Posts tagged ‘Stars Lose’

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

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December 15, 2008

Game Review – 12/13/08 (DAL at NSH)

by Chelsea

Okay, sort of.

Due to Tobias Stephan getting his first start since Halloween, and because writing about getting shut out hurts the brain, we’re going to do a goalie study instead.

The Washington Capitals are having a bit of goalie controversy, what with Jose Theodore and Brent Johnson both pushing for the top spot. Common consensus is that Johnson deserves it, and Caps blog Japer’s Rink had this nifty idea to graph out Johnson’s sv% and GAA.

Tobias Stephan hasn’t even gotten 10 NHL appearances under his belt, so there’s no chance of actual goalie controversy in Dallas, but his fine showing in a sad loss raised his stats above Turco’s. Curious about the consistency of our own netminders, I stole JR’s idea and made my own (much less fancy) graphs.

Marty Turco                                    Tobias Stephan

For someone that is supposedly improving, Turco has had horrible consistency for GA/G, especially in the last handful of games. 1 goal allowed one night and then 4 allowed in the next, twice in a row? Is it a question of the team’s inconsistency rubbing off on Turco’s stats, or the other way around?

Because Turco does have 20 more games than Stephan, I graphed out the Sv% for his first six as well, to compare it more accurately.

Given that half of Stephan’s appearances came in the middle of games, when Turco was pulled, and he was left to hold the fort for a team that always struggles when Turco is playing badly… his graphs look surprisingly consistent in comparison.

For those that maybe aren’t visual learners, some numbers:

Out of Turco’s 26 appearances, only 10 times has he posted a sv% over .900.

Stephan has 3 out of 6 times.

Out of Turco’s remaining 16 appearances, 2 were .800 and 4 were under that.

Stephan has 1 that was .800 and none under.

To rephrase:

Turco posted NHL-caliber numbers 1.66 times for every bad game he had.

Stephan did very well 3 times for every bad game he had.

Is this enough basis to say “toss Turco, start Stephan!”? Not exactly. Is it enough to suggest he’s earned a start more than once a month? Absolutely. Anyone that saw his go-go gadget glove save against the Predators is likely to agree.

Since none of the pictures from the most recent Dallas vs Nashville game are very team-flattering, how about a vintage shot instead? Comes with complimentary cow.

December 6, 2008

Game Review – 12/03/08 (DAL at EDM)

by Chelsea

Game:

Puck dropped in Edmonton at 8:30PM CT. Oilers looking for a revenge win, Stars looking for a win streak.

Scoring opened 1:11 into the first with a Shawn Horcoff shot from 40 feet back that Matt Niskanen accidentally deflected in trying to help block it. Assists went to Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky.

Loui Eriksson got a tripping penalty at 11:35, but the Oilers did not score.

They didn’t score on Mark Parrish’s hooking penalty at 14:32 either.

Instead, they waited until the Landon Wilson hooking at 18:59.

At 19:48, Lubomir Visnovsky shot from the line, getting another soft goal in on Turco. Andrew Cogliano and Dustin Penner got assists.

First period ended 2-0 in favor of Edmonton.

Second period started poorly as well.

3:41 and Stars were in a 3-0 hole when Marc Pouliot got the puck under Turco as he attempted to stack the pads. Fruity Pebbles and Visnovsky got the assists.

Liam Reddox (8:51, interference on goalkeeper), Mike Modano (13:06, hi sticking), and Schremp (18:41, hooking) all got penalties, but neither team capitalized on the consequential power plays.

Second period ended 3-0 Oilers.

Third started with improvement.

An opportunity opened up 1:07 in the third when Fabian Brunnstrom provided Mike Modano with a rebound that he quickly made the best of. 3-1, Chris Conner getting the second assist.

Wilson (6:11, interference on goalkeeper), Schremp (8:35, too many men/ice), and Kyle Brodziak (12:59, tripping) all offered up wasted PP chances.

Modano scored again at 18:20, tipping in a shot from Toby Petersen. Darryl Sydor got the second assists.

One goal down, Turco headed to the bench. Unfortunately, Niskanen had a very unfortunate turnover on the Stars blue line that Trevor Daley stared at rather than helping out with, leading to a big empty net goal by Ales Hemsky.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Turco returned to his crease with a minute to play and managed to let in a fifth goal. This one came at 19:47 from Cogliano, with assists by Sam Gagner and Sheldon Souray.

5-2 Oilers final.

