Posts tagged ‘Chris Osgood’

October 12, 2010

Power Rankings Round-Up

by Kristine

Hey everyone, welcome back to the weekly Power Ranking Round Up. This is a feature I will be posting once a week, after all the power rankings are released at ESPN, THN, and TSN. Last season this was on Monday or Tuesday so unless the rankings are published on a different day this season, I’m going to stick with Tuesday for my posts. For now, only ESPN has updated their rankings for the start of the season. Normally I would wait to make this post until next week, but their opinion and rank of the Stars is something I want to talk about. So without further ado, let’s kick this off for 2010-11.

Actual rank: 1st in Pacific, 3rd in the West, 7th in the league.
Record: 2-0-0. L10: 2-0-0.

ESPN by Scott Burnside
Stars: 3 this week; 20 last week. “Who knows how long the Stars can stay at this lofty perch, but kudos to coach Marc Crawford for helping his team earn two straight road wins in New Jersey and Long Island out of the gate. Who knows? It may help spur the sale of the team, if nothing else.”
Of Note: Pittsburgh at 27 this week; 7 last week. “A disappointing start at the Consol Energy Center for Pittsburgh after the Penguins dropped back-to-back one-goal games. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has shined at times but looked weak on Montreal’s winning goal Saturday night. Surprising lack of finish for the Pens early on.”
My thoughts: That is not a typo. Burnside really did rank us third in the league this week, only under the Wings (1) and Hurricanes (2).  Just let that sink in for a second. I took a few minutes to scan through all my old PRRU posts and the highest anyone has ranked us since I started in February of 2008 was 6th, and that only happened twice at the end of October 2009. We’ve been ranked in the teens or twenties every other time. I guess being one of five teams to start the season with a 2-0-0 record earns us a little bit of respect. In case you were wondering, the other four are Detroit, Carolina, Toronto, and Edmonton. So a few surprises there. There are also a big surprise on the (shorter) list of teams that started out 0-2-0: Pittsburgh, Anaheim, and Ottawa. I mostly find this notable because I can’t stand the Penguins, and I’m enjoying our spot at the top even more because they get to experience life at the bottom for now. However, personal bias aside, it’s a perfect example of one reason I love hockey: every season is truly a new season. Things can change so much between June and October. Who would have ever predicted we would have 2 wins in a back-to-back road trip to start the season? And who would have predicted the Penguins would drop their first game, not only of the season but also in their new stadium, and to a division rival at that? Probably very few people. But that’s how it’s played out, and it’s a lesson that this season is a fresh start and a chance to get back into the winning tradition we’ve been spoiled to have around here.

THN by Adam Proteau
Stars: 4 this week; n/a last week. “Two road wins to start season is great news, but they’ll need to beat good teams before they’re taken seriously
Of Note: Detroit at 1 this week; n/a last week. “Ageless wonder Nick Lidstrom leads all Wings skaters in average time on ice (24:57)
My thoughts: Well. Detroit is coming up. If we beat them – which will mean three wins in a row for the first time since 08-09 – will we be taken seriously? Or do we have to beat the Penguins, Hawks, Caps, Sharks, etc as well? Something tells me it’s going to take a huge start this season for people to consider the Stars as contenders for the playoffs. After the last few seasons, we have to prove that our 2-0-0 start is not just a fluke – and it’s not just the media that’s skeptical. The fans are, too. I know I’m nervous about Thursday. Win three in a row? With the third being against Detroit? Eek.  Speaking of the dreaded Wings, they have the top spot according to Adam. They have a 2-0-1 record coming into Thursday’s game and have looked pretty on-point so far. Both of their goalies have had pretty good starts – Howard has a .932 sv% in two games and Osgood had a .929 sv% in his one game – and their big names are putting up points early. ll Basically, it’s going to be a good game Thursday night. We’ll be there, applauding Mo’s return and waiting on the edge of our seats for the Stars to give people a reason to take them seriously.

