Posts tagged ‘Doug Janik’

January 17, 2009

SHR +/- Midseason Report

by Kristine

Now that the half-way mark of the season (the Monday game vs Detroit) has passed, and the SHR +/- has been updated to it, I thought it might be interesting to take a look back at some trends and numbers.

Let’s start by looking at where everyone is at the 41 game mark.

Skater +/- Skater +/- Skater +/-
Grossman +37 Eriksson +98 Parrish +27
Robidas +76 Wilson +25 Lundqvist +16
Niskanen +42 Wandell +6 Boucher +31
Daley +52 Conner +14 Janik +8
Modano +76 Lehtinen +21 Crombeen +26
Morrow +57 Hutchinson +6 Sydor +7
Barch +52 Fistric 0 Zubov +18
Avery -42 Ott +49 Ribeiro +94
Petersen +24 Stephan +23 Richards +67
Neal +85 Janik +8 Brunnstrom +53
Sutherby +3 Turco +46

Obviously, some players have been way outshining others. Some big names – Mike Ribeiro, Stephane Robidas, Mike Modano, and Brad Richards – sit at or near the top, like you would expect. The top also holds a few surprises, with Loui Eriksson holding down the top spot and James Neal breaking into the top 5 early and staying there.

While the top ten or so spots in our plus/minus seem to be pretty accurate, the bottom is a little bit harder to judge. It’s kind of cluttered by people who were call-ups or are no longer Stars, like Tom Wandell or BJ Crombeen. It also doesn’t take into account injured players like Jere Lehtinen, Sergei Zubov, and Joel Lunqvist. If you take away those people, and only count players who are currently playing or have played more than ten games with us, the picture becomes a bit more clear. Darryl Sydor has only earned 7 points with us, Doug Janik is at + 8, and Andrew Hutchinson is +6. Toby Peteresen, at +24, has the lowest +/- to games played ratio. These numbers are fairly on par with our actual feelings about the players.

If you divide number of games with a negative +/- update by total games with updates (since not every player earns or loses points in every game), three players come out with 0%: Brenden Morrow, Fabian Brunnstrom, and Crombeen. Morrow and Brunnstrom each had 17 updates, and Crombeen had 10, and none of them earned negative marks in any of them. It should come as no surprise to anyone that Eriksson comes out on top after that, with only 1 of 26 updates in the negative (a -1 on Dec 12 for “struggling offensively and defensively), for 3.8%. The other players to wind up with less than 10% of their updates as negatives are Krys Barch (5%), Robidas (7%), Neal (8%), and Landon Wilson (10%). On the other end of the spectrum, and again no surprise, 56% of Sean Avery’s updates were negative. After him is Marty Turco, with 28% of his 32 updates being negatives. The only other players to end up with 25% or more of their updates being in the negative are Nicklas Grossman (25%) and Sydor (27%).

Loui Eriksson had a hot streak from October 22 to December 2, earning at least one point in sixteen straight games. The only person to come close to that is Ribeiro, with positive points in twelve games from October 18 to November 15. Eriksson has earned more than five points in seven of his 26 updates, and joins Neal, Mark Parrish, Richards, and Brunnstrom as the only players to earn more than 10 points in one game, with each of them earning 11 points once.

However, the record for most points earned in one game goes to Mike Ribeiro, who earned 15 points October 23 against the Islanders. It’s worth noting that while most of the players with 11 points earned them via hat tricks, Ribbons earned his 15 via one goal, a few assists, style, and being awesome with Morrow. The record for most points taken away in one game goes to Avery, who lost 50 points on December 2. Actually, he technically lost them last night, when we decided that his current -12 did not match up with our feelings about him. He had previously and initially lost 20 for the comment and the following stupidity, and yesterday we assigned him -15 for treating the Stars badly before the comment and -15 for ruining the Stars while he was here. Both are retroactive to the day of the comment, making him -50 for that day. Hey, it’s our plus/minus – we can adjust as we see fit. 😉 Aside from that debacle, the most points we’ve taken away in one game was 6, also from – shocking! – Sean Avery. If you pretend he was never a Star, which we like to do anyway, the most we’ve ever taken away in one game was four. That has happened to multiple players, multiple times. Obviously we’re much more generous for people who do good things than we are anxious to take points away from people.

It’s interesting to note that nobody has hit 100 points yet, although Eriksson is only two points away and Ribeiro is only four away. It’s also worth noting that Morrow hit 52 points in only 15 games. Had he continued at that rate, he would have hit 100 points ten games ago.

Let’s take a look at averages. Once again, we have Louibot at the top with an average of +4 points per game. Under him, averaging +3, are a ton of people. In no particular order: Neal, Parrish, Morrow, Crombeen, Modano, Brunnstrom, Philippe Boucher, Steve Ott, Tobias Stephan, Ribeiro, Lundqvist, and Wilson. The only person with a negative average is Avery with -2. Another real shocker in that one, hmm? Mark Fistric averaged evenly in his short time here, and Turco, Petersen, Matt Niskanen, Janik, Grossman, Hutch, and Brian Sutherby all averaged +1. The rest of the players averaged a middle-of-the-road but still good +2.

If you divide a player’s total number of games with SHR +/- updates by the number of games he’s played as a Star in the first half of the season, you can see who we consider a difference-maker and who is mostly invisible to us. At the top of that chart is Tobias Stephan, who has earned points in eight games despite only actually playing in seven. 😛 More accurate are the numbers for Mike Ribeiro, who has registered an update in 35 of 41 games, or 85%. Turco also makes a difference – although often a negative one – with points assigned to or taken away from him in 84% of his 32 games played. Morrow, when he was around, got positive numbers in 83% of the games he played in (and 0% negatives, as we mentioned before). Also registering highly was Zubov, who received an update in 8 of the 10 games he played in this season. At the bottom we have the people who don’t make much of a difference either way. The worst is Hutchinson, who has shown up in the plus/minus only five times in the 17 games he’s played in as a Star, which comes out to 29%. Barely above him is Parrish with an update in only 30% of the games he’s played with us. Brian Sutherby has only made waves three times in his 10 games, but we’ll cut him some slack and say he’s still getting comfortable here.

