Columbus 2, Dallas 1
That game was ridiculous. I have seen 10 year-old teams play with more heart and desire then the Dallas Stars did last night in their game at the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was bad. For two and a half periods the Stars looked like a team up a goal or two and was just going through the motions and not let the other team score. There was one big problem with this though, THEY WERE DOWN 1-0!!! This game was hard to watch. Dallas was getting pucks at the Columbus net, but very few were quality shots. What made it worse is how good Marty Turco played for the second time in a row. Two games in a row now from Turco where he looks like a serious number one goalie has been rare this year. But this time the Stars waste it, Turco only lets in one goal which bounced through people to get past him. And Columbus got the empty-netter before Dallas made it 2-1 with 45 seconds left in the game.
What did hurt this team was being without Modano (day-to-day with a knee getting slightly injured in practice yesterday), and then the continued absence of Sutherby and Ribeiro in the line-up left this team with a weakness at center. But still, this is the Blue Jackets! The team that is toward the bottom of the standings and just fired there coach the day before the game. I have to control myself from putting this all on Crawford, but if you can’t get this team and offense pumped and ready to play then I have a problem supporting you as a coach. A team that still put out Richards, Neal, Eriksson, Morrow, Benn and Lehtinen should at least be able to do something in this game. And that continues to be the problem with this team on the road, even when the defense shows up to some extent, the offense is very inconsistent and disappears on the road. Where was the checking and physical effort for the first 45-50 mins of this game? Where was the drive towards the net? Where was the Powerplay, who got two chances late in the game and barely even got in the offensive zone, when this team needed it?
So besides a very frustrating game last night, there was also the second big trade in one week in the NHL. Of course this was the big one a lot of people were waiting for. Ilya Kovalchuk turned down $101 Million over 12 years to stay with Atlanta, so the team finally admitted they were shopping him around. A few hours later, Kovy was traded to the New Jersey Devils. The Devils are a top Eastern team because of there defense and Brodeur in net, but are lacking offensively and made the big-time trade to help that. Atlanta got a young winger with potential in Niclas Bergfors, a kinda average defenseman in Johnny Oduya, NJ’s 1st round pick, a prospect Patrice Cormier (the kid who is suspended for the rest of the year because of throwing a dirty open-ice helmet that showed intent to injure), and the two teams switched 2nd round picks with NJ also get an about average d-man back. Atlanta probably didn’t have a lot of options because almost everyone believes no matter what Kovy will test free agency this summer and doesn’t want to sign a new contract til then. So even though he is extremely talented, he is only a high-priced rental with a slight chance NJ can convince him to stay this summer.
So now that two huge trades have happened this week, what is next? It is about unanimous that the Stars are going to be really active in trade talks, and almost everyone knows that Dallas is looking for either a top 4 D-man, a goalie they like, or both. Turco and Ribeiro continue to be rumored players that may be leaving Dallas soon, but there is no telling who may be moved if this team continues to play like this.
Side Note: The Dallas Stars are for sale! Sources have confirmed Hicks is looking into selling the team. I have thought Hicks did better then average as the owner here, but the Stars were always the reject child and a new ownership and an infusion of money could help this team push back towards the top. More to come as more is found out.
Turco will start in net tomorrow as the Stars are back home to play Phoenix again Saturday at 5pm. They will need offense in this one!