Posts tagged ‘Boston Bruins’

November 3, 2009

Power Rankings Round-Up

by Kristine

After a somewhat dismal group of games to close out October, let’s see what the media is saying about the Stars this week.

Actual rank: 10th in league; 6th in West; 4th in Pacific.
Record: 6-3-5. L10: 5-3-2.

ESPN by Pierre LeBrun
Stars: 13 this week; 14 last week. Backup netminder (at least in theory) Alex Auld drew back-to-back starts in losses to Florida and Nashville as the Stars continue underwhelming (2-2-2) play at home.”
Of Note: Phoenix at 6 this week; 16 last week. The Coyotes continue to prove they are for real with three straight wins, and Ilya Bryzgalov continues to shine in goal. (He’s allowed just 25 goals in 13 games.)”
My thoughts: Underwhelming is one way to put it. You could also substitute “pathetic” or “uninspired” and be okay. For a team that had a 16-19-6 road record last season, the Stars are winning road games they should not be winning – and losing home games they should not be losing. This season’s 4-1-3 road record is definitely better than 2-2-2 at home, but the L5 of 2-1-2 isn’t stellar. No matter where they play, the Stars need to pick it up. Having a goalie with a breakout season like Bryzgalov would go a long way towards that, but so would some solid defense and consistent special teams. Sound familiar?

TSN
Stars:
6 this week; 11 last week. With four points in the last four games, Fabian Brunnstrom is starting to contribute offensively, giving the Stars all kinds of depth up front. Now, they just need Marty Turco to get over his illness, because he’s been much better than Alex Auld so far this season. Key Injuries: G Marty Turco (flu).”
Of Note: Boston at 20 this week; 20 last week. Not the Bruins handle the man advantage much better, going 2-for-36 (5.6%) over the last 11 games, a trend that might prompt a change in power play personnel, like getting Dennis Wideman back on the first unit in place of Derek Morris, for example. Key Injuries: C Marc Savard (foot), LW Milan Lucic (finger).
My thoughts: Finally, Fabian Brunnstrom gets some credit. Everyone is so busy talking about Holy Cow Jamie Benn that they’re overlooking the fact that Bunny has quietly accumulated six assists and a goal so far. It’s also nice to hear that our starting goalie has been better than our backup goalie this season, considering that’s kind of how it should be. Turco’s been a bit shaky at times, giving up goals at critical times, but his overall game is much better than it was last season. So far he’s got a .917 sv%. More importantly, he’s sitting with a 2.26 GAA in front of a team that’s scoring 3.43 goals per game on average. That’s behind only Calgary, Washington, and Philly, in case you were wondering. It helps that, unlike the mighty Bruins, the Stars are occassionally managing to score on their PPs. With Brad Richards back and healthy, our middle-of-the-league power play should improve. As long as that happens, and Turco keeps up the good work, the Stars should also continue to improve.

Yahoo by Ross McKeon
Stars: 16 this time; 17 last time. “Marty Turco is off to a better start this season than last. You don’t think it has anything to do with it being a contract year, do ya?”
Of Note: Colorado at 2 this time; 30 last time. “Best story of the early season, bar none. Craig Anderson is emerging as a star in goal. And if you haven’t gotten a glimpse of teen-aged rookies Ryan O’Reilly and Matt Duchene you really are missing something.”
My thoughts: Another ranking, another talk of our goaltending. Turco needs to have a big year, but more than that, the Stars need Turco to have a big year. Of course, Turco being off to a better start this year than last doesn’t say much, considering he started last year with 29 goals against in his first eight games. At least this year, he has a viable backup in Alex Auld (who I still believe in despite his rocky back-to-back starts last week). Meanwhile, Colorado has in Craig Anderson what we wish we could have in Turco, as Anderson has been leading the surprise charge to first place in the West for the Avs.

