobias Stephan.

I’ll admit to being nervous for Stephan’s sake, because we love Baby T and were worried that our struggling defense would make him look bad. As exciting as it was to get to see him start, it meant benching Marty Turco, which was very sad.

Steve Ott was back again, which had everyone from the fans to the team to the management absolutely thrilled. No so fun were the absences of Joel Lundqvist (newly out with a shoulder injury), Doug Janik (still having eye problems), Jere Lehtinen (still struggling with groin problem), and Sergei Zubov (won’t be off IR until Nov 7).

The starting line was Morrow-Ribeiro-Eriksson. The starting defense pairing was Grossman-Robidas.

The game itself kicked off unexpectedly quick, especially for the usually slow-starting Stars, when Brenden Morrow scored at 19:47 in the first period. It was the kind of smooth move we’d gotten used to from Mike Ribeiro last season; he won the opening faceoff, kept it deep in the offensive zone, and a few seconds later slid it very nicely to Morrow for a one-timer over Minnesota goalie Nicklas Backstrom’s shoulder. Loui Eriksson got the second assist.

Morrow said today on The Ticket’s BaD radio that 13 seconds is the quickest goal he’s ever scored.

The following five minutes of gameplay was impressive, with Stars defense playing a much tighter game in front of Stephan, who was there to make a few equally impressive stops when the puck did slip through.

It wasn’t until Ott, who’d prove to be the night’s fire starter, tripped up James Sheppard and got a two minute penalty that the Wild were able to churn up some real offense. The Stars PK struggled a little, allowing Marc-Andre Bergeron to escape unimpeded to Stephan’s left. With lots of free space, Burgeron sent a nasty, powerful slap shot past Stephan and into the net to tie the game at 1-1. Assists went to Eric Belanger and Kim Johnsson.

The rest of the first period, well, the Stars basically owned the Wild. Minnesota got one last shot on goal on Stephan, but then the Neal-Modano-Crombeen line came out and proceeded to wipe the ice with them. Crombeen got a shot off, Neal got a shot off, Neal hit someone, Robidas hit Miettinen (aww), and Bergeron got a minor penalty for interference on Crombeen.

The Wild, with PK-confidence practically dripping off them, killed that penalty well. I will say, though, that I thought we’d score in the first minute. The puck did not get dumped one time during the first half, and wasn’t sent back into our defensive zone until our PP did a shift change.

Though Dallas didn’t manage to score on their first power play, they did use that momentum well. When the Ott-Richards-Avery line came out, they were sparking with just the energy you’d expect from an Ott-Avery combination.

To be honest, I’d have thought this next goal would be reviewed. It was a mess in the crease, and even seeing the replay fifty times, I’m not entirely convinced that it was good. The officials, or at least the ones that call goals, were apparently a little Stars-biased last night.

At 12:45 in the first, Ott very much made up for his stupid penalty by driving the puck very hard to the net. Really Richards actually got a positive “Really?” from us when he passed the puck between Backstrom’s legs through the crease to Ott. Backstrom went backwards, Ott went forwards, Wild defense scrambled, and somewhere in that the goal light went on. Sean Avery got the second assist.

Some frustrated, angry Minnesota defense pushed Ott over right afterwards, who celebrated laying on his back. Richards skated over and congratulatory-hugged him before he even had a chance to get upright. Perhaps the first actual evidence of personality we’d seen from Richards so far, and I mean that nicely.

Also during this mess, Fistric took a puck to the chest and got his ribs bruised/had to be helped off the ice. He returned quickly, though, and is alright.

The second piece of evidence came only a few minutes later. It was bundled with a whole bunch of other surprises, like Mark Fistric keeping the puck in the zone and Richards still playing exceptionally well.  At 15:39, Fistric got the puck from Krys Barch and had his shot blocked, which ricocheted to Richards. Richards got a wrist shot off in past Backstrom for the game winning goal.

The first ended with a big hit on Ott, a couple shots fired at both goalies, and a breakaway attempt by Mike Ribeiro that was stopped by Backstrom.

The first intermission brought back “What Would Stu Do?”, except it was “What Would Coach Stu Do?” and it was infinitely awesome. Apparently, if his house was haunted, Stuuuuu! would get his “Ghostbusters” on and take care of it himself. Aw, Stu.

Second period was less in our favor, but still strong. The Wild pulled their goaltender and replaced him with Josh Harding.

