Posts tagged ‘Tampa Bay Lightning’

October 20, 2010

SHR +/-: October 18 @ TBL

by Chelsea

Now… I am not usually this harsh, but penalty killing that awful is going to result in some minuses.

Nicklas Grossman: -1 for every power play goal against he was on the ice for; -3
Stephane Robidas: +2 for the assist, +1 for leading the team in plus/minus with a +3, but -1 for every PPGA he was on the ice for; +2
Trevor Daley:
-1 for every PPGA he was on the ice for; -3
Brenden Morrow:
+3 for the goal, +2 for the assist, and +1 for leading the team in plus/minus with a +3; +6
Adam Burish:
+3 for the goal but -1 for every PPGA he was on the ice for; +1
Toby Petersen:
+3 for the goal but -1 for every PPGA he was on the ice for; +1
James Neal:
+3 for the goal; +3
Loui Eriksson:
-1 for every PPGA he was on the ice for; -1
Tom Wandell: -1 for every PPGA he was on the ice for; -1
Karlis Skrastins: -1 for every PPGA he was on the ice for; -1
Mike Ribeiro:
+2 for each assist, +1 for winning 63% (hee) of his faceoffs, but -1 for every PPGA he was on the ice for; +4
Brad Richards:
+2 for the assist but -1 for doing basically nothing with over seven minutes of power play time; +1

October 18, 2010

Death by Penalty Kill

by Chelsea

What happened to the Dallas Stars’ penalty kill?

During the preseason, they had absolutely no problems killing off penalties. Then we hit the regular season and they start coughing up power play goals to the other team left and right. What happened?

In five games, they’ve already allowed 10 power play goals (on 25 attempts), with 8 of those goals coming in the three road games so far. Four of the goals happened Monday in Tampa Bay. Ouch. That’s a very, very leaky ship they’re trying to sail.

I spent some time after the game staring at numbers. What I found out is that two of the Stars’ leading penalty killers in preseason have not played a second of shorthanded time in the regular season.

One of them is Severin Blindenbacher, who played over 10 minutes in the three of the four games I focused on without seeing a single power play goal against. In two of those games, he was part of the leading defensive pair on the PK that night, with either Fistric or Grossman, which saw a combined 13 penalties against with 0 PPGA. He is now playing for the Texas Stars in the AHL.

The other is Aaron Gagnon, recently called up from the Texas Stars. He played mostly with Toby Petersen on the penalty kill during the preseason and faced over 12 minutes total in the four games. The Dallas Stars killed off 25 of 27 penalties in those games, and Gagnon was not on the ice for either of the two goals they allowed.

Of course, you’d want those two guys to have more NHL experience before you throw them out there shorthanded. That said, it would be nice to see the Stars give Gagnon a shift or two with Petersen and see if they can recreate some of the success they had in preseason against real NHL rosters.

Another player that had some success killing penalties in preseason was Brian Sutherby. He had limited ice time but was not out for a single power play goal against. However, he has only been given 4:36 SH TOI in the regular season despite having only been on the ice for one PPGA, which came during the Detroit game. While that was partially his fault, you can’t overlook the fact that he had almost 2 minutes on the PK Monday and was one of two players who logged over a minute of SH time and did not get scored on. The other player was Steve Ott.

Am I saying Sutherby should be playing big minutes killing penalties? Not at all. Could he take a few shifts from a player like Brenden Morrow who is an adequate penalty killer but may have better ways to spend that ice time? Sure.

This brings me to my main point, which is that it is not really the forwards I have a problem with as far as personnel goes. It is more important to find the right combination of guys like Sutherby, Burish, and Wandell, who have so far been fairly interchangeable when it comes to successfully killing penalties, than it is to figure out who is better. For the defensemen, however, there is a big glaring issue that I see.

Trevor Daley has managed to be on the ice for HALF of the power play goals against (and is leading the team in that regard). To put that into perspective, he allows a goal for approximately every 3:30 he plays shorthanded, or once per game. He is horribly ineffective, and yet is second only to Karlis Skrastins for SH TOI.

There is no reason that I can see not to give some of his penalty killing time to Mark Fistric or Matt Niskanen. At least they don’t look completely startled every single time the puck comes at them. How many times have we already seen Daley do something completely boneheaded that cost the Stars on the scoreboard? He has no awareness of himself in relation to Lehtonen, as evidenced by all the screening, skating into, and deflecting pucks past that he’s already displayed this season.

