Archive for December, 2008

December 31, 2008

Pacific SHR +/- Roundup

by Kristine

Being horribly behind, having another game tonight, and wanting to be caught up for the new year, here’s the SHR +/- for the last two games (substituting for game reviews):

12/27/08 (DAL vs ANA):
Stephane Robidas: one for leading in TOI and tying for the lead in takeaways: +1
Mike Modano: three for the goal and two for the assist; +5
Toby Petersen: two for the assist; +2
James Neal: three for the goal and two for the assist; +5
Steve Ott: two for the assist, minus-one for taking a penalty that they scored on, and one for leading the team in hits with eight; +2
Darryl Sydor: one for leading in blocked shots with four; +1
Mike Ribeiro: three for the goal, two for each assist, and one for leading in SOG; +8
Brad Richards: three for the goal, two for the assist, but minus-one for leading in giveaways; +4

12/29/08 (DAL vs SJS):
Matt Niskanen: three for the goal; +3
Mike Modano: minus-one for the team-worst +/-, but one for leading in SOG with six; +0
Steve Ott: two for leading in hits with a crazy eleven and one for winning all three of his faceoffs; +3
Marty Turco: one for effort; +1
Mike Ribeiro: minus-one for taking dumb penalties; -1

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December 31, 2008

Game Review – 12/23/08 (DAL at TOR)

by Chelsea

Game:

Both the Leafs and the Stars had seen improvement in the recent stretch of games, and despite goaltender struggles, and both looked to continue building that success.

Playing in Toronto was a bit of a homecoming for a handful of Stars players. Trevor Daley grew up there. James Neal hails from nearby Whitby and Krys Barch from nearby Hamilton.

The starting group for Dallas featured both Neal and Daley, a bit of a gift from head coach Dave Tippett. Neal was on the top line with Mike Modano and Jere Lehtinen, and Daley was paired up with Stephane Robidas. Marty Turco started in net.

An early fight between Krys Barch and Andre Deveaux, only 2:51 into the game, set the energy level for the Dallas Stars. Clearly, Deveaux was prepared for Barch, reverse-jerseying him to steal the win, but it hardly worked to discourage the feisty enforcer, who would show up later for round two.

While they each took their five minutes, James Neal opened the scoring when he stole Daley’s rebound from Vesa Toskala with his skate as he crashed the crease and kicked it up to his stick. Before Toskala could react, the puck had been tossed behind him and into the net, putting the Leafs down at a very fixable 1-0.

That clarification is important, because it wasn’t really all that fixable for long.

The goal came at 3:23, with assists from Trevor Daley and Jere Lehtinen.

The next goal came only five minutes later.

This time it was Steve Ott to light the lamp, at 8:55. He’d camped out in the crease, apparently invisible to Toskala, who moved out of his way to cover a possible Ribeiro shot. Ribeiro passed it to Ott instead, who threw it in a fairly open net.

The Leafs just continued to fall apart from there.

A handful of hits and giveaways led to Fabian Brunnstrom demonstrating the power of an impressive solo effort.

At 10:45, he forced his way to the front of the net after collecting a dropped pass from Ott, protecting the puck with his leg as he swept through the offensive zone. Brunnstrom crashed the net, flying across the crease and flinging the puck in behind Toskala.

The assists went to Steve Ott and Stephane Robidas.

Ott, absolutely on fire, drew a roughing penalty from Deveaux at 13:38 after he declined a fight (due to his healing hand) and turned around and laid out one of his teammates. The Stars went on power play for the first time in the game.

During the PP, Stephane Robidas and Brad Richards manned the points, passing the puck back and forth looking for a shooting lane. Richards found one, releasing a slap shot too fast for Toskala to get a piece of.

Mike Modano got the second assist.

Mikhail Grabovski took two minutes for elbowing at 15:21, but the score remained the same, and the rest of the period went by without incident. Dallas went into the first intermission up 4-0.

Second period.

If you thought the Leafs would get an earful during intermission and come back on fire, you were wrong.

It only took 3:45 into the second period for the Stars to continue their goal-scoring onslaught.

This time it was thanks to the perseverance of Krys Barch, down on his knees in front of the opposing crease, as he forced the puck into the net around a sprawled Toskala.

