Posts tagged ‘Tobias Stephan’

May 9, 2009

Depiction: Remembering 08-09

by Chelsea

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

______________________________________________________________________________

Opening Night vs Columbus.

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

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

Fistric catches up with Mittens.

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

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

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

He did have one good save, though.

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

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

Ribs keepin’ us all entertained.

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

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

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

Neal’s first career hat trick, in Toronto.

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

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

Go nuts? Okay!

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

Not a good moment, but definitely a memorable picture.

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

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

Swedes!

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

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

They’re like Power Rangers.

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

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

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

Advertisements
March 30, 2009

Tobias Stephan In Net Tonight

by Kristine

Mike Heika is reporting that Tobias Stephan will be getting the start tonight. The game is airing nationally on Versus, which – let’s face it – is a little bit scary. It’s a chance for Stephan to prove himself, and for the Stars to stop their slide. However, everyone knows that the Yotes have had our number this season. If the Stars win, it will be huge.

Heika’s report on Stephan, the defensive pairings, and the line combos for tonight’s game can be found here.

March 12, 2009

Game Review – 3/10/09 (DAL at STL)

by Chelsea

Game:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHR +/-:

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

March 2, 2009

Weekend Review

by Chelsea

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

The Good:

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

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

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

The Bad:

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

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

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

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

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

The Ugly:

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

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

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

SHR +/-:

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

February 24, 2009

Petersen Out, Stephan Back

by Kristine

The Stars announced this morning that Toby Petersen’s lower body injury is a broken bone in his foot, and he will be out for at least a month. Fantastic! Have you seen our roster lately? Four forwards on IR. If there’s ever been a season for rookies and call-ups to show what they’re worth, it’s been this one.

The Stars have also recalled Tobias Stephan from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, where he went 4-0-1 in his time there. Brent Krahn has yet to be sent down, but I’m guessing that will come later today.

The official relase is here.

February 14, 2009

Game Review – 2/13/09 (DAL vs VAN)

by Chelsea

Game:

For the third time in the last five games, the Stars played hard and still gave up the first goal. For the second time in those games, they picked themselves up and battled on to pull out the win.

For the fourth time in the six February games, the other team would only manage to get one goal by Turco before he locked it down. If he’s tired, it isn’t showing.

Unfortunately, it was also the second time in as many games that the Stars offense struggled. With the top players coming off up up to 8-game point streaks, nothing was going in. After getting shut out in their last game, it took the Stars half-way through the second period to finally get a goal. The posts were not cooperating, rejecting at least a couple of Jere Lehtinen’s shots. Both Modano and Neal missed open nets.

In fact, 1/3 of the points they picked up in assists and goals came from Matt Niskanen and Marty Turco. Not exactly known for their offensive capability. Meanwhile, points leaders like Brad Richards and Mike Ribeiro were held off the board entirely. 

Though, I attribute that to the fact that it was unofficially Swedes Night in Dallas. There were nine Swedish players between the two teams, and they were the ones that produced the most. Loui Eriksson lead them all with a goal and an assist for the night, including his set-up of fellow Swede Joel Lundqvist, who scored his first of the season. Meanwhile, Vancouver’s Swedes combined for 9 shots on goal and 5 hits. 

Speaking of hits, the Stars outhit the Canucks 45-34. I don’t keep track, but that’s got to be one of the highest hit totals for Dallas all season. Five players (Ribeiro, Lundqvist, Sutherby, Neal, Barch) had at least five hits. Ribeiro’s check on someone (Ohlund?) at the end of the first definitely should have been put on the highlight reel.

In the end, though, it really came down to the goaltending. 

LaBarbera was excellent again, filling in for Roberto Luongo. Luckily for us, though, Turco was one goal better. It’s very nice to be able to say again that Turco stole a game for us. With the kind of pressure that Vancouver was applying, it’s clear that we would have lost that game had it not been for his netminding. When he’s on his game, he’s practically unstoppable. However… when he lets in the third shot that the opposition takes, there’s still that little catch, and you can’t help but wonder if he’s suddenly back to being that Turco again. 

It was a good win though. Despite the struggles offensively, the team stayed together and earned their two points. Turco and Eriksson were game-winners in every sense of the word.

Sidenote: Tobias Stephan played his third game with his (hopefully) temporary AHL team, stopping 21 of 22 shots to help his team to a 4-1 win. He’s now 3-0-0 since being sent down, and was named second star of the game. 