Notes:

  • Three game stars, in order: Visnovsky, Horcoff, Modano
  • Turco sported a paltry .809 sv% and let in 4 goals.
  • James Neal and Mike Ribeiro each ended the game -3.
  • Modano led the team in SOG with 7.
  • Matt Niskanen had a pretty bad game, with 4 turnovers.
  • Stars outshot the Oilers (25-22), but were outhit (9-6) and beat in the faceoff circle (57%-43%).
  • Conclusion: The Stars were mentally and physically exhausted, having had their fair share of player controversy in the past few days and playing in their second contest in as many nights. On top of it all, a good number of key players were still out of the lineup. While it would have been a much-needed win, it was also a fairly forgivable loss.

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: one for leading in blocked shots; +1
Matt Niskanen: minus-one for leading in giveaways and minus-two for the goals he was partially responsible for; -3
Mike Modano: three for each goal and one for leading the attempted comeback; +7
Toby Petersen: two for the assist; +2
James Neal: minus-one for the -3; -1
Landon Wilson: minus-one for more stupid penalties; -1
Chris Conner: two for the assist; +2
Andrew Hutchinson: one for being the only D to end in the +/- positive with +1; +1
Marty Turco: minus-two for being so easy to score on; -2
Darryl Sydor: two for the assist; +2
Mike Ribiero: minus-one for the -3, minus-one for the giveaways, but one for the takeaways; -1
Brad Richards: minus-one for stinking at faceoffs; -1
Fabian Brunnstrom: two for the assist; +2

November 2, 2008

Game Review – 11/01/08 (DAL at BOS)

by Chelsea

Aka, “I hate the Bruins and would not mind seeing a meteor hit Boston”.

No, that’s harsh. Those poor Boston citizens already have to deal with having a bunch of thugs and jerks for a hockey team. No need to blow up their city, too.

In case you missed it, Boston beat us 5-1. Turco was in net and made some good stops. Once again, the other team used Fistric as a surface to deflect the puck off of into the net. There was something like 146 minutes worth of penalties called in this game. For the math-challenged, that’s roughly 2.5 times the actual amount of time in the game.

Since I’m tired of “here are all five people that scored on us” reviews, instead, I’m going to explain to you all why you should hate the Bruins too!

Reason 1:

They’re like children that tap you on one shoulder and stand by the other looking innocent, except that by tap on I mean smash violently into. Bruins players got so many cheap shots off on our players, Ott especially, and none of them were called. Really. One guy hit Ott in the face with his stick, and later took a baseball swing at the back of his head. When they finally provoked our players, they acted like we’d started it. Now, I can’t say what kind of insults Ott and Avery were throwing out, but that’s par for the course.

Reason 2:

They bribed the officials. Or drugged them with sleeping pills. Or maybe blinded them before the game. I’m not sure, but something was up with the officials managing to miss all the cheap shots in reason 1.

Reason 3:

The Bruins are actually a street gang that get paid by mugging people, and tonight they used Sean Avery as a gang initiation target. See, the new Bruinsies got to become full-fledged members by joining in on an Avery ambush. Not kidding here. At one point, Avery was curled up in a ball on the ice, getting sat on/hit in the head by Savard, while FOUR other Bruins teammates tried to join in.

Reason 4:

Apparently in Boston, it is perfectly acceptable to jump from your bench onto the ice to try and pick a fight.

Reason 5:

Their coach commends such angry-mob behavior, saying that it was good leadership on Savard’s part. Also said he felt bad for Barch, having to clean up Ott’s mess. As if Ott hadn’t had a giant target on his back all night…

Reason 6:

Milan Lucic, Mark Stuart, Shawn Thornton, Marc Savard, Shane Hnidy.

Reason 7:

Did you see Matt Niskanen get jumped during the Avery ambush? The guy’d literally never been in an NHL fight and was skating by to try and break up the pile on Avery, when he got pulled to the side and forced into a fight.

Reason 8:

Matt Niskanen and Sean Avery both got 10-minute misconducts. Really, refs?

Reason 9:

They did this to our beloved Stars. 

Reason 10:

After playing dirty, unsportsmanlike, and downright mean, they still walked away with the two points. Talk about not deserving what you’ve earned.

There wasn’t much I saw that I liked in that game, but the goal we did get was nice. Avery basically swept past someone, grabbing the puck off that guy’s stick as he went, and sunk it from a considerable distance all by himself.

Also, Richards was back. Seemed to be okay to me. Guess his lower body is in working order again.