He was assisted by Landon Wilson and Trevor Daley.

The game continued uneventfully for seven minutes, the pace appearing to slowly move in favor of the Leafs. However, that wasn’t actually the case.

Despite being up by five goals at this point, the Stars went on the attack again halfway through the second. This one came from Mike Ribeiro, with a goal very similar to Ott’s; he camped out in the slot, and waited for a pass to catch Toskala out of position. He was assisted by Wilson and Niskanen.

As if being down 6-0 wasn’t bad enough (or enough like being in a real live video game), the Stars scored again barely a minute later.

It was James Neal again.

Toskala, poorly recovering from a save, was not even close to being able to stop Neal as he shoveled the loose rebound into the net. Grossman and Lehtinen got the assists.

At this point, Toskala was pulled and replaced by Curtis Joseph.

The Leafs finally regained their footing after this goal, and I say finally because it was getting really pathetic for them and the pity was ruining the excitement of winning a game by 7 goals.

It was Toronto who scored the last goal of the period, with a fast shot from Jason Blake that beat Turco on the glove side.

Dominic Moore and Tomas Kaberle got the assists.

Second period ended. Razor asked Neal during intermission if he considered a hat trick when he already had two goals, and Neal admitted that he was in fact thinking about it.

Third period started.

The Leafs, sorta determined to try and climb out of a 7-1 hole and gaining a little momentum off discovering that Marty Turco was not in fact a solid wall, came out with energy similar to what they showed at the beginning of the first period.

And by that, we mean violent energy.

This time it was only 1:57 in when Deveaux and Barch dropped the gloves for another round.

Barch was better prepared, despite basically getting mugged at the beginning of the fight, and ended up forcing Deveaux to call for the refs to break it up. Even then, Barch wouldn’t let go. Nice rematch there.

James Neal took two minutes for hooking at 3:14.

Midway through the third, the Leafs managed to score their second and final goal, with a nice play from Deveaux and Stempniak to set up Mikhail Grabovski.

A small incident at 11:30 left Steve Ott and Pavel Kubina each with minor penalties (roughing and hi-sticking).

At 17:20, Jonas Frogren got two minutes for holding, setting up a very determined James Neal with a perfect opportunity for getting that third goal.

You could see the other Stars trying to help Neal get his hat trick, occasionally force-feeding him the puck instead of taking the shot themselves.

He finally went for it, rushing in and trying a shot from the upper part of the faceoff circle to Joseph’s right. It went in, and at 18:34 in the third, James Neal got his first career hat trick.

Andrew Hutchinson and Marty Turco assisted.

The game ended as an 8-2 blowout in favor of the Stars.

Notes:

  • The three game stars, in order: Neal, Robidas, Daley
  • Neal and Daley each took their game star twirls on the ice after the game for their hometown fans.
  • Turco stopped 20 of 22 shots for a .909 sv%
  • This game was the debut of Brian Sutherby, acquired from the Ducks.
  • Neal’s hat trick came on the 10th anniversary of Mike Modano’s fifth career hat trick, which also happened in Toronto against the Leafs.
  • Fabian Brunnstrom’s goal turned out to be the game winner, his 4th of the season.
  • 15 Stars had points in the game, including 8 players with a multi-point night.
  • Conclusion: It was a great start to the holidays, an unfortunate loss for the Leafs, and overall a much-needed boost in points, stats, and confidence.

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: two for the assist but minus-one for the negative +/-: +1
Stephane Robidas: two for each assist and one for leading the team in +/-: +5
Matt Niskanen: two for the assist; +2
Trevor Daley: two for each assist and one for leading the team in blocked shots; +5
Mike Modano: two for the assist; +2
Krys Barch: three for the goal, one for each fight, and one for leading the team in hits; +6
James Neal: three for each goal, one for determination, and one for leading the team in SOG; +11
Brian Sutherby: one for a solid debut; +1
Landon Wilson: two for each assist; +4
Jere Lehtinen: two for each assist; +4
Andrew Hutchinson: two for the assist; +2
Steve Ott: three for the goal, two for the assist, and two for being a fired-up ball of energy for the entire game; +7
Marty Turco: two for the assist and two for a good game; +4
Mike Ribeiro: three for the goal and two for the assist; +5
Brad Richards: three for the goal; +3
Fabian Brunnstrom: three for the goal and two for the assist; +5