Finally, let’s narrow our view to the L10 games played. That takes us back to December 20. I think it can be agreed that the Stars showed vast improvement in the 2nd quarter, so how do things shape up in the plus/minus when you look only at the most recent games? A few players have really bought their A-game, notably Niskanen, Neal, and Otter. All three of them have registered positive updates in at least five games and a negative update only once each. On the other side of things, Robidas has received his only two negative updates in the L10 for a string of games in which he played frustrated and took unnecessary penalties. In the meantime, Hutchinson has updates in only three of the L10, despite playing in all of them, and two of Sydor’s five updates were negatives. Mike Modano has also had a rough, slightly quieter L10, earning negative updates in three games, nothing in four games, and positive updates in three games. On the whole, however, the number show that the team continues to step up and improve.

Overall, it’s pretty obvious that it’s King Loui tearing up the SHR +/- charts this season. If he continues to have a breakout season, his final report for the 08-09 season will look pretty damn good. Same goes for Ribeiro, Neal, Modano, and Lehtinen. It’s also interesting to note that while our top five all register at least 75 points, and the bottom five only register 10 or fewer points, the overall average is only 35 points. There’s actually a 71-point difference between Eriksson’s team-leading 98 points and Parrish, who is the team median with 27 points. I can appreciate that we have some people stepping it up in a big way, but I’d like to see more support from the rest of the roster in the second half of the season. We’re a few games into it as I post this and it’s looking like we might see some more shake-ups as the season continues. Good luck on the second half, Stars!

The SHR +/- page is updated after every game and includes a full roster, as well as the current top and bottom five players. Check it out by clicking here, or find it in the header links any time.

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January 9, 2009

Game Review – 1/04/09 (DAL at VAN)

by Chelsea

Game:

Despite some travel issues the night before, the Stars managed to make it to Vancouver for the first of their four match-ups this season.

The Canucks were playing without goaltenders Roberto Luongo or Curtis Sanford and newly-signed Mats Sundin, while the Stars were without Joel Lundqvist, Fabian Brunnstrom, Brenden Morrow, Sergei Zubov, and recently-injured Landon Wilson. 

Dallas head coach Dave Tippett had Marty Turco in net again, saying that he intended to put the players out that he would were it a playoff game. Which, really, doesn’t explain why newcomer Brian Sutherby was on the top line. 

Because of Wilson’s injury, Chris Conner was moved up from healthy scratch to the second line with Ott and Ribeiro, while Parrish was moved to the fourth line with Barch and Petersen. 

The defensive pairings remained the same (Daley-Robidas, Sydor-Niskanen, Grossman-Hutchinson), with Janik and Vishnevskiy as healthy scratches again. 

The puck dropped at 9:00 PM CT, which is also known as “way too late, can we please go back to playing in a reasonable time zone?” 

It only took 2:11 to find out that the Canucks have this really annoying spotlight that they put on the goal-scorer when their team scores, just in case you were looking at the wrong end of the ice for some reason.

In a play that started in Vancouver’s defensive zone and got directed up ice by Conner (on accident), the Canucks crashed the net by ripping right through the Stars defense. Hutchinson did his best to get in the passing lane between Steve Bernier and Kyle Wellwood, but Bernier still managed to get the puck across. Turco, focused on who had the puck, was unable to get over in time to stop Wellwood’s redirection into the net.

We went “oh god, not this again please” as play resumed. 

Dallas displayed some excellent puck control for a few minutes, getting a string of six shots on goal that went uninterrupted for about four minutes until the direction changed back towards their defensive zone again.

It seemed like our concern was well-founded when, at 15:40, we watched the Stars climb into a 2-0 hole for the second night in a row.

Darcy Hordichuk snuck out in front of the net and was left open to redirect a pass from Jason Jaffray in behind Turco, despite the efforts from Dallas defense. Alexandre Bolduc got the second assist.

It began to look like the Stars would leave the first deflated, having played a fairly clean, penalty-less period and with only  a two-goal deficit to show for it. 

Mike Modano stepped up much in the way he hadn’t the night before, redefining “big goal” with a huge momentum-changer only ten seconds before heading to first intermission. 

The goal came after James Neal picked the puck up right inside the offensive zone and sent a sweet pass between two Canucks to Modano. Modano responded by reminding all of us of his skill by seemingly effortlessly scoring on LaBarbera. Loui Eriksson got the second assist.

The period ended at 2-1 Canucks, but with a huge momentum shift in the Stars’ favor.

Second period started.

The next ten minutes were solid hockey. Neither team took any penalties until exactly 10:00 in the second, meaning the entire first half of the game went without special teams.

Too bad it was the Stars’ Chris Conner to take the game’s first penalty, getting two minutes for hooking.

Dallas did its stuff to kill the penalty, and soon it was their turn to get the man-advantage.

First Wellwood was sent to the box for his team when they took a minor for too many men on the ice at 11:49. Then, at 13:14, Ryan Kesler got two minutes of his own for roughing. 

Though the Stars managed to squander their time spent on 5-on-3, they converted the rest of their power play opportunity only two seconds after Wellwood returned to the ice.

At 13:51, Lehtinen patiently held onto the puck until a passing lane opened, at which he set Ribeiro up beautifully for a one-timer. Ribeiro then released a lethal shot straight in past LaBarbera, tying the game 2-2. 

Second period (and the rest of regulation) finished with nothing but puck battles and penalties. Both teams had a power play in the third (Kevin Bieska at 6:55 for delay of game and Conner again at 10:09 for hooking), but neither managed to break the tie that would eventually put them into OT.