Stars get almost a full week off before they play Anaheim and San Jose on Friday and Saturday respectively. We’ll see what happens between now and then.

November 1, 2008

Game Review – 10/31/08 (DAL at CHI)

by Chelsea

Game:

The short version.

No Brad Richards, out day-to-day with a lower body injury.

Started out just about even with fighting for the puck.

Stars score first, with Loui Eriksson getting his fifth of the season.

First Hawk PP of the game and they score on a very very well-screened Stephan.

Stephan turned around and some big saves at the end of the period, but still gave one up to Patrick Kane.

First ends 2-1 Blackhawks.

Lots of both teams doing lots of nothing impressive for over five minutes.

Lovely moves from Stephan (poke checking the puck), Barch (collecting the puck and sending it to center ice), and Ott (grabbing the puck and stealing away for a breakaway goal). During this, Ben “Swings Hockey Stick at Players Instead of Puck” Eager slashed Robidas, sending him to the ice and getting a faceful of Ott. Robi was alright, though.

Watched a 5-on-3 in our favor slip by without any shots on goal.

Gave up the tie, not to regain it. Period ends 3-2 Blackhawks.

Note here that the absence of Brad Richards cost us more than the presence of Brad Richards. It took away winger Ott, replacing him with center Ott. Winger Ott was able to push the net and have a high-scoring center to back him up. Center Ott has to stabilize a line of Sean Avery and Chris Conner, instead of doing what he does best. So, Richards, I sincerely hope you had a good reason for missing this game, and that you don’t miss any more.

Second intermission. Interview with Barch:

Razor: “Any bad blood still dripping over from that very fractious preseason game in Dallas?”
Barch, with a laugh: “Oh you always hate everybody you play against. There’s bad blood everywhere”

Barch is absolutely underrated, not to mention funny.

Third period was just fail. That 3-2 hole grew to 5-2 completely unanswered. Morrow got a stupid penalty for giving a Blackhawk a big friendly hug. He must have done his spin thing, because they didn’t score. The only player not really being frowned upon for sloppy play, though? Tobias Stephan. Despite plenty of scoring chances in the end, the final score was 5-2.

Notes:

  • Three stars were all Blackhawks.
  • The special teams for the Stars were pathetic. 0/7 on the PP.
  • Stephan stopped 27 in 32 shots for a .844 sv%. He also got an assist on the Ott goal, his first NHL point ever.
  • The game was the 500th for Stephane Robidas, who was a Blackhawk for 45 games in 03-04. Good to have him back.
  • I think Barch needs more ice time. He played 7 minutes, got an assist, blocked a shot, and had two hits. Imagine what he could do with a full 20 minutes.
  • Conclusion: Not the team that played Wednesday. If you happen to see that team, please redirect them to Boston by tomorrow night.

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: two for good defense and one for the wrestler move he pulled on a ‘Hawk; +3
Stephane Robidas: two for taking a nasty hit and not even leaving the ice, minus-one for his mess-up on the fifth goal; +1
Matt Niskanen: minus-two for bad defense and one for being speedy; -1
Trevor Daley: minus-two for spending 23 minutes doing nothing but allowing goals; -2
Brenden Morrow: two for the assist; +2
Krys Barch: two for the assist, one for the interview, and one for being underrated; +4
Sean Avery: two for trying hard and getting targeted for it, minus-one for failing at faceoffs; +1
Toby Petersen: waste of space; -1
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal; +3
Steve Ott: three for the goal, two for trying to kick Eager’s butt repeatedly, one for style, and one for “igniting passion”; +7
Tobias Stephan: three for making many big saves, two for the assist, one for style, and minus-two for letting his stats get destroyed; +4
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist; +2
Brad Richards: minus-two for acting like Sidney Crosby and hiding in the back with an undisclosed injury when he was needed on the ice; -2

October 26, 2008

Game Review – 10/25/08 (DAL vs WSH)

by Chelsea

Game:

With all the teams in the NHL hitting the ice tonight, only half could walk away with a full two points. Unfortunately, the Stars were not in that half. Instead, we served as a playground for the Washington Capitals, ending their losing streak and sending them home with a new Russian record. But more on that later.

Kristine and I were there at the AAC to watch in person. Met up with Jen and Caitlin, who were very cool, before the game. It was lots of fun. 🙂 Wanted to meet up with the Sign Girls and Myra before the game as well, but ended up not having enough time. 😦 Another game, maybe?

