Archive for February, 2009

February 28, 2009

Steve Ott Suspended

by Chelsea

As the final buzzer sounded in today’s game against the Ducks, Steve Ott was doing some last minute crease-clearing by crosschecking Anaheim captain Scott Niedermayer in the back. Had it been any other set of players in any other game, I’m sure this would have meant absolutely nothing.

However it was their captain being roughed up by our pest, at the end of a game that had been very physical with some very bendy rules. Having gone the entire game with officials missing many calls on both teams, Jean-Sebastien Giguere decided to take matters into his own hands after the final buzzer sounded.

He slashed at the back of Ott’s legs, and then pulled him into a headlock. The rest of the Ducks on the ice stepped in, and Ott found himself unwillingly fighting Travis Moen. Moen threw punches while Ott held on and tried to shield himself from the blows until they both fell to the ice. As the officials finally stepped in, Moen said to have felt a finger in his eye, and then “pulling” as Ott apparently gouged his eye.

Due to having fought and possibly injured another player while wearing a brace/cast,  Ott is automatically suspended for tomorrow’s game against the Penguins.

Here’s Heika’s report on the suspension, which hasn’t officially been announced.

Because Ott has become such a huge part of the Stars staying in playoff contention, it’s hard to say, but this isn’t the first time his insistence on agitating has hurt the team. When he does stuff that he knows he can’t back up, he’s putting others on the spot to take the heat for him, and other teams won’t hesitate to run his linemates for it.

Lots of questions get brought up by the incident.

Who started the fight? Was it Giguere or was it Ott? Moen?
Did Ott have this coming, running his mouth when he can’t fight?
Where were the other Stars during all this? Should they have stepped in and risked getting suspended themselves?
Does Moen deserve more than a penalty in a game that had already ended? Or is what he did negated by Ott supposedly gouging him in the eye?
Did Ott do what he did on purpose?
As amusing as Ott’s antics are/seeing opponents get irritated is, should Ott dial that part of his game back some? Or should he risk getting a reputation as someone who can’t back up his own actions in favor of trying to draw penalties?
Did Ott deserve his suspension?
How much of this was the fault of the officials, who seemed content to let the Ducks pound on Ott?
Might there be hard feelings between Ott and the team, for them having not stood up for him?

Update, March 2: Heika reports today that Ott’s official punishment is a one game suspension. As he sat out yesterday against the Pens, he is eligible to play tomorrow against the Sharks. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, none of the Ducks involved in the fight were even investigated.

February 24, 2009

Game Review – 2/23/09 (DAL vs SJS)

by Chelsea

Mostly This:

Dunno who showed up from San Jose but the team that played against Dallas for the first two periods did not look like a team who leads the league in points.

Little Bit of This: 
 


Only one goal was scored, at 7:55 in the third period by Devin Setoguchi. The Stars weren’t able to score in the 48ish minutes before and didn’t manage it in the 12 after. It wasn’t so much that the Sharks won the two points as it was Nabokov stole them from the Stars.

Too Much of This:

Injuries just to centers…

Brad Richards: 6-8 weeks with a broken wrist.

Mike Modano: day-to-day with the flu

Toby Petersen: 4+ weeks with a broken foot

Yup. Stars played over half of this game with basically two centers both working overtime. Mike Ribeiro deserves a big gold star for his efforts. Brian Sutherby… well, who would have thought how important he’d be when we picked him up? 

And Just Enough of This: 

Dallas played a disciplined game, putting the Sharks up a man only three times. During each penalty kill, everyone was moving in front of pucks to block shots or intercept passes. Sharks PP got absolutely nowhere, a big part of what kept the game scoreless for so long. 

The youth had a solid night too, when it came to stepping on special teams. Mark Fistric saw some time on the PK, and lead the team in blocked shots with four. Fabian Brunnstrom and James Neal both saw time (and good opportunities) on the power play. 