SHR +/-:

Stephane Robidas: minus-one for his penalty trifecta; -1
Matt Niskanen: two for the assist and one for an all-around good game; +3
Mike Modano: two for the assist and one for being the only center that won most their faceoffs; +3
Krys Barch: one for delivering five hits; +1
James Neal: one for effort, one for delivering six hits, but minus-one for being able to only hit the post now and never the net; +1
Brian Sutherby: two for delivering a team-high seven hits; +2
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal and two for the assist; +5
Steve Ott: one for delivering five hits; +1
Tobias Stephan: two for his awesomeness in the AHL; +2
Marty Turco: three for the good goaltending, two for the assist, and one for stealing the win; +6
Joel Lundqvist: three for the goal, one for finally getting it, and two for the look he gave Ric when he brought up how long it’d been in the postgame show; +6
Mike Ribeiro: one for delivering five hits but minus-one for losing so many faceoffs; +0
Brad Richards: minus-one for being absolutely awful at taking faceoffs; -1
Fabian Brunnstrom: one because we’re still so happy that he’s back to playing again; +1

February 11, 2009

Game Review – 2/06/09 (DAL vs NYR)

by Chelsea

Game: 

What should have been a battle between twins Joel and Henrik Lundqvist ended up being more of a pity-the-backup-goalie night, as Henrik was unable to netmind for the Rangers because of the flu. Instead of facing his brother, Joel and the Stars were up against Stephen Valiquette. 

On the other end of the ice was Marty Turco, backed up by Brent Krahn instead of Tobias Stephan, who was sent down to the minors. 

When the puck dropped, everyone basically expected a repeat of the Stars’ last game against the Rangers; a 2-1 win in New York decided mostly with special teams and strong defense. 

It seemed, at first, that that was exactly how the game was going to go.

Though four goals were scored in the first twenty minutes, the period ended with a very reachable 3-1 Stars lead, if the Rangers could manage at least two more goals over the final two periods. 

However, they weren’t able to gain any ground in the second period, with both teams scoring to make the game 4-2. 

Though the Stars’ firepower in the first period would have been enough to carry them through the game, and despite Tippett putting youth and bottom lines out instead of his top players, they turned the game into a historic blowout with 6 third period goals.

The game ended 10-2 Stars. 

Points Summary:

Mike Ribeiro: 2 goals, 2 assists
Jere Lehtinen: 1 goal, 2 assists
Steve Ott: 1 goal, 2 assists
Fabian Brunnstrom: 1 goal, 2 assists 
Matt Niskanen: 3 assists
James Neal: 2 goals
Darryl Sydor: 1 goal, 1 assist
Mike Modano: 2 assists
Brian Sutherby: 1 goal
Brad Richards: 1 goal
Andrew Hutchinson: 1 assist

Notes:

  •  The three game stars, in order: Ribeiro, Ott, Lehtinen
  • The game was Fabian Brunnstrom’s first game back from injury, but also his last; on the last goal, he was tripped up and left the ice noticeably limping. 
  • The team netted 4 power play goals in one game for the first time since 2006.
  • Since moving to Dallas, the Stars hadn’t gotten 10 goals in one game – until this one. They also set the record for most goals in one period since the move from Minnesota.
  • Ott and Lehtinen continued their points streaks to seven games, a career-high for both.

SHR +/-:

Matt Niskanen: two for each assist and one for good defense; +7
Mike Modano: two for each assist; +4
Krys Barch: one for getting 8 hits and one for creating some good offensive opportunities; +2
James Neal: three for each goal but minus-one for sort of stealing a goal from Brunnstrom;  +5
Brian Sutherby: three for the goal; +3
Jere Lehtinen: three for the goal and two for each assist; +7
Andrew Hutchinson: two for the assist; +2
Steve Ott: three for the goal, two for each assist, and one for getting 9 hits; +8
Marty Turco: two for a good game and one for an especially solid third period; +3
Darryl Sydor: three for the goal and two for the assist; +5
Mike Ribeiro: three for each goal, two for each assist, and one for leading with 5 takeaways; +11
Brad Richards: three for the goal and one for leading in SOG; +4
Fabian Brunnstrom: three for the goal, two for each assist, and one for a good game back; +6

February 6, 2009

Stephan Sent Down

by Kristine

In the world of news that surprises nobody, the Stars assigned backup goalie Tobias Stephan to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL) today, as expected. Also as predicted, goalie Brent Krahn has been recalled from the Chicago Wolves, but is not expected to be in net tonight against the Rangers.

To be honest, here at SHR we wonder how going from a goalie who is widely thought to be unproven even with seven NHL games under his belt to another goalie who is unproven with no NHL games in his history is going to help our netminder situation. We have a lot of questions about it. Will Tippett be more willing to play Krahn? If so, what does he see in Krahn that he didn’t see in Stephan? Why was Stephan really never given a chance? Will the Brass be keeping an eye on Stephan’s play in the AHL, with the intention of giving him another chance in the NHL later this season or next? Is this the precursor to a trade for some depth in net? As usual with the Stars Brass this season, this decision doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.

