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Caps Fan

After eight months together, Trotz and MacLellan ‘on the same page’ posted by Caps Fan

Last weekend, as the Washington Capitals arrived in Dallas long after midnight General Manager Brian MacLellan marveled at the mental fortitude of his employees.

After all those years spent scouting and overseeing player personnel inside the Capitals’ front office, MacLellan was learning the day to day operations. When serving as George McPhee’s assistant general manager, he popped in and out of town, spending most nights tracking teams coming through Minneapolis. But now, he was on the road, flying on the plane, watching the games, just being around.

“I don’t know how the coaches, for one thing, because they were there, and I don’t know how the players did it,” he said. “It was tough for me. You get to Dallas at 1, 2 in the morning, then you get up and you’re still thinking about the Nashville game.”

The old job also created an adjustment to the “managing” aspect of “general manager,” and for this, MacLellan could lean on his most experienced hire, once the longest-tenured coach in the NHL.

“Yeah, I mean, I think he’s awesome,” MacLellan said of Barry Trotz. “He’s great … If I had a rookie coach, it would be a lot different.”

 “He recognizes the areas of need and areas of concern down the road, not only this year but for maybe a couple years,” Trotz said. “We’re trying to think long-term and we’re not thinking about, you know, certain things that are immediate sometimes. You have to put it in perspective. Obviously everything from how our team’s going and what are we thinking in terms of where our lineup will finish to the trade deadline to needs, what’s out there, keeping us informed of stuff that may be out there in terms of for the trade deadline. He’s been really good that way. I enjoy working with Mac.”

Continue reading "After eight months together, Trotz ..."

Stars Fan

Dallas Stars 'pay a big price' to get back into contention posted by Stars Fan

Is there a better breakout candidate in the second half of the season than the Dallas Stars?

OK, we know that we’ve been waiting for the Stars to take the NHL by storm – pretty much since the summer.

Ales Hemsky was brought in. Captain Jamie Benn was going to be amazing and so here comes the Dallas Stars Juggernaut!

Instead the most productive element of the Stars operation this season has been the jumbotron.

Benn and Seguin have indeed been prolific – but the Stars have been up-and-down all year. But as of Monday, Dallas is back in the playoff race just two points behind Calgary for the last Wild Card spot. How in the world did that happen?

It has occurred by ensuring all parts of their game have clicked at the same time, which wasn’t the case earlier in the season.

Spezza made them better down the middle. Hemsky added depth. But the Stars never really dealt with an area of weakness. Defense. It was basically ‘score enough goals and hope Kari Lehtonen stops everything that comes his way.’

As talented as Lehtonen is, that’s not a recipe for success, unless Ruff thought he was back in Buffalo in the late '90s with Dominik Hasek.

In Trevor Daley and Alex Goligoski the Stars had two solid No. 2 or 3 defensemen, but no clear-cut No. 1. And once they started to realize this, Dallas began to slowly, methodically turn its season around.

Earlier in the year, the Stars essentially tried to load their offense on Benn and Seguin. Now everyone is joining in, but it still leads back to defense. If they can tighten that up even more and GM Jim Nill can add a defenseman, maybe the Stars can go from bust to burst and fulfill our offseason prophecies! At very least they still have the jumbotron. 

Continue reading "Dallas Stars 'pay a big price' to ..."

Hawks Fan

Blackhawks don't have an answer for Stars posted by Hawks Fan

And just like in their game against Winnipeg, the Hawks, despite rallying twice to tie things up Sunday, didn't have an answer late, this time falling 6-3 to Dallas at the United Center. The loss was the Hawks' third in their last four games and they are 3-5 in 2015.

"It's good that we can bounce back in games and catch up like that, but at the same time we shouldn't put ourselves in that position to begin with," said Brandon Saad, who accounted for 2 of the Hawks goals Sunday.

And it's the way that they've played while dropping six of their last 11 games that's a little unnerving.

"We didn't commit ourselves to playing the right type of game," captain Jonathan Toews said. "We played hard and played well at times where we sustained the pressure, but then we had lapses where we were giving up 2-on-1s."

Even though the Hawks came out with guns blazing early, by the time the midway point of the first period hit, the Stars were already up 2-0 courtesy of goals by Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Patrick Kane cut the lead in half at the 12:22 mark and Saad tied things up in the final minutes with his 14th of the season.

Saad added No. 15 in the second to make it 3-3 heading into the final 20 minutes, but goals by Eakin, Erik Cole and a late empty-netter proved too much to overcome.

Time to start worrying?

Depends whom you ask.

"I think it's already a concern," said Saad. "The past two games are games we could've won. Two divisional opponents -- those are big games and tough losses."

Continue reading "Blackhawks don't have an answer for Stars"

Ducks Fan

Ducks make it easy for Bryzgalov in 5-1 win posted by Ducks Fan

Anaheim Ducks goalie Ilya Bryzgalov got his first win with the team and his teammates couldn’t have made it any easier.