Overall, despite a less than stellar handful of games to close out the start of the season, the media seems to be remaining pretty optomistic about the Stars. It has been an encouraging first month. They have points in 11 of their first 14 – points that could be very valuable when the playoff crunch rolls around. For November, I’m hoping they start picking up those points in regulation instead of giving away points in a good third of the games they play. As much as the points we’ve gained in OT losses could help us in the final crunch, the points we’ve given to other teams could hurt us. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

At time of publication, The Hockey News had yet to update their power rankings for the week.

October 18, 2009

Game Reviews – (vs BOS) and (@ CHI)

by Chelsea

The “Back-to-Back Special”, or the “Tale of Two Teams.”

Game – 10/16/09:

Well the funny thing about this back-to-back was that both of the teams spent every meeting last season completely embarrassing the Stars. For that reason, the general consensus here was that it’d be nice to at least get 2 points of the 4. Because the Boston game was on home ice and the first of the two, it seemed really important that the Stars play well.

What really happened appeared to be more like the Stars slept right through the game against the Bruins so that they’d have lossa energy to take on Chicago with. Ribeiro took a dumb penalty in the first, the Bruins scored, and the game basically ended there with 47 minutes left to play.

For insurance, though, the Bruins added another two goals and won the game 3-0. Turco couldn’t really be faulted for any of them, but also did not really come up with enough timely saves to keep them in the game.

On a positive note, Aaron Gagnon (called up from the Texas Stars) played in his first ever NHL game. For having played the night before, he didn’t look so bad. He won 5 of 8 faceoffs and had a takeaway and a blocked shot (and no giveaways).

Nicklas Grossman took a puck right in the face in the second period, but because he is 1/2 of the toughest defensive pairing in the league, he skated himself off the ice and returned in the third. All things considered, it was a pretty unlucky night to be anywhere near Stephane Robidas (at least 2 of the goals against deflected off of him).

Notes – 10/16/09:

  • The three game stars, in order: Savard, Thomas, Chara
  • Brad Richards and a handful of other Stars had their point streaks broken. Because nobody scored. Which was sad.
  • All of a sudden, the Dallas power play lost its power, going 0-for-3 despite the advantage coming at some pretty crucial points in the game.
  • Mike Ribeiro had a rough night, as he took the Stars’ only penalty and was on the ice for both even strength goals against. He also won only 27% of his 15 faceoffs and only 1 of his 5 shots even got on goal.
  • Rookie Jamie Benn actually led the Stars in blocked shots, with 3. He also had 3 takeaways and 2 giveaways.
  • Robidas led the team with 6 hits.
  • Conclusion: A stinker was bound to happen eventually, and while it is disappointing that it happened so early, it is also completely unsurprising that it was against the Bruins.

SHR +/- – 10/16/09:

Nicklas Grossman: one 😦 point for leaving the game bloodied and hurting but one 🙂 point for returning; +2
Aaron Gagnon: one welcometotheNHL! point; +1
Tom Wandell: minus-one for sucking so much at faceoffs; -1
Mike Ribeiro: see Tom Wandell; -1


Game – 10/17/09:

Immediately following the Bruins game, the Stars packed up and headed to Chicago to play the Blackhawks. Ooh, the dreaded Blackhawks, unbeaten by Dallas since the 07-08 season. Ooh, and playing their second game in as many nights too. Ooh, the Stars would need some serious luck to make it out of this one with a win.

Well… the Stars got a weird mix of luck, fortunate circumstance, and timely goaltending and actually managed to run off with the two points.

First off on the list of oddities was seeing defensive defenseman Mark Fistric playing forward on a line with Petersen and Barch. Gagnon was a healthy scratch and Woywitka was paired with Niskanen. He didn’t look nearly as lost as you’d expect, and actually seemed to be enjoying it.

Second, there was the play of Alex Auld. He was fantastic in the first period, stopping all 14 shots to keep the Stars in the game when they came out sleepwalking. However, for all his timely saves, he did have a few unfortunate moments. The second goal against came when Auld lost his footing behind the net, giving Toews an easy goal. The third gave the Hawks momentum to attempt to tie it by putting them within one goal with 5 minutes left to play.

