All Rise For Neal

 You have to love a game where your team leads the opponent by three goals three times and then wins the game by four . I did . I spent the whole game on my couch eating peanuts , drinking beer and cheering like a madman .

 When the game started , it looked like it was going to be fast paced and hard hitting all the way through . The game held up to that standard the entire time , well , at least until the final few minutes . By then the Jackets had given up and with good reason .
 
 James Neal , Loui Eriksson and Brian Sutherby all put their points on the board early and chased poor , young Steve Mason from the game in less than a period . The craziest part of the three goals were that all of them were even-strength goals . That is a far cry from what Our Stars might have done earlier in the season . THEN we might have gotten six goals , but our defense would have taken NyQuil and called it good . NOW everybody is applying  themselves and they believe that they can do it . And they are doing it .

 Every shift was played hard . Our Stars brought their “A-game” right from the start . They came out determined to win and the Jackets looked out of sorts and somewhat rusty with lots of miscues early . They hit post far more often on their scoring chances than they hit net . Of course , there is a long list of Stars players who rang one off the post as well .

 Our Stars did many things right . They scored plenty , played hard on the puck and they never sat back and decided to enjoy any kind of lead by coasting to the end of the game . They did not take many penalties and some of the ones that they did were questionable at best (of course some of the calls made against the Jackets were as well) . Our puck support and fighting for the puck were top notch . Very much like in the game against the Wings , most of the battles along the boards were won by Our Stars . The entries into our zone were usually kept to uneventful puck movement and the attacks that that were dangerous were answered by Marty or another player blocking the shot (or even the crossbar pinging the puck away) .
 
 The things that were done not so well were a few miscues that resulted in goals for the Jackets . Miscues by our defense allowed Turco to face a shooter in almost breakaway conditions more than three times . You absolutely cannot throw your goalie to the wolves and expect him to survive . Puck control and support in front of your own net is a necessity . Most of the game Our Stars did show the support , but ugly turnovers allowed for too many points to be scored . I know it may sound hateful to say but any goals against are due to mistakes (by somebody) and I would rather not see any at all . I always want Marty (or Tobias Stephan) to post a shutout . The mistakes that were made were really due to the fact that we were up by many goals and became a little careless . We cannot do that either . I remember an infamous game against the Kings when we were up by five and ended up losing the game . For the most part , Our Stars never really turned off and went to sleep like they have before . The late goal scored by Hutchinson proved that .

 Looking back on the game now , I do not know if I would have believed you if you told me before the game we were going to win by four over a team who is (was) seeded higher in the standings than we were and they were playing very well recently . Of course , then again that game against the Wings was something else as well . That may not have been a six to one smashing but the four to two score was very complimentary of the Wings . It should have been like eight to two . I guess I did somewhat think that Our Stars were not as strong as they can be . I need to give our team a little more credit than I did . I am still one of the faithful , but I guess , sometimes we all waiver a bit .

 Our Stars played like the team that we all used to know and love . I am glad that they remembered how to be the team that they are . Consistency needs to continue so we can hopefully bring Lord Stanley’s Sacred Chalice back to Dallas . 

 MY STARS of the game ;
  1. James Neal – Not only did he put points on the scoreboard , he performed excellent without the puck as well . I think Neal will be good for a long time to come .
  2. Mike Modano and Chris Conner – They have to share this one . Mo played hard and has earned many of these awards from me despite him not being my favorite player , but credit goes where it is due . Connor on the other hand , has improved his game-play so much that he looks like he is ready to play NHL level hockey . I give this award to him because he has improved so much .
   3. Steve Ott – No , he did not earn as many points as Mo or Neal but he did things that allowed for the rest of the team to get their respective  jobs done . He agitated but did not purposefully put himself in the box . The one time he was in the box , he did not deserve the roughing minor that he was given . That was truly garbage (but so were a few other calls) .

 Random thoughts ;

 Why have Our Stars had such a “sudden” turn around with their game play ? How about this ; All Star break gave them time to reflect and realize that they are a great team when they work as a team . They also realized that they do not have anymore off ice distractions (and hopefully that was the last we hear of him) . The players we have on injured reserve have been missed but they have proven that they can win anyway . I honestly believe that it was like spring break and they all just came back to a fresh start but this time they knew they could trust their fellow player .

 Oh and talk about a tough player….. If Barch can take eight teeth being knocked out and then having five root canals done and STILL play hockey , I will never say anything bad about him ……… when he can hear me ……… is he looking at me ?…….I , uh , have to go now ……….

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~ by Adam on February 1, 2009.

One Response to “All Rise For Neal”

  1. Hasn’t it fun! Great to see them coming together now.

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