As for the actual game, I thought the first ten minutes were very promising. There was an interruption seven minutes in when Sergei Fedorov took a penalty for slashing, but the power play didn’t prove to be efficient enough to produce points.

It wasn’t until 10:19 that someone scored, a moment easily remembered as “Oh my god, Sean Avery just did what?”. That’s right. Avery got his first goal as a Dallas Star, and first of the season. I’ll admit that I was impressed. BJ Crombeen fired a slap shot from the blue line, and when Caps goalie Jose Theodore didn’t cover his rebound, Sean Avery scooped it up and tossed it behind him into the net. Mike Modano got the other assist.

It was somewhere in here that we begun to notice that Stephane Robidas did not seem to like Alex Ovechkin. At all.  I did a little research and found no reason for it, but there it was. Robidas repeatedly putting Ovechkin into the boards with excessive force, and even a verbal confrontation between the two. It surprised me, as Robidas doesn’t much care for fist fights (see the last game against the Islanders).

So it only took about a minute after the Avery goal for the Capitals to take the wind completely out of our sails. Crombeen got a minor penalty for slashing at 11:14, and things felt like they slowly drifted downhill from there.

It was on that power play that Fedorov got his first goal of the night, a wrist shot with assists from Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom. I did something I don’t usually do in writing the review, and that’s go back and watch the other team’s goal about five hundred times. I wanted to know whose fault this was. Turns out, the official replay is not so helpful. However, it looked to me like Nicklas Grossman allowed Semin to pass the puck to Fedorov, who had a clear shot at our Marty Turco. Brenden Morrow was also a little slow on the uptake, missing an opportunity to block the pass as well. That one I would not count against Turco.

Tied 1-1, we’d lost the only lead we’d take in the game. At 16:58, Capital Tomas Fleischmann broke the tie with help from teammate Michael Nylander. Again, I reviewed the replay. What I saw was this: Fabian Brunnstrom attempted to keep the puck in the offensive zone, but it got picked up by a Capital. Nylander gets it through the defensive zone and passed past Brunnstrom and Avery to Fleischmann. Turco was slow and unable to stop the puck from going in. I think that one can be attributed to both the absent defense but also to our goaltender.

At 19:15, Mike Green tripped up Morrow and got called on it by the officials. During that Dallas Stars power play, Brunnstrom apologized to us all for his slip-ups by scoring a tiemaker goal with ten seconds left in the first. It was like his third goal in his NHL debut; he was right in the netminder’s face, the angle was weird, the hole was small, the pass was nice, and the puck went in. Stephane Robidas and Sean Avery pitched in for the assists.

Went for a pretzel, hot cocoa, and hot dog in intermission and came back to hear Joel Lundqvist complaining about the election in Swedish. We wonder: Do the Swedes (or previously, Finnes) get to pick what they say in Swedish or does someone decide for them? Does Lundqvist really hate election-talk? Does Brunnstrom really have a Bikini Team?

The second period had a lot of Krys Barch in it. Early on, he nearly broke the tie by stuffing the puck in a wrap around attempt, but was blocked by Theodore. He proceeded to run over people until Trevor Daley smacked the puck into the Caps’ bench and got a delay of game penalty. Then he went away for awhile.

While he was chillin’ on the bench, the Stars successfully killed of a power play. Then they turned around and let Fedorov get his second goal of the night. This goal made him the record holder for Russian goal scoring with 470-something goals. Semin and Brooks Laich got the assists. Again, I reviewed it. Niskanen lost a possession battle on the boards, allowing the puck to go into the Stars defensive zone. Fistric did this “I skate backwards in front of you and think that’ll make you just hand over the puck you’re skating very quickly at my goaltender with” thing that he does instead of actually trying to stop the play’s progression. He did attempt to intercept his pass to Fedorov with a poke check, but failed. The pass got through, Fedorov sped past Philippe Boucher, and popped it behind Turco, who seemed to misjudge what Fedorov planned to do completely. I blame this largely on our defense and partially on Turco.

As if we weren’t already suffering from complete momentum drain as it was, it would get worse before it got better. The Stars managed to gain possession of the puck long enough to fire off a couple shots, but it was quickly returned to the back of Turco’s net. This time it was Fleischmann again, and again assisted by Nylander. This one was easy. Turco attempted to clear the puck, it went to Nylander, got picked up by Fleischmann. The only person between him and Turco was Boucher, who went down on one knee to try and block it but failed. Once again, I ask if Turco REALLY should have let this one in. It seemed to me like he was trying too hard and moved out of position too soon.

