Another excruciatingly long summer is (almost) over. Actual hockey games are on the horizon. Because this is the 265th most widely read hockey blog on the internets, MYFO felt a deep obligation to our dozens of readers to prepare this series of previews telling you about every single team in the NHL. By “prepare” we mean, we found other people to write many of them for us. We were looking for people who (unlike us) might have an actual clue about these teams, but were also eager/willing enough to work for free. Within those constraints, we think we did an admirable job.
Today’s preview of the Dallas Stars is brought to you by frequent MYFO commenter MNHLE. We would link to MNHLE’s other work, but we promised him (or her) that s/he could remain anonymous. Don’t worry, “Pat,” your secret is safe with us.
It’s time to take a closer look into one of the NHL’s most popular markets. That habitual hotbed of hockey, the first team below the Mason Dixon line to take home a Stanley Cup. Home to big hair, toddler beauty pageants, steers, queers, high school football, and Dawson’s famous “I don’t want your life.” The jewel of the Lone Star state, Dallas Texas.
In 2007-08, the Stars shook off some of the playoff chains that have weighed down Cup dreams ever since 2000. Marty Turco busted some Stay Puft-sized ghosts, proving that he can indeed win after April 10th. Mike Modano found some spring in his skates, claiming the all-time American scoring title, no doubt thanks to hay-rolls with new
trophy wife Willa Ford. Brenden Morrow, fueled by his combination of pure Canadian good looks and willpower, hoisted the team on his back and dropped them into the Western Conference Finals (where they ultimately succumbed to Detroit’s hockey robots).
This year’s team builds on that success. Turco is likely to have another outstanding season, delighting fans with jaw-dropping saves that he probably wouldn’t have needed to make if he hadn’t been playing the puck. The question once again will come in the playoffs, where Turco will be looking to prove last season’s success wasn’t a fluke.
You can also count on him stealing your shit while you aren’t looking. Just ask defenseman Matt Niskanen, whose Pontiac Sunfire got jacked by Turco (who then had it pimped). Niskanen was asked what he thought of Turco’s stunt: “Did I think it was funny? Yeah, I guess it was funny. Funny till that motherfucker gave me the bill for all the work they did on it. Do you know how many tv’s they put in that car? 13. THIRTEEN DAMN TV’s! It’s a Pontiac friggin Sunfire and now there’s a TV in the roof! The car was worth like two grand tops, and I now get a bill for 20 large? That asshole better watch out, I’m shooting for his head in practice. And don’t get me started on that gay hat they made me wear. Jesus, Avery wouldn’t even touch something that fruity. Whatever, I gotta go try and sell this heap. Hey you wanna pay 22g’s for a Sunfire?”
The seven blue-liners are great at blocking shots and creating offensive chances. Youngsters Trevor Daley, Stephane Robidas, Nicklas Grossman and Niskanen all played important roles after veteran defensemen Sergei Zubov and Phillippe Boucher fell to injuries. However, the big story on defense is the reanimation of Zubov. Just prior to last season’s playoffs, Zubie went to Germany to receive treatment for a “sports hernia.” Zubov went to Russia this summer to try a different medical tactic–he paid a small fortune to a peasant farming family to saw off the arms and legs of their son. The newly amputated appendages were grafted onto Zubov’s torso, allowing him to play for another ten or so years. Shrugging off any controversy, Zubov noted: “Thees work many year for Chelios, vhy not Zubie?”
Offensively, the Stars retain a lot of what made them great last season. Brad Richards (14 points in 15 playoff games) is back. Both Morrow and Mike Ribeiro (whom I hate less now that he’s not wearing a Canadiens sweater) had career years, and play off of each other exceptionally well. The Stars did lose 41-point scorer Niklas Hagman to the Maple Leafs; more tragic than the loss of his offense will be the absence of Piritta Hannula from attendance at the American Airlines Center.
After the big names come a bunch of youngins, including Joel “Yes, I’m Henrik’s brother” Lundqvist. His career thus far has been a yo-yo game, going up and down to the AHL several times over the past two seasons. The departure of Hagman should cement a slot for the spry 26 year old. After him, there’s. . . Landon Wilson? Toby Petersen? Loui Eriksson? Who the shit are they, and will someone please tell me what in the Blessed screaming Jesus on a whole-wheat goddamn cracker is a B.J. Combeen? For fuck sake, I’m older than all these kids, and they’re making NHL money? Dad was right. I’m a failure.
As always, there are Modano and Jere Lehtinen. They make Zubov look positively youthful. Modano was drafted in 1988 at the age of 17. No doubt Willa has helped to rejuvenate his play, among other things. Modano defied his age, managing to play the whole 82 games for the first time since… well, ever. He tallied a respectable 21 goals and 36 assists, and if the Stars are planning to be successful, he’s going to have to do it again. Modano might not produce like he used to, but he sure can’t go for the 4:30 early bird just yet. As for Lehtinen? Well, he’s just old as fuck (though not as old as Modano). He needs to find his own washed-up pop star to work the pipes, ’cause his numbers are slipping.
That about covers it. Oh, yeah: Sean Avery. All I’ve got to say about the Vogue-interning, lederhosen pantsuit-wearing, cougar-chasing, fashionista? I swear to sweet chocolate Christ Avery, if you try to wear these, I’ll fucking kill you myself. Welcome to Texas.