Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 CHL All-Star Game Reserves Announced


One day after announcing the starters for the 2009 Central Hockey League (CHL) All-Star game, scheduled for Wednesday, January 14th at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado, the Central Hockey League (CHL) has named the 12 reserves for the game that will feature a CHL All-Star Team facing the host team, Colorado Eagles. The reserves were selected by the two co-coaches (Doug Sauter of Oklahoma City and Paul Gillis of Odessa).

Making his seventh appearance, most among any player on the team, is Bossier-Shreveport’s Travis Clayton who recently set the CHL record for career games played. Joining Clayton as a reserve for the team is former long-time teammate Jason Duda of Wichita who played alongside Clayton for 11 seasons with the Thunder.

Another reunion among the reserves features Tulsa’s Jeff Christian and Corpus Christi’s Chris Richards who played together for two seasons with the Youngstown SteelHounds (2005-07). During the 2006-07 season both Christian and Richards eclipsed the 100-point mark and both were finalists for the league Most Valuable Player award eventually won by Christian and both were named to the All-CHL Team.

A pair of Odessa Jackalopes (the top team in the Southern Conference) were named as reserves, forward Dominic Leveille (the CHL’s leading scorer with 47 points) and defenseman Russ Moyer (tied for the league lead among defensemen with 30 points).

Also named as reserves for the team are forwards Louis Dumont of Mississippi, Daymen Rycroft of Rocky Mountain along with defensemen Aaron MacInnis of New Mexico, Nicolas Dumoulin (the lone rookie reserve on the team) of Rio Grande Valley and Tyler Fleck of Oklahoma City.

The back-up goaltender in the game will be Laredo’s Sebastien Centomo who is 11-7-1 with a 2.46 goals against average.

The starters for the game were announced on Tuesday with forwards Joel Irving (Arizona), Rich Hansen (Rapid City) and Darryl Smith (Laredo) joining defensemen Justin Kinnunen (Texas) and Sam Ftorek (Amarillo) and goaltender Andy Franck (Oklahoma City) comprising the voted-in starting crew.

2009 CHL All-Star Reserves
Position Player Team/Appearance

Forward Travis Clayton Bossier-Shreveport/7th
Forward Daymen Rycroft Rocky Mountain/2nd
Forward Chris Richards Corpus Christi/6th
Forward Jeff Christian Tulsa/3rd
Forward Dominic Leveille Odessa/3rd
Forward Jason Duda Wichita/4th
Forward Louis Dumont Mississippi/1st
Defenseman Aaron MacInnis New Mexico/1st
Defenseman Russ Moyer Odessa/1st
Defenseman Tyler Fleck Oklahoma City/2nd
Defenseman Nicolas Dumoulin Rio Grande Valley/1st
Goaltender Sebastien Centomo Laredo/3rd

2009 CHL All-Star Game Starters Announced


Admin note: This was information was released yesterday - sorry for the delay in passing it along. Judging by comments, no one has been too distressed about any delays thus far...

The 2009 Central Hockey League (CHL) All-Star game is scheduled for Wednesday, January 14th at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado and Tuesday the CHL announced the starting line-up for the CHL All-Star Team that is scheduled to play the host team, Colorado Eagles. The starters were selected following completion of balloting among all CHL Head Coaches, Communications Departments and selected media members in each market. There were 50 total ballots cast in the voting process.

The top vote getter was Oklahoma City goaltender Andy Franck who received 37 of the 50 goaltender votes. As a result, he will start between the pipes for the second consecutive season. Last year, the Reminderville, Ohio native was voted the starter for the Northern Conference while a member of the Youngstown SteelHounds. Franck is 10-4-3 this season with a 2.06 goals against average.

The starting forwards are Arizona’s Joel Irving, Rapid City’s Rich Hansen and Laredo’s Darryl Smith. Irving appeared on 26 of the ballots representing the top vote-getting forward. He is among the league leaders with 41 points and 21 goals for the defending Ray Miron President’s Cup champions. Hansen leads the expansion Rush in scoring with 39 points (13-26=39) and was named the Sher-Wood/CHL Player of the Month for October. Smith (called up to the AHL’s Houston Aeros earlier today) leads all rookies in scoring with 38 points and is tops among first-year players with 19 goals.

The starting defensemen are Amarillo’s Sam Ftorek who led all blueliners with 21 votes. He is tied among all defensemen with 30 points (11-19=30) on the season. Joining Ftorek on defense will be Texas’ Justin Kinnunen who has five goals and 10 assists on the season and is tied for the Brahmas team lead with a +10 plus/minus rating.

2009 CHL All-Star Starters
Position Player Team Appearance

Forward Joel Irving Arizona 1st
Forward Rich Hansen Rapid City 2nd
Forward Darryl Smith Laredo 1st
Defenseman Justin Kinnunen Texas 2nd
Defenseman Sam Ftorek Amarillo 1st
Goaltender Andy Franck Oklahoma City 2nd

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

CHL Player/Goaltender of the Week Announced


The Central Hockey League announced today that the recipients for the Oakley CHL Player and Goaltender of the Week for the period ending December 28th, 2008 are forward Chris Robertson of the New Mexico Scorpions and goaltender Marco Emond of the Arizona Sundogs.

Robertson is coming off a week that saw him score four goals with two assists. The Scorpions center helped put an end to a three-game losing streak and to another more dubious streak, never winning a regulation game in Colorado, by netting his second hat trick of the season in a 6-4 New Mexico win at Colorado on Saturday. The Owen Sound, Ontario native followed that up by scoring the game winning goal on Sunday in the Scorpions 3-1 win over the Southern Conference’s top team, the Odessa Jackalopes. For the season, the 6-0, 200-pound forward has 30 points (14-16=30) in 28 games.

Emond strung together back-to-back wins at Rapid City versus the expansion Rush last week. On Friday night, the Valleyfield, Quebec native made 29 saves earning his first shutout of the season. The next night, the 5-10, 195-pound goaltender made 33 saves as the Sundogs won 2-1. On the season, Emond is 9-9-1 with a 3.66 goals against average.

In recognition of their achievement, both Robertson and Emond will receive a special gift from Oakley.

Oakley CHL Player of the Week

Chris Robertson, New Mexico Scorpions
Position: F
(Weekly Totals)
Games Played: 3
Goals: 4
Assists: 2
Points: 6
Plus/Minus: +1

Oakley CHL Goaltender of the Week
Marco Emond, Arizona Sundogs
Position: G
(Weekly Totals)
Games Played: 2
Record: 2-0-0
GAA: 0.50
Save %: 0.984
Saves: 62 of 63

Wichita’s Tim Boron Voted CHL Performance of the Week


The Central Hockey League (CHL) announced today that Tim Boron of the Wichita Thunder has been voted the winner of the CHL Performance of the Week for Week 10. The netminder made 53 saves in a 2-1 Thunder victory over Mississippi on December 19th propelling him to the award.

Boron’s effort received 49% of the vote earning 289 of the 591 votes cast. Coming in second place was Laredo’s Darryl Smith who scored the game winning goal with 16 seconds left on the clock in the Bucks 4-3 win over Corpus Christi on December 20th.

Boron has been a lift to the Thunder as of late winning the Oakley CHL Goaltender of the Week award earlier in December. He is a deceiving 3-8-1 on the season with a 2.50 goals against average and a .928 save percentage.

The nominees for the CHL Performance of the Week for week 11 of the season (Dec. 22-28) are as follows:
-RGV’s Christian Boucher making 41 saves in the Bees 1-0 win vs. Laredo on December 22nd
-Wichita’s Jason Tessier scoring a hat trick in the Thunders 6-3 win vs. Tulsa on December 26th
-Odessa’s Russ Moyer netting five points in the Jacks 7-3 win over Amarillo on December 27th
-Texas’ three-goal third period erasing a 3-1 deficit in their 4-3 win over OKC on December 27th
-New Mexico’s Chris Robertson’s hat trick in the team’s 6-4 win at Colorado on December 27th

Fans can vote for the winner through Monday, January 5th with the winner being announced on Tuesday, January 6th.

Stars Prepare to Close Out 2008


I think the Stars are happy to see 2008 come to a close. Although there has been lots of good (last year's success in the playoffs, for example), there have been lots of let-downs too (last year's exit from the playoffs and the Sean Avery Show, for more examples).

Although the Stars couldn't pull out the victory in last night's game against the Stars, they did look good matched up against the league's "top team". There was lots of energy throughout the lines, and the physical play that has been missing at several points this season was very evident at the AAC last night. Steve Ott brought the same game he's been bringing since coming back from his hand injury - everything but the fisticuffs. No one wants to bring that aspect back to his game more than Ott, but he's being very smart in how he plays. And there are foes around the league who are taking rain checks, you can count on it. Otter's dance card will be full when he can drop the mitts again. But, as Razor said in his commentary last night, the only thing that might keep Ott out of the lineup for a long time would be a tongue injury. His jawing is key to his game. But it wasn't just the physicality that looked good last night - there were some displays of finesse too. James Neal has looked fantastic in his latest stint with the club, and last night the line of Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen and Neal was the most successful, in terms of chances against the Sharks.