Then, in overtime, Stephane Robidas and Trevor Daley probably kept the Stars from losing the extra point, both blocking shots and intercepting passes to keep the Canucks from getting any real chances on Turco.

So, that left a shootout to decide the game.

First up were Pavol Demitra for the Canucks and Brad Richards for the Stars. Neither scored. 

Second came Kyle Wellwood and Loui Eriksson (the league’s #1 and #2 in shooting accuracy), and both scored. It was actually Eriksson’s first career shootout goal, coming on his fourth attempt, and showcased some creativity we hadn’t seen too much of. 

Alexander Edler and Mike Ribeiro were up next. Neither scored. Ribeiro pretty much ran himself out of space in trying to be too creative. Whoops.

Tied at 1-3/1-3, the shootout went into it’s fourth round.

Ryan Kesler went for the Canucks and scored, putting quite the challenge on Mike Modano to score for Dallas. Even though everyone knew what he was going to do (high glove side), including LaBarbera, he still managed to hold the team in the game by going a little under the glove instead of over. 

When Alex Burrows, up next for Vancouver, was stopped by Turco, Tippett sent out James Neal to wrap up the game with his first career shootout attempt.

Neal responded to the pressure with a confident, no-frills shot to the blocker side that beat LaBarbera and won the game for the Stars.

Notes:

  • The three stars of the game, in order: LaBarbera, Modano, Neal
  • Turco, coming off a loss in Edmonton that saw him sporting a .789 sv% for the game, stopped 33 of 35 shots for a sv% of .943.
  • Chris Conner did not have a particularly good game; he was -2 for the night and took the Stars’ only two penalties.
  • Dallas outshot Vancouver 36-35.
  • The Stars were 1-for-3 on the PP, while the Canucks went 0-for-2.
  • Conclusion: It was good to see the team rally from behind, led by their big players, without using Marty Turco’s play as a measuring stick for how much effort they should bring. Possibly the first time that the team improved and Turco improved consequentially, rather than the other way around?

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: minus-one for leading the team in giveaways; -1
Stephane Robidas: two for tying the lead in blocked shots with three; +2
Trevor Daley: two for tying the lead in blocked shots with three; +2 
Mike Modano: three for the goal, two for the assist, one for the shootout goal, and one for leading the team to their comeback; +7
James Neal: two for the assist, one for the shootout goal, and one for confidence; +4
Brian Sutherby: one for leading the team in hits; +1
Loui Eriksson: two for the assist and one for the shootout goal; +3
Chris Conner: minus-one for not playing all that well; -1
Jere Lehtinen: two for the assist and one for special teams awesomeness; +3
Marty Turco: two for the good game; +2
Mike Ribeiro: three for the goal but minus-one for tanking at faceoffs; +2

January 5, 2009

Game Review – 1/03/09 (DAL at EDM)

by Chelsea

Game:

So, this being an important two points against a struggling team, Kristine and I went and filled up on junk food so we’d be properly excited for what promised to be a good ol’ fashioned buttwhooping.

I mean, they’ve got some of the worst PK problems in the league. What better way to get a boost on our struggling power play, right?

Sutherby accompanied Richards and Eriksson on the starting line, with Daley and Robidas paired up again as the starting defense. 

The rest of the lines were the same (29-63-37, 18-9-26, 13-17-22), as were the defensive pairings (5-55, 2-27) with Janik and Vishnevskiy both scratched again.

While it made perfect sense for Tobias Stephan to be in net (it was the first game of a back-to-back pair, Turco absolutely fails at playing back-to-back, Turco plays well against the Canucks, and Turco had let in 7 goals to the Oilers the two times he’d faced them already this season), Tippett is determined to ride Turco through his 35-game slump. At what point does it stop being a rideoutable slump, again? 

Seriously. It’s been 35 games almost, and he still has the barely-worse stats than his backup goalie, who is 1-2-0 and has been thrown in three games that were already lost. If you’d like to play the “well, Stephan’s only been in six games!” card, that’s fine, just give me time to find my “Turco’s had over thirty to fix his stats and hasn’t” card. 

Point made? Stephan should have started.

While it was pretty clear that the Stars were not playing to the same caliber that they had during the game against New Jersey, it was also clear that the heart was there. 

The puck dropped, and three minutes later, so did the gloves. 

It was Krys Barch, of course, about to take on two guys (Stortini and Strudwick apparently didn’t want to share, both lining up for a go at him.) Strudwick got his gloves off first, so the two of them had a go. Barch apparently scrapped his “fists up, chin in, hit with the hand holding the jersey” style for something more like “grab with the left, Barch smash! with the right” and it worked out alright. The guys traded solid punches for about a minute before the officials broke it up.

Play had barely continued when Shawn Horcoff got two minutes for hooking at 5:24. It was the first of many power plays spent circling around neutral ice. 

At 8:07, Dustin Penner* challanged Landon Wilson to a fight by smacking him in the face with his glove still on. Wilson attempted to oblige, but before he could, Penner grabbed him by the collar of his jersey and forced him very awkwardly to the ice.

*Penner joins the Club of the Hated now, so he can take a seat between Tootoo and Alfredsson if he can get Sidney Crosby to scoot over.

Wilson looked visible shaken by the “fight” and did not play in the rest of the game, having possibly suffered a head injury in the fall.

 Maybe it was concern for their teammate distracting the Stars or the sudden energy shift in favor of the Oilers, but they managed to crack Turco on only their second shot of the game at 8:41.

All they basically had to do was speed through center ice and fire a fast snap shot. Fast being the only excuse Turco had for not catching it, because he wasn’t exactly screened. The goal was scored by Erik Cole and assisted by Sam Gagner and Lubomir Visnovsky. 

