Posts tagged ‘Krys Barch’

October 25, 2009

Notes and +/-

by Chelsea

For games 10 and 11 for the Dallas Stars, there really wasn’t much to say, hence the lack of actual game review.

Notes (DAL @ LAK):

  • The three game stars, in order: Kopitar, Neal, Handzus
  • The Stars were down 4-1 entering the third, but forced overtime thanks to goals from Benn, Fistric, and Neal.
  • Mark Fistric’s goal was his first NHL goal.
  • Benn has now scored in both games against the Kings.
  • Stars power play continued to struggle, unable to cash in on 4 chances in the first two periods.
  • Steve Ott lead in hits with 6.
  • The only forward to block a single shot was Loui Eriksson.
  • Conclusion: It was rather nice to get the extra point, but giving the Kings 4 out of the available 4 points in the two games so far this season is not.

SHR +/- (DAL @ LAK):

Stephane Robidas: minus-one for kind of a rough game; -1
Jamie Benn: three for the goal; +3
James Neal: three for each goal; +6
Loui Eriksson: two for each assist; +4
Mark Fistric: three for the goal and one for the celebration; +4
Steve Ott: one for being Steve Ott; +1
Alex Auld: minus-one for kind of a rough game; -1
Mike Ribeiro: minus-one for not being able to win a faceoff; -1
Brad Richards: two for each assist; +4

Notes (DAL @ STL):

  • The three game stars, in order: Turco, Eriksson, Neal
  • Krys Barch, Brian Sutherby, and Steve Ott each had a fight. None of them really won.
  • Ott had the Blues very distracted, drawing 6 minor penalties.
  • The Blues also took 4 roughing and 2 cross checking minors, along with a 10 minute misconduct and a game misconduct.
  • The Stars, meanwhile, took 1 roughing, 1 unsportsmanlike conduct, 1 cross checking and 1 kneeing penalty.
  • Both teams also had a small handful of hooking minors.
  • In all of that, only one power play goal was scored.
  • Jeff Woywitka got his first point with the Stars against his old team. However, he also unintentionally aided the Blues in ruining Turco’s shutout. Oops.
  • Toby Petersen lead the team with 5 shots on goal.
  • Conclusion: It was a messy game and the Stars could have blown out the Blues had it not been for Conklin’s 21 saves in the first two periods. Despite the penalty madness, it was maybe the best three consecutive periods of hockey Dallas has managed all season.

SHR +/- (DAL @ STL):

Brenden Morrow: one determination point for trying to score regardless of where the puck was (like on top of the net) or the play having already been blown dead; +1
Krys Barch: one for the fight but minus-one for losing it; +0
James Neal: three for the goal; +3
Brian Sutherby: three for the goal and one for the fight; +4
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal and two for the assist; +5
Tom Wandell: three for the goal; +3
Steve Ott: two for the assist, one for playing so physically that it completely changed the momentum of the game but minus-one for kneeing Crombeen; +2
Marty Turco: two for no mas Taco; +2
Jeff Woywitka: two for the assist but minus-one for helping score on Turco; +1
Brad Richards: two for each assist; +4
Fabian Brunnstrom: two for the assist and one for earning it by getting run over by St. Louis players; +3

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October 22, 2009

Game Review – 10/21/09 (DAL @ ANA)

by Chelsea

Game:

Continuing their new habit of stealing wins on the road, the Stars roared into Anaheim and whipped up on some zombie Ducks for the better part of two periods. It was a relief for Dallas fans to see the other team sleepwalking after that slight embarrassment against the Kings.

They gained a lead late in the first with a great shift from Wandell’s line. The rookie center moved up in between James Neal and Loui Eriksson, who both seemed to be struggling to create offense without Brad Richards. The goal itself was classic Eriksson, who was fighting for position in the crease and  found space to shove Neal’s rebound past Jonas Hiller.

The pressure continued in the second period, when Stars fans were treated to a flash of the Ribeiro-Morrow brilliance that was sorely missing last season. It happened when Hiller attempted to play the puck, only to have his pass intercepted by Ribeiro, who proceeded to immediately slide it straight to Brenden Morrow. The entire play was so quick and effortless that Hiller couldn’t even recover before the puck was in the net.