BJ Crombeen helped patch the 4-2 wound only a few seconds later at 15:55.  This was my favorite goal of the night. Mike Modano carried the puck into the offensive zone and dropped it to Daley. Daley carried it to the net (yes, the person a dropped pass was intended for got it!) and swept it across the crease to Crombeen, who beat out a Washington defenseman for a very nice tip-in.

In a slightly pathetic attempt to shift momentum, or possibly just out of frustration, Krys Barch returned to our attention here with a bang. He did so by taking on Donald Brashear in a fist fight that he really really lost. I’m a fan of Barch, and I was alarmed to see him skate off the ice completely, slightly bloodied, after this confrontation. Both parties got five minute fighting majors, which Barch served almost entirely somewhere else. I assume he was getting a bandaid.

Not to be outdone, Brenden Morrow tripped up Backstrom and took a breather in the penalty box at 18:10. I think he wanted to start the third in the penalty box with almost-lookalike Barch, and he would eventually get his wish. Meanwhile, the rest of the Stars killed off the penalty successfully.

At one point, the Capitals attacked the net so fiercely that it forced Turco to make several very big, sprawling saves, and drove Boucher into attack-mode. At the end of the second, he nearly got into it with Ovechkin, appearing to grab him by the face or neck and shoving him out of Turco’s crease. Officials jumped in before either could earn penalties.

Second intermission involved human bowling, a Razor-Boucher interview I couldn’t hear, cotton candy, and a bottle of water.

Stars started the third period at 4-3.

Barch returned looking nice and healthy and spent 10 seconds in the penalty box with Morrow. Probably picking up how-to-fight-right tips.

I’d been getting frustrated with Loui Eriksson by this point, as he seemed to be turning over the puck a lot. There’s no denying the play he made not even a minute into the period, though, when he tied the game up again for Dallas.

Mike Ribeiro had just finished melting the ice in the neutral zone with a sizzling dash into their offensive zone and took it behind the net to evade Washington’s defensemen. He ricocheted it out in front of the net, where Eriksson swept by and quickly shot it in past Theodore at 00:56.

Granted, it only took the Capitals a few minutes to answer. At 2:22, Tyler Sloan got a wrist shot past Turco, with assists from Viktor Kozlov and Ovechkin. Grossman tried multiple times to shake Washington off the puck, but was unsuccessful. In the end, both Turco and the puck went in the net.

The following ten minutes were very tense. They brought about a new nickname “Really Richards” because we kept finding ourselves going “Really, Richards?” every time he turned a puck over or made a bad pass or missed a pass or otherwise giftwrapped it for the Capitals. Also playing sloppy were Sean Avery and Fabian Brunnstrom, who kept falling down. There were penalties on Ovechkin and Semin, but Washington’s PK beat off our PP.

Then at 15:26, in our epic struggle to force overtime, Sean Avery stuck his stick in someone’s face and got a two minute for hi-sticking. If I’d been anywhere near the penalty box, I probably would have yelled at him. No joke.

Luckily, this time, our PK beat off their PP. Not only that, our PK had so much hustle that Toby Petersen managed a shorthanded breakaway. It was stopped, and both the play and the hustle continued.

Just when all hope seemed lost, Marty Turco (cough, finally) left the net and put on an extra attacker with a minute left to go. It didn’t take long. Veteran, all-star, superstar, rockstar Mike Modano came through big time at 19:03 when he received a pass from behind-the-net Morrow and shoveled it right in to tie the game 5-5. Oh, Mo, we love you so.

Regulation ended. Overtime began.

Stars had possession for maybe two minutes, getting a couple shots off. Then, Semin swept around Turco’s net with the puck, barely contested. Daley stood in his shooting lane, possibly screening Turco? and Semin got the game-winning goal. Boyd Gordon and Green got the assists.

