Archive for January, 2009

January 31, 2009

Game Review – 1/29/09 (DAL at DET)

by Chelsea

Game:

So… I was initially working on a picture to put up with the review, but it’s taking much longer than expected and now I’m behind on the review again. Sorrys.

Dallas Stars took on the Detroit Red Wings for the fourth and final time of this season. So far, the series was tipped in the Stars favor (2-1-0), with the only loss coming in a 6-1 shaming at the Joe Louis Arena.

Marty Turco, in fact, had never won a game at the Joe in the regular season. It seemed like he was a little overdue for that win.

Coming off a shut out win against the Atlanta Thrashers, the Stars seemed confident and prepared to take on the defending Cup champions.

After getting horribly outplayed during their last visit to Detroit, it was great to see the Stars keep pace with the Wings during the first ten minutes of play. Dallas broke ahead early when Kris Draper took a holding penalty at 9:57, leading to the first of a number of productive Stars power plays.

Less than thirty seconds into the man-advantage, at 10:15, Steve Ott netted his seventh goal of the season and second in two games with a skillful deflection of Brad Richards’ shot from the blue line. Mike Ribeiro, responsible for setting Richards up for the shot, got the second assist.

Less than a minute after, there was a careless collision in open ice, and this happened:

That’s Chris Chelios hi sticking Krys Barch, which resulted in this:

Despite having a mouthguard in, Barch had 8 of his teeth (three top, five bottom) shattered by the hit. Though he returned to the game after getting patched up, he still had to stay in Detroit afterwards to go to the dentist and get (according to Razor) five root canals done before rejoining the team in Columbus.

The situation is slightly reminiscent to taking drivers licenses away from the elderly; Chris Chelios apparently is not able to control his own limbs anymore, so someone should consider taking his hockey stick away. If they can do so without losing half a dozen teeth.

The double minor Chelios got put the Stars on another power play at 10:50 in the first. At 11:32, they scored again, putting the league’s worst road PP 2-for-2 against the league’s best home PK.

This one was also orchestrated by Richards, who collected a pass from Ott and patiently drew the attention of Detroit goalie Chris Osgood before sending a slick pass to Jere Lehtinen. Lehtinen, who had snuck up behind the defense deep in the slot, had an open net and didn’t hesitate to put the puck in it.

The second half of the double minor expired without incident, Osgood managing to shut down another chance by Ott to hold it at 2-0.

With both the Richards and Ribeiro lines producing, Mike Modano’s line had been comparatively quiet. RW Mark Parrish was still out with the flu, replaced by Chris Conner who, despite some speedy effort, had yet to produce.

He got his golden opportunity from Modano when an icing call sent play back to Detroit’s zone with 1:30 in the period. Modano won the faceoff and scrambled to get the puck to Conner. Conner shot it immediately, surprising Osgood and earning himself his first goal of the season.

A bit of a scrum at the end of the period resulted in Matt Niskanen and Tomas Holmstrom getting a minor penalty each, for interference and hi sticking.

The first period ended with a very surprising score of 3-0 Stars. The three goals came on only 12 shots, leading to Chris Osgood getting pulled in favor of Ty Conklin for the start of the second.

Penalty troubles continued for the Red Wings only 00:25 into the second period, with Marian Hossa called for tripping Trevor Daley. This time, it seemed like Conklin would be able to hold off the Stars where Osgood could not. However, he too was solved by Dallas as they applied continual pressure during their power play.

Having managed only two goals in January, Loui Eriksson’s frustration had become increasingly apparent over the last few games, but it was patience that produced for him in the end. Fed the puck by James Neal, Eriksson appeared prepared to fire it at Conklin, who came out to the edge of his crease to meet him. Instead of shooting, though, Eriksson pulled right past him and slipped the puck in the abandoned net. The goal, assisted by Neal and Modano, is Eriksson’s team-leading 23rd this season.


Definitely a goal worth watching.