Because I’m running out of time, the final two periods, summarized very quickly:

  • Craig Weller hit Mike Modano. Now we hate him.
  • Bergeron tripped Sean Avery and got called on it. We didn’t score.
  • Miettinen hit Morrow, showing a surprising amount of bravery.
  • Wild got another penalty when Nick Shultz hooked Crombeen.
  • Sean Avery surprised us by sweeping into the offensive zone, dropping a pass very nicely to Matt Niskanen, who scored on with four seconds left on the PP, thus breaking the Wild’s perfect PK.
  • Craig Weller, acting even more like a caveman, got himself an “Abuse of officials” penalty.
  • We didn’t score.
  • Mikko Koivu nearly got a shorthanded goal, but was stopped by Stephan.
  • Robidas got himself (surprise!) a hooking penalty.
  • They didn’t score.
  • Andrew Brunette got a big shot off on Stephan, who masterfully caught it in his glove and tumbled backwards. Everyone scrambled to find the puck, but Baby T had closed off that chance. Hah!
  • Second intermission had more people dressed as beer.
  • Mike Modano took a 2 minutes in the box for hooking.
  • Fistric got in Stephan’s way and the Wild deflected a puck off his skate for their second and last goal.
  • Modano smacked someone in the head. Robidas practically tackled that someone to keep him from retaliating.
  • Sean Avery had some nice moves.
  • Modano finished the game in the box for another hooking.
  • Morrow finished the game in the back, getting his lip stitched up after taking a puck to the mouth. Apparently he is alright, but his lip hurts and they may have to remove a few teeth. However, he wouldn’t mind, because those teeth are crooked anyway.
  • Ott closed out the game by shoving Mittens into the boards. I’d like to think it was his way of saying “Hey, good game ol’ buddy!”

So 4-2 win for us. Stephan rocked, leaving with a .905 sv% for the game. Wouldn’t mind seeing Stephan in goal again this weekend, but also would like to see Turco back.

Notes:

  • Three game stars, in order: Brad Richards, Tobias Stephan, Steve Ott
  • If there is one thing you can count on Richards for, its not to totally tank on faceoffs. He won 12 of 19.
  • The win was an NHL first for Stephan, whose last and only other NHL start was against Chicago, where he stopped 38 in 40 shots but still did not get a win.
  • Every single Stars player left with even or positive +/-
  • Stephane Robidas led in shifts and TOI, with 26 and 25 respectively.
  • The Morrow-Ribeiro-Eriksson line played over 20 minutes, more than most defensemen
  • Steve Ott led in hits, with 5.
  • Brenden Morrow led in shots, with 6.
  • Conclusion: If we can play this weekend like we played last night, I think we’ll be solid. Just don’t ever invite the Stars anywhere – they show up a month late.

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: three for good defense; +3
Stephane Robidas: two for good defense and one for backing up Mo; +3
Matt Niskanen: three for the goal and two for good defense; +5
Mike Modano: one for bopping that guy on the head; +1
Brenden Morrow: three for the goal, one for style, one for hustle, and two for the puck in the mouth; +7
Krys Barch: two for the assist; +2
Sean Avery: two for each assist and two for style; +6
Loui Eriksson: two for the assist and one for his many almost goals; +3
Mark Fistric: two for the assist, one for the poke check, one for actually hitting people, four for taking a puck to the chest, and minus-one for putting his butt in Stephan’s face during our PK; +7
Steve Ott: three for the goal, one for style, two for the energy, and two for looking extremely happy while chirping at the other team; +8
Tobias Stephan: three for being awesome and not allowing any EH goals, two for the pretty glove saves, and one because he fell over and still managed to play the puck; +6
Marty Turco: one for being a good sport and giving Baby T a huge smile post-game; +1
Philippe Boucher: three for good defense; +3
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist and one for style; +3
Brad Richards: three for the goal, two for the assist, and one for style; +6

October 30, 2008

Quick Note: Avery Chooses Gosling

by Kristine

According to Yahoo Sports, Sean Avery has chosen Ryan Gosling to play him in the movie of Avery’s time at Vogue. Can I just say that I will see that movie for Gosling alone? Good choice on Sean’s part.

October 29, 2008

Tobias Stephan Gets His Second NHL Start

by Kristine

Since this kind of news spreads like wildfire around the Stars bloggosphere, I’m sure this is already old news to most of you, but Tobias Stephan is getting his first start of the season – and second NHL career start – tonight against the Wild. The Wild, who is the only team left in the league without a regulation loss. Theories abound as to why Stephan is starting when both him and Turco have been working so closely with Andy Moog in practice. Some people think Tipp just plain wants to bench Turco; a time-out, think about what you’ve done type of thing. Some think our defense is relying too much on having a great goalie there and that playing in front of somebody who is basically – to use the word of the day – unproven will force them to step their game up in a big way.

