Posted by: Cat | November 21, 2008

Morrow out with a torn ACL

Click on this.  It’s from Heika.

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK.

Posted by: Caitlin | November 21, 2008

A Memo To The Stars

Hello, all. It’s your absentee Untypical Girl, Caitlin.

How’s it going? Long time no see in the hockey blogosphere. (Yeah, yeah, I know.)

Truth be told, I haven’t had time to watch a ton of hockey. I missed tonight’s game due to a variety of extenuating circumstances, but a big chunk of it was lack of motivation. I’m working like crazy right now and trying to juggle a lot of balls in the air and you know what? I didn’t feel particularly inclined to devote time and energy to something that I felt in the end could only depress me.

So I took a gander at the box score. Now, that’s depressing.

I may not be the most knowledgeable about hockey; I may not be the most experienced hockey blogger out there, but I’ve got some useful tips for the Stars in this moment that I think…I just think…might be helpful.

  • Gag Brett Hull.

That’s right. I know he’s always been a hyperactive motormouth, but shut him up. I don’t want to see quotes from him defending Avery any longer or defending the co-GMs’ decisions. Put a cork in it, Brett. You’re exacerbating the frustrations of the fans. Shit like this:

All the rumors you hear of Sean Avery are so (bleeping) (bull) — he’s been great. He’s our leading plus-minus guy. He’s been playing hard, (shoot), he’s playing (bleeping) hurt.

A tip of the hat to the girls at Stop Hitting Robidas for the heads-up on that quote. Frankly, I don’t care. I don’t want to read this repeatedly. If you’re not a part of the solution at this point, I don’t really give a damn. This is ridiculous. We are one point ahead of being at the tail end of the Western Conference.

If Hull has any salient thoughts on what we can do to fix the problem, I’d love to hear them. And something more articulate than “I don’t know what the problem is”. Until then, it would be nice not to have to see the same repetitive quotes over and over again.

  • Chill out on the players talking to the media.

As of right now, I’m lumping everyone in the same boat as far as responsibility goes. They’re all responsible for working as a team and they’re all responsible for working together, not as separate pieces. I keep hearing a variation of the same quote: “We’re not working hard enough”. Not from one player, from several.

If you’re not working hard enough, if your opinion is that the entire team isn’t working hard enough, I don’t want to hear someone spending time to recycle the same quote to the same beat writers continuously. What a waste of your time. What a waste of my time to read it. And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t stick with your team in bad times and in good (more on that later) but I’m getting really tired of hearing the same crap spouted continuously to see virtually the same mistakes and the same work-product out on the ice.

Just shut it down.

Quit gabbing to the media and focus on more important things. If I have to go three or four days without hearing a pearl of wisdom drop from a coach or team member’s mouth, I’m quite positive I’ll make it out alright.

  • For God’s sakes, look like you care.

Half the time, most of the Stars look like they have just given up. I hate that. As I’ve espoused before, if they go out and work their asses off and have the score just run up on them, I’m not one hundred percent okay with that, but I’m far more okay with that than I am just watching guys give up. Man up. Suck it up. Get going. I’m sick of watching this team deflate just because Turco let a bad goal in, because that is certainly not the way it went last year. And while I know we’ve had some parts changed out since then, the core of this team – the leaders and the veterans, like Modano, Zubov, Lehtinen, Morrow, Turco – has stayed, injured or not. This stuff starts from the top and goes down. While I understand Modano’s been understandably not thrilled as of late, it’s time to can it and just get down to business.

  • Fix the locker room.

If this is why someone felt Sydor was needed back in the fold, I don’t want to know. Something’s rotten in the Stars locker room. I could potentially hazard a guess why, but I’ll leave the speculation up to others. Sort it out. I don’t care what it takes, if it’s benching one guy, two guys, bag skates, screaming, yelling, whatever. This is some kindergarten kind of nonsense I see going on and it is eyeroll worthy. Everyone – Avery, you included – needs to just check egos at the door and get the hell over it. If this takes hand holding and group therapy or people duking it out in the parking lot, I don’t care. Resolve it.

  • Quit telling people you don’t know what the problem is.

