Phoenix 4, Dallas 2
Well, there goes the chance to get 3 wins in a row again. The Dallas Stars came out Sunday not looking focused and turning over the puck, and fall to the division rival Phoenix Coyotes 4-2. Dallas fell behind 2-0 after one and could not get back, as Bryzgalov once again stumps the Stars. The boys in black did pull it back to 2-1 at one point and looked overall like the better team in the last 2 periods, but it is a 3 period game (most of the time) and the turnovers and goof-ups in the 1st came back to bite Dallas in the butt too much. Dave Tippett again gets a win against his old team and more people are pondering if the coaching switch was right.
I did like Jamie Benn‘s play, and he is adjusting to playing center and shows grit at times. I liked his willingness to get scrappy in the game and kept trying throughout the game to do whatever he could. The Stars got more physical as the game went on, and recently the physical play has been good for Dallas. I think it helps get guys pumped and going, and slows down opposing teams when guys like Morrow, Ott, Barch, Sutherby, Robidas, and Fistric start throwing the body around. And it also gets other guys into playing physical too. Another bad thing though is that Sutherby injured his shoulder in the 2nd period just as the team was getting physical and going, and today the called up Peters from the minors, hinting that Sutherby may miss a game or two. He may not be a offensive contributor much, but he does play physical and can play in the defensive zone and along the boards.
Good new is Lehtinen is back off the IR, and for the most part this team is avoiding injuries stacking up against them. Stars now play Minnesota again Tuesday night (I will be in the building again, 4 out of last 5 home games), a team they can get a win against before having a game at Columbus and coming home to play Phoenix again. Minnesota, if you remember, is the team Dallas played here at home a couple of weeks ago and went up 4-0 on before holding onto win 4-3. I think Dallas will come out more focused and physical tomorrow night and pick up another win and hopefully get some solid play going again. ESPN has Dallas up to #17 in the power rankings after being at #22 last week. It is a common feeling around the league that this team is good and has talent, just sometimes young and inconsistent play. And it seems to be whispered more and more that Turco’s days in Dallas are over.
Trade Talk: So Sunday morning the first big trade of the season falls. (Read http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=4874486) So Phaneuf, who I have been hearing for weeks might get traded, moves to Toronto along with a top prospect and a roster player for Calgary getting back Ian White, Matt Stajan, former Dallas Star Niklas Hagman, and Jamal Myers. I am a fan of Phaneuf as a player, and although he has not 100% lived up to his huge contract that he is still one of the top 15 blue-liners in the NHL. I like the trade from Toronto’s point-of-view. They get a top blue-liner, who is great in both zones and physical, and a very-liked prospect for a couple of role players the GM didn’t really like and wasn’t going to keep long term. Calgary looks in panic mode with this deal, possibly only doing it because of how much the media there is grilling management for the lack of results with some of the big name talent they have their. Then the Leafs get goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere from Anahiem (I still hate Giggy, frickin hate em!) for winger Jason Blake and goalie Vesa Toskala. Another nice trade, this time I think for both teams. Giggy has been beat out by Hiller, and is now just a high-paid back up in Anaheim. The Ducks get some talent in Blake, although aging, to try to make a push and get a decent back-up goalie too from the Leafs. Leafs get Giggy, who has played with the same GM and goalie coach in Anaheim in the past, to help them in goal this year and next and get someone to help teach Jonas Gustavsson.
Now comes the interesting part, which teams move next. Almost everyone knows Atlanta does not want to trade Kovalchuk, but probably will sense they can’t sign him long term. Chicago and L.A. both still seem to be teams interested in trading for him, but I think the closer we get to Atlanta having to finish the year and then watch him leave, the more open they will be to trading him. Pittsburgh thinks they are one piece away, and rumors keeping speaking of Ray Whitney in Carolina, and Toronto says they are not done dealing. Also Calgary and the NY Rangers are reportedly close to the Flames sending Olli Jokinen (FAIL) and Prust to NY for Ales Kotalik (over-rated at times) and Chris Higgins.
Dallas keeps being talked about as a team searching around the league, and I am happy to hear it. I know this team will not give up young talent like Neal, Benn, Grossman, or Fistric unless the deal is too good to pass, and I don’t think they will trade Robidas, Eriksson or Richards seeing as they seem to be the building blocks to winning in the next few seasons. But the interesting thing will be guys like Ribeiro and Niskanen, both who I have heard are being used in trade ideas by Dallas and other teams. It is obvious the Stars will try to trade Turco, or package him in a deal. And though I like Ribeiro most of the time, I am not sure if the new management team is sold on him and if they get a good deal put together I do see him being moved. Montreal, who is also apparently a very willing trade team, has two young talented goalies in Price and Halak and is reportedly interested in Ribeiro. This is funny seeing that the Canadiens gave him to Dallas for about nothing a few years back. But Montreal’s locker room is split between the two goalies and players are starting to openly vocalize it. Riberio and Turco’s expiring contract for one of the two and a prospect or a young player who Dallas can plug in right away is a deal the two teams may be discussing.
Let me know folks, what do you think about yesterday’s deals and/or thoughts on Dallas’s current trade “situation,” for lack of a better word.