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 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 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 ( To follow the Hat Trick’s Tote Board and see how much money has been donated to date or to donate money yourself visit

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 or

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

“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

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 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