Our son Davis’ hockey team was invited to hold a shootout during intermission between the first and second periods of Friday night’s (1/29/10) Allen Americans hockey game.
Davis is the sixth shooter, skating at the 2:15 mark.
Two weeks later, some more skating fun!
The little phisch got better moving around the house without help, but seemed to regress when it came to getting up when he fell.
Whenever he’s been asked what sports he wants to play, our son has been consistent: “Baseball and hockey!” The first skill required in hockey is the ability to ice skate, so with that in mind, we enrolled him in ice skating lessons earlier in the year. Of course, Dad had to take photos of the first lesson!
The Dallas Stars have gone on the offensive, and hockey season hasn’t even started yet. As part of a new ticket sales campaign, several billboards have gone up around the Dallas metroplex, poking fun at the other three major sports, all represented in the metro area. The jab at baseball is a little weak, if you ask me, and the obvious NBA poke is time- and scandal-sensitive.
My favorite of the billboards, however, is the funniest and the most enduring. Taking a shot at the NFL, it reads:
Take that, Cowboy fans.
The third overtime just began in Vancouver, and at 1:25 in the morning, I’m ready for bed.
I bleed green, white, gold, and black, though. Go Stars!!
Update, 1:27 AM: Somewhere about the 2:50 mark in to the third overtime, the game became the longest in Vancouver franchise history.
Update, 1:51 AM: There will be a fourth overtime.
Update, 2:33 AM: With 1:54 left in the fourth overtime, Dallas falls. It sucks to lose when you outplay and outshoot your opponent.
Tom’s thoughts on the National Anthem mirror my own.
The missus can regale you with many a tale of Super Bowl, college bowl, NASCAR, baseball, hockey, and other sports viewing wherein I severely critique the anthem singing because they fail in one of the ways Tom speaks of.
Look, we know you’re a good singer. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have been chosen in the first place. And if it’s a major sporting event, we know you’re a great singer.
(Or you’re just the flavor of the month, since we all know popularity doesn’t necessarily reflect impressive skill.)
(We do know that, right?)
Brilliant decision by Versus to mike Marty Turco for the NHL All-Star Game tonight. Marty’s humor shined as the Dallas Stars goalie traded one-liners with Doc Emrick and Eddie Olczyk (who has to be one of the worst color men in hockey broadcasting, but then we’re pretty spoiled here in Dallas with our top-notch crew). And Turco did it while he played, shrugging off shots microseconds after talking with the announcers upstairs, and continuing to chat as face-offs occurred right in front of him.
His best line came after the Eastern Conference scored the first of three goals against Turco, when Marty, waving them toward their bench, said with a wink to the Eastern players congregating in front of the net: “Hey guys, can you go celebrate some place else?”
It made for great insight in to the game from a goalie’s perspective, and it was really great of Turco to make the effort. Best of all, he got the win!
I’d really hoped that Bill Parcells would stick around for another year as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, if for no other reason than to eliminate it as a topic of conversation and media salivation.
It’s not like this town isn’t hosting the NHL All-Star Game tomorrow night, or has a playoff-bound hockey team or anything…
With St. Louis’s victory in the World Series Friday night, the perfect sports month comes to a close, even with three days left on the calendar. This was a less than perfect sports weekend for yours truly, given that the Tigers didn’t play yesterday, and in three weekend nights, the Stars only played once. They made the most of it, however, beating the Kings last night, 3-2, giving rookie netminder Mike Smith his second win in as many starts, and equalling the team’s best start ever at 9-2.
Oh well, I suppose I can always root for Carolina against Dallas tonight…
Could NBC not steal away better talent from ESPN for calling hockey games it chooses to nationally televise? Gary Thorne is apparently still locked in to a contract with ESPN/ABC, having spent last year calling college football games (and doing a damn fine job, if you ask me; Thorne just has a sports announcer’s voice through and through).
Big surprise that Bill Clement, formerly Thorne’s useless and biased color man, is now uselessly and biasedly anchoring NBC’s hockey network desk with Ray Ferraro. (Very manly of you guys to be out on the ice in Rockefeller Plaza, sticks in hand, while the peewee team pokes pucks around the rink behind you. This is what is known in the vernacular as a cliché. You’d think you Canadians would know a little French.)
So in DFW today we are, of course, getting the Stars-Blues game out of St. Louis. Chris Cuthbert and Peter McNab have zero chemistry. Most of the time, it sounds like McNab’s mouth is engaging before his brain. (Taking lessons from Clement, Peter?) Cuthbert sounds like he’s about to start hyperventilating any second during the game call. The only redeeming quality of this broadcast crew is Cammi Granato, stuck with the stupidly named “Inside the Glass” position. One improvement with this threesome would be to eliminate McNab and put Granato in his place. I’m not sure where Cuthbert came from, but he needs to go back to being the local team announcer there.