Notes:

  • The game’s three stars, in order: Fedorov, Modano, Semin.
  • Marty Turco let in 6 goals on 30 shots for a bland .800 sv%. His total GAA is now stinking it up again at 4.26.
  • Robidas led the team in TOI with 27 minutes.
  • James Neal led in hits, with 5.
  • Mike Modano led in shots on goal (6) and +/- (+2)
  • Conclusion: Finishing with an OT loss seems to be describing our entire season so far. We try and try and yet something doesn’t connect right in the end. I think that the young defense is looking to Turco to lead them, and he’s not coming through. Time to test out Baby T yet?
Official SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: minus-two for being partially responsible for a goal and one for attempting to make up for it in the end; -1
Stephane Robidas: two for the assist and one for being the only defensemen who didn’t screw up in this game; +3
Matt Niskanen: minus-two for not playing well when we needed strong defense; -2
Trevor Daley: two for the assist, minus-two for some defensive stupidity, and one for the final hustle in the third; +1
Mike Modano: three for the goal, two for each assist, and one for forcing OT; +8
Brenden Morrow: two for each assist and one for having some nice hits; +5
Krys Barch: two for the fight, minus-one for losing it, and one for perseverance in the game; +2
Sean Avery: three for the goal, two for the assist, minus-two for sloppy play, and minus-two for getting a dumb penalty at a crucial time; +1
Toby Petersen: one for the breakaway: +1
James Neal: two for leading in hits, minus-one for some lame giveaways; +1
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal, two for the assist, and minus-two for otherwise being sloppy; +3
Mark Fistric: one for showing a little improvement, minus-two for still playing like a giant oaf; -1
Marty Turco: three for the huge saves made during PK and minus-one for each bad goal he let in; -1
Philippe Boucher: three for the shots he blocked, minus-two for those he didn’t, and one for the confrontation with Ovechkin; +2
BJ Crombeen: three for the goal, two for the assist, and one for being the best rookie out there; +6
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist and one for not being sloppy; +3
Brad Richards: minus-two for sloppy, minus-one for losing so many faceoffs, and minus-one for having so little positive impact; -4
Fabian Brunnstrom: three for the goal, one for effort, minus-two for sloppy; +2

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 23, 2008

Game Review – 10/22/08 (DAL at NJD)

by Chelsea

Game:

Nobody wants to read a six-page saga about how the Dallas Stars got royally stomped for the fourth time this season. We’re 2-4-1. We let in over 4 goals a game on average. We’ll give you two goals for every ten shots you get on us, folks.

Note that this is not hitting the panic button. This is all just the facts. We could still leave the first ten games at 5-4-1, best case scenario, and that wouldn’t be too bad.

So, since nobody needs a play-by-play on how we sailed right into a 5-0 loss, the quick version:

  1. Stars in New Jersey for the second of three road trip games, against the Devils.
  2. 1:59 into the first, ex-Star and Devils captain Jamie Langenbrunner scores on Marty Turco. Assists to Zach Parise and Travis Zajac.
  3. We all go “ooh, that happened Monday, we’ll be fine!”
  4. Despite less-than-stellar defense, Turco holds us at 1-0.
  5. Second period, at 9:05, John Madden gets a way-too easy shot in past Turco. Assists to Paul Martin and Jay Pandolfo.
  6. A minute later at 10:17, Madden scores again on Turco. Assists to Bryce Salvador and Brian Gionta.
  7. Turco gets pulled. Goes to the bench and looks like someone that needs a tub of ice cream and some time in the corner to talk himself through this.
  8. Tobias Stephan is put in and finishes the second with some great saves on some nasty shots and rebounds.
  9. Third period and we’re all like “oh this sucks, what is our defense doing besides standing there looking sad?”
  10. At 9:49 in the second, Zach Parise scores on Stephan. Assists to Andy Greene and Travis Zajac.
  11. At 10:42, Stephan gets partially screened and David Clarkson scores. Assists to Andy Greene and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond.
  12. We try kinda hard and get some good chances, but the Devils had good defense and the puck rarely reached Martin Brodeur, who claimed a shutout that I do not feel he particularly earned.
  13. Stars leave feeling incredibly bad, Tippett gripes about the goaltending, Modano feels slow, Turco is embarrassed, and Morrow wants to help Turco out by having better defense.
Notes:
  • Instead of the usual notes, I’m going to flood you with opinions because I miss watching Stars games. These players are not our Stars, and I want them to return our Stars to us. I explain.
  • I think they’re just trying too hard. I think the Stars came into this season with too high of expectations on them, and they’re all trying to be everything to meet these expectations. Let’s not forget that we earned our spot on the near-top by each player working hard at whatever they’re best at. If we can get that through our struggling Stars’ heads, I bet we’ll be fine.
  • Also, it won’t hurt to get Lehtinen back in the lineup, which should be soon.
  • Another also: Martin Brodeur is overrated. If I had a hate-list, he would be sitting comfortably at the top, right next to Jordin Tootoo.
  • Conclusion: The Stars sucked as a team, but not necessarily as individuals. Tomorrow night’s game against the Islanders will show us one thing for sure – when at rock-bottom, do the Stars rally and win or play frantic and sloppy?
Official SHR +/-:
Stephane Robidas: two for leading in hits with six; +2
Matt Niskanen: two for being the only d-man that stood out as not playing badly; +2
Trevor Daley: minus-two for letting the Devils score on an undefended Stephan despite being right beside said Devil; -2
Brenden Morrow: one for acting like a d-man and blocking a few shots; +1
Krys Barch: one for looking silly and scary all at once in a confrontation with some Devils; +1
Sean Avery: two for the opportunity and shot on goal he earned, one for handling the confrontations from the Devils well, and minus-two for otherwise being too timid to do anything but make a lot of noise; +1
Toby Petersen: two for the diving save that kept away a nasty rebound; +2
James Neal: one for being there even when the rebound wasn’t; +1
Loui Eriksson: one for having two takeaways; +1
Jere Lehtinen: we need you! come back, please; +1
Mark Fistric: minus-two for thinking that standing around the general area of the goalie keeps pucks from going in and minus-one for each giveaway; -4
Tobias Stephan: minus-one for the goal he maybe could have stopped, minus-one for not protecting all his rebounds, and three for the ten much-needed saves he did make; +1
Marty Turco: minus-three for the poor goaltending and two for the saves he made; -1
Philippe Boucher: two for honestly trying; +2
BJ Crombeen: one for having one of the best almost-goals in the game, two for the fight, minus-one for the fight being stupid; +2
Sergei Zubov: we need you too! +1
Mike Ribeiro: one for playing better than we’d seen him play this season, one for the nice breakaway, and one for dominating faceoffs at 73%; +3
October 19, 2008