The struggling Wings, now down 4-0 to the Stars and only 1-for-4 on the PK, didn’t manage to get themselves in the game until they drew a penalty of their own.

Conner was whistled for hooking at 3:31 in the second, giving the Wings a chance that they wouldn’t spoil. Even on an off day, they’re a team with too much talent to be held off the scoreboard for long.

Turco started the PK with a string of spectacular saves, including the rarely-seen and highly-entertaining scissor kick stop.

It was a fast shot and a sneaky tip-in that put the puck past Turco, Hossa getting enough of his stick on Brian Rafalski’s shot to get it in the net. Pavel Datsyuk got the second assist.

At 5:34, Nicklas Grossman was assessed a minor penalty for cross checking. During the stop in play, Barch and Downey did their best to drop the gloves, but were separated by the officials and handed matching roughing minors.

Detroit thought they’d cut the Stars’ lead in half at 10:42 when Dan Cleary’s shot popped up off Turco and over and appeared to go into the net. During the scramble, Darryl Sydor seemed to have both hit the puck into the net before knocking said net off its moorings. It became apparent after further review, though, what everyone thought was the puck was actually someone’s stick blade; Sydor’s slap at the puck sent it into Turco’s glove, and he was able to grab it before it crossed the line.


For some reason, Sydor got two minutes for delay of game for having taken the net with him as he stumbled forward.

The Wings did not score on their power play, and play continued 4-1 Stars.

They did manage to score eventually, though. This time it was Andreas Lilja with a slap shot at 15:11 in the second. It was assisted by Valtteri Filppula and Niklas Kronwall.

Dallas got another scare late in the third, when the Red Wings scored again on a power play (thanks to a goaltender interference call on Ott) to narrow the lead to a very reachable 4-3. However, Marty Turco was being slightly squished by Holmstrom at the time of the goal, as he’d gotten bumped by Daley and the pair fell backwards onto Turco. The goal was disallowed due to incidental goalie interference.

Turco and Holmstrom had been battling through most of the game, with the netminder delivering purposefully-placed blows to the legs whenever Holmstrom intruded into his crease. None of these were called as penalties, and when Holmstrom’s intrusions went too far and led to the called-off goal, Detroit fans were livid at the apparent double-standard. Really though, it didn’t matter if the contact had been intentional, as Turco was still unable to move through his crease or make a save.

The period ended 4-2 Stars. After the first period’s 22-shot game (12 SOG for Dallas vs 10 for Detroit), both teams’ defenses started to lock in down in the second. Detroit outshot Dallas 10-8 for the period.

Third period started.

Ten minutes in, there was some concern for Johan Franzen after he took an accidental hit to the head from James Neal. Neal, who had been coming in for a hit on Lidstrom, missed his check and got Franzen instead. Franzen didn’t appear to have been paying attention, following his teammate along the boards with his head down. He wasn’t injured by the collision, and play continued.

Ott got yet another penalty halfway shortly after as the play got more physical, jeopardizing what had been a so-far successfully defended lead. It was a pretty questionable cross checking call after Ott collided with Datsyuk and delivered a little extra bump as he stood back up.

The Red Wings had some trouble on their power play, as they missed the only three shots during those two minutes.

With two minutes left in the game, Holmstrom took a minor penalty for closing his hand on the puck, then made it a double with an unsportsmanlike conduct when he argued with the official.

Conklin retreated to the bench with roughly 1:20 to go, and the extra Detroit attacker put the game at even strength again. Neither team scored, and the game ended 4-2 Stars.

The third period was basically a contest of which team could out-Wings the other. Despite power plays for both teams, only 7 shots on goal were recorded in the impressively-performed period.