December 30, 2008

Brunnstrom and Lundqvist on Retroactive IR

by Kristine

Fabian Brunnstrom (officially lower body, probably left ankle or foot) and Joel Lundqvist (fractured scalpula) were placed on Injured Reserve today, both retroactive to the dates of their respective injuries. That means Lundqvist is eligbile to come back as soon as he is ready, and Brunnstrom is eligible to return January 3. However, when asked today at practice, Brunnstrom told a fan that he’s looking at another two weeks out of the line-up. That would put his return date around January 13. The official press release is here.

This is somewhat discouraging news. It’s hard to see our poor Stars still fighting injuries when we had a mostly full, relatively healthy roster just last week.

December 29, 2008

Matt Niskanen Is A Good Sport

by Kristine

First of all, I’d like to apologize for the lack of updates. We’re doing our best to keep up, but it’s been a crazy few weeks in the SHR world. I worked every day in the week leading up to Christmas Eve, then there were the holidays, and then the 26th was Chelsea’s birthday. We made sure it was appropriately hockey-filled by throwing Chels a surprise Stars-themed party, but first we had an outing to  the Stars practice in Frisco. It was our older sisters’ first time to watch practice and meet any of the players, and they seemed to have a blast. We ran into Myra, Hubs, and the Kid and did the autograph line with them. Myra has a good write-up of it on her blog so I won’t go into it much. However, I have to give Matt Niskanen five off-ice points for being such a good sport. I asked him to sign and write “Happy Birthday Chelsea” in a birthday card for Chels, and he was a sweetheart about it, making sure he spelled her name right. Much to Chelsea’s mortification, I also asked him to draw her a picture. He laughed, commented that he wasn’t much of an artist, and drew a great little hi-sticking stick man. Thanks, Nisky!

The front of the card said Its your birthday!!! I got you a card!!!

The front of the card said "It's your birthday!!! I got you a card!!!"

December 28, 2008

Brunnstrom Injured

by Chelsea

Swedish rookie Fabian Brunnstrom appears to have been injured late in last night’s game against the Ducks.

Fabian Brunnstrom was hobbling around today with a protective boot on his foot, and coach Dave Tippett listed him as day to day with a lower body injury.

He sat out much of the third period Saturday, so he was hurt in the game.

– courtesy of Mike Heika of DMN.

Protective boot hardly sounds day-to-day, but hopefully he’s just being very very cautious. It sounds like Mark Parrish gets to regain his spot in the lineup, and played out with Steve Ott and Mike Ribeiro during practice today.

December 27, 2008

Game Review – 12/20/08 (DAL at OTT)

by Chelsea

Game: 

Joel Lundqvist and Nicklas Grossman did not play. Lundqvist’s shoulder was sore from the CBJ game, and Grossman was out with the flu.

Scoring opened at 1:27 in the first, when Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson scored with a snap shot with assists from Ilja Zubov and Filip Kuba. 

Despite three penalties (Krys Barch at 3:23 for boarding, Nick Foligno at 5:19 for hooking, and Anton Volchenkov at 12:44 for hooking) and consequential power plays, neither team scored until the final minute of the period.

Matt Niskanen’s shot managed to trickle past Martin Gerber at 19:09 to tie the game going into the first intermission. Mike Ribeiro and Darryl Sydor got the assists. 

Second period.

Fabian Brunnstrom got his first NHL penalty at 2:11 for interference on Brendan Bell.

The Senators broke the tie on the following man advantage, when Antoine Vermette scored at 3:52. Assists went to Foligno and Mike Fisher. 

At 7:02, Chris Kelly took two minutes for hooking Mike Modano, giving the Stars a power play. 

Brad Richards took advantage of the PP, scoring at 7:37 in an unassisted solo effort.

Dallas managed to take the lead by making the game 3-2 when Toby Petersen scored at 9:49, assisted by Landon Wilson and Doug Janik.

Stephane Robidas was whistled for hooking at 10:39. 