Personally, I’m not even going to pretend to know what goes on in Tippett’s head. I just know that I’m a little conflicted about this. On the one hand, there are plenty of reasons this could be a good idea. Allow Stephan a chance to prove himself (or alternately, a chance not to, but thinking positive here). Plus, we’ve given Marty every chance to work through this and he obviously hasn’t been able to. Maybe the embarassment of being pulled so early into the season will motivate him and he’ll be able to come back on fire. On the other hand, this is a big game. The Wild have been on a roll all season, it’s our last home game before a two-week road trip, and worst of all? If we lose, we’ll be at 3-5-2 for October and that is not pretty. So having our back-up goalie come in and play only his second NHL start makes me a little nervous.

However, for the record, Stephan is apparently a big deal in Switzerland, where he is known as a very good goalie. His track record here, though short, thus far concurs. He did a fantastic job in his only NHL start, stopping 38 of the Blackhawks’ 40 shots. Last season in Iowa, he had a .910 SV% and a 2.55 GA. He’s even done decently well this season, stopping 14 of 17 shots total when he’s been thrown in to clean up Marty’s messes. I’ll be the first to admit that the numbers don’t always tell the whole story, but I think here they at least shows that taking a chance on Stephan isn’t as risky as it might seem.

October 28, 2008

Calendar 2009

by Kristine

In light of Jen’s post about the 2009 calendar, here are a few suggestions to the people in charge.

1. Dress the players up in costumes.
Jan – Zubie as a scary clown
Feb – Turco as McSteamy in the shower
March – Bunny, Neal, and Crombeen as the 3 Muskateers
April – Lehtinen as a grandpa
May – Richards as a monkey
June – Ott as a fighter pilot
July – Daley and Nisky as Batman and Robin
Aug – Avery as a vampire
Sept – Ribeiro as Michael Jackson
Oct – Modano as a girl scout
Nov – Morrow in drag
Dec – Robidas as Spartan
Cover – Boucher as James Bond
Some of these – Turks, Avery, Ribs, Mo, and Morrow – come from tonight’s Stars Insider interviews about past Halloween costumes. xD Not sure how the guys would feel about dressing up, but I know the fans would love it.

2. Stage some thrilling outdoor activities.
Jan – Zubie hunting bears
Feb – Turco spelunking
March – Bunny, Neal, and Crombeen riding horses
April – Lehts fly fishing
May – Richards bird watching
June – Ott on a jet ski
July – Daley and Nisky racing on ATVs
Aug – Avery climbing a tree
Sept – Ribs as a cowboy
Oct – Mo roasting marshmallows
Nov – Morrow as a lumberjack
Dec – Robi hiking
Cover – Boucher pitching a tent

Would love to fit Barchy, Grossman, Louibot, Lundy, and Stephan in there somewhere but there are only so many months in a year. Anyone else have any ideas?

*For the record, we love the calendar just how it is but in case they want to step it up next year, we thought we’d throw our two cents in. 🙂

October 28, 2008

Rookie Impact

by Chelsea

Had a little free time, decided to do the math and see where we’d be without the points and assists our amazing trio of rookies provided for us. Granted, this is assuming nobody else would have stepped up in lieu of the rookies.

Game 1’s 4-5 OTL:
Without James Neal’s goal: 4-3 regulation loss.

Game 2’s 1-3 L:
No impact

Game 3’s 6-4 W:
Do I have to say it?
Bunny provided 3 goals.
Neal and Crombeen assisted on Modano’s goal.
Without them, a 2-4 L.

Game 4’s 1-6 L:
No impact.

Game 5’s 4-5 L:
Would have still lost, except it would have been  2-5 without a goal each from Neal and Brunnstrom.

Game 6’s 2-1 W:
Brunnstrom assisted on Morrow’s goal.
Neal and Crombeen assisted on Modano’s again.
Without them, a 0-1 L.

Game 7’s 0-5 L:
No impact

Game 8’s 5-3 W:
No impact.

Game 9’s 4-5 OTL:
Crombeen assisted on Avery’s goal and got one of his own.
Bunny had a goal.
Without them, no OT, with a 1-4 L.

—-

So, basically, instead of being at 3-4-2, we’d be at 1-8-0. Instead of having 8 points, we’d have 2.

Sean Avery would have no assists or goals. Neither would Petersen, Grossman, or Boucher.

Brad Richards would have 1 assist instead of 4.

Modano would be down 2 goals and 2 assists.

