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Archive for the ‘Brad Richards’ Category

Wow, what a great game last night! For all the people who left before it was over – you missed out! Maybe you’ll listen to the Fanatics section next time before you leave 🙂

First period, in which the Stars dominate a tired Sharks team: The Stars played well, up until the last minute when Trevor Daley’s mental facilities collapsed and he allowed a weak rush from San Jose to lead to a goal. The Stars ended the period 2-1 with goals by Richie and TRD (a powerplay goal!). Nichol had the goal at the end of the period for the Sharks.

Second period, in which the Sharks get physical and the Stars fall apart: The 2-1 lead turns into a 3-2 deficit as some guy named Pavelski scores and Couture adds another. Jamie Benn wins his third fight of the year against Setoguchi, and Richie (?) starts something with Mitchell and they end up with 10-minute misconducts because the fight started before the puck was dropped. What this means: Richie doesn’t technically have a “fight” to his name, and it ruins his chances for the Lady Byng at the end of the season.

Third period, in which we sit dejected until the last 3 minutes: Marleau scores in the first half of the period to make it 4-2, and many fans leave the game. We warn them that they are going to miss the comeback and shootout victory for the Stars, but they give us dirty looks and rush to get out before traffic is too bad. But with the attendance this season, that’s a pretty poor excuse to leave because there aren’t enough people at the games to make traffic a hassle afterward. The Sharks score a 5th goal, but it’s disallowed because of a high stick and there’s a little life in the Fanatics section. We start cheering again and wonder if maybe the Stars can pull something out of this.

All of a sudden, something wakes the Stars up and TRD gets his second goal of the night with less than 3 minutes left. All 3000 of us who stayed are rejoicing, and… it’s actually pretty loud in there! 29 seconds later Ribs does it again for his FIRST GOAL OF THE SEASON! On the next faceoff, it looks like Ribs has scored again, we all have mini heart attacks, but then realize there was no goal.

Overtime, in which we win: The Stars are pumped for overtime and look like the hungrier team. Hey, the Sharks were playing their 3rd game in 4 nights and had the same epic collapse the night before against Colorado, so they had the right to look pretty sad out there. The Stars look good, we’re all cheering, and Ribs gets his second goal of the night about halfway through the overtime. Victory is sweet 🙂

Here is some super high quality video of the end of overtime and the goal celebration for Ribs. Not many of us stayed, but I was surprised at the volume level.

Amy

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The playoff race in the Western Conference is in a scary place right now. Just last week, the Stars were in 5th all by themselves, and now we’re in a mess with 3 other teams for the 7-10th spots with the losses to Chicago and San Jose over the weekend.

Sarah and I were at the game Saturday against Chicago, and even though we had a great time at the game, the Stars still couldn’t come up with a win. Here’s to hoping to not finish 5th in the conference because a meeting with the Blackhawks would not be pleasurable. Plus, Brenden is NOT ALLOWED to play games against Chicago anymore since both of his big injuries came against the Hawks.

Just a few comments on some things that have been running through my head the past week or so:

I think Fistric is going to get traded at the deadline. I think it’s a weird coincidence that he didn’t get called up until 2 weeks before the deadline. There were definitely occasions before then that we could have used another (big) defenseman.

How nice would it be to get Jeff Halpern back? It’d be great to have a checking line center who could win some faceoffs. I don’t see us needing to get a big-name center to replace Richards since he will be back for the playoffs, and even though we have the cap space, there is a lot of money that’s not counting for the cap that Hicks still has to pay.

My biggest worry? Smitty going to Detroit. It started out as a rumor in the most recent Hockey News, but it’s a very scary thought. Babcock said last year that if the Wings play their style correctly then their goaltender only needs to be average. How scary would they be with a GREAT goalie? I know Smitty is currently out in Tampa for his post-concussion (read: his head hurts from playing for a team with no intelligent defensemen) syndrome, but I have no doubt that he’d play tomorrow for Detroit if he got traded.

Hagman is playing well in Toronto, no surprise there. He got the OT winning goal against the Rangers over the weekend and is on pace to score at least 20 this season. I want to be done complaining about Avery, but how nice would it have been to have resigned Hagman instead of the person (?) who’s sitting in Hartford eating up Tom Hicks’ wallet.

Speaking of Avery, I don’t know if he’ll be going to the Rangers with Tortorella taking over as coach. He’s not going to take crap from anyone, especially a tool like Avery. I read that the Sharks were scouting Avery – I’d love to transfer the poison to another Pacific division team.

Can Patrick Kane STOP CHEWING ON HIS MOUTHGUARD? He looks like a baby out there with a pacifier.

I want Columbus to make the playoffs. I am still a huge Hitchcock fan, and I’d love to see him get in again. And Rick Nash is the most talented player in the NHL with the exception of Ovechkin. Maybe they could do us a favor and knock San Jose or Detroit out of the playoffs?

I feel bad for Montreal – has there ever been a more epic collapse for a team with such high hopes?

For a closer, here is a picture of Sarah and me at the game Saturday. We’ve added a few more pieces to the outfits – I LOVE the Fanatics Scarves! They also make great rally towels 🙂

Hope everyone is doing well! Go Stars!!!

Amy

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Sorry for the complete lack of updates for the past month or so. I always think that I’ll write more when I go home for breaks, but I end up spending virtually no time on the computer so updating doesn’t get done.

The truth is, I haven’t been in much of a Stars-blogging mood for the past 6 weeks or so (mostly since Nov 21). It’s frustrating that this team doesn’t play well consistently because they’re not put together well enough to make a team that plays well together. I’m still sad about Brenden getting hurt, and I didn’t think everyone wanted to read blogs about how much I want Brenden to come back, how much I miss him, and how the team doesn’t seem the same without him. But enough about that. I vow to get on here more often and update semi-regularly… hopefully.