Bottom line - even though the Stars didn't pull out the win, they were right in it all through the game. The Sharks have only been defeated eight times in the 36 games they've played, and four of those times it took overtime to decide the winner. There's no shame in dropping one against San Jose, even though the win would have been nice.

It's time to look onward and upward, though. The annual New Year's Eve game is tomorrow, and this year it brings us the New Jersey Devils. It's been six and a half years since the trade that made Jamie Langenbrunner a Devil; hard to believe sometimes. I don't know about any one else, but it's still difficult to see him playing in another team's sweater. At least he went to the Eastern Conference, and we don't run into him more often...I have a feeling we'd regret that trade more and more if we did.

One more thing to look forward to for the new year - the Annual Winter Classic hockey game played on New Year's Day. This year's matchup is the Blackhawks and the Red Wings and will be played in Chicago's beloved Wrigley Field. I really love what the NHL has done in creating this annual event - the outdoor game is a wonderful oddity, and is great to see. Hopefully the execs who schedule this every year take notice of how well it is received every year by the fans, and will continue to schedule this every year. I would love to see the Stars play in one, but it's pretty obvious that it would have to be a road game if they do. How great would it be to see the Stars take on the Wild up on a lake in Minnesota though? Very cool!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ho Ho Ho-ly Cow!


Great win by the Stars last night over Toronto. It feels good to enter the Christmas break on the heels of such a successful road game (even if the trip was only .500). The Stars managed to score 13 goals in the two games, and looked like they may have unclogged whatever was stopped up in the goal production area. If we can get this kind of work from young guns James Neal, Fabian Brunnstrom and Loui Eriksson, and get Mike Ribeiro, Jere Lehtinen and Mike Modano back on path, we're going to be tough to out-score most nights.

The defense was a bit suspect at times in the past few weeks, but it looked pretty good last night. Of course, most of the action was at the Leafs' end for the first two periods, but the chances that were created by Toronto were jumped upon pretty quickly. Marty still needs to work on seeing the rubber a bit more, and the defense should practice positioning and communication over the holiday...but I think most fans will join me in feeling better about the state of things than they did at the start of the month.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to all the Big D Hockey readers out there. Stay safe and happy over the break, and we'll see you at the AAC (or in front of your TV/Radio) on Saturday for the Ducks!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

CHL Performance of the Week Awarded


The Central Hockey League (CHL) announced today that the CHL record-tying 10 combined power play goals in the Arizona/Colorado game on December 13th has been voted the winner of the CHL Performance of the Week for Week Nine. The Eagles won the Ray Miron President’s Cup rematch by a final score of 7-5.

The Sundogs/Eagles power play exhibition received 36% of the 624 votes cast. Coming in second place was Mike Gorman’s (AMA) 48 save performance in a Gorillas victory in Colorado on December 12th which received 37% of the votes.

Each team went 5 for 12 on the man advantage with Joel Irving (ARZ), Adam Perry (ARZ) and Ryan Tobler (COL) each scoring a pair of power play goals for their respective teams. The first nine goals of the game were scored on the power play.

The nominees for the CHL Performance of the Week for week 10 of the season (Dec. 15-21) are as follows:
-Rapid City’s three-goal third period in 3-2 win versus Rocky Mountain on Dec. 16
-OKC’s 3-2 shootout win over Colorado in the Northern Conference battle on Dec. 17
-Corpus Christi’s Kris Tebbs making 31 saves in the IceRays 2-1 win over Odessa ending the Jacks 11-game win streak on Dec. 18
-Wichita’s Tim Boron making 53 saves in a 2-1 win over Mississippi on Dec. 19
-Laredo’s Darryl Smith scoring the game winning goal with 16 seconds remaining in the Bucks 5-4 win over Corpus Christi on Dec. 20

Fans can vote for the winner through Monday, December 29th with the winner being announced on Tuesday, December 30th.

Odessa Jackalopes' Gillis Earns Second Coaching Slot in CHL All-Star Game


The Central Hockey League (CHL) announced today that Odessa Jackalopes Head Coach Paul Gillis will represent the Southern Conference as one of two co-coaches for the 2009 CHL All-Star Team. Gillis joins Oklahoma City’s Doug Sauter as the tandem that will lead the CHL All-Star team in the 2009 CHL All-Star Game.

This year’s game features a unique format with the host Colorado Eagles (coached by Kevin McClelland) playing a team of CHL All-Stars. This year’s All-Star Game, presented by Poudre Valley Health System, will be played on Wednesday, January 14th, 2009 at the Budweiser Events Center and will be broadcast LIVE on Altitude Sports and Entertainment.

Gillis, in his second season with the Jackalopes, clinched the berth thanks to the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees 1-0 victory over the Laredo Bucks on Monday night. Thanks to the loss, Gillis’ Jacks squad will finish the pre-Christmas break portion of the schedule with a higher win percentage than Terry Ruskowski and the Bucks. Odessa leads the Southern Conference with a 19-6-2 record and 40 points.

The playing roster for the team will be made up of 18 players (a minimum of one representative from each team) with the starters for the game announced on December 30th and the reserves on December 31st.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Oakley CHL Player and Goaltender of the Week Announced


The Central Hockey League announced today that the recipients for the Oakley CHL Player and Goaltender of the Week for the period ending December 21st, 2008 are defenseman Neil Smith of the Amarillo Gorillas and goaltender Tim Boron of the Wichita Thunder.

Smith becomes the first defenseman to win the award this season using his physical presence on the blueline to help the Gorillas to a 1-1 record. In Friday’s 7-5 victory over Rapid City, the Fonthill, Ontario native had an assist and was a team-high +4. Then on Saturday night, Smith set the tone for one of the most physical games of the weekend with an early first period fight and then later assisted on the Gorillas only goal in the 2-1 loss to the RiverKings. On the season, the 6-3, 215-pound defenseman has seven assists in 17 games and is a +1 tying him for the best plus/minus on the team.

Boron has been on quite a roll lately moving up to the top of the league with his 2.20 goals against average (third in the CHL) and .936 save percentage (second in the CHL). Last week, the Winnipeg, Manitoba native went 1-1 stopping a season-high 53 shots in the Thunder’s 2-1 win over Mississippi and then followed that up with 28 saves in Wichita’s 2-1 loss to Rapid City. In the month of December, Boron is only 1-4-1 despite allowing just 10 goals in his six starts. The 6-0, 177-pound goalie has received just five goals of support from his team in the month.

In recognition of their achievement, both Smith and Boron will receive a special gift from Oakley.

Oakley CHL Player of the Week

Neil Smith, Amarillo Gorillas
Position: D
(Weekly Totals)
Games Played: 2
Goals: 0
Assists: 2
Points: 2
Plus/Minus: +4

Oakley CHL Goaltender of the Week
Tim Boron, Wichita Thunder
Position: G
(Weekly Totals)
Games Played: 2
Record: 1-1-0
GAA: 1.50
Save %: 0.964
Saves: 81 of 84

Friday, December 19, 2008

Stars Win a Wild One; Prepare for Road Trip


Last night's game between the Blue Jackets and the Stars was a wild tilt. A total of 10 goals before the shootout on 45 shots. So, the netminding wasn't exactly top-notch, but some nights that's how it is going to be. The goals that were getting by the goalies at both ends were not "pretty" ones, for the most part. And again, that's how it is some nights.

Overtime was rather controversial, as the Blue Jackets appeared to win it 13 seconds in. However, upon review, the office in Toronto determined that the goal was scored with a "distinct kicking motion". While watching the replays, I didn't think they'd call it back. There was a kicking motion, but it was pretty apparent the puck had bounced off his leg already and was going in to the net. Apparently Blue Jackets head coach Ken Hitchcock agreed with my thoughts:
"We won that game,'' Hitchcock said. "I don't care what score they put up."
But, this was a similar call to the goal Morrow had called back in the playoffs last year. So, I guess it's good that the league is calling them the same across the board. Stars head coach Dave Tippett was reminded of that goal as well:
"When I saw it on the board up above, it looked exactly like the one Brenden Morrow had called back last year," Tippett said. "If that was the precedent, then I've seen it before and you know my opinion on it."


The shootout showed a couple of very pretty goals. Richards came in so fast and hard for the first shot you would have thought he'd been resting on the bench the whole game - a very pretty shot. And Ribiero was able to go out and have fun again...very little artistic flair on this one, as opposed to his goal against LA and his attempt against Anaheim last month, but he got the goal and it was still a nice looking one. I think it's great we have someone who entertains on this shot - he gets people excited when he comes up to take a shot.

