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Archive for the ‘Steve Ott’ 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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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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The Stars have signed Otter to a 2-year contract today. I haven’t seen anything on the Stars site yet, but this was on TSN.

I’m glad to have him around for another two seasons. Hopefully they can get something worked out with Hagman ASAP.

GO STARS!!!

BELIEVE!!!

Amy

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Here you are guys. The pictures are all after the jump since there are a lot of them. All of them are now up. I noticed we got several views before they were all up, so go look again 🙂 I got stuck uploading pictures while I was reading about Piaget’s stages of development for the millionth time, helping my roommate find a bank, and eating dinner… but they’re all good now.

Practice was great. It was really good to see Boo skating again. Plus Steve Ott really liked his sign 🙂 I just wish Hagman and Brenden had come out… I wanted my hugs! (more…)

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Ott Suspended

According to Heika’s blog, Otter has been suspended 3 games for his hit on Leopold on Sunday. It’s the first time he’s been suspended in the NHL. What do you guys think about it being 3 games? Is it too severe or not severe enough?

Otter responded to the hit at practice today saying that he thought it was a clean hit and didn’t deserve a suspension. Tippett didn’t think it was severe enough to get a suspension either. I definitely don’t think it should have been 3 games… Some of the other hits that just got 1 or 2 seemed way worse.

It also makes me wonder if they would have suspended Salei or Finger for their hits on Mikey and Brenden if they had gotten hurt and stayed off the ice. I think there’s gonna be more bad blood between the two teams next time they play.

I didn’t see the hit, so I’m not really sure what to say about it. All I saw was Ott beating up Salei right after his hit on Leopold. It sucks to lose another guy for a few more games though… at least he’s not a defenseman because we’d be in a real bind then. His next game back should be the 22nd against the Kings. I was hoping to see him on the 19th against the Ducks because he is so good at getting under their skin.

In other news, the Guppies beat the worthless-can’t-win-a-game-when-they-need-to Predators tonight so they’re in 1st place in the Pacific with two games in hand on the Stars. If the playoffs started today, we’d be playing Anaheim.

Amy

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