SHR +/-: 

Mike Modano: one for trying to continue his career-best consecutive games streak despite fighting the flu; +1
Toby Petersen: one sympathy point; +1
Brian Sutherby: one for leading in shots on goal; +1
Mark Fistric: one for leading in blocked shots; +1
Marty Turco: two for a stellar effort but minus-one for still letting in a sorta soft goal; +1
Joel Lundqvist: one for an overall strong game; +1
Mike Ribeiro: one for being a good top line center when the team really needed one; +1
Fabian Brunnstrom: one for being the super-determined rookie while Neal takes a slight mental vacation; +1

 

 

February 24, 2009

Petersen Out, Stephan Back

by Kristine

The Stars announced this morning that Toby Petersen’s lower body injury is a broken bone in his foot, and he will be out for at least a month. Fantastic! Have you seen our roster lately? Four forwards on IR. If there’s ever been a season for rookies and call-ups to show what they’re worth, it’s been this one.

The Stars have also recalled Tobias Stephan from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, where he went 4-0-1 in his time there. Brent Krahn has yet to be sent down, but I’m guessing that will come later today.

The official relase is here.

February 24, 2009

Power Rankings Round-Up

by Kristine

Power rankings were updated yesterday, and I’m interested to see how the hockey world feels about the Stars now that our depth up front has been depleted even further with the loss of Brad Richards. Let’s take a look…

Actual rank: 16th in league; 7th in West; 2nd in Pacific.
Record: 29-23-7. L10: 5-5-0.

Andrew’s by Mark Stepneski
Stars: 11 this week; 11 last week. “Stars suffer another big injury when Brad Richards goes out 6-8 weeks with a broken wrist. Stars are 13-3-1 in last 17 home games.”
Of Note: St. Louis at 23 this week; 23 last week. “The Blues continue to pick up points to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. They are 9-3-5 since the middle of January.”
My thoughts: The truth is that Richards’ injury hurts us almost worse than Morrow’s knee injury. There’s so little time left in the season, and our depth at forward is already so depleted, that there’s virtually no adjustment period. We either keep playing well, or lose the playoff spot.  It’s been a rough start to Life Without Richards, with losses to the Hawks and Sharks, but facing the Blues on Thursday will give us another chance to stay in the race. In theory, beating them sounds easy, but the key is not looking at this as an easy two points.

ESPN by Jim Wilkie
Stars: 11 this week; 12 last week. “Rookie call-up Ray Sawada, 24, got a goal in his NHL debut Thursday as he tries to follow the paths of capable Stars youngsters James Neal and Loui Eriksson.”
Of Note: Chicago at 7 this week; 7 last week. “Chicago forward Patrick Kane has four goals and four assists in four games (all victories) against the Stars this season.”
My thoughts: First of all, Patrick Kane loves Mo, so it’s no surprise that he plays well against the Stars. It reminds me of Ribeiro playing well against Gretzky’s team. ESPN was the only one this week to focus on Sawada and the rest of the Stars youth. If there’s been a high point to this season, it’s been watching Neal, Eriksson, and Brunnstrom come in and be so awesome. We’ve also gotten to see great outings from call-ups Tom Wandell and, as ESPN points out, Raymond Sawada.

The Hockey News by Ryan Dixon
Stars: 13 this week; 11 last week. “With key players Brad Richards and Brenden Morrow out of the lineup, Mike Ribeiro has driven the Dallas attack with 18 points over his past 16 games.”
Of Note: Vancouver at 7 this week; 14 last week. “Just one regulation loss in their past 10 and Roberto Luongo still hasn’t completely found his game.”
My thoughts: While the Stars have been bouncing around between the 5th, 6th, and 7th seed, the Canucks have been flying upwards and are now firmly 5th in the West. THN hits the nail on the head when they say that Ribeiro has been leading our offensive charge lately. He’s one of a few players who have been stepping up more and more this season; a list that also includes Steve Ott, Nicklas Grossman, Stephane Robidas, and of course Loui Eriksson. It’s old news around here, but it’s still good to see.