Game Review – 10/18/08 (DAL vs COL)

by Chelsea

Game:

So. This game review is going to be short, simply because I can only put so much detail in describing another painful loss.

Started out decently. Our defense was all over the Avalanche.

It was good to see Steve Ott back. He proved his health only 2:30 into the game by putting a major whooping on Ian Laperriere. Laperriere fell over, and Ott picked him up so he could keep hitting him. It was beautiful.

Though the game was defenseman Doug Janik’s debut with the Stars (Mark Fistric sat out as a healthy scratch), he was only able to tally five minutes before removed from the game. When another player’s stick snapped in half, part went whizzing into Janik’s face, and he left the ice bloodied, presumably for stitches. No word on his condition otherwise.

Coloroado, unfortunately scored on Turco at 6:44, worsening things. Ouch. Milan Hejduk with the goal, Paul Stastny with the assist.

Another fight broke out at 7:26, this time between Nicklas Grossman and Cody McCormick. Grossman trampled him.

Two more penalties occurred – Trevor Daley for holding the stick at 12:20 and Avalanche Adam Foote at 15:32 for hooking.

Foote probably felt pretty bad when Fabian “Tiebreaker Hat Trick Too-Many-Nicknames Bunny” Brunnstrom capitalized on that power play. He tipped it into the net at 16:25, with assists from Brenden Morrow and Brad Richards. It was a nice goal, with a highly-impressive pass from Morrow that shot behind him and between the legs of an Avalanche, straight to Brunnstrom.

Thus ended the first.

The second gave me a headache. Well, I gave me a headache from all the banging my head against a wall, but that was the second period’s fault.

To summarize:
– James Neal Scores At 0:13 and Gives Us All Hope. (Mike Modano and BJ Crombeen for the assists)
– Colorado Scores Three Times and Makes Us All Cry (Milan Hejduk with assists from Joe Sakic and Stastny, Ryan Smyth with assists from John-Michael Liles and Sakic, Tyler Arnason with assist from Wojtek Wolski)
– Stars Spend 13 Minutes In The Penalty Box (Trevor Daley with 2 minutes for hooking, Stephane Robidas with 2 minutes for hooking, BJ Crombeen with 5 minutes for fighting, Mike Ribeiro with 2 minutes for hi-sticking, and Nicklas Grossman with 2 minutes for holding)
– BJ Crombeen Kicks Cody McLeod’s Butt, Throwing His Helmet Half-Way Across The Ice
– Stars Sink Into 5-2 Hole

As if the second period wasn’t hard enough, we found out in the second intermission that Brenden Morrow cut all his hair off. 😦

The Stars rallied for the third, claiming two goals within the first ten minutes.

