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Archive for the ‘Antti Miettinen’ Category

Today marks the one year anniversary of the firing of Doug(ass) Armstrong.

I won’t lie – I was ecstatic on November 13, 2007 when I came into my room after class to see that Tom Hicks had fired Armstrong. I called EVERYONE I knew who had the smallest bit of knowledge about the Stars to rave about how happy I was that this idiot finally got kicked out of his position as GM. I was excited by the newness of the Hulljack tandem. After a year, I can’t say I’m happy with Hulljack either. But in my mind, having one of the NESN announcers as GM would be better than Armstrong.

I guess Armstrong was never going to get my love since the only other GM I knew for the Stars was Bob Gainey… and that’s a hard act to follow – it doesn’t matter who you are. Armstrong struck out permanently with my family when he traded Joe Nieuwendyk and Jamie Langenbrunner his first week in office. Langenbrunner I didn’t care too much about – I never saw what the big deal was about him. He always seemed to be just a step away from being great, but he could never get there.

The Devils didn’t even WANT Nieuwendyk. The purpose of the trade was Arnott for Langenbrunner because they really wanted Jamie. Doug(ass) threw Nieuwy in to sweeten the deal. I still remember where I was when I heard about the trade. It was spring break, and I was trying to take a nap in my room when I heard my mom cry out that the Stars had gotten rid of Nieuwy, her favorite player at the time. Needless to say, that nap didn’t end up taking place.

Then there was the Darryl Sydor debacle. Armstrong didn’t just let go of him once – he did it twice and even refused to tell Syd whether or not the Stars were interested in signing him again. You DON’T do that to a guy like Sydor, and you knew how he thought about it when he said he was disappointed in the organization. Me too, Syd.

This is what Armstrong was so willing to give up – a man who cared so much for the team that he CRAWLED to the front of the net with a broken ankle because he couldn’t get off the ice.

Perhaps even worse than that was when Armstrong was ready and willing to let Mike Modano go to Chicago. Luckily Tom Hicks stepped in, and I like to imagine he said something along the lines of, “Hey stupid, this is our franchise player. Don’t be dumb enough to just let him leave. Ok? Thanks.”

Big moves aside, Armstrong was famous for trading first round draft picks for old and washed-up players who wouldn’t stay with the team for long. Norstrom’s play in the 2008 postseason was enough to almost completely make up for the previous year of over-paid, almost worthlessness.. but I would have liked the first round pick.

I will give Armstrong a little credit – he did manage to steal Ribeiro from Montreal and gave Brenden a huge contract extension.

But I’m not sure Hulljack have done a better job as GM.

The Stars seem to have a protocol for new GMs – be sure to trade my mom’s favorite hockey player as soon as possible. Hulljack’s first move was to send Jeffy, Smitty, and Jokinen to Tampa for Brad Richards. Now, I don’t think Richards is as much of an idiot as I did when we got him (“I only want to play for winning teams” = I don’t want to help work to make a team better), but I still think we gave up way too much in the trade. This would have been Smitty’s last season on his contract, and I think they should have let the 2 goalies split time this season, and then pick a starter at the end of the season. Then work on sending the other guy to a team he wouldn’t be totally against going to.

I’m not saying Smitty would have gotten the job with us. It just would have been nice to actually let them play it out instead of deciding without giving Smitty a chance. Then the Stars would know for sure that they picked the right goalie for the long-term – something I don’t think they can say today.

And just throwing this out there – it’d be really nice to have a good checking line center who can take faceoffs and absorb almost all the short-handed time. We lost that by getting rid of Jeffy and with Stu’s retirement. Basically, we went from 2 great checking-line centers to zero. And Mike Modano is NOT a checking line center. I don’t care if he’s “old” or “not the face of the team anymore”. He could still score a hell of a lot more goals if they would give him the opportunity to.

Then there was my favorite (heh) decision to tell Hagman that the Stars were “going in a different direction” and weren’t interested in signing him. I guess a mid-twenties, 27-goal scorer didn’t fit into their plans. Instead, we needed to sign Sean Avery. I’m still waiting for someone to explain that one to me.

While I’m on this topic, can someone explain to me why we need 4 players who serve the exact same purpose at different levels of effectiveness? Otter, Barch, Avery, and Crombeen are all the same type of player. We don’t need 4 of them – one, or maybe two, would suffice. Ott is best at the job, so keep him.

They have done good things. Getting the long extension for Ribeiro was good, and picking up Brunnstrom has the potential to be great. Sadly they promised him all NHL time when he could really benefit more from playing a lot of minutes in the AHL.

