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Archive for the ‘James Neal’ 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 ­čÖé

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 ­čÖé

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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UPDATE: Here’s the official announcement! ­čÖé

Crombeen got picked up by the Blues today, and according to Heika’s blog, NEAL WILL BE AT PRACTICE TOMORROW!

That’s all for now.. I’m gonna go┬ájump around really happily ­čśÇ

Amy

One more note – Boo plays his first game with the Pens tonight against Minnesota on Versus. I really do hope he recovers some of the magic he seemed to lose the past season in Dallas

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They placed BJ Crombeen on waivers today. Now, we can only have 3 guys who serve the exact same function instead of 4. We’re on our way to making an actual team!

Waiting for Neal to be called up before he starts leading the AHL in scoring…

Amy

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The Stars sent James Neal and Mark Fistric down to the Manitoba Moose of the AHL and Chris Conner back down to the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL today.

I saw the Fistric thing coming. Tippett has said nothing but bad things of him this season, and he most likely will be the odd man out when Zubie returns. I figured Chris Conner would be going back down soon since he didn’t even play last night.

Sending Neal down leaves us with too few forwards to skate a full 4 lines, not that Tippett has been doing that anyway. Heika seems to think that they just sent Neal down to work out salary cRap stuff with Zubie and Lehtinen hopefully returning soon. I don’t like them sending Neal down, and sending him down just because he is the only one who doesn’t have to go through waivers is stupid. They shouldn’t have spent all of their money on Richards and Avery because this whole sending people down “just because of cap space” is getting ridiculous.

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.┬áThat’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┬áwhat 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┬ácome 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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Simply Awesome

James The Condor Neal (according to Razor)

James "The Condor" Neal (according to Razor)

 

To say I’m impressed with James Neal is an understatement! His play last night was spectacular! His first NHL game, his first NHL goal, and he played over 16 minutes of the game! I see in him a mix of old-school Mike Modano and Brenden Morrow. He’s not afraid to take or give a hit and he’s got some sniper-like skill that’s just waiting to be honed! Maybe it’s a little too early to be shouting his praises yet, but if this is a sign of things to come, I think our Stars have their new Mike Modano for the┬áfuture generations.┬áDespite the annoying loss last night, I do think once this team calms down, we’re going to see some great things from Mr. Neal and Mr. Modano….not to mention Morrow, Ribero, and Robidas! (And Avery didn’t look to terrible, though I was really hoping he knocked himself out when he was bulldozed by Commodore).

 

Sarah

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