TSN
Stars: 19 this week; 20 last week. “Given the Stars’ turnaround since shipping out Sean Avery, let’s turn to Texas native Matthew McConaughey and one of his many chick flicks, How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days and a quote that can be directed towards Stars co-GM Brett Hull, ‘You see, the key to this game is being able to read people.’ Key Injuries: C Brad Richards (wrist).”
Of Note: Edmonton at 20 this week; 17 last week. “The world might not depend on the Oilers making the playoffs, but they seem to hit enough obstacles on the way to make an Armageddon comparison reasonable. Like the Roughnecks saving the planet from an asteroid, if the job is going to get done for this year’s Oilers, it’s going to be up to the young guys to come through in the clutch.  Key Injuries: D Denis Grebeshkov (ankle).”
My thoughts: In honor of the Oscars, TSN related each ranking to its own movie this week. It’s an interesting premise that doesn’t mean jack in the long run, but you’ve got to give TSN credit for trying to merge hockey and chick flicks. Honestly, as much as TSN is negatively biased against the Stars, I’m surprise we moved up instead of down with Richards out of the lineup. It’s probably because they focused on the Stars without Avery instead of the Stars without Richards. They’re right that Sean Avery was a fiasco here, but enough about him. He was a mistake, but he wasn’t the only reason the Stars started the season so badly. It’s time to bury the excuses once and for all and move on. The point TSN makes about the Oilers sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Injuries depleting a team, youth stepping up, fighting for a playoff spot… The Stars did it so don’t discount the Oilers. They’re sitting in the 9th seed right now, but they have 63 points in 59 games played. If they win their next game, they’ll bump the Wild out of the 8th spot. It’s a tight race and it’d be a mistake not to keep an eye on them.

To recap, we moved up one spot in two rankings, stayed dead even in one of them, and dropped two spots in the last. It’s better than I expected, given the bumpy road we’ve followed in the last week, but it’s disappointing to still not be considered a real threat.

What are your thoughts? Please don’t hesitate to comment. I know you people read this! Don’t be so shy! We love hearing your thoughts. 🙂

February 22, 2009

Game Review – 2/21/09 (DAL vs CHI)

by Chelsea

Season Series Sweep:

5-2

6-3

6-2

3-1

20-8 over four games. 

5-2 on average over those games.

All four in favor of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Loui Eriksson. Steve Ott (x2). Fabian Brunnstrom. Brian Sutherby. Brenden Morrow. Mike Modano. James Neal. The only Stars to score goals in those four games.

Cam Barker. Patrick Kane (x3). Brent Sopel. Andrew Ladd. Dustin Byfuglien. Ben Eager. Brian Campbell. Kris Versteeg (x2). Troy Brouwer. Martin Havlat (x2). Jonathan Toews. Colin Fraser. James Wisniewski. Matt Walker. Blackhawks to score goals in the four games.

Hawks had 4 PPGs. Stars only had 1.

Hawks took 19 penalties. Stars took 21.

The Stars were outshot 140-103, or 35-26 on average over the four games.

They were outhit by the Blackhawks in every game but the last.

To say that the most recent game was the best showing against that team that they’ve had this season is true, but generous. This time, those points were absolutely necessary. This time, the goalie was playing his best hockey lately and managed to limit them to three goals. If the rest of the team had shown up and played to potential, it was an entirely winable game.

Going back to who has scored for each team… the Stars got seven of their goals from wingers and one from a center. All of the eight goals came from players with top line talent, but none from the top points producers Richards and Ribeiro. Not much secondary scoring, either. 

For the Blackhawks, they got five goals from defensemen, at least five by their big name players, and a good handful of secondary scoring from their other lines. 

There’s just something about this matchup that brings out the best in the entire Chicago team, and the worst in the entire Dallas team. Stars took more penalties and less shots. Their special teams were not up to par. After each loss, they sighed and said “a lesson hard learned” but did the same thing next time they met. 

Here’s hoping we can write this off as a painful loss to a better team, and move on with the belief that we are still a team that can beat the Sharks. If not, we might as well forfeit that game too.

Turco, the Lucky Kick, and the Frustrated Captain:

This is one of those “if you haven’t seen it, watch it, but if you have, watch it again” videos.