At 10:55, Stars veteran Jere Lehtinen went to check Alfredsson, who turned to catch himself awkwardly on the boards. Lehtinen did his best to limit the damage, even grabbing the Ottawa captain in an attempt to slow his descent. Alfredsson put on a heck of a show, going to stand but dropping dramatically to his knees. His teammates came to his aid and helped him limp off the ice, and later it was announced he had an upper body injury and would not play the rest of the game.

Lehtinen, a powerful forward but by no means vicious, was slightly targeted for the rest of the game by a team looking to stand up for their captain. Later  he was called out by an angry Ottawa journalist as someone who should have been absolutely demolished by the Senators for the hit. 

Alfredsson earned a spot on our hate list for potentially putting a finally-healthy Lehtinen in danger with his theatrics, with a questionable injury that disappeared by their next game a few days later. Boo.

Anyway, the irritated Senators got another PPG at 11:51 from Jason Spezza, assisted by Kuba and Gerber. 

Matt Niskanen and Krys Barch both got penalties for slashing, at 12:49 and 19:59 respectively.

Niskanen’s was killed off, but Barch’s lingered into the third period.

Right at the beginning of the third period, at 1:36, Alexandre Picard scored for the Senators on the remaining PP. Assists to Chris Phillips and Foligno.

Sean Donovan got a holding penalty at 9:03, but the Stars couldn’t convert.

Finally, at 14:26, Loui Eriksson scored to tie the game, assisted by Richards and Niskanen.

The game was pushed to overtime.

Early in OT, Trevor Daley got a penalty for delaying the game when he put the puck over the glass at 00:27. It was a questionable call, as the puck seemed to deflect off the stick of a Senator first. Hm.

The Stars killed off the power play, but again the momentum fueled the other team and they caught Dallas flat-footed.

Jason Smith scored at 3:30 in OT, with assists from Fisher and Dany Heatley, to win the game. 

Notes: 

  • The three game stars, in order: Foligno, Smith, Richards
  • Turco let in five goals for the second game in a row, with a .848 sv%. 
  • Three of the five goals came out of six Senator power plays.
  • Conclusion: This game had a lot of the problems the CBJ game had, only this one we didn’t win. The goaltending was sloppy, special teams were poor, and leads slipped away and turned into deficits. 

SHR +/-:

Stephane Robidas: two for tying for the team-best in hits with five and for winning a faceoff but minus-one for the stupid penalty that the Sens scored on; +1
Matt Niskanen: three for the goal, two for the assist, and one for an otherwise strong game; +6 
Krys Barch: two for tying for the team-best in hits and for winning a faceoff but minus-one for a stupid penalty that the Sens scored on; +1
Toby Petersen: three for the goal; +3
Landon Wilson: two for the assist and one for tying for the team-best in hits; +3
Jere Lehtinen: one for delivering four hits, all of which were perfectly clean; +1
Doug Janik: two for the assist and one for finally getting a point as a Star; +3
Marty Turco: minus-two for not being able to string a couple of good games together for some reason this year; -2 
Darryl Sydor: two for the assist; +2
Mike Ribiero: two for the assist but minus-one for failing at faceoffs; +1
Brad Richards: three for the goal but minus-one for leading in giveaways; +2
Fabian Brunnstrom: minus-one for the penalty that the Sens scored on but one because he never takes penalties; +0

December 27, 2008

Game Review – 12/18/08 (DAL vs CBJ)

by Chelsea

Game:

I promise, eventually, these will be published in a more timely manner. Perhaps in the post-holiday calm?

This game saw the return of three sorely missed Stars: forwards Joel Lundqvist, Steve Ott, and defenseman Stephane Robidas. Ott had a brace on under his glove to protect his broken hand and couldn’t fight, while Robidas had that all-too-familiar face cage back. 

Loui Eriksson was coming off a 2-1 OT win in which he scored the only two goals for the Stars. 

In that win, Marty Turco was very strong, holding the offensively-challenged team in the game all the way into overtime. Maybe it overtaxed him, because for this game, he was a little lacking. 

The first period started with a lot of energy and an early lead for the Blue Jackets. Rick Nash (remember him? ruined opening night with an OT goal? no?) started what would be a pretty good night for him, scoring only 1:34 in. It came in a three-person rush at Turco, who was unable to stop the opposing captain. R.J. Umberger and Jakub Voracek got the assists.

