Posts tagged ‘Philadelphia Flyers’

December 12, 2008

Thursday’s NHL Results

by Kristine

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

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November 26, 2008

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

by Chelsea

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

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

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

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

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


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

 

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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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

 

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

 

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


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

 

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

November 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

October 31, 2008

Tonight’s NHL Results

by Kristine

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

read more »

October 27, 2008

Mr. Monday: Brenden Morrow

by Chelsea

Best known as our captain, Brenden Morrow’s rise through our SHR +/- came largely from points he earned off ice. Not to be mistaken, though, he’s also only 2 on ice points behind Robidas and Modano (tied for first). Combined, he’s at 42 points, second only to Robidas (who will not be Mr. Monday yet, because there’s already a post about him here and well… we figure he’ll be at the top of the list for awhile.)

There’s a lot of common knowledge about Morrow, like the fact that he claimed his captaincy straight from Modano himself. He spent most of his time with the Stars going by “Mini-Mo” or “Minnie”, which I’m sure he’ll always appreciate. He’s got himself a big new house, a pretty blond wife, an adorable daughter, and a new set of twins. In late 2006, during a game against the Blackhawks, opponent Radim Vrbata accidentally skated over his right wrist. Two tendons were severed, and it was questioned if he’d ever play hockey again. However, warrior that he is, Morrow returned with wrist guards and determination and now plays on the top line with “hockey gangsta” Mike Ribeiro.

I rather liked Razor’s recap of the skate-wrist incident,

We were in Chicago right after Christmas and Radim Vrbata of the Hawks attempted to jump over a prone Morrow during the game. As he did his skate blade sliced across his wrist. Morrow leapt to his feet and bolted for the Stars dressing room in excruciating pain. The pain was so bad he reportedly bit clean through his jersey.

The injury was repaired, and over the half season he spent on IR the wrist healed, but when he returned to play he was forced to deal with a sort of “skate-phobia”.

He admitted to fearing blades at times in games and it even disrupted his sleep patterns.

Thankfully he says he’s over it now, but in the last months of the 06-07 season it was occupying his thoughts and dreams.

Speaking of injuries, did anyone besides Kristine and me catch Morrow’s magical rubber arm in last season’s playoffs? I forget the game, but he basically tried to check someone, missed, bounced off the boards, and landed on his arm in a way that we were sure that it was either A) broken or B) out for the season. And yet… he finished out the game and claimed it “looked worse than it felt”. Magic!

But, yeah. We’re all glad that he’s healthy now, of course, and hope to see him stay that way for a long, long time.

How about some Morrow videos? Granted, any true Morrow-lover has probably already seen these, but I think they’re always good for rewatching.

  • Morrow brings us “cheesy rebound”.
  • Morrow mangles Michalek.
  • Morrow is bigger than Matt Damon.
  • Morrow is injured, unbalanced, and fiesty.
  • Morrow experiences exhaustion-fueled uninhibited joy.
  • Morrow and Sean Avery have something in common.
  • Morrow likes driving the Stars-decorated Expedition.
  • Morrow gets a good laugh at a dancing Flyers fan.
  • For those that want to do a little more digging: Brenden Morrow 1997 Entry Draft, Brenden Morrow Interview, Brenden Morrow 06-07 Highlights, and FSN Feature – Casino Night. Put these in the Stars Vision search box.
After watching these, I’m sure you’re hungry for some of the lesser known things about Brenden Morrow. If you did watch them, you now know that he likes karaoke, used to be a chunky kid, idolizes Brett Hull, thinks loogies are funny, and is otherwise easily amused.
But, what else?  Here are some interesting Q&A with Morrow, from a DMN piece in 2007:

DT: What is your usual routine to get ready for a game? Do you have some crazy superstitions before a big game?

Brenden Morrow: Two-hour nap, a little coffee and left before right with all my equipment. Those are my superstitions.

Robbie: Do you guys still play pranks on the new kids (tape on the skate blades, etc.)?

Brenden Morrow: When Marty was a rookie and I was in my second year, Joe Nieuwendyk and Jamie Langenbrunner (with help) took everything from our hotel room – beds, dressers, televisions, art work … even lightbulbs – and put it all in our bathroom at the team hotel in San Jose. We have always vowed to pass that prank down, but we haven’t done it yet. Maybe this year …

The rest is here.