Turco’s Possible Save of the Year

When Turco dropped for what he thought would be a fast (and low) one-timer from Toews, he found himself duped by the Blackhawks captain, who instead gathered the pass and prepared to shoot high. The netminder responded with an act of quick thinking and desperation; he flung his foot up and hoped the puck would hit it. It did.

An especially satisfying moment in an otherwise frustrating game comes at the end of the video, when Toews reveals some frustration of his own at what had just happened. 

While, when he’s off his game, Turco’s athleticism comes across as desperate and aimless flopping in the crease, it’s a whole different story when he’s focused. A good Turco is a Turco that uses every possible part of his body to do whatever it takes to get a piece of the puck, and that’s what we’ve seen lately.

Another fun goalie moment was at the beginning of the game, when Toby Petersen had his breakaway ended when Cristobal Huet zoomed up to the top of the faceoff circle, lunged at him, and I believe grabbed the puck as he did so. Good stuff.

Why Steve Ott’s New Hand Makes Him Shootout Material:

Little argument needed here. Go look at the lone Stars goal. Think back on the last time (anyone remember the specific game?) Ott was spotted for a breakaway and scored on that one, too. 

Ott is fast, with his feet and his hands. He is surprising. He is creative.

The next shootout should have Mike Ribeiro, James Neal, and Steve Ott. No more of this letting Modano shoot high glove side in every single shootout ever.

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: one for how much we like him being paired with Fistric; +1
Stephane Robidas: two for the assist; +2
Matt Niskanen: minus-one for being one of only two Stars who didn’t give a single hit; -1
Trevor Daley: two for the assist; +2
Steve Ott: three for the goal; +3
Marty Turco: one for effort and one for the fancy kick save; +2
Mike Ribeiro: two for looking like one of the only players that cared for most of the game but minus-one for still not produced; +1
Fabian Brunnstrom: one for being one of the other few players that looked like he cared and one for diving to block a shot while everyone else just stood there; +2

February 21, 2009

Game Review – 2/20/09 (DAL vs EDM)

by Chelsea

Game: 

We decided after this game that we wouldn’t mind meeting the Oilers in the postseason. We tend to beat them at home, Mike Modano always finds a way to stick it to them (winning 8/11 faceoffs this time), the games are generally hard-fought and entertaining, and Oilers fans aren’t giant homers that don’t know hockey. We’re 78-53-16 as a team against them all-time. That’s pretty good.

If ever there was a must-win game for both sides, it was this one. With the wins from Vancouver and Columbus, getting two points wouldn’t move anyone up any. However, losing the two points put a dangerous distance between them and the top half of the playoff-scrambling pack. Coming immediately after losing yet another key player to injury, it was good to see the Stars fully understanding the immense importance of showing up ready for battle.

There’s been a lot of talk about who will pick up the slack with Morrow, Zubov, and now Richards out, and what the future of this team is shaping up to be. Well, the future was in full display for this game.

The first goal was produced almost entirely from rookie Fabian Brunnstrom, who snatched the puck up as the Oilers fumbled it in their own zone and fought off a defenseman as he forced his way through to get it on net. Krys Barch crashed the crease just in time to finish up what Brunnstrom started. 

Raymond Sawada, playing in his first NHL game on his 24th birthday (wearing ex-Star and current Manitoba Moose Mike Keane’s #12) got the Stars’ second goal. 

Fabian Brunnstrom got the game winning goal when he was set up for a one-timer by Loui Eriksson. It was his 5th of the season in only 37 games- on pace for climbing into the top five most GWGs scored in a single season for the franchise.

While rookie James Neal was kept off the scoreboard, he made himself heard with some bone-crunching hits. Nicklas Grossman did as well, and also pinned the Edmonton captain in a scrum at the end of the game when he went after Steve Ott. In that same scrum, Mark Fistric squared off to stand up for his teammates and got enough penalty minutes to put him out of commission for the rest of the game.

Brent Krahn provided some decoration as a lovely fixture on the Stars bench as Marty Turco played his 28th consecutive start.