Initially, Robidas and Sydor were paired, but they were quickly switched back to their respectively symmetrical partners; Sydor with Niskanen (5-55, or the “faux-number” pair) and Robidas with Janik (3-33). We decided Tippett must choose his pairings and lines based on how their numbers work together, which would explain the whole Richards-Modano thing.

Despite Ott’s strict no-fighting limitations, he was not to be stopped from getting into every other sort of imaginable confrontation. Between running his mouth (which “ain’t broken”, so of course he’ll be chirping) and getting into players’ personal space, he managed to get into a small skirmish with Mike Commodore at 3:46. Commodore got a minor for hooking Ott, who got a minor for holding the stick. Okayyy…

As Ott reacquainted himself with the penalty box, Loui Eriksson turned on the heat.

He shook off a Blue Jacket along the boards to get the puck behind the net to Richards. Then, as he headed towards the front of the net, Richards passed it back, setting Loui up nicely to wrist it in behind Pascal Leclaire. Trevor Daley got the second assist.

Only a few minutes after he got out of the box, Ott got a little TOO rowdy, elbowing Jared Boll and getting sent right back in. This time, he put the team at a costly disadvantage. 

Ott’s penalty was at 8:52, and at 10:02, the Blue Jackets broke the tie. 

This time it was the team’s star rookie, Derick Brassard, scoring his tenth of the season. It was a showy move, as he threw off James Neal and outskated Nicklas Grossman to get to the net before tricking Turco into moving out of position and tossing the puck in to make the game 2-1. 

Kris Russell and Pascal Leclaire got assists. 

The game got even more feisty, with the teams exchanging hits and takeaways before the puck got deflected out into the crowd. You’d have thought the TV timeout would provide a cool down, but it was only ten seconds off the following faceoff (at 11:26) that Fredrik Modin was whistled for hooking Ott.

The Stars’ struggling power play did not capitalize on the opportunity, kept from really getting any shots off on Leclaire.

The game continued with building tension between the teams, coming to a boil following a big hit by James Neal on Fedor Tyutin. The hit was perfectly clean, and Tyutin himself did not take offense to it, but Columbus rookie Derick Brassard did. Brassard, 6’1” and 190 lbs compared to Neal’s 6’3” and 205 lbs, dropped the gloves in a blatant challenge for “rookie fisticuffs”. Neal obliged, having a quick and one-sided go for his first NHL fight. Brassard had to ask him to stop, having dislocated his shoulder in awkwardly grabbing Neal, and Neal kindly obliged. 

Turns out, the rookie will be out for the season, because his shoulder requires surgery. A very poor, regrettable choice he made, but we still wish him a speedy recovery.

After fighting majors had been distributed and the attention turned to playing, they dropped the puck for a faceoff and… another fight.

This one was between Krys Barch and Jared Boll. It was a bit of a sorry showing for Barch, but the pair of scrums got both team even more fired up.

With the period winding down 2-1 in favor of the Blue Jackets, Loui Eriksson didn’t hesitate to grab at a chance to tie it up.

With 2 seconds left before the first intermission, Joel Lundqvist picked up a rebound and took it to the net, only to slide a pass back to an oncoming Loui Eriksson. Leclaire couldn’t follow the smooth move and Loui had his second goal of the game and fourth straight goal for the Stars.

Second period.

If you weren’t thinking “Loui hat trick??” at this point, you’re probably in the minority.

Marc Methot got two minutes for hooking right off the bat, at 00:42, setting Eriksson up for that hat trick before even reaching the half point of the game.

Maybe the other Jackets didn’t feel like it was enough advantage, and were being weirdly generous? Either way, it only took six seconds for Michael Peca to cross check someone and put the Stars on a 5-on-3.

Richards started the play, sending the puck across the ice to Ribeiro, who played with it a moment before rushing the net and trying to cram it past all the bodies in the crease. One of those bodies belonged to Eriksson, who had parked there and happened to be handy for the rebound opportunity created by Ribeiro. In it went, and Loui Eriksson got to celebrate his first career hat trick at 1:20 in the second, face-down against the ice courtesy of a forceful Blue Jacket.