The Stars have 3 rookies: James Neal, Fabian Brunnstrom, and BJ Crombeen. In league-wide rookie standings, Brunnstrom is #4, Crombeen is #5, and Neal is #8. Without them, this ship would be sunk. So, I present to you, the newly-minted Prodigious 3:

#18 - James Neal

#18 - James Neal

#44 - BJ Crombeen

#44 - BJ Crombeen

#96 - Fabian Brunnstrom

#96 - Fabian Brunnstrom

October 27, 2008

Mr. Monday: Brenden Morrow

by Chelsea

Best known as our captain, Brenden Morrow’s rise through our SHR +/- came largely from points he earned off ice. Not to be mistaken, though, he’s also only 2 on ice points behind Robidas and Modano (tied for first). Combined, he’s at 42 points, second only to Robidas (who will not be Mr. Monday yet, because there’s already a post about him here and well… we figure he’ll be at the top of the list for awhile.)

There’s a lot of common knowledge about Morrow, like the fact that he claimed his captaincy straight from Modano himself. He spent most of his time with the Stars going by “Mini-Mo” or “Minnie”, which I’m sure he’ll always appreciate. He’s got himself a big new house, a pretty blond wife, an adorable daughter, and a new set of twins. In late 2006, during a game against the Blackhawks, opponent Radim Vrbata accidentally skated over his right wrist. Two tendons were severed, and it was questioned if he’d ever play hockey again. However, warrior that he is, Morrow returned with wrist guards and determination and now plays on the top line with “hockey gangsta” Mike Ribeiro.

I rather liked Razor’s recap of the skate-wrist incident,

We were in Chicago right after Christmas and Radim Vrbata of the Hawks attempted to jump over a prone Morrow during the game. As he did his skate blade sliced across his wrist. Morrow leapt to his feet and bolted for the Stars dressing room in excruciating pain. The pain was so bad he reportedly bit clean through his jersey.

The injury was repaired, and over the half season he spent on IR the wrist healed, but when he returned to play he was forced to deal with a sort of “skate-phobia”.

He admitted to fearing blades at times in games and it even disrupted his sleep patterns.

Thankfully he says he’s over it now, but in the last months of the 06-07 season it was occupying his thoughts and dreams.

Speaking of injuries, did anyone besides Kristine and me catch Morrow’s magical rubber arm in last season’s playoffs? I forget the game, but he basically tried to check someone, missed, bounced off the boards, and landed on his arm in a way that we were sure that it was either A) broken or B) out for the season. And yet… he finished out the game and claimed it “looked worse than it felt”. Magic!

But, yeah. We’re all glad that he’s healthy now, of course, and hope to see him stay that way for a long, long time.

How about some Morrow videos? Granted, any true Morrow-lover has probably already seen these, but I think they’re always good for rewatching.

  • Morrow brings us “cheesy rebound”.
  • Morrow mangles Michalek.
  • Morrow is bigger than Matt Damon.
  • Morrow is injured, unbalanced, and fiesty.
  • Morrow experiences exhaustion-fueled uninhibited joy.
  • Morrow and Sean Avery have something in common.
  • Morrow likes driving the Stars-decorated Expedition.
  • Morrow gets a good laugh at a dancing Flyers fan.
  • For those that want to do a little more digging: Brenden Morrow 1997 Entry Draft, Brenden Morrow Interview, Brenden Morrow 06-07 Highlights, and FSN Feature – Casino Night. Put these in the Stars Vision search box.
After watching these, I’m sure you’re hungry for some of the lesser known things about Brenden Morrow. If you did watch them, you now know that he likes karaoke, used to be a chunky kid, idolizes Brett Hull, thinks loogies are funny, and is otherwise easily amused.
But, what else?  Here are some interesting Q&A with Morrow, from a DMN piece in 2007:

DT: What is your usual routine to get ready for a game? Do you have some crazy superstitions before a big game?

Brenden Morrow: Two-hour nap, a little coffee and left before right with all my equipment. Those are my superstitions.

Robbie: Do you guys still play pranks on the new kids (tape on the skate blades, etc.)?

Brenden Morrow: When Marty was a rookie and I was in my second year, Joe Nieuwendyk and Jamie Langenbrunner (with help) took everything from our hotel room – beds, dressers, televisions, art work … even lightbulbs – and put it all in our bathroom at the team hotel in San Jose. We have always vowed to pass that prank down, but we haven’t done it yet. Maybe this year …

The rest is here.

In my personal experience, Morrow has always been very personable with his fans. The two times we’ve waited outside practice, he’s shown up happy to sign autographs. His weekly segment on BaD radio are always good for a listen – in the most recent one, he [very] reluctantly admitted that they had not in fact gone to dinner with Avery in New York, but did meet up with him later that night. He’s also admitted to his attention wandering a bit during penalty box time, asking if it was Bob and Dan he’d seen dressed up as vikings during the Oct 15th game (Dan was – dressed as a medieval knight, actually).

