Monday, October 3, 2011

Stars Give Fans A Reason To Get Excited For The Season

Stars went 6-1 in preseason this year, outscoring their opponents 29-14 and going undefeated in their three home games. Ribeiro ended the preseason with the most points in the league with 10 in 4 games (2+8). Preseason or not, those are impressive numbers for a guy who has been playing in the shadow of former Conn Smythe winner Brad Richards. There are many non believers out there saying Stars will be at the bottom of the conference because we don't have a number one centermen and that Ribeiro won't be able to repeat what Richards did for us. But what did Richards do for us? Sure he helped us in our magical run in the 2008 playoffs, but it was Ribeiro who brought us there because of his performance in the season making us one of the top teams in the west. Other than that Stars missed the playoffs for the next three years. Many critics and fans around the league say because we lost our "best player" we won't make the playoffs, but they forget that we have improved our defense, our bottom six, our toughness, and special teams. Not to mention, many Stars fans wouldn't call Richards our best player last year after the year Loui had, some may say after how Benn ended his season he might be right up there with the two.

Although preseason doesn't mean anything, it does give you a glimpse of how the players will play with their new linemates. In this case, old linemates. Ribeiro and Ryder were creating fire together, and making fans go "ou" and "aw". Both players after several years apart, picked up right where they left off five years ago in Montreal. Both players combined had 16 points in four games a piece. The one game I watched they were really connecting and it's only the start. With a power forward in Morrow who is a gritty forward who makes his home in front of the goalie, a nifty playmaker in Mike Ribeiro with sweet hands and a shoot first guy in Michael Ryder, I think Stars fans will forget all about Brad Richards.

Another thing preseason showed us is that Ott's skating has improved and is looking like a top six forward, while Loui still has his scoring touch. One of the biggest surprises this preseason has been offseason signing tough guy Jake Dowell who produced 1 goal and 5 assists giving him a total of 6 points in five games. Obviously we don't expect Dowell to come anywhere close to that pace, although it's always good to see a tough guy scoring for us even if it's preseason.

Goligoski was brought in before the trade deadline during the 2010-2011 season in a trade that saw Neal and Niskanen go to the Penguins. Goose ended up playing the last 23 games for the Stars and finished with 15 points. Goligoski had a promising off season racking up 5 points and looked very good. Other honorable mentions of players who played well were Vincour, Larsen, Fraser and Pardy.

As for the goalies, Kari looked very solid and posted above average stats going undefeated. His biggest game was on September 27th where he faced 46 shots only allowing three goals in a 4-3 Stars win in overtime. Bachman also had a solid preseason although he didn't see much action, along with Besko who looked good in the game I went to go see in Montreal. Raycroft who won the backup job (which was to be expected even though Bachs put up a good fight) played decent. His best game was a 4-0 shutout against the Blues in the Stars last preseason game stopping all 33 shots. While Jack Campbell did ... eh

After a very good preseason, Stars fans should be excited for the new season. I expect Stars to surprise many this year and play 82 games of solid hockey. If they avoid any long term injuries, if Kari plays at his level and our top forwards come and play every night, I truly believe we will get to see the Stars play past April 7th.

Right now the Stars are at 25 players, they plan on cutting two more to have a 23 man roster before the Stars first game of the season, which is in four days against the Blackhawks. The obvious cut is Scott Glennie who is recovering from a minor concussion. That leaves Larsen and Vincour. The chances of Larsen making the team is very small, Stars won't go with 8 defensemen on opening day which leaves Vincour. Both rightfully earned a spot on the team after their play in the preseason, but only one could stay, which is why I am willing to bet that Larsen will be assigned to the Texas Stars in following days leading up to October 7th.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Say it ain't so Mo

What a career. What a player. Never will we ever see another player like Mike Modano in the NHL again. He is the reason why Dallas is a successful hockey market to this day, he is the reason why Texas is aware about hockey, he is the reason why there are kids playing hockey in Texas, he is the reason why Dallas has 25 + hockey rinks since the Stars moved to Dallas when they only had 1 rink. I could go on for 24 hours of why Michael Modano is a one of a kind hockey player that will never see again and how much he influenced hockey in America but I won't because I am sure everyone knows how much he meant to the hockey world.

Watching that video gives me goosebumps and makes me wanna tear up. It's hard to believe he is retiring. Mike Modano was one of the main reasons why I became a die hard Stars fan and NHL fan to this day, and I am sure there are thousands or more who could say the same. If it wasn't for Modano, I don't think Dallas would have an NHL franchise today.