Moments later, Evgeny Artyukhin pulled a very cheap move on defenseman Matt Niskanen, kicking his feet out from under him mid-check. As a result, Niskanen’s head hit the ice as he landed. Despite getting up on his own, he left the game and is now out with a head injury.

Not only did the officials neglect to call a penalty on the play, they called a crosschecking penalty on Sutherby when he tried to hold Artyukhin accountable for his actions.

Dallas responded by killing off that penalty and breaking their power play drought on the next Anaheim penalty. This one was thanks to Trevor Daley, who found his sweet spot in the high circle and whipped a shot past Hiller.

Despite stepping off the gas and allowing goals from Ryan Getzlaf and Joffrey Lupul, the Stars held onto their lead thanks to some hard work by Marty Turco. He stopped 13 of 14 third period shots and did not allow the Ducks to tie it. When they pulled their goalie, Ott was able to seal the win with an empty net goal.

Notes:

  • The three homertastic game stars, in order: Wisniewski, Eriksson, Getzlaf
  • Our three stars: Eriksson, Ott, Hiller
  • The game was Morrow’s 600th career game (all with the Stars), so it was fitting that #10 scored the goal that moved him into the 10th spot on all-time Stars goalscoring. Congrats!
  • Despite a somewhat slow start, Eriksson is on pace to score 36 goals again this season.
  • If Morrow were to stay scoring goals at the same pace he’s at, he’d breach 50 by the end of the season.
  • Nicklas Grossman continues to lead the league in +/-.
  • More Anaheim homerism: the Ducks outhit the Stars 30-11. Steve Ott was only credited with 2 hits, when he almost certainly had more than that in the first period alone.
  • Mark Fistric and Jamie Benn were the only Stars to have more than 1 blocked shot, with 3 and 2 respectively.
  • Francis Wathier, playing in his NHL debut, looked solid and got a good fight in against Mike Brown.
  • Conclusion: A good win. Came very close to stringing together 3 periods of solid play. Getting Ott back was big, and it was nice to see more than one line creating chances.

SHR +/-:

Stephane Robidas: two for the assist and one for an overall good game; +3
Matt Niskanen: one angry upset concerned point; +1
Trevor Daley: three for the goal; +3
Brenden Morrow: three for the goal and one congrats! point; +4
Krys Barch: one for the fight; +1
Toby Petersen: one for looking solid in the third period when the rest of the team was struggling; +1
James Neal: two for each assist; +4
Brian Sutherby: two for trying to stick up for Niskanen but minus-one for being kinda meh otherwise; +1
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal and two for the assist; +5
Tom Wandell: two for the assist; +2
Mark Fistric: one for a solid overall game; +1
Steve Ott: three for the goal and two for the assist; +5
Marty Turco: one for playing well overall and one for somehow registering a shot on goal; +2
Karlis Skrastins: minus-one for kinda having a rough game; -1
Francis Wathier: one for the fight; +1
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist and one for winning 14 out of 21 faceoffs; +3

October 7, 2009

Game Review – 10/06/09 (DAL @ EDM)

by Chelsea

Game:

The Stars kicked off their first road trip of the season with a game in Edmonton, looking to claim their first victory after falling in the shootout to the Predators.

Games between the Stars and Oilers are always exciting, and this one did not disappoint. Fans were treated to a good old-fashioned battle of the goalies, with each netminder fighting to be the first to give their own fanbase a collective heart attack.

On one end was Nikolai Khabibulin, who consistently tried to thwart his own attempt at being the first Russian goaltender to reach 300 wins. On the other was Marty Turco, waving precariously between making last season look like a fluke and making Stars fans everywhere punch their TVs in frustration.

All of this was only amplified by two teams whose defense sometimes struggled to look coherent over the course of the game. Players for both sides repeatedly found themselves with plenty of free space in front of the net, giving them time to set up a shot or jam in rebounds. For the Stars, it was the defensemen who let their goalie down. For the Oilers, it was their forwards with some very nasty turnovers.

In the end, Khabibulin skated off with the win after his post stopped Neal in the shootout. As a result, Dallas fans are once again split over the play of Marty Turco. Did he get the Stars an extra point in each of the first two games, or did he cost them wins? Is he past his prime? Is he just finding his form? Do we panic?