Sometimes, (see PIM this season below) Morrow’s frustration gets the better of him. After getting a goal disallowed because it bounced off his thumb and not his stick, provided us with this gem:

His disallowed goal, added to a previous call from the Toronto war room this season toward the Stars, prompted Morrow to say it was “the second horse**** call from Toronto this season.”

And that unsportsmanlike conduct penalty he had recently? According to Friday’s BaD Morrow show, he apparently saw another teammate chirping at an official and felt like jumping in. Silly Morrow, actin’ like a Neanderthal. We know he can do better! In fact…

This year, Morrow has played all nine games and registered 3 goals and 7 assists. He’s also put up a hefty 20 penalty minutes and gotten 31 shots on goal. Making the iffy assumption that this will be a consistent trend, his 2008-2009 season will look like this (in comparison to his 07-08 season):

82 games played (82).
27 goals (32).
63 assists (42).
90 points (74).
182 penalty minutes (105).
282 shots on goal (207).

Morrow’s never actually had a 90-point season with the NHL, so here’s hoping!

So, since I’m 30 minutes past the time I’d intended to publish this, it’s picture time!

When determined, Morrow manages look a bit like Kirk Cameron.

When determined, Morrow manages look a bit like Kirk Cameron.

Happy Morrow means happy fans.

Happy Morrow means happy fans.

And one from Kristines flickr collection.

And one from Kristine's flickr collection.

October 26, 2008

Stars Practice!

by Chelsea

So much fun. Maybe not for the players, though.

Tippett was working them big time. Practice supposedly started at noon, we got there at 11:40, and they were already running drills and looking exhausted. All of what we saw was centered around defense and just working harder to stop pucks.

Joel Lundqvist and Jere Lehtinen did not skate (though Lehts did come out afterwards to sign autographs). Apparently Lundqvist suffered some sort of shoulder or upper body injury? Steve Ott skated, looked good.  Sergei Zubov was skating and looking very happy to get a chance to shove some rookies into the boards. Doug Janik also skated, and his eye looked a little less swollen.

According to DMN, Andy Moog was down there before practice working with Marty Turco and Tobias Stephan…

Moog worked with both goalies before practice and said he simply wanted to remind them of the details of their game.

We met up with Jen, Myra, The Hub, and The Kid towards the end to go stand for autographs. Mo was already at the end of the line (sneakin’ out, eh?) but was signing things for people down there.

Just about everyone came out for signatures. Sean Avery did not. Zubov did. Boucher did not (turns out he was hanging around for the kids hockey lesson – his son was practicing?). The rookies did. Morrow did.

Poor Turco… we tried to compliment him on his shoes (green stripes = awesome) and he joked that that was the best thing we had to say about him. Aw, Turks! We still love you!

A truck alarm went off in the parking garage. Krys Barch came out, looking very beat up after his fight, and admitted that it was his. He wasn’t the only one who looked worn and unhappy. Ott looked very frustrated, Trevor Daley was limping and admitted to possibly being injured, Brunnstrom had a bit of a shiner on his right eye, and Morrow and Ribeiro both seemed very subdued.

Stuuuuu! Barnes came out and went down the line, which rocked. James Neal came down the line, turned around, went back inside, and came out again with Ott.

Perhaps the best part was when Robidas came out. He was on his cellphone, speaking French, in a bright red hoodie, and not looking like he was about to die of shame like the other defensemen. He very nicely got off the phone for a picture with Jen and finished going down the line to sign things. Then, he came back up with his son, who is positively the most adorable kid I’ve ever seen. We saw later that Robi was helping out with the lessons, out on the ice with the little hockey kids.

Lehts, Kristine, and Chelsea - thanks for taking the pic, Jen!

Lehts, Kristine, and Chelsea - thanks for taking the pic, Jen!

Off Ice SHR +/-:

Stephane Robidas: two for his adorable kid, two for sounding awesome and French-Canadian, two for looking adorable with his kid, two for pitching in with the kids hockey even though he’d just had an exhausting practice himself, and one for being nice enough to hang up his phone for his fans; +9
Trevor Daley: one pity point because he looked pretty miserable after practice; +1
Krys Barch: one because the truck thing was funny and one pity point for the painful-looking face injury; +2
Sean Avery: minus-two for ditching; -2
James Neal: one for being friendly and hopefully cheering up Otter; +1
Steve Ott: one pity point for having looked so very unhappy; +1
Doug Janik: one for signing autographs for a few people, even though he had to go the other way to get to his car; +1
Marty Turco: one for being upbeat even though he seemed really ashamed at his performance and two because that self-deprecating joke broke our hockey hearts; +3
Joel Lundqvist: two for the funny “Is it Swedish?” in Saturday’s game; +2
Fabian Brunnstrom: one for having to deal with the three of us all wanting autographs and pictures and probably confusing the heck out of him; +1

October 26, 2008

Game Review – 10/25/08 (DAL vs WSH)

by Chelsea

Game:

With all the teams in the NHL hitting the ice tonight, only half could walk away with a full two points. Unfortunately, the Stars were not in that half. Instead, we served as a playground for the Washington Capitals, ending their losing streak and sending them home with a new Russian record. But more on that later.

