So James Neal still hasn’t been re-signed. Neither has Nick Grossman. With Hjalmarsson signing an offer sheet from San Jose today, I’m a teensy bit worried.
Those so-called “experts” say that there’s nothing to worry about because losing an RFA to an offer sheet is, like, really rare. Bullshit. I’ll be worried about those two until they’re both re-signed. Admittedly, I’m more concerned with Neal than Grossman, but that’s mostly because Neal is very appealing to other teams. You know, teams with money.
GM Joe needs to hurry up and sign Nealer and Nicky because this is getting very worrisome. I’m not even going to mention Niskers and Bunny. No offense, but they’re irrelevant to this team moving forward.
If Neal doesn’t come back, I won’t be able to make fun Mean Girls-inspired pictures of him. That would be a damn shame.
And with one game, the Stars gave us hope. This last win before the Olympic break against Phoenix was arguably the best game of this season. The Stars played like they wanted it, and sure the Coyotes were tired and not in it, but the Stars just made them look even worse. It’s games like those that can make a team, make a winning streak. I’m bummed that the Olympic break had to happen, just when the Stars look like they could start a streak.
Anyway, here’s some thoughts I had from the game:
-Obviously the James Neal hit on Petr Prucha was a big story from the game. In my opinion, it was a clean hit that resulted in a freak injury. The glass sucks in Phoenix, so that was probably a contributing factor. It’s unfortunate that Prucha was injured; concussions are NEVER a good thing. What was dirty though, was the way Phoenix retaliated. Somebody tell me how the hell Shane Doan did NOT get called for charging. He was waaaay out there when he stared to come toward Neal. Then Jovanovski went after Neal and had Nealer not seen him coming, Neal could have been seriously injured. It was almost Bertuzzi-like how the Coyotes were after the hit…
-Speaking of Neal, after that game, I just loved him more. You can add the Phoenix Coyotes to the ever-growing list of teams that hate James Neal. Our Nealer is a truculent fellow, eh? 😛
-How about Marty Turco? I just love the competetive Turco we used to see in the Mike Smith days. If this Turco is the one that plays the rest of the season, then I love Kari Lehtonen. Because the new guy in town is bringing out the Turco we know and love. Our goalie situation is the best it’s been all season.
I also just wanted to say how bad I feel about that luger who died, Nodar Kumaritashvili, of Georgia. I am, however, happy that he died doing what he loved. RIP, Nodar.
Now let’s forget about our wonderful sport of hockey for a little while and go watch the Winter Olympics. Then, obviously, we watch the Olympic hockey and have fun.
U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
One of my favorite NHL columnists is ESPN’s John Buccigross. I trust the man’s judgment, and he just released his Olympic rosters.
On Team Canada, he (probably mistakenly) forgot Brenden Morrow, but he put James Neal as an alternate.
Here’s his quote that I love:
Neal is the most underrated player in the NHL.
Very nice, Bucci. Very nice.
James Neal is a flipping monster. He had a great rookie season, and he’s on pace for an even better second season. No sophomore slump here, eh?
There’s so much to love about Neal. He’s physical, passionate, focused, slick, and just plain awesome. Another thing I love is his sense of humor. He’s funny in a wry way, and I love it.
Neal is the sort of guy you can’t really compare to any other player, because he’s a mix of great players. The way I see him is that James Neal is Brenden Morrow with Mike Modano’s scoring touch. Gotta love that, right? Yeah, I thought so.
Hopefully Neal is a staple in this franchise for the rest of his career. There’s been so much good stuff from the “Real Deal” and I’m sure we’ll see more.
James Neal rhymes with "awesome."
Puck Daddy had an excellent interview today with our very own James Neal. To be honest, Neal is really interesting, and I’m not just saying that because he’s James “Big Deal” Neal.
Check it out.
I just want to ask one question. What the HELL is wrong with the Stars?
Just a week ago, they were awesome, and I had all the confidence in the world for them. Now, they’ve gotten three points in the last three games. Three points they don’t really deserve. I’m not saying the comebacks weren’t awesome; they were. It’s just that they keep miraculously digging themselves out of holes. I love that they can do that, but I don’t like that they have to.
For now, I’m gonna give excuses for the slow play. With Toronto it was the dreaded home curse they’ve had lately; ditto with Florida. Also, they didn’t have Steve Ott for either of those games. Plus, Florida has their number. Whenever the Panthers play the Stars, it’s like they turn into Detroit or something. Last night, I blame fatigue and HORRIBLE refs.
But out of all this mess, there are a few players who have been consistent in my eyes. First, or course, is James “Real Deal” Neal. He’s been amazing this season. Like Razor said, “The real deal is a big deal.” Well said, Razor. Second is B-Rad, who has positivelt thrived in this new system. I don’t think he’s had a bad game yet. Third is Tom Wandell. Wandell is so quick and speedy, and you can tell he’s fighting for his roster spot. He was one of the few who actually played well last night.
But the entire team minus the fourth-liners looked tired last night. For the Neal-B-Rad-Loui line, being awesome all the time eventually took its toll on our top line. Having that much awesome on one line should be a crime, but thank gawd it isn’t. 😉
The Stars have some days off until they play Calgary on Wednesday. Hopefully they utilize the rest and get their awesome back.
Today, I was reading on ESPN Dallas, and I found this article by Richard Durrett. In it, he talks about how Brad Richards is acting big brother to James Neal. I knew they lived together, but I never realized that Neal was, like, Vinny’s replacement. It seems as though he’s B-Rad’s new BFF.
Apparently, the two are “inseparable, on and off the ice.” How sweet. It’s funny, though, because last season, I decided that Neal was my second-favorite Star to B-Rad. When I first found out they were living together, I thought it was a bit ironic.
Like B-Rad took advice from Marty St. Louis in Tampa, Baby James is taking advice from B-Rad. I think it’s pretty awesome 🙂
Link to the article is here.
I just wanted to say that I love that we beat Gustavsson. If we hadn’t…well, I probably would never live it down. But it doesn’t matter anymore now, does it? 🙂
Both teams were sluggish, especially the Stars. They never really got into the game until the final few minutes and into OT. They really shouldn’t have won, but it really shows their character since they fought and won it. It was a good win and I hope the momentum carries into the next game.
Because the only two who really played decent were B-Rad and Nealer. And at times Turco. Morrow didn’t have a very good game, unfortunaltely, and neither did Jamie Benn until Ribs tipped his shot. Let’s play better tonight boys!!
BTW, does this game solidify the fact the James Neal owns the Maple Leafs? I think yes. First a hat trick, then an OT goal…what’s next?
3 Stars of the Game:
1. James Neal
2. Brad Richards
3. Nikolai Kulemin
Tonight we face the atrociously bad Florida Panthers.