Notes:

  • The three game stars, in order: Richards, Ott, Lilja
  • Our three game stars, in order: Ott, Richards, Modano
  • Turco made 22 saves on 24 shots, good for a .917%.
  • In the last three games, Turco has let in only 3 goals on 77 shots and recorded 1 shut out. For the first time this season, his GAA is under 3.00 (2.98).
  • Over those three games, Ott has scored 2 goals and recorded 3 assists for a 5-point streak.
  • The win meant that the Stars won their last three (all in regulation) – the first time this season that they’ve gotten three wins in a row.
  • In the last five games, the Ott-Ribeiro-Lehtinen line has been on fire, recording 9 goals and 9 assists for 18 points, with a combined +/- of +10. The Stars won four of those five games.
  • Conclusion: With Ribeiro’s line finding impressive chemistry and Richards finding his place on the power play again, their display of fine offensive skill is only highlighted by Turco’s return to form. If they can keep this going, good things will happen.

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: one for good defense; +1
Stephane Robidas: one for good defense; +1
Matt Niskanen: one for good defense; +1
Trevor Daley:
one for good defense; +1
Mike Modano: two for each assist; +4
Krys Barch: one for omgyou’rebleeding, two sympathy points, and two style points for returning to the game with the same hard-hitting fight-you attitude; +5
Toby Petersen: minus-one for spending 9 minutes doing absolutely nothing; -1
James Neal: two for the assist; +2
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal and one for style; +4
Chris Conner: three for the goal and one for finally showing hand speed to match his feet speed; +4
Jere Lehtinen: three for the goal and one because he’s Lehtinen and we love him; +4
Andrew Hutchinson: one for good defense; +1
Steve Ott: three for the goal, two for the assist, and one for leading in hits with five again; +6
Marty Turco: three for a good game and one for finally winning at the Joe; +4
Darryl Sydor: one for good defense and two for pretty much saving a goal; +3
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist; +2
Brad Richards: two for each assist and one for PP style; +5
Fabian Brunnstrom: one for his fancy highlight moves in the short time he played with the Moose before the flu took him out for the rest of his time in Manitoba; +1

January 29, 2009

Game Review – 1/27/09 (DAL vs ATL)

by Chelsea

Game:

The Atlanta Thrashers came to town in for the first time in a number of years, and were greeted by a very sparse crowd. Thanks to some especially icy weather, most Stars fans were confined to their couches and TVs. 

With both teams fully rested after the All-Star break, it seemed like both would give a good show, despite what the standings implied. 

Stephane Robidas returned from his weekend stint in Montreal sans face cage, mentioning that the probably-permanent metal plate in his jaw made it stronger than it had been before. 

Besides Brenden Morrow and Sergei Zubov, the only still-injured Stars are Fabian Brunnstrom, Landon Wilson, and Steve Ott. Brunnstrom was recently assigned to the Manitoba Moose for a few days, after which he’ll be returning to the Stars’ lineup finally. Wilson’s still nursing a rib injury and there’s been no timetable set for his return. Ott, of course, has been playing, but as far as we’ve heard as not been cleared to fight with his still-healing hand. 

Mark Parrish was scratched for Chris Conner, apparently because he’s coming down with the flu. Get well soon, Parrish!

A couple of nice streaks coming into this game that are worth noting: Marty Turco entered the contest with a career record of 5-0-0 against Atlanta, and Thrasher superstar Ilya Kovalchuk had never scored a goal against Dallas in the 7 times he’d faced them. 

The first period started, the teams meeting each other’s shots, hits, and puck battle wins. However, it became clear which team wanted it more when Jere Lehtinen displayed some unexpected creativity in putting the puck behind fellow-Finn and Thrashers netminder Kari Lehtonen. 

Right off the bat, the Ott-Ribeiro-Lehtinen line had the same energy that made them such a force in the Panthers game (Ribeiro with a hat trick, Ott and Lehtinen each with an assist) and it once again paid off. Only 3:48 into the first, Ott stole the puck from a Thrasher and fed it up to Ribeiro, who threw it haphazardly towards Lehtonen. Lehtonen made the save, but the puck bounced up into the chest of Jere Lehtinen and he bumped it down into the net. 

The call on the ice was a goal, and the call stood despite further review. 