Kristine and I were there at the AAC to watch in person. Met up with Jen and Caitlin, who were very cool, before the game. It was lots of fun. 🙂 Wanted to meet up with the Sign Girls and Myra before the game as well, but ended up not having enough time. 😦 Another game, maybe?

As for the actual game, I thought the first ten minutes were very promising. There was an interruption seven minutes in when Sergei Fedorov took a penalty for slashing, but the power play didn’t prove to be efficient enough to produce points.

It wasn’t until 10:19 that someone scored, a moment easily remembered as “Oh my god, Sean Avery just did what?”. That’s right. Avery got his first goal as a Dallas Star, and first of the season. I’ll admit that I was impressed. BJ Crombeen fired a slap shot from the blue line, and when Caps goalie Jose Theodore didn’t cover his rebound, Sean Avery scooped it up and tossed it behind him into the net. Mike Modano got the other assist.

It was somewhere in here that we begun to notice that Stephane Robidas did not seem to like Alex Ovechkin. At all.  I did a little research and found no reason for it, but there it was. Robidas repeatedly putting Ovechkin into the boards with excessive force, and even a verbal confrontation between the two. It surprised me, as Robidas doesn’t much care for fist fights (see the last game against the Islanders).

So it only took about a minute after the Avery goal for the Capitals to take the wind completely out of our sails. Crombeen got a minor penalty for slashing at 11:14, and things felt like they slowly drifted downhill from there.

It was on that power play that Fedorov got his first goal of the night, a wrist shot with assists from Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom. I did something I don’t usually do in writing the review, and that’s go back and watch the other team’s goal about five hundred times. I wanted to know whose fault this was. Turns out, the official replay is not so helpful. However, it looked to me like Nicklas Grossman allowed Semin to pass the puck to Fedorov, who had a clear shot at our Marty Turco. Brenden Morrow was also a little slow on the uptake, missing an opportunity to block the pass as well. That one I would not count against Turco.

Tied 1-1, we’d lost the only lead we’d take in the game. At 16:58, Capital Tomas Fleischmann broke the tie with help from teammate Michael Nylander. Again, I reviewed the replay. What I saw was this: Fabian Brunnstrom attempted to keep the puck in the offensive zone, but it got picked up by a Capital. Nylander gets it through the defensive zone and passed past Brunnstrom and Avery to Fleischmann. Turco was slow and unable to stop the puck from going in. I think that one can be attributed to both the absent defense but also to our goaltender.

At 19:15, Mike Green tripped up Morrow and got called on it by the officials. During that Dallas Stars power play, Brunnstrom apologized to us all for his slip-ups by scoring a tiemaker goal with ten seconds left in the first. It was like his third goal in his NHL debut; he was right in the netminder’s face, the angle was weird, the hole was small, the pass was nice, and the puck went in. Stephane Robidas and Sean Avery pitched in for the assists.

Went for a pretzel, hot cocoa, and hot dog in intermission and came back to hear Joel Lundqvist complaining about the election in Swedish. We wonder: Do the Swedes (or previously, Finnes) get to pick what they say in Swedish or does someone decide for them? Does Lundqvist really hate election-talk? Does Brunnstrom really have a Bikini Team?

The second period had a lot of Krys Barch in it. Early on, he nearly broke the tie by stuffing the puck in a wrap around attempt, but was blocked by Theodore. He proceeded to run over people until Trevor Daley smacked the puck into the Caps’ bench and got a delay of game penalty. Then he went away for awhile.

While he was chillin’ on the bench, the Stars successfully killed of a power play. Then they turned around and let Fedorov get his second goal of the night. This goal made him the record holder for Russian goal scoring with 470-something goals. Semin and Brooks Laich got the assists. Again, I reviewed it. Niskanen lost a possession battle on the boards, allowing the puck to go into the Stars defensive zone. Fistric did this “I skate backwards in front of you and think that’ll make you just hand over the puck you’re skating very quickly at my goaltender with” thing that he does instead of actually trying to stop the play’s progression. He did attempt to intercept his pass to Fedorov with a poke check, but failed. The pass got through, Fedorov sped past Philippe Boucher, and popped it behind Turco, who seemed to misjudge what Fedorov planned to do completely. I blame this largely on our defense and partially on Turco.