Richards and Ribeiro swept in and forced said Jacket off of Loui, who really didn’t seem to care about who sat on him because he just got his first hat trick!

Yayyyy Loui!

The Jackets got one of their guys back, but it wouldn’t be enough to hold off a very energetic Stars power play.

Barely a minute later, at 2:39, the PP struck again. This time it was rookie James Neal.

Mike Ribeiro, who almost seemed to be perpetually on the ice, fed the puck to Matt Niskanen, whose blast from the blue line was deflected past Leclaire. He was initially credited for the goal, but later it was determined that Neal did in fact get his stick on it.

Umberger responded a bit later, at 3:59, after a number of frantic scrambles in the Stars defensive zone.

Columbus seemed to get the opportunity to tie the game when Mike Modano got a minor for hooking at 5:46, but it came and went without a goal.

Instead, at 8:57, the Stars would rebuild their two-goal lead. This time it was Brad Richards off his backhand, with assists to Joel Lundqvist and Fabian Brunnstrom.

Midway through the period, Krys Barch accepted another fight, this time with Mike Commodore. Barch did a little better in this one, though Commodore got the takedown.

Both got fighting majors. Lundqvist joined Barch in the box a few seconds later, called for roughing, putting the Blue Jackets on power play again.

While they did not manage to score on that power play, it still allowed them to build enough momentum to close the gap once more. Kristian Huselius put the game at 5-4 at 14:38 in the second period, with an assist from Umberger. 

Jared Boll got a 10 minute misconduct late in the period (15:23) and Methot got two minutes for roughing even later (19:21), but Dallas could not convert the man-advantage into a stronger lead.

The second period expired and the third began.

The first half of the third was pretty uninspired, especially in comparison to the first part of the game. An exchange of shots, hits, and saves took place, with neither team coming out ahead. 

The stalemate was broken at 14:47, when James Neal took a minor penalty for hi sticking Manny Malhotra. 

Stars PK, mainly Modano, was able to limit the chances of the Jackets’ late power play, but they let their guard down when they returned to even strength. Columbus had again built momentum off the PP and used it to tie the game and ruin what had been a two-goal lead.

The goal was at 17:14, from Rick Nash, assisted by Tyutin. 

Third period ended and the game went into overtime. 

It looked like the game in which Loui Eriksson scored his first hat trick would end up a disappointing loss, with a healthy lead lost and a fast goal in OT.

Only thirteen seconds in, Malhotra crashed the net, his attempt stopped by Turco the first time but the rebound shoved past as he tripped over the sprawling goaltender. The goal went to review, where it was determined that the puck was kicked into the net with a forward motion. Whether or not it was (or even could have been) intentional was up in the air, but the fact was that the puck was put past the goaltender because of the forward motion of the skate, and the goal was disallowed.

The anger of the Blue Jackets, who felt the goal was good, was not enough to force another goal past Turco, and the game went into a shootout.

Dallas got the first attempt, taken by Brad Richards. His wrister got past Leclaire, giving the Stars an early advantage. 

Huselius was next. He got the puck past Turco, but it hit the post and deflected away. 

Brunnstrom was given the next attempt, as a reward for a good game. It was a good try, but lacked speed, and was stopped by Leclaire. 

Rick Nash went out to tie the shootout score, but Turco made a strong save. 

Ribeiro, so far a shootout superman this season, came out to try and cement the deal. Rather than try something fancy, he utilized a fast and accurate wrist shot to put the shootout at 2-o Dallas and win the game.

Notes:

  • The three game stars, in order: Eriksson, Nash, Richards
  • Eriksson’s hat trick, added to his two goals from the last Stars game, equaled five straight goals for the team. This matched the franchise record, set in 1973 by Minnesota North Star Dan Grant. 
  • Marty Turco allowed five goals and had a measly .821 sv%, but blanked the Blue Jackets in the shootout to give his team the win.
  • Four Stars had multi-point nights. Eriksson had his three goals, Richards had a goal and three assists, and Lundqvist and Ribeiro each had two assists.
  • Conclusion: The game showcased some firsts (hat trick, fight) but also some things the team’s become far too familiar with (5 goals allowed, leads lost, OT goals against). It was an entertaining game and a good two points, but still showed some glaring weaknesses.

