Monthly Archives: May 2010

You’ve Left Me Speechless

If you don’t get a chill when you watch the NHL’s new “No Words” Stanley Cup promo, then there’s something wrong with you.  This thing gives me chills every time I see it and I even have to hold back a tear.  It just goes to show how truly amazing our sport is.  (P.S. Watch for Brett Hull right after Ray Bourque!)

That is why I love hockey.

The Kids Are All Right

In case you haven’t hears, the Baby Stars (aka the Texas Stars) have made it to the Calder Cup finals in the AHL. 

Which is pretty awesome for a brand-new team.  Just sayin’.

They will play the best-of-7 series against the Capitals’ farm team, the Hershey Bears, who also happen to be the defending champs. 

And look, call me a pessimist, but I don’t think the Baby Stars stand much of a chance.  The Bears are good.  Really good.  I mean, a Capitals team of mostly AHL players beat the Blackhawks in the preseason.  Basically, they’re like their NHL counterparts but they know how to win in the postseason.  The Stars aren’t in a favorable position coming in to this series.

But who cares?  It’s quite an accomplishment that they got this far.  They took down Atlanta and Montreal’s farm teams in consecutive seven-game series just to get here.  I’m living through the Baby Stars since the Big Stars had a less-than-stellar season.  I’m proud of the kids for getting this far.

How about Jamie Benn, eh?  He leads the AHL in playoff goals with fourteen and in points with 24 through 18 games.  That’s not to mention he’s a rookie.  Even in the AHL that’s special.  Just think what the kid could do in the NHL with our Stars…

The future’s looking bright for our kids.

Go Baby Stars!

Chelsea, Chelsea (Dagger)

So…the Sharks lost yesterday.  A lot of people are saying that they didn’t choke, but I have to disagree.  When a team with the talent that they have is swept, I have to say that they’ve choked.  Anything less than the Cup isn’t exactly a success fo rthe Sharks.  They should have won this thing years ago.  But they didn’t.

Instead, they’ve go the haunting tune of “Chelsea Dagger” by the Fratellis stuck in their heads.  Here’s how the (quiet) plane ride home went for the Sharks:

Jumbo Joe Thornton: *whispers to Lil’ Joe* I swear if I ever have to hear that effing “Chelsea Dagger” song again, I’m going to shoot someone.

McClellan: I’ve got a treat for you guys! *smiles maniacally*

“Chelsea Dagger” starts to play over the plane’s loudspeakers

Marleau: *laughs* Hahaha!  That sounds just like “Chelsea Dagger!”  But you would never torture us like that, Coach!

McClellan: *glares in an evil way*  This one’s for you Patty.

Marleau: *smiles awkwardly*

They listen to the remainder of the song.  It starts again.

McClellan: Well lookie here!  It seems as though “Chelsea Dagger” is on repeat!  This one’s for you, Joe!

Thornton and Pavelski: Which one?

McClellan: You can choose.  It’s not like it matters.  Everyone will get their turn eventually.

All Sharks Players: Noooooooooo!


Evgeni Nabokov: (in a cheerful Russian accent) Vell, at least I von’t be playing here anymore!

I do like that song, “Chelsea Dagger.”  It never gets old, you know?

Let’s hear it forethe kids.  Er, the Hawks, I mean.

Whatever.  Same difference.

Playoffs. What a Riot.

Tonight the Sharks nd Hawks play Game 3 of their West final series.  So far, San Jose has blown their home-ice advantage, failing to win either of their first two home games.  That’s not to mention the fact that they’ve NEVER won a home conference final game.

Look, I’m just not buying the crap that they’re done with the choking.  I believe that they’re the better team in this series.  However, the Hawks have been playing better.  Joe Thornton isn’t getting the job done, and Evgeni Nabokov has been the second-best goalie in both contests.  Being second-best at everything never wins championships.  The Hawks have been the faster, more skilled team through two games.

San Jose is choking again.  Some players and teams just can’t raise their game when it matters most.  Players like Joe Thornton and Nabokov are prime examples of that.  It doesn’t help that Nabokov plays 70 games a year, either.  The Sharks claim to know what they’re doing, but they really don’t.  if you want to win, you don’t work your number-one goalie to death and employ some D-lister who never plays.  You get your players to raise their games and not choke under expectations.  There is so much wrong with the Sharks, but I’m not sure it will ever be fixed.

Anyway, moving on to the Habs-Flyers series.  This one is getting entertaining, what with the Habs’ big blowout last night.  I could see either team advancing because of the irony in everything.

If the Habs win this series, they win the Cup.   Why?  Because Montreal has won a Cup every decade except for 2001-2010.  Why stop now?  If the Flyers win this series, they’ll lose the Stanley Cup.  That’s what the loser of the Winter Classic always does.  It’s like tradition or something.   And once again, I ask, why stop now?

Of course that’s not really a subject we SHOULD be talking about.  I mean, come on.  The Montreal Midgets and the Philidelphia “Goalie Issues” Flyers should have been eliminated a long time ago.