In my personal experience, Morrow has always been very personable with his fans. The two times we’ve waited outside practice, he’s shown up happy to sign autographs. His weekly segment on BaD radio are always good for a listen – in the most recent one, he [very] reluctantly admitted that they had not in fact gone to dinner with Avery in New York, but did meet up with him later that night. He’s also admitted to his attention wandering a bit during penalty box time, asking if it was Bob and Dan he’d seen dressed up as vikings during the Oct 15th game (Dan was – dressed as a medieval knight, actually).

Sometimes, (see PIM this season below) Morrow’s frustration gets the better of him. After getting a goal disallowed because it bounced off his thumb and not his stick, provided us with this gem:

His disallowed goal, added to a previous call from the Toronto war room this season toward the Stars, prompted Morrow to say it was “the second horse**** call from Toronto this season.”

And that unsportsmanlike conduct penalty he had recently? According to Friday’s BaD Morrow show, he apparently saw another teammate chirping at an official and felt like jumping in. Silly Morrow, actin’ like a Neanderthal. We know he can do better! In fact…

This year, Morrow has played all nine games and registered 3 goals and 7 assists. He’s also put up a hefty 20 penalty minutes and gotten 31 shots on goal. Making the iffy assumption that this will be a consistent trend, his 2008-2009 season will look like this (in comparison to his 07-08 season):

82 games played (82).
27 goals (32).
63 assists (42).
90 points (74).
182 penalty minutes (105).
282 shots on goal (207).

Morrow’s never actually had a 90-point season with the NHL, so here’s hoping!

So, since I’m 30 minutes past the time I’d intended to publish this, it’s picture time!

When determined, Morrow manages look a bit like Kirk Cameron.

When determined, Morrow manages look a bit like Kirk Cameron.

Happy Morrow means happy fans.

Happy Morrow means happy fans.

And one from Kristines flickr collection.

And one from Kristine's flickr collection.

October 26, 2008

Super Saturday Results

by Kristine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 24, 2008

Tonight’s NHL Wins/Losses

by Kristine

New York Rangers at Columbus Blue Jackets: 3-1 Rangers
Rangers: 15 points (7-2-1) | Blue Jackets: 6 points (3-4-0)

Anaheim Ducks vs Ottawa Senators: 4-3 Ducks
Ducks: 6 points (3-5-0) | Sens: 4 points (2-4-1)

Philadephia Flyers at New Jersey Devils: 6-3 Flyers (Beautiful that the Flyers’ first W of the season means a L for the Devils and a considerable hit on Martin “Fatso” Brodeur’s stats.)
Flyers: 5 points (1-3-3) | Devils: 10 points (5-2-0)

Atlanta Thrashers at Detroit Red Wings: 5-3 Red Wings
Red Wings: 11 points (5-1-1) | Thrashers: 6 points (2-3-2)

San Jose Sharks at Florida Panthers: 4-3 Panthers
Panthers: 8 points (4-3-0) | Sharks: 12 points (6-2-0)

LA Kings at St Louis Blues: 4-0 Kings
Kings: 6 points (3-3-0) | Blues: 8 points (4-2-0)

October 24, 2008

Stars Media Update

by Chelsea

For those of you that do not check for new media constantly:

On StarsVision:
Three new videos in “The Locker Room” – Les Jackson on NHL Live, Stick With Reading Rally, Mike Ribeiro [highlight reel].
One new video in “Bob Sturm TV” – Bob Sturm in the press box.

On NHL.com, Mike Ribeiro is currently the Scotiabank number one star, making him 15th of the season. Fabian Brunnstrom is 5th of the season.

According the the NHL.com poll, almost 30% of hockey fans plan to watch every single game tomorrow. That’s a lot of people with a lot of TVs.

Some pictures from the game against the Islanders:

How he got up there is what I want to know. Or better yet, why?

How he got up there is what I want to know. Or better yet, why?

Islanders fans, lack thereof.

Minnie and Ribbons. Also shown: Islanders fans, lack thereof.

Head on over to Andrew’s Star Page for the newest Morrow-BaD segment. +2 off ice points for his honesty about Avery.

The Sign Girls have pictures of all their (old and new) signs up, with descriptions.  I love… pretty much all of them. 😉

A good laugh: Flyers just whipped the Devils in a 6-3 win for Philly. Go Flyers!

Tomorrow: Stars vs Caps!
Tonight: Expect an NHL standings update from Kristine.

October 24, 2008

Game Review – 10/23/08 (DAL at NYI)

by Chelsea

Game:

Last night, everyone tuned in to watch the Dallas Stars take on the New York Islanders in New York for what would become (as Razor said) a public flogging of the Islanders.

