The More Things Change ……

 …..the more they stay the same ?

 I certainly hope that last night was not the beginning of a trend .

 Recap ;

 The scoring started in the first after former Dallas Star Jason Arnott noticed that Mo’s stick was near his skate and he took a dive and Mo took the call (NO , don’t argue , he either fell on purpose or fell by accident without Mo touching him). Arnott scored on the resulting powerplay rather quickly . It was a sad little flutter ball that somehow got away from Marty . We started playing better about nine minutes into the game . The rest of the period was just Our Stars getting better as time went on . The refs were in the way of game play a little too often in this period and the refs were giving Ellis the whistle far , far , too quickly – even when he did not have complete control of the puck .
 In the second period , Robidas put a great hit on J. P. Dumont that put him out for the remainder of the game . Robi really was a gentleman and did not intend to injure with the hit and stood (and knelt) next to Dumont until he made it off the ice . Ribeiro had a great shot that beat Ellis , but hit post . All of the folks sitting by me at the AAC thought it went in . Shortly after that , Steve Sullivan took a rebound from Marty and somehow slipped it past him . Daley took an  unfortunate penalty later and Arnott nearly made it three to nothing . Then with about six minutes left , James Neal missed the pass that would have given him what would have amounted to an empty net goal . A bit later , he made up for that when he plowed Hamhuis forcing a turnover and then came back for the rebound to put it right over Ellis’ head . Ott tried again immediately but could not eek one in past Ellis in time . This period showed us out-playing the Preds by a long shot , but not their goalie . We always seem to struggle with Dan Ellis . We also stopped allowing easy passes made by the Preds and the cross-ice passes seemed to be a little less frequent .
  The third period did not start all that quick but Neal did have a great chance only three minutes in .  After The Cap’n took a cross-check in the back from  Guite , our powerplay went to work . Ellis took a shot from Loui Eriksson and then tossed the puck right to Neal who buried it right past Ellis to tie the game . We received a powerplay again a short time later and Jamie Benn had a golden opportunity to hit an empty net , but could not hit the bouncing puck . A late penalty during that powerplay effectively extended the powerplay for another two minutes . While Neal and Modano both had good chances , niether of them managed to score . Later , Brad Richards was forced to race back to defend and took a penalty but ,  I think he saved a goal . Our Stars owned this period from beginning to end . It was a far better performance than either of the other two periods .
 The overtime period started with a four on three against us . It ended when Erat took a call . Our Stars again , owned this one . I did not like how the refs blew the whistle for Ellis when the puck was still floating about and then tossed behind him into the net . The game should have ended then , but …. it went to shootout .
  The “skills competition” (as Razor calls it) was entertaining but it was obvious that the guys had not practiced anything super sneaky yet this season . Neal had Ellis beat , but hit pipe . Ribs completely undressed Ellis and made him look bad , just nobody else could beat him . 

 Thoughts on the game ;

 The thing that I noticed first was that we play too predictably . The way that Crawford wants us to enter the zone was easily seen and intercepted – although it was not forced back down our throats , we do need to have more than one play to use to enter the attacking zone .

 This “new” style of play is not all that new . It is more like Eastern Conference hockey – all offense and play defense when your completely gassed . It is not a style that any team can play , but it appears that Our Stars can whereas Tampa certainly has not achieved what they used to with that philosophy .

 Things looked rusty for the players . The style is not that big of a change , it is just a defenseman jumping in more often that all defense . The “rustyness” that I saw were players making passes to players who were not there and the rushes going awry when passes were made too late for another player to be in the correct position or the late man did not show up .

 It frustrates me that some of our players take shots at the net (or are at least attempting to) and the puck goes MILES wide . Who is the freaking shooting coach ? You’re killin’ me .

 I actuallty was able to go to the game and was exceptionally pleased to hear us (The Stars Fanatics) chant at least three time on the television broadcast (yes , I recorded the game even though I went to it – I always do) .

 This may have been a loss but there are signs of good things to come . I think that Sutherby should have been in for one of the kids (insert whichever player’s name here you felt did not do well enough) . Things will also be better with Lehtinen back off the injured list .

 I was not impressed with Woywitka , Wandell or Benn . They did not play poorly , but I think they could have done better . 

 Also , Razor guaranteed us a win on his blog at , BUT in the blog that followed , he retracted his offer to buy every ticket holder another ticket through the help of the law firm of Dewey , Cheatem and Howe (or some other such nonsense) . 

 AND again returning this season with much expectations :

 MY STARS of the game ;
1. James Neal – He earned this award hands down .
2. Karlis Skrastins – He made smart decisions in his own zone , blocked four shots , and even had a good chance to score at the end of regulation play . I am pleased that we picked him up in the off season .
3. Stephane Robidas – He gets on here for being an excellent sport by going to apologize to Dumont for nearly killing him . He also earned it for the hit and busting open the penalty box door with a hit . Hit like you mean it – and he does .
 The rest of the team gets the honorary fourth star (except for the afore-mentioned Benn , Woywitka and Wandell) for a very good game that Our Stars should have won . Thanks refs .

 I can hardly wait until the next game ………


~ by Adam on October 5, 2009.

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