Took me a few days to make this post because quit frankly, I don't know how to put it. How to write it. I Just never felt like it was real to me when he retired. I've been watching Modano for the longest time, it's hard to accept that he has retired after 21 great years in the NHL.

It all started in Livonia, Michigan where a young boy at the age of 7 found the sport of hockey. From the very beginning he had tremendous talent. Mike was a hard worker and never gave up, he played in Youth hockey groups in his area and by the time he was 15 Mike found himself moving to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada.  From there on, he never looked back.

Mike Modano played three season in the WHL with the Raiders, he played a total of 176 games and tallied up 294 points (118 goals and 176 assists). Many coaches in the WHL couldn't believe they missed him and regret not picking him up. Prince Albert Raiders found a gem. In the 1988  NHL Entry Draft there was many speculation on who the Minnesota North Stars would select with their 1st overall pick. The discussion was between two young players, Trevor Linden or Michael Modano. It came down to the end to see who the North Stars would pick 

Mike Modano didn't make the jump to the NHL after being drafted, he decided he wasn't ready for the NHL just yet, so he played another year in the WHL getting 105 points in just 41 games. Although Mike did make his NHL debut that same year during the 88-89 playoffs where he suited up for just two games for the North Stars.

In Mike Modano's rookie year he played 80 games, getting 29 goals and 46 assists. Mike Modano would go on to lead the North Stars into a magical playoff run leading the Minnesota North Stars to the finals in 1990-1991 only to lose to the Penguins. Modano did all he could for Minnesota in his 5 year stint with the franchise, but it wasn't enough to get fans in their seats. Which lead to the move.

In 1993 Norm Green who already explored his options about moving the franchise in 1991, finally got it done. The Minnesota Franchise got moved to Dallas, Texas. At the time no one thought it would work in Dallas, Texas, but  boy were they wrong. Many will tell you to this day, Mike Modano made hockey work in Dallas, Texas. If it wasn't for Mike, Dallas might not have a franchise today.

In Modano's first year in Dallas, he tied a career high in points with 93 for the second straight year in a row, and had a career high in goals with 50. He would lead the Stars to the playoffs in their first year in Dallas shocking the hockey world eliminating the St.Louis Blues in four games and eventually losing to the Canucks in the second round. Mike gave a reason for fans to come and watch the Stars play, which is why the Stars became a successful franchise and still is to this day.

As the years past since the move, Texas was more aware of hockey and the NHL, parents started to enroll their kids in hockey, more rinks were being build. All because of the success the franchise was having and how much Modano was making an impact to the city and state of Texas. Modano was now the face of the franchise. His next goal, was to become a Stanley Cup Champion. The Stars 98-99 team was one of the best teams the NHL has ever seen, with players like Modano, Hull, Belfour, Nieuwendyk, Hatcher, Lehtinen, Carbonneau and many more and with Ken Hitchcock behind the bench and Bob Gainey as the manager they were heavy favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Modano and his Stars would go on to win the President Trophy for the second year in a row and reaching a franchise record with 116 points and 51 wins (still stands to this day for the Stars franchise). That same year saw Modano change his game to play a more defensive game and become a two way forward with the help of Bob Gainey and Ken Hitchcock. Modano and the Stars would sweep the Oilers in the first round, beat the Blues in the second round (thanks to Modano's game 6 overtime goal) and defeat the Colorado Avalanche in 7 games to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since the move to Dallas.

All the pressure was on Modano to see if he can live up to the expectations. It was a long hard fought series that came down to game 6 in the third overtime where Brett Hull would put in a rebound past Hasek with Modano by his side. Mike Modano was finally a Stanley Cup Champion!

Mike Modano and the Stars would go till the end of next season to try and defend their title, but found themselves in a similar situation as last year but on the other end. The Stars would lose in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals in double overtime.

As Modano got older, he started breaking records and reaching milestones. Soon enough, he became America's Greatest Scorer to ever play in the NHL passing Phil Housley on the night he scored twice against Evgeni Nabokov and his Sharks.

Mike Modano's last game as a Dallas Star came in April of 2010 in the Stars last home game of the year against the Anaheim Ducks. That to me was the the most memorable game I've ever watched.