On the one hand, I’d rather Stephan get some playing time than sit on the bench game after game. On the other, I’m annoyed that he wasn’t given that opportunity with the Stars. Why switch him out for yet another backup goalie who might not ever see NHL ice? For one, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News points out that Krahn is a veteran minor league goalie but that he also has fought a knee injury throughout his career. So does his veteran status make him more trustworthy than Stephan, at least in Tippett’s eyes?

Just to be fair to both goalies, let’s look at their AHL records. During his time with the Iowa Stars, Stephan posted a .910 sv% and a 2.65 GAA, going 27-25-2. Krahn has had a quiet season, playing eight games in the AHL and recording a .910 sv% and a 2.28 GAA for a 4-3-0 record. In his 14 games with the Quad City Flames last season, he put up a .905 sv% and a 2.49 GAA to go 6-6-2. Now, I’m no goaltending expert, but those numbers seem pretty evenly matched to me. So what gives Krahn the edge over Stephan?

No matter what that edge is, I don’t think we’ll have to wait long to find out how Tippett feels about actually using this backup. Heika writes, “Marty Turco is going to be tested during this run of three games in four days – and even if he takes the full two days off next week, he has a run of four games in six days with two road trips mixed in after this little test.” If there’s ever a time to give Turco a rest and test out this new backup, it’s about to be here. As with many of the Stars Brass’s decisions this season, it will be interesting to see how this whole thing plays out.

The official press release can be found here.

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

 


January 17, 2009

SHR +/- Midseason Report

by Kristine

Now that the half-way mark of the season (the Monday game vs Detroit) has passed, and the SHR +/- has been updated to it, I thought it might be interesting to take a look back at some trends and numbers.

Let’s start by looking at where everyone is at the 41 game mark.

Skater +/- Skater +/- Skater +/-
Grossman +37 Eriksson +98 Parrish +27
Robidas +76 Wilson +25 Lundqvist +16
Niskanen +42 Wandell +6 Boucher +31
Daley +52 Conner +14 Janik +8
Modano +76 Lehtinen +21 Crombeen +26
Morrow +57 Hutchinson +6 Sydor +7
Barch +52 Fistric 0 Zubov +18
Avery -42 Ott +49 Ribeiro +94
Petersen +24 Stephan +23 Richards +67
Neal +85 Janik +8 Brunnstrom +53
Sutherby +3 Turco +46

Obviously, some players have been way outshining others. Some big names – Mike Ribeiro, Stephane Robidas, Mike Modano, and Brad Richards – sit at or near the top, like you would expect. The top also holds a few surprises, with Loui Eriksson holding down the top spot and James Neal breaking into the top 5 early and staying there.

While the top ten or so spots in our plus/minus seem to be pretty accurate, the bottom is a little bit harder to judge. It’s kind of cluttered by people who were call-ups or are no longer Stars, like Tom Wandell or BJ Crombeen. It also doesn’t take into account injured players like Jere Lehtinen, Sergei Zubov, and Joel Lunqvist. If you take away those people, and only count players who are currently playing or have played more than ten games with us, the picture becomes a bit more clear. Darryl Sydor has only earned 7 points with us, Doug Janik is at + 8, and Andrew Hutchinson is +6. Toby Peteresen, at +24, has the lowest +/- to games played ratio. These numbers are fairly on par with our actual feelings about the players.

If you divide number of games with a negative +/- update by total games with updates (since not every player earns or loses points in every game), three players come out with 0%: Brenden Morrow, Fabian Brunnstrom, and Crombeen. Morrow and Brunnstrom each had 17 updates, and Crombeen had 10, and none of them earned negative marks in any of them. It should come as no surprise to anyone that Eriksson comes out on top after that, with only 1 of 26 updates in the negative (a -1 on Dec 12 for “struggling offensively and defensively), for 3.8%. The other players to wind up with less than 10% of their updates as negatives are Krys Barch (5%), Robidas (7%), Neal (8%), and Landon Wilson (10%). On the other end of the spectrum, and again no surprise, 56% of Sean Avery’s updates were negative. After him is Marty Turco, with 28% of his 32 updates being negatives. The only other players to end up with 25% or more of their updates being in the negative are Nicklas Grossman (25%) and Sydor (27%).

Loui Eriksson had a hot streak from October 22 to December 2, earning at least one point in sixteen straight games. The only person to come close to that is Ribeiro, with positive points in twelve games from October 18 to November 15. Eriksson has earned more than five points in seven of his 26 updates, and joins Neal, Mark Parrish, Richards, and Brunnstrom as the only players to earn more than 10 points in one game, with each of them earning 11 points once.