As if we weren’t already suffering from complete momentum drain as it was, it would get worse before it got better. The Stars managed to gain possession of the puck long enough to fire off a couple shots, but it was quickly returned to the back of Turco’s net. This time it was Fleischmann again, and again assisted by Nylander. This one was easy. Turco attempted to clear the puck, it went to Nylander, got picked up by Fleischmann. The only person between him and Turco was Boucher, who went down on one knee to try and block it but failed. Once again, I ask if Turco REALLY should have let this one in. It seemed to me like he was trying too hard and moved out of position too soon.

BJ Crombeen helped patch the 4-2 wound only a few seconds later at 15:55.  This was my favorite goal of the night. Mike Modano carried the puck into the offensive zone and dropped it to Daley. Daley carried it to the net (yes, the person a dropped pass was intended for got it!) and swept it across the crease to Crombeen, who beat out a Washington defenseman for a very nice tip-in.

In a slightly pathetic attempt to shift momentum, or possibly just out of frustration, Krys Barch returned to our attention here with a bang. He did so by taking on Donald Brashear in a fist fight that he really really lost. I’m a fan of Barch, and I was alarmed to see him skate off the ice completely, slightly bloodied, after this confrontation. Both parties got five minute fighting majors, which Barch served almost entirely somewhere else. I assume he was getting a bandaid.

Not to be outdone, Brenden Morrow tripped up Backstrom and took a breather in the penalty box at 18:10. I think he wanted to start the third in the penalty box with almost-lookalike Barch, and he would eventually get his wish. Meanwhile, the rest of the Stars killed off the penalty successfully.

At one point, the Capitals attacked the net so fiercely that it forced Turco to make several very big, sprawling saves, and drove Boucher into attack-mode. At the end of the second, he nearly got into it with Ovechkin, appearing to grab him by the face or neck and shoving him out of Turco’s crease. Officials jumped in before either could earn penalties.

Second intermission involved human bowling, a Razor-Boucher interview I couldn’t hear, cotton candy, and a bottle of water.

Stars started the third period at 4-3.

Barch returned looking nice and healthy and spent 10 seconds in the penalty box with Morrow. Probably picking up how-to-fight-right tips.

I’d been getting frustrated with Loui Eriksson by this point, as he seemed to be turning over the puck a lot. There’s no denying the play he made not even a minute into the period, though, when he tied the game up again for Dallas.

Mike Ribeiro had just finished melting the ice in the neutral zone with a sizzling dash into their offensive zone and took it behind the net to evade Washington’s defensemen. He ricocheted it out in front of the net, where Eriksson swept by and quickly shot it in past Theodore at 00:56.

Granted, it only took the Capitals a few minutes to answer. At 2:22, Tyler Sloan got a wrist shot past Turco, with assists from Viktor Kozlov and Ovechkin. Grossman tried multiple times to shake Washington off the puck, but was unsuccessful. In the end, both Turco and the puck went in the net.

The following ten minutes were very tense. They brought about a new nickname “Really Richards” because we kept finding ourselves going “Really, Richards?” every time he turned a puck over or made a bad pass or missed a pass or otherwise giftwrapped it for the Capitals. Also playing sloppy were Sean Avery and Fabian Brunnstrom, who kept falling down. There were penalties on Ovechkin and Semin, but Washington’s PK beat off our PP.

Then at 15:26, in our epic struggle to force overtime, Sean Avery stuck his stick in someone’s face and got a two minute for hi-sticking. If I’d been anywhere near the penalty box, I probably would have yelled at him. No joke.

Luckily, this time, our PK beat off their PP. Not only that, our PK had so much hustle that Toby Petersen managed a shorthanded breakaway. It was stopped, and both the play and the hustle continued.

Just when all hope seemed lost, Marty Turco (cough, finally) left the net and put on an extra attacker with a minute left to go. It didn’t take long. Veteran, all-star, superstar, rockstar Mike Modano came through big time at 19:03 when he received a pass from behind-the-net Morrow and shoveled it right in to tie the game 5-5. Oh, Mo, we love you so.

Regulation ended. Overtime began.

Stars had possession for maybe two minutes, getting a couple shots off. Then, Semin swept around Turco’s net with the puck, barely contested. Daley stood in his shooting lane, possibly screening Turco? and Semin got the game-winning goal. Boyd Gordon and Green got the assists.

