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Archive for the ‘Tampa Bay Lightning’ Category

Hope you enjoy the pun in the title 🙂 Pics of the not-so-new Jamie Benn jersey will be coming eventually, probably from the next game I go to.

Begin stream of consciousness from the last month or so…

School has completely taken over my life (and I imagine vet school has taken over Sarah’s), so my limited free time has been spent actually watching hockey or spending time with friends. Proud to report that I have a new hockey convert. I took one of my friends to the Baby Stars vs. Rampage game a few weeks ago, and he had a great time. The $1 beers probably didn’t hurt his impressions. I’ll be taking him and another friend (also a hockey virgin) to the Baby Stars vs. Rampage game this weekend. They are both looking forward to it 🙂

I’ve been kind of disappointed with the Stars so far this season. I know they’re doing relatively well with points, but I just don’t see the effort or talent that I expect to see from the Stars. The effort hasn’t been happening every night with the top guys, the effort and talent are lacking throughout the defense corps (with the exception of our top pair and Skrastins), and Marty is either lacking effort or talent. I would say effort, but now I’m starting to think that his play has taken a permanent downturn. I think Crawford is a better coach than Tippett because I actually see his mouth moving during the game as he talks to players. I’m sure this was surprising to players who have played all or most of their career under Tippett. Tippett seems to be doing pretty well in Phoenix, but I think Phoenix is a team that can really benefit from having a coach who is good with plays, teaching the game, etc. The Stars needed someone to kick them into gear, and Tippett failed miserably at that.

I hated seeing Niklas Hagman in a Toronto jersey at the end of October in Dallas. I actually teared up a couple times they showed him skating around. I’m sure it will be equally as bad to see Smitty and Jeffy at the Nov. 28th game. I’m glad these guys went to the East where we don’t see them as often.

Ken Hitchcock coached his 1000th game last night against Detroit, and the Red Wings dominated 9-1. It’s sad that his 1st and 1000th games were bad losses to Detroit, but good that he’s had so many good wins in the middle. I still miss him in Dallas, and always look forward to seeing the Blue Jackets come to town. It’s good to see Hitch again, and seeing Rick Nash is something every hockey fan should experience.

The Stars play San Jose late tonight (9:30 pm start), and I’m looking forward to watching the game since I’ve been going all week for school. The Stars should try starting their games at 9:30 – maybe more fans would show up before the 2nd period. I know that’s been a long-standing problem in Dallas, but it’s pretty pathetic that the Stars attendance in the first period looks incredibly similar to the arenas of Phoenix and Colorado (averaging <10,000 a night).

We have a lot of Stars games planned in the next 2 months. The Nov. 21st game is on my boyfriend’s birthday, so we will be going to hopefully see the Stars kick some Devil butt. Then the whole gang is going for the Nov. 28th game against Tampa. Look for new signs and the split-up Sign Girls at the pregame skate. Next will be Columbus on Dec. 23rd. Sarah and I have an amazing hockey vacation planned in late December, and we’ll be going to the Dec. 29th, 31st, and Jan 2nd games. Talk about a nice break from school! I’m going to get spoiled by all of this hockey!

Stream of consciousness ends here… (meaning I have to actually do some work)

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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Barry Melrose has been fired from his job as head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

I’m not sure this will really help the Lightning, but it’s certainly not going to do any harm. I thought Melrose was a laughable pick for coach over the offseason, but he’s not their only problem.

That team won’t get better until they fire their owners and GM…

I just hope that Smitty continues to play well. First goalie to ever win the Vezina and not make the playoffs: it’s happening this year!

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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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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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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Game 1 is tonight guys! For all of you going to the watching party at AAC, have lots of fun for me! I’ll be watching the game while I study for my stats final… doesn’t sound nearly as much fun as being at the AAC.

In other news, Jeffy is out 6 to 8 months with a ruptured ACL, a torn MCL, and a torn meniscus. I didn’t know that much could happen to your knee in one play! I hope he gets well soon, and if he needs anyone to care for him over the summer, my mom and I are completely available 🙂

In other Lightning news, it’s rumored that Tortorella will be headed to Toronto and Barry Melrose will be taking over as coach for the Bolts… I have no idea if these rumors are true, but I hate Barry Melrose with a passion. I’d find it pretty amusing if 3 guys I really cared about weren’t involved with this disaster of a team.

GO STARS!

BELIEVE!

Amy

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