So there we have it. One ranking, one top three spot, one fresh start. If that isn’t a reason for optimism, please find me something that is. That’s it for this week, but if The Hockey News or TSN update their power rankings in the next few days, I’ll update the post to include them. Otherwise, I’ll be back next week. Go Stars!

Update: THN’s rankings are in. I’ve updated the post with them.

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 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 16, 2009

Game Review – 1/12/09 (DAL vs DET)

by Chelsea

Game:

Stars versus the Red Wings again, this time actually on Versus. Or VS. Or however they spell their name. Basically, the showdown in Big D was being aired on national TV, so there was just a bit of pressure on the Stars not to lose in a repeat performance of their 6-1 embarrassment a few days before. 

Brad Richards centered the top line for Dallas again, with Loui Eriksson on his left wing and Joel Lundqvist on his right. 

The defensive pairings didn’t change. 

First period started.

Dallas was immediately commanding, pushing towards the net to test Wings goalie Chris Osgood within fifteen seconds of the puck dropping. 

Detroit took the first penalty when Jiri Hudler tripped Krys Barch at 2:19, putting the Stars on their first power play. It was a surprisingly strong start, as Dallas forced Osgood to freeze the puck to alleviate pressure.

There was a surprising amount of goaltender penalties taken in this game, the first of which belonged to Stars goalie Marty Turco, who was given 2 minutes for delay of game at 7:04. It was served by center Mike Ribeiro.

The Stars PK worked well to prevent a power play goal, but could not continue holding back the surging Detroit offense.

Brian Rafalski opened the game’s scoring at 10:49 with a deflection past Turco. Tomas Holmstrom and Brett Lebda got the assists.

The Red Wings continued their attacks, scoring again to further their lead not even two minutes later. 

This one came from Holmstrom at 12:39 when Pavel Datsyuk ripped through Stars defense and drew Turco’s attention, only to pass across the slot to Holmstrom. Osgood got the second assist.

Being down 2-0 to the Red Wings is never a good position to be in. So, really, what better time to get your first NHL regular season goal? The Wings saw their lead cut in half by Dallas defenseman Nicklas Grossman. 

The goal came at 16:01 off a slap shot from the point, and was initially thought to have been tipped in by Mark Parrish. Grossman was eventually credited with his goal, his first in 110 games. Andrew Hutchinson and Krys Barch assisted.

However, the Stars saw their comeback stifled when Jere Lehtinen was whistled for tripping at 16:35. The Wings flexed their special teams muscles and regained their two-goal advantage half-way through the following power play. 

Marian Hossa got himself on the scoreboard at 17:43, when Nicklas Lidstrom’s shot from the point freed up a rebound in front of Turco. Hossa stuffed in the net to claim the game’s first PP goal. Datsyuk got the second assist.

The first period ended.

Because the game wasn’t on FSN, there was no Ric Renner in intermission. A moment to appreciate.

Second period started.

The tug-a-war from the first period was not lessened over intermission, as Dallas once again narrowed the points gap, within the first minute of resumed play.

At 00:52 in the second, Stephane Robidas walked the puck into the top of the faceoff circle and fired a wrist shot to beat Osgood on the glove side. He got some help from Steve Ott, who was screening the netminder in hopes to pick up a deflection or rebound, but it was Jere Lehtinen who got the only assist.

Osgood took the second goalie penalty, another delay of game, at 1:21. Robidas took a penalty as well, at 12:39 for hi sticking. 

Through the power plays and penalty killing, the momentum of the game continued to pass between the two teams, with Dallas slowly gaining the upper hand. 

The benefit of that shift became apparent late in the period, as the Stars continued the onslaught that would eventually see them outshoot the Red Wings 23-10 over those twenty minutes.

This time it really was Mark Parrish, who was fed a well-placed pass by Krys Barch and wristed the puck past Osgood before he could react. The goal came at 15:53 and served to finally erase the two-point lead that had been haunting Dallas all night. Matt Niskanen got the second assist.

Hossa did not improve their situation, putting the Stars on the power play by tripping Mike Modano. Dallas didn’t convert on the man-advantage, but were offered up another as the period ended.

