Category Archives: kari lehtonen

2011

All in all, 2011 proved to be a heartbreaking year– Stars hockey and otherwise.  As Stars fans, we suffered the incredible devastation that came when our guys completely blew it.  All they needed was a regulation or overtime win against the Minnesota Wild.  That’s cake, it’s so easy for us to beat them.  But that’s not what happened.  The Stars were handed the chance to write their own destiny when the Blackhawks lost earlier that day.  But they blew it.

Marc Crawford was fired two days later, surely causing many to celebrate an experiment that had gone wrong. 

The offseason brought a shakeup as Glen Gulutzan was brought in and Brad Richards signed elsewhere.  However, Nieuwendyk being the mild genius he is, used B-Rad’s cap space to bring in Vernon Fiddler, Sheldon Souray, Radek Dvorak, and Jake Dowell to add depth to a team that kind of lacked it.  Then, in a truly awesome twist, Sean Avery was waived, so Nieuwy traded for Eric Nystrom to bring the Stars to the cap floor.  At the time, the trade was kind of like whatever.  Now?  It’s effing brilliant.  Nystrom has already surpassed his career high in goals and we’re not even halfway through the season.

The Stars have struggled through their typical mediocrity, but they’ve been a surprising team this season.  Most critics picked them to finish in the West’s basement, but they’re currently duking it out for a playoff spot.  Granted, tht’s not too different than last year, but things just feel different, you know?  

Despite the injuries piling up, I still think we’re in a good spot.  The new owndership is in place.  Kari’s back.  The third line is all kinds of awesome.  This year might not be the year, but I feel really good about the direction we’re headed.

Same goes for the NHL and hockey in general.  No one can deny that it was a terrible offseason, starting with the Vancouver riots and ending with the Lokomotiv disaster.  We lost a lot of good men over the summer.

One such loss was that of Our Star, Mike Modano, who retired in September.  It wasn’t all that shocking, but it still hurt to see my favorite player of all-time go.  One bright spot in such a sad year was the one-day contract the Stars signed Mo to, to ensure he retired a Dallas Star.   

The concussion epidemic is still going on, with Team Concussion boasting the likes of Sidney Crosby and Chris Pronger among others.  It’s truly been a bad year in hockey, with more bad happenings than good. 

2012 might bring the end of the world, but in hockey, I thik it’s something to look forward to.

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Who’s That Team at the Top of the League?

Oh, that’s right…US!

After a completely awesome dominating win over the Washington Capitals, the Stars are at the top of the league, bishes!  Did I mention that these same Capitals hadn’t lost in regulation at home since February 25?  Yeah, it’s pretty neat. Also, the Caps had to endure an epic bag skat today because of their loss last night…to us.

I feel like all the praise I can give them is repetitive, and that’s a good thing.  The Bennster was a monster again; Loui continued to make us all forget Brad “Richman” Richards (who?); Sheldon Huggy Wonderbobm Souray kept showing just why he’s the best siging made in the offseason…period; Michael Ryder continued to look at home on my new favorite line; and Kari proved himself yet again to be one of the current best goalies.

Maybe this team is truly for real.  I’m afraid to jinx it, but they really are playing wonderfully.  What seems so different from the past few years is that they’re playing like a team.  It’s beautiful.

And now we’re at the top of the league.  Who’d a thunk?

Huggy WonderBear

The Rangers tragically lost the World Series on Friday night.

But I’m kind of like whatever, because the Stars won!

Me gusta.

The Stars have me legitimately thinking they’ll keep this up.  After everything fell apart last year, it’s hard to keep that belief that they can continue this dominance.  For right now, though, I just want to enjoy it while it lasts.

I felt they played very well last night.  The second period was kind of “meh,” but the third was pretty exciting.  At least that’s how I felt. 

  • Loui’s goal in the first was a beauty.  He now has 6 goals for the season.  And that’s after everyone said he wouldn’t be like this! B-Rad who?  I’m so over you too.
  • Kari was once again amazing.  I mean he wasn’t totally challenged, but he still performed wonderfully.  (Side note: He always makes me think of the babysitter from The Incredibles who’s like, “It’s pronounced CAR-y!”)
  • I’ve renamed Sheldon Souray Huggy Wonderbomb because he gives lots of hugs and is smiley like this big studly huggybear.

IT’S HUG TIME, BABY.

Here’s the Thing…

I don’t want to jinx anything, but do you realize that the Stars haven’t lost a game in two weeks?  That’s phenomenal. 

Last night, they rode into Anaheim, hoping for a Duck-hunt.  After some pretty easy matchups (cough, cough Columbus), this felt like the first real challenge the Stars had faced all season.  And they performed amazingly.

Loui set the tone when he scored just 13 seconds into the game, further proving to the world just how awesome he is (and perhaps how little Brad Richards really mattered to his playing ability).  The undeniable star of the night, Loui added an assist on Ribs’ game-winning goal and got another goal himself just a little into the third period. 

Claps for you, Loui.