There was also James Neal. One of the best players for Dallas in the first 5 games all of a sudden looked completely lifeless. He had multiple noticeably lazy moments, including coughing the puck up at his own blueline and then standing there and watching while the Blackhawks scored. He ended the game -1, with only 2 shots, 2 hits, a giveaway and no takeaways or blocked shots.

More strangeness included: Toby Petersen scoring, which was assisted by Fistric, meaning his first point of the season actually came as a forward. Skrastins, Niskanen, Grossman, and Robidas also all left with a point in the game, meaning 5 of 11 (if you include Fistric) points by Dallas players went to defensemen. A pane of glass fell out and into the stands during the game and play was held up as they waited for it to be replaced.

Perhaps the oddest thing was the goal by which the Stars won, which came entirely on accident and suggested that whatever misfortune surrounded Robidas the night before seemed to have reversed.

Robidas shot the puck from center ice, sending it along the glass in a routine dump into the Chicago zone. Instead of heading behind the net, however, it hit something and bounced out towards Cristobal Huet, who reached down to catch it. The puck had a different idea, all of a sudden springing up and over Huet’s glove, into the net.

Though the game was won on a fluke and a fumble, the win was protected by some very very hard work from the Stars penalty kill. With Morrow in the box (stupidstupid) at 17:49 in the third for interference (stuuppiidddd), Chicago pulled their goalie and had 6 skaters against the Stars’ 4. Wandell and Eriksson in particular worked very hard to keep the puck away from Auld and Dallas made it out with the win.

With that kill, the Stars successfully killed 8 of their last 9 penalties dating back to the Nashville game. In fact, they have not allowed a power play goal in any game in which Ribeiro was on the ice for at least 25% of the time shorthanded. I actually kept (approximate) track of how many times each player distinctly gained possession and removed the puck from their own zone during a penalty kill, and Ribeiro, Eriksson, and Neal combined for about 70%. Morrow, Wandell, and Robidas made up the other 30%.

However, the Stars power play was not any better than Chicago’s. They had 5 opportunities (8 if you go back to the Boston game) and couldn’t score on any of them. Granted, Crawford played a pretty conservative power play as it probably didn’t seem worth risking the game (a Blackhawks SH goal would have really given them momentum) to try to increase their lead.

Notes – 10/17/09:

  • The three game stars, in order: Auld, Toews, Ribeiro
  • Auld is now 2-0-0 and has been a game star in each game he’s started, even in preseason.
  • Morrow got himself an extra 2 minutes after the final buzzer for sassing, apparently.
  • Ribeiro, after promising after the Boston game that he would be better, had a goal and won 40% of his faceoffs.
  • Fabian Brunnstrom was the only Star to end the game with a +2. He also assisted on the first goal when he won a puck battle and sent it to Morrow for a one-timer.
  • That ^ is a little misleading, as Morrow’s one-timer was stopped, but he got his own rebound.
  • Robidas led the team with 5 hits. That’s 11 in two nights, which is more than the majority of Stars have all season.
  • Conclusion: It was a weird win, but getting two points and not giving any up to a Western opponent is nothing to look down on. Stars really need to build off this and string together a few more, though.

SHR +/- – 10/17/09:

Nicklas Grossman: two for the assist; +2
Stephane Robidas: three for the goal; +3
Matt Niskanen: two for the assist, one for looking really good in the first half of the game, but minus-one for looking really bad in the second half; +2
Brenden Morrow: three for the goal but minus-one for that stupid penalty; +2
Krys Barch: two for the assist; +2
Jamie Benn: two for the assist; +2
Toby Petersen: three for the goal but minus-one for being so awful at faceoffs lately; +2
James Neal: bleck; -2
Loui Eriksson: one for his hard work on the PK; +1
Tom Wandell: one for his hard work on the PK but minus-one for the stupid penalties; +0
Mark Fistric: two for the assist; +2
Alex Auld: one for the win, however unusual it was; +1
Karlis Skrastins: two for the assist; +2
Mike Ribeiro: three for the goal; +3
Fabian Brunnstrom: two for the assist and one for the hustle that earned him his +2; +3