Seen here is the result of Chris Osgood having fed Mike Ribeiro the blade of his goalie stick. Because the hit drew blood, it was probably already going to be a double minor, but… Ribeiro did his best to sell it, anyway. Those would be his gloves flying up in the air as he falls.

He definitely has a love-it-or-hate-it style, and frankly, we love it.

The incident occurred at 19:45 and gave the Stars 3:45 minutes of power play time to start the third with. 

Second period ended. Third period began.

What could have been a very long and productive power play was spoiled by Modano, when he got two minutes at 00:40 for hooking Henrik Zetterberg. This resulted in a 4-on-4 situation that was very beneficial for the Wings.

They were able to hold back the Stars and kill of what remained of Osgood’s double minor, building up the momentum they’d lost in the previous period. 

Detroit pulled ahead again at 5:19, when Datsyuk pulled out some sorcery to beat Turco in the high corner. Turco overdid it, trying to stop the shot with the blocker instead of simply being in position, but this doesn’t take credit from Datsyuk and his wizardry with the puck.

Johan Franzen and Brad Stuart got the assists.

Kris Draper provide Dallas with a prime opportunity to force overtime when he got a delay of game at 9:09, but it just passed as the 5th unproductive power play for the Stars.

However, when Lebda got whistled for holding on James Neal at 15:54, their hard work finally paid off. At exactly 17:00, Steve Ott did his best Brenden Morrow impression by camping out in the crease and deflecting the puck behind Osgood into the net. 

Mike Ribeiro got the primary assist for setting him up, and Brad Richards got the second. 

Regulation ended tied at 4-4, and overtime began.

OT didn’t actually last too long. When a burst of… something (confidence? adrenaline?) hit Matt Niskanen as he gained possession, he puckhandled his way past a handful of Detroit defenders. Carrying the puck straight up the slot, Niskanen backhanded it into Osgood’s face as he made a sprawling save. The rebound bounced free, and Trevor Daley was quick to capitalize. 

Loui Eriksson and Matt Niskanen got the assists.

Notes:

  • Three stars of the game, in order: Robidas, Datsyuk, Barch
  • The Stars outshot the Red Wings 49-30; the most shots on goal that Detroit has allowed in some twenty years.
  • Ott, Niskanen, Richards, and Parrish all ended scoring droughts.
  • Conclusion: The boost in outshooting their opponent that the Stars have seen recently seems to be more a product of goaltending than anything; Turco and Osgood let in the same amount of goals in regulation, despite the huge difference in shot totals (29-48). If you can’t beat them with good defense, at least beat them with awesome offense?

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: three for the goal, one for finally scoring, one for leading in blocked shots, and two for getting alpha male on the Wings all night (including that hit that nearly sent a Wing into the Stars bench); +9
Stephane Robidas: three for the goal; +3
Matt Niskanen: two for each assist and one for working hard for them; +5
Trevor Daley: three for the goal; +3
Mike Modano: minus-one for leading in giveaways with four; -1
Krys Barch: two for each assist and one for making a big difference despite getting less than five minutes playing time; +5
Toby Petersen: one for leading in hits; +1
Loui Eriksson: two for the assist; +2
Jere Lehtinen: two for the assist; +2
Andrew Hutchinson: two for the assist; +2
Mark Fistric: two for having a much-need much-missed hard-hitting style, one for not being Janik, one for not being Hutchinson, and one for not being Sydor; +5
Steve Ott: three for the goal; +3
Marty Turco: one for not letting in four goals this time- nevermind; +0
Mark Parrish: three for the goal; +3
Darryl Sydor: minus-one for being the only Star to end the game -2 and minus-one for being the only defenseman to not get a point; -2
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist; +2
Brad Richards: two for the assist, one for leading in shots on goal, but minus-one for tying for the lead in giveaways; +2

January 9, 2009

Game Review – 1/08/09 (DAL at DET)

by Chelsea

Game:

This game was kind of a headache. 

Marty Turco started, going into the game looking for his first regular season win at Joe Louis Arena. 

The teams came out with comparable energy, but we’d come to see that it wasn’t exactly sustainable energy.