Moving away from the “who” to the “what” problem, that seems pretty simple. For some reason, the Stars have been completely unable to get the puck ALL the way out of their zone on the penalty kill. One of them will pick it up down low and try to clear it, only to have it caught by the other team and tossed right back in. It doesn’t seem to matter much how they try to get it out. Down the middle? Bad giveaway. Along the boards? Caught at the point, if not before. Carry it out? Swarmed and had it stolen.

Someone needs to sit down and come up with a gameplan for getting the puck out of the zone on the first try. Maybe go over video of the Capitals, who have successfully killed off 21 of 21 penalties. Or maybe just pay very close attention Thursday when they take on the Panthers, who have only taken 8 penalties and have killed off all of them.

November 2, 2009

Mr. Monthly Monday: Brad Richards

by Chelsea

Mono. Shoulder problems. Broken wrist, broken hand. Combine all of these things, and you get one overpaid underwhelming center. Last season, we were quick to jump on Brad Richards. He didn’t play to expectations, seemed to be constantly unhappy, and apparently required a leadership role to feel comfortable with the team.

Now he’s (mostly) healthy and has started to look a lot more like the guy who won a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe in Tampa Bay. He seems to really thrive in Crawford’s new system and finally looks like he’s finding a place on the team. From all accounts, he’s become an actual leader and is playing a big role in James Neal’s hot start.

In fact, Richards has a point in 10 of the 12 games he’s played in this season. He’s had 2 or more points in 6 of those games. That comes out to 33 goals and 80 assists (113 points) if he keeps this up for the remaining 68 games. As unlikely as that is, it means he could drop his production by 25% and still challenge for the highest point total in Dallas this season.

In the stretch of four games near the beginning of the season (Oct 6-14) when the power play was at its best (appr. 29.4%), Brad Richards had 3 goals and 5 assists. He had a hand in 3/5 of the power play goals scored. It would be very interesting to see what would happen to his point totals if the special teams started clicking again.

His 17 points are good for 11th best in the entire NHL, and his 12 assists put him in the top 5.

To put it simply… Brad Richards keeps up the good work, and the Stars will almost certainly have a chance to compete for this:

Lastly, for those of you that are not satisfied by this post and/or want to read about the pre-Dallas Richards, there is actually a Brad Richards book. For those of you that fit into the previous categories but not to the extent that you want to hunt down said book, there’s always his Wikipedia page.

September 17, 2009

And We’re Off!

by Kristine

Pre-season is officially under way for the Dallas Stars. They’ve now played two games: a win over Tampa Bay, and a loss to Colorado. Tyler Beskorowany impressed in net for the second half of Wednesday’s game, and it was announced after that the Stars signed him to an entry-level three year contract. As expected, today he was sent to his OHL team, the Kingston Frontenacs. Tomas Vincour was the first forward to be sent down, to the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings. The Stars are starting to trim the roster back, one prospect at a time, which means the race for opening night is officially on.

The official release announcing Vincour and Besko’s reassignments can be found here, and game recaps can be found here for Tampa and here for Colorado.

March 21, 2009

NHL Overall Team +/- Examination

by Kristine

The Stars take on the Sharks tonight, but before they do I’d just like to point something out. Everyone knows that +/- doesn’t tell the whole story. However, I think it does tell some of the story. For example, check out what you find when you compare the overall team +/- score for the top five and bottom five teams in the league, with the Stars thrown in the middle…

1. DET   +177
2. SJS   +112
3. BOS   +281
4. NJD   +218
5. WSH   +110

21. DAL   -40

26. PHX    -163
27. COL   -188
28. ATL   -93
29. TBL   -148
30. NYI   -220

Obviously a team’s overall +/- is more related to the success of the team than people may realize.

Last season the Stars ended +85 and 8th in the league. In an even more drastic change, Colorado ended +73 and 10th in the league. First place Detroit ended +235 and last place Tampa ended -148. 21st place went to the Cancucks, who finished the season with a +2. Of course, there are anomonlies, almost entirely on the negative side – the Sharks finished second in the league last season, but with a -3; the Oilers finished with a horrid -156 but managed to pull 19th place overall. However, the basic trend is that the higher in the standings a team is, the better its plus-minus is going to be, and vice versa. So is having a strong team plus-minus the key to regular season success? I don’t claim to know for sure either way, but it’s an interesting stat to take into account.