There had been some question from us about why the Thrashers have had such a rough season. It seemed to us that they had more than enough talent and an experienced if unproven coach. However, when instead of rallying after the Dallas goal, they followed it with a string of giveaways and penalties, the picture was a little clearer.

When two Thrashers took penalties within 30 seconds of each other, they all but gift-wrapped another goal for the Stars. However, the power play only managed a few shots on goal, and soon it was at even strength again. 

Marty Turco positively robbed Kovalchuk of the game-tying goal at 13:14 after he was left unattended in front of the net, making a sharp and much-appreciated save to hold Dallas’ lead.

Atlanta got their first power play when Krys Barch took a penalty at 15:07 for holding, but nearly surrendered a short-handed goal to Loui Eriksson. 

The first period ended 1-0 Dallas. 

Second period began.

In the first few seconds, the official raised his arm to signify a delayed penalty against the Thrashers. However, the Stars maintained possession as Ribeiro’s line struck yet again.

Ribeiro displayed some stickhandling wizardry to keep the puck away from the Thrashers, helped by Lehtinen, long enough to complete a pass down low to Trevor Daley. As Ott moved in front of the crease and shook off Rich Peverley, Daley slid the puck out in front. Ott buried it in the net at 00:28, negating the penalty before it was ever enforced. 


With the game set at 2-0, it became a good old-fashioned goalie showdown. Lehtonen on one end, fighting to keep the game within reach for his struggling team and Turco on the other, fighting to seal his team’s second consecutive win.

Lehtonen finished the second period by backing his team through two penalty kills, holding them within reach of the Stars two-goal lead. His team didn’t produce much offense, though, testing Turco with only 6 shots.

Second period ended, third period started.

The final period of the game would prove to be a test for both teams. For the Thrashers, the third is typically when they stepped up their game. For the Stars, a game with two strong periods to start usually ended in disappointment. 

Each team took a penalty in the third, but Atlanta finally managed to turn the momentum in their favor. Turco was peppered with more shots (13) in the third period than he’d faced in the entire first and second (12). This was mainly thanks to the heroic netminding of Kari Lehtonen, who blanked the Stars continually. Meanwhile, the rest of the Thrashers looked a little lazy with the puck.

Plenty of Stars fans will remember the game against the Avalanche in which it seemed Turco might get his first shut out of the season in a 1-0 game, only to let in a goal with less than a minute on the clock and put the game all the way to a shootout.

The Thrashers looked to create a similar situation when they pulled their goalie and put the pressure on the Stars. Turco responded by shutting it down and making a number of big in-close saves to claim his first shut out win of the season.

Notes:

  • Three stars of the game, in order: Turco, Ott, Lehtonen
  • Turco made 25 saves on 25 shots. Ott ended with a goal and an assist. Lehtonen made 31 saves on 33 shots.
  • The Stars outshot the Thrashers 33-25. 
  • Ribeiro’s two assists give him seven points in his last four games.
  • Conclusion: After a run that saw every game ended in overtime or a shootout, the Stars have now won their last two in regulation. Turco’s shutout and the team’s ability to stand up consistently in front of him were also a nice change. Can they reach that illusive 3-game win streak against Detroit?

SHR +/-: 

Nicklas Grossman: one for embracing his physical side; +1
Stephane Robidas: one for tying for the team lead in +/- with +2; +1
Trevor Daley: two for the assist and one for tying for the team lead in +/-; +3
Mike Modano: one for leading in takeaways; +1
Toby Petersen: minus-one for returning to his low-impact ways; -1
Jere Lehtinen: three for the goal and one for tying for the team lead in +/-;  +4
Steve Ott: three for the goal, two for the assist, one for leading the team in hits, and one for tying for the team lead in +/-; +7
Marty Turco: three for the shut out and one for winning it; +4
Mike Ribeiro: two for each assist and one for tying for the team lead in +/-; +5

January 29, 2009

Brunnstrom on Moose TV

by Kristine

For those of you missing Stars forward Fabian Brunnstrom, the Manitoba Moose have posted a short interview with him on their Moose TV Game Day site. Bunny talks a little about his play in Dallas and what he hopes to bring to the Moose. Here is the link. As I write this, it’s the first video and should play automatically. If not, it’s the one titled “Jan. 29 Pre-Game – Brunnstrom.”