Stars last game would be against the Minnesota where Mike started his career, at the end of the game he was selected as the first star of the game and came out onto the ice with a vintage North Stars jersey. After that game both parties moved on in the off-season. Modano signed a one year contract with the Wings while Stars decided to go young. Modano's one year stint with the Wings didn't go as he planned when a wrist injury sat him out for most of the season. By the end of the 2011 season, he knew what he had to do.

Mike Modano officially announces his retirement on September 23rd after signing a one day contract with the Dallas Stars so he can officially retire as a Star.

It's been a dream career for Michael Modano, he became a face of a franchise, spent 20 of his 21 years with the same franchise, won a Stanley Cup and is an American Icon with the most points ever by an American born hockey player.

Thank you Mike, for all you have done for Dallas and hockey. I will miss watching that jersey flap while you skate, I will miss announcers say your name after getting the Stars a goal. You will be greatly missed, Thanks for the memories Mike Modano. Never will we see another player like you ever again. Number 9 forever.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Stars Win In Montreal 6-3

What a night yesterday! Most of you know I live in Montreal and yesterday I spent the night at the good old Bell Center to watch my team beat my home town team 6-3 with a friend and my dad. It was a great experience, it was the first time I saw the Stars play live since 2009 when they came to Montreal during the season. It's also my third time seeing the Stars live, so when I found out the Stars were coming to Montreal for an exhibition game September I jumped on the opportunity and was lucky enough to get tickets from a friend.

Stars and Habs During The National Anthem

I had greats seats that night right near the Habs net. I was wearing my Stars home jersey and had a Dallas flag with me whenever we would score. I didn't have to wait too long before I had to wave my flag, just 3 minutes and 14 seconds in, Morrow was able to poke in the puck that was laying in the crease behind Carey Price to make it 1-0 for the Stars. About three minutes later Pardy put the Stars on the board again on the powerplay after getting a point shot past Price. At this point I was the only one cheering for the Stars and was getting a handful of boo's from Habs fans while waving my Stars flag. A little over the 10 minute mark the former Hab Ryder gets on the board with a great move to get it past Price to give the Stars a commanding 3-0 lead early in the first.

Both team take a breather after an exploding start by Dallas.

I missed the first five minutes of the second period because I wasted most of my time in line for some Pizza. Although when I got back in my seat Stars were up 4-0, goal was scored by the best player on our team Barch haha. Then things went down hill from there, Montreal found a way to get three unanswered goals, one being from former Star Jeff Woywitka. Things weren't looking good for the Stars, not long after their was a goalie change for both team, Lawson was replacing Price while Raycroft got replaced by Stars prospect Tyler Beskorowany.

Beskorowany comes in relief after Rayroft allows three goals

At this point it was 4-3 for the Stars. Until Alex Goligoski from his own end entered the Canadiens zone, released a shot that was tipped in past Lawson by another former Canadien Mike Ribeiro to give the Stars a 5-3 lead before going into the 3rd period. Felt good to get up and wave my Stars flag after the Habs scored three unanswered goals.

Going into the third period Stars were dominating in the shots and face off department. Not much happened in the third period, Beskorowany was playing well while rookies like Vincour and Larsen were having a solid game. Other players that looked good was the whole first line with Morrow, Ribeiro and Ryder (Ryder was all over the ice throwing hits and generating great scoring chances with Ribeiro). Goligoski was another player that stood out to me.

With a little under two minutes left in the game Fraser was able to rip one passed goalie Lawson to give the Stars a 6-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

Stars celebrate a 6-3 victory over the Canadiens

Overall I enjoyed it very much, it felt great when I was one of the few standing up and waving my flag when the Stars would get on the board. Whenever I get a chance to see my team play live it will always be a great experience that i'll remember for a long time! I still remember watching my first ever live Stars game in Montreal in 2001 with Eddie in nets winning 4-1!

Most memorable  moments in the game :

- The small tribute they had for the players who passed away during the off-season and seeing Skrastins in the video, it broke my heart. I could only imagine how the Stars players felt seeing Karlis in the tribute.

- Seeing Schultz and Wathier fight. My first ever live fight I experience, it was a great one too.

- Being one of the only fans standing up and waving my Stars flag when the Stars would score and getting boo'ed left and right. Proud to be a Stars fan!

- My favorite .... Seeing Ribeiro come out on the ice after being announced the first star mocking Montreal! Luckily I got a couple of pictures of him doing so!