If that wasn’t disheartening enough, the Oilers got one more shot off, and then scored on their next. Yeah, that’s every other shot going in.

This time it was Sheldon Souray, who split the defensemen going into the slot and elevated the puck over Turco when he dropped to block the bottom of the net. It really just seemed like bad judgement all over the ice that created that one.

The goal was at 9:37 and assists went to Horcoff and Liam Reddox. 

Dallas tried to rally back, getting some timely power plays at 10:07, 12:22, and 18:55 when Ladislav Smid went off for roughing, goaltender Dwayne Roloson (served by Smid) got a minor for slashing, and Gilbert Brule got called for interference.

They spent the first two dancing around in the neutral zone and the third was negated by Jere Lehtinen getting two minutes for goalkeeper interference at 19:21.

The period ended 2-0 Oilers, despite the sloppy play that led to a good handful of Edmonton penalties.

The second period started, and it looked for a few minutes like the Stars might rally for a big comeback. 

Unfortunately, at 3:19, Grossman took a penalty for holding that put the Oilers on a power play. Then, a few minutes after his penalty expired, Robidas took his own two minutes for holding (6:50), effectively killing any momentum the team was trying to produce.

At 7:23, Penner picked up the rebound of Souray’s shot from the point and put it in the net behind a sprawling Turco. Horcoff got the second assist.

Now down 3-0, with their goaltender struggling, the Stars pretty much crumbled. Gone were the effective players we’d seen on NYE, replaced with a messy bunch that could barely hold onto the puck when they managed to gain possession. 

James Neal seemed determined to shoulder the team, being the only Star to get any shots on goal in the five minutes following the third Edmonton goal. 

When Penner got a minor for holding the stick, and the Stars only managed to get two shots off in the entire power play, the supposed comeback pulled further out of reach. Finally, as the period wound down, the team picked up the pace.

Neal was rewarded for his determination (as he usually is, because few things can successfully come between James Neal and whatever it is he’s determined to do) with barely two minutes left in the second period.

When Jere Lehtinen fired a shot from the point that found its way through traffic and off Roloson, the loose rebound was quickly retrieved by Neal, who then lobbed it into the net. Andrew Hutchinson was originally credited with the only assist, but it’s since been changed to Lehtinen. 

Just when it looked like all the fun in the second was over, Barch belatedly took Stortini’s offer to have a go with only 16 seconds left in the period.

They threw the gloves off right off the faceoff, with Barch getting a big hit in early that knocked Stortini’s helmet off. The fight continued for a good minute until the officials stepped in, neither player getting an actual win.

Both got five minutes for fighting, plus ten minute misconducts. Still don’t know why they got the extra 10, so if anyone knows, please feel free to explain.

The second ended 3-1 Oilers, with the Stars looking to hold off Edmonton while scoring 2 more goals in the last period of play.

Third period started.

Smid and Sutherby got simultaneous roughings at 2:05.

About five minutes in, Ethan Moreau escaped past Robidas for a breakaway that was pokechecked by a diving Turco. The rebound probably would have gotten pushed into the open net as Turco scrambled to recover, but Trevor Daley was there to clear to safety.  

When the third reached the halfway mark without any proper scoring chances generated by Dallas, and given the tone of the first two periods, it was pretty clear that the game would not be won without a little luck.

Luck was, unfortunately, not on our side.

When Daley took a penalty for holding at 12:38, the Oilers turned up their offense, pressuring Turco with traffic but only getting one clear shot on net. Only six seconds after the penalty expired, Sam Gagner and Robert Nilsson set up Andrew Cogliano, who was left completely unattended in front of the net. At 14:44, the game slipped to 4-1, which proved to be too much for the faltering Stars. 

The final five minutes passed uneventfully, and it ended in a pretty painful loss of a valuable two points for the Stars.

Notes:

  • The three game stars, in order: Cole, Roloson, Souray
  • Neal’s goal was his 13th of the season, tying him for first among rookies with Boston’s Blake Wheeler.
  • Turco let in 4 goals on 19 shots for a sv% of .789, his worst since the 6-2 loss to San Jose on November 28th.
  • The loss was Richards’ 600th game, which turned out to be a bit of a disappointment; he played 21:15, had no points, and finished -1. 
  • Dallas outshot its opponent for the fifth game in a row, this time by a margin of 39-19.
  • Conclusion: Someone apparently forgot to tell the Stars that they were playing in the first of their two back-to-back games, not the second. They looked lethargic and apathetic for the most part, despite the efforts to build momentum from players like Neal and Barch. 

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: one for tying for the lead in hits but minus-two for the dumb penalty; -1
Stephane Robidas: minus-two for the dumb penalty; -2
Trevor Daley: minus-two for the dumb penalty; -2
Mike Modano: minus-one for not stepping up when the team needed a leader; -1
Krys Barch: one for each fight and one for not losing either; +3
James Neal: three for the goal, one for determination, and one for playing like the rest of the team should have been; +5
Brian Sutherby: one for tying for the lead in hits; +1
Loui Eriksson: one for leading the team in SOG; +1
Landon Wilson: one for the fight and three alarm-points for making us realize how badly we want him to be uninjured; +4
Jere Lehtinen: two for the assist; +2
Mike Ribeiro: minus-one for not stepping up when the team needed a leader; -1
Brad Richards: minus-one for not stepping up and minus-one for leading in giveaways; -2
Fabian Brunnstrom: one for being surprisingly sorely missed on that Ott-Ribeiro line; +1

December 27, 2008

Game Review – 12/20/08 (DAL at OTT)

by Chelsea

Game: 

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

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

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

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

Second period.

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

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

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

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

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

Stephane Robidas was whistled for hooking at 10:39. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The game was pushed to overtime.