Detroit scored on only their third shot of the game (4:07 – Marian Hossa, assisted by Brad Stuart and Daniel Cleary) and then again on their eighth (11:28 – Daniel Cleary, assisted by Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Zetterberg) to wrap up scoring for that period. 

At 11:57, the stream of penalties started. James Neal kicked the party off with a cross checking minor, and was shortly followed by Darryl Sydor, who got two for tripping at 19:13.

Detroit outshot the Stars 11-6 in the first period, and would start the second period on a power play.

During the first intermission, we were surprised to see Tobias Stephan all mic’d up for an interview. We joked that maybe it meant we’d see him playing in the game. Heh. 

Second period went just like the first, except messier, and with an impending sense of doom.

The Stars killed off Sydor’s penalty and got a power play of their own when Brett Lebda took some sin bin time at 5:37 for tripping. However, instead of building momentum and staging a comeback, Dallas struggled to hold onto the puck and only got one SOG during the two minutes.

Just when we hoped that Turco, who’d gone a full 20 minutes without allowing a goal, had locked it up to spearhead the recovery, the Wings scored again. (12:27 – Kirk Maltby, assisted by Tomas Kopecky and Niklas Kronwall)

Only then, down 3-0, did we really get to see what it meant to play stupid hockey.

Stephane Robidas got his stick on Zetterberg at 13:53 and was whistled for hooking. Then, after a hard-fought effort by the team to kill the penalty, he came out of the box and promptly hooked Franzen. 

Naturally, the Wings were not to be held back a second time, and scored again to make the game 4-0. This one was a PPG by Tomas Holmstrom at 17:04, assisted by Hossa and Pavel Datsyuk. 

Cleary finished up the period by boarding Loui Eriksson at 18:04.

The second period ended with the Stars getting outshot 7-6 and outscored 2-0. Marty Turco, who allowed four goals on 18 shots, was pulled in favor of Tobias Stephan. As much as we enjoy seeing Stephan get some time, it really seemed to be more of a surrender by the coaches than a move to spark some life into the team.

As the third period started, Dallas did have a little more life. They started taking possession and creating scoring chances, which paid off early.

At 00:38, Trevor Daley shot the puck and Eriksson, repaying Detroit a favor for having wiped the glass with his face earlier, tipped it in past Osgood to make it 4-1. 

Then, when Kronwall took an open ice run at Ribeiro that knocked his helmet off, a mini-brawl started that had Ott bopping him upside the head and dropping the gloves. Luckily, an official stepped in before Ott could re-injure himself. While that was happening, Ribeiro basically got assaulted by the Wings, which the officials (apparently completely distracted by Ott?) happened to miss entirely. The only penalty dished was to Ott, a minor for cross checking.

In a weird explosion of Red Wings using the Stars as anger management, Neal was knocked into Chris Osgood and (though he seemed to try his best to not fall on the goalie) was given two minutes for goalkeeper interference. That was at 3:16. At 3:30, Holmstrom latched onto Robidas and got two for holding. Then, Robidas responded by giving Zetterberg a big hug at 4:34 and joining the two-for-holding club.

Basically, the Wings went up on a 4-on-3 with one of Dallas’ better penalty killers in the box, and Stephan got to start his first playing time since early December with basically no chance whatsoever. 

After a pass that really should have been stopped was not stopped and a shot that should have been blocked was not blocked, Datsyuk whipped a snap shot past Stephan to make the game 5-1. Nicklas Lidstrom assisted.

When Jiri Hudler got a minor for holding at 9:31, it seemed Dallas may get a moment to breathe. Then, at 10:36, Ott canceled out the power play by charging Maltby. 

Detroit beefed up their 4-on-4 stats a bit by scoring again at 11:02 with Zetterberg shooting the puck in past a screened Stephan, who tried to catch up to the play and make a glove save, but was unable to get into position in time.

Stephan finished the game with a string of solid saves, Dallas finished with a cheap slashing penalty by James Neal at 19:41, and Detroit finished with some power play pity by standing behind their own net with the puck for the remaining 15 seconds.