This is why, instead of a typical game review, today’s is more of a goal breakdown.

The first goal of the game was on the Oilers’ first power play, scored by Mike Comrie:

This one had a lot to do with Robidas letting Comrie set up shop in front of Turco for half a century while he skated around watching Skrastins and Cogliano play. Unfortunately, Turco was watching the exact same thing and didn’t seem to notice in time that Cogliano was tossing the puck out in front. Skrastins failed to stop the pass, and it was in the net before Turco really even reacted.

Verdict: Someone on that PK needed to be paying attention to Comrie. That includes Turco. 5/10 on the Turco’s Fault? Meter.

The Stars then scored twice, the second time due largely to Turco springing James Neal on a SH breakaway.

However, that same PK that saw Neal scoring also saw the Oilers scoring. This time it was Sam Gagner.


That’s Gagner up in the corner, using Trevor Daley as a screen. The puck went right between Daley’s legs, then right through Turco’s. It was a rather impressive shot, and I bet Gagner is very good at miniature golf (right through the windmill for a hole-in-one!), but a slow-to-close five-hole is something Stars fans saw all too often last season.

Verdict: Daley is not exactly the largest screen, so a bigger goalie might have been able to see well enough to see the shot. However, it was still a very well-aimed goal on Gagner’s part. 5/10.

Towards the end of the period, the Stars regained their one goal lead only to promptly lose it. Again.

That is Dustin Penner. All alone. Nobody behind Turco to pass the puck to. That’s Woywitka and Ribeiro playing defense there. Ribeiro looks like he’s trying to cut off passing lanes and Woywitka is… cutting off more passing lanes. Penner, forced to retreat or shoot, shoots. For some unknown reason, Turco decides that’s a good time to drop and open up the entire half of the net.

Verdict: It seemed like Turco was expecting Woywitka to take the body so he was preparing to grab the puck. Still, he probably should have just held his ground instead of dropping so quickly. Maybe he gives up a rebound and everyone scrambles for the puck and maybe it still goes in anyway but maybe it doesn’t. 8/10.

For the third time in the game, the Stars recovered in time to take back their lead, and for the third time they lost it again.


The last goal of the game was pretty unfortunate, coming off a shot from Denis Grebeshkov that deflected off Nicklas Grossman’s skate and over Turco. There was a brief moment while everyone watched the puck rainbow into the net, and suddenly it was all tied up again.

Verdict: Turco saw the puck in time to swing back with his stick and try to bat it out of the air, but he missed. I’ve no doubt that spectacular in-the-zone Turco could have connected enough to keep it from going in, and it would have been amazing and stunning and glorious. However, it would be extremely unfair to actually blame him for that goal.  3/10.

Of course, both goalies held on through the end of the third and all of OT to force a shootout. The Hemsky GWG was just pretty lucky/unlucky, as it was sort of an accidental goal on both ends.

Conclusion: Three times, the Stars fought for a lead only to watch it go down the drain less than 7 minutes later. Turco coming up big on any one of the tying goals could have sealed the deal. Nobody should be upset about him not being Super Goalie in just the first two games, but with all this team adjustment from the new system… it’d be nice to see how they perform with a solid, positionally-sound goalie instead. Y’know, like Alex Auld.

Turco’s Fault? Meter:
It’s 52.5% Turco’s fault. You can try to hang this loss on Turco, but don’t expect it to stick very well.

Notes:

  • The three game stars, in order: Penner, Morrow, Gagner
  • Brenden Morrow looked like himself again, with two goals and an assist.
  • James Neal and Brad Richards led the team in SOG with 7 each.
  • Wandell and Brunnstrom moved up to the third line, replacing Modano (injured) and Petersen (fourth line). Brunnstrom looked like he’d made considerable strides defensively, finishing with an even +/- compared to his linemates’ combined -3. Meanwhile, Wandell led the team in SH TOI, but was not on the ice for either of the Edmonton PP goals.
  • The only player on the fourth line (Petersen-Sutherby-Barch) to accomplish anything was Barch, who had 3 hits, a fight, and a takeaway. Petersen and Sutherby combined for 1 SOG and 2 faceoff wins.
  • Jamie Benn got his first NHL point, assisting on Morrow’s first goal by turning the puck over to an Oiler who turned it over to Daley.
  • Steve Ott needs only 5 more PIM to pass Shane Churla for 3rd most by any Star. Anyone else want to see him get his minutes by taking on Iginla?
  • Conclusion: Don’t bother hitting the panic button. Chances are, it’s only a matter of time before Auld gets to start. If he does really well (meaning Turco might be more to blame for these losses after all), then yay! We’ve got a goalie in net who is doing really well! Besides, if you spend every game in fits about Turco, you’ll miss out on all the fun of freaking out over actually having impressive young talent to watch.