January 27, 2009

Game Day Update

by Kristine

Now that the excitement of the All-Star Game has died down, it’s back to business for the Stars. The biggest news of the day comes from Andrew’s, who reports that Fabian Brunnstrom will be playing a few games with the Manitoba Moose (AHL) and is expected back in the lineup this weekend at Columbus. Great news! Bunny brings a certain spark to games that we feel has been missing since he’s been out. It’s interesting that he’s being sent down for a few games when they were so adamant about not sending him down at the beginning of the season, but it will be good for him to get up to speed and get his game legs back before he returns at the NHL level. Not to mention he’ll be in good hands – the Moose are second in the entire AHL, behind only Washington’s farm team the Hershey Bears and down by only one point.

On to tonight. It’s a big game day if you look at the standings. A lot of the games involve teams we are currently battling with for that elusive 8th seed – not surprising when you consider almost the entire West is in the running for it. First up, Columbus takes on Detroit. It wouldn’t do us many favors for Detroit to win, because we play them Thursday. However, not only do we play the Blue Jackets this weekend, they’re also currently sitting one spot above us with 49 points. So they need to lose more than Detroit needs to lose. Next up, Minnesota hosts Toronto tonight. Obviously, the Leafs need to win this one. Minnesota is 9th in the West with 49 points. Later in the night, San Jose will be paying the Avalanche a visit. Even though the Sharks are in our division, we have no real hope of catching up to them; the Avalanche, however, are 12th with 47 points. The Stars, for the record, also have 47 points and have played two fewer games than the Avs, winning us the 11th spot in the West. While the Sharks and Avs fight it out, the Oilers will be taking on the Sabres. The Oil is another team battling for a playoff spot, only they’re fighting to keep theirs. They’re 6th in the West with 51 points, but 7th and 8th place Canucks and Ducks also have 51 points. A loss tonight would keep them within reach for the Stars. Finally, in the biggest lose-lose of the night, the Coyotes are hosting the Ducks at Jobing.com Arena. Both teams are in playoff seeds as it stands now. The Coyotes are 5th with 53 points and the Ducks are 8th with 51 points. If anything, it would be most beneficial to the Stars for the Coyotes to win as they are at least a little farther ahead already and thus a little harder to catch up to.

Now for the Big Ifs. If we win tonight, and if the Jackets and the Wild both lose, the Stars will be tied with them for 49 points. As we have fewer games than both of them, that would put us at 9th place, and one win out of the playoffs. Continuing hypothetically, if the teams that need to lose continue to lose, and the Stars beat Detroit on Thursday, we’ll have 51 points and fewer games than Edmonton, Vancouver, and Anaheim – landing us firmly in the 6th spot. So now that we know what needs to happen short-term for the Stars to claim their playoff seed, it’s time to tidy up your shrines and start making offerings to the hockey gods.  You can start by asking for a win tonight at the AAC. Go Stars!

January 24, 2009

All-Star Practice

by Chelsea

For anyone that tuned into the NHL Network’s broadcast of the All-Star Practice and Red Carpet show, you probably noticed a few things that we did. 

1) Whoever is in charge of this apparently thinks we’d rather watch a bunch of suits commenting at a desk than the actual event we tuned in to see.

2) A couple big names got snubbed entirely when it came to interviews. While Mike Modano gave two and James Neal had one that was aired, Stephane Robidas kind of slipped under the radar. Not that surprised, but other names whose ten seconds of fame didn’t get broadcasted? Try Evgeni Malkin, Vincent Lecavalier, and most of the Canadiens. Uh, what?