March 21, 2009

NHL Overall Team +/- Examination

by Kristine

The Stars take on the Sharks tonight, but before they do I’d just like to point something out. Everyone knows that +/- doesn’t tell the whole story. However, I think it does tell some of the story. For example, check out what you find when you compare the overall team +/- score for the top five and bottom five teams in the league, with the Stars thrown in the middle…

1. DET   +177
2. SJS   +112
3. BOS   +281
4. NJD   +218
5. WSH   +110

21. DAL   -40

26. PHX    -163
27. COL   -188
28. ATL   -93
29. TBL   -148
30. NYI   -220

Obviously a team’s overall +/- is more related to the success of the team than people may realize.

Last season the Stars ended +85 and 8th in the league. In an even more drastic change, Colorado ended +73 and 10th in the league. First place Detroit ended +235 and last place Tampa ended -148. 21st place went to the Cancucks, who finished the season with a +2. Of course, there are anomonlies, almost entirely on the negative side – the Sharks finished second in the league last season, but with a -3; the Oilers finished with a horrid -156 but managed to pull 19th place overall. However, the basic trend is that the higher in the standings a team is, the better its plus-minus is going to be, and vice versa. So is having a strong team plus-minus the key to regular season success? I don’t claim to know for sure either way, but it’s an interesting stat to take into account.

November 26, 2008

Sidney Crosby is a Tool: SHR!’s View of the NHL

by Chelsea

With the Dallas Stars slumped in a 6-10-4 hole at the bottom of the league, we at SHR! felt it was time to stop being so introspective. We’ve picked, prodded, and yelled at everyone from the players to the owner, and now it’s time to move on (at least until the next game). Team bias aside, here’s how we feel about some other players across the league this season.

Note: All the links go to images, videos, and articles that we felt illustrated our feelings best. So please, don’t hesitate with the clicking. 
 

Sidney Crosby
First overall draft pick in 2005. Winner of the Art Ross Trophy, the Lester B. Pearson Award, and the Hart Memorial Trophy. 21 years old and captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Led his team to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, and failed (despite his best efforts) to grow any semblance of a beard through the entire run. Also, he’s a total tool. In a meeting with a pair of original Penguins season ticket holders, Crosby responded to the couple’s enthusiasm with monotonous ‘Oh’s and ‘Okay’s. A 9-year-old can do your spinny move, Crosby. It doesn’t make you special or make up for the absolute lack of personality. Your own team’s fans call you “Cindy” for a reason.
 

Evgeni Malkin
Basically a slightly older, Russian, less dynamic version of Crosby. Since we’ve already determined that Crosby’s a tool, that means Malkin is too. Pity. He’s first in the league for assists right now, but sitting under that kind of stifling shadow, he’ll always be at the bottom of our books (especially when it comes to Russian players). Should he ever escape Sid and the Pens, we’ll be on the lookout for the much-anticipated reveal of his personality. Until then, though, no thanks.   
 

Alexander Ovechkin
Now here’s a Russian player we can get behind. Sure, he’s got aesthetics of a Cro-Magnon, but behind all that scruff is a highly-skilled someone with a real love of the sport. Known for exuberant goal celebrations, a goofy grin, incredible scoring ability, and a seemingly never-ending list of quirks, Ovechkin is credited with bringing much-needed personality and talent into the NHL. He was first overall in his draft year (2004) and, thanks to the lockout, ended up debuting versus Sidney Crosby, effectively stealing the Calder Memorial Trophy with a stunning 52 goal/106 point season. Really though, we mostly love him because he makes us laugh just about every time he gets in front of a camera or near a reporter. 