It’s going to be weird to see the Lightning tonight. I’ll admit – I still miss Smitty a lot too (Jeez, can I just move on already?). I think the team would be so much better off if they had kept both goalies and let them fight for the starting spot this season. If we paired our offense with Smitty’s numbers then I think we could be fighting San Jose/Detroit/Boston for the NHL lead.

I think I’ll end this entry with a few pics from Stars over the break.


Richie getting ready to fly in the shootout against Columbus


Celebrating after beating Columbus in the shootout


I got really excited every time Rick Nash skated by us. I really think he’s the most talented player in the NHL. It was great to finally see him in person. Plus, he scored, which was okay with me. The other Columbus guys just weren’t allowed to score though.

Sarah and me before the Ducks game. I didn’t bring my camera to this one, and I don’t think Sarah got any pictures from the actual game.

Stars skating off the ice after beating Detroit 1/12

I have to thank one of the parents at the school my boyfriend teaches at for the amazing seats for the Columbus and Detroit games. I don’t think he reads this, but just in case.. Thank you so much Brent!

Amy

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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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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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First off, I know this road trip will still be considered a success if we can get 2 points against the Islanders tonight. That doesn’t change how terrible that loss was last night to New Jersey and how it showed this team has so many problems it may not be able to overcome this year. I’ll start from the goalie and move out (imagine Optimus Prime saying that part)

Marty showed flashes of playing well last night as his defense and offsense collapsed around him and offered no help. That being sad, he is still playing poorly this season. He goes into these slumps every season, but he has never had to play himself out of one before. Tippett always gave the starts to Hedberg, Tugger, or Smitty for a week or so while Marty would work out his problems in practice. He’d come back in 3 or 4 games and everything would roll along smoothly in net again. That’s not happening this year. I think Tippett expects Marty to play out of his slump, and I’m not sure how well it’s working out for him.

Our defense corps has problems. Of our three amazing rookies from last year, one of them is starting with what looks to be a bad sophomore slump. Niskanen has been out on front of Marty for a LOT of the goals scored against us. Tippett seems to have something against Fistric since he’s barely been playing him in games or scratching him so Janik can play. Grossman has been playing well compared to the others, but definitely not at the level we need him to be at. I really don’t think Trevor Daley is very good, and he’s definitely not the second coming of Darryl Sydor like so many people promised. He’s out there with Niskanen for almost all the goals. Boucher has been relatively invisible so far this season, but I give him a bit of a break because he did miss most of last season and training camp so it has to be harder for him to come back. I have nothing but good to say of Robi. Except for taking a few suspect penalties, he’s been our best guy on defense.

Our offense has been producing enough goals to win most games, so the biggest problem with our offense is their inability to play defense. I noticed last night how far away most of the forwards were from the defensemen when the Devils were skating the puck into our zone. Most of them forget that they have to actually play defense when they are out on the ice. Our 3 rookies look like they’re having a lot of trouble getting back to play the puck, and a large part of that is that they’re new to the league and will need some time to get used to the system. Brad Richards has been such a disappointment to this team. His defensive skills are severely lacking, and in my dad’s words he thinks “defense is what separates his yard from the neighbor’s”. Sean Avery spends most of his time skating in circles and never really doing anything worthwhile. He doesn’t look anything like a player getting paid $4 million a year.

The only forwards I actually skating after the puck into the defensive end are Brenden, Modano, Petersen, and Ott (when he is playing). So that gives us 3-4 forwards who consistently skate for the puck to help support the defensemen. Match that with our young defense corps that’s not playing up to its ability and we have a LOT of problems.

This team follows Brenden Morrow, and everyone can see that Morrow is really frustrated on the ice. He takes penalties simply because he’s angry and uses his force to break someone’s stick, knock them over, etc. I know these are stupid penalties, but I can’t help look at him like a silly puppy that does something bad so I have problems being mad at him. He needs to play better though because most members of this team will pick up their play if he picks up his.

One thing that has gone relatively unnoticed in this season so far is the resurgence of Mike Modano. The only 2 wins the Stars have come from games he scored at least 1 goal in. He has been flying all over the ice, and it’s so nice to see after watching him the past several seasons.

So Stars, the Sign Girls are calling you out. Play better!

Amy

One last thing: Congrats to Ralph and Razor for winning 2 more Lone Stars Emmys for their amazing job of covering Game 6 of the San Jose series in May.

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It’s been one month since the trade. You guys know I was really against messing with the chemistry of this team to get a player who might make things better in the playoffs. When the trade happened, several people told me that I would come to love the trade, that the guys we gave up weren’t really necessary, that everything would be okay, etc.

It may not be fair to judge this trade as a failure one month into it, but if Richards had been the offensive machine everyone said he was, the verdict after one month would be that the trade was an excellent idea.

Since giving up Smitty, Jeffy, and Jussi we have won 3 games. Since getting Richards we have won 2.
The last time we scored a 3rd period goal was March 1st.
After Richards’ first game with 5 assists, he only has 4 points.

One month later, I am still upset. I still don’t completely understand why Brett and Les thought we needed Richards in the first place. The goal was to get a winger to play with Mike Modano, not get another center who seems incapable of playing wing with Modano. The line of Brenden-Modano-Richards played okay hockey together, but splitting up Morrow and Ribeiro is stupid with the way they’ve been playing all year long. Brett said Richards could “win the first round for us”, but now I’m worried as to whether or not we will actually make the playoffs. And Richards isn’t doing anything to help that effort.

(more…)

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