You might be wondering why I’m so snarky on this admittedly minor issue. First, when it comes to hockey announcers, we’re pretty spoiled here in Dallas. Ralph Strangis and Daryl Reaugh are one of the best broadcast teams in any sport. (Many of us are still hoping Daryl comes to his senses and gets a hair cut.)
Second, being a hockey fan, I want to see the sport win more fans, and one area this is going to happen in will be nationally televised games. (Few and far between those may have been these past few years. Great job with those television contracts, post-Fox Sports, Commissioner Bettman.) So if a nationally-televised game is part of your new fan-winning strategy, you better make sure the network you’ve given the goods to can deliver with top-notch broadcast crews. Those currently employed by NBC are barely living up to the term “mediocre”.
Like I’m sure many of you do when your home team is being nationally televised, I normally mute the television and flip on the radio, putting up with the satellite delay to hear my local announcers call the game. I tried to give the NBC crew an honest shot today, but they’re falling far short. Back to WBAP to hear Ralph and Razor call the last five minutes of the game.
Apparently there is some whining going on regarding the fact that hockey is the only sport which actually has rules for fighting, and Razor explains, as only Razor can, why this is such a good thing:
Baseball would have more fights than it already does (which by the way is on par if not exceeding the number in hockey) if the runner had to face a base guarded by a player with a bat. And since I’m on the subject, just stop with the bench-emptying stare downs when a pitcher throws a ball near a batters noggin’. Either throw-down or sit-down.
Football would be a fight-filled extravaganza if each guy packed a club and the game was played in an arena (Hey, wait a minute. They do play in arenas in the appropriately named Arena League. Oh, that’s right, they pad the boards for the big tough footballers.)
Basketball? Well we saw last year that it doesn’t take more than a flagrant foul and a cup of beer to send players into fight club mode. At least hockey has the brains to thank its fans and beat each other up rather than the other way around. Again, give the players a foreign object, a cage around the court and a ‘no blood no foul’ governance, and I’ll show you some lanky, bomb-throwing fisticuffs.
[Emphasis added. —R]
The third-leading goal scorer in NHL history has retired. Brett Hull made the announcement yesterday, two hours before he would have played with his Phoenix Coyote teammates against the Detroit Red Wings. At 41 years of age, as Hull put it, “the mind is willing but the body isn’t.”
Which is a true shame, because with the type of high-speed game the new NHL rules have created this season, Hull would have had the chance to really shine on the ice. This style of play is tailor-made for players like Hull, his former Dallas teammate Mike Modano, and many others. Hull, even at 41, still has, I’m sure, one of the best one-timer shots in the game. He was so effective and powerful with the one-timer when he played here in Dallas, it lead Stars color man Daryl Reaugh to nickname Brett “the Hullitzer.”
My first year in Dallas was also Brett Hull’s. He had signed with the Stars in the off-season, coming over from St. Louis. I have a Brett Hull #22 jersey I bought the night of the first Stars home game of the 1998-99 season, a game my wife and I attended. Many people were surprised Hull was not wearing his customary #16, but when Hull arrived in Dallas, that number was already being worn by Pat Verbeek. This could have been an occasion for ego-flexing, but Hull showed a lot of class and chose another number. This is an extremely underrated side of Brett Hull; most people, when they’re not discussing his playing prowess, focus on his big mouth.
My only druther is we seem to be discussing Hull as being dead, instead of merely retiring. Take this quote from NHL Commissioner Bettman (good job on that OLN TV deal, Gary; I’m sure it will bring in tons of new viewers):
“The National Hockey League will miss Brett’s skill, his scoring touch and his fun-loving attitude,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. “He was a splendid athlete, a passionate player and someone who never hesitated to speak his mind. His achievements further cement the Hull family legacy of hockey greatness.”
Um, Commissioner, last time I looked, Hull is still a splendid athlete, he is still very passionate about the game, even if he will no longer play, and I seriously doubt he is ever going to hesitate to speak his mind, now and in the future. He’s retiring as a player of the game at its highest level; he’s not dead. He has expressed interest in working in management. Seeing as how his best friend is coach of that Phoenix team, and a part-owner in same, that may be closer than most think. Brett Hull is retiring as a player, but I expect we will see him around NHL circles for a long time to come.
Thanks, Brett, for some great memories.