Some things that stood out to me from last night:

* Loui Eriksson continued his hot play, picking up his first NHL hat trick. ESPN is tracking him on a 45-goal pace this season. It's been some time since the Stars have had a 40-goal scorer, and it'd be nice if he can continue the pace. My guess is that he'll remain steady, but it's more likely he'll end up around 35 goals. Still a very successful year if he can do that!

* Brad Richards had a goal and 3 assists - he leads the team with 26 points (7 goals, 19 assists) this season. His 4-point evening matched his point total from the previous 9 games, so this was definitely great to see from him. Richards has been fighting the puck a bit over the past month or so, and he just needs a couple of productive games under his belt and I think he'll return to form.

* James Neal dropped the gloves to fight Derick Brassard in the first period. It was a bit surprising to see Brassard drop the gloves (Neal too, for that matter!) because he's not known as a "fighter". Unfortunately for the Blue Jackets, that fight cost them - Brassard injured his shoulder in the melee, and will be out for the next 3-4 weeks. Neal landed 2 or 3 very good rights, and cut Brassard near the eye too. Good scrap by Neal.


The Stars are preparing for a trip to Ontario, Canada now. They play in Ottawa on Saturday night and then will take to the ice on Tuesday to play the Toronto Maple Leafs. It will be the first time many of us will be able to get a look at former Star Niklas Hagman in his new blue-and-white sweater, if he is able to play. Hagman has been sidelined after receiving a concussion on the 6th of December against the Washington Capitols. It looks like he'll be ready to go in time though. The Stars are really missing Hagman this year; obviously more so with all the injuries that have run through the Dallas team. He has 19 points through 27 games so far this season. He's on pace for a 50 point season, which would be a career high for him. Congrats, Hags - take a night off when the Stars come to town, okay?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Zubov Out Indefinitely


The Stars have confirmed what fans have worried about for weeks - All-Star defenseman Sergei Zubov is going to be sidelined for the foreseeable future. Here's the pressy on it:

FRISCO, Tex. - The Dallas Stars announced today that defenseman Sergei Zubov will undergo surgery on his hip in January, and will be out indefinitely. The surgery will be performed by a hip specialist in Colorado.

Zubov, 38, has collected four helpers in 10 games this season, but has missed the last eight games due to injury. He also missed the season's first 12 games while recovering from pre-season hip surgery.

The Moscow native is the highest-scoring Russian-born defenseman in NHL history, and is the only blue-liner in the league to collect 30-or-more assists in each of the last 12 seasons. Zubov ranks 16th in NHL history in assists by a defenseman (619), and 17th among all-time blueliners in points (771), and is third among active NHL defensemen in both assists and points (behind Chris Chelios and Nicklas Lidstrom).

Zubov ranks third in Stars franchise history in games played (839) and assists (438), and is just five points shy of tying Bobby Smith for fifth on the franchise's all-time scoring list (111-438-549).


Hopefully some of the young defensemen that will take his spot (Niskanen, Fistric - I'm looking at you) can step up and embody his spirit.

In positive news, Dallas will get 3 players back for tonight's game against the Blue Jackets; Steve Ott, Stephane Robidas and Joel Lundqvist will all be in action tonight.

OK City Coach Doug Sauter to Coach in CHL All-Star Game


First, the press release:

The Central Hockey League (CHL) announced today that Oklahoma City Head Coach Doug Sauter will represent the Northern Conference as one of two co-coaches for the 2009 CHL All-Star Team. The 2009 CHL All-Star Game features a unique format this season with the host Colorado Eagles (coached by Kevin McClelland) welcoming a team of CHL All-Stars. This year’s All-Star Game, presented by Poudre Valley Health System, will be played on Wednesday, January 14th, 2009 at the Budweiser Events Center and will be broadcast LIVE on Altitude Sports and Entertainment.

Sauter is entering his 14th season as the coach of the Blazers and is the CHL’s all-time winningest coach with 522 wins. The Fairlight, Saskatchewan native reached several milestones last season winning his 1200th professional game and becoming the first CHL coach to reach 500 wins. This season, his team is in first place in the Northeast Division with a 17-4-2 record.

The two coaches for the CHL All-Star Team will be comprised of the coaches with the top winning percentage in each conference following the games of December 23rd. Joining Sauter behind the bench will be either Paul Gillis of Odessa (.760 win percentage) or Terry Ruskowski of Laredo (.717 win percentage).

The playing roster for the team will be made up of 18 players (a minimum of one representative from each team) with the starters for the game announced on December 30th and the reserves on December 31st.

****

Secondly, even though the Blazers aren't a Texas team, they're close enough that they qualify as a step-cousin or something (along with the Mudbugs). Anyway, Doug Sauter is a man's man. While looking for a photo for him, I came across this very amusing story that happened last fall (2007). Wow!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Stars Nip the Coyotes in Overtime, Try to Get Healthy


The Stars got a good effort last night, team-wide, despite giving up a point to the team they're chasing in the standings. The 2-1 victory over the Phoenix 'Yotes was one of the "must-wins" being talked about in the media so much lately. It's tough to see the Stars surrender a point to a team they're trying to catch, but progress is progress, and it's better than flipping those points around if Phoenix were to get the win.

Loui Eriksson had both of the Stars goals last night - neither score was a finesse one, but they put points on the scoreboard. It's really nice to see a young talent the Stars have been touting for years step up when the team needs him to. This is the kind of production they were hoping Antti Miettenan and Junior Lessard would give them, but never did. Right now, Eriksson is on pace to have 38 goals and 22 assists for a 60-point season.

A few things about injuries have come out in the last couple of days. Stephane Robidas had a metal plate stitched into his jaw last week to repair the latest damage he's taken. Word is that he is eager to get back out on the ice already. This man is like a Terminator robot; he just keeps coming at you. While his eagerness to get back is laudable, Coach Dave Tippett is urging him to take it slow, and Robidas will need to get medical approval to return. Chances are that won't be for Thursday's game against Columbus.

The other folks on the mend who could return to action soon are Joel Lundqvist, Jere Lehtinen and Brian Sutherby. Lundqvist has been mentioned by both Mike Heika and Tracey Myers as the most likely to return to action by Thursday, but even that is probably remote. But, all are skating, and that's a good sign.

Thursday's game is another big one that we probably have to have in order to get back into the hunt for the playoffs. It's weird to think of playoff pictures already, but when you're this far back and other teams are performing as well as they are, every game counts. It's unlikely the Stars will catch the Sharks for a division title this year; the Sharks are just so good and so deep this year, it'll be difficult. But, the #4 spot is still a good one, and it's never to early to think about positioning yourself well.

The Blue Jackets (13-14-1-2) have a very similar record to our own (12-14-2-2). We're playing at home, though, where we've played better this year. And the Jackets are pretty atrocious on the road so far this year (4-9-1-1). Their young goalie, Steve Mason, has been playing well lately though - he earned rookie of the month honors in November with a 1.98 GAA in 14 games. Turco will probably start for the Stars, and if he's on his game, we could see another low-scoring match.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Horrell's Shutout Voted Award-Winning


The Central Hockey League (CHL) announced today that Bossier-Shreveport’s Jon Horrell has been voted the winner of the CHL Performance of the Week for Week Eight after making 31 saves in a 1-0 shutout win versus his old team, the Wichita Thunder, on December 4th. The Beckenham, England native made 12 saves in the third period and turned away six Thunder power plays in the game.

Horrell’s shutout earned more than half of the 1,244 votes cast finishing with 630 votes. Coming in second place for the second straight week was Texas’ David Cacciola whose 36-save shutout effort on December 5th earned 278 votes (22%).

Horrell was signed by the Mudbugs due to injuries to Ken Carroll and Ryan Mior. In four decisions, Horrell is 3-0-1 with a 2.42 goals against average and a .915 save percentage.

The nominees for the CHL Performance of the Week for week nine of the season (Dec. 8-14) are as follows:

-Corpus Christi’s Dustin Traylen making 33 saves in 2-1 shootout win versus Laredo on December 11th
-RGV’s Grant Goeckner-Zoeller’s hat trick in the Bees 6-2 win over New Mexico on December 12th
-Amarillo’s Mike Gorman making 48 saves in a 5-3 road win versus Colorado on December 12th
-Rocky Mountain’s Marty Magers making 31 saves and stopping all five shooters in the Rage’s 1-0 shootout win at Wichita on December 13th
-Arizona and Colorado combining for a CHL record-tying 10 power play goals in the Eagles 7-5 win on December 13th

Fans can vote for the winner through Monday, December 22nd with the winner being announced on Tuesday, December 23rd.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter Weather Postpones CHL Game


The Central Hockey League, in conjunction with the New Mexico Scorpions and the Amarillo Gorillas, announced today that Tuesday’s game between the Scorpions and the Gorillas (CHL game #182) has been postponed due to inclement weather. No makeup date has been announced.

The game was scheduled to be the Scorpions Kid’s Day Game in Rio Rancho, NM, with a special 10:30 AM face-off time.

New Mexico will play next on Friday night when they host the Colorado Eagles and the Gorillas are back on action on Friday as well when they host the Rapid City Rush.