But then again, this is why I adore the playoffs so much.

Make it Happen.

Go Hawks.

These Playoffs Are Getting Insane

So last night around 6 pm, I was super nervous.  The Game 7 between The Habs and Pens was about to start and I REALLY didn’t want the Pens to prevail.  My hatred of the Pens is kind of irrational, but it’s very strong.  I hate the Pens so much that the next best thing to a Stars Stanley Cup is a Pens loss.  That’s how deep my loathing goes.

Anyway, I was just a ball of nerves.  My palms were sweating and I lost my appetite out of those nerves.  I found it hilarious when Sidney Crosbiyatch took that dumb boarding penalty not even a minute in.  That made me feel a little better.  Then, Brian Gionta scored and I was even more relieved.

Well, it got up to 4-0 and the Pens started pushing back.  That really kind of scared me when it got to be 4-2.  The last ten minutes of the third, the Penguins were really laying it on the Habs and I got worried that the midget Habbies weren’t going to hold on.  Needless to say, I as wrong.

This Canadiens team is the real deal.  The Caps’ loss to them is easier to comprehend because of the Pens’ loss.  If the two most skilled teams in the East can’t get past the midgets, then it’s okay.  These Habs are like 2006’s Edmonton Oilers.  You know, the eighth seed who had upset after upset en route to the Stanley Cup final?

With Montreal’s win, I think that the road is paved for a West champion.  Yes, Halak’s been fantastic, but you don’t know what real playoffs are like until you’ve played the West.   All of the East teams left have a weakness, a bad weakness at that.  Montreal’s been a cinderella story, but it’s unlikely they’ll keep it up.  Boston can’t score to save their lives.  Philly is the epitome of goalie problems.  Chicago and San Jose can snuff any of them out.

The best part about the Habs’ win is that I’m fine with whoever ultimately wins the Cup.  The two teams in the playoffs that I loathed (Vancouver and Pittsburgh) are out now.  I’ll be contet with whoever wins.  Although, I will admit this: please don’t let it be the Sharks.  It’s a Pacific thing.

And finally, I always love some good hockey irony.  With the Pens’ semifinal loss, that means that they finished in the same round as the Detroit Red Wings did.  Now there’s two teams who are destined to be forever parallel.

Over on the Boston-Philly series, the Flyers have forced a Game 7.  What’s special about this is that they came back from a 3-0 deficit.  That’s crazy.  It’s also something you don’t see everyday.  If they win tomorrow night, they’ll be only the third team ever to do so, and the first team in 35 years.

You gotta love the playoffs.

Season Grades: Mark Fistric

Coming into the season, Mark Fistric wasn’t really on my radar.  I always thought of him as “the guy we took instead of MIKE GREEN” and it always disappointed me.  Let me say that I’m not disappointed with Fishsticks anymore.  For one thing, Mike Green has proved himself as overrated and a playoff goat.  Fisty is this slammin’ monster who somehow manages a crazy-good plus/minus on a bad team.

Fistric’s pretty special.  He’s got everything you want in a defenseman: grit, force, and strength.  I also loved how fearless he was.  I mean, we’re talking about a guy who beat up that Flames player using his helmet!  He’s a crazy man, that Fishsticks, eh?  I loved how tough he was in such situations.

My favorite part about mark Fistric’s season was his plus/minus.  I mean, plus-20 on the Stars?!?  He was waaay above everyone else in that particular stat.  It’s just crazy.  But it’s a good crazy.

Fishsticks just had a great, great season and proved his worth to the team.  With this guy on the bluelien, hopefully we can continue to rebuild our team and get back to the playoffs we used to know.

Grade: A++.  For that plus/minus.  It was craaaaazy good!

“History Will Be Made” is Becoming a Joke

Shortly before the playoffs began, the NHL debuted its new playoff slogan: “History Will be Made.”  In addition, they created these nice, heartfelt commercials featuring the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Ray Bourque.  Here’s the Ray Bourque ad:

That’s one of the most touching moments in sports, not just hockey.

Another unforgettable moment the NHL used was Bobby Orr:

Then there’s the indelible parodies, such as this lovely short made by the great Bloge Salming,  featuring Brett Hull:

All of these featured moments they’re still talking about to this day.  What a great idea, eh?

And then, the NHL made their big mistake.

They just couldn’t stop making these “History Will Be Made” commercials.  Here’s one about Jaroslav Halak upsetting the Caps in Round 1:

He was great and all, but will that become one of the defining moments in our sport?  Well if the Habs win the Stanley Cup it might.  But they’re currently deadlocked in a 2-2 semifinal with the Pens and it’s somewhat inevitable that they’re not going to win since the Pens ALWAYS win.  It’s not exactly history-making until the Habs get past the Pens.  If that happens. 

Moving on to Lil’ Joe Pavelski’s ad:

It looks like the Sharks will win this series, but you never know if they’ll choke or not.  If they choke, people won’t remember Pavelski’s big postseason run.  They’ll remember the Sharks’ big choke.

