Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ready . . .

*I still have spots open in 2 fantasy hockey leagues on yahoo ... email nephew23_1@yahoo.com if you are interested*

The door bell rang the other day and as usual the dogs let me know about it. By the time I got there I heard the best sound in the world … the UPS truck was driving away! Sure enough, the email I received just two days prior – telling me a package had been shipped – was, in fact, telling the truth. Since I mostly home office, the UPS driver frequently visits our home. Only this delivery was particularly important, because the package was filled with highly valuable contents. Inside was my nine-month long Christmas gift … my Dallas Stars season tickets! Family, dogs, work, and anything else going on immediately went to the back burner. Most people would say it was simply two books of colored cardstock, but for me it was paid entry to nine months of the ultimate fun! Work has been relentless since school began so there has been little time to focus on hockey. Receiving my tickets brought me back to the entrance of my happy place, and keeping track of the Stars’ first pre-season game last night thrust me through the doors. My hockey pants are fully jumping! I cannot wait to head to the AAC tomorrow night to watch the Stars take on the Avalanche … and Friday, October 10, is getting closer by the minute. Are you ready?!?!

After a third-place overall finish and two wins away from the Stanley Cup Finals, the Dallas Stars are chomping at the bit to get back on the ice and challenge the hated Detroit Red Wings for stellar intergalactic domination! Of course other teams stand in the way, but odds are that in May of 2009, Stars vs. Wings II will take place for a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. I find it hilarious that Eklund has Dallas not even making the playoffs! In fact, I almost fell out of my chair I was laughing so hard! What happened during the off-season that would make this team finish out of the post-season? Will the loss of Barnes, Norstrom, Halpern, Jokinen, Miettinen, and Hagman hurt us that bad? Was it a bad decision to bring in Richards, Avery, and Brunnstrom? Is it wrong to go with a rookie backup goal-tender and three rookie defensemen? The Stars may have been the 6th seed two years in a row, but keep in mind they had a comfortable lead in the division last season way into early March. San Jose went on an amazing run and several key Stars went down with injuries. Furthermore, the team scored more goals in the Western Conference than any other team but Detroit. They may have lost some goal-scorers in the off-season but they certainly added some as well. Finally, last time I checked, Marty Turco is still in net. I mention all of that to make this point – there is no question this team will make the playoffs. The question, barring major injuries of course, is will they have enough left in the tank to finish off the champs? I firmly believe the answer is YES!

Some quick notes on this early season…

*Dallas lost to St. Louis last night 3-2; Eriksson and Avery had the goals; the Stars had 66 minutes in penalties – Barch, Avery, and Otter were the main culprits; rookie Tobias Stephan gave up all 3 goals in 2 periods of net-minding; rookie Matt Climie replaced Stephan for the third period, giving up no goals on 4 shots … we are beginning to hear his name more around here.

*Coach Tippett is experimenting with multiple different lines, including putting Mike Modano on a wing with Richards and Lehtinen or Avery; another line that clicked well in practice today was Eriksson, Ott, and Crombeen – according to
www.dallasstars.com, during a scrimmage, the line was a +5 with Crombeen scoring a natural hat trick and Otter scoring the other 2 goals – its only practice, but that’s pretty impressive.

*Also according to
www.dallasstars.com, defenseman Philippe Boucher has a sore enough foot that he will not even put on skates for 10 days??? Not sure what happened, but I was fully expecting him to be healthy and ready to go after last year’s injury-plagued season.

*The Stars sent 5 players back to their junior teams – Tyler Beskorowany, Luke Gazdic, Sergei Korostin, Guillaume Monast, and Colton Sceviour. This takes the roster to 43 players.

Our Team, Our Time … GO STARS!

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