January 20, 2009

Game Review – 1/19/09 (DAL at TBL)

by Chelsea

We’re Calling You Out, Mr. Turco:

On one end of the ice, a young goaltender who has at least four bad giveaways, chucks the puck up the ice instead of passing it, and faced six PKs.

On the other end of the ice, a grizzled veteran goalie who had an alright night handling the puck, and only faced 2 PKs.

Bet you can’t guess which one was the one to have a dumb puck-get moment and surrender a goal, or to have his five-hole thoroughly ravaged. 

One team held the other to only 20 shots against and was disciplined in only taking two penalties.

The other team was subjected to 25 shots and took six penalties. 

Bet you can’t guess which goalie let in 3 goals (on 19 shots – there was one SOG/Goal on an empty net) and which only let in two.

Bet you can’t guess which goalie locked it down after five minutes into the second period and which one let in three goals in the last ten minutes of play.

Confused yet? Surely, Turco came out on top, besting his old backup goalie with his superior puckhandling and puckstopping abilites. Surely! 

Oh, boo. Taking nothing away from the Stars’ rancid special teams (6 PPs – 1 TBL goal and 1 DAL goal. 2 PKS – 1 TBL goal), but everybody already knows the facts about that. Stars suck on the road, Stars can’t score on the road, Stars PP on the road is the worst in the league. We got it, nobody’s denying anything.

But how about that starter goalie? We’ve blamed bad defense, lack of teamwork, lack of consistency, even lack of a strong back-up goaltender. Then when the Stars win, we generally praise Turco and ramble on about how it looks like he’s finally returned to form.

Sometimes, it seems like he has. Sometimes, he makes crazy saves. We call that “bad with flashes of great”, though, not “great with flashes of bad”. 

The fact is, his sv% right now is .916 in wins. Last year, that number was .939, and actually has never been as bad as it is currently. Compared to the top goaltenders right now, that’s a dismal number. Tim Thomas averages a .914 in losses. Steve Mason is .950 in wins and .904 in losses. Turco, in losses, is a questionable .879.

 

 

But the bad defense!

That bad defense you reference is certainly not on par with Detroit or San Jose, but it stands beside them for Shots Against/Game. Actually, the Stars have the third best SA/G in the entire league. I suppose you could argue that Dallas doesn’t let in many shots, but the majority are quality scoring chances – but that’s a pretty daring assumption. Another fun fact: the Stars have allowed less than 20 SA in 8 separate occasions, and 3 of those were in October. One of them was this game.

Turco has only had 16 games with a sv% over .900 this season. Only 14 with a GAA at 2.o0 or under. Looking into it further, you see that out of those 16 games, the team allowed between 25-30 shots against in 7 of them. That seems to be his magic number; few enough so that he doesn’t let in 6 goals, but plenty enough so that each goal doesn’t do too much damage to his sv%.

Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov, member of the 2nd best team in the league for GA/G, has a season sv% of .907. Games in which he reached the .900 mark range from 11 SA to 36. Does the “magic number” apply to all goalies? It doesn’t appear to.

Enough about stats, though. How about the fact that Turco and the team no longer seem to trust each other?

In each game, the team looks a little more desperate. They scramble into the crease to “help out” Turco at every chance, or they put themselves out of position in an attempt to block a shot Turco should be able to save (and end up screening him in the process). When they start losing, they fall apart, because they’re all trying to do everything and cohesiveness is lost.

Conversely, Turco can be seen scurrying behind his net at every opportunity. This includes (but is not excluded to) times when: there are at least 2 Stars within reach of the puck, a Star nearly has the puck, a Star is intending to circle around and claim the puck, and when there are none of the opposition but all of his team around to retrieve it.

Take, for instance, the Stamkos goal. Turco tries to lean around his net to poke the puck away from a Lightning player who is being pressured by a Star. He gets his stick tangled in their skates, loses it, looks to retrieve it, the puck gets centered and he scrambles to get into position, but far too late. 

How about how tired he looks?

He’s given up 9 goals in the third period, just in the last five games.

He’s given up 4 third period goals in the five games before that.

In the five games before that, he gave up 6 in the third.