In addition to those, there’s also a Kris Versteeg one out there.  That’s not to mention the fact that you can count on a new commercial after every playoff game.   That’s kind of how the NHL is working things these days.

So, NHL, I beg of you this: please stop making all of these ads until you’re sure that the moment will be a defining one on hockey and not just a random story from these playoffs.  It’s great to honor these players, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

You’re making this into a joke.

Season Grades: Tom Wandell

The one I’ve come to call Gilbert wasn’t around for the second half of the season because of an unfortunate ACL tear.  But we saw some good stuff from the kid when he was around.

I used to always think that Loui Eriksson was the second coming of Jere Lehtinen.  I was wrong.  I’m starting to think that Tom Wandell is our new Lehtinen.  While people complained about Tommy never scoring, I disagreed.  They just didn’t watch all of the little things he did and how defensively minded he really was.  He finished his short rookie season a plus-2, which isn’t too shabby considering who he played for.

There’s also the fact that he had three game-winners.  Out of only five goals.  That’s lovely little stat, isn’t it?  He tied for second in game-winning goals when he played about half as many games as the rest of his teammates.  Pretty cool, huh?

Like the Bennster, TW_23 was also a quick skater who could pull pucks out of scrums seemingly at ease.  That was always something I liked about our two rookies.

I’m looking forward to Gilbert next year.  We saw some flashes of Jere Lehtinen and I can’t wait to see more.

Grade: A-.  The A is for awesome.  The minus is for getting hurt.

Happy Cinco de Morrow!

Okay, it’s not technically Cinco de Morrow yet.  But at 1:24 tomorrow morning, Stars fans everywhere will be awakened by their alarms to “Rock and Roll Part 2” and celebrate a truly unforgettable moment in Stars history.  Cinco de Morrow is our holiday, a unique one that only Dallas Stars fans celebrate.

Because it was at 1:24 a.m on May 5, 2008 that Brenden Morrow redirected Stephane Robidas’ pass between the legs of Evgeni Nabokov and ended the eighth-longest game in history.  I remember that night perfectly.  It was a Sunday night, so it’s not like I should have been staying up all night, but I did it anyway.  Game 6 had to have been the best game I’ve ever seen.  Turco and Nabokov were fabulous and it was a true marathon.  I won’t ever forget that night.

You’d better believe it.


Season Grades: Jamie Benn

Let’s flashback to September when the Stars were in the midst of the preseason and training camp.  I think the prospect we were all excited to see was a kid by the name of Jamie Benn.  After leading the Kelowna Rockets to the memorial Cup final, Bennster was looking better and better and Stars fans were excited to see what he could do in Texas.  Texas, because there wasn’t much of a chance of him making it to the Big Stars.  I mean, he’d need to be seasoned up in the AHL before he hit the NHL.  As fans, we didn’t want Benn to go what we can now call, the “Niskanen route.”

Boy were we all wrong.  Benn tore it up in the preseason and made the team against all odds.  Marc Crawford at one point said, “Jamie Benn wasn’t one of the best players in preseason.  He was the best player in preseason.”  Crow was right about that one.

Benn’s first half was a tad slow, but he was making enormous progress for a rookie.  One memorable moment was watching him score his first goal in his hometown of Vancouver.  And Zac Efron was there.  Just saying.

Anyway, by the middle of the season, Tom Wandell fell victim to a torn ACL, and his center position was up for grabs.  In what had to have been his best decision this seaosn, Crawford experimented with Benn at center.  Let’s just say that it was pretty much amazing.  Bennster went off on a tear and looked damn good for a guy who’d never played center in his life.

The move to center spawned a great second half for our rookie.  After a somewhat slow first half of the seaosn, Bennster turned it up the second half.  He was a monster out there.  By the end of the year, he led all rookies in even-strength goals, which, in my opinion, is better than just any goal lead.  Most of those rookies like the sweet Matt Duchene, the charming John Tavares, and Niclas Bergfors got many of their goals on the power play.  Jamie Benn, on the other hand, finished with, like, two PP goals on the year and 22 even strength goals.  Pretty impressive, eh?

Another thing that impressed me about Benner was his ability to get a puck out of a scrum with ease.  It boggles me how he does it.  He just reaches in and saves the puck.  It’s just…wow.  That’s not to mention how great a skater he is.  When I hear the phrase, “power forward,” I now think of Jamie Benn.  He’s fast, huge, and a complete force.  I enjoyed watching him go off on a rampage and plow people down.  Honestly, Benn reminded me of Alex Ovechkin in that way.

My favorite part about the Bennster is that he came from out of nowhere to have this great rookie season.  If you can recall, Jamie Benn was a fifth round pick.  Let me say that again: a fifth round pick. We got very, very lucky in 2007 with this kid.  He’s like our version of Henrik Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk.  If Benn keeps this up, he wil have a great, great NHL career.

Grade: A+.  For being a complete monster.