Posts tagged ‘Raymond Sawada’

February 24, 2009

Power Rankings Round-Up

by Kristine

Power rankings were updated yesterday, and I’m interested to see how the hockey world feels about the Stars now that our depth up front has been depleted even further with the loss of Brad Richards. Let’s take a look…

Actual rank: 16th in league; 7th in West; 2nd in Pacific.
Record: 29-23-7. L10: 5-5-0.

Andrew’s by Mark Stepneski
Stars: 11 this week; 11 last week. “Stars suffer another big injury when Brad Richards goes out 6-8 weeks with a broken wrist. Stars are 13-3-1 in last 17 home games.”
Of Note: St. Louis at 23 this week; 23 last week. “The Blues continue to pick up points to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. They are 9-3-5 since the middle of January.”
My thoughts: The truth is that Richards’ injury hurts us almost worse than Morrow’s knee injury. There’s so little time left in the season, and our depth at forward is already so depleted, that there’s virtually no adjustment period. We either keep playing well, or lose the playoff spot.  It’s been a rough start to Life Without Richards, with losses to the Hawks and Sharks, but facing the Blues on Thursday will give us another chance to stay in the race. In theory, beating them sounds easy, but the key is not looking at this as an easy two points.

ESPN by Jim Wilkie
Stars: 11 this week; 12 last week. “Rookie call-up Ray Sawada, 24, got a goal in his NHL debut Thursday as he tries to follow the paths of capable Stars youngsters James Neal and Loui Eriksson.”
Of Note: Chicago at 7 this week; 7 last week. “Chicago forward Patrick Kane has four goals and four assists in four games (all victories) against the Stars this season.”
My thoughts: First of all, Patrick Kane loves Mo, so it’s no surprise that he plays well against the Stars. It reminds me of Ribeiro playing well against Gretzky’s team. ESPN was the only one this week to focus on Sawada and the rest of the Stars youth. If there’s been a high point to this season, it’s been watching Neal, Eriksson, and Brunnstrom come in and be so awesome. We’ve also gotten to see great outings from call-ups Tom Wandell and, as ESPN points out, Raymond Sawada.

The Hockey News by Ryan Dixon
Stars: 13 this week; 11 last week. “With key players Brad Richards and Brenden Morrow out of the lineup, Mike Ribeiro has driven the Dallas attack with 18 points over his past 16 games.”
Of Note: Vancouver at 7 this week; 14 last week. “Just one regulation loss in their past 10 and Roberto Luongo still hasn’t completely found his game.”
My thoughts: While the Stars have been bouncing around between the 5th, 6th, and 7th seed, the Canucks have been flying upwards and are now firmly 5th in the West. THN hits the nail on the head when they say that Ribeiro has been leading our offensive charge lately. He’s one of a few players who have been stepping up more and more this season; a list that also includes Steve Ott, Nicklas Grossman, Stephane Robidas, and of course Loui Eriksson. It’s old news around here, but it’s still good to see.

TSN
Stars: 19 this week; 20 last week. “Given the Stars’ turnaround since shipping out Sean Avery, let’s turn to Texas native Matthew McConaughey and one of his many chick flicks, How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days and a quote that can be directed towards Stars co-GM Brett Hull, ‘You see, the key to this game is being able to read people.’ Key Injuries: C Brad Richards (wrist).”
Of Note: Edmonton at 20 this week; 17 last week. “The world might not depend on the Oilers making the playoffs, but they seem to hit enough obstacles on the way to make an Armageddon comparison reasonable. Like the Roughnecks saving the planet from an asteroid, if the job is going to get done for this year’s Oilers, it’s going to be up to the young guys to come through in the clutch.  Key Injuries: D Denis Grebeshkov (ankle).”
My thoughts: In honor of the Oscars, TSN related each ranking to its own movie this week. It’s an interesting premise that doesn’t mean jack in the long run, but you’ve got to give TSN credit for trying to merge hockey and chick flicks. Honestly, as much as TSN is negatively biased against the Stars, I’m surprise we moved up instead of down with Richards out of the lineup. It’s probably because they focused on the Stars without Avery instead of the Stars without Richards. They’re right that Sean Avery was a fiasco here, but enough about him. He was a mistake, but he wasn’t the only reason the Stars started the season so badly. It’s time to bury the excuses once and for all and move on. The point TSN makes about the Oilers sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Injuries depleting a team, youth stepping up, fighting for a playoff spot… The Stars did it so don’t discount the Oilers. They’re sitting in the 9th seed right now, but they have 63 points in 59 games played. If they win their next game, they’ll bump the Wild out of the 8th spot. It’s a tight race and it’d be a mistake not to keep an eye on them.