However, the record for most points earned in one game goes to Mike Ribeiro, who earned 15 points October 23 against the Islanders. It’s worth noting that while most of the players with 11 points earned them via hat tricks, Ribbons earned his 15 via one goal, a few assists, style, and being awesome with Morrow. The record for most points taken away in one game goes to Avery, who lost 50 points on December 2. Actually, he technically lost them last night, when we decided that his current -12 did not match up with our feelings about him. He had previously and initially lost 20 for the comment and the following stupidity, and yesterday we assigned him -15 for treating the Stars badly before the comment and -15 for ruining the Stars while he was here. Both are retroactive to the day of the comment, making him -50 for that day. Hey, it’s our plus/minus – we can adjust as we see fit. 😉 Aside from that debacle, the most points we’ve taken away in one game was 6, also from – shocking! – Sean Avery. If you pretend he was never a Star, which we like to do anyway, the most we’ve ever taken away in one game was four. That has happened to multiple players, multiple times. Obviously we’re much more generous for people who do good things than we are anxious to take points away from people.

It’s interesting to note that nobody has hit 100 points yet, although Eriksson is only two points away and Ribeiro is only four away. It’s also worth noting that Morrow hit 52 points in only 15 games. Had he continued at that rate, he would have hit 100 points ten games ago.

Let’s take a look at averages. Once again, we have Louibot at the top with an average of +4 points per game. Under him, averaging +3, are a ton of people. In no particular order: Neal, Parrish, Morrow, Crombeen, Modano, Brunnstrom, Philippe Boucher, Steve Ott, Tobias Stephan, Ribeiro, Lundqvist, and Wilson. The only person with a negative average is Avery with -2. Another real shocker in that one, hmm? Mark Fistric averaged evenly in his short time here, and Turco, Petersen, Matt Niskanen, Janik, Grossman, Hutch, and Brian Sutherby all averaged +1. The rest of the players averaged a middle-of-the-road but still good +2.

If you divide a player’s total number of games with SHR +/- updates by the number of games he’s played as a Star in the first half of the season, you can see who we consider a difference-maker and who is mostly invisible to us. At the top of that chart is Tobias Stephan, who has earned points in eight games despite only actually playing in seven. 😛 More accurate are the numbers for Mike Ribeiro, who has registered an update in 35 of 41 games, or 85%. Turco also makes a difference – although often a negative one – with points assigned to or taken away from him in 84% of his 32 games played. Morrow, when he was around, got positive numbers in 83% of the games he played in (and 0% negatives, as we mentioned before). Also registering highly was Zubov, who received an update in 8 of the 10 games he played in this season. At the bottom we have the people who don’t make much of a difference either way. The worst is Hutchinson, who has shown up in the plus/minus only five times in the 17 games he’s played in as a Star, which comes out to 29%. Barely above him is Parrish with an update in only 30% of the games he’s played with us. Brian Sutherby has only made waves three times in his 10 games, but we’ll cut him some slack and say he’s still getting comfortable here.

Finally, let’s narrow our view to the L10 games played. That takes us back to December 20. I think it can be agreed that the Stars showed vast improvement in the 2nd quarter, so how do things shape up in the plus/minus when you look only at the most recent games? A few players have really bought their A-game, notably Niskanen, Neal, and Otter. All three of them have registered positive updates in at least five games and a negative update only once each. On the other side of things, Robidas has received his only two negative updates in the L10 for a string of games in which he played frustrated and took unnecessary penalties. In the meantime, Hutchinson has updates in only three of the L10, despite playing in all of them, and two of Sydor’s five updates were negatives. Mike Modano has also had a rough, slightly quieter L10, earning negative updates in three games, nothing in four games, and positive updates in three games. On the whole, however, the number show that the team continues to step up and improve.

Overall, it’s pretty obvious that it’s King Loui tearing up the SHR +/- charts this season. If he continues to have a breakout season, his final report for the 08-09 season will look pretty damn good. Same goes for Ribeiro, Neal, Modano, and Lehtinen. It’s also interesting to note that while our top five all register at least 75 points, and the bottom five only register 10 or fewer points, the overall average is only 35 points. There’s actually a 71-point difference between Eriksson’s team-leading 98 points and Parrish, who is the team median with 27 points. I can appreciate that we have some people stepping it up in a big way, but I’d like to see more support from the rest of the roster in the second half of the season. We’re a few games into it as I post this and it’s looking like we might see some more shake-ups as the season continues. Good luck on the second half, Stars!

The SHR +/- page is updated after every game and includes a full roster, as well as the current top and bottom five players. Check it out by clicking here, or find it in the header links any time.