In all, Stars youth (Niskanen, Grossman, Fistric, Sawada, Brunnstrom, Eriksson, Neal)  provided the team with 2 goals, 2 assists, 15 hits, 8 shots on goal, 4 of the team’s 8 takeaways,  and only 1 giveaway. 

Other players who pitched in extra to make up for Richards’ absence were:

  • Trevor Daley – ended the game +1, had an assist on Sawada’s goal, and picked up extra time on the PP
  • Mike Modano – won 8/11 faceoffs and also picked up extra time on the PP
  • Krys Barch – had a 1 goal, 3 hits, and ended the game +1
  • Toby Petersen – tried out as center for Richards’ Lundy- -Loui line and lead the team in blocked shots with 3
  • Brian Sutherby – had an assist on Barch’s goal and though not credited with any hits, knocked guys off the puck multiple times to create turnovers
  • Steve Ott – was surprised with the ‘A’ that Richards had been wearing, and played an effective, solid game that included 4 hits and an assist on Lehtinen’s goal
  • Mike Ribeiro – had another multi-point night with assists on Lehtinen and Sawada’s goals.

It was the effort from the entire team that brought home the two points and kept Edmonton from gaining any ground on them in the standings. That same effort will be what secures Dallas’ place in the postseason until reinforcements arrive off IR.

Oh, and a note to people who are worried about Eriksson’s production tailspinning without Richards: 

Riberio has 6 primary assists and 3 secondary assists on Loui’s goals. Meanwhile, Richards has 3 primary and 6 secondary. Modano also has 3 assists on Eriksson goals. 

In other words, he ought to be just fine.

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: one for the physical game, one for pulling Moreau off Ott, and one for pinning the 220 lb captain; +3
Trevor Daley: two for the assist; +2
Mike Modano: one for dominating the faceoff circle; +1
Raymond Sawada: three for the goal, one for the very happy birthday, and one for an otherwise solid debut game; +5
Krys Barch: three for the goal; +3
Brian Sutherby: two for the assist; +2
Loui Eriksson: two for the assist; +2
Jere Lehtinen: three for the goal and one for being priceless; +4
Mark Fistric: one for standing up for Ott and one bonus point for the nice official who avoided the fighting-after-5-minutes-left-means-suspended-1-game rule for him by giving him a double minor instead; +2
Steve Ott: two for the assist, one for being petulant, and one for wearing the ‘A’ well; +4
Marty Turco: one for a solid performance; +1
Mike Ribeiro: two for each assist and one for the get-mad get-even mindset; +5
Fabian Brunnstrom: three for the goal, two for the assist, one for leading in SOG, and one for an overall strong game; +7

February 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Raymond Sawada!

by Kristine

A very happy birthday to Raymond Sawada, whose is celebrating his 24th by being recalled from the Manitoba Moose (AHL). In the meantime, Chris Conner has been reassigned to the Peoria Rivermen (AHL).

I think this is a decision based purely on size. Sawada has it, Conner doesn’t. I remember liking Sawada in training camp. He’s a big guy who plays with a lot of energy and can be very physical (although he doesn’t use his size as much as he could, according to Defending Big D). He’s not much of a goal scorer or play maker, having only 18 points in 48 games. Against a team like Edmonton, though, you want a lineup who can bring intensity and Sawada has a chance to help with that.

The official release is here.

February 17, 2009

Game Review – 2/16/09 (DAL at CBJ)

by Chelsea

Thank Yous to/from Turco and Eriksson:

Turco can thank his teammates for pumping up his numbers (41 saves on 43 shots is much more impressive than 21 on 23) and in turn, they can apologize profusely and then thank him for winning them the two points.

They can also thank Eriksson, who had another goal+assist night and basically saved the game by scoring at the tail-end of a Columbus power play to tie the game and force overtime. 

The Argument for Ribeiro As Alternate Captain: 

First, let’s reflect over all that’s happened to the lettered members of the Stars squad:

Original: Morrow (C), Modano (A), Zubov (A)
Zubov starts his season rehabbing from surgery, returns, and then is out again for the season.
Morrow plays a handful of games before suffering a season-ending injury.