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

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

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

Notes: 

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

SHR +/-:

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

December 27, 2008

Game Review – 12/18/08 (DAL vs CBJ)

by Chelsea

Game:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kris Russell and Pascal Leclaire got assists. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second period.

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

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

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

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

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

Yayyyy Loui!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The second period expired and the third began.

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

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

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

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

Third period ended and the game went into overtime. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes:

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

SHR +/-:

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

December 20, 2008

Catching Up

by Chelsea

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

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

—–

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

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

—–

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

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

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

—–

Injury Update: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—–

Holy Cow, Jamie Benn:

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

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

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

December 6, 2008

Game Review – 12/05/08 (DAL vs COL)

by Chelsea

Game:

The Stars returned home to face the Avalanche at the AAC. Both teams played without their captains, both looking to climb their way up closer to a playoff spot.

Having just been dealt a painful loss to the Edmonton Oilers, the Stars brought their game faces to the night’s contest. Eriksson-Richards-Wilson acted as the starting lineup, with Robidas-Grossman on defense.

One end of the ice housed Marty Turco, who was tested not even a minute into the first period by Milan Hejduk. He made the save easily and with a limited amount of scrambling, setting a precedence for the rest of the game.

Doug Janik played as a fourth line forward, but during his first shift he exchanged hits with Chris Stewart. Though there’s no proof that Janik exited the ice worse for the wear, he did not get another shift for the entire game.

The first penalty of the game came at 7:09 when Ruslan Salei got a minor for tripping. It was followed by a lackluster Stars powerplay without any shots on goal.

The next power play (at 10:58, when Brent Clark got 2 for holding the stick) looked no better, also resulting in no shots on goal.

The final Avalanche penalty of the first game came at 16:48 when Daniel Tjarnqvist tripped Toby Petersen. Though the man advantage failed to produce once more, it did look better, with James Neal nearly cramming the puck past Budaj.

Turco made an excellent save on Paul Stastny at the end of the first, but an attempt to stop him from even getting a shot off, Stephane Robidas earned himself a hooking minor.

The first period ended 0-0, with the Stars outshooting the Avalanche 8-7.

Despite starting the second period on PK thanks to Robidas’ slip-up in the first, Dallas managed to build a bit of moment by successfully holding back the Avalanche.

Trevor Daley ate some of the momentum as he sat in the sin bin, having gotten called for interference at 3:38 – only two minutes after Robidas’ penalty expired. However, the Stars refused Colorado once again, leaving the PK unscathed.

A minute after returning to full strength, the Stars were on the assault again. As the puck cycled around the Avalanche’s zone, Matt Niskanen kept it from being cleared with a catch on the blue line and a pass to Mike Modano. Modano shot the puck, and Toby Petersen swept in to catch the feed and tip it in past Budaj.

Stars went up 1-0 at 7:57 with what would come to be their sole regulation goal.

Nicklas Grossman took the last penalty of the game at 11:25 in the second. Avalanche didn’t score, putting both teams at 0-for-3 for the night’s PPs.

The period ended 1-0 Stars, probably the first time all season that they held the opposition off the scoreboard for the first two periods.

Third period.

Both teams got ample scoring opportunities, but the game held at 1-0 for the majority of the period. Turco made some big saves, doing his best to steal a win for his apparently offensively-challenged teammates.

Turco came within 56 seconds of a shut out. Unfortunately, the Avalanche were not to be denied, and set up a killer play that resulted in a ridiculous amount of crease traffic and the puck flying over Turco’s shoulder. The goal was scored by Marek Svatos with assists from Stastny and Ryan Smyth.

As regulation ended and overtime loomed, we reflected on the records so far this season. The Stars had gone into 4 overtimes and lost all of them, including two shootout losses. Colorado had yet to lose in overtime and were on a shootout winning streak, having won all four of theirs this season and the last four from the season before.

Overtime passed with neither teams scoring, pushing the game into a fairly dreaded shootout.

First up for the Stars was Brad Richards, who went with a simple wrist shot that Budaj stopped.

First for the Avalanche was Wojtek Wolski, who also went with a wrister. His made it past Turco, putting shootout at 1-0 in their favor.

Next for Dallas was Fabian Brunnstrom, presumably awarded with his first shootout attempt for having a strong game that night. He tried a slow backhand that was also stopped.

With the game on the line and Svatos up next, Turco came up with a big save and kept the shootout at 1-0.

With the game still on the line, Tippett sent out Mike Ribeiro. He stood 1-2 on the shootout so far this season, having tried a creative between-the-legs move both times. This time, he threw off Budaj’s timing and popped the puck into the net with a simple but highly-effective wrist shot.

With the shootout now at 1-1 and Colorado sending out their last shooter, it was again in Turco’s hands. Hejduk did his best, but was also stopped by Turco, sending the SO into a fourth round.

Mike Modano was the fourth shooter for the Stars, and he also used a smart, simple move to beat Budaj. He eased up to the goaltender, flicking the puck past him with a smooth wrist shot that was oddly familiar. The puck went up, popped off Budaj’s glove, and went behind him into the net.

Turco, again with all the “game’s up to you” pressure, was left facing a determined Smyth, who had to score to push a fifth round. Smyth didn’t do so hot, Turco made a solid save, and the Stars won their first shootout of the season.

Notes:

  • The three game stars, in order: Petersen, Svatos, Turco
  • My three game stars, in order: Turco, Svatos, Modano
  • The Stars are now at 10-12-4 and, with 24 points, no longer sit in the league’s cellar. That right belongs to the Atlanta Thrashers (8-14-3, 19 points).
  • Marty Turco stopped 26 of 27 shots for a sparkling .962 sv%
  • Mike Ribeiro is now 2/3 in this season’s shootouts, and Modano is 1/2.
  • James Neal led the team in SOG (5), followed closely by Toby Petersen (4).
  • Out of the 3 games in which Sean Avery has been suspended, the Stars have now won 2, backing up the best stretch of 10 games they’ve had this season (5-4-1)
  • Matt Niskanen now has 3 points in the last four games. Toby Petersen is on a four-game four-point streak.
  • Conclusion: It was a good win, coming despite all the injuries, drama, and barely-plugged roster holes. Still, the power play is a sore spot, having only produced twice in the last 37 chances. Toby Petersen is stepping up his game, but with Joel Lundqvist’s impending return, he could be seeing a lot more time on the wing. If Turco can continue to play well and the special teams righted, the Stars could very well claim their playoff spot before the year’s end.