Get back to defense. Work harder. Make Turco see a psychologist. I don’t care what Hull’s screaming at you, all forwards need to be defensively minded. 5:00 a.m. bag skates should happen, or something. This team lacks confidence, lacks leadership and lacks discipline. If you have to go the second grade route and put up a chart with every player’s name and a gold star/demerit system, DO IT. In fact, I’d love to see that happen. Put them on the reward/punishment system. This, of all things, is not ROCKET SCIENCE.

This is embarrassing and humiliating. I’m not embarrassed for myself; I’m embarrassed for these guys. This is really how you want to represent yourself and the city?

The farther we get, the less and less sympathy I have for the same old rounds of excuses.

Fix it or don’t, guys. But don’t expect for me to have sympathy when the team misses the playoffs and does a proverbial faceplant. Some of these guys deserve better than this, especially in their twilight years, but to be honest: I’m not hurting if we miss the playoffs this year. We’d be lucky at this point to finish the season alive. I just wonder how that must feel for them.

It’s hard, though, to work up any pity for a team that keeps banging their collective heads into a wall.

Posted by: Cat | November 16, 2008

It’s official.

It’s official.  Sydor for Boucher.  I just woke up (yeah, it’s noon – so what?  It’s also Sunday.), so pardon my only semicoherent thoughts on this one.

I’ll admit it – my first thought was “Hmm.  Wonder if Niskanen changes his number for Syd.”  Not the most insightful thought, certainly, but still an odd one.  Will Niskanen go back to wearing 15, like he did in high school and college?  Or will Syd take 55 or something like that?  Who knows.  I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

I haven’t really fully processed this information (running on about 4 hours of sleep and all).  I do know that I want to wish Philippe Boucher the best in Pittsburgh – hey, you’re on a contender now, Boo-Boo!

I also wanted to share this with you, from the Stanley Cup Finals in 2000.  No one can say that Sydor won’t bring this team heart:

Posted by: Cat | November 16, 2008

Trade?

I’ll give more information when I get more sources – one source isn’t quite enough for me to fully believe it, even though it IS RDS, who generally breaks news earlier and still accurately.  At any rate…

Philippe Boucher to Pittsburgh for Darryl Sydor?

Like I said, I’ll update later when Heika has it.  I have to admit, I’ll believe almost anything Sweater Vest says.

Posted by: Cat | October 23, 2008

Book Review: “The Boys of Winter”

I’m sure we’ve all seen Miracle at least 75 times.  We know the names, we may even know where they’re from.  We know the call from Al Michaels.  All in all, a lot has been said about the 1980 U.s. Olympic hockey team.  The subtitle for this book is “The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team”.  The key word there?  Untold.

I was born in 1985, five years after a team of young men did what many perceived to be impossible.  I have no idea what the 1980 Olympics were like.  I remember watching shows about the greatest sports moments in history when I was a kid, and seeing footage of that night in Lake Placid.  My dad’s told me a bit about it, what he can remember.  The Soviet team had won every Olympic gold in hockey since 1964, when they were beat by the Americans.  No one gave the kids a chance, despite their youthful enthusiasm.  I know that the U.S. beat the Soviets 4-3, that Mike Eruzione scored the game-winner with 10 minutes remaining, and that Jim Craig played the game of his life, making 36 saves on 39 shots.  But those are all numbers.  The Disney film from 2004 gave us some insight into what Herb Brooks was like, how he tried, on purpose, to make the players hate him in order for them to bond and forget their regional differences.

Wayne Coffey spins the story together fluidly.  He uses the game as a sort of plot device, breaking off into telling the players’ stories when appropriate.  The description of the game is in minute detail, so much that you could almost hear a play-by-play going on in your head as you read it.  He interviewed players from the team, finding them in their lakeside homes, or suburban dwellings, or horse farms (in the case of Neal Broten), to ask them to relive what was possibly the greatest moment of their lives.  Some have done well.  Some, like Mike Eruzione and Jim Craig, are now public speakers who recieve standing ovations.  Some have more tragic stories to tell.

The team was a group of college kids, mostly more introverted guys who were proud to play on Olympic ice.  Brooks’s style was fear and intimidation.  He is remembered by his team with a lot of gratitude and respect, but you get the feeling they weren’t exactly friends.  Most seem to understand why Brooks acted the way he did, but there’s still the feeling of hurt and frustration behind it.