The New Three: Modano (A), Robidas (A), Richards (A)
Robidas takes a puck to the face that breaks his jaw. He was only out about a week, during which Sydor wore the extra ‘A’.
Richards takes an awkward hit against the board and breaks his wrist. Out for 6-8 weeks.

Not the best of luck for team leaders, but for the sake of making a point, going to be moving past that to who will be getting the ‘A’ that Richards had.

Common sense says that Sydor will get it, because he’s a veteran that was brought in for his leadership qualities and wore it while Robidas was out. 

Nostalgia would like to see Jere Lehtinen get it, as a reward for all the hard work and dedication he’s put into the franchise. With a mammoth work ethic, very few people are better equipped to lead by example than Lehtinen.

However, curiosity wants to see Mike Ribeiro get it. Though, to borrow from Razor, he has his moments of cheekiness, he’s no doubt matured considerably since the move from Montreal. After flourishing as the top line center last year between captain Brenden Morrow and veteran Jere Lehtinen, he seemed to take the responsibility to heart. This year, he and his line lead the team to a 5-game win streak. Would he accept the ‘A’ with pride and make a point to be the team’s numero uno? I’d love to find out. The Stars have a ridiculous winning % when Ribeiro is playing with tenacity and to his full potential.

Time to Step Up:

With Morrow, Zubov, and now Richards out, it’s time to see who is really going to lead this team and who was just riding the success of others.  People to keep an eye on:

Mike Ribeiro – see above.

James Neal – People are already pegging him as the next big cog in the Stars’ leadership machine. He’s said he wants to be a guy that gets big goals… but can he be the guy who’ll go through walls and do the dirty work too?

Fabian Brunnstrom – Most of his season has seen him working to adjust to the new North American game, but he’s also been a player who doesn’t seem to understand the concept of giving up. We called him Tiebreaker Bunny before he was hurt for a reason. Can he help the Stars break the playoff race tie?
 
Loui Eriksson – He’s already started to prove himself as a goal scorer and a defensive stability, and the kind of player his teammates can always count on to give it his all. Will he be able to score those timely goals on a regular basis?

Mike Modano – He’s been captain, he’s been the face of the franchise, he’s been the record-breaker in all franchise scoring categories. It’ll be interesting to see if he continues to just relax and enjoy his veteran years, or if he gets motivated to really lead the team.

Toby Petersen – He had a streak of good games when the Stars were first struggling with injuries, but when other players started stepping up or getting healthy, he stopped being an impact player. I predict another short but good run from him.

The Three Baby D – Niskanen, Grossman, and Fistric, reunited at last. They locked it down far beyond their years to impress in the playoffs. Will we get a repeat example of what young talent and determination can do to stop the opposing forwards?

Marty Turco – We’ve seen it in the past, and we saw it last night. When Marty Turco wants to stop the puck, the puck will be stopped. However, earlier in the season, when he mentioned people needing to step up, his words fell flat because his performance was anything but. Has he finally stepped up and found the consistency that it takes to drag this team to the playoffs all by himself, if need be?

Brad Richards – Tippett’s said that Richards does best when he’s in a leadership position. How he acts while injured (Morrow’s intensity in wanting to return for the playoffs has motivated the team to reach the postseason; Richards has a similar timetable for return) and when he comes back could be very telling on whether or not he has what it takes to be a leader on this team.

SHR +/-:

Trevor Daley: two for the assist but minus-two for an otherwise especially sloppy game; +0
Krys Barch: minus-one for the penalties; -1
James Neal: two for the shootout goal; +2
Brian Sutherby: two for the assist but minus-one for the penalties; +1
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal and two for the assist; +5
Mark Fistric: one for a good game; +1
Marty Turco: two for the good game, one for dragging the team into OT, and one for winning it in the shootout; +4
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist but minus-one for looking half-dead all night; +1
Brad Richards: three for the goal, one sympathy point, and one for leading in SOG despite playing less than ten minutes; +5 

February 16, 2009

Richards Has a Broken Wrist

by Kristine

According to a report by TSN, the injury that took Brad Richards out of tonight’s game at Columbus turns out to be a broken wrist.