The Ducks needed only 14 saves from Bryzgalov as they throttled the New Jersey Devils Friday night in an easy 5-1 victory at Honda Center.

“They played tremendous,” Bryzgalov said. “They play really hard for me to get that win. Pretty much they give them nothing and score five goals. What else can you ask from the team?”

The Ducks held New Jersey to one shot in the second period, tying a team mark last set in October against Dallas. The Devils had just six shots in the first 40 minutes.

It was another dominating effort after a 4-0 dismantling of Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, leading the Ducks to think they’re on to something better after living on the edge most of the season.

Beleskey, who was scratched Wednesday, dropped a soft pass for a trailing Lindholm on a rush up ice and he snapped a shot past Kinkaid on the stick side for a 2-1 lead.

Just 1:52 later, Silfverberg got his first goal and point since Dec. 13 by tapping in Andrew Cogliano’s centering pass to snap a 12-game slump. Patrick Maroon also ended a goal-scoring drought dating to Dec. 3 when he beat Kinkaid after getting a pass from Ryan Getzlaf.

“It’s been a long time,” Silfverberg said. “It felt good to get a couple tonight. Hopefully I can build off this and keep scoring more goals frequently.”

Lindholm would set up Silfverberg’s power-play goal late in the third to finish the rout. Bryzgalov finally had to do his heavy lifting in the third, starting it by making back-to-back saves on Michael Ryder and Mike Cammalleri to keep the two-goal edge intact.

Continue reading "Ducks make it easy for Bryzgalov in 5-1 win"

Stars Fan

Improved Power Play and a Cleaner Game could win them the Stanley Cup posted by Stars Fan

Dallas Stars outdid the blackhawks in many areas in their season opener. They proved that they can take not only get to the playoffs convincingly, but can also be the Stanley cup champions. All they have to do is to ensure that they avoid losing any opportunities, as they did in the last season.

Speed and Agility

The Dallas are considered to be one of the most entertaining teams in the League. They have exceptional speed and agility that makes their style unique and effective. The third line from the 2013-2014 season showcased this speed and agility.

The trio of Ryan Garbutt, Cody Easkin and Antoine Russel are expected to stay at the third line and agitate from that point. The trio showed that they could still be lethal in the season opener and Eakin seemed to be on his best form. Hopefully, the chemistry will improve as the trio continues to spend more time together at the training camp.

Defence Corps

One of the major weaknesses that the Stars need to overcome is the defence. The defence has remained mostly unchanged from the last season and many fans have expressed their doubts despite the fact that they got a boost in the form of Brandon Dillon.

Alex Goligoski and Trevor Daley contributed to the power play and got a lot of ice time. Dillon had also had a lot of time on the ice and he proved he was at his best.  The main problem with the team is that the defence may not be good enough for the western conference.

Good Stanley Cup Chances

The team is showing some improvement on its power play. The new additions in Spezza and Hemsky have contributed to a cleaner puck movement and improved power play. They also have great chemistry with Hemsky and Seguin. Despite their defence issues, the team has 20/1 odds of winning the Stanley Cup.

Continue reading "Improved Power Play and a Cleaner ..."

Jeff Ponder

Dallas Stars Sign Michael Ryder posted by Jeff Ponder

A recent Stanley Cup Champion has been brought in to Dallas.

The contract is reportedly for 2 years, $7 million ($3.5M cap-hit).

Michael Ryder, who had 8 goals, 9 assists and 17 points in 25 games during the Bruins Championship playoff-run, signed a two-year deal worth $3.5 million per season. 

Ryder, 31, scored 18 goals, 23 assists and 41 points in 79 games played for Boston last season.  It was announced Thursday that the Bruins decided to let Ryder walk as a free-agent, which in turn made him a highly sought-after free-agent this summer. 

The Stars were 17th in the NHL in goals-scored last season.  Ryder will not help this rank too much, but he will be a strong pick-up for other reasons.  He adds speed and determination to the lineup, as well as the all-important Stanley Cup experience.  He will grind into the boards and work out loose pucks.  He will probably fit on a second line with Jamie Benn.

Ryder will not fill the shoes of the recently departed Brad Richards, but it’s a good start.

Follow Jeff Ponder on Twitter (@jponder94) for all the latest updates on free-agent signings today.

Continue reading "Dallas Stars Sign Michael Ryder"

Johnny Matheis

Major races 4-9-11 posted by Johnny Matheis

I should feel good about picking the exacta perfectly in the Transylvania, but the other races let me down. Still, I feel much better after cashing a superfecta that cost 10 cents and paid over $300. Much better.

For Saturday, 04/09/2011, there are these major races.