CHL's Arizona Sundogs Purchased by Consolidated Sports Holdings


The Central Hockey League (CHL) announced today that Consolidated Sports Holdings (USA) Inc. has purchased Prescott Valley Hockey Club, LLC, operator of the Arizona Sundogs, and that Consolidated Sports Holdings (USA) Inc. will take over the day-to-day operations of the CHL team beginning immediately. Tim’s Toyota Center will host a formal press conference to introduce the new ownership group early in the New Year.

“Consolidated Sports is delighted to become a partner in the CHL and especially in Prescott Valley and we look forward to the wonderful opportunity that this location provides. We are assuming control of an ongoing operation, the Arizona Sundogs, complete with management, staff and a players roster that has been a successful franchise for the last three years,” stated Bill Yuill, President of CSH.

Consolidated Sports has been involved in minor league baseball for many years and more recently owns and operates sports properties in the USA. This CHL franchise will compliment the organization that operates a major junior hockey franchise in the Western Hockey League, located in Everett, Washington.

Consolidated Sports Holdings (USA) Inc., has appointed Bill Yuill as Governor and Terry Thom as Alternate Governor for the balance of the 2008-09 season.

“On behalf of the Prescott Valley Hockey Club, we would like to thank the wonderful community of Prescott Valley and Prescott for their support of the Arizona Sundogs since the very first shovel was put in the ground of Tim’s Toyota Center, which became home of the Champion-to-be,” said Shawn Fowler, co-owner of the Arizona Sundogs. “We are truly appreciative of the support from the community, the league, league officials, and all of the Central Hockey League member teams. We wish the new Owners great success for many years to come.”

“The Central Hockey League is proud to welcome Consolidated Sports Holding (USA) Inc. to the CHL family,” said CHL Commissioner Duane Lewis. “Their history of success in running sports franchises, as well as other businesses, speaks for itself, and they will retain the high standards set by the Arizona Sundogs organization. On behalf of the entire League, we would like to thank the ownership group of Eric Lacroix and Shawn Fowler for their leadership in establishing the Sundogs as one of the premier sports teams in the country. We are certain the Northern Arizona area will see a smooth transition in the ownership of the club, and we all look forward to their continued success long into the future.”

About the Arizona Sundogs
The Sundogs are in their third season in the CHL playing their home games at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, Arizona. The Sundogs reached the plateau of the CHL last season by winning the Ray Miron President’s Cup in just their second year as a franchise. They did so in impressive fashion by becoming the first CHL team in a decade to win The Cup via a series sweep in the finals.

The Arizona Sundogs next home game is Wednesday, December 17th when they begin a three-game home stand versus the Texas Brahmas.

Ulanski and Traylen Earn Oakley CHL Awards


The Central Hockey League announced today that the recipients for the Oakley CHL Player and Goaltender of the Week for the period ending December 14th, 2008 are forward Kevin Ulanski of the Colorado Eagles and goaltender Dustin Traylen of the Corpus Christi IceRays.

Ulanski had six points in three games for the Northwest Division and Northern Conference leading Eagles. Colorado went 2-1 on the week and the Madison, Wisconsin native had points in each game and scored the game winning goal in each victory. In his first CHL season, the former Denver University star ranks just outside the league’s top 10 with 31 points (11-20=31). Last week, he notched the game winning shootout goal and an assist in the Eagles 3-2 win in at Rapid City. After recording an assist in Colorado’s loss to Amarillo, Ulanski scored the game winner and had a pair of assists in the team’s 7-5 win versus Arizona.

Traylen is coming off a 2-0 week that saw him tested by 74 shots. His first start of the week came against Laredo where he turned away 33 shots and all three shooters he faced in the Rays 2-1 shootout win. The Kirkland, Quebec native followed that up with a 39 save performance in Corpus Christi’s 7-1 road win in Amarillo. On the season, Traylen is 4-4-0 with a sparkling 2.18 goals against average (third in the CHL). He is fourth in the CHL with a .928 save percentage.

In recognition of their achievement, both Ulanski and Traylen will receive a special gift from Oakley.

Oakley CHL Player of the Week
Kevin Ulanski, Colorado Eagles
Position: F
(Weekly Totals)
Games Played: 3
Goals: 2
Assists: 4
Points: 6
Plus/Minus: E
GWG’s: 2

Oakley CHL Goaltender of the Week
Dustin Traylen, Corpus Christi IceRays
Position: G
(Weekly Totals)
Games Played: 2
Record: 2-0-0
GAA: 1.00
Save %: 0.973
Saves: 72 of 74

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Stars Down Wings, Fall to Preds


I have to admit, I wasn't looking forward to last night's game against the Detroit Red Wings. The same Wings that put us out of the playoffs last year were coming back to pick on a team that has very little resemblance to last year's squad that made it to the Western Conference Finals. And fresh off a loss to the Phoenix Coyotes, perennial whipping boys of the Pacific Division, things didn't look good.

But, when I stumbled across a deal on a pair of tickets, the opportunity to see one of my favorite rivalries was too great. My father-in-law and I picked up the tickets and joined the fans at the AAC for what turned out to be one of the better games of the season, thus far. It was kind of interesting to watch the number of Wings fans that turned out to cheer for their team. It was rather like being at a Texas Rangers game against the Boston Red Sox - nearly half the fans were rooting for the other side. Slightly bizarre.

Marty Turco was "Turcolicious" in net, stopping all but one of the 38 shots. Detroit peppered him in the third, but he held strong. A couple of his saves will be on Stars' highlight reels for the next year or two at least. And Stevie Ray Vaughn sent the fans on their way home singing - "If the house is a rockin', don't come a-knockin'..."

The Stars hopped on a plane and were off to Nashville for a game the next night. Tobias Stephan got the nod in goal for his first start since Halloween of this year. Unfortunately, probably in part due to fatigue from the previous night's game, the Stars came out flat and looked that way for most of the game. Stephan looked very good in net though, stopping several fantastic bids. One of the saves will probably be reflected upon as a top 10 save of the NHL season, as he robbed Nashville's Greg Zanon of a 3-on-1 goal with a quick glove save.

But, in the end, the Preds offense was too much for the beleaguered Stars. Down 2-0 in the final minutes, they pulled Stephan for an extra attacker, and the Preds got the empty netter to nail the coffin shut.

The Stars are set to play again tomorrow night, facing the Phoenix Coyotes once again at the AAC.

In transaction-type news.... The Stars confirmed what most fans believed already: Sean Avery will not be suiting up for Dallas again. Too much had happened (very little of it publicized) for him to return to the team and be a trusted, contributing member of the team. I held out hope that Avery would be a good addition to the Dallas roster when they signed him in July...but I worried about the rumors. Unfortunately the rumors were too true.

Dallas swung a minor trade over the weekend - the Stars sent minor leaguer David McIntyre (a fifth round pick in 2006) and a conditional sixth round draft pick in 2010 to the Anaheim Ducks for Brian Sutherby. Sutherby was the Washington Capitals first pick (26th overall) in 2000. He has struggled to make a name for himself, but at 26 years old, is still pretty young, and has a good upside. It hurts to lose McIntyre though...a big guy with good hands who is still playing in the college ranks. I kind of agree with what Mike Heika had to say on this one - not much of an upside on this trade, but maybe Sutherby will be another missing piece like Hagman was a couple of years ago.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rapid City Goaltender Wins CHL Performance of the Week


The Central Hockey League (CHL) announced today that Rapid City’s Miguel Beaudry has been voted the winner of the CHL Performance of the Week for Week Seven after shutting out the Northwest Division leading Colorado Eagles, 4-0, in the Rush’s home opener on November 29th. Beaudry made 27 saves in the game.

Beaudry’s memorable first impression to Rapid City hockey fans earned 699 votes (41%). Coming in second place was Texas’ David Cacciola who made 41 saves in a shootout win over his old team, the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs (619 votes). The total votes cast in the weekly poll were 1,704.

Beaudry was one of the key signings for the expansion team in the off-season and is 4-4-3 on the season with a 3.72 goals against average. In his CHL career, the Rush are his fourth team also seeing action with New Mexico, Memphis and Austin. He has a career 94-91-24 record with 11 shutouts.

The nominees for the CHL Performance of the Week for week eight of the season (Dec. 1-7) are as follows:

-Bossier-Shreveport’s Jon Horrell making 31 saves in shutout win over Wichita on December 4th
-Texas’ David Cacciola making 36 saves in shootout win versus Bossier-Shreveport on December 5th
-Odessa holding Corpus Christi to 13 shots on goal in 2-1 win on December 6th
-Tulsa’s three-goal third period in 3-1 win versus Oklahoma City on December 6th
-RGV erasing two three-goal deficits in 5-4 OT win versus Corpus Christi on December 5th

Fans can vote for the winner through Monday, December 15th with the winner being announced on Tuesday, December 16th.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Oakley CHL Player/Goaltender of the Week Announced


The Central Hockey League announced today that the recipients for the Oakley CHL Player and Goaltender of the Week for the period ending December 7th, 2008 are forward Darryl Smith of the Laredo Bucks and goaltender Alexandre Vincent of the Odessa Jackalopes.