While players like Dan Boyle and Tim Thomas got to introduce their kids on the red carpet, we were not treated to the greatness that would have been Justin and Stephane Robidas. However, there is this from the practice: 

On the bench are, I believe, Keith Tkachuk’s son and possibly Shane Doan’s. But you can’t really tell who Robidas is looking at. So, from the practice broadcast: 

 

January 23, 2009

All-Star Robidas

by Chelsea

Big thanks to Amy for pointing out that SHR’s namesake Stephane Robidas also has some ASG pictures now as well!

For some reason, Modano doesn’t seem to have shown up for the photo op. That’s alright, though, because Robi provided us with a nice handful of portrait and media availability shots.




January 22, 2009

Let The Games Begin

by Chelsea

The 2009 NHL All-Star Games begin Saturday with the YoungStars game and Skills Competition, and media and players alike are already arriving in Montreal. Festivities have barely begun, and already quotes are pouring out.  So far, these have been mostly from the league’s YoungStars participants, who were gathered today for a media availability. Not surprisingly, Dallas rookie James Neal has been very vocal, garnering some attention from the NHL.com writers. 

For some stories in which Neal and the other Stars All-Stars are mentioned, scroll. 🙂
(For pictures, scroll further) 

 

“At the start of the season, I never thought I’d be in the NHL, much less wearing the Stars jersey and being here at the All-Star Game,” Neal said. “It proves the old saying that you can never dream too high.”

-Montreal’s atmosphere awesome to YoungStars

 

“You can’t really believe that you are here,” Neal told NHL.com. “One day you’re watching these guys on TV and now you’re in the same room with them?”

-YoungStars eager to absorb knowledge from All-Stars

 

“I’m spoiled,” Dallas winger James Neal said. “I get to play with Mike Modano every day. I grew up idolizing Gary Roberts. But how can you not want to pick Mike Modano’s brains about being the face of the Stars and the face of USA Hockey?”

-NHL YoungStars an inquisitive bunch

 

“Growing up, it was all hockey and the fact I had an opportunity to train with guys like Gary Roberts and Adam Foote was as good as it gets,” Neal said. “I started training with Roberts when I was 16 by going to his gym in Toronto and I got to know him very well. When I finished up in Toronto, I started training with Foote who lived right around the corner from me in Whitby.”

-YoungStar Neal trained with Roberts, Foote

 

“He’s an example for everybody,” Stars forward Mike Ribiero told NHL.com. “He was a fifth or sixth defenseman at the start of last season, but I always thought he was a two or three defensively. He proved me wrong. He is a No. 1 and he stepped up big time.”

-Robidas sets an All-Star example

Click the pictures for full size.


A few more pictures: at the media availability and receiving an award from Bettman. 

January 21, 2009

News Roundup: Robidas Replaces Lidstrom

by Kristine

The NHL and the Stars announced this morning that Stephane Robidas will be replacing Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, who is injured. Patrick Marleau has replaced Pavel Datsyuk, which means the Wings have nobody on the ASG roster but that the Sharks have three players. The rest of the West breaks down into three Ducks, three Hawks, two Stars, a King, a Coyote, an Avalanche, a Flame, a Blue Jacket, a Blue(s?), an Oiler, a Predator, a Wild, and a Canuck. Nice to see the Stars represented more than most of the other teams. 🙂

In other Stars-related ASG news, Mike Modano is scheduled to participate in the accuracy competition, against Jonathan Toews, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jarome Iginla, Dany Heatley, Marc Savard, Evgeni Malkin, and current champion Thomas Kaberle. That’s some stiff competition, so hopefully Mo remembers to pack his A-game.

The Stars announced yesterday that they signed prospect Colton Scevoiur to a three year entry-level contract. The right shot RW (something the Stars are crazy short on) will finish the season with his WHL team and is expected to participate in the 2009 training camp, according to the official release.

Today is backup goalie Tobias Stephan’s 25th birthday. Too bad he’ll have to spend it on the bench, watching his NHL career stall at every goal Marty Turco lets in. Don’t worry, Tobi – the fans believe in you even if Tippett doesn’t.