So like a brown bear emerging from hibernation I’ll shake off the fuzzies, work on getting my motor skills back up to speed, take stock of my surroundings, and perhaps kill someone and eat them.
That should give me plenty to talk about Friday night when the Red Wings come to town.
Actually, it’s not about a Slurpee.
Should there ever be another NHL season, Darryl Reaugh, color man for the Dallas Stars, may have hit a motherload of an idea on moving the time of the season, with the help of Tony Fireoved, Stars Executive V.P. of Corporate Sales:
It’s June 19th, there’s a little less than a month remaining in the regular season. The Sharks are in town. The temperature is 85 at game time. Outside of American Airlines Center, fans have been enjoying the festival atmosphere complete with bbq grilling and a live band. Inside, first place in the West is on the line.
The gist of the the column is that NHL seasons would be contained with a single calendar year, starting some time after the Super Bowl and ending in August. No NFL to compete with, only half of the year is spent competing with the NBA (not only for eyeballs and fans’ wallets, but for space in venues), and by the time the NHL season ends, MLB still has half a season to go. I’m intrigued.
Too bad Gary Bettman continues to show his inability to vault the NHL higher in the collective minds’ eye of sports fans in the U.S. He’s allowed ESPN/ABC to slide on their television contracts (at least Fox was willing to put NHL games on the same weekend as NFL games). He’s shown an inability to get the trade dispute resolved, and was forced to cancel the 2004-05 season. There’s no way he would ever consider something like what Reaugh and Fireoved propose.
The Stanley Cup is the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, a fact proudly touted in the sports world by the NHL. Now professional hockey can lay claim to another famous first in North American professional sports: it is the first to cancel an entire season.
I was raised on LSU football, and later, during the Dale Brown glory years, LSU basketball. When I was a student at LSU, the Tigers began their dominance of the College World Series in the 1990s. Growing up in Baton Rouge, we had no professional sports teams, only the New Orleans Saints, an hour’s drive away. Doesn’t sound like much, but that hour’s drive may as well have been an ocean. I didn’t pay attention to the Saints until I was a resident of the New Orleans metroplex, and while I attended a few games, most were at someone else’s expense.
I got in to hockey my last year in college, when I had my own place and cable television. ESPN’s National Hockey Night brought me at least a game a week, and I grew addicted. Maybe it was all the attention Pavel Bure received, but I found myself following the Vancouver Canucks, and thrilled to their Stanley Cup bid in 1994. Taking the Rangers to seven games, it was probably the greatest Stanley Cup series I’ve watched since I began to love the game.
My first NHL game was in 1996, when my spouse and I ventured from New Orleans to Dallas to see the Stars play the Canucks. It was a memorable weekend for several reasons: it was my first time in Dallas; Dallas saw a big snow storm the night of our arrival, leaving us “trapped” in our hotel most of the next day; we saw our some friends we hadn’t seen in three years; and the Canucks walloped the Stars.
My wife was recruited by a Dallas law firm, and in July 1998, we made the move from New Orleans. I was at the first home game of the 1998-99 season for the Stars, and I watched or listened to every game that year. I stayed up all night long to see Brett Hull score the third-overtime goal (and sorry, Buffalo, it was a goal) to deliver the Stars franchise its first-ever Stanley Cup.
I’ve been to a few games each year since then, mostly thanks to recruiting and client development efforts on the part of my wife’s now-former firm. But I’ve also paid my own way on more than one occasion to see the Stars play. I’ve rooted for Mo, and Eddie the Eagle, Turk and Nieuwey.
And now the players of the NHLPA have thrown away all of the good will they have built up over the years, not only with myself, but with millions of other hockey fans.
Yes, I lay the bulk of the blame for this cancellation at the feet of the players and their union. If they were willing to concede to a salary cap at the eleventh hour, why were they not willing to do so earlier in the lost season, when there was still a season to be salvaged? Why are they letting this season go away because of 6.5 million dollars per team. That’s right. That is the difference in the total salary-cap figures the teams want to impose, and the players are willing to accept. Six-point-five million. That’s about a couple hundred thousand per player on each team. That’s pathetic.
As I’ve noted before, these guys get paid to play a game. They get to do as their profession in life something millions of people wish they could do as well for just one afternoon. We made you. Sure, you have great talent and skill. No one denies that. But where would you be without hockey fans? Playing pick-up games on the town’s frozen pond in between gutting fish or delivering packages? Professional sports run on fans. Professional sports gain television contracts to reach more fans because advertisers are willing to spend money to reach those fans in an attempt to sell products. No fans means no professional sport.