Alexander Semin
The “other” Alex is generally overshadowed by Alex Ovechkin, but we found that there’s a lot to like about this guy aside from his partner-in-crime. We first picked him up on our radar when this interview came out with him calling Crosby “nothing special”. Now, them’s fighting words. While the rest of the league took offense, we sat back and had a good laugh. The best part? Semin was sharing the top spot in league points with Malkin up until his injury, with 27 points in 16 games. Crosby, meanwhile, still only has 25 points in 20 games. Like Ovechkin, though, his obvious talent isn’t the main draw to us at SHR. We love him because, despite being here for 2 full years (5 if you include up to his first as a Capital) and obviously understanding English, he still insists on doing interviews in Russian using a translator. Or because he’s always laughing at seemingly nothing. Or because he does things like this during games. He’s infectious.

 

Brooks Laich (and Mike Green)
While he might not be as good of a goal scorer as Ovechkin (12 points in 21 games), Laich claims to challenge him in the “ladies man” department. We may not necessarily agree with that, but we will agree that he’s a funny and well-spoken guy. Green is included because he shares the spotlight with Laich in some fun adventures with Caps Cribs. In the end, Laich won out because (okay, not ALL bias aside) he’s from Saskatchewan and so is Brenden Morrow, and he unsurprisingly reminds us a little bit of our beloved captain. 


Jason Arnott
An ex-Star, he proved to be a major pain in the derriere so far this season. Captaining the Nashville Predators, he got two goals and one assist in the only time he’s played us in 08-09. We lost that game 3-1. From our understanding, he was that kind of ache for Stars fans even when he was a Star, his antics making him more trouble than he was worth. Still, he’s earned his spot as captain for his new team, and we were openly alarmed the night he suffered a neck strain on a frightful collision that left him motionless on the ice for over five minutes. Glad he’s alright, and looking forward to despising him again come our match-up in December.
 

Jordan Tootoo
We respectfully dislike Arnott, because he’s got the potential to put us in some statistical pain. We just outright hate Tootoo, because he’s got the potential to put us in some unnecessarily excessive physical pain. His nicknames range from “Tutu” to “Toots” and they all remind us of how he likes to suckerpunch people with his gloves on. We think words like “vile,” “scum,” and “cowardly” describe him best. He’s been accused of biting people, running injured players, diving, faking innocence, and otherwise shaming the sport. We might be holding a grudge, but rightfully so. This man has no and has earned no respect. 
 

Henrik Lundqvist
Twin of Stars forward Joel Lundqvist, Henrik is the goaltender for the New York Rangers. While we may not care much for that team, Lundqvist stands alone as our favored Eastern goalie. He currently sports a .926 sv%, good for seventh best in the league, and a GAA (2.09) that’s good for fifth best. When his team needs a big player, he makes big saves, and when he can’t do that, he doesn’t throw a fit when he gets pulled from the game. He’s a class act with style that should make Sean Avery jealous, but… well, he doesn’t appear to take himself too seriously. 


Martin Brodeur
A good part of why we like Lundqvist is that he’s escaped the kind of snobbery that seems to drip off other Eastern goalies, particularly Brodeur. He could be the best netminder ever to set foot on ice, or the worst, and it wouldn’t matter to us with an attitude like that. When someone in the league does something he doesn’t like (see Avery, arm-waving), he gripes about it until the rules are changed in his favor. And when other goaltenders began exploiting equipment size rules, Brodeur stubbornly insisted on wearing the old, smaller sizes. Good for him, but then he turned around and complained that other goalies had an unfair advantage. Wait, what? His game wasn’t even suffering from this “injustice”, and he still forced another rule change about it. Its amazing that there’s still a goalie trapezoid, all things considered.
 