SHR +/-:

Matt Niskanen: two for the assist and one for the redeeming game; +3
Mike Modano: two for the assist, two for the shootout goal, and one for outplaying people half his age; +5
Toby Petersen: three for the goal and one for an otherwise solid game; +4
James Neal: one for clocking an impressive 24:29 (second only to Ribeiro), one for leading in SOG, and one for checking someone so hard in the corner that he made the Ice Girls who were standing in the tunnel shriek; +3
Landon Wilson: one for leaving the bench to celebrate the win with his helmet on backwards; +1
Doug Janik: one concern point for being the only Star to deliver a hit in the first period and possibly getting hurt for it; +1
Marty Turco: three for being himself again through the entire game and one for the solid shootout; +4
Darryl Sydor: one for leading in blocked shots; +1
Mike Ribeiro: two for the shootout goal; +2
Fabian Brunnstrom: one for a solid game and one for leading in takeaways; +2

Off Ice +/-:

Mike Modano: one for stating he’d not be discussing Avery after 11:15am and two for sticking to it; +3

November 30, 2008

Stars Trade for Hutchinson, Lose Tukonen

by Kristine

The Stars announced today that they have traded prospect Lauri Tukonen in exchange for Tamba Bay minor league defenseman Andrew Hutchinson.

The internets seem confused about this trade. What does Hutchinson bring to our team other than a body on the bench? According to Andrew’s, “Good size and long reach help him defend well, but he can struggle with positioning.” Doesn’t that pretty much sum up our D already? And shouldn’t we be getting somebody who is good with positioning, to fill in one of our team’s many gaps?

Another sore point is that we could’ve had Hutchinson for nothing as recently as Thursday or Friday – he was on waivers up until then. Instead, we waited until today and lost another prospect. Are monkeys running these things? We messed up with Janik way back in the beginning by losing a draft pick for somebody we originally got for free, we gave Crombeen away to St Louis for nothing, and we waited too long to get Hutchinson and end up having to make a trade instead of just picking him up off waivers. It doesn’t seem like the most effective way to build a hockey team, and I question whether or not any of these trades are really going to end up benefitting us. If there is a long-term plan in effect here, I’m not seeing it.

What this seems to come down to is desperation. We might be losing Zubie to injury again, so we need another defensemen in the line-up. That part makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is why we keep picking up other team’s rejects. Tampa had Hutchinson in the minors. Sydor was getting zero ice time in Pittsburgh. Parrish had his contract bought out by the Wild. Janik was on waivers for the Hawks when we picked him up the first time. Even way back in summer, Avery became a free agent because – to put it simply – the Rangers didn’t want him on their team enough to resign him. Have any of these players really bought a lot to our team? We’ve lost our voices talking about what Avery does or does not bring to the team, so I won’t get into that here. Parrish has been the most productive of the remaining four; I don’t see the other three becoming vital cogs in the Stars machine, at least this season. The only reason I can think of for why we’re adding people to our team who don’t make a big impact is desperation, a mindset of “we need somebody and we need somebody now, so who can we get ASAP?” This goes right back around to the long-term plan and the fact that there doesn’t seem to be one.

I’m doing my best not to judge Hutchinson without ever even seeing him play. I could be totally wrong about this. It just seems like a waste of time, energy, and prospects, and it’s frustrating to see the Stars Brass running things in a way that seems very haphazard.

November 25, 2008

Game Review – 11/24/08 (DAL vs PHI)

by Chelsea

Game:

Philadelphia Flyers vs Dallas Stars.

At 3:17, scoring opened in favor of the Flyers, whose first SOG of the night went zooming past Turco. After Nicklas Grossman got plastered in the corner, Scottie Upshall was left perfectly open in front of the net for a pass from Joffrey Lupul. Turco was in the wrong side of his crease and didn’t manage to make the save.

At 11:33, Landon Wilson tied the game at 1-1. The only assist went to Darryl Sydor, who retrieved the puck from the boards and sent it towards Flyers netminder Martin Biron. Wilson picked it up from there to throw it in the net for his first NHL goal in four years.

It seemed like the period would end in a tie, but at 16:00 in the first Simon Gagne broke away from Sean Avery and Stephane Robidas and managed to pass the puck ahead to Mike Knuble, who flipped it easily past Turco.

First ended 2-1, which was plenty cause for worry, because so far out of the 11 times we’d left the first trailing, we’d only managed to win once.

At 00:28 in the second, Upshall tripped Sergei Zubov in a race to reach an iced puck, sending Zubov against the boards. Despite being slow to rise, Zubov skated himself off the ice and returned to the game uninjured. Upshall got a 2 minute tripping minor.

Unfortunately, the Stars would not convert their first PP opportunity of the game.

Instead, the goal would come two seconds afterwards. “Robidas… shot, save, Modano… the rebound! He scores!” At 2:30, Mike Modano did what James Neal did a few games earlier against the Blackhawks – swooping in behind the rebound scramble to collect the lose puck and put it in the net. The assists officially went to Loui Eriksson and Mark Parrish, but I’m also going to give Robidas SHR points for the initial cheesy rebound shot.

At 4:38, Josh Gratton got two minutes for roughing Sean Avery. No PP goal here, either.