Smith is one of the hottest forwards in the league right now sitting with a 10-game point streak and helping the Bucks to a 9-1 record over that stretch. Last week in three games, the rookie scored five goals with four assists and was a remarkable +9. The St. Catharines, Ontario native leads all rookies in scoring with 32 points (16-16=32) on the season. Overall he ranks second in points (32), second in goals (16) and tied for first in game winning goals (4). Six of his last eight games have seen the 5-11, 190-pound forward record multiple points.

Vincent wins the goaltending award for the second time this season (previously won on November 3rd). In fact, the Jackalopes have garnered four of the eight weekly goaltending awards given to date (Juha Toivonen has won twice as well). Last week, Vincent posted a 3-0 record allowing just one goal in each game. He finished with a .944 save percentage (51 saves on 54 shots). On the season, the Drummonville, Quebec native is 5-2-1 with a 2.63 goals against average. Due in large part to the strong goaltending, Odessa has won seven straight games and are in first place in the Southwest Division sitting 11 points in front of their closest competitor.

In recognition of their achievement, both Smith and Vincent will receive a special gift from Oakley.

Oakley CHL Player of the Week

Darryl Smith, Laredo Bucks
Position: F
(Weekly Totals)
Games Played: 3
Goals: 5
Assists: 4
Points: 9
Plus/Minus: +9

Oakley CHL Goaltender of the Week
Alexandre Vincent, Odessa Jackalopes
Position: G
(Weekly Totals)
Games Played: 3
Record: 3-0-0
GAA: 1.00
Save %: 0.944
Saves: 51 of 54

Dallas Stars Resting, Healing & Preparing

I didn't get to weigh in on this weekend's game yet - a gritty 2-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche - but that game was won with a lot of heart. These Stars are beat up and were tired, finishing up their third game in four nights, and were just trying to scrape out some points before getting four days off. Thankfully, they are getting that rest now, and were able to get 2 points out of Friday night's match.

Mike Modano got the shootout winner against the Avs, which gives him 11 goals on the year - just one back of Loui Erikson, who leads the team. In the last two games, he's had two goals and an assist, along with a shootout game-winner. Not so bad for a 38-year old.

A few notables - there was a very good article by Stars' play-by-play man Ralph Strangis posted on the team's website today. I think, because he's with the team, he might be pulling back a bit and changing a few nouns and adjectives here and there, but overall it's a pretty honest and accurate piece. Of the two fine men on our broadcast team, Razor is obviously the more outspoken one usually, so it's refreshing to here Ralphie really weigh in on something. And he did a nice job.

Also, On the injury front, there's not a lot of new developments. Obviously Morrow is still lost for the foreseeable future, most likely the rest of the season. Ott has been doing well in rehab, but is looking at mid to late January for his return. Lehtinen and Zubov are being viewed kind of day-to-day, but both are doubtful for Wednesday. The closest to return is Joel Lundqvist, who has been out since late October with a shoulder injury. He is not expected to skate on Wednesday, however.

And lastly, the Stars recalled forward Tom Wandell from the Swedish Elite League this weekend. How's THAT for a call up? You have to board a plane and hop the ocean in order to join your NHL team...don't hear that happen very often. But, the Stars were really pressed for skaters. With most of the eligible call ups already on the team (James Neal, Chris Connor and Toby Peterson), the Stars had to dig deep. All the way to Europe deep. Wandell participated in a partial team skate on Sunday, but some of the veterans were excused from practice that day (Modano, Ribeiro, Richards, etc.). So, we won't get a good idea of what line he'll play on and what his chemistry will be with his linemates until today or tomorrow. Wandell was the Stars' 5th round choice in the 2005 draft (146th overall). He's expected to wear number 48 when he makes his debut on Wednesday.

Friday, December 5, 2008

NHL Hands Avery a Six-Game Suspension; Now What?

Sean Avery received a six-game suspension from the league this morning. The suspension is retroactive to the Calgary game, so he's already served two of the six games. His first eligible game back would be on Dec. 16 when the Stars host the Phoenix Coyotes at the AAC.

I won't go on too long about this, because lord knows it's everywhere on the net, newspapers and television lately, but there are a few things.

The length of the suspension really didn't matter, other than to set precedence. The players and coaching staff of the Stars have already made their feelings known about Avery, and he's not going to be welcomed back after the suspension is served. Barring a significant change of rhetoric and heart, Sean Avery has probably played his last game for the Stars.

What remains to be seen is how the Stars will handle his contract. Mike Heika has some really great thoughts on this the other day in a DMN article. The first option the Stars have, as he said, is to trade him. I can't imagine anyone crazy enough to take on this mess, but as a friend of mine said the other day, how else did Bryan Marchment have such a long career. Valid point, no? But, I would say the chances are pretty slim of an NHL team wanting to work out a trade for him. He'd be going cheap, I guarantee! After that option, he'll most likely be waived, and if he passes through waivers, he eligible for designation to an AHL club. This is *if* an AHL club wants him. As the Stars are without a full, official, AHL affiliate this year, any of the AHL teams are an option. The only way I could see this working is if a team is trying to up attendance numbers. They might take him on simply for the spectacle of it. And, at the AHL level, I'm sure Avery could be a 20 goal scorer. That's something he has yet to do in his NHL career.

One AHL club with which the Stars have ties - a partial affiliation - are the Manitoba Moose. The Moose (Meese?) have already said they're not interested in taking him. There have been rumors and speculation about other clubs, but nothing concrete. But, it will be interesting to see what becomes of Avery. I foresee his Stars jersey being DEEPLY discounted in the StarCenters in the near future.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

CHL Launches CHL All-Star Game Fan Experience


The Central Hockey League (CHL), in conjunction with the Colorado Eagles, announced today that the 2009 CHL All-Star Fan Experience contest will begin today (Thursday, December 4th) at 5:00 PM (CST) and run through Thursday, December 18th at midnight (CST).

The contest gives fans a chance to enter to win two tickets to the 2009 CHL All-Star Game (presented by Poudre Valley Health System) at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado scheduled for Wednesday, January 14th, 2009. In addition, the winner will receive two round-trip airline tickets (does not apply in the state of Colorado), two night’s stay at the Fort Collins Marriott, two tickets to the 2009 CHL All-Star Banquet at the Fort Collins Marriott on Tuesday, January 13th and a seat in the Eagles penalty box during the second period of the game.

Fans can enter online at www.centralhockeyleague.com or at www.coloradoeagles.com with the winner chosen and announced on Friday, December 19th. (Note: winner must be 18 years of age or older)

For full contest details along with rules and regulations, visit www.centralhockeyleague.com.

Stars Coming Home; Will Avery Join Them?


It was a disappointing last night for Stars fans. I knew going into the game it was going to be tough; it was the second game in as many nights for the Stars, all on the road. In addition, they're embroiled in a controversy that has received a lot of press and put them under the microscope.

What I wasn't expecting last night, though, was a strong game out of #9. Mike Modano almost single-handedly brought the Stars back into the game. Down 3-0 in the third period, Mo notched two goals, and had the Stars within one in the final minutes of the game. But, with Turco on the bench, and the extra skater in, Matt Niskanen made a poor decision with the puck (he had a few last night, but this one couldn't be covered up), and the Oilers tallied an easy open-net goal. They put an extra nail in a coffin that was already well sealed seconds later. A defensive breakdown by Fabian Brunnstrom left an Oiler unchecked in front of the net, and a redirection gave us the final score of 5-2.

New Stars forward Mark Parrish was hit in the face with a puck last night and didn't return to the game after the injury. That could cost the Stars another forward. It's been a long time since I've seen the team this depleted by injuries. You hate to use that as an excuse, but it's hard not to offer it up as an explanation for the 9-12-2-2 record.

But, that said, the Stars are returning home. They get to play in front of their home crowd, which all teams love to do, and hopefully they can pull some inspiration from that. The next two games are against opponents that have also struggled this season, and are very winnable. The third game is against the hated Red Wings, and that will be a difficult one to win. But if the Stars can get another two wins under their belts, and are winners of four of the last five games they've played going into the Detroit tilt? Who knows...

***

Sean Avery and Stars Co-GM Brett Hull are meeting with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in New York this morning to determine what further punishment will be doled out for Avery's comments on Tuesday. But, regardless of what fines and suspensions are given out by the league, Avery is going to have to face his team when he comes back to Dallas. And, from the reactions they've had the last couple of days, that may be the biggest barrier to him returning to the Stars lineup any time soon.