The Russians are not portrayed as the villains of the story.  Often, the Russian side is glossed over.  The focal point of Coffey’s book is the U.S. team, sure, but you get glimpses of the Russians as well.  For example, the crew who cleaned up the Olympic Village in Lake Placid found 121 empty vodka bottles in the rooms where the Russians were staying.  Russian forward Helmut Balderis made it a point to find Brooks and congratulate him after the win.  American team doctor George Nagobads warned him against doing it in front of coach Viktor Tikhonov, and Balderis’s reaction?  “He can go shit in his pants.”

What Coffey does manage to do is avoid the sentimentality of the story.  Sure, it was the Miracle on Ice.  Certainly, it was a proud moment for the United States, and there was a lot of flag-waving and patriotism, as there should be.  Coffey avoids talking about that, sticking to the story he wanted to tell – the story of a bunch of American kids struggling to win Olympic Gold.

Posted by: Cat | October 23, 2008

Apologies

My apologies for not writing.  I do have some ideas for new content (that is blissfully not Stars related) that I’ll post in the coming weeks.  I know I haven’t been writing much at all, but it’s hard to when your team is playing the way they are.  I have no idea what happened to the team I watched in the Western Conference Finals last year.  Perhaps they’ve been replaced with AHLers?  Or maybe ECHLers.  Whatever minor league of your choosing, I suppose.

At any rate, when the Stars choose to start showing up for games, I’ll probably actually write some Stars related content.  Until then, we can all mope in the quiet.  I have a very lovely corner I huddle in, if you’d like to join me.

Posted by: Cat | October 15, 2008

First Win of the Season

This one’s gonna be short, I have to get to celebrating with some friends (celebrating involves lots of beer, so I’m not sure how coherent I’ll be later), but FINALLY. I say that like it’s been a month since the season started, but two games feels awfully long when you’ve lost both games.

All in all, the Stars played much better tonight. Before, they had spurts of energy and really good play, but tonight it was far more consistent.

Also, that Fabian Brunnstrom kid is pretty good, eh? Hat trick in his NHL debut! Suck on THAT, Detroit. ;)

Posted by: Cat | October 13, 2008

Tragedy in the KHL

Not Stars related, but a deep tragedy in Russia today. 19-year-old Russian forward and New York Rangers prospect Alexei Cherepanov collapsed after a collision with Jaromir Jagr during a line change in a game between Avangard and Chekhov Vityaz (**EDIT: this is why you don’t write about it until it’s been fully reported, particularly when there are translation issues. Cherepanov was sitting next to Jagr on the bench talking about their shift, when Cherepanov suddenly collapsed). His heart stopped, and he was rushed to the emergency room. He died at 1:55PM Central Time (I say Central because it is the only time zone that really exists to me).

According to Alex Ovetjkin Blog, Cherepanov’s nickname was the Siberian Express, and he had more points in his rookie year in the RSL than Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin, and Ilya Kovalchuk. He surpassed the rookie goal scoring record held by Pavel Bure, and represented Russia in the 2007 World Juniors.

I did some hunting on YouTube to find videos of him – there’s definitely a reason he was drafted in the first round.

And here he is answering questions to the media. He knows absolutely no English and speaks through a translator.

Cherepanov had stated that he wanted to play in Russia one more year before heading to the NHL. This is such a tragedy, and my thoughts go out to his family and all his loved ones.

Posted by: Cat | October 1, 2008

Fantasy Sports

I should probably be writing a season preview, but I’m far too lazy to do that right now, so instead, here’s an entry about fantasy sports.