SHR +/-:

Stephane Robidas: three for the goal but minus-one for letting Comrie score uncontested; +2
Matt Niskanen: two for the assist; +2
Trevor Daley: two for the assist but minus one for screening his own goalie; +1
Brenden Morrow: three for each goal and two for the assist; +8
Krys Barch: two for taking on Souray and putting him in the box for five minutes but minus-one for losing the fight; +1
Jamie Benn: two for the assist and one because how he got that assist was rather amusing; +3
James Neal: three for the goal and one for style; +4
Tom Wandell: one for fitting in nicely as third line center; +1
Steve Ott: one for actually winning faceoffs, one for standing up for Grossman, but minus-one for being on the ice for 3 of the 4 goals against; +1
Marty Turco: two for the assist, one for the solid moments, but minus-one for the weak ones; +2
Karlis Skrastins: one for leading in blocked shots again; +1
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist; +2
Brad Richards: two for the assist; +2
Fabian Brunnstrom: one for already looking less lost this season than he did all of last season; +1

May 9, 2009

Depiction: Remembering 08-09

by Chelsea

Kristine and I took some time to gather a collection of our favorite pictures from what is otherwise a fairly forgetful season. As the second round of the playoffs gets do-or-die (go Caps! go Canes!), we’re going to take a moment to celebrate all the Stars’ good times that got buried beneath the shame of the season’s less-than-desirable end.

______________________________________________________________________________

Opening Night vs Columbus.

You can’t help but smile at Brunnstrom’s “omgIscoredcomehugme” reaction to his NHL debut hat trick.

We started calling Grossman “Saint Nick” after seeing this picture of him and his workshop elves. Months later, it’s still a favorite.

Fistric catches up with Mittens.

While everyone was busy questioning Modano’s ability to play, he was busy proving that he could still fly.

Nobody liked seeing the Morrow-Ribeiro line broken up, so it was no surprise that their reunion brought many happy moments.

Stephan replaced Turco in a 0-5 loss to the Devils. We really wish this had happened more often at this point of the season.

He did have one good save, though.

When Zubov returned from injury on 11/7, we all celebrated. When he went out again on 11/28, it was a little heartbreaking. The 11/7 game against the Ducks was also Mark Parrish’s debut with the the Stars, in which he scored a hat trick.

Okay, so Morrow going out on 11/20 isn’t even close to a happy moment, but you can’t really look back on the season without pausing to sigh and say, “If only Morrow hadn’t gotten hurt…”

Ribs keepin’ us all entertained.

These two really should have played together more often. They both had their struggles, but they definitely make us excited for the Stars’ future.

Yes, this is a good moment. Did any of you reallllly want him in Dallas for four years?

Loui’s first NHL hat trick, against Columbus. We predict many, many more to come.

Neal’s first career hat trick, in Toronto.

Parrish says goodbye to 2008 with a nice goal, making thousands of drunk Texans really happy.

Tipp rewards Neal for a strong game by giving him his first NHL shootout attempt. He scores (awesomely) and wins the game. Everyone wows and suddenly the Stars have a new shootout specialist. By the end of the season, he’d scored on 5/7 attempts.

Go nuts? Okay!

The 2009 ASG…
…a great excuse to sit around all weekend,
watching favorite players show the rest of the league…
…that they’re just ridiculously awesome.

Not a good moment, but definitely a memorable picture.

They were discussing Valentine’s Day gifts, I’m sure.

Can’t help but wonder if Sydor looked at them and saw Lehtinen and Modano.

Swedes!