I can tell you two reactions I had at the beginning of the game. One was “Why do the Islanders look like a barely-blue version of the Flyers?”. The other was “Morrow and Ribeiro together!!!!”

I never watch Islanders games, and was under the assumption that their jerseys were actually blue. Not “blue if you tilt your head and look closely” blue. But yeah, the fact that they finally reunited the best bromance to ever hit hockey overshadowed that a little. No, I’m not biased.

Anyway…

When Islander Kyle Okposo took a penalty for sandwiching Sean Avery between himself and another Islander with excessive force (read: roughing), we did something we hadn’t done in many games.

We scored in the first five minutes, on a power play. We took the lead and held on tight.

Rather, Loui Eriksson did, 3:30 into the first. Only his second of the season, Louibot took a nice feed from Ribeiro to produce a tip-in that slid right past New York goalie Dipietro.

Pausing here to note how extremely happy Loui looked after scoring. It was like a little kid on hockey Christmas. His happy (and his goal) made us happy.

It began to look like a one-goal game, with both teams playing well defensively and both netminders producing walls across the pipes. For ten minutes, nothing happened. Then at 14:13 Mike Ribeiro strode into their offensive zone and passed the puck across Dipietro to nobody, and for a moment I wondered if he was imagining hockey players, until Brenden Morrow came charging up to catch the pass and tip it in behind poor Ricky. Stephane Robidas got the other assist.

Anyone get chills and wonder if they’d traveled back in time to the 07-08 playoffs?

There was more celebration, Morrow said “Yeah!” or “Nice pass!” to Ribeiro and we all agreed entirely.

If you were thinking, “Wow! This just couldn’t get any better!” you’d be wrong.

At 16:22, Sean Bergenheim of the New York Islanders took a two-minute minor for holding. Once again, Stars were on power play. Once again, Loui Eriksson stepped in to capitalize where we need it most – special teams. At 18:22 (a second too late to be a PP goal, but the PP is definitely what fueled it), Mike Ribeiro once again proved to us all that his lack of impact before had merely been punishment for having separated him from captain Brenden Morrow. He earned his third assist in three goals in the first period when he again directed the puck to Eriksson, who backhanded it across the goal line and into the net.

That’s how the first ended. Islanders were in a 3-0 hole and Marty Turco had kept them there by stopping nine out of nine shots.

The first intermission came and went.

The Stars opened the first with a lovely 5-on-3… in the Islanders’ favor. Stephane Robidas took a minor for kneeing, and Sean Avery took two minors for roughing (James Neal to serve the second). The situation was something like this:

Robidas knees someone, who goes down in a fit of complaints and whining. A handful of his teammates jump Robi – who doesn’t much go for fights – so Sean Avery, Nicklas Grossman, and Brad Richards come tearing over to back him up. Two guys take on Avery, so Fabian Brunnstrom comes over and gently redirects one. Turco wanders by. An official emerges with Robidas while Grossman shoulders two guys at once.

In the end, one of our best penalty killers and our chirpiest agitator ended up together in the penalty box for a full two minutes. Only one of the Islanders suffered consequences, Bergenheim, who got two minutes for roughing also. We get a quick view of the box, where Avery is making a gesture to Robidas that suggests he was saying “It’s alright, I’m in here all the time!” while Robidas looks like he’s going to die a little with every passing second.

Again, to quote Ralph and Razor, this was quite possibly just what the Stars defense needed. They fought through the 5-on-3 as a team and came out successful.

There was a lot of confusion (at one point, Neal and Avery and Boucher were all in the box together?) when Philippe Boucher got a penalty at 2:40 for cross-checking. Furthering the confusion was a 4-on-4, when Mike Cromrie took a minor for too many men on the ice. In the end, we resumed evenhanded play still at 3-0.

It would be Bill Guerin who’d crack the 3-0 egg for the Islanders. He swept through the Stars defensive zone at 10:16 in the second and turned a pass from Bergenheim into a goal against Turco. The Stars, however, would soon retaliate.

Three minutes later at 13:05, Krys Barch claimed the game winning goal for Dallas when he converted some nice moves by the Ribeiro-Morrow pairing into another tally on the scoreboard. Ribeiro dropped the puck behind him, where Morrow picked it up and sent it to Barch. Before the Islanders had even registered the exchange, it was in the net.