Ouch.

I think, had the officials not been whistle-happy, or had Stephan played the entire game, it may have been more like a 3-1 or 4-1, rather than the 6-1 embarrassment that it was.

I think, that while Turco was not entirely at fault, he looked really unfocused again. 2 out of the last 3 games have ended with him sporting a sv% below .800, making me wonder if maybe Turco is done with Dallas. He just looks disengaged out there, and when he’s playing with so little energy, the rest of the team usually follows.

Neal, Robidas, and Ott had shameful games. Robidas sounded like he was about to throw himself off a bridge in his postgame quotes, though, so he’s a little bit forgiven. 

In comparison, Turco’s postgame quotes had a little too much “we” and not enough “I” when it came to spreading the blame around. That he is routinely giving up 2 goals in the first period alone and is not apologizing to his team is just getting a little old, to be honest.

As far as big players stepping up goes, this game just highlighted that particular disappointment. While Modano has had some strong moments of leadership and earned himself a spot in this year’s ASG, and Robidas has seemingly begun to speak up more about what needs to be done, they’re really alone in that regard. Ribeiro and Richards have not shown nearly enough impact or even looked like they’re trying to take control of this team. Turco’s words get a little emptier every time he has a night like this. Sydor seems vocal enough, but has hardly been the stability on the blue line we were hoping for. 

If there was ever any question that the Stars were Morrow’s team, there shouldn’t be now. They need him, big time.

Notes:

  • The three stars of the game, in order: Hossa, Kronwall, Cleary
  • Turco had a sv% of .778, his worst since late November. He is now 0-8-2 at Joe Louis Arena in the regular season.
  • The Stars took 9 penalties from 4 people, which never spells success when you’re up against the best power play in the league.
  • Eriksson’s goal was his 21st, marking the first time in his NHL career that his goal tally has matched his jersey number. More importantly, it gives him 30 points for the season- one away from matching his career points high of 31.
  • Stephan, in the one period he played, faced only 3 shots less than Turco and let in half as many goals. His sv% for the game was .867.
  • Conclusion: The shining youth and explosive offense is dulled by being handed the responsibility of scoring 4-6 goals every game when their goaltender can’t get himself together. Maybe it’s time to stop focusing on points and standings and playing like it’s the playoffs, and time to pay attention to the details and working out the kinks of their game (especially for the rookies, whose experience next season could help fuel a legitimate Cup run).

SHR +/-:
Stephane Robidas: minus-three for the dumb penalties but one for admitting to them; -2
Matt Niskanen: minus-one for iffy defense; -1
Trevor Daley: two for the assist; +2
Brenden Morrow: three for being really really really really missed; +3
Krys Barch: one for squishing Datsyuk; +1
James Neal: minus-two for the dumb penalties; -2
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal; +3
Chris Conner: one for really trying to hit people; +1 
Andrew Hutchinson: minus-one for doing absolutely nothing; -1
Steve Ott: minus-two for taking dumb penalties; -2
Tobias Stephan: one for a good effort and one for playing the puck without having any giveaways (cough, Turco); +2
Marty Turco: minus-one for each goal; -4
Darryl Sydor: minus-one for the dumb penalty and minus-two for awful defense; -3
Sergei Zubov: two for being missed and one sympathy point for having just had his surgery; +3
Mike Ribeiro: minus-two for being a defensive liability but one for at least looking like he wasn’t ready to give up; -1

December 14, 2008

Game Review – 12/12/08 (DAL vs DET)

by Chelsea

Game:

Ahh, the Red Wings. Hadn’t seen them since they ceremoniously booted our Stars from the playoffs last year. It’d be nice if we’d had key players from that run (Morrow, Robidas, Zubov, Lehtinen, Ott, Lundqvist…) in the lineup for the rematch, but the injuries did give our Swedish talent (Brunnstrom, Eriksson, Wandell, Grossman) a chance to log some ice time against some Swedish idols (Franzen, Holmstrom, Zetterberg, Lidstrom…)

The puck dropped at 7:30 PM CT.

