Kukla's Korner Hockey
from David Pollak of MediaNews via Inside Bay Area,
Things reached the point that Sharks coach Ron Wilson didn’t send goalie Evgeni Nabokov out for the start of the second period, and his reasoning was only partly based on the desire to give backup Brian Boucher a little ice time.
“I didn’t trust that team,” Wilson said of the Stars. “They were running guys. For all I know, Nabby was next on their list. That wasn’t going to happen.”
The guy doing most of the running was Steve Ott, the Stars’ nuisance of a center. And when he hit San Jose left wing Milan Michalek at 8:42 of the first period, a game that already had seen one fight quickly escalated.
from Tracey Myers at Five for Fighting,
Sergei Zubov had a “procedure” done overseas to fix “lingering problems from a sports hernia,” according to coach Dave Tippett on Thursday morning. Zubov will fly back to Dallas tomorrow, and the Stars will re-evaluate after that. This procedure apparently, according to Tippett, “allows him to come back quicker.”
Now what constitutes “quicker”? Tippett said he’s unsure when Zubov will actually be back skating, practicing, playing, etc. So we’ll see what shakes out of that.
read on for more on the Stars…
from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,
The Stars are a different team without Sergei Zubov – that’s all there is to it.
Zubov averages more than 25 minutes a game and plays like nobody else in the NHL. He is supremely confident with the puck on his stick and he almost dares opponents to come at him on the forecheck, knowing that can only help him get the defense off of its game.
So if he cannot play in the playoffs because of a foot injury or groin injury or some other injury, the Stars will not be as good.
from Five for Fighting,
The news doesn’t sound too good on defenseman Sergei Zubov. He didn’t skate today, as he went to see specialists for his ongoing injuries. And won’t skate for the next few days. Coach Dave Tippett called the situation “a concern.” When asked if the problem was the foot or the groin, Tippett said, “all of the above.”
from the Ducks Blog a the OC Register,
The magnitude of Sunday night’s game between the Ducks and Dallas Stars at Honda Center cannot be overstated.
By winning, the Ducks would move to the brink of clinching fourth place in the NHL’s Western Conference and home-ice advantage in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. A regulation loss to Dallas, meanwhile, would leave the Ducks no longer in control of their own destiny in pursuit of the all-important fourth spot and home ice.
With a regulation victory, the Ducks would have 98 points and need just one point in their final two games to secure fourth place because the maximum number of points the Stars and Calgary Flames could reach would be 98.
from the Star-Telegram,
As the Stars head into today’s matchup against the Los Angeles Kings, Hull said the team needs one aspect above all else: accountability.
“It’s totally up to the players to get it together,” Hull said. “[Steve] Ott needs to be accountable for [Mike] Modano, Modano for [Mark] Fistric. That’s what I think we’re lacking right now. We’ve got to have accountability for each other.”
Hull said he hasn’t seen a bad Stars team. He’s seen a team that’s “played horrendous for a few minutes each game, and it’s cost us.”
And the errors have been widespread.
from the Dallas Morning News,
Calm as ever, Les Jackson issued a matter-of-fact challenge to the Dallas Stars on Saturday after they blew another third-period lead and lost a 4-2 game to the last-place Los Angeles Kings….
“I think every team in the league goes through this. It’s just frustrating when you’re in it, because there’s an answer and you just don’t see it,” Jackson said. “The answers are there. We just need to get through the tough periods and keep going, that’s all.”
Jackson said he doesn’t feel the acquisition of Brad Richards at the Feb. 26 trade deadline has upset the chemistry of the team. Richards has nine points in nine games (five in his debut), but the Stars are 2-7-0 since he arrived.
“When players come in, there’s always a time element of adjustment, but he’s only one player on the team,” Jackson said. “There’s other guys who have been here a long time and can take this team and carry it – and they have to step up.”
From the Dallas Stars,
NASCAR superstar Jimmie Johnson is accustomed to wheeling his Hendrick Motorsports ride around the track at breakneck speeds.
His skating skills are more modest, however.
On Thursday, Johnson learned that lacing on the skates and practicing with Stars center Mike Modano can be a humbling experience. Johnson hadn’t skated since he was a boy in Southern California, and he was pleased to simply be able to hesitantly glide around the rink at Deja Blue Arena in Frisco following a Stars practice without falling on his backside.
from the Star-Telegram,
The Dallas Stars’ latest run has been forgettable.
They’ve lost five of their past six games. They’ve lost their lead in the Pacific Division. They’ve lost, at least for now, home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
They’ve just done too much losing.
But, after a two-day hiatus from the ice, the Stars say they haven’t lost their focus. In Stars land, the glass is still half full.
From Pierre LeBrun at CP,
Along with the NHL-leading Detroit Red Wings, we argue the three Pacific Division contenders make up the best four teams in the NHL. And one will almost surely be out in the first round. Hence the urgency of the six total games involving the Sharks, Ducks and Stars.
“Those games against Dallas and San Jose are critical,” said Carlyle.
If you think you’ve seen this movie before, it’s because you have. The same three clubs also came down to the wire last season and finished three points apart, the Ducks winning the division with 110 points followed by San Jose (107) and Dallas (107).
Update 4:58pm ET: Link fixed, changed to the original CP report via Google. Sorry ‘bout the botched one earlier.
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