I’m not saying the team owners and the league get a pass, please don’t misunderstand. I’m a good little capitalist, and believe both the owners and the players should try to make as much money as possible. But everyone negotiates their salary; first, when you gain employment, then thereafter based on your performance and later experience. It’s the same whether you’re working at McDonald’s, coding for a Fortune 100 company, or playing a professional sport. And sometimes, the business just doesn’t have enough money in the bag to pay you what you want—and believe you deserve—to get paid.
Maybe the answer isn’t a salary cap. Maybe some of these smaller market teams in the NHL should be allowed to shrivel and die, even in the birthplace of hockey, O Canada. That would be good capitalism. It would also mean a smaller marketplace in the NHL for players, so maybe the players and their union should think twice before embarking on a course of action which would lead to that outcome, as fewer of them would be employed.
When the Stars began play in Dallas in 1993, many people thought they’d never see the NHL below the Mason-Dixon line. Today, you have five NHL teams in the old South: Dallas, the Florida Panthers, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Nashville Predators, and the Carolina Hurricanes. Two of those teams have won the Stanley Cup. Those people who thought “What is hockey doing in Texas?” must be out of their minds wondering “What is hockey doing in Tampa Bay?” Never mind the fact that the Lightning now have their name on the Cup.
Three years ago, however, Tampa Bay would have been a poster child for the NHL chopping block. The Ottawa Senators have always been so (in my mind, at least). After a wildly successful inaugural season, attendance has been disappointing at Nashville games. I’m not hearing much from the Columbus Blue Jackets, and I can’t imagine that market supporting a NHL team in the long run, unless they can consistently begin making long playoff runs. Maybe some of these teams should never have been allowed to be. Maybe some of them should be allowed to fold.
None of that really matters now. There will be no 2004-05 season for the National Hockey League. A suitable compromise could not be reached by the two sides. Both sides have gotten rich at the expense of the one thing they cannot afford to lose: fans. It will take years for the NHL/NHLPA to win back the fans it is going to lose with this utter nonsense.
I don’t particularly care for basketball, other than to actually play it. The NBA holds no appeal to me, even less so now that I’ve actually attended a NBA game. While I’ll watch the NFL, I don’t follow a specific team, and I much prefer the college game. I think Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones are both incredible egomaniacs, and could care less about the Mavericks or Cowboys while either is running his respective show.
That leaves me with hockey and baseball. My winter, as far as sports are concerned, is shot. I think MLB (talk about a league needing a salary cap) spring season starts next month…
The Dallas Stars crushed the Mighty Lucks of Anaheim and goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere in their season and home opener last night at American Airlines Center. Stu Barnes and Sergei Zubov were the stories of the night, picking right up where they left off last season with their play. New captain Mike Modano led by example on the ice in the 4-1 victory, and there was solid play throughout the lineup. The only bad news for the Stars was the injury to forward Jere Lehtinen, but it doesn’t look serious and he is listed as day-to-day.
All in all, an oustanding, solid performance from the Stars. If every game could be played as well as this one, Dallas would be sure of bringing home the Cup this spring.
SuperToad has redesigned the Pond, giving up his home-baked PHP model for a site generated by PostNuke. At least this way, his PHP knowledge doesn’t go to waste.
Now if I could just talk him in to another font for his logo… ;-)
Patrick Roy, the best goaltender in professional hockey the past twenty years, announced his retirement today.
“I’ve had a blast. It’s been unbelievable. I’ve been so fortunate to have lived a dream and have fun for more than 18 years earning a living by playing a game I love,” Roy said, alternately speaking in English and French.
“I will remember the good days and cherish the great moments,” he said. “I’m leaving with the feeling that I’ve done everything I could to be the best.”
The 37-year-old Roy owns nearly every major goaltending record. He is a four-time Stanley Cup champion, winning two each with Colorado and Montreal. He is the only three-time winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy, awarded to the playoff MVP, and is the NHL’s career leader in victories with 551 and games played with 1,029.
He also won the Vezina Trophy, given to the league’s best goaltender each year, three times. Both of the goalies currently in the Stanley Cup Finals, Brodeur and Giguere, are French-Canadian, and looked to Roy (pronounced “Wah” for you hockey-ignorant plebeians) as their inspiration for making it in the NHL. With two Cups under his belt already, Brodeur seeks a third, while Giguere hopes to begin his own Cup-winning legacy.
Looking at what he’s accomplished, one could make the argument that, at least as far as the past twenty years is concerned, what Gretzkey was to forwards, Roy was to goaltenders. His performance dimmed slightly these past few years, overshadowed by Brodeur, Belfour, Turco, and others, but they all look to him as the greatest goalie in the modern NHL. I’m just glad I got to see him play.