The first came from Loui Eriksson at 2:00, the first of the season for him. Mike Ribeiro and Sean Avery got assists. The second came from Brad Richards at 6:47, with assists from Robidas and Eriksson.

Brenden Morrow nearly tied it, but his goal was declared no good when the replay showed it bouncing off his glove into the net. By the time they’d finished deciding this, the Stars momentum was lost. In his frustration, Morrow got himself 2 minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct and 2 for slashing.

Despite going open net (and nearly getting scored on about four times), the Stars did not manage to score again, and ended the game at a 5-4 loss.

Notes:

  • The game’s three stars were, in order: Milan Hejduk, Brad Richards, Ryan Smyth
  • Turco’s sv% for the game was .772. His sv% for the season is .814, with a painful 4.70 GAA.
  • The top line was broken up for the game, separating Morrow and Ribeiro. The day’s top line was, again, Neal-Modano-Crombeen.
  • Once again, Joel Lundqvist led in hits, with 4.
  • Mike Ribeiro is now at 299 career NHL points. Mike Modano is at 1,288.
  • Robidas led in shifts and ice time, with 31 shifts and 29 minutes.
  • The Stars came ahead in faceoffs, with 52% win.
  • However, the Avalanche outshot the Stars 30-22.
  • Conclusion: If we played all of all of our games like we played the third period of this one, we might see a lot more points on the board.
Official SHR +/-:

Nicklass Grossman: three for the nice fight and good defense; +3
Stephane Robidas: two for the assist and one for valiantly retrieving a puck he turned over; +3
Matt Niskanen: two for good defense; +2
Trevor Daley: minus-two for a stupid penalty that allowed COL to score; -2
Mike Modano: two for the assist and one for style; +3
Brenden Morrow: two for the assist, one for the almost-goal, and one for acting more like the fiery Morrow from last year; +4
Sean Avery: two for the assist and minus-two each time he took a shot at an Avalanche player instead of the net; -2
James Neal: three for the goal; +3
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal, two for the assist, and one for high-energy throughout; +6
Jere Lehtinen: one for being sorely missed; +1
Steve Ott: two for the nice fight; +2
Doug Janik: three for impressive defense and one pity point for the injury; +4
Marty Turco: three for a very nice third period, minus-two for a horrible second period, and minus-two for leaving the net open at stupid times to try to play the puck; -1
BJ Crombeen: two for the nice fight and two for the assist; +4
Sergei Zubov: one for being sorely missed; +1
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist; +2
Brad Richards: two for the assist, three for the goal, and one for effort; +6
Fabian Brunnstrom: three for the goal and one for effort; +4

Off Ice +/-:
Brenden Morrow: minus-one for cutting all his hair off; -1
Fabian Brunnstrom: five for packing burgers at Burger King to pay the bills before reaching the NHL; +5

October 16, 2008

Live Blogging Stars at Blues

by Kristine

7:53pm* So commercial break. Welcome to SHR’s first ever live blog! Kristine here. I missed the first seven minutes of play because getting bubble tea took a bit longer than I thought, but it doesn’t look like much happened. I did make it back in time to see Turks make an amazing save just now. Slid left in a near split, covered the puck with his leg – it was amazing. (+2) Equally amazing was his little roll off the puck. +1 on ice point for that. Oooh and Neal with a shot on goal. Go Neal!

7:56pm Ooh, blue in the net with Turco. Bet he loves that.

7:56pm Icing against the Stars.

7:58pm Love that Neal-Mo-Crombeen are together again. Neal just took a hit from somebody and the guy doing the hitting was the one who went down. Nice. (+1)

7:58pm Louibot with a floating shot on goal.

7:59pm Blues score on an ugly giveaway from Ribs (-1). 7 minutes left in the first period and it’s 1-0 Blues.

8:03pm Blues score again. Turco was so far to the front right of his crease that I’m not surprised he couldn’t cover it. He got distracted trying to play the puck and it just didn’t work out (-1). 4:40 left in the first; 2-0 Blues.

8:05pm Barch scores (+3)! Assisted by Daley (+2) and Nisky (+2). Veryyy nice. 16:36 into the first.

8:10pm 3 on 1 in the Dallas zone but Blues missed the net.

8:12pm End of the first period and we’re still down by one. At least we’ve scored in the first period. We don’t seem to do that much. Then again, looking at the NHL.com stats page, neither do the Blues, and they’ve done it twice tonight.

Keep reading…