Our starting line was Conner-Richards-Eriksson, with Grossman-Daley on defense. Detroit won the first faceoff, and the puck made its way to Turco before a giveaway led to movement in the other direction.

The Wings had Ty Conklin in net, which was a little disappointing because we like watching Ribeiro destroy Osgood. In a purely goal-scoring sense, of course.

The second line was Neal-Ribeiro-Brunnstrom, a combination heavily approved of here. After Ribeiro lost the next faceoff, Neal stole the puck in their offensive zone, leading to scoring opportunity for Brunnstrom.

Play continued until 3:45, when Trevor Daley got 2 minutes for hooking Pavel Datsyuk. Dallas killed off the penalty, but Detroit had them chasing the puck, and managed to capitalize not too long after.

Scoring opened at 6:05 when Daniel Cleary and Jiri Hudler set up Brett Lebda near the net. Lebda beat Turco’s glove to put the game at 1-0.

The first period had the most penalties in the game, the last three coming against the Red Wings. The first was at 7:29, when Marian Hossa hooked Neal. Then, at 18:16, Lebda also got a minor for hooking. Finally, at 18:29, Cleary got called for cross checking Neal (who absolutely sold it).

Despite all of these advantages, including nearly a full two minutes of 5-on-3, the Stars did not manage to tie the game, and we went to first intermission.

Second period.

Though it seemed the tables would turn in Detroit’s favor as they killed off what little remained of the 5-on-3, the Stars held on and began keeping pace with the somewhat flat-footed Wings.

When Nicklas Grossman was caught hooking at 2:12, forcing the Stars to kill off their second penalty, their success led to an offensive push.

Coming through to tie the game with a big goal was rookie Tom Wandell, scoring his first career NHL goal in his third career game. The Swedish center worked hard for his goal, tricking out two defensemen with his fast hands after receiving the puck from Landon Wilson, backhanding it nicely past Conklin. Afterwards, Wilson retrieved the puck from the crease and took it to Wandell, congratulating him on his goal. There was no second assist.

Perhaps our Swedish rookies were showing off?

Not to be redundant, but it was Fabian “Tiebreaker Bunny” Brunnstrom who stepped up yet again. After doing a little research, I found that out of his 9 goals, 5 have broken a tie of some sort, and 3 of them have been game winners. So, appropriate nickname? Possibly.

Anyway, it was only a few minutes later (at 7:27) that Brunnstrom broke the tie, in what would become the game winning goal. He’d entered the offensive zone straight up the middle, where he received a pass from Ribeiro. After shaking off Lidstrom, he blast a wrist shot from the middle of the Detroit zone, ripping it past Conklin. Darryl Sydor, who had shuffled the puck up the boards to Ribeiro, got the second assist.

Detroit took their timeout immediately after, but it really didn’t do them much good, because Marty Turco was busy building himself into a solid wall that’d not be cracked by any of their best-laid plans.

The Red Wings continued to win faceoffs and began to open fire on the Dallas net. A few minutes later, and Dallas used their timeout as well.

After that, the Stars continued to limit any actual scoring opportunities, only allowing five shots on goal for the remainder of the period. This included a Detroit power play at 18:31, when Nicklas Grossman sat for cross checking.

The second period ended 2-1, Stars.

Third period belong to Marty Turco.

He made 14 saves to keep the game from being tied, at least a good third of those being highlight worthy. He tracked the puck through traffic, covered his rebounds well, and refused every Wing who broke away to challenge him.

Mikael Samuelsson, possibly frustrated by all the attempts that were turned away, got into it a bit with Landon Wilson at 12:15. The officials stepped in before a real fight developed, and both got minor penalties. Samuelsson’s was for roughing and Wilson’s for holding.

As Detroit was still chasing the Stars’ one-point lead with a little over a minute to play, they pulled their goalie for an extra attacker. When a team has had 3 power plays against a team and couldn’t hold on to the puck long enough to score, that never seems to be a good time to pull your goalie. But, they took that risk, and they paid for it.