In my mind, Hulljack have built a team with way too many players serving the same purpose (and not that goal-scoring, game-winning purpose) and put all their faith in a goalie who may not have been the best decision for the job.

If I knew last year at this time that Jeffy, Haggy, Smitty, Mittens, and Jussi would be gone and replaced with Brad Richards and Sean Avery… well I probably wouldn’t have been so excited on the phone with everyone.

Amy

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*do do de dum* It’s time for the weekly ex-Stars update *do do de dum*

Niklas Hagman has been on fire in Toronto. He has 2 goals and 2 assists in the last two games (both against Carolina). Sadly they lost the first game and lost the second game in overtime. The goalies in Leafs Land aren’t performing that well, but their defense rarely performs in front of them either. Yes, Hagman still does his super cute/awesome goal expressions and he has the best smile of any Finn I’ve ever seen.

Jeff Halpern skated with the Lightning for the first time today, and is scheduled to come back sometime in mid to late December. He’s been skating on his own for a little over a month, but he joined the team at practice for the first time today. He says he hopes to begin skating full-contact in 3 weeks. It’ll be great for him to get back on the ice. Tampa could use the defensive and scoring help.

Jason Arnott and Teppo Numminen are the only two ex-Stars to be on the All-Star ballot for this season’s game in Montreal. I don’t see either of them making the starting lineup, but it’s nice to see them on the ballot. It’s also great to see Numminen well enough to be playing again.

Mike Smith, however, is NOT on the All-Star ballot, so he will be my write-in candidate for the East. He is still in the Top 5 for save percentage and goals against, and is single-handedly supporting a Tampa team that has a lot of [questionable] talent but isn’t producing much. I predicted that he will be the first (?) goalie to win the Vezina and not make the playoffs. Hopefully that won’t happen, he deserves to make the playoffs.

Darryl Sydor has asked the Penguins for a trade since he’s been a healthy scratch for most of the year he’s been in Pittsburgh. Why you’d sit Darryl Sydor, I have no idea… I guess they’re all too infatuated with Cindy to notice the real “Syd”

I think that’s it for the important update. Mittens has calmed down since the Wild lost to Dallas, and Jussi scored a goal against the Sabres last week.

Amy

James Neal still not back in Dallas – boo Stars

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Tonight’s game will be an interesting one. Mittens and the undefeated (in the first 3 periods anyway) Wild are coming to town tonight. They have turned into Helsinki South with Mittens leading the way along with Koivu and Backstrom. Yay Finns! Just don’t play well tonight… please

Heika says that Stephan will be getting the start tonight. I think this is a good move, but I’m a bit surprised that Tippett would actually start Stephan before Marty. He seems too afraid to do anything besides look grouchy behind the bench and randomly change lines around. It’s vital that Stephan gets some experience playing behind these guys in case Marty gets hurt or keeps playing badly. Maybe it was Moog’s influence at practice that got Stephan the start?

Otter should be back tonight. At least I hope so because if he’s not, we won’t have enough forwards and defensemen to dress for a full lineup. He did skate on a normal line at practice yesterday, so that’s a good sign that he’ll be back tonight. I hope Otter gets back to feeling great soon because we could really use his energy/pep/irritainment out on the ice.

Does Brad Richards still play for us? He’s never mentioned in the pregame show, never seems to do a whole lot on the ice.. I just looked, and he has 6 points but I can’t remember where any of those came from. Must be assists from the night Brunnstrom got his hat trick. Anyway, Richards has been pretty quiet so far this season. It’d be great to see our $8 million dollar man get into the action tonight. That’s why he’s my pick to score tonight… I have to remind myself that he’s on the team.

Tippett has pulled one of his favorite coaching “moves” again. Brunnstrom is leading the team in goals, so he’s rewarded for that by being placed on the 4th line. Tippett did the same thing to Hagman at the beginning of last season, and I have yet to find a good reason for him doing something like that.

Let’s hope the Stars can pull out a victory tonight. Maybe they will be motivated to play a little better out in front of Stephan since they let him down terribly the last time he got the start in goal.

Amy

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*Do do de dum* It’s time for the weekly former Stars update *do do de dum*

The Stars are playing the Wild tomorrow night, and that will mark the first night this season that we play a team with a player we had last season. Antti Miettinen is leading the Wild with 6 goals so far this season. He and Mikko Koivu are still playing well together – Koivu is leading the league in assists a lot of them have come from Mittens’ goals. They beat Chicago 3-2 last night, and Mittens had a goal and a beautiful assist on another goal.