Stars Head Coach Dave Tippett has his finger on the pulse of the team better than anyone else, outside of the players, and had this to say:

"From a coach's standpoint, I try to build a team that has an atmosphere where players care about each other and play with each other and play with continuity, and I find it hard to believe that Sean could come back in that dressing room and we could find that continuity again,"


Tippett had been talking to the media just minutes before Avery's off-color remarks, and had been defending him. For Tippett, the biggest insult wasn't the words Avery made - it was the pre-meditation of the statements, and the way he went out of his way to break a promise he gave the coach. Tippett said:

"It's frustrating for me to go out and defend the guy. It's disappointing, because in the morning with all the stuff going on in the media, I approached Sean and asked him if he was going to talk to media; he told me, no. He talked to our PR people and he told them, no, he wasn't going to talk to the media ... and to have a calculated response like that ... it was a calculated statement for what I feel was personal gain."


Many players have come out and denounced Avery's words as well. But it runs deeper than this incident, and that is becoming more and more obvious. The words that have been used - "unacceptable", "disappointing", "embarrassment", etc. - go to describe the team's feelings about Avery himself, and not just his stupid remarks. Avery may be back in town with the team on Friday, but I have a feeling it will be some time before we see Sean Avery in a Stars jersey again - if we do at all.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Former Texas Tornado Defenseman Lyon Messier Signs with CHL's New Mexico Scorpions

The Scorpions have beefed up their defense by reaching into NHL Hall of Fame bloodlines. Head coach Randy Murphy has signed Lyon Messier to a contract.

Messier is the son of former NHL star and Hall of Fame member Mark Messier. The younger Messier, 21, is a defenseman who started the season with the Charlotte Checkers.

Previously, Messier spent four seasons in the junior ranks. Last year he played with the Lincoln Stars in the USHL appearing in 46 games. The Dallas, Texas native scored 17 points (5G, 12A) and collected 45 penalty minutes, helping Lincoln advance to the league semi-finals.

While playing in the USHL he was known for his skill on the power play. During the 2007-08 season, 13 of his 17 points came with his team on the man advantage.

Messier joins current Scorps defenseman Aaron MacInnis as players with NHL ties. MacInnis is the nephew of NHL Hall of Fame member Al MacInnis.

To make room on the roster, defenseman Dylan Row has been waived. In 19 games Row collected eight assists and 26 penalty minutes.

Michael Beynon will be activated from the injured reserve this week. Beynon has played in four games picking up four penalty minutes and a +2 plus/minus rating. Rookie forward Sam Bowles has been waived.

Bobby Chaumont of the CHL's Mississippi RiverKings Wins November's Oakley Three-Star Award

The Central Hockey League announced today that Bobby Chaumont of the Mississippi RiverKings has won the Oakley Three Stars Award for the month of November/2008. Chaumont will receive a pair of Oakley THUMP sunglasses which feature blue tooth technology and a built in MP3 player. Learn more about the wide range of Oakley products at www.oakley.com.

Chaumont, 24, had a great offensive month of November scoring 10 goals (six on the power play) with six assists. He helped lead the RiverKings to an impressive month that saw them post a 9-4-0 record and a league-leading 18 points. During the month, the Sudbury, Ontario native earned 20 points in the Oakley Three Star tabulating being named first star of the game four times.

In the season Oakley Three Star standings, Chaumont also leads with 25 points sitting two points in front of Amarillo’s Sam Ftorek and Colorado’s Andrew Penner.

Oakley CHL Three Star Player of the Month

Bobby Chaumont, Mississippi RiverKings
Position: Forward
(November Totals)
Games – 13
Points – 16
Goals – 10
Assists – 6
First Star – 4 times (20 points)
Second Star – 0 times (0 points)
Third Star – 0 times (0 points)
Total Points – 20

Oakley CHL Three Star Player of the Month Winners
October – Travis Clayton, Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs
November – Bobby Chaumont, Mississippi RiverKings

Stars Down Flames, Look Forward

The Dallas Stars went into Calgary, Alberta, last night, and after Sean Avery took himself out of games for the forseeable future, still had to face a hot Calgary team on the ice. The 3-2 victory over the Flames was one of the best wins for the club so far this year, and has fans all over hoping that this is the start of something good. With the victory on Sunday over the Oilers, it was the first back-to-back regular-season wins for the Stars since February of this year.

The Stars have a tough stretch ahead of them to keep the momentum going. They will immediately take the ice again tonight for another match against Edmonton, and then return home for a 3-game stand with the Avalanche, Coyotes & Red Wings. And while many people may argue that schedule isn't filled with the conference's top competitors (excepting the Red Wings, of course), the Stars are still playing with a very depleted roster, and even games that might once have been forgone conclusions will be closely contested.

And, the Avs may be starting to come together this season. After a host of setbacks (injuries, poor performances), similar to those of the Stars, Colorado is beginning to look pretty dangerous. They've won their last two games and look more like the team they were forcasted to be this season.

To quickly return to the Sean Avery issue - and I won't stay here long - I'm interested in hearing what you all might think about how his role with the Stars in the future will be effected. Eklund (that anonymous hockey blogger) - has told me he believes this to be the ticket for Sean Avery out of Dallas. While I don't know that I agree 100%, I can't see how the rest of the team can welcome him fully back into the fold, when they didn't seem to be very happy with him before the comments. Mike Modano's response is also interesting:

"It's unacceptable. Our perception around the league has been tarnished a bit. Our attitude with the refs has been rough this year. We don’t get the benefit of doubt because we're very vocal in those areas. In the past, we've been a quiet, confident group, and we simply need to get back to that.''


Sean Avery has a guaranteed contract in Dallas, which limits how the Stars can react to this kind of situation. But, they still have the ability to place him on Waivers or trade him, if another team is willing to take this mess on. In a response about Avery's return to the team, if that happens, Modano hinted that it might not be an easy thing:

It's going to take some time. It certainly will be a situation we'll have to address when that time comes ... if it does.


I know Mo wasn't 100% comfortable with the "C" on his chest, but those are the kind of quotes that come from a good captain. And I think the Stars should let him take this team again, and make it official. I also believe that Mark Parrish would make a nice "A" alternate as well to take Modano's place.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

League Suspends Sean Avery Indefinitely

When he became a Dallas Star, fans knew that Sean Avery brought a certain level of hot-headed-ness to the game. He ruffles feathers and gets under other players' skin, and that's one of his attributes as a player. But, where does he cross the line into "going too far".

The league thinks he did that this morning. While being interviewed by Canadian press, Avery said the following:

I am really happy to be back in Calgary, I love Canada. I just want to comment on how it's become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don't know what that's about. Enjoy the game tonight.


Avery was referring to a relationship between his ex-girlfriend, actress Elisha Cuthbert, and Calgary Flames' defenseman Dion Phaneuf.

Did the league overreact? I don't think so. It's pretty obvious that his statement was in poor taste, and I think shows very little class. And the Stars have a reputation of being a pretty classy organization. If the NHL hadn't reacted, I believe the Stars would have. As far as the "indefinite" tag on this suspension - I think that will be re-defined in the next 48 hours, and we'll have what amounts to a 4-6 game suspension on our hands.

The question is - how does this effect the team? Well, first of all, it leaves them shorthanded for Tuesday night's tilt against the Flames. But will it have a lasting effect on the dressing room? It's hard to say, but it's obvious that some of Avery's teammates are already bothered by his actions and statements. Brad Richards had the following reaction when asked about Avery's comments:

"It's none of my business what he says and I'd rather not talk about Sean. He's got his own thing going on."


Marty Turco added:

"We all are competitive enough and focused to get out there and do your job. But when it continues over time, you know, things certainly can be (distracting)."


More distractions and setbacks are not what the Stars need right now. What are your thoughts on this suspension? What should the Stars do in response, or do they need to do anything additionally?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Stars Clubbed by Blackhawks - More Problems?

Last night the Dallas Stars hosted the Chicago Blackhawks, and after playing one of the most solid first periods of the year, they proceeded to allow the Hawks back into the game and then let them run away with it in the third period. As much as they dominated the first period, they were dominated in the latter portions of the second and most of the third. So, without beating a dead horse, how do the Stars correct this? Are they able to?

All along, I've said that I don't think that firing Dave Tippett will have the effect that fans calling for his head want. But, it's getting to the point where the team will be forced to do it just to show that no one is safe. I'd hate to see that happen, because I think Tippett is the right man for this team...but maybe the players have stopped listening to him. He didn't seem to be inspiring much between periods.