Those familiar happy feelings that come with scoring on the Sharks.

Grossman doesn’t score often, but when he does, leaping hugs will follow.

They’re like Power Rangers.

He only played a few games at the end of the season, but by the time he’d finished his first shift he’d impressed us. That cannon shot from the point never failed to amaze.

And finally…
Lehtinen warms up for the last home game of the season.

After the game, Stars waited to give their jerseys to fans.

March 19, 2009

Game Review – 3/17/09 (DAL at VAN) and 3/18/09 (DAL at CGY)

by Kristine

Games:

I’m going to try to keep this simple. We lost both these games, and there’s been a lot of talk about why that is. The blame game can be played in many ways here. You could start back at the beginning, and blame Hull for signing Avery. You could also blame Avery for being Avery and not fitting in. You could blame Turco for his world of suck earlier in the season. You could blame Tippett for not keeping lines together. You could blame Jackson for not upgrading our blue line at the trade deadline. If you really wanted to, you could put some blame on Fabian Brunnstrom for not being willing to spend a year in the minors. You could put a bit of blame on Matt Niskanen for being young and not as solid defensively as he could be. Actually if you’re going to go that far, you could probably find some blame to put on just about every single player on the ice and most of the office to boot.

Here’s the thing. It’s just not that simple. You can’t boil it down to “the season sucked because of this player or that person.” It’s been a huge combination of things. Did Avery’s signing contribute to the problems? Yes, I think that’s been made clear. Did Turco’s bad season hurt? Obviously it did. Beyond that, Tippett has done the best he can with the one thing that’s made the biggest impact: injuries.

Look at this list of players who are currently injured: Brenden Morrow, Sergei Zubov, Mike Modano, Brad Richards, Steve Begin, Brian Sutherby, Toby Petersen. Four huge names, two important grit guys, and Petersen. Going back in time, add to that list players who have spent (relatively) significant amounts of time injured: Jere Lehtinen, Steve Ott, Stephane Robidas, Fabian Brunnstrom, Landon Wilson, Joel Lundqvist, Mark Parrish. Another impressive list. In fact, it would almost be easier to name the players who have been healthy this season. Off the top of my head? Mike Ribeiro, Loui Eriksson, James Neal, Krys Barch, and our young D. Oh, and Sydor and Morrison. Chris Conner has been healthy, but he would be in the AHL if we weren’t so short on bodies. Same with Hutchinson as he’s been scratched for ages now. Is it any wonder we’ve been losing? Ribs and Loui are fantastic but as we’ve seen lately, they can’t be expected to carry the entire team for the rest of the season.

Because we’ve been battling the Injury Gods all season, the pressure has been on Tippett to keep the playoff dream alive. His solution has been to play intense, playoff-level hockey since about the end of December, and we’re starting to see the result of that. The Stars are exhausted. The past few weeks have been proof of that. Sure, we’ve won the odd game here and there and yes, players are still having great nights here and there. But overall, they look worn out and beaten down. I don’t blame them one bit. I will admit that I do somewhat blame Tippett for pushing them until they have nothing left to give, although I do understand why he did it. He was doing his best to keep his team running, and for a while it worked. The Stars went on that great run in January and early February, but within a few weeks were back to losing. Richards breaking his wrist seemed to be the metaphorical nail in the tire and they’ve been deflating ever since.

There are eleven games left in this season. If the Stars make the playoffs, that’s another at least four games. Can they continue to play at the level they’ve been playing at for that long? I don’t believe they can. Mike Ribeiro and Stephane Robidas are playing nearly 30 minutes a night, and it shows. Mike Modano is out with a lower body injury after the Vancouver game, and I’m sure his injury is made worse by the total fatigue his body must be experiencing. Same with Sutherby leaving last night’s game. How much longer until Robi, Ribs, and Loui push themselves too far and wind up on our laundry list of injured players? We can offer sacrifices and prayers to the Injury Gods all we want, but I don’t think it would surprise anyone to see them hurt.

The Stars are in 10th in the West now. At this point, take the pressure off. Stop playing the high level of hockey, let the young guys take bigger minutes and rest the top line guys, and see what happens. I would think the health of the team would more important than making the playoffs, especially if you’re making them with a roster that reads like an AHL team’s anyway.