Love having him on my team!

Here are a few more pictures I took from the game, enjoy and thanks for reading! Stars come back to Montreal on February for a regular season game! Can't wait for that!!!


Friday, August 19, 2011

A Look at a Future Defense

(Picture made from images from:, ,,,,,

The number one complaint amongst our fan base for roughly three years now has been the size a physicality of our blue line. It’s true, since the departure of Mattias Norstrom the only player that can be considered anywhere close to being a shut down defenseman is Nick Grossman. Now, there is much more to being a shut down defenseman than size alone. It takes patience, positioning, the fortitude to block shots, the ability to make that crucial first pass on a break out, and the aroma of being the last person the opposing team wants to piss off.

A defense core also needs its share of offensive upside to be considered elite. The acquisition of Alex Goligoski marks the first elite offensive defenseman the Stars have had on the roster since our friend and cigarette-smoking addict, Sergei Zubov left us. The Stars have built what is arguably the best defensive prospect group in the NHL. It’s full of young kids who have proven themselves at all different levels of Junior, International and Collegiate hockey.

Let’s take a look at what the Stars D-core will potentially look like in 3-4 years:

Jamie Oleksiak (6’7, 243 LB Defenseman who has been compared to the likes of Chara and Myers).

Troy Vance (6’6, 200 LB Defenseman who just turned 18. He is a hard-hitting player, possesses a great shot and is an above average skater for his age. He is also a 5th round pick like Jamie Benn, we’ll see if this 5th round luck pays off soon).

Alex Goligoski (5’11, 180 LB Offensive Defenseman. Assuming new ownership signs him long term. GoGo managed to tally 15 points in 23 games with Stars making it look like giving up Neal and Nisky wasn’t such a one-sided trade after all).

Phillip Larsen (6’1 183 LB Offensive defenseman considered by many to be one of the top 5 prospects in the Stars system. Larsen tallied 3 assists in his brief appearance on the Stars roster last season).

John Klingberg (6’0, 158 LB Two-way defenseman heading to the top league in Finland this upcoming year. He has proven to be a solid defender at different levels of Swedish hockey leagues).

Brenden Dillon (6’3, 207 LB Undrafted defenseman pushing to the NHL at a Benn like fashion. Dillon has shown flashes of brilliance at both ends of the ice).

From the looks of it, the Stars will have a very talented defense core in front of one of the starting goalies Mario wrote about in the previous post.

Let’s take a peak at the size of this group and do some quick math. This potential starting defense core will have an average size of 6’1, 195.2 LB. But something to keep in mind is that Oleksiak and Vance, the two biggest prospects are only 18-years-old. I don’t think it would be a stretch to suggest these two end up putting on 10 more pounds. I also think that the Stars will want Klingberg to put on at least 15 more pounds before he gets a shot in the NHL.
So we are looking at a huge blue line compared to other teams around the NHL. We’re talking an average of 200 LB! Now I know some people will say “Michael, there are only 3 players on this list that are over 200 pounds.” Which is true, but can’t we use a subject a lot of us grew up hating for something that is pleasant to the eyes? I suggest we do.

Get ready fans, we’re on the cusp of seeing the defense core we have been dreaming of for a very long time.

-Michael Haake

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Future is bright for Stars Goalies

The Dallas Stars have had a lot of success with their goalie prospects since they moved to Dallas, Manny Fernandez, Dan Ellis, Mike Smith, Tobias Stephan and Marty Turco. Each goalie has had/is having success in the NHL or in Europe in their careers, and at one point in each of their career it was looking like they were the future for the Stars. Although four of the five goalies didn't last to long with the Stars franchise because Turco being one of the five turned out to be their future, there was no need for the other four. They were used as trade bait or let go in the off-season. Going into the 2011-2012 NHL season the Stars have without a doubt one of the best goalie prospects in the NHL.

Fernandez, Ellis, Smith, Turco & Stephan

Stars have 5 goalies in their system right now, Lehtonen, Raycroft, Bachman, Beskorowany and Jack Campbell. Excluding Raycroft, all four goalies have the potential to be the franchise goalie for the Stars. I think it's safe to say that the future is looking very bright for the Stars goaltending situation.