And, although a couple of the goals Marty Turco surrendered last night could hardly be his fault, there were a couple that were clearly stoppable. I am thinking mainly of the one that beat him five-hole from about twenty feet away. That's a stop he has always made and isn't making now. Without a reliable backup to lean on, it's a gamble handing the reigns over to young Tobias Stephan...but how can we do worse? I think it's time to bench Marty and let him know that this isn't his team. He's lost that. When he wants to put the focus and intensity back into his game, and show that he wants to be the Stars netminder again, then we can talk about him being the starting goaltender again. But I think this approach would give him the kick in the rear end he needs. Nothing else has worked for him. Hit him in the pride and see if he reacts - I bet he will.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Serious Lapse in Posts


Sorry for the outage in posting, hockey fans. I took the easy way out when illness and busy schedules hit my family's household, and cut back on the blogging. WAY back. But, I'll be back at the helm here again, and looking forward to posting more thoughts and news, and looking forward to hearing from you! Please comment away, or feel free to drop me a message on my twitter account!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Claude Lemieux Training with CHL's Arizona Sundogs

Several weeks ago, I had posted a story that mentioned Claude Lemieux's interest in returning to the NHL after a five-year absence. Well, it seems that Claude hasn't given that dream up just because no teams have been interested so far. He's eyeing pro hockey in North America again - this time in the CHL. The league sent out the following press release:



The 2008 Central Hockey League Ray Miron President’s Cup Champion Arizona Sundogs have announced that four-time Stanley Cup Champion and former Conn Smythe Trophy winner Claude Lemieux has joined the Club for formal on-ice workouts. In September, Lemieux expressed interest in making a return to the National Hockey League (NHL).

Lemieux, 43, won four Stanley Cup Championships with three different teams (Montreal – 1986, New Jersey – 1995, Colorado – 1996, New Jersey – 2000) during his 20 seasons in the NHL. A veteran of nearly 1,200 NHL games, Lemieux won the Conn Smythe trophy while with New Jersey in 1995, selected as the league’s playoff MVP.

In 1197 regular season NHL contests, the Buckingham, Quebec, native registered 379 goals, 406 assists and 1756 penalty minutes (PIM).

Known for strong play in the postseason, Lemieux added 80 goals, 78 assists and 529 PIM in 233 playoff appearances and ranks among the league’s all-time best in several playoff categories. His 233 playoff appearances rank tied for fourth all-time and his 80 career playoff goals rank ninth all-time. Lemieux also ranks third all-time in career playoff game-winning goals (19) and career PIM (529).

Lemieux has been skating with the Sundogs for the past week and will continue to do so in an effort to pursue a comeback to the NHL. Five years removed from the game, Lemieux retired from NHL play in 2002-03 after splitting his final season with the Phoenix Coyotes and Dallas Stars.

The Sundogs next take on Southwest Division foe New Mexico on Wednesday, Oct. 22 at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley. Game time is set for 7:05pm. Tickets are available by phone at 1-866-4-GET-TIX (1-866-443-8849), on the internet at www.gettix.net and in person at the Tim’s Toyota Center Box Office.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

CHL's Performance of the Week Fan Poll Returns

The Central Hockey League (CHL) announced today the five nominees for the CHL’s Performance of the Week. Fans can vote for the winner of the weekly award at www.centralhockeyleague.com in the CHL Performance of the Week fan poll.

The nominees for the CHL Performance of the Week for week one of the season are as follows:

-Corpus Christi’s Chris Richards scoring seven points (4-3=7) in 12-3 win versus Tulsa on October 18th

-New Mexico’s Jason Wolfe making 25 saves in the Scorps 6-0 shutout win at Amarillo on October 18th

-Rookie Mudbugs goaltender Ryan Mior making 27 saves in 2-1 win at Laredo on October 18th

-Tulsa’s Kevin St. Pierre making 55 saves in 3-2 shootout loss at OKC on October 17th

-Laredo rookie Daryl Smith netting a hat trick in the Bucks 7-1 win over RMR on October 17th

Fans can vote for the winner through Monday, October 27th with the winner being announced on Tuesday, October 28th.


CHL’s Hat Tricks for Kids

The CHL and Infinity Pro Sports have partnered for the 2008-09 season for a new program called Hat Tricks for Kids. Infinity Pro Sports will donate $25.00 for every hat trick scored throughout the CHL regular season. Fans are also able to donate money to the program that will donate all proceeds to The Hoffen Foundation (www.hoffenfoundation.org). To follow the Hat Trick’s Tote Board and see how much money has been donated to date or to donate money yourself visit www.hattricksforkids.org.


CHL All-Star Game on January 14th in Loveland, Colorado

The 2009 CHL All-Star Game is scheduled for Wednesday, January 14th at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado. The game is hosted by the Colorado Eagles and presented by Poudre Valley Health System. The format for this year’s game features a team of CHL All-Stars taking on the Colorado Eagles. For more information and for all-star updates visit www.centralhockeyleague.com or www.coloradoeagles.com.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Stars Down New York Rangers for Second Win of the Year

Dallas looked good in their game against the Rangers tonight - the defense looked tighter than it has all season, and the Rangers forwards were smothered trying to bring the puck into the zone against a physical Stars squad.

Modano netted his third goal of the season, which was also the game winner. Morrow put in his second of the year. It's good to see the leaders of this team putting in goals. And, the defense only allowed one goal, Turco stopping 28 of the 29 shots on goal.

I'd say more, but I'm late, and it's tired. Tell me what you thought of this game - is this a change in the way the Stars will be playing games this year? Or is it only a "breather" in the defensive beatings we're going to suffer this year?

Oakley CHL Player/Goaltender of the Week Announced

The Central Hockey League announced today that the recipients for the Oakley CHL Player and Goaltender of the Week for the period ending October 19th, 2008 are center Chris Richards of the Corpus Christi IceRays and goaltender Juha Toivonen of the Odessa Jackalopes.

Richards led the IceRays to a 12-3 win over the Tulsa Oilers in their only game of the week. The Cornwall, Ontario native scored four goals and added three assists leading the league in scoring despite playing just the one game. He also finished the game with a +4 plus/minus rating. The seven-point game matches a career high for the veteran center who had four goals and three assist on February 1st, 2007 while a member of the Youngstown SteelHounds. The 5-10, 180-pound forward was one of the biggest off-season signings in the league after recording 278 points over his last three seasons (all with the SteelHounds).

Toivonen went 2-0 this past weekend making 46 saves on 49 shots (.939 save percentage) in the two road victories versus the defending CHL Champion Arizona Sundogs. The rookie made 22 saves in the Jacks 7-2 victory on opening night and 27 saves in the team’s 3-1 win the following night. The Hattula, Finland native was a member of the 2005 Team Finland club that played in the Under 18 World Junior Championships. The 21-year-old has the Jacks one of five teams that have started the season 2-0.

In recognition of their achievement, both Richards and Toivonen will receive a pair of Oakley sunglasses.

Oakley CHL Player of the Week
Chris Richards, Corpus Christi IceRays
Position: C


(Weekly Totals)
Games Played: 1
Goals: 4
Assists: 3
Points: 7
Plus/Minus: +4

Oakley CHL Goaltender of the Week
Juha Toivonen, Odessa Jackalopes
Position: G


(Weekly Totals)
Games Played: 2

Record: 2-0-0
GAA: 1.50
Save %: .939
Saves: 46 of 49

Friday, October 17, 2008

Problems in Net?


I don't know about you other Stars fans out there, but what I've seen from our team so far is really puzzling.

It's as though there are two different teams playing. On opening night, the Stars faced a determined Blue Jackets team,and posted four goals on the scoreboard, forcing an overtime, and a tough loss. On Wednesday night, the Stars beat the Predators and put the puck in the net six times. That's the team Stars fans saw on paper and were hoping would show up to the rink each night.

The other two nights, the Stars only managed to get a single goal. That doesn't mean that it's all the offense's fault. The offense has looked pretty strong so far - and the Stars have come up against some good goaltending. But, it does stick out.

The biggest thing that stands out, though, and one of the only consistencies in this young season, is the weak play of Marty Turco. The Dallas Morning News gave Turk's stats this morning in the wrap-up article from last night's game: Through four games, he has a 4.59 goals against average and an anemic .822 save percentage. Last night, in arguably his worst performance in the young season, he allowed five goals on 18 shots, and Dave Tippett had to bench him. Is there something wrong?

I'd like to believe it's still just the rust working it's way out of his system. Maybe Marty didn't get to the gym as much as he should have during the off-season, or his on-ice workouts weren't as focused as they should have been. But, whatever the reason, this isn't the Marty of old. And we need him back.

The other area of concern might be the defense...a lot of odd-man rushes have been allowed, and that puts a focus on the goaltending. If the goaltending isn't there, you end up with what we have had so far...but if the defense addresses the problems it has been having, perhaps that can take some of that focus off of the net.

Thoughts? Comments?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Stars Struggling Early

Well, the Dallas Stars have gotten off to a bit of a rough start with their 0-1-1 record. They played a Columbus team that had started 0-2 and was fighting with all they had not to fall to 0-3, and then took it on the road the next night, gassed after an overtime scrap with the Jackets, and faced a gritty Nashville squad. It wasn't a great way to start things off, but hopefully it's gotten everyone's hockey blood flowing.

The Stars are going to square off against the Preds again on Wednesday, this time at the AAC, and then again hit the road the following night, this time up to St. Louis. It's a little bit of an odd start for the year, but I'm hoping to see the heart inside these Stars.

