Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Joys of Preseason

Preseason counts for absolutely nothing, but it’s a nice way to pass the time until the real hockey starts.  The funny thing about the preseason, though, is that it sometimes foreshadows what’s to come for a team.

Take, for instance, the Stars.  They currently hold a 3-1 record, surprising many.  Now, who knows if that’ll be the case come regular season?  But the thing is, if we look back a little bit to 08-09, the preseason reflected on their regular season record.  And, oh my God, it was terrible.  I’m not saying that the record always foreshadows what’s to come, but sometimes it does.  And that’s why the Stars’ early success this preseason should be seen as optimistic.

Just think of it this way: no one really expects us to make it too far in the regular season.  Hell, our own fans don’t even believe we’ll make it.  I myself broadcast an eternal optimism that we will, but I don’t actually believe they’ll get anywhere.  If they can somehow turn this preseason record into a regular season record, well…that’s cherry pie.

Until then, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy the winning.  At least until it becomes, you know, Charlie Sheen’s version of winning.

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The Last of the North Stars

Don’t cry…don’t cry..don’t cry…ok bawling.

The other day, Mike Modano announced his retirement from the NHL.  This surprised no one, as it really is time for him to go.  That doesn’t mean it hurts any less.  With Mo’s retirement, the league loses a classy, talented, truly special player.  At the same time, though, the Stars gain back a treasured family member.

And of course it will end where it all started: with the North Stars/Stars francise.  Today GM Joe announced that we would sign Mo to a one-day contract this Friday so our beloved number 9 could retire on his team.

Here’s part of the Stars’ press release:

Frisco, Tex. – Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk announced today that the NHL club will sign center Mike Modano to an official NHL contract, giving him the opportunity to officially retire as a Dallas Star. Modano will sign the contract at Friday’s press conference. Afterwards, he will send in his retirement paperwork to the National Hockey League. Full information on the press conference is listed below.

The amount listed on the contract will be $999,999 in honor of his No. 9.

“This is a special day for all of us,” said Nieuwendyk. “Mike Modano will always be the face of this franchise. He means so much to our organization and all of our fans. We wanted to give him the opportunity to retire as a Dallas Star. Mike has given his heart and soul to this game for over 30 years. On behalf of the entire organization and the National Hockey League, we would like to thank him for his dedication.”

My favorite part is the $999,999 in honor of the great number 9.  It’s beautiful, absolutely beautiful.

I don’t think I can wrap Modano’s career up any better than with my post after he signed with the Red Wings, “Nine Unforgettable Memories of Number 9 (In a Stars Uniform):  https://dallasstars4life.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/nine-unforgettable-memories-of-9-in-a-stars-uniform

Now that the final North Star has decided to hang up the skates, all that’s left to say is a resounding thank you to the one and only Mike Modano.

Thank you, #9.

37

Karlis Skrastins was a quiet guy.  So what better way for the Stars to honor his memory than in a kind, simple way?  This coming season, the Stars will wear decal “37”s on the backs of their helmets, which I’m really, really glad they’re doing.  Patches felt like a little much for a guy that was never all that flashy, so a helmet decal was my pick for a tribute.

And I suppose you could say that the number 37 has been temporarily retired.  In a classy move by a classy guy, Brad Lukowich switched from his usual 37 to the number 47 for this season.

From NHL.com:

“That’s not a surprise. Luko’s such a standup guy, a great leader and great teammate that it doesn’t surprise me one bit that he’s doing that,” center Toby Peterson said. “I think it’s a good thing for him to be doing.”
“After a game, he’d blocked 30 shots and you knew it hurt. Every time he’d come off, we’d always be asking him, where’d you get that one, Skratch? Did it hurt? He’d say, no I’m OK. You wonder what’s wrong with this guy. He’s a robot,” Burish said. “I know it hurts. I just got hit with one myself. I know it hurts. Just the way he would have this smirk off the side of his mouth and just laugh at us and say he’s OK, we’d try to get him to laugh or tell us he hurt and he’d just give us a little crooked smile and say, ‘I’m OK guys, don’t worry about me.’ So that was always kind of funny.”

 

 RIP Skratch.

Hellatus

Hockey’s summer from hell continues as word came out this morning about a plane crash in Russia.  The KHL’s Lokomitiv team was on that plane, with 43 dead and two surviviors.

This offseason has been a heartbreaking one, but this tragedy has really, truly torn me apart.  After mourning Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien, and Wade Belak, I now know what it’s like to truly lose one of my own.

Karlis Skrastins was on that plane.  Former Star, Karlis Skrastins.  To be honest, his death is affecting me more than anything else that’s happened this offseason.  I’ve never lost a Star so fresh in my mind.  Peter Zezel is the last one I can think of, and he played for them a long time ago.  But Skrastins.  Just five months ago, he was part of the push to the playoffs.  Skrastins, like that playoff push, lasted up until the very last game of the season, because that’s how Scratch was. Durable.  Reliable.  Amazing.

He was a real iron man, who rarely missed a game.  A stay-at-home defenseman who kept us in the running long after we should have been.

My favorite memory of Karlis Skrastins remains the game in fall 2010 when he scored two goals against the Detroit Red Wings.  Here you had Karlis Skrastins, a guy who never scores.  Ever.  And he scored two goals in one game, his only goals on the year.  I just remember exclaiming how crazy it was, and it cemented my already burgeoning love for him.

I really, really wanted him to stay with the Stars, but obviously that didn’t happen.  And so this horrible, horrible event did.

Also killed in the crash was Pavol Demitra, one of those “damn Canucks,” yet one of the few that I ever liked.  Less notable are the 40+ others, who I will mourn just as greatly as Scratch and Demitra.

I can barely form words about this, and I’ve been shaking and crying ever since I heard the news.  The world needs to stop treating our hockey family so cruelly.  Please.

RIP you guys.

And Scratch…a Dallas Star is forever.  You will be missed.