SHR +/-:

DAL at VAN (3/1709)
Stephane Robidas: two for the assist and one pity point for playing almost half the game with an exhausting 27:35; +2
Matt Niskanen: one for leading in SOG and one for a very solid game; +2
Mike Modano: two for the assist but minus one for the team-high four giveaways; +1
James Neal: three for the goal, one for the two huge takeaways in the first and one for having a very good game overall; +5
Chris Conner: two for the assist and one for being willing to hit when nobody else is; +3
Jere Lehtinen: one yay you’re back point and one for making magic with anyone and everyone; +2
Mark Fistric: one for playing a very physical game; +1
Steve Ott: three for the goal, one for leading in hits with five and one for drawing penalties left and right even if nobody could capitalize on the PP; +5
Marty Turco: one for making some huge saves at critical times; +1
Steve Begin: one for winning a team-best 40% of his faceoffs and two pity points for that huge hit he took; +3
Darryl Sydor: one for the solid game; +1
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist, one for playing almost half the game with 27:19, and one pity point for how exhausted he must be; +3

DAL at CGY (3/18/09)
Nicklas Grossman: one for doing the most banging in corners with four hits; +1
Stephane Robidas: two for the assist and one for tying for most SOG with three; +3
Matt Niskanen: one for tying for most SOG with three and one for being strong on the PK; +2
Trevor Daley: one for leading in TOI with 24:47, one for tying for most SOG with three, and one for thinking quickly enough to give Turco his stick and take Ott’s for himself; +3
Brendan Morrison: three for the goal, but minus one for leading the team with three giveaways and minus-one for winning only 27% of his faceoffs; +1
Krys Barch: one because I’d rather have him in the lineup than certain others; +1
James Neal: minus-one for coming off a great game and doing absolutely nothing; -1
Brian Sutherby: one for winning 50% of his faceoffs when nobody else could win any and one “please don’t be hurt” point; +2
Loui Eriksson: two for the assist and one for tying for most blocked shots with four; +3
Mark Fistric: one for being the only D to end in the positive and one for upending Olli Jokinen in front of the net; +2
Steve Ott: one for the fight, one for not losing it, but minus-one for picking it to begin with; +1
Marty Turco: one for not sucking; +1
Darryl Sydor: one for tying for most blocked shots with four; +1

March 12, 2009

Game Review – 3/10/09 (DAL at STL)

by Chelsea

Game:

Also known as “Another Crucial Game, Another Heartbreaking Loss” or “What Happens When a Team Reaches a New Level of Mental Exhaustion.”

As a fan, I won’t declare this season over until they name the 3 stars of game #82. However, seeing the team play like they think the season is over is getting old, fast.

Now without Brunnstrom as well, the already-depleted team was heading back on the road after a rough loss to the Canadiens on home ice. It was the kind of game that the Stars needed to see a leader step up and steal the win for. 

Unfortunately, that leader was not Turco, who picked a very poor time to have a prolonged brain fart. He let in three goals on the Blues’ first eight shots, putting the Stars in a 3-0 hole only twelve minutes into the first period. 

After the third goal, Krys Barch and Cam Janssen dropped the gloves off the following faceoff, going at it for nearly two full minutes. Barch’s helmet probably did more damage than his fists, as Janssen left the fight with some badly bloodied knuckles.

The dust settled to find Turco not in net, but replacing Tobias Stephan on the bench. It was the first time all season that Stephan was put into the game before it was completely lost. 

Stephan played the game with what seems to be a bit of a trademark. He let in a couple of goals, despite having made some sharp saves throughout, then locked it down for the rest of the game. He played well, so it’s unfortunate that the team in front of him did not.

While two Stars, James Neal and Mike Ribeiro, managed to score a goal each against goalie Chris Mason, it wouldn’t be enough. The Blues persevered and regained their three-goal lead each time Dallas scored. Still, even if Stephan had played perfectly, it wouldn’t have been enough as the Stars lost 5-2.

Though Loui Erikssons point streak ended, Ribeiro managed to extend his to five games. In those five games, he’s amassed five goals and six assists. 

