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.

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