Patrick Kane (and Jonathon Toews)
Neither of them appear to have hit puberty yet, but they both do their best to carry the Blackhawks on their shoulders in an unfortunate Crosby-like trend. Since when are a pair of 20-year-olds responsible enough to lead a professional hockey team? 
Also like Sidney Crosby, Kane can’t grow a beard. He said here that he wasn’t going to shave, but we saw him in Dallas 10 days later and can attest to the fact that his facial hair was still MIA. When it comes to the ‘Hawks, we’d rather see more of the pranksters, Adam Burish and Patrick Sharp, and less of the pranked. 


Chris Chelios (and the Red Wings)
If schooling the Stars and the Penguins in last year’s playoffs wasn’t enough proof, the Red Wings walked off with the Stanley Cup and the respect of the entire league. Their skill level, style of play, and ability to win has brought us to this conclusion: the Wings are animatronic hockey players. A good example of this is Chris Chelios, who has been functioning in the NHL for longer than players like Crosby or Ovechkin have been alive. We reckon that he’s due for an oil change soon. We’re not sure where Detroit picked up such sophisticated technology (the same place they get their dead octopuses, maybe?), but we’ll bet that they’re powered with Energizer batteries. 


Braydon Coburn
Rolled out of bed, got misdirected by a hurricane, wandered through a prison, and finally made it to the Flyer’s headshot photoshoot. At least, that’s what it looks like. At 6’5” and 220 lbs, we still think Coburn is probably the least-scary giant hockey monster we’ve ever not actually met. We credit this commercial for giving us that opinion, as he brought a surprising amount of natural charisma to make for a very endearing thirty seconds. Hockey commercials are usually funny because of the awful acting. This one was funny for just the opposite. 


Ryan Malone
Joining Coburn in the ranks of people we like because of their hockey commercials is Ryan Malone. To be honest, we don’t care if he DID take more money and fled his hometown to stink it up with the Lightning. He’s got better stats than Steven Stamkos right now, anyway. Besides, after seeing this, we suspect he was sick of being the only person with an outgoing personality on his team. Is it possible that a losing Lightning still beats a winning Penguins when rated on fun and humor? We hope so. 

 

Saku Koivu (and Mikko Koivu
A pair of Finnish hockey brothers, separated by nine years and a thousand miles, the Koivus are as charming as they come. Saku has been with the Canadiens since they drafted him in 1993, while Mikko has been for Minnesota since they drafted him in 2001. With both of them currently captaining their respective teams, it’s pretty unlikely that they’ll ever play on the same side in an NHL match-up. Older brother Saku gets the upperhand for us because of his battle with cancer, and our respect for him having overcome it. 

 

Marc Savard
There were a lot of Bruins competing for this spot, including Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara. Savard got it because of his antics in the game in which they played the Stars. Once again, bias aside, this was really our first impression of Bruins gameplay, and it left us with a bitter taste in our mouths. We fully understand how grating Avery must have been for him, but that gave Savard no excuse to push him into the fetal position and punch him in the head. We wouldn’t even wish that kind of circus on our rivals, which is why we hope the likes of Savard never becomes part of the Stars. 


Eric Staal (and Jordan and Marc and Jared)
Oh, the Staal brothers. Eric and Jordan already have hat tricks this season, and Marc… has only gotten four points in 24 games this season. That’s alright, though. Jared’s still stuck in the minors. We might not be fans of them as individuals per se, but as a group, they’re definitely fun to watch. Maybe we have a harder time loving them as individuals because it’s so hard to tell them apart when they aren’t wearing the colors of their respective teams. We’re even willing to excuse this little incident, because the mental image of hockey superstars wandering drunk on a highway harassing motorists is kind of funny. 

 

That’s all for our SCiaT: SVotN. Feel free to comment and add on to our conclusions, or remind us of heroes and villains that we may have left off the list.

November 2, 2008

Game Review – 11/01/08 (DAL at BOS)

by Chelsea

Aka, “I hate the Bruins and would not mind seeing a meteor hit Boston”.

