November started off pretty bad, due to that last homestand in October (and November 2nd) where they lost to the Sharks, Blackhawks, and Coyotes. But who cares about all of that?
First of all, Mike “Mojangles” Modano finally broke that damn record in San Jose on November 7. All I remember is that my father, who is not a huge hockey fan, had requested that I call him when it happened. So, I called him, he answered, and immediately asked “Oh my god, what’s wrong?” Why? Because I was sobbing my eyes out. I’m so lame. I still can’t watch Modano score those goals without getting a little teary-eyed.
Unfortunately, the next couple of games were SO NOT GOOD. The night after Modano’s record-breaker, the Stars lost to Phoenix, 5-2. And then two days later came the worst game that I have ever seen in my life.
The Stars were playing Los Angeles, in Los Angeles. The Stars led 4-0 going into the third period, and things were looking good. If I were a casual Stars fan, I would have turned the game off, assuming that they had locked in the win. If I had done that, I would have missed the horrible embarrassment that followed. The Kings scored 5 goals in 5 minutes to make the score 5-4 LA. Mike Modano scored to tie it up, taking the game to overtime, where the Stars would lose when Anze Kopitar backhanded one in. It was the most embarrassing thing I had seen in my entire life. I just sat there, totally stunned, thinking that maybe I had fallen asleep or something. It was entirely unpleasant.
Well, upper management found it unpleasant as well, because Doug Armstrong was relieved of his GM duties on November 13. Team President Jim Lites stepped down. Owner Tom Hicks named Brett Hull and Les Jackson “Interim Co-General Managers”, and I remember talking to fans of other teams who laughed, saying it would never work. Suck it, bitches. Jeff Cogen was named the new Team President. Caitlin and I went to a Mavs game and rediscovered our love of hockey that day. The Stars lost the next game.
And then they proceeded to win six in a row.
Also, on November 21, the Stars honored Mike Modano before a game against Anaheim. Mike cried, his wife cried, his mom cried, I cried, everyone cried. Well, not everyone, I’m sure not too many of the fans were bawling into their hands like I was. God, I’m lame.
December was actually a pretty excellent month. The Stars went 10-4-0. They started playing the unbelievably awesome holiday opener:
Philippe Boucher had shoulder surgery on December 5, and Lehtinen was placed on IR. Matt Niskanen got his ride pimped out for his 21st birthday. My friends got me the best Christmas present ever, a poster that Jen had Photoshopped of all the players, that they had taken to get signed. Mike Smith wrote “To Cat “Meow”” on one side, and two months later I finally got Matt Niskanen to write “Merry Christmas” on the other side. Now, it hangs above my couch.
With the holiday season comes all the fluffy happy charitable things that hockey players do. Dick’s Sporting Goods and the Stars sponsored “Shop With A Star”, where 25 kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Frisco got to do some shopping, with the help of Mike Ribeiro, Stephane Robidas, Loui Eriksson, Krys Barch, and Mike Smith. The Stars also did their yearly hospital visits, and the video still makes me a little teary eyed. I remember reading that Marty Turco and Brenden Morrow both had evening engagements that day, so Turco secured a HELICOPTER to take them to the hospital in Fort Worth. Dude, if I had that kind of money, I would take a helicopter to work – it takes me an hour to get there in rush hour traffic, but with a helicopter I’d be there much quicker. Alas, no such luck, as I don’t make 5.7 million dollars a year. At any rate, I love when hockey players visit kids. It might just be because I’m a fan, but hockey players seem so much COOLER than other athletes. Mike Modano played air hockey with the kids! Sergei Zubov and Jere Lehtinen helped put together a jigsaw puzzle! I admire their strength in being able to do something like that. Little personal aside: when I was in high school, I worked with the special education kids. At first, I did it to get out of gym class, but these kids were great. Unfortunately, it meant that I left class with tears in my eyes every day. Behind this sarcastic, snarky, tough girl exterior lies a sobbing emotional mother hen, I’m telling you.
On December 21 or 22, something like that, I injured my knee. Don’t ask me how I did it – all I remember is that I was cleaning our mascot’s cage while on the phone with a friend. I stood up and immediately fell down (leading to some bruises, as the mascot’s cage is in the bathroom, which is not a large area). I couldn’t walk at all – I had to use upper body strength to get to my bedroom and used my good leg to stand up and get into bed. We had secured tickets to the December 23rd game against Montreal, and I swore that I would not miss it, under any circumstance. I ended up reasonably okay, although stumbling and hobbling around like a cripple. Jenlo texted “Happy birthday Chris Conner” to the Jumbotron text message shout-out board, and we got upset because it hadn’t been mentioned when they put all the people with birthdays up.
I sat in the lower bowl for the first time ever on New Year’s Eve, thanks to Caitlin and her awesome. Too bad the Stars lost that one – drunk Marty Turco on the televised Dallas New Year’s Eve special made up for it a bit, though.