Monthly Archives: April 2014

They Never Quit

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Are you supposed to get emotional over your own Photoshop work? Whatever. I made this, and it still feels relevant. Original post is on my Tumblr here.

They Rise Together

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Playoff hockey is finally back in Dallas, and the Stars put on a beautiful show. The American Airlines Center was full and loud and I so wish I could have been there.

12 Stars got their first career playoff victory

One of those Stars was Kari Lehtonen, whose first playoff victory was a shutout.

Random things:

  • Ryan Garbutt’s goal celly was the best
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  • Val got his first playoff goal and I cried. I love my Russian bae.
  • The only bad part about the night was Stephane Robidas getting injured again. It completely broke my heart. But it was so, so classy of the fans to give him a standing ovation and do a “Robi, Robi!” chant. He is well-loved in Dallas, and we take care of our own. I really, really hope that he’s able to come back again.

I’m really struggling to find words to describe Game 3 because it means so much to me.

The Stars were amazing to watch, and if they continue to bring it like they did last night they will win this series. The Ducks are really, really good, but the Stars can match them if they stick to their game.

Like Ralph said, “They rise together.”

Work It Out

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The first half of Game 1 was pretty ugly. The Stars’ and the fans’ worst nightmares became reality as the guys found themselves in a 4-0 hole. I had suspected the Ducks would come out and overwhelm them and I was unfortunately correct. And who could blame them? A lot of the guys were playing in their first career playoff game and several others hadn’t been in a playoff game in years. In this season, it’s a victory just to be there, but who can blame everyone for wanting more?

By the end of the second period, the Stars seemed to get it together. The Stars’ first 5-on-3 goal of the season sparked a change in the team’s play and allowed them to induce a little bit of fear into the dominating Ducks. It’s impressive that they got three goals to make it a one-goal game, especially considering how little experience the team as a whole has. I can’t help but see that as a good sign for the rest of the series.

The game played out much like the rescheduled Columbus game from last Wednesday: a flat Stars team comes out, falls behind, figures it out, and attempts a comeback. 

This team is young and growing pains are inevitable. But what’s impressed me this entire season is the Stars’ ability to adapt. I think a lot of this falls on coaching–Lindy Ruff has been phenomenally patient with his team. Even though they came out a little hesitant and scared, by the end they seemed to get a grip. I anxiously await Game 2.

Go Stars.

Why Not Us, Why Not Now?

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Looking back at hockey writers’ season predictions, not a lot of them picked the Stars to make the playoffs. Hell, some relegated them to the basement of the Central.  They’re too young, they said. Not deep enough. Horrid defense. Et cetera.

2013-2014 was supposed to be a transition year. No playoffs. Just hard work to prepare for the future, and surely 2014-2015 would be our year to shine. There were plenty of reasons to be excited about this year’s Stars team, including the hiring of the coveted Jim Nill, the trade for Tyler Seguin, and a new (but experienced) coach. They were supposed to come close but finish in the same depressing 9th-12th place they have for the past five seasons. Playoffs were still a ways off.

Except nobody told the Stars that.

So here we are in the second and final wild card spot preparing to go Duck-hunting. It wasn’t an easy road getting here, but this is real, this is happening.

I think this series is going to be a lot of fun. The Ducks are my absolute favorite team to play; I just think we match up so well against them. I know the regular season record between these two teams shouldn’t count for too much at this stage, but we did go 2-1 against them, including that incredible game where we scored 3 goals in 53 seconds.

The Ducks were the second best team in the league this season, and to think it’s going to be easy to pull an upset is foolish. Yes, they were upset by the 7-seed Detroit Red Wings last year and they are in the midst of a slight goalie controversy, but to stake a Stars win on those things is wishful thinking. They’re a deep team that’s good both on the road and at home, full of veterans who know how to win with a one-two punch of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.

But…

The Stars boast their own dynamic duo in Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. If they can really do some damage, the Stars can win this series. If Kari Lehtonen plays like the savior he’s been all season (and not the Kari of his only postseason appearance in 2007), the Stars can win this series. If they can get their special teams to a degree that makes a difference, the Stars can win this series.

We have the offense, the goaltending, the coaching. There’s no reason to believe that we can’t pull off the upset. It will be difficult—I can’t see this series going any fewer than 6 games; my guess is 7—but not impossible. No matter, it’s a victory just to be here. To advance farther would just be the cherry on top of a really incredible season.

Far too often this season I’ve counted the Stars out. Even a week ago after that disappointing loss to Columbus the pessimist in me came out: “Phoenix is too close. We’re just not good enough. We can’t finish. Can’t. Can’t . Can’t.” I’m glad I was wrong. I think this time I’m finally going to give my boys the benefit of the doubt.

Stars in 7.

Rising

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What a beautiful night to be a Stars fan. 

It’s truly a storybook ending to their playoff quest if you think about it. The Stars clinched their first playoff berth since 2008:

  • on Jim Nill’s birthday
  • playing Ken Hitchcock, the coach of our only Stanley Cup-winning team
  • coached by Lindy Ruff, the opposing coach of that Stanley Cup team
  • against Lindy’s former goalie, Ryan Miller
  • to eliminate Dave Tippett’s Phoenix Coyotes, finally exorcising those Tippett demons
  • with a game-winner scored by Trevor Daley, the only remaining member of the last Stars playoff team
  • on Fan Appreciation Night, where the biggest show of appreciation was to clinch on home ice

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