Lehtonen, Bachman, Beskorowany & Campbell

Kari Lehtonen currently is the number one goalie for the franchise and has a full season under his belt in the Stars organization. They weren't the best numbers, but considering it was his first full season since 2006-2007 and went without a serious injury playing 60+ games is a huge step forward for his career. Kari stole a lot of games for the team in the first half of the season, he was the main reason why the Stars were on top of the Pacific Division for approximately 50 straight days. Stars had an impressive 30-15-5 record after the All-Star break. Then the rest was down hill, Kari wasn't 100% and was being over played even with a capable back up goalie like Raycroft behind the bench. Many blame Crawford for over playing the Finish goalie which resulted in a poor second half for Kari. While some might think that Kari just isn't fit enough to play 60+ games.

Richard Bachman at the age of 24 is currently the closest out of the three prospects from being the next Stars starter if things don't work out well for Kari. Bachman recently just finished his first year pro with the Texas Stars. Bachman was one of the top goalies in the league, he finished in the top 5 in almost every stat (save percentage, goals against average, shutouts, wins and minutes) and arguably was the top rookie goalie in the league. He brought his Stars to the playoffs with 92 points. Even though they did lose in the first round Bachman proved to the Stars franchise he's ready for the next step in his career. Bachman has succeeded in every league he played in so far and has tremendous talent and will steal games. At 5'10 Bachman is the shortest goalie in the organization, but that's not stopping him.

"He's maybe not the biggest in stature, but I think he's got a lot of spunk to him. He battles, competes hard for the rebounds and loose pucks." Morrow said in a interview last December posted on the Bachman was signed to a one year deal contract worth $550,000 just last June. Stars expect him to continue where he left off last season as a dominate starter in the AHL in his sophomore season. If he fails to do so Beskorowany will be right there to take over the starting job.

Tyler Beskorowany (21) is right behind Bachs to get that much closer to getting into the NHL with the Stars organization in a couple of years. Beskorowany was drafted in the 2008 draft, 59th overall. Besko like Bachman also spent his first full year in the AHL this year, but for Tyler it was a surprise. Besko got the back up job after Krahn had an injury that gave Besko the chance to be the back up for the Texas Stars, he took it and ran away with it by posting solid numbers in his first few games. Before being the permanent back up with Texas Besko was one of the top goalies in the ECHL posting a .928 save percentage in 20 games for the Idaho Steelheads. Tyler at 6'4 played 18 games with Texas and showed lots of potential and promise. He went 7-8-1 with a .921 save percentage and a 2.58 goals against average in his rookie year. Going into the 2011-2012 Besko's goal is to end the season as the starter for the Texas Stars.

Photo from Robert J Keith on Flickr

"It's definitely to split time with Bachs there this year and maybe even stealing that starting position from him" Besko said

GM Joe Nieuwendyk see's potential in Besko, "Tyler is a very promising player for the future of our organization".

Last but not least, he has the higher ceiling out of Bachs and Besko Jack Campbell. Even though some fans might still feel that they much rather have Fowler, Campbell has the potential to be one of the best goalies in the league. Campbell played his first year in the CHL last year, and his numbers were very poor. Although it wasn't the same Spitfire team that won two straight memorial cups, he showed promise in the second half and in the playoffs. The team was very weak on defense. Campbell posted a 24-14-4 record, a .884 save percentage and a 3.80 goals against average. In the playoffs he went on to play 18 games and had a .887 save percentage and a 3.74 goals against average. I can't say much about how he was performing as I didn't see him play in the OHL but I had the chance to watch him in the World Juniors. He posted a stunning .941 save percentage and a impressive 1.71 goals against average. His performance lead him to winning the best goalie of the tournament and being named on the All-Star team. Next year Campbell will play just his second year in the WHL with the Spitfires, and is looking to put last years performance behind him. There is a chance he'll see some time with the Texas Stars if one of Besko or Bachs get's injured or called up to the big club.

Photo by Robert J Keith on Flickr

Just recently the Stars had a piece on their website about Jack Campbell, and I took this piece from it "Obviously, it was a bit of a rough start. Coming from camp and having real high expectations of myself and my team. And you know what? It kind of taught me that you've got to basically live in the moment - you can get too caught up where you want to be because it's not always going to end up how you write it down. At the same time, I learned a lot in that rough start. After that, I thought I settled down."

Now that you've read about all four goalies that could very well be the Stars future, i'd love to see who you feel will be the franchise/future goalie for the Stars franchise.