To recap, we moved up one spot in two rankings, stayed dead even in one of them, and dropped two spots in the last. It’s better than I expected, given the bumpy road we’ve followed in the last week, but it’s disappointing to still not be considered a real threat.

What are your thoughts? Please don’t hesitate to comment. I know you people read this! Don’t be so shy! We love hearing your thoughts. 🙂

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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 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Raymond Sawada!

by Kristine

A very happy birthday to Raymond Sawada, whose is celebrating his 24th by being recalled from the Manitoba Moose (AHL). In the meantime, Chris Conner has been reassigned to the Peoria Rivermen (AHL).

I think this is a decision based purely on size. Sawada has it, Conner doesn’t. I remember liking Sawada in training camp. He’s a big guy who plays with a lot of energy and can be very physical (although he doesn’t use his size as much as he could, according to Defending Big D). He’s not much of a goal scorer or play maker, having only 18 points in 48 games. Against a team like Edmonton, though, you want a lineup who can bring intensity and Sawada has a chance to help with that.

The official release is here.

November 7, 2008

Russian! And Ducks, Sharks, and Moose

by Chelsea

We here at SHR had had our fingers crossed for the St Louis Blues. They were the only team that stood between our California rivals and us. It was up to them to deflate these teams a bit before we got there. Instead, they lost to both, and injured Shark goaltender Evgeni Nabokov in the process. 

The official word is: “Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov is day-to-day with a lower body injury.” In watching last night’s shootout, you can tell that it’s a leg injury. Word on the Andrew’s Forums suggests that he may have hyperextended something, pulled a groin muscle, or twisted his knee. 

Either way, I’m concerned. Because hopefully he’s not hurt too bad, but also because this backup goalie Boucher has two shutouts in two games. And because we liked facing Nabokov because we got to make chicken jokes all night. Feel better soon, Na”bawk!”ov. 

As previously mentioned, the Blues also lost to the Anaheim Ducks, who now have “DUCKS OUT FOR REVENGE” stapled across their opening page and have not lost a game in regulation since Oct 19. The game kicks off at 9:00 CT. Now, I know that the Stars have more than enough skill to beat the Ducks, but I’m not sure that they’ll match that level of hunger. If they can, it’ll be a heck of a game. 

Robidas, Ribeiro, and Turco have all been good against the Ducks in the past. Robidas had 2 games in 07-08 as the first game star with 1 game winning goal, and Ribeiro had 2 game winning goals that season. Turco was 4-2-1. We knocked them out of the playoffs in the first round. There’s a lot on the line here, but from a perspective without vested interest, we’ll be seeing what that week off did for the Stars and possibly whether or not this slump is permanent. 

In a much colder part of North America, our lovely James Neal and Mark Fistric wll also be playing a game tonight, with the Manitoba Moose. The Moose are on an 8-game winning streak and hope to extended it with a win against the Toronto Marlies. Stars prospects Raymond Sawada (5 assists in 10 games), Trevor Ludwig (+6 in 6 games), and Maxime Fortunus (+7 in 10 games) are all Moose as well. Best of luck to all of them tonight.

Edit:

The Dallas Stars announced today that the hockey club has activated defenseman Sergei Zubov from the injured reserve list. Zubov is expected to be in the line-up for tonight’s game at Anaheim.

That’s right. Mighty Russian returns!