That’s 19 third period goals in the 15 games since Stephan had his last start. And it appears to be getting worse. Tippett is trusting that the ASG break will give him a chance to rest, but it’s expecting a lot for him to go another 40 games after that without one. He’s only human. 

Assuming we reach the playoffs, I can almost guaranteed that Turco will be too worn out to power the team past the first round. Maybe that’s just the problem; the playoff run in the spring has worn him out, and he needs someone to share duties with. Osgood and Fleury, who met up in the Stanley Cup Finals, are both struggling to find their form as well.

Either way, Turco needs to acknowledge his limitations and do something about it. Even if that means asking to sit and let Stephan play. Risking a handful of games seems smarter than risking your star goaltender in the long run.

Notes:

  • The three game stars, in order: Lecavalier, Richards, Eminger
  • The game was the first meeting between the Lightning and the Stars since the blockbuster deadline trade last year that saw Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist to Dallas and Jeff Halpern, Jussi Jokinen, and Mike Smith to Tampa Bay.
  • Dallas gave up its first SH goal of the season, to Vincent Lecavalier, in the first period.
  • Loui Eriksson’s goal was his first in five games and second in the last eight.
  • Conclusion: We actually don’t blame Marty Turco entirely, but the Stars would be much better prepared to deal with their other issues if he could lead the charge by locking it down. Hopefully the players-only meeting following this loss produced some solutions.

SHR +/-:

Stephane Robidas: two for the assist, one for leading in blocked shots and one for covering Lecavalier like the All-Star he is; +4
Matt Niskanen: minus-one for the untimely penalty; -1
Trevor Daley: one for being the only Star to end in the positive for +/-: +1
Mike Modano: two for the assist, one for winning 88% of his faceoffs, but minus-two for all the turnovers on PP; +1
James Neal: one for leading in hits; +1
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal and one for persistence; +4
Jere Lehtinen: one for tying for the team lead in shots on goal; +1
Marty Turco: see first part of post; -1
Mark Parrish: two for the assist; +2
Brad Richards: three for the goal, two for the assist, one for tying for the team lead in shots on goal, but minus-two for being unable to win a PP faceoff; +4

 


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.

read more »

December 3, 2008

Game Review – 12/02/08 (DAL at CGY)

by Chelsea

Game:

The Stars put out a pretty clear message last night: Sean Avery is irrelevant, the topic is redundant, and we’re moving on.

Dallas headed into their game against the Calgary Flames off a home win against the Oilers on Sunday afternoon. The Flames had won their past three games and were looking to continue their streak to four.

The game kicked off with some interesting roster changes for the Stars. Gone was Sean Avery, indefinitely suspended, and added was Andrew Hutchinson, acquired in a recent trade with Tampa Bay.

The first period saw more hits than shots exchanged, with Chris Conner getting fed someone’s elbow at least once and Krys Barch providing a wall for opposing players to awkwardly bounce off of.

The Stars soon stole an early lead when Stephane Robidas’ shot from the point opened up a prime rebound attempt. For Toby Petersen. Yes, the man who went through all of last season without a single goal suddenly found himself with two goals in as many games. To his credit, he was right where he needed to be and didn’t miss a mostly open net, managing to flick the puck past a sliding Miikka Kiprusoff. The goal came at 6:14, with Nicklas Grossman getting the second assist.

Michael Cammalleri got a holding penalty at 12:59, but our power play was killed off, as the Flames apparently only try to score when shorthanded. Really. I think they got more shots on goal during our PPs than the rest of the game.

The first ended otherwise unfortunately. Landon Wilson laid out Mark Giordano, which was entertaining, but Giordano later put big hits on Brunnstrom and Petersen. Also, Robidas got yet another holding penalty as the period wound down, thus allowing the Flames to start the second on power play. Booooo.

On the positive side, Turco once again stoned the opponents through the first, ending the period with 0 goals allowed for the second game in a row.

Starting the second, the Stars successfully killed off Robidas’ penalty, but it gave the Flames the momentum they needed to finally produce. Only 1:44 into the second, David Moss cleaned up a rebound from Matthew Lombardi and Adrian Aucoin.

At 7:53, Fabian “Tiebreaker” Brunnstrom escaped through center ice as Trevor Daley fed the puck up to him from near the Stars blue line. Brunnstrom flew into Calgary’s zone chased by three Flames. He got a shot off on Kiprusoff, and when it was blocked, quickly picked up his own rebound for a goal. Matt Niskanen got the second assist. 2-1 Stars.