Notes:

  • The game’s three stars, in order: Fedorov, Modano, Semin.
  • Marty Turco let in 6 goals on 30 shots for a bland .800 sv%. His total GAA is now stinking it up again at 4.26.
  • Robidas led the team in TOI with 27 minutes.
  • James Neal led in hits, with 5.
  • Mike Modano led in shots on goal (6) and +/- (+2)
  • Conclusion: Finishing with an OT loss seems to be describing our entire season so far. We try and try and yet something doesn’t connect right in the end. I think that the young defense is looking to Turco to lead them, and he’s not coming through. Time to test out Baby T yet?
Official SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: minus-two for being partially responsible for a goal and one for attempting to make up for it in the end; -1
Stephane Robidas: two for the assist and one for being the only defensemen who didn’t screw up in this game; +3
Matt Niskanen: minus-two for not playing well when we needed strong defense; -2
Trevor Daley: two for the assist, minus-two for some defensive stupidity, and one for the final hustle in the third; +1
Mike Modano: three for the goal, two for each assist, and one for forcing OT; +8
Brenden Morrow: two for each assist and one for having some nice hits; +5
Krys Barch: two for the fight, minus-one for losing it, and one for perseverance in the game; +2
Sean Avery: three for the goal, two for the assist, minus-two for sloppy play, and minus-two for getting a dumb penalty at a crucial time; +1
Toby Petersen: one for the breakaway: +1
James Neal: two for leading in hits, minus-one for some lame giveaways; +1
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal, two for the assist, and minus-two for otherwise being sloppy; +3
Mark Fistric: one for showing a little improvement, minus-two for still playing like a giant oaf; -1
Marty Turco: three for the huge saves made during PK and minus-one for each bad goal he let in; -1
Philippe Boucher: three for the shots he blocked, minus-two for those he didn’t, and one for the confrontation with Ovechkin; +2
BJ Crombeen: three for the goal, two for the assist, and one for being the best rookie out there; +6
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist and one for not being sloppy; +3
Brad Richards: minus-two for sloppy, minus-one for losing so many faceoffs, and minus-one for having so little positive impact; -4
Fabian Brunnstrom: three for the goal, one for effort, minus-two for sloppy; +2

October 26, 2008

Super Saturday Results

by Kristine

New Jersey Devils at Philadelphia Flyers: 3-1 Flyers in OT
Flyers: 7 points (2-3-3) | Devils: 11 points (5-2-1)

Atlanta Thrashers at Boston Bruins: 5-4 Bruins
Bruins: 9 points (3-2-3) | Thrashers: 6 points (2-3-2)

Ottawa Senators at Toronto Maple Leafs: 3-2 Leafs
Leafs: 9 points (3-2-3) | Sens: 4 points (2-4-1)

Anaheim Ducks at Montreal Canadiens: 6-4 Ducks
Ducks: 8 points (4-5-0) | Canadiens: 11 points (5-0-1)

Carolina Hurricanes at NY Islanders: 4-3 Hurricanes
Canes: 9 points (4-2-1) | Islanders: 4 points (2-4-0)

Pittsburgh Penguins at NY Rangers: 3-2 Rangers in a shootout
Rangers: 17 points (8-2-1) | Penguins: 12 points (5-2-2)

San Jose Sharks at Tampa Bay Lightning: 3-0 Sharks
Sharks: 14 points (7-2-0) | Lightning: 5 points (1-2-3)

LA Kings at Nashville Predators: 5-4 Predators
Preds: 8 points (4-4-0) | Kings: 6 points (3-3-0)

Columbus Blue Jackets at Minnesota Wild: 2-1 Wild
Wild: 11 points (5-0-1) | Blue Jackets: 6 points (3-4-0)

Washington Capitals at Dallas Stars: 6-5 Caps in OT
Stars: 8 points (3-4-2) | Caps: 9 points (4-3-1)

Detroit Red Wings at Chicago Blackhawks: 6-5 Wings in a shootout
Red Wings: 13 points (6-1-1) | Hawks: 9 points (3-2-3)

Florida Panthers at St Louis Blues: 4-0 Blues
Blues: 10 points (5-2-0) | Panthers: 8 points (4-3-0)

Buffalo Sabres at Colorado Avalanche: 2-1 Avalanche in a shootout
Avalanche: 10 points (5-3-0) | Sabres: 14 points (6-0-2)

Edmonton Oilers at Vancouver Canucks: 6-3 Canucks
Canucks: 8 points (4-4-0) | Oilers: 8 points (4-2-0)

Calgary Flames at Phoenix Coyotes: 4-1 Flames
Flames: 9 points (4-3-1) | Coyotes: 6 points (3-3-0)

Super Saturday killed my DVR. Literally – not only did it not record any of the games because it got overwhelmed, it also deleted everything I had not protected. So. There’s that. There’s also the facts that Stars are back to sloppy hockey (boo) and that Chels and I met Jen from the Shootout at the game tonight (yay!!). Chels is working on the game review right now, and tomorrow we’re headed to Frisco to watch the Stars hopefully get their act together in practice. Catch you later, loyal fans…