The West is looking good

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!
Go Stars!

Stars make trades

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 Star hits 1,000

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!

Eddie who?

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.

Why IS a team from Dallas in the Pacific Division?

Daryl Reaugh sums up a lot of my feelings on why the Stars are in the wrong division.

Stars beat Senators

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.

Don’t mess with MacTavish

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.

(Thanks, Brian!)