Au revoir, Patrick. Merci.
Stars’ color man Daryl Reaugh has expertly captured what we should hear from the NHL front office.
As one of my wife’s colleagues put it: “Hockey is the only sport where you can out-play your opponent and still lose.”
At this point, with three former Cup-winning Stars in the lineup, I’m rooting for the Devils, and Brodeur’s 3d Stanley Cup. Down with the team of
My favorite hockey team clinched its series in 6 games, and is now the #1 seed in the playoffs, thanks to Anaheim knocking off the defending Stanley Cup champs. My second favorite team in the NHL trounched Osgood and the Blues 4-1 at the Garage in their Game 7. And my third favorite team, the upstart Wild, have upset the Avs and mighty Patrick Roy, handing Roy his first-ever Game 7 overtime loss.
So the Canucks will face the Wild, and Dallas takes on the Ducks.
And thanks to my lovely bride, I’ll be at the AAC for Game 2 on Saturday!
One day before the NHL’s trading deadline, the Stars make some moves to set themselves up for their run for the Stanley Cup. Currently second overall, Dallas traded big Sami Helenius (and “future considerations”) to Chicago for playoff-experienced Lyle Odelein. Prospect Mike Ryan and a 2d-round draft pick go to Buffalo in exchange for Stu Barnes.
Brian and I agree that the Stu Barnes trade is a good one, and the gritty forward will help fill the gap left by an injured Bill Guerin, as well as add depth to Dallas’ lines. We’re a little torn over the defensive trade, as we’re both big Sami fans. He has a great presence on the ice, and it’s unfortunate that the Stars will have to face off against him in the future. On the plus side, there is young John Erskine waiting in the wings. Erskine exhibits very Hatcher-esque qualities, qualities that have made the Stars’ captain one of the top defensemen in the league. Erskine has been up from the minors a few times over the past two years, mostly to fill in during injuries to starting defensemen, and has shown he is a force to be reckoned with.
So, nothing huge in the way of trades, but that’s not surprising when it comes to the Stars. They pretty much have had all the major pieces they need for a playoff run, and just needed to fill in some gaps. Go Stars!
Former Dallas Star Joe Nieuwendyk, currently with the New Jersey Devils, reached the 1,000-point plateau last night with a goal against Magnificent Mario’s Pens in a comeback win for the Devils. Many Stars fans, myself included, were sorry to see Nieuwey go, though we understood Stars management’s thinking at the time. Congrats, Joe!
Speaking of the Stars, I think Marty Turco is well on his way to ridding us of the ghost of Ed Belfour. Taking his team to the Finals and winning a Cup will definitely do it. Turco has just been monster in goal this year, and with the team’s win over the Kings yesterday, he extended his personal unbeaten streak to 14 games, tying the franchise record. This is something Mr. Belfour was unable to do during his tenure here. Turco anchored the West’s defense in the 3d period of the 2003 All-Star Game, and performed brilliantly. Belfour’s days at said contest are well behind him.
This is not to say that Ed Belfour was not appreciated by Stars fans, nor that he didn’t deserve to lead Dallas to a Stanley Cup win. Simply, time has caught up with the Eagle, and as he has moved on, the Stars have shown that their minor league system can produce the same kind of high-caliber goaltending Stars fans are used to. Perhaps best of all, Marty doesn’t come with the off-the-ice, emotional baggage Eddie was infamous for.
So thanks for your performance, Eddie, during your stay in Big D, but Marty’s the future, and the future’s bright.
Daryl Reaugh sums up a lot of my feelings on why the Stars are in the wrong division.
In a possible Stanley Cup Finals preview, the current best team in the West took on the current best team in the East (and the league). The Stars trailed most of the game, scored 2 goals in 41 seconds to tie in the 2d, then watched the Sens’ Martin Havlat notch a hat trick with his 3d of the evening just moments later.
The Stars didn’t knuckle under, however, coming back to tie it at 3 all, and Bill Guerin put Dallas up with 5:24 left in the 3d. With 30-something seconds left, Modano added an empty netter to seal the deal. Dallas is now 11-1-3 in their last 15 as the race for playoff position slowly begins to heat up. The Stars are now within one point of Ottawa in the President’s Trophy race.
Horrendous officiating, especially by the linesmen, on both sides of the puck. What else is new in today’s Mr. Magoo NHL?
Great game, and if both teams survive through the playoffs, what a Stanley Cup series this is going to be.
It’s nice to see that Craig MacTavish, who came up during the NHL’s bruiser days, hasn’t lost the hockey-player mentality as a coach.