1 JUSTIN PHILLIP 8-5 Should run down all these frontrunners in the stretch

8 ROYAL CURRIER 6-1 A bit of a stalker, which helps

6 SMOKE IT RIGHT 4-1 Undefeated. A tough cookie.

3 JJ'S LUCKY TRAIN 6-1 Could hit the board

2 BUFFUM 12-1 Probably primed for good effort, but outclassed

7 VENGEFUL WILDCAT 6-1 Would be a mild surprise

4 DR DISCO 20-1 looks outgunned

5 HARLAN'S HELLO 20-1 would be huge shocker

BETS WPS on 1: Exacta 1 with All. Trifecta Box 1-6-8: Superfecta box 1-3-6-8, Wheel 1,8 with 1,8 with 2,3,6 with All, Wheel 1 with 2,3,6,8 with 2,3,6,8 with All


5 UNCLE MO 2-5 Hard to go against, but you'll probably be better off in long run to take a stand against

6 PREACHINTOTHEDEVIL 12-1 Looks to be the only one with upset potential

2 TOBY'S CORNER 30-1 was third in Grade 3 Gotham

9 ISN'T HE PERFECT 15-1 looks solid, but has had a lot of tries already

3 FULL OF SCOUNDRELS 30-1 is lightly raced, and could improve

1 STARSHIP CAESAR 30-1 will probably be ready, but looks outgunned.

4 ARTHUR'S TALE 30-1 looks to be no match for the top gun

Continue reading "Major races 4-9-11"

Jeff Ponder

Langenbrunner is a Star Reborn posted by Jeff Ponder

Jamie Langenbrunner gets to go from the bottom straight to the top. 

The Devils, who are sitting in the NHL cellar with a 10-28-2 record for 22 points, moved their captain Friday morning. Jamie Langenbrunner was sent to the Dallas Stars, the team from which he was originally acquired.

Devils President and General Manager Lou Lamoriello recently fired Head Coach John MacLean in hopes of reviving the Devils’ season, but the Atlantic Division team has responded with just a 1-6-0 since the firing, including a disastrous -13 goal differential.

In return, the Devils received a conditional third-round draft pick in 2011, which could become a second-round draft pick if the Stars win a first-round playoff series, or if Dallas decides to re-sign Langenbrunner at season’s end.

“When it's a quality person who has given you what Jamie has given, been part of success, a Stanley Cup, then certainly (the trade) is difficult,” Lamoriello said. “But if it were easy, anybody could do some of these things we have to do. Unfortunately, the decision with the status that we're in, is being made for the right reasons.”

Langenbrunner was not as gloomy to leave the Devils.

"I'm excited to come back to Dallas,” Langenbrunner said.  “I have a lot of great memories of playing in that organization, that city. I'm excited about where the team is headed and ready to come be a part of it."

It’s no surprise that the Stars were in the Langenbrunner-lottery. Via Twitter, Bob McKenzie of TSN all but said that a Langenbrunner-trade was imminent Thursday night. McKenzie posted teams that were likely to trade for the 35-year old right-wing, which included Dallas, St. Louis and San Jose.

Continue reading "Langenbrunner is a Star Reborn"

Scott Shepherd is awesome posted by Scott Shepherd is awesome. It’s a great place to waste time.

If you’ve never heard of it, basically it is a website that gives you the topic to a list of people, places, or things, and you have a certain amount on time to guess all the answers in the list. 

They have a lot of pop culture quizzes, and some pretty good sports ones as well.

Today, I stumbled across the list of the 80 players to play in an NBA all-star game in the 2000’s. Here’s a link to it. 

I got 55 of the 80. I drew a complete blank on two obvious ones, spent way too much time on them, and didn’t finish in time. I’m pretty disappointed with my score.

How many can you get right in 8 minutes?

Continue reading " is awesome"

Goon Squad

Legend Of The Goon Squad pt.1 posted by Goon Squad

Alot of people think fighting in hockey is just about two meat heads who feel like kicking the crap out of each other but it has much more to do with intimidation, defending your team mates and getting into the other teams head.

In the '70s and ’80s, when bench-clearing brawls were a regular occurrence in the NHL, you didn’t dare turn down an invitation to drop the gloves.
But slowly the game is changing.

It wasn’t too long ago when the role of the "Hockey Goon" was a celebrated and integral role on most NHL teams.
Players could adjust attitudes and turn the momentum of a game with the drop of their gloves.

Goons were also called upon to protect the star player or to fire up the team when it fell behind.
The stereotypical goon of the old time hockey was a guy who wasn’t a particularly good hockey player, but he was big and tough and earned a ton of penalty minutes.
He was on what was called the "checking line," the line that put the physical players against the skillful players on the other team.
They tried to slow them down with extreme physical play.
If you saw that both team's checking lines were out on the ice you knew that something was about to happen.

Believe it or not there is an honor code, an unwritten law, when it comes to fighting. First, there is a conversation between the two combatants, then the gloves drop and it's on.

The game of hockey has changed however, and we don't have that big guy, an enforcer, a goon, behind our superstars to make sure that they could do what they do best without being brutalized.

Continue reading "Legend Of The Goon Squad pt.1"

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