No, that’s harsh. Those poor Boston citizens already have to deal with having a bunch of thugs and jerks for a hockey team. No need to blow up their city, too.

In case you missed it, Boston beat us 5-1. Turco was in net and made some good stops. Once again, the other team used Fistric as a surface to deflect the puck off of into the net. There was something like 146 minutes worth of penalties called in this game. For the math-challenged, that’s roughly 2.5 times the actual amount of time in the game.

Since I’m tired of “here are all five people that scored on us” reviews, instead, I’m going to explain to you all why you should hate the Bruins too!

Reason 1:

They’re like children that tap you on one shoulder and stand by the other looking innocent, except that by tap on I mean smash violently into. Bruins players got so many cheap shots off on our players, Ott especially, and none of them were called. Really. One guy hit Ott in the face with his stick, and later took a baseball swing at the back of his head. When they finally provoked our players, they acted like we’d started it. Now, I can’t say what kind of insults Ott and Avery were throwing out, but that’s par for the course.

Reason 2:

They bribed the officials. Or drugged them with sleeping pills. Or maybe blinded them before the game. I’m not sure, but something was up with the officials managing to miss all the cheap shots in reason 1.

Reason 3:

The Bruins are actually a street gang that get paid by mugging people, and tonight they used Sean Avery as a gang initiation target. See, the new Bruinsies got to become full-fledged members by joining in on an Avery ambush. Not kidding here. At one point, Avery was curled up in a ball on the ice, getting sat on/hit in the head by Savard, while FOUR other Bruins teammates tried to join in.

Reason 4:

Apparently in Boston, it is perfectly acceptable to jump from your bench onto the ice to try and pick a fight.

Reason 5:

Their coach commends such angry-mob behavior, saying that it was good leadership on Savard’s part. Also said he felt bad for Barch, having to clean up Ott’s mess. As if Ott hadn’t had a giant target on his back all night…

Reason 6:

Milan Lucic, Mark Stuart, Shawn Thornton, Marc Savard, Shane Hnidy.

Reason 7:

Did you see Matt Niskanen get jumped during the Avery ambush? The guy’d literally never been in an NHL fight and was skating by to try and break up the pile on Avery, when he got pulled to the side and forced into a fight.

Reason 8:

Matt Niskanen and Sean Avery both got 10-minute misconducts. Really, refs?

Reason 9:

They did this to our beloved Stars. 

Reason 10:

After playing dirty, unsportsmanlike, and downright mean, they still walked away with the two points. Talk about not deserving what you’ve earned.

There wasn’t much I saw that I liked in that game, but the goal we did get was nice. Avery basically swept past someone, grabbing the puck off that guy’s stick as he went, and sunk it from a considerable distance all by himself.

Also, Richards was back. Seemed to be okay to me. Guess his lower body is in working order again.

Stars get almost a full week off before they play Anaheim and San Jose on Friday and Saturday respectively. We’ll see what happens between now and then.

October 31, 2008

Tonight’s NHL Results

by Kristine

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

read more »

October 26, 2008

Super Saturday Results

by Kristine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 20, 2008

Mr. Monday: Fabian Brunnstrom

by Chelsea

This week, Fabian Brunnstrom topped our SHR +/– with +16 on ice (second only to Stephane Robidas and Mike Modano, each at +19) and second to none with +7 off ice points.

Most of his points, for us, came off his hat trick win over the Nashville Predators on Wednesday. Before that game, he had become the much-hyped rookie that had yet to see regular season ice. He coined the term flop-isode in preseason, and earned the nickname “Bunny”.

That game, however, gave us more than just a win and a mark in history. It allowed us to see the beautiful, clean, efficient hockey that this player is capable of. He didn’t just score, he did what we’d been waiting for the veterans to do; he parked himself in front of the net and capitalized on opportunities.