“Richards will meet with a specialist on Tuesday to determine the extent of the injury and necessary treatment.”

I’m horrified. Could this possibly come at a worse time? A lot has been said about Richards living up to his contract this season (or rather not living up to it), but the truth is that he’s second on the team in points, second in assists, and third in goals. Not to mention if it weren’t for him, Loui would not be where he is right now in goal scoring, either.

This – especially on top of Ott’s injury – is not good.

Update 2/17: The Stars officially announced this afternoon that Richards will miss 6-8 weeks with a fracture in his right wrist. He will not need surgery, however. Six weeks would put his return the last week in March (the 30th) and eight weeks would make it the very last week of the season. So what does this mean for the rest of the team? Time for people to start stepping up the way they did when Morrow was injured. If there’s something that could really kill the momentum, this could be it, and the Stars will have to work hard not to let it affect them.

The official release is here.

February 16, 2009

Power Rankings Round-Up

by Kristine

Since we’re going into the all-important last leg of the season with a team that’s had some serious momentum lately, I thought I’d start a new feature here at Stop Hitting Robidas. Andrew’s, ESPN, THN, and TSN all release their power rankings on Monday, so let’s take a look at where each of them has ranked the Stars, and their reasoning behind it.

Actual rank: 14th in league; 6th in West; 2nd in Pacific.
Record: 27-21-7. L10: 7-3-0.

Andrew’s by Mark Stepneski
Stars: 11 this week; 9 last week. Marty Turco, who has started a franchise-record 26 straight games, is at the top of his game right now for the Stars.”
Of Note: Anaheim at 16 this week; 15 last week. “Ducks, who have played just three games in nine days, give up a season-high eight goals in dismal loss to Atlanta Sunday night.”
My thoughts: Turco is the story of the week in Stars-land. Everyone seems amazed that he isn’t tired but it’s true – he’s playing his best hockey of the season right now. Of course, there is concern that he’ll exhaust himself by the time we get to the playoffs, but that’s something that will have to be dealt with on a day-to-day basis. If he keeps playing spectacularly, and Anaheim keeps dropping games (they’re 5-5-0 in their L10), the Ducks will find themselves continuing to wave up at us as we sit firmly at 2nd in the Pacific, and wouldn’t that be sweet?

ESPN by Joy Russo
Stars: 12 this week; 12 last week. “Why did defenseman Stephane Robidas recently describe goalie Marty Turco as ‘Superman’? The dude has made 26 straight starts for the Stars.”
Of Note: Vancouver at 11 this week; 17 last week. 27-21-8. “We may learn to regret giving the Canucks the jump this week, but they’ve won five of their past six games, even without Roberto Luongo looking spectacular in net.”
My thoughts: Interesting how much of the rankings in the west are goalie related. Not only do the Stars and Canucks get goalie-related calls, the Blue Jackets get a jump based on Mason coming back from mono (21 last week to 16 this week). In a bit of unfortunate irony, the Nucks jumped above us in ESPN’s power rankings on the day they sit a point above us in the conference.

The Hockey News by Ryan Dixon
Stars: 11 this week; 7 last week. “Consistent production from rookie Fabian Brunnstrom would sure help down the stretch.”
Of Note: Blue Jackets at 9; 19 last week. 6-3-1 L10. “Get ready for a March with meaningful games, Jackets fans.”
My thoughts: THN rarely elaborates on their choices the way ESPN does, but they’ve been generous with the Stars all season. I think 7th was a little too generous last week, but they hit the nail on the head with this week’s buzzword, “consistency.” If the Stars can’t keep it, they’re not going to keep that playoff seed. The return of Steve Mason to net for the Blue Jackets has everyone buzzing, and our game against him (oh, and the rest of the Jackets) tonight is going to be a big indicator for both teams.

TSN is running a little late with their power rankings this week, but I’ll update as soon as they post them.

What do you think? Where would you rate the Stars this week, and why?