(Please vote on the poll which is located on the sidebar on your right) ===>

It will be a tough decision for the Stars organization to pick out of the four they want to stick with. Personally, I see Kari staying in the the Stars franchise for at least another 3-4 years. After that it all depends on which of the three (Bachs,Besko and Campbell) stepped up to take the starting job. It will also depend on how Kari has played for the last 4 years. The Stars goaltending future is the hardest to predict, because all four could be the Stars future. If I were to try and predict who will be our future, it will come down to Beskorowany and Campbell. I don't see Kari being our future, he is already 27 and I still worry about his history with injuries. For Bachman, I believe Stars organization thinks more highley of Beskorowany and Campbell than Bachman, not to mention GM Joe Nieuwendyk recently said they wanna get big after drafting players with size in the 2011 draft. So you gotta think that Bachman's size comes into question. It also wouldn't surprise me to see Beskorowany out play Bachman this year in the AHL and Bachs will end up being traded or he'll be let go in the off season. I personally like Bachman and I feel that he can become a reliable number one in the future. Just not sure if it will happen with the Stars. As for Beskorowany and Campbell, it wouldn't surprise me to see both goalies on the Dallas Stars roster in a few years from now together competing for the number one job (something similar to the Halak, Price situation a couple of years ago).

I'll end it off by saying good bye to one of the most feared NHL players in the NHL these past few season and a great player off and on the ice.

Rest in Peace Rick Rypien, you will be missed.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it! Go Stars Go!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Stars Ink Tough guy Eric Godard
"The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has agreed to terms with right wing Eric Godard on a two-year contract. The first year of the contract is a two-way deal worth $750,000/$105,000 while the second year is a one-way agreement worth $700,000.
Godard, 31, spent the 2010-11 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, appearing in 19 games with three assists, a +4 rating, and 105 penalty minutes.
The 6-4, 214-pound right winger has played in 335 career NHL games, scoring three goals and 12 assists for 18 points. In eight NHL seasons, he has accrued 833 penalty minutes and has appeared in seven career playoff games, registering one assist and six penalty minutes.
The Vernon, B.C., native was originally signed as a free agent by the Florida Panthers on Sept. 24, 1999. Godard has also played for the NY Islanders and Calgary Flames before joining Pittsburgh on July 1, 2008."
Godard lands a solid right on Trashers tough guy Eric Boulton

Godard at the age of 31 recorded 3 points in 19 games and was 4th on the Penguins with 105 penalty minutes and he only played 19 games (Godard averaged 5 penalty minutes a game). You might remember Godard from last year when he jumped off the bench to defend his backup goalie Johnson in a fight with Haley from the New Yord Islanders, Godard had to serve a 10 game suspension after that incident. Eric had 46 penalty minutes in the two games against the Islanders alone.

Godard will be another good depth signing for us, it fits into Nieuwendyk hard to play against strategy, it adds grit and toughness in our lineup. Godard also knows how to fight and could win them (*cough* Barch *cough*). Could Stars be the toughest team in the NHL with Pardy, Fistric, Barch, Ott, Burish (Could also include Benn and Morrow). All around the Stars will be a harder team to play against with the additions this year.

The signing of Eric Godard now leaves the Stars with 15 forwards, it will interesting to see who makes it on the roster for our opening game.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Stars Review and Predictions for the Upcoming season

It was one rollarcoaster ride for the Dallas Stars and their fans in the 2010-2011 season. The season came down to one game and it was against the Minnesota Wild who had nothing to play for considering they weren't going to make the playoffs even with a win. In the other hand all the Stars needed was a win in regulation or in overtime to overtake Chicago's 8th place position and make the playoffs for the first time in two years after the Hawks lost to the Detroit earlier in the day in regulation . At the end of the day, Stars never got that win and missed the playoffs for the third year in a row. One thing was clear though, we need a change.

Wild score an empty netter to beat the Stars 5-3 and end their season

Expectations weren't high going into the 2010-2011 season for the Stars, many analyst and fans around the league had the Stars finishing at the bottom three in the West. It was also their first season that the Stars will be without their franchise players Mike Modano (21 years) and Marty Turco (9 years). Stars were quick to respond to the critics who had them finishing in the bottom of the standings. When the All-Star break came a long, Dallas was one of the top teams in the league. Stars were 30-15-5, many were surprised and some were not buying it and was calling it a fluke first half. Although players were having breakout seasons for the Stars, Kari was saving us games, Loui and Brad were making plays and getting us highlight reel goals and Jamie Benn was evolving into a star player for us. Everything was going great and it was fun to watch Stars hockey again, they were playing great hockey and most importantly they were winning. That is until the injury bug hit us. Jamie Benn, Adam Burish, Brad Richards, Nicklas Grossman and key depth players were all out with injuries causing players like Vincour, Williams, Langenbrunner, Ott to step up their game and all play bigger roles on the team. That didn't go so well, and all of a sudden the Stars were playing god awful hockey.