Also, an overdue update - the CHL has resolved it's player strike mentioned a couple of weeks ago. While not fully resolved, the league and the players association have come to an agreement that will allow players to continue with their clubs and negotiations to continue. More details soon.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Stars Hit the Ice Tonight!

Okay boys and girls, tonight is the official start of the Dallas Stars 2008-09 season. The games start counting tonight, so it's time to get behind the team and root them on to another fantastically successful season.

In honor of the opening night, and to get everyone in the mood for some Stars hockey, here's a video for everyone to enjoy. Go Stars!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Stars Claim D Doug Janik from the Blackhawks


From the Dallas Stars press release: The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has claimed defenseman Doug Janik off waivers from the Chicago Blackhawks. The club also assigned two players to the American Hockey League and one to the Finnish Elite League.

Janik, 28, signed a free agent contract with Chicago on July 15, 2008. The 6-2, 209-pound defenseman spent the last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning, skating in 136 games and registering 15 points (3 goals, 12 assists) with 98 penalty minutes. The native of Agawam, Mass., also appeared in 10 NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres from 2002-04, and in 146 career NHL games, has recorded 15 points (3 goals, 12 assists) and 119 penalty minutes.

Originally drafted by Buffalo in the second round (No. 55 overall) of the 1999 Entry Draft, Janik skated three seasons at the University of Maine, where he won a Division I National Championship in 1999 during his freshman season. In 110 games with the Black Bears from 1998-2001, he posted 12 goals and 42 assists for 54 points with 150 penalty minutes.

The Stars training camp roster now stands at 33 players.

Pre-Season Game 5: Colorado 3, Stars 1


Well, it was a different game, but the same result against the Avs in Colorado on Wednesday night. The Stars lost by 2 points once again, falling to Colorado 3-1. I was going to be on Twitter, tweeting the game, but was told that this was the one preseason game that was going to be radio broadcast. So, I settled in for the Red Sox/Angels game instead. Then, it turns out the game wasn't broadcast. So, sorry about the lack of a play-by-play on the game again. But, hopefully I will get the opportunity to keep you all up to date on the next game. However, with the changes made to the NHL site, you can't get the "live" feed of it the same way you used to. You can get it on the iPhone, but unfortunately this blogger hasn't got one of those. Donations are accepted to the iPhone fund, though, if you're feeling generous...

So, Steve Ott netted his second goal of the pre-season, and Matt Climie, currently third on the Stars depth chart in net, played the whole game. He finished with 25 saves on 28 shots. Not too bad for the young guy - he was facing some pretty good shooters from the Avs - Smyth, Wolski, Sakic, Stastny...etc. The Avs got great play in net from Peter Budaj, who saved 29 of the 30 shots he faced, and earned the #1 star of the game.

From what I've read, the Stars were in the game for the most part. They pulled to within a goal at the 4:56 mark of the third period, and played Colorado tough. They're going to need to play them tougher when the games start counting, and that's just around the corner now.

The Stars are back in Dallas today for another matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks. The 'Hawks beat the Stars 4-3 last Sunday, and it'll be good to see them with an opportunity to even the score. I expect to see Marty Turco in goal tonight, although it would be good to give Tobias Stephan some time as well...I thought we'd see him last night for part of the game. Perhaps tonight will be a split in net. Only 8 more days until opening night!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Professional Hockey Players’ Association Authorize CHL Strike


Some big news just came in regarding the upcoming season for the Texas Brahmas and other Central Hockey League teams. The Professional Hockey Players' Association (PHPA) has authorized a strike against the CHL, as the two sides can't come to agreement over the league's collective bargaining agreement (CBA). This strike is effective immediately. The CHL issued a press release regarding this turn of events, and CHL Commissioner Duane Lewis had this to say:

“We are disappointed that the PHPA has taken this step at this point in the negotiations. The CHL is and has been negotiating in good faith with the PHPA and have already come to agreement on many issues benefiting the players. Some of which have been instituted already. There are many critical issues to both sides that cannot be negotiated in a short time frame.”

The CHL and PHPA have met four times this summer discussing an initial Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Previous negotiations between the PHPA and similar hockey leagues have taken as much as 15 months to be successfully bargained.

“This is not a quick process,” said Lewis. “We have worked for 16 seasons to build rapport with the players and feel from their accounts in the past that we have been successful in doing this. To the best of the League’s knowledge there has been no vote of the majority of players to authorize a strike. We are confident we will be playing hockey on October 17th.”

The PHPA seemed to hint that the discussions haven't been as close as the CHL is intimating. They say the league has yet to respond to some of the issues that are part of the agreement, and are still on the table.

"The economic impact of the PHPA’s comprehensive proposal package, most of which has yet to be countered, is modest by today’s standards,” stated PHPA Executive Director Larry Landon. “The League has not responded to necessary player priority components for a finalized agreement such as salary cap, off-ice insurance, per diem, and travel reimbursement, which has significantly impeded the negotiation process.”

“On May 22, we submitted a new Standard Player Contract (SPC) proposal to the CHL Owners modeled on the player contracts in the NHL, AHL and ECHL. It did not contain any provisions which were out of the ordinary or inconsistent with recognized practices in professional hockey. Although we have repeatedly asked for the Owners to respond to our SPC proposal, and although many promises have been made to us about a pending answer to our requests, the CHL Owners have offered nothing. It is all too obvious that there is no willingness to negotiate even these basic contract provisions,” added Landon.

“We ask all CHL players to stand united. We believe the League’s tactics are calculated to break the Players’ Association. The PHPA’s negotiating team will continue in its quest to deliver an Agreement that we can recommend which meets the needs of players and their families, while respecting the future well being of the League and it’s Member Clubs.”

A copy of the letter sent to CHL players from the PHPA can be found here.

Training camp for all CHL teams is set to open on Monday, October 6th. How the league will move forward when that date arrives remains to be decided. Hopefully the league will not end up embroiled in the same sort of strike situation that the NHL was in a few years ago; that's not good for the league, the players or the fans. What are your thoughts on this, readers?

CHL Partners With NFT for 2008-09 Season

The Central Hockey League (CHL) and Network Foundation Technologies (NFT) today announced that they will partner once again to provide fans with the CHL Network for the 2008-09 season. Last season, the two entities unveiled NiFTy Online Television (the first “FREE-for-View” Internet broadcast in professional hockey) and this season the broadcasts will feature a higher resolution for improved quality.

The new, updated CHL Network player will be available for download on Monday, October 13th at www.nifty-tv.com/chl/.

“Last season was a revolutionary year for the CHL providing fans free internet broadcasts,” said Bob Hoffman, CHL’s Director of Communications. “We were very fortunate to showcase the outstanding talent and product that we can present on the ice and were very pleased with the number of fans that tuned in.”

Broadcasts will begin with the league’s opening night on Friday, October 17th and will continue through the Ray Miron President’s Cup Finals. The 2009 CHL All-Star Game from Loveland, Colorado (hosted by the Colorado Eagles) will also be available for internet view through the CHL Network.

The CHL Network provides world-wide access to all CHL regular season and playoff games at no cost to the viewer. Fans are able to view the entire game with the choice of listening to either the home or away radio announcer. A complete CHL schedule of game is available at www.centralhockeyleague.com.

More than 500,000 fans took advantage of watching their favorite CHL team last season at no charge.

“CHL’s online audience numbers with NFT’s FREE-For-View model are now 40 times higher than they were when using Pay-Per-View,” said Dr. Mike O’Neal, Founder and Chief Scientist of NFT. “For the 2008-09 season we will be rolling out a whole new version of the CHL Network player. This new version of CHL Network supports a bit rate twice as high as was used last season, and as a result picture quality will be substantially improved over last season – especially in full-screen mode. The fans are ‘pumped’ and we have no doubt that the league’s audience – both in and out of the stadium – will continue to grow steadily.”

About Network Foundation Technologies, LLC
Network Foundation Technologies, LLC (NFT: pronounced ‘NiFTy’) is a name that is quickly becoming synonymous with the online broadcasting of large, live events to worldwide audiences. NFT’s patented technology overcomes the scalability and cost bottlenecks associated with online broadcasting, enabling the company to bring large-scale, advertiser-supported, television-style broadcasting to the Internet for the very first time. Please visit NiFTy-tv.com for more information.

About the CHL
The CHL will be entering its 17th season of play this fall, with 16 member teams across nine states. The CHL saw more than 2.3 million fans attend games during the 2008-09 season and has led North American professional ‘AA’ hockey leagues in average attendance for six of the past seven seasons. In 2009, the CHL will welcome Independence, Missouri and Allen, Texas as expansion teams for the 2009-10 season. The CHL is administered by a wholly-owned subsidiary of Global Entertainment Corporation (AMEX: GEE), a company engaged in sports management, multi-purpose events and entertainment center and related real estate development, facility and venue management and marketing, and venue ticketing. For more information about the CHL visit the league’s website at www.centralhockeyleague.com.