Moments later, Cory Sarich introduced his elbow to Conner’s face, in what Razor called an “elbow-rectomy” that led to another 2 minute Stars PP that ended without any lead extension.

Turco kept the Stars’ small lead through the rest of the second, making saves on David Moss and Jarome Iginla without a problem.

The third period began unexceptionally, with both teams fighting equally hard for the win. The fight turned bloody eight minutes in when Lombardi also assaulted Conner’s face, this time with his hockey stick. Conner was left cut and with a few loose teeth, and Lombardi got a double minor for hi sticking.

The Flames killed the entire four minutes of 5-on-3, giving them momentum for a final push to tie the game. Turco’s solid play came through big here, as he stopped every mad push to the net that Calgary delivered, with his usual level of ease. In the final 35 seconds, Kiprusoff was pulled for an extra attacker.

As the scramble for possession continued, the Flames nearly gave up an empty net goal to Brad Richards, who unfortunately shot wide from all the way across the ice.

In the end, it was Loui Eriksson who sealed the deal. The puck, up for grabs in the middle of Dallas’ defensive zone, was skillfully poked past Dion Phaneuf and into center ice. As Phaneuf turned to chase it, Eriksson sped by and followed up on his own clear.

At 19:45, Eriksson collected the puck, making sure he had it, and sunk it quite casually into the open net.

The game ended with the Flames standing behind their own net with the puck. With that, the Stars won two consecutive games for the first time since February.

Notes:

  • The three game stars, in order: Turco, Moss, Aucion
  • Hutchinson finished his debut with a team-leading 4 shots on goal.
  • No Star ended in the +/- negative.
  • Grossman and Conner led the team in hits with 3 each.
  • Mike Ribeiro led in TOI (24:13) and takeaways (4)
  • The Stars were outshot 23-37, leaving Turco with a shining .971 sv% for the game.
  • All five assists in the game were from defensemen. All three goals, from forwards.

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: two for the assist and one for leading in hits; +3
Stephane Robidas: two for each assist; +4
Matt Niskanen: two for the assist; +2
Trevor Daley: two for the assist; +2
Brenden Morrow: two for having surgery instead of playing and making us all go 😦 ; +2
Toby Petersen: three for the goal; +3
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal and one for style; +4
Chris Conner: one for leading in hits and two for all the damage he took in the game; +3
Andrew Hutchinson: two for solid debut; +2
Marty Turco: two for the impressive amount of saves; +2
Fabian Brunnstrom: three for the goal and one for persistence; +4

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 3, 2008

Let’s Talk Stars

by Chelsea

With all the controversy surrounding our beloved but struggling Stars, we at SHR felt it was time to open an outlet for intelligent debate. (If you’ve visited the official boards, you know that “intelligent” is a key word here. I guess “debate” would be too. This isn’t for taking petty shots or thoughtless griping.)

Some notable things:

  • The Stars have not pulled together consecutive wins since the trade that brought Brad Richards from Tampa Bay, at least not in the regular season. That was in February.
  • Three Stars were sent to minors; Mark Fistric, James Neal, and Chris Conner.
  • Marty Turco and Tobias Stephan both sport the worst S%s in the league.
  • The fact that neither important veterans Jere Lehtinen or Sergei Zubov have been able to play in a game so far this season. Both are very close to returning to the lineup.
  • Sean Avery
  • The Stars are now at 4-6-2, the first under .500 October for the franchise since 1991.

We say:

I think getting polar opposites (Richards, Avery) and trying to fit them into a new and discombobulated team is causing more problems than it’s solving. Jackson seems to want pretty, offensive hockey, Hull wants a gritty, forceful team, and meanwhile Tippett wants a tight defense. We’ve lost almost all our “glue” guys and replaced them with specialists that haven’t found good chemistry yet. Modano and Turco were right to call out the people that are making their jobs harder, but I think that’s hardly an excuse for not playing well. Our defense is not confident in their roles, in the ability of the other players, or in themselves to make the right play. I think losing Neal could further disrupt this new, youthful Modano, but the addition of Lehtinen might bring back some much-needed old school Star feel. Fistric has earned his time in the minors by playing stupidly, and hopefully will return looking like himself again. “It’s only October” is over now. Time to stop looking for the problem and start solving it.