Mark Parrish, who was toppled early in the game after receiving an open-ice hit from Jay McKee, left the game and did not return. He joins Morrow, Zubov, Richards, Petersen, Lehtinen, Brunnstrom, and Sawada on the “man we need them healthy” list. 

For all the times that “the injuries are rough, but they’re no excuse” has been said, there’s no denying after a game like this that all the key injuries have taken the Stars down a rough road. Ribeiro and his line are worn thin from being the last remaining offensive threat, Robidas is starting to struggle under the large load he’s been carrying as #1 defenseman and special teams core piece. Modano looks physically and mentally exhausted. The rest of the team looks like it may not be able to handle much more of Tippett’s “four months of playoff mode” hockey. 

When Marty Turco is saying in interviews that nobody is enjoying anything anymore, maybe it’s time to relax before the entire team drops of fatigue. 

SHR +/-:

Stephane Robidas: one for leading the team with six hits; +1
Trevor Daley: two for the assist; +2
Mike Modano: two for the assist; +2
Brendan Morrison: one for being one of only two people to end up in the positive; +1
Krys Barch: one for the fight and one for winning it; +2
James Neal: three for the goal; +3
Brian Sutherby: minus-three for the suicide pass but one for feeling so bad about it; -2
Chris Conner: minus-two for being a -6 in his last three games; -2
Steve Ott: one for being one of only two people to end up in the positive; +1
Tobias Stephan: two for making more and better saves than Turco; +2
Marty Turco: minus-two for getting bested by a backup that never plays; -2
Mike Ribeiro: three for the goal; +3

March 4, 2009

SHR +/- for 3/03/09 (DAL at SJS)

by Chelsea

Stars finally won one of those games where they play the Sharks and really outplay them but usually end up losing anyway, and they won it 4-1. Congrats to them for finally looking like the team that removed the Sharks from the playoffs last spring, even if technically they’re barely that team at all.

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: minus-one for catching the penalty bug from Daley; -1
Matt Niskanen: two for the assist; +2
Trevor Daley: one for leading in blocked shots with four; +1
Mike Modano: three for the goal and two for the assist but minus-one for losing so many faceoffs; +4
Krys Barch: one for the fight; +1
James Neal: three for each goal; +6
Brian Sutherby: three for the goal, two for the assist, and one for centering the most productive line we’ve seen since Ribeiro’s line was ripping it up; +6
Loui Eriksson: two for the assist; +2
Steve Ott: two welcome-back-from-suspension points; +2
Marty Turco: two for the assist, two for showing us he’s not actually slumping again but minus-one for scaring us with some close calls anyway; +3
Steve Bégin: two for leading in hits with nine; +2
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist and one for ticking off all the Ducks and drawing penalties; +3
Fabian Brunnstrom: two for each assist and one for showing why he shouldn’t be benched; +5

March 2, 2009

Weekend Review

by Chelsea

It was a disappointing weekend for the Stars (and Stars fans), who saw the season’s longest homestand end with a pair of back-to-back losses. The typical game reviews for those losses are getting lumped together here in a fabulous fowl-filled Weekend Review! 

The Good:

Mike Ribeiro spent most of Saturday looking positively pissed. He came out with the kind of determination that it takes to win games, and tried his best to drag the team behind him as he collected two goals and an assist. It says a lot when a guy from the losing team gets first star of the game. After the loss, he still looked mad, going as far as to snap at a pushy reporter. Sure, it wasn’t very nice of him, but we’d rather he be mad enough to do something rather than take part in the rest of the team’s pity party.

Sunday’s story was Loui Eriksson, who scored the Stars’ lone goal in the 4-1 drubbing from the Penguins. It took Dallas 46 minutes to get on the board, and by then it was far too late. To look at this in a positive way: Loui displayed enough determination when the game was already lost to get the puck past a hot goaltender and somewhat salvage a deflated power play. Also, Loui scoring again is just good news, if it means he’s getting over the post-Richards growing pains.