Finally, Andrews reports that Landon Wilson has started light workouts. No date has been set for his return, but baby steps are still steps. We miss Wilson far more than we could have predicted and hope he is able to return at full strength this season.

January 20, 2009

Game Review – 1/19/09 (DAL at TBL)

by Chelsea

We’re Calling You Out, Mr. Turco:

On one end of the ice, a young goaltender who has at least four bad giveaways, chucks the puck up the ice instead of passing it, and faced six PKs.

On the other end of the ice, a grizzled veteran goalie who had an alright night handling the puck, and only faced 2 PKs.

Bet you can’t guess which one was the one to have a dumb puck-get moment and surrender a goal, or to have his five-hole thoroughly ravaged. 

One team held the other to only 20 shots against and was disciplined in only taking two penalties.

The other team was subjected to 25 shots and took six penalties. 

Bet you can’t guess which goalie let in 3 goals (on 19 shots – there was one SOG/Goal on an empty net) and which only let in two.

Bet you can’t guess which goalie locked it down after five minutes into the second period and which one let in three goals in the last ten minutes of play.

Confused yet? Surely, Turco came out on top, besting his old backup goalie with his superior puckhandling and puckstopping abilites. Surely! 

Oh, boo. Taking nothing away from the Stars’ rancid special teams (6 PPs – 1 TBL goal and 1 DAL goal. 2 PKS – 1 TBL goal), but everybody already knows the facts about that. Stars suck on the road, Stars can’t score on the road, Stars PP on the road is the worst in the league. We got it, nobody’s denying anything.

But how about that starter goalie? We’ve blamed bad defense, lack of teamwork, lack of consistency, even lack of a strong back-up goaltender. Then when the Stars win, we generally praise Turco and ramble on about how it looks like he’s finally returned to form.

Sometimes, it seems like he has. Sometimes, he makes crazy saves. We call that “bad with flashes of great”, though, not “great with flashes of bad”. 

The fact is, his sv% right now is .916 in wins. Last year, that number was .939, and actually has never been as bad as it is currently. Compared to the top goaltenders right now, that’s a dismal number. Tim Thomas averages a .914 in losses. Steve Mason is .950 in wins and .904 in losses. Turco, in losses, is a questionable .879.

 

 

But the bad defense!

That bad defense you reference is certainly not on par with Detroit or San Jose, but it stands beside them for Shots Against/Game. Actually, the Stars have the third best SA/G in the entire league. I suppose you could argue that Dallas doesn’t let in many shots, but the majority are quality scoring chances – but that’s a pretty daring assumption. Another fun fact: the Stars have allowed less than 20 SA in 8 separate occasions, and 3 of those were in October. One of them was this game.

Turco has only had 16 games with a sv% over .900 this season. Only 14 with a GAA at 2.o0 or under. Looking into it further, you see that out of those 16 games, the team allowed between 25-30 shots against in 7 of them. That seems to be his magic number; few enough so that he doesn’t let in 6 goals, but plenty enough so that each goal doesn’t do too much damage to his sv%.

Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov, member of the 2nd best team in the league for GA/G, has a season sv% of .907. Games in which he reached the .900 mark range from 11 SA to 36. Does the “magic number” apply to all goalies? It doesn’t appear to.

Enough about stats, though. How about the fact that Turco and the team no longer seem to trust each other?

In each game, the team looks a little more desperate. They scramble into the crease to “help out” Turco at every chance, or they put themselves out of position in an attempt to block a shot Turco should be able to save (and end up screening him in the process). When they start losing, they fall apart, because they’re all trying to do everything and cohesiveness is lost.

Conversely, Turco can be seen scurrying behind his net at every opportunity. This includes (but is not excluded to) times when: there are at least 2 Stars within reach of the puck, a Star nearly has the puck, a Star is intending to circle around and claim the puck, and when there are none of the opposition but all of his team around to retrieve it.