Their record in 10 games after the break was a 1-8-1, all of a sudden the Stars were just free falling.

All of a sudden from battling for 2nd place in the Western Conference they were battling for their playoff lives, getting outplayed, outscored and blowing every lead they had in the finals minutes and seconds of the game.  The slide caused GM Joe Nieuwendyk to pull a trigger on a trade that saw one of our young star wingers James Neal and defensemen Matt Niskanen to go to Pittsburgh for a young offensive defensemen with star potential Alex Goligoski. Almost everyone was calling this a steal for the Penguins, it was a big question mark trade for Stars fans as many of us felt that we could have gotten a lot more in return. But it proved to be a great trade, Goligoski played 23 games for the Stars, he managed to get 5 goals and 10 assists for a total of 15 points. Goligoski is one of the best offensive defensemen we've had since Sergei Zubov. Lossing Neal wasen't as bad as people thought, James Neal was inconsistent at times and was seen on the score sheet every 3 games or so playing on a line with Richards and Loui and with Benn emerging as a top 6 forward there was no use for Neal. Niskanen was basically a salary dump. Little side note, Gogligoski racked up more points in his 23 games with the Stars than Neal and Niskanen combined with the Penguins.

Alex Goligoski celebrates after scoring a goal on the Nashville Predators

As the season was coming to an end, no one could predict which team would make it for how crazy the Western Conference standings were. At one point 5th through 12th was only separated by 4 points. The end of the season was approaching and teams were slipping out of the battle for the last playoff spot, Minnesota, St.Louis and the Calgary Flames. The season for the Stars would be decided at the last day of the regular season on April 10th. With Detroit beating the Hawks in regulation, all the Stars needed was a win over the Wild in regulation or in overtime. The Stars would end up losing 5-3 in an embarrassing effort, they played like they didn't care, they got out played by a team that had nothing to lose. When your fighting for a playoff spot, you shouldn't be playing the way the Stars did. They only have themselves to blame.

With that being said, you can take a break from reading, sit down and relax while you watch some Stars highlights!

TOP moments of the season for me were:
The rising of Jamie Benn
The little preview we got of Alex Goligoski
Kari Lehtonen proved he can be a reliable number 1
The leadership of Adam Burish

TOP 3 games for me:

Negatives during the season:
All the blown leads we gave up in the final minutes of the game and losing in the end
Ownership problem while the season was going on
Brad Richard situation
All the injuries we had that most likely cost us the season
bad coaching?

TOP Highlights:

It was definitely a rollarcoaster 2010-2011 season for the Stars and their fans that ended in a heartbreak. It was tough to see our team end the season the way they did and was frustrating. But it was a great season nonetheless, it was a fun first half to see us being one of the top teams in the league again. Although we should have known at the end all those blown leads in the final minutes it would come back to haunt us....

In the offseason the first thing the Stars did was signing their affiliate head coach Glen Gulutzan. This was a good choice for a head coach, Glen really knows how to win, his winning percentage in his career is over .500 and has over 300 wins. He brought the Texas Stars the the Calder Cup Finals in their first year in the league only to lose in game 6. I like this choice, he knows some of the players, knows how to win and is young and can relate to the players.

The draft was a successful one. The Stars fans needed something to look forward to after having a disappointing season, and the organization did just that. Stars picked up a monstrous size defensemen at 6'7 with a bright future, Jamie Oleksiak. Jamie is the guy we needed, a good stay at home defensemen, plays good defensively and has a big upside in him. For the first time in awhile Stars fans were happy with their 1st round selection. Other names the Stars drafted were Brett Ritchie, a big 6'3 strong winger who knows how to get on the score sheet and plays hard, Emil Molin who is a creative and skilled two-way forward, Troy Vance at 6'5 who is a good puck moving defensemen with good skating ability and poise, Matej Stransky is a 6'3 forward with great hands and good playmaking abilities and the Stars last pick was Jyrki Jokipakka, a 6'3 late bloomer defensemen from Finland who is a good skater and has good skills. Overall you can tell Nieuwendyk and the staff's goal was going big, i believe they reached their goal on draft weekend and did a great job on picking up players that will help the organization in the future.