It’s probably just coincidence that the season Hull upset hockey karma by signing Sean Avery, Dallas sees the loss of Morrow and Zubov for the entire season. It’s probably also coincidence that Jere Lehtinen, Fabian Brunnstrom, Brad Richards, Landon Wilson, Toby Petersen, and Steve Ott all missed/are missing big chunks of time with injury. And it’s probably also coincidence that Marty Turco has spent most of the season being some goalie that can’t play nearly as well as Marty Turco. And it’s probably just a coincidence that the Stars went from basement to playoff-possible following his removal from the team. Regardless, we’re taking the news that Avery has been put on recall waivers today and will be gone after 24 hours as very very good news. 

The Bad:

Trevor Daley passes Loui Eriksson the puck when he’s in a vulnerable position, and Eriksson gets smushed by Sheldon Brookbank. Daley tries to make up for it by fighting Brookbank and ends up with 17 penalty minutes. Ducks score on the following power play. 

Then Daley comes back and takes two more minor penalties in the game vs. Anaheim. His issues continue against Pittsburgh, and he left the weekend with 23 more PIM than he started with.

Evgeni Malkin introduced his elbow to Darryl Sydor’s head and got away with it. Seconds later, Krys Barch got called for holding, and Malkin scored on the power play.

Stars outshot their opponents 54-41 over the two games, and still lost 8-4. This could be partially attributed to Marty Turco being mentally asleep, as he let in 4 goals on 18 shots against the Ducks. When he got a break Sunday, the Stars responded by giving backup Tobias Stephan little to no support. 

Fabian Brunnstrom ended the Ducks game having not gotten a point in his last four games, and with an even +/- in that span, despite putting out tremendous effort during the homestand. He was benched on Sunday. This didn’t really explain why James Neal, who has had no points in his last 7 games, is a -5 in his last four, and whose overconfidence led directly to at least one goal, still got to play.

The Ugly:

Steve Ott pisses off the entire Anaheim team, who responded with a good ol’ fashioned mugging after the final buzzer. The Stars kinda half-heartedly tried to help out. After the game, Robidas seemed extremely sorry for having let Moen beat Ott’s face in, but Modano seemed to think Ott should have known better than to pick the fight in the first place.

Then, Sunday against the Penguins, Malkin gets away unchallenged with a headshot on Sydor. While you’d expect someone to come to the defense of their veteran player, nobody rose to the occasion. After the game, Sydor seemed rather appalled at the lack of camaraderie as he held an ice pack to the back of his head.

The Stars went into a 6-game homestand sitting on top of a playoff-hopeful log jam. They won their first game… and then went on their worst losing streak of the year to finish it up. 2 out of a possible 12 points saw them straight to the bottom of that log jam.

SHR +/-:

Stéphane Robidas: two for the assist, one for playing a ridiculous 30:05 Saturday, but minus-one for apparent exhaustion that lead to poor defense Sunday; +2
Matt Niskanen: three for the goal and one for actually utilizing his size; +4
Trevor Daley: minus-three for the very bad weekend but one for at least trying to make up for his mistake by defending Eriksson; -2
Mike Modano: two for the assist but minus-one for his complete lack of impact against the Ducks; +1
James Neal: minus-three because we are just fed up with his nonchalant overconfident attitude and bazillion turnovers; -3
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal; +3
Chris Conner: two for the assist; +2
Jere Lehtinen: two for the assist and one for actually having a good game Saturday; +3
Mark Fistric: two for getting 13 hits in the two games; +2
Steve Ott: two for each assist but minus-one for the stupidity surrounding his suspension; +3
Tobias Stephan: one for a valiant effort; +1
Marty Turco: minus-two for urrrggg not this againnnn; -2
Steve Bégin: two welcome-to-the-team points; +2
Darryl Sydor: two for the assist and one for showing that veteran leadership everyone keeps talking about; +3
Mike Ribeiro: three for each goal, two for the assist, and one for having 10 shots on goal and 5 hits over the two games; +9
Fabian Brunnstrom: one for effort and one spite point because he really shouldn’t have been benched over Neal; +2

February 21, 2009

Game Review – 2/20/09 (DAL vs EDM)

by Chelsea

Game: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other words, he ought to be just fine.

SHR +/-:

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

February 17, 2009

Game Review – 2/16/09 (DAL at CBJ)

by Chelsea

Thank Yous to/from Turco and Eriksson:

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

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

The Argument for Ribeiro As Alternate Captain: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to Step Up:

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

Mike Ribeiro – see above.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHR +/-:

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