Take, for instance, the Stamkos goal. Turco tries to lean around his net to poke the puck away from a Lightning player who is being pressured by a Star. He gets his stick tangled in their skates, loses it, looks to retrieve it, the puck gets centered and he scrambles to get into position, but far too late. 

How about how tired he looks?

He’s given up 9 goals in the third period, just in the last five games.

He’s given up 4 third period goals in the five games before that.

In the five games before that, he gave up 6 in the third.

That’s 19 third period goals in the 15 games since Stephan had his last start. And it appears to be getting worse. Tippett is trusting that the ASG break will give him a chance to rest, but it’s expecting a lot for him to go another 40 games after that without one. He’s only human. 

Assuming we reach the playoffs, I can almost guaranteed that Turco will be too worn out to power the team past the first round. Maybe that’s just the problem; the playoff run in the spring has worn him out, and he needs someone to share duties with. Osgood and Fleury, who met up in the Stanley Cup Finals, are both struggling to find their form as well.

Either way, Turco needs to acknowledge his limitations and do something about it. Even if that means asking to sit and let Stephan play. Risking a handful of games seems smarter than risking your star goaltender in the long run.

Notes:

  • The three game stars, in order: Lecavalier, Richards, Eminger
  • The game was the first meeting between the Lightning and the Stars since the blockbuster deadline trade last year that saw Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist to Dallas and Jeff Halpern, Jussi Jokinen, and Mike Smith to Tampa Bay.
  • Dallas gave up its first SH goal of the season, to Vincent Lecavalier, in the first period.
  • Loui Eriksson’s goal was his first in five games and second in the last eight.
  • Conclusion: We actually don’t blame Marty Turco entirely, but the Stars would be much better prepared to deal with their other issues if he could lead the charge by locking it down. Hopefully the players-only meeting following this loss produced some solutions.

SHR +/-:

Stephane Robidas: two for the assist, one for leading in blocked shots and one for covering Lecavalier like the All-Star he is; +4
Matt Niskanen: minus-one for the untimely penalty; -1
Trevor Daley: one for being the only Star to end in the positive for +/-: +1
Mike Modano: two for the assist, one for winning 88% of his faceoffs, but minus-two for all the turnovers on PP; +1
James Neal: one for leading in hits; +1
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal and one for persistence; +4
Jere Lehtinen: one for tying for the team lead in shots on goal; +1
Marty Turco: see first part of post; -1
Mark Parrish: two for the assist; +2
Brad Richards: three for the goal, two for the assist, one for tying for the team lead in shots on goal, but minus-two for being unable to win a PP faceoff; +4

 


January 19, 2009

Game Review – 1/17/09 (DAL vs LAK)

by Chelsea

Game:

After going to (and having lots of fun at) the game, I woke up the next morning with a nasty head cold. 

Dunno what that’s about, but… no review for this game. Writing on cold medicine is always a bad idea.

Video highlights: Dallas Stars 3, Los Angeles Kings 2 (SO)

Game Recap 01/17/2009: LAK 2 @ DAL 3

Stars-Kings Game Notes/Statistics

Pictures!

 

 

SHR +/-:

Stephane Robidas: two for the assist, one for leading in hits, and one for the adorableness that is his son; +4
Mike Modano: minus-one for failing at faceoffs and the resulting lack of possession his line saw; -1
Jere Lehtinen: three for the goal, two for the assist, one for style, one for leading in shots on goal, and one for finally looking like Legendary Lehtinen again;  +8
Steve Ott: two for being an awesomely effective agitator; +2
Marty Turco: minus-two for blowing what should have been a regulation win (stacking the pads instead of squaring to the shooter with plenty of time and space, really?) but two for making up for it in the shootout; +0
Darryl Sydor: two for the assist; +2
Mike Ribeiro: three for the goal, two for the assist, one for the shootout goal, and one for poking fun at Bob and Dan after the game; +7
Brad Richards: two for being really awesome at faceoffs but minus-two for being otherwise a giant turnover machine; +0 
Fabian Brunnstrom: healthy soon please?; +2