8:33, Toby Petersen trips a Flyer. Stars PK did its job. Game continues at 2-2.

At 14:12, Jeff Carter scores for the Flyers, with the assist from Scott Hartnell.

At 17:26, Trevor Daley stole a dropped pass from a Flyer, whisking it ahead to Brad Richards. Richards’ shot was saved and the puck wound up behind the net with Trevor Daley. Daley passed to Modano, who scored again to tie the game.

2nd period ended 2-2.

Third period.

8:01 in and Braydon Coburn trips up Mike Ribeiro in the Dallas defensive zone, who flies to the ice looking determined and angry and still manages to swat the puck towards center ice. PP Stars, still no goal.

At 9:57, Mike Knuble grabbed Petersen and held on long enough for a holding penalty. Again, no PPG for the Stars.

At 14:52, defenseman Doug Janik had a mental lapse and turned the puck over to the Flyers. Then, he failed entirely at retrieving it or stopping it from going in Turco’s net. Another goal for Mike Knuble, assists for Mike Richards and Simon Gagne, and the tie breaks 4-3 Flyers.

Despite a Coburn hooking minor with a minute left in the game, the Stars played ‘hot potato’ with the puck and spent the entire time passing the puck from player to player. The only SOG registered was one by Mike Modano, when he chased the dumped puck into the Stars zone with three seconds on the clock and smacked it across the ice to Biron’s net. Nice try, Mo.

Notes:

  • Three stars of the game, in order: Knuble, Modano, Carter
  • Matt Niskanen was again scratched for Janik, who ended up having a less-than-stellar game.
  • Mike Modano is now only 2 points away from having 1,300 career total.
  • Steve Ott was scratched, due to having broken his hand in a fight during the last game.
  • Brad Richards led in SOG (5), followed by James Neal (4)
  • Stephane Robidas and Mark Parrish tied for the most hits (3), while everyone but Trevor Daley, Sergei Zubov, Brad Richards, and Fabian Brunnstrom had at least one hit.
  • The Stars won in faceoffs overall with 55%, led by Mike Modano’s 68%.
  • Conclusion: Plain to see, the many many turnovers led to the Stars downfall this time. However, people do make mistakes, and that’s what we have defense for. And when defense makes mistakes, that’s what the goalies for. I find it hard to say we should excuse Turco for his 5-goal 5-hole, because I refuse to accept that we’ve become a team with such a poor netminder that we’ve now begun nitpicking the other players for letting it get to him in the first place. On the other end, people like Zubov, Ribeiro, Avery, and Richards need to take a page from Modano’s book- shoot the puck at the net (it doesn’t have to be pretty) and eventually it goes in… as long as you don’t completely miss the net.

SHR +/-:

Nicklass Grossman: minus-one for unimpressive play; -1
Stephane Robidas: two for the assist, one for intelligent play, minus-one for a nasty turnover, but one for doing what it took to get it back; +3
Trevor Daley: two for the assist; +2
Mike Modano: three for each goal and one for effort; +7
Sean Avery: minus-one for irritating Stars fans more than players on opposing teams; -1
Toby Petersen: one for his defensive work but minus-one for his offensive work; +0
Loui Eriksson: two for the assist; +2
Landon Wilson: three for the goal; +3
Doug Janik: minus-two for all that sloppy; -2
Mark Parrish: two for the assist; +2
Darryl Sydor: two for the assist; +2
Brad Richards: two for the assist but minus-two for squandering many wonderful opportunities; +0

November 16, 2008

Game Review – 11/15/08 (DAL at PHX)

by Chelsea

Game:

Putting aside the Boucher-Sydor trade craze for a moment, one recalls that we did actually just win an important game yesterday.

The puck dropped at 7:00 PM CT at the Jobing.com Center in Phoenix, kicking off a game against two Pacific division rivals.

It was airing on KDFI instead of FSN-SW, and while I’m still annoyed at FS about the Sharks thing, at least they didn’t have a few seconds of black screen every five minutes. That got frustrating.

Tippett considerably juggled the lines, putting out Morrow-Modano-Lehtinen as our starting line. The second line was Avery-Richards-Parrish, the third was Brunnstrom-Petersen-Eriksson, and the fourth was Ott-Ribeiro-Barch. I was pretty happy with this, because it meant a little more ice time for Barch and Brunnstrom. Defensive pairings were Robidas-Daley, Grossman-Zubov, and Niskanen-Janik.

The game itself did not start out so hot for our Stars. Thirty seconds in, Coyote Olli Jokinen struck Dallas defenseman Trevor Daley across the face with his stick. Blood was drawn, fans were alarmed, and Jokinen was given a double hi-sticking. This gave us a full 4 minutes of 5-on-4 with which to take the lead.

As the minutes ticked by, there were painfully few SOG for the Stars. In fact, the only true scoring chance was in the last twenty seconds of the PP when Steve Ott nearly deflected a shot from Ribeiro past Ilya Bryzgalov. It was blocked, and the game continued scoreless.

The first period continued on without points on the board, but also showed a distinctive change in the Stars play. We were directing instead of chasing, and it’d pay off shortly.

Around 11:03, Ribeiro got a hilariously awesome scoring chance when he dropped the puck between his own legs and flipped it from there up into Bryzgalov’s face. Highlight-reel wonderful.

The actual goal started off with some good ol’ fashioned Turco puckhandling behind his net, sending the puck to Robi and then Eriksson. Eriksson and Ribeiro carried it out of their zone and through center ice. Eriksson swept the puck up (possibly deflecting it off the Phoenix goalie) into the net to take an early lead.

The goal came at 17:06, with Mike Ribeiro getting the first assist and Stephane Robidas the second.

