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Archive for the ‘Mattias Norstrom’ 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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Mattias Norstrom told a Swedish newspaper today that he will be retiring.

“Dallas wanted to keep me, but it is over now,” the 36-year old Swede was quoted as saying on the newspaper’s Web site. “I promised myself 10 years ago that I would quit while I still had a strong position in the team. And now it is over.”

I ragged on Matty a lot during the regular season, but he really came through in the playoffs. I don’t think the Stars really had room for him in the defense corps, but it still would have been nice to see him play a little more (as long as he brought his playoff game).

Best of luck with your family in Sweden, Matty. We’ll miss you here in Dallas.

Amy

 

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It was a great run Stars…. too bad it couldn’t go longer.

You were amazing this season, and at the end, I am truly proud to call you my team. I won’t lie, there were moments during the regular season when I really wondered if this team would even make the playoffs, much less make it to the Conference Finals.

Last year when the Stars lost to Vancouver, I went through all the members of the team and said what I thought about each of them. Right now, I don’t feel like doing this because there are three players that I think deserve all my attention. One of them is without a doubt the MVP of this team off the ice and on the ice in the regular season and the playoffs. The other was an unspoken hero who became pretty well known for the sacrifices he made during the playoffs. The last player is someone I ragged on all season, and I can’t explain how much I regret that right now.

Brenden Morrow. Ever since I saw him lay an awesome hit on Jeremy Roenick in 2003, he became my favorite player. His rookie year I told people he would one day be captain of this team. And what a captain he has become. I have never seen anyone skate with more passion in every possible situation, and he skates no matter what is wrong with him. Tippett said in his press conference after the game that besides the bruises on his face, Brenden has a tear in his shoulder and he’s been skating on one leg since the last game of the San Jose series. Brenden said that the only thing that would keep him out of the game was “getting hit by a train on its way home” and he meant it. This truly is his team, and I don’t want anyone else to be wearing that “C” for a very long time. Just don’t ignore my signs anymore, k?

Stephane Robidas. You truly are the little hero that could. If someone asked me what a hockey player should be like, you would be one of the first people I would talk about. Your sacrifices to the game have been incredible, and most of these sacrifices have not come when you’ve been the star player of your team. The never give up attitide you have is always motivating. Tippett didn’t have to reveal anything about your injuries because you wore them with pride on your face. I find myself smiling a little when I see the little guy with the cage skate by, but here’s to next season with no cage.

Mattias Norstrom. I don’t know the number of times during the regular season that I called you worthless or some other not-so-nice synonym. I take that all back now. You were completely different in the playoffs, and I finally saw how much you wanted to play and how well you wanted to do. You managed to do all of this while battling a sports hernia, which keeps almost all players out of the game. I don’t know if you’ll be with us next season, but it’d be nice to have you back.

Amy

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Please win tomorrow night. You can’t let this series get away. I’d really like to go to a playoff game and you have to get to the next round so I can do that. You have played too hard to lose this series.

Stephane Robidas, you are my hero. Thank you for playing last night after your nose was broken when you got hit in the face with the puck. I hope you don’t have to wear a full shield tomorrow night because I know you don’t like wearing them. I feel bad for your wife, but she must be used to your nose getting broken by now. I want to hit your son because he doesn’t wear your jersey. If you were my dad, I’d wear your jersey everywhere because you play with more heart than anyone else on the team. Well, except for Brenden Morrow, but no one can really compare to Brenden in the big-heart department.

Matt Niskanen, what happened to you? Can you please sit on the bench more if you’re going to keep playing like this? I still think you’re adorable, but Norstrom is playing tons better than you… Norstrom.

Brenden Morrow, I love you. Please keep hitting people, but don’t take any more 10 minute misconducts because you have to be on the ice more than that. You do look cute screaming at other people though.

Marty, I think you may have blown a fuse last night, but I did enjoy you going up against Selanne. I hope you thanked Fistric for playing goalie for you while you tried to get back to the net.

Please win tomorrow night. I hate Game 7s.

Love always,

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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