It only took eight seconds of empty net time for Dallas to get a very lucky bounce, the puck going from Wilson to Mike Ribeiro, who was heading towards center ice against two Red Wings. Kronwall moved to head off Ribeiro or block his shot, but wasn’t able to move fast enough. Ribeiro sent it flying from the Detroit blue line and into the net, sealing the deal with a 3-1 lead and a minute to play.

No SOG were registered in the final minute, all of the Wings’ attempts getting blocked or missing the net entirely. The game ended 3-1 Stars.

Notes:

  • The three stars of the game, in order: Brunnstrom, Modano, Turco
  • Turco ended the game with 37 saves on 38 shots, for a sv% of .974.
  • Neither team scored on the PP.
  • James Neal led in both takeaways (4) and hits (9) and ended the game +1.
  • Matt Niskanen and Darryl Sydor, while not the starting defense, logged the most ice time and ended the game +3 and +2 respectively. Each also had an assist.
  • Sydor also led the team in blocked shots, with 7.
  • Nicklas Grossman struggled, ending the game +/- 0 and led the team in giveaways (3).
  • Mike Ribeiro, who had been pointless in his last ten games, led the team in SOG (4) and registered a goal and an assist.
  • Brunnstrom’s goal bumped him to second in rookies for goal scoring, with 9.
  • Brad Richards, the center of the night’s starting line, left the game with -1 in +/-, a team-worst 38% in the faceoff circle among anyone that took at least 4, and was credited with 2 giveaways.
  • Conclusion: While the game was riddled with high points and showed an overall ability to play as a team, the power play continued to outright fail. Sure, hard work might beat out talent, but you can only win so many games without some help from your special teams.

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: minus-one for subpar play and one for getting “alpha male” in puck battles; +0
Matt Niskanen: two for the assist and two for exceptional play; +4
James Neal: two for leading in hits with a whopping nine and one for leading in takeaways; +3
Loui Eriksson: minus-one for struggling offensively and defensively; -1
Landon Wilson: two for each assist and one for getting Wandell’s puck for him; +5
Tom Wandell: three for the goal and one for style; +4
Marty Turco: three for exceptional goaltending, one for style, and one for giving his stick away after the game; +5
Darryl Sydor: two for the assist and one for exceptional play; +4
Mike Ribeiro: three for the goal, two for the assist, and one for style; +6
Brad Richards: minus-one for his issues as a first line center, minus-two for his issues on the power play, and minus-one for stinking at faceoffs all night;  -4
Fabian Brunnstrom: three for the goal and one for style; +4

November 10, 2008

Mr. Monday: Mike Ribeiro

by Chelsea

Centering the Dallas Stars top line, Mike Ribeiro flew through our SHR +/- with +21 in only three games (granted, we kinda skipped over the two nasty road losses…). After a stellar performance against the New York Islanders in which he claimed four assists and a goal for a five-point night, he now leads the team in assists with 13 in 14 games.

He’s put up points in 8 of those 14 games and is 9th in the league for assists. 

Also, he’s got a heck of a new headshot for the 08-09 season.

 

(

He's gonna eat your soul. 😦

Ribeiro started his NHL career 1998 as a second round draft pick by Montreal, his hometown. However, it wasn’t until the 03-04 season that he was given the chance to play a full season. That year, he played 81 games and had 65 points. He’d only play one more full season with the Canadiens (a 51-point season) before he was traded to Dallas.

For someone playing for the team he grew up watching, Ribeiro did not have a particularly positive legacy. He was known more for his playoff performance, in which he extremely over-exaggerated an injury (think flailing around on the ice) only to get caught grinning and laughing about it on the bench, than his ability to set up plays. 

He supposedly also had trouble getting along with fellow Hab Saku Koivu, reportedly having a rivalry for top centering spot before he was traded to the Stars. He also frustrated Canadiens management with his attitude and tendency to lose his momentum come playoffs time. When the Stars offered defenseman Janne Niinimaa for Ribeiro and a 2008 draft pick, Montreal pulled the trigger, and Ribeiro was headed to Texas.