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: minus-one for the team-worst +/- at -3; -1
Stephane Robidas: two for leading in TOI and blocked shots and having seven hits; +2 
Matt Niskanen: two for the assist; +2
Trevor Daley: two for the assist; +2
Krys Barch: two for the fights, one for effort, one for appropriate timing, but minus-two for losing them both; +2
Toby Petersen: minus-one for royally stinking at faceoffs; -1
James Neal: three for the goal, one for the fight with Brassard, one for winning the fight, and one for stopping the fight when asked to;  +6
Loui Eriksson: three for each goal, one for leading in SOG, and one for scoring on 75% of his shots on goal; +11
Doug Janik: one for being the only Star to end in the positive +/- with +1; +1
Marty Turco: two for coming through in the shootout and winning the game but minus-one for otherwise having been a sieve; +1
Joel Lundqvist: two for each assist and two for a ridiculous team-high nine hits; +6
Mike Ribeiro: two for each assist and two for the shootout goal; +6
Brad Richards: three for the goal, two for each assist, and two for the shootout goal; +11
Fabian Brunnstrom: two for the assist; +2

December 22, 2008

All I Want For Christmas Is… More Loui Eriksson

by Chelsea

Sure, we all know he’s great. We love him, love what he’s done for this team, and appreciate every single one of those team-leading 18 goals. (Who else things a celebration is in order when he breaks the 20-goal marker and gets a jersey-matching 21 goals?)

Today, he got recognition from the league itself.

I was thrilled and immediately screenied the article. Here’s hoping that picture will just be the first of many like it. He really did have an amazing week, outplaying just about everyone in every game, on either team. If you go to any given home game, the tangible anticipation the crowd shows when Eriksson has the puck just speaks volumes. 

Congrats, Loui! 

December 21, 2008

Round-Up: Sad News for Brassard

by Kristine

On a quick (and sad) note, rookie Derick Brassard, who got his ass royally handed to him by James Neal this past Thursday night, probably has to have shoulder surgery as a result of the fight.

Blue Jackets blog Puck-rakers reports that Brassard dislocated his shoulder in the mismatch and an MRI shows it to be a “substantial injury.”

As excited as I was to see our rookie cream their rookie, I feel really bad that Brassard is probably going to miss the rest of his rookie season because of it. Although it’s a two-edged sword, because it was dumb of him to pick the fight in the first place, I wish the only thing he had hurt was his ego.

This is also bad news for the Blue Jackets, because without Brassard, they have virtually no depth through center. The roster freeze prevents them from making any moves at the moment, and their GM seems hesitant to make those moves anyway. It will be interesting to see how they perform without their stand-out rookie slash top line center.

So, to recap: Neal may have single-handedly ruined a kid’s season (which is a shame), taught him a very painful lesson (sticking up for teammates is well and good in the right time and place but only if you can actually fight and you’re not fighting somebody who will annihilate you because you’re challenging them after a perfectly clean and legal hit – whew!), and blown up the outlook for an entire team. Talk about a hell of a first NHL fight.

In other Stars-related news, guess who leads the entire league in even-strength goals? Our very own King Loui! He has 16, while Hossa and Kessel have 15 each, and Carter and Setoguchi both have 14. That aside, he’s had some other impressive career highs and milestones so far this season. He’s notched a six-game point streak, two career-high point games (3 points per), and his first hat trick. He tied his previous season goal record (14) in just 30 games and broke it in 31. He’s seventh overall in the league for goals and second for shooting percentage. He only has 4 PIM and is at +4 overall. Conclusion? He’s hot like Hansel right now. 😉

Finally, last night was our Secret Santa Christmas party with Myra, Jen, Caitlin, and Cat and her roommate. We watched the Ottawa game – which was, for the record, wholly unsatisfying – and exchanged not-so-Secret Santa gifts. We had a great time talking hockey with you ladies, and a huge thanks to Myra for hosting us!

December 20, 2008

Catching Up

by Chelsea

So… I’ve been sick, and Kristine has been working, so a lot has happened that hasn’t made it onto the blog. Apologies for the ghost site SHR’s been this week. Instead of catching up on Thursday night, we went to the Blue Jacket’s game instead, and it was absolutely worth it.