The first period ended, and in the first intermission Ralph interviewed… Coyote captain Shane Doan. Supposedly as a favor to Razor, who was MIA during the entire thing. Doan jokes that he felt obligated because of Razor’s three Emmy’s. We find out that Turco said he likes playing against Doan and Doan says Turco is one tough cookie. (My words, not his). They talk about the Coyotoes and the playoffs and Ralph asks if Doan’s ever won an Emmy, to which he replies, “I dont even know what they look like.” So basically nothing to do with us, but still funny.

The second period kicked off with the same momentum we’d seen building in the first. Coyotes Kevin Porter did have a near-breakaway, but his shot was blocked by a dive-and-slide by Robidas. Seconds later, Barch forcefully upended Steven Reinprecht in center ice, turning him into Coyote kibble.


I love Barch, so I was a little annoyed when Doan went and smashed him into the boards. Just sticking up for his teammate, I guess.

Reinprecht got good revenge, unfortunately, putting the puck behind Turco without any real challenge from our defense. Keith “Jillian” Yandle and Shane Doan got the assists.

Avery got tired right about here and tried to hitch a ride on Yandle by clinging to the back of his jersey. Shockingly, they called him on holding. Turco performed excellently and held the game at a tie through the Coyotes power play.

I guess Phoenix’s Viktor Tikhonov was so annoyed that he felt like hooking Avery, so he did, and we went on the PP. Less than a minute later, at 8:13, Parrish deflected a Zubov slap shot for a PP goal. Ribeiro got the second assist.

3/4 of the way through the second, Carcillo started trying to pick a fight with Steve Ott after Ott knocked him silly in the corner. Carcillo pushed and shoved but got nothing from Ott but a few choice words. Barch skated over and got between them with his gigantic self and looked all intimidating (or, as Razor said, “Here comes the stars cop, like ‘no, you don’t'”). Carcillo fought the official, trying to get at Barch and Ott, who stood there and chirped at him. Ott and Carcillo both got unsportsmanlike conduct minors.

It may have been a move to chill them both out, but the officials didn’t plan that very well. Both exited the box at the same time, and ended up “chucking knuckles” within seconds. Despite some issues with his shoulder gear, Ott still put in some solid hits. Both got 5 for fighting.

A few moments later, at 19:05, Mike Ribeiro did something clever. Again. He’s always clever, but yeah. He carried the puck into the Coyote’s defensive zone, hesitated, and tried a slap shot. It was pretty uncharacteristic, and provided a wonderful cheesy rebound. Petersen shuffled for the puck, getting it around Bryzgalov to Eriksson, who netted it for his second in the game.

Despite the best efforts of Zubov and Turco, the two-point lead was quickly notched down by a Coyotes goal at 19:22 by Kevin Porter with assists from Mikkel Boedker and Martin Hanzal.

Second period ended.

Ott interview in the second intermission, where he mentions that he didn’t want to fight Carcillo because it could give the Coyotes momentum to tie the game, but had just had enough. Way to use good judgement, Otter.

Third period started.

Hanzal is a fun name, but not a fun guy. He laid out Brunnstrom in center ice early in the third, angering us at SHR and apparently Toby Petersen (who I think only gets along with Swedes). The camera moved away, so I’m not sure what happened, but apparently Petersen skated up to challenge Hanzal. Petersen got two minutes for slashing and Hanzal two for elbowing. Sounds like a fun confrontation.

The rest of the period was less exciting. Sean Avery got another stupid penalty, but we killed it off to maintain our 3-2 lead.

At the end of the game, Olli Jokinen had a key chance to tie it up and force an overtime when the Coyotes went open net. He was thwarted by Turco, who kicked the puck away for the first save and protected their win with his goalie stick for the second.


Win (and two points) for the Dallas Stars! Much-needed, to say the least.

Notes:

  • Three game stars (in order): Mike Ribeiro, Loui Eriksson, Daniel Carcillo
  • It was a three-point game for Ribeiro, who had an assist in each goal. It was Eriksson’s second 2-goal game this season.
  • Marty Turco stopped 25 in 27 shots, raising his sv% to .870.
  • Both of Petersen’s only two assists this season have come off goals by Swedish players (Brunnstrom and Eriksson)
  • This was Doug Janik’s second game with the Stars, having left the first five minutes in with a nasty facial laceration. He played a solid game, putting in 12:49 in ice time and ending the game +1.
  • Sergei Zubov now has points in each of the last 3 games.
  • The Stars won 71% of their faceoffs, led by Mike Modano, who won 14 in 16 for 88%.
  • Stephane Robidas led in shots and blocked shots, with 4 and 6 respectively.
  • Conclusion: Maybe just a small step up, but this win showed that the Stars are practicing what they’re preaching; simple, tightly defensive hockey, earning every step forward.

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: minus-one for ending the game -2; -1
Stephane Robidas: two for the assist, one for leading in shots and blocked shots, and one for work ethic; +4
Matt Niskanen: one for pleasantly surprising us; +1
Mike Modano: one for absolutely owning in the faceoff circle; +1
Brenden Morrow: one for leading by example and one for going the entire game without screwing up passes; +2
Krys Barch: one for being the Stars cop and one for leading the team in takeaways; +2
Sean Avery: minus-two for not improving in his weakness (stupid penalties) when the rest of the team did; -2
Toby Petersen: two for the assist, minus-one for his huge turnover at our blue line, and one for standing up for Bunny; +2
Loui Eriksson: three for each goal and one for just playing so well lately; +7
Steve Ott: one for trying to keep himself out of the penalty box and one for sticking up for himself in the end anyway; +2
Doug Janik: one for having a very solid game back; +1
Marty Turco: three for letting in only two goals in four of the last five games; +3
Mark Parrish: three for the goal; +3
Philippe Boucher: five for being scratched because he was being traded and awww, Boooo, we’ll miss youuuu; +5
Sergei Zubov: two for the assist; +2
Mike Ribeiro: two for each assist and one for style/creativity; +7