Kirsten started up a fantasy football league for HLOGgers. Only four people are in the league (what? It’s HOCKEY’S Ladies of Greatness, not Football’s Ladies of Greatness!), and I’m doing quite well! I’m 3-1 right now, which has put me in first place. My Disney Princesses appear to be a good team. I’m not going to lie, at first I stacked my team with Cowboys, until I realized that probably wasn’t the best idea ever, so I dropped some and added a couple of other guys. Eli Manning was my main QB for awhile, but then on the Giants’ bye week, I was like “Shit, I still want to win my game this week…NEED ANOTHER QB!” I picked up Donovan McNabb, who’ll get me more points anyway. At wide receiver, I’ve got Santana Moss (Was), Gregg Jennings (GB…I know, I know), Patrick Crayton (Dal), and Torry Holt (StL). My running backs are Marion the Barbarian (Dal), Michael Turner (Atl), and Ryan Grant (GB…Why I have two Packers on my team, I don’t really know). Tight end, Jason Witten (Dal) and Bo Scaife (Ten), kickers Nick Folk (Dal) and Stephen Gostkowski (NE…GOD WHY?), and Minnesota or Buffalo on defense. Once a week or so I go in and switch the team up, just to ensure that I’ll win. It’s worked well for me so far. In fact, two weeks in a row, I was projected to lose, and then won by a good margin. I approve.

I have a fantasy hockey team with the girls from HLOG. It was harder to get good people on my team, since I couldn’t be there for the live draft. I set up an autodraft list, but of course I stacked it with awesome players that I ended up not getting because everyone else got them first. I’m carrying four centers – Scott Gomez (NYR), Joe Sakic (COL), Rod Brind’Amour (CAR), and Matt Cullen (Car). I’m about 100% sure that Brenden Morrow (DAL) and Zach Parise (NJD) will be my solid offense – my other forwards are Pierre-Marc Bouchard (MIN), Milan Hejduk (COL), Owen Nolan (MIN), and Taylor Pyatt (VAN). On defense, I was blessed with Nicklas Lidstrom (I know he’s a filthy Red Wing, but I wanted points, and he’ll get them for me), and I drafted Matt Niskanen because I had to. My other defensemen are solid players, but not really suited to fantasy hockey – Mathieu Carle (MON), Cory Sarich (CGY), and Ryan Suter (NSH). In net I’ve got Ilya Bryzgalov (obvs I wanted Marty Turco, but also obvs, I didn’t have a high pick in the draft cause he was my number one choice overall) and Peter Budaj. All in all, I’m questioning whether or not I’ll make the playoffs at all.

Fantasy sports are most excellent. If I had time, I think I’d have like 7 fantasy hockey teams and 5 fantasy football teams. Unfortunately, I can barely keep up with my two football teams and my one hockey team. This is hard, yo.

Posted by: Cat | September 18, 2008

Training camp already?

Where in God’s name did this off-season go?!  I feel like it was yesterday I was bitching about the season being over.  Of course, I did spend a lot of time trying new things – more video games, for example.  Yeah, a friend got me into Warcraft, so now I’m an even bigger nerd than I already was!  At any rate, how did you guys spend your off-season?  Hopefully most of it wasn’t spent curled up in the fetal position, wishing for hockey to return.  I did that for a little while, it wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had.

At any rate, training camp starts TOMORROW!  You can check out the schedule and groups at DallasStars.com, of course.  I’ll be there for sure tomorrow afternoon, so if you see a girl with black and green hair wearing glasses and carrying a pink camera?  Yeah, that’s me.  Come say hello, if you’d like.  I don’t bite.  I’m not sure what my work schedule is next week, but I’m fairly certain I’ll also be at camp on Sunday, and hopefully a couple of weekdays next week, too.  Like I’m not psyched enough for hockey season to start.

In less good news, Heika has informed us that Sergei Zubov had to have arthroscopic hip surgery today, and Philippe Boucher will be out for awhile with a sore foot.  Arthroscopic surgery is only minimally invasive, so he could be back earlier, but right now they’re saying he’ll be re-evaluated in four weeks.  I’m just glad this is happening NOW, rather than later on the season.  Better to only have him out for like two weeks of the regular season than for four weeks in March or something, right?

I’d also like to mention that I’ll be out of town next weekend, but it’s hockey-related.  I’m seeing the Los Angeles Kings play the Colorado Avalanche in Las Vegas!  I’m meeting up with some girls from HLOG and it will be awesome.  There will be pictures, naturally.  I’ve never seen a pro hockey game that hasn’t involved the Stars (I’m pretty sure that the game I saw in Montreal was NOT the Canadiens, because I’d have remembered that), so this will be a new experience for me.

Everyone smile!  Hockey season is so close you can smell it.

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