Kari Lehtonen was excellent yet again.  I don’t know how else I can say it.  He had a lot of pressure on him at the beginning to step up, and he’s done so.  If he keeps this up, he has great potential to be a Vezina candidate.

As much as I like George Parros, his elbow to Barchie wasn’t cool.  He’s not a repeat offender, so he probably won’t be suspended, but I hope he never does it again.

At this point, I guess the Stars are supposed to lose to the Kings tonight.  That will probably happen.  But what if doesn’t?  Damn, this season has been incredible.  We’ve seen some good stuff.  I can’t wait to see what comes of it all.

Oh Darlings

It has been far too long since we’ve had Stars hockey.  And last night was kind of amazing.

To recap…

  • Jamie Benn is a beast.  There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind about it.  That glass-shattering hit was something else.  And let’s be honest; EVERYONE loves those hits.
  • Studly Wonderbomb is back?  He had an assist on the game-winner, and Crawford had a tough time handling his massive blasts.  If Souray can keep blasting it and not be a defenseive liability, this signing could be a great one.
  • Kari Lehtonen can’t seem to get a damn shutout.  This happened last year too.  Late in the third, the Stars are up something to nothing, and then some jerkface comes and ruins Kari’s shutout.  Last night’s assbutt was Nick Leddy.  Boo you whore.
  • Also, I missed the Modano ovation.  Was it amazing?  Ughhhhh I just HAD to watch Supernatural, didn’t I? (BTW, Supernatural was amazing, and I regret nothing)
  • What a debut, Coach Gulutzan.  Apparently the record for coaching debuts in the North Stars/Stars franchise was something like 1-7-0.  So…not a great track record, but Gulutzan managed to win.  Cool.

But yeah.  For the most part, it was a great, great way to start the season.  I mean, who knows if it’ll last, but it’s nice to think it will.

“Carry on my wayward son.”

Simply saying “We needed that” is an understatement.  At this stage of the game, two points are more like five.  Figuratively, of course.

Lately, the Stars have been in a bit of a funk, and maybe they still are.  I think after the Kings game, I said this funk was due to a severe case of “lack of Adam Burish.”  Burr didn’t play against San Jose either and Bingo: loss.  The funny thing, as Razor Reaugh brought up in one of his blog posts this week, is that the only team the Stars can beat without Adam Burish is the team that Adam Burish used to play for.  Ironic, isn’t it?

Anyway, I thought the stars played a great game.  Or, I don’t know, maybe it just looked that way compared to the lifeless Hawks.  Toews and Co. looked like they had given up after being hit a couple of times.  They were all, “No way.  We’re not hitting you like that.  No, we’re saving it for Phoenix.  You guys can have this game.”  It was sad how quickly they threw in the towel.  The Stars were the better team throughout.  We hit harder, we skated faster, and we played to win. 

Beating the champs, who we leap-frogged with that win by a complicated tiebreaker, proves that we can still do this, that our early season success wasn’t a fluke.  I don’t totally have faith that they can do this, but I have a lot of hope that they can.  If that makes sense.  They’ve kind of gone wayward at times, but they’re still my team, hence the title of this post. 

How about that Jamie Benn, eh?  I mean, really.  The kid is a monster.  Like, if James Neal was the Real Deal, I guess the Bennster is the Real Real Deal.  JB is so dominant on defensive plays.  He may not have scored this time, but he did something he’s really good at: stealing pucks for others.  It led to a goal, you know.  

Speaking of the Bennster, I thought it was pretty classless of Duncan Keith to go in and hit him like that.  Steve Ott thought so, too, so he went in and started punching Keith, who got a penalty for the play.   It’s good to see them all stand up for each other, because sometimes it feels like they don’t.

Steve Ott had a hell of a game.  Was it just me, or was that guy everywhere?  Otter scored the game-winner on a breakaway from a perfect pass from Brad Richards and hammered the Hawks the rest of the night, doing that in-your0face thing he does so well.

My Three Stars (I aactually have no idea who the actual three stars are)

1. Jamie Benn

2. Steve Ott

3. Kari Lehtonen

Next up: tonight against the (gulp!) Flyers

What a comeback, Stars!

Yeah that was kinda crazy cool, wasn’t it?  The second and third periods I mean.  Not that atrocious first.

I’ll admit that I gave up after the second goal went in; the third was the last straw.  But they managed to pull their heads out of their asses and make a comeback.

You could say that it all started when Kari Lehtonen made this amazing save:

Also notable was Mark Fistric’s huge hit on Fernando Pisani:

Pisani was carted off, and now he has a headache on top of that pesky ulcerative colitis he already suffers from.  It was not a malicious hit.  Rather, I think it was just a bit of a freak hit, because Fishsticks had no way of knowing that Pisani would hit the top boards the way he did.  But he hasn’t been suspended yet, so hold tight!

I would say that these two plays were vastly important in acheving the comeback.  Both changed the momentum and allowed us to get back in it.

Having to comeback like that doesn’t exactly leave me feeling warm and fuzzy inside, but I’ll take it.

Next up: tomorrow against those darn Blue Jackets.

GO STARS.