Before that game, the most I knew about Brunnstrom was that part of why he’d chosen Dallas over other teams like the Red Wings or Canadiens was that we’d offered him a chance to play in the NHL right off the bat. I mistakenly assumed that this made him a bit of a Swedish diva. Listening to him try and downplay his own success during the 10/15/08 game, I realized I’d been wrong.

Very, very wrong. In the October issue of Impact! Magazine, there’s an article on Brunnstrom and all the hype that’s surrounded his name recently. In the piece, he comes across as genuine, honest, and humble. The part I was most surprised to read was that, just three years ago, our Bunny was working at a Burger King:

This is a late-blooming NHL player who took a job on the side to help him keep developing as a hockey player. The job? Packing burgers between buns and serving the public at Burger King for three hours each day after practice and before games.

On his path to the NHL, he nearly signed with the Vancouver Canucks, but GM Dave Nonis was fired before the deal went through. The Detroit Red Wings wanted him, but their depth level with forwards meant Brunnstrom wouldn’t have much chance to shine. The Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, and Ottowa Senators all had their eyes on him as well. In the end, though, it was the Dallas Stars who Brunnstrom picked to start his NHL career with.

In preseason with the Stars, he looked nervous, hesitant, and unable to stand up on his skates without falling. We scratched our heads, worrying about whether or not he’d be the sensation in North American hockey that he was in European hockey. Once again, our foresight here was lacking. A late-bloomer in the big picture, it just took Brunnstrom a little while to warm up to our way of playing.

Watching him in practice brought us hope for his skill; while Steve Ott, Trevor Daley, and James Neal were goofing off in the corner, Brunnstrom was eyes-to-the-ice, practicing his puck handling skills with unexpected focus. He seemed able to snake the puck away from anyone, in a quiet, unassuming sort of way.

After practice, he was one of the many players to walk through an autograph line for the fans. He took his time and signed things carefully, which resulted in the prettiest signature I’d ever seen from a hockey player. He was friendly, quiet, and once again not the needy narcissist I’d expected.

Of course, his debut brought an explosion of attention, as he became one of only three players to ever score a hat trick in their first career game. Again, he tried to limit the hype, crediting nice passes and good timing for his goals. You can’t overlook, though, that at this point he’s got four goals in three games, and has played consistently clean in a team that is struggling to clean up their sloppy game.

After hearing about Sean Avery and his costume trunk of made-up stories so often, hearing from Fabian Brunnstrom has been a nice change.

Stars head coach Dave Tippett had this to say about him:

“I’ve been very impressed with how respectful he is, to the process, the league, his teammates,” Tippett said. “He’s gone out every day and worked hard. Everything we’ve seen so far is positive. The next step is get him into games, see what he can do.”

So, I was wondering who Fabian Brunnstrom was before he became the extremely-hyped Swedish hockey dreamboat/Tiebreaker Bunny.

We know he worked at Burger King. We know that during the 2005-06 year, he played in the third-highest Swedish league. In 2006-07, Brunnstrom won the Swedish Division 1 scoring title with 73 points (37-36) in 41 games. Two years later and he’s on the road to becoming rookie of the year material in the NHL.

What elevates someone from barely a speck on the hockey big picture to a portrait of potential?

According to this article, dedication. Brunnstrom spent mornings working on his game, alone, before practice.

“It was dark when I arrived so I had to turn on all the lights first and then push out the nets,’’ he said. “I just practiced my stickhandling one day, my shot the next and then my skating. It was a little bit of everything actually.’’

Given that I don’t read Swedish, it’s been very hard to get information about Brunnstrom from before the NHL began eyeballing him as the year’s hottest contract. I did find this garbled translation of what would probably be a very informative article if translation tools didn’t fail miserably. Apparently, Bunny plays guitar.

Back to hockey…

Skill needs no translation, thus I provide you with this video of Brunnstrom highlights.

And now, to finish off this post, can I get an “Awwwww, Bunnnnnyy”?

Bunny, outside of Löfbergs Lila Arena, in 2007.

Bunny, outside of Löfbergs Lila Arena, in 2007.