July 1st just passed and Joe Nieuwendyk stated that he was going to be active, well he was. GM Joe Nieuwendyk picked up six free agents on July 1st, the biggest signing was Stanley Cup Champion Michael Ryder for 2 years.

Michael Ryder lifts up lord Stanley after beating Canucks in game 7

Michael Ryder - Great signing, Ryder already has chemistry with Ribeiro and is the right handed shot the Stars and Ribeiro wanted and will be a great addition to the powerplay. Ryder could also play with Benn and Loui considering both have pretty good playmaking abilities. Although I rather see him with Morrow and Ribs, that line could produce some damage. Really liking this signing, we needed a top 6 forward and we got it. Not much else to say considering it's a positive signing all around!

Sheldon Souray - Always saw Souray in a Stars uniform for some reason. When TSN said Souray has been signed, I stopped what I was doing looked at the TV and said it's Dallas for sure, low and behold they said Dallas. I was not surprised at all. Good signing, others may feel other wise but I really like this signing. It's only a 1 year deal, it's a low risk high reward type of deal. Will get to see if he still has it, I think this is a very under-rated signing and Souray will have a very good season. Imagine Souray and Gogo on the point for the powerplay? Pretty sweet no? Again, good signing, we have nothing to lose. I like it.

Vernon Fiddler - Good depth signing, another under-rated one from what i'm hearing. Don't know to much about him but he will be a solid 3rd liner with Adam Burish and perhaps Steve Ott. Fiddler is also great at face-offs and penalty kills, he will be a great addition to the team

Radek Dvorak - Dvorak and Fiddler together will improve our PK big time, it's looking good right now. Dvorak will be a good 4th liner veteran presence for guys like Vincour and Wandell. Good depth signing again and could get 10+ goals

Adam Pardy - Like this signing, Pardy will most likely be our 6th-7th defensemen for us, he has good size and can play physical. That's all I know about Pardy

Jake Dowell - Another good depth signing, once again don't know much about Dowell but he is similar to Burish in a way. Will be a good 3rd-4th liner for us and good at face-offs

Overall it was all great signings, we have improved our bottom 6 with guys like Fiddler, Dvorak and Dowell. Our PK has really improved with Fiddler and Dvorak along with our face-off guys. We addressed our need for a top 6 forward with forward Michael Ryder, he know's how to score and will be great with Morrow and Ribeiro. Souray could be a depth defense our a top 4 depending how he plays, he and Ryder have improved our powerplay. All in all it was a very good day and the Stars have improved overall. The question is though, have they improved enough to make the playoffs?

Now that the review is over, the prediction part is next.

Where do I see the Stars finishing this year? Honestly, I think the Stars are the hardest team to predict this year. With Richards gone, many fans see us finishing in the bottom of the standings again. But fans tend to forget we have players like Ribeiro, Morrow, Eriksson, Jamie Benn, Kari, Gologoski and can still compete for a playoff spot. Last year I did something similar to this, just not as much details. But I said the Stars will surprise everyone and will make the playoffs, I was one of the few to predict that. I was doing very well with my prediction up until the injury bug hit us and we just completely fell apart. This year, if we stay away from injuries or avoid the longterm one's I say we finish in anywhere from 7th to 10th. Kari will have a full year under his belt and he did a great job last year, if Stars don't over play him and use Raycroft more he should be find. Jamie Benn is evolving into a franchise player for us and I feel he could put him 60 points with Eriksson. Morrow, Ribeiro and Ryder will all have great years, mostly Ryder. I could potentially see him reach 30 goals if that line stays healthy. Our bottom six is much more improved from last year along with our penalty kill. The defense also improved from last year, Goligoski will play his first full year as a Stars, he could potentially put up 40-50 points if he stays healthy. 

I would like to see us get another top 6 forward to play with Benn and Loui, I don't feel Ott would be the best fit. Perhaps using Fistric and plus should get us a good top 6 forward who can score and put us in better position to make the playoffs.

For now with the team we have, playoffs isn't out of the picture but it will be a tough road ahead. I wouldn't count them out though. 

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it! Go Stars Go!!

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011