Now we’re a bit backlogged though, so it’s all getting thrown out in one long, slightly outdated post. 

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SHR +/-:
(for the  12/13/08 Dallas at Nashville game)

Nicklas Grossman: one for leading the team in hits in Robidas’ absence; +1
Matt Niskanen: minus-two for a sloppy game; -2
Trevor Daley: one for leading in TOI in Robidas’ absence; +1
Tobias Stephan: three for a solid performance despite the rest of the team flaking; +3
Doug Janik: one for tying with Parrish for most takeaways; +1
Mark Parrish: one for tying with Janik for most takeaways; +1
Brad Richards: two for leading the team in SOG but minus-one for failing to score on any of them; +1

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 Game Notes and SHR +/-:
(for the 12/16/08 Phoenix at Dallas game)

  •  Three game stars, in order: Turco, Eriksson, Bryzgalov
  • Loui Eriksson scored twice, and was the only Star to score in the 2-1 win. His second was the game-winning OT goal.
  • Eriksson’s goals gave him 14 for the season- tying his previous season high recorded in 07-08 over 69 games.
  • Marty Turco made 22 saves on 23 shots for a .957 sv%
  • The game was defenseman Nicklas Grossman’s 100th in the NHL.
  • Conclusion: The Stars got the lead early, went 0-for-3 on the power play, and ended up having the game tied half-way through the first. For being such an important win, the team should not have had to depend so entirely on Turco and Eriksson. 

Nicklas Grossman: one for tying for the lead in blocked shots but minus-one for leading in giveaways; +0
Matt Niskanen: two for the assist and one for leading the team in hits; +3 
James Neal: one for leading the team in SOG; +1
Loui Eriksson: three for each goal and one for helping carry the entire team; +7
Tom Wandell: one goodbye point for playing his last game here this year; +1
Chris Conner: two for the assist and one goodbye point; +3
Marty Turco: two for playing well again after his night off; +2
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist; +2
Brad Richards: two for the assist and one for leading in takeaways; +3

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Injury Update: 

Stephane Robidas (broken jaw), Steve Ott (broken hand), and Joel Lundqvist (shoulder injury) all returned to the lineup for Thursday’s game against the Blue Jackets. 

Robidas was injured when he took a puck to the mouth December 10th, requiring braces on his bottom teeth, stitches galore, and a metal plate in the jaw (had surgery on the 11th to fix it). He returned only a week later, sporting the classic cage from last season. 

Ott broke his hand during a fight on November 22nd, when he took on Steve Montador of the Anaheim Ducks. Having apparently jammed it trying to grab Montador at the beginning of the fight, Ott finished the scrum- and the rest of the game. With the injury, he can’t fight again for awhile, but that definitely won’t stop him from his other agitating duties.

Lundqvist’s shoulder injury was bad enough to cost him 21 games, as he couldn’t handle full contact without risking re-injury. He returned in full form though, logging a game-high 9 hits in his return.

Jere Lehtinen is said to be close to returning, but it looks like we won’t see Sergei Zubov for awhile. It was announced Thursday that he’ll have to undergo another hip surgery and will likely be sidelined the rest of the season. Fortunately, he also expressed a willingness to continue his career, and will have all summer to rehab. 

Trevor Daley also seemed to be injured, leaving the game against Columbus early, but he seems likely to be alright to play on the upcoming road trip. 

With the return of some key veterans came the loss of some young hopefuls. Chris Conner was reassigned to Peoria and Tom Wandell returned to Sweden. It seems unlikely that we’ll be seeing much of either for the rest of this season, but you never know.

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Holy Cow, Jamie Benn:

Stars prospect Jamie Benn has been lighting up the Western Hockey League, with 45 points (24 goals, 21 assists) in 27 games, including a streak of six games in which he earned 18 points. 

His offensive prowess garnered the attention of quite a few with his recent success in Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp, getting three goals and an assist in three intra-squad games. Benn earned himself a spot on Canada’s World Juniors roster along with possible 2009 #1 draft pick John Travares.

The World Junior teams for Canada and Sweden faced off in an exhibition game on Friday. Canada came out on top of the 4-2 match that showcased goals from Tavares, his competition for #1 overall (Viktor Hedman), and our very own Jamie Benn.