Ribeiro shined almost immediately as a Star. He played 81 games in his first season and put up another 59 points. Ex-GM Doug Armstrong was quoted as saying, 

 “I think somewhere on the airline flight from Montreal to Dallas it clicked in, because he’s played hard and he’s performed well.

Though he’s maintained his eccentric style (both on and off the ice), Ribeiro managed to leave the poor attitude behind him in Canada. Stars management opened their arms and embraced Ribeiro as the player he is, instead of trying to fit him into a mold of what they felt he should be. As a result, his more positive attributes became apparent where they hadn’t before. Instead of being known as a “diver”, Ribeiro was being seen as someone who could snake the puck through any amount of bodies, who could put the puck in the net, and who could set up his teammates for success.

It certainly didn’t hurt that he found instant chemistry with Stars captain Brenden Morrow. Ribeiro maneuvers the puck to the net, and Morrow puts it in. It was a perfect match that showed clearly in numbers; for both, last season was a career high, with Ribeiro getting 56 assists and 83 points in the regular season alone, and Morrow with 32 goals and 74 points. 

However, no matter which team he plays on, Ribeiro never fails to provide us with classic playoff moments. In the third round 07-08 playoffs, Ribs had a little confrontation with Detroit netminder Chris Osgood. After Osgood attempted to shove the end of his goalie stick up Ribeiro’s nose as he skated by, our feisty forward responded with a baseball-style swing into Osgood’s chest. Red Wings fans called for his head, and Stars fans argued that it was only payback. In the end, the NHL did not penalize him besides fining both parties for an undisclosed amount. 

Last year was also Ribeiro’s first to play in the NHL All-Star game.

He’s also on the ballot for this year’s game. 

There’s a lot to like about Mike Ribeiro, to be sure. His style of play has been described as “painfully creative”, and to us at SHR he resembles a cat playing with a mouse when he’s got the puck. He’s patient, a wizard when it comes to setting up plays for his linemates. He’s got an attitude that’s earned him a reputation among fans as a “hockey gangsta”, with the fashion sense to match (he showed up after practice in a slouchy, sparkly zebra-print shirt one day). When asked “Player or Playa?”, Ribs says “… Playa.”, with a grin. 

I couldn’t do a Mike Ribeiro piece without giving you this clip, known as the Ribbons Dance.

Of course, WordPress hates custom html so I can’t embed the clip because it isn’t on Youtube. Basically. So, here’s the link to it instead: Ribbons Dance. Skip ahead to 2:22 for it. 

Ribeiro inked a five-year contract with the Stars in January, so be prepared for much more of his highlight reel moments in black and gold.

On a more personal note, Ribeiro is a Portuguese French Canadian. His father played soccer professionally in Portugal and his mother quit her job to be a full-time parent and hockey mom for him. He’s got a family of his own; a wife, Tamara, and three kids, Mikael, Noah, and Viktoria. 

After his trade to Dallas, he said this in an article from NHL.com:

“My wife and kids and I are closer than ever,” Ribeiro said. “There are no outside distractions. I feel more focused … maybe more responsible for our life as a family than I ever have. Maybe that’s made me more mature, more accountable on the ice.”

So…

He might be scrawny, crazy, and painfully creative, but he’s an relentless player whose high skill level practically bleeds out onto the ice. Not to mention he’s one of the most amusing players to watch during a game.

 

He loves his Stars.

He loves his Stars.

October 9, 2008

Quick Note

by Kristine

Question: What’s the best possible way to kick the NHL season off?

Answer: Watching Detroit open their Cup-defending season by getting scored on by one of the worst ranked teams in predictions, with their goaltender technically (although unofficially) getting the assist.

Did anyone else see that? It was beautiful. Osgood basically handed defenseman Pavel Kubina the goal. Suck on that, Red Wings. Suck on that. :]

Edit: Toronto wins 3-2! I’m so excited for them. How amazing – they beat the defending champs, at the champs’ arena, on the champs’ opening night. All of that adds up to one thing: pure awesome. I love when the underdogs come out of nowhere and kick butt like that.