Sean Bergenheim caved in to Avery’s incessant chirping once again at 17:32, getting himself another two minutes in the box for roughing. It was an opportunity that the Islanders surely regretted giving to the Stars. At 18:27, Mike Ribeiro FINALLY got a goal for himself. After getting an assist on each of the night’s four goals, he got his first goal of the season on the power play, off a set-up from Brenden Morrow and Mike Modano.

The second ended at 5-1.

In the second intermission, Mike Ribeiro took a moment to give an interview. In it, he said that he felt the 5-0 shutout loss was the best game he’d had personally, and that the change we saw in tonight’s game came from an attitude change. He explained that he’d been frustrated for awhile, and was able to put that aside to think positively. I’m thinking he should give a lecture on that to the rest of the Stars.

Also: Nice crazy hair, Ribs. Please don’t buzzcut it.

Third period was not as exciting for us in that we didn’t score. It was exciting in that Loui Eriksson kept almost scoring and we kept hoping for a hat trick. It was not exciting in that it only took Mark Fistric 2:02 to trip someone and get himself a minor penalty. It was exciting in that it gave us two minutes without having to watch Mark Fistric.

It was not exciting in that it was that power play that gave the Islanders their second goal. At 3:28, Mark Streit scored. Assists went to Trent Hunter and Doug Weight.

It continued to be both exciting and not exciting. Dough Weight was called for elbowing at 10:16, then Boucher for interference at 16:55, then Mark Streit at 17:34 for boarding. Neither teams scored on any of those power plays.

With three seconds left in the game, unfortunately marring Turco’s sv% for the night, Jon Sim scored for the Islanders to make it 5-3. Assists went to Mark Streit and Bruno Gervais.

Still, it was a great game, and gave the Stars another 2 points on the season standings. They’re coming home with an overall successful road trip, 2-1-0. Tomorrow, they face the Capitals here at the AAC.

Kristine and I will absolutely be there.

Notes:

  • The three stars of the game were, in order: Mike Ribeiro, Loui Eriksson, Brenden Morrow.
  • Turco made 24 saves on 27 shots for a .888 Sv%. His GAA is now 4.04.
  • Mike Ribeiro now once again leads the Stars in points, with 9 for the season. His 5-point game marked a career high.
  • Philippe Boucher led in ice time with 25 minutes and tied with Trevor Daley and Stephane Robidas for shifts with 29.
  • Stephane Robidas led in hits, with 4.
  • Krys Barch took Islander Brendan Witt out of the game with a knee-to-knee collision. A shot to the Islander bench showed Witt in quite a bit of pain, and later he left the game completely. Best wishes to you, Witt.
  • The Stars once again led in faceoffs, winning 62%.
  • Conclusion: You know that feeling you get when you’ve been gone awhile and you’re headed back and catch a glimpse of your home town from a distance? That “aww, I’m almost home!” feeling? That’s what this game felt like.

Official SHR +/-:

Nicklass Grossman: two for backing up Robi in the conflict and minus-one for having a team-low of -2 in the +/-; +1
Stephane Robidas: two for the hit and following conflict, minus-one for not fighting back really, two for the assist, and one for leading in hits; +4
Matt Niskanen: one for nice hustle; +1
Trevor Daley: two for good defense and two for the adorable kiss-on-the-helmet he gave Turco in the post-game congratulations; +4
Mike Modano: two for the assist; +2
Brenden Morrow: two for each assist, three for the goal, and two for being awesome on a line with Ribeiro again; +7
Krys Barch: three for the goal, one for the big hit, two for being fearless, and one for being incredibly versatile; +7
Sean Avery: one for each penalty drawn, two for keeping his cool again, two for backing up Robi, and minus-two for getting a double minor in backing up Robi; +3
Loui Eriksson: three for each goal and two for looking incredibly happy for the entire game; +8
Marty Turco: three for awesome goaltending, three for big saves and staying calm under 5-on-3 pressure, and one for exchanging words with an old teammate; +7
Philippe Boucher: two for leading in SOG, one for leading in TOI and shifts, two for good defense, and one for blocking shots with weird body parts; +6
Mike Ribeiro: three for the goal, two for each assist, two for being awesome on a line with Morrow again, one for the interview, and one for style; +15

October 20, 2008

Mr. Monday: Fabian Brunnstrom

by Chelsea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to hockey…

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

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

Bunny, outside of Löfbergs Lila Arena, in 2007.

Bunny, outside of Löfbergs Lila Arena, in 2007.