Nik Hagman has been playing well on a Toronto team that hasn’t been playing very well. He had an assist on Super Saturday in the Leafs game against the Senators.

Smitty is STILL leading the league in save percentage, and he STILL only has one victory. The Lightning were shut out by the Sharks on Super Saturday. Smitty let in 3 goals on 45 shots (.933 save %) and still lost the game. They had a bag skate on Sunday morning, but Smitty and Kolzig were excused from practice because they’ve been the only two players to consistently show up for games. I wish the Stars had a goalie with a .941 save % this season…

There isn’t much to say about Jussi since no one on the Lightning is scoring, but he did finish even after the San Jose game on Saturday.

Amy

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I’m going to try to do one of these each week to keep everyone up to date on what’s going on with some of our former players.

First off, Smitty is playing wonderfully for Tampa. He only has one victory, but his GAA is 1.92 (4th in the league) and his save % is .943 (best in the league). He manages to do this with (in my opinion) the worst defense in the league and forwards who aren’t scoring. It’s hard for your stats to be that good, and your record to be as bad as Tampa’s is. I hope Smitty will continue this play throughout the regular season because he is my favorite goalie (sorry Marty lovers) and he deserves to be successful somewhere. On another note, he cut all his curly off and he looks completely different from the very bushy Smitty we used to know.

Antti Miettinen is off to a good start with Minnesota. He has 5 goals, and has been playing really well on the power play with Mikko Koivu. Baby Koivu is one of my favorite Finns, so I’m glad to see they are playing well together.

Nik Hagman has been playing well with Toronto, but Toronto needs more help than Haggy can give to them. He only has one goal, but he’s been playing on the power play and penalty kill so his numbers might go up as the season goes on. I still wish we had him back here in Dallas.

Jussi has been playing well for Tampa (although not scoring). He has 2 assists and I think he’s one of the few Lightning players who have more than one point. They are really struggling in Tampa. He’s one of the few defensively responsible forwards that Tampa has.

Amy

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Ugh, that was a TERRIBLE game last night. I don’t even want to go into any kind of recap. I saw enough of it last night, and I’m sure everyone here doesn’t want to hear about it either. Marty needs to get his legs glued together because he’s letting more things between them than a hooker in Vegas… Sorry for the bad joke, this is a family friendly place most of the time.

Mittens had 3 more points (2 goals and an assist) last night for the Wild and helped Baby Koivu set a record for most points by a Wild player in a game (5). I don’t think Mittens will keep up this production because we just don’t see that many 100 goal scorers anymore, but I’m glad he’s doing well. I know he was relatively unpopular in Dallas, but I always thought he was talented and was just never given the chances here that he needed. The Wild play Tampa today, so it should be interesting to see how Mittens does against Smitty. The duo of Mittens and Baby Koivu should (hopefully) do well against a team that has no defensemen except for the goalies.

Sarah and I will be attending our first hockey game of the season tonight. It’s not the Stars, but the Oklahoma City Blazers are playing their home opener tonight and we are desperate for some hockey. We’ll be representing our Stars with our pink jerseys. There will also be a short moment of silence for my pink jersey since Hagman is no longer on the team. It will be great to finally see some hockey live.

Amy

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Niklas Hagman scored his first goal for the Leafs yesterday afternoon against St. Louis. The Leafs ended up losing 5-4 in a shootout, but Haggy got the goal to go ahead 4-3. I hope this is the first of MANY goals for him in Toronto this season. He doesn’t look so terrible in blue, but he looked better in a Stars jersey.

Mittens scored 2 goals in the Wild’s 4-2 victory over Atlanta tonight. I know a lot of people didn’t like him here in Dallas, but I was always fond of him… probably because he’s Finnish. Hopefully he will go well with the Wild last year. He’s a talented player who might have just needed a change of scenery.

As for our Tampa boys, Smitty has played REALLY well. He’s stopped 35-40 shots the two games he’s played, but he’s yet to get a victory. Tampa’s scoring threats of Stamkos, Vinnie, St. Louis, etc haven’t really pulled through. I don’t think they’ve gotten more than 20 shots in a game. Jussi was in the middle of a lot of trade rumors over the summer, but he’s played well enough this season to make Tampa want to keep him. Jeff Halpern has been skating for about an hour each day, and he should be back some time in December. Get well soon Jeffy!

The Stars play at home tomorrow night against Trashville, and hopefully they can get their first win of the season… I’ll actually get to watch the game, so maybe I can give them good luck!

Amy

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