Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Marty and Peyton

OK, I know that the Dallas Stars aren't technically part of the Battle of California, but let's face it, the Pacific Division is basically BoC + Dallas + Gretzky.

Anyway, two Saturdays ago (I know, I know) I was able to take in an extraordinary game at the American Airlines Center between the soon-to-be KC Masterpiece (the Penguins) and the aforementioned Stars.

It was an absolutely fantastic game, with a heavy dosage of Penguin fans, lively end-to-end competition, an outstanding overtime period and a SO win for the tentative Penguins.

As I watched the upstart Penguins sneak by the crippled Stars, I realized something. The Dallas Stars certainly will not take the Pacific Division this year, but I hate to say it: this might be their best chance in years to go deep into the playoffs.

Would I bet my house on Marty Turco and Co. to drink Shiner Bock out of Lord Stanley's Cup? Well, not quite. But then again, I would not have wagered on Peyton Elmer Fudd Manning to do it either, and look what happened. Ugh.

Marty Turco is the Manning of NHL goalies.

The parallels are horrifying. They both appear poised in front of a TV camera, although Turco settles for local Comcast spots and lovable mic-ups on barely viewed All-Star Games while Manning mugs for just about everything other than urinal cakes. Their regular season stats are gaudy: Manning holds the single season TD record and Turco (briefly) had the best pre-WWII GAA before Kipper stole it from him.

And then, as we all know, the bottom falls out once the games start to count. Manning always crapped the bed against Tom Brady, the Red Sox always lost to the Yankees and Turco sucks in the playoffs.

But with Manning "getting the monkey off of his back," maybe we should look at a few other similarities between the two. Much like Manning, Turco will finally go into the playoffs as an outright underdog. And much like Manning, Turco's supporting cast is deceptively good.

Sure, the Stars are a #6 seed, but they've done that with Mike Modano, Sergei Zubov and Brendan Morrow missing significant amounts of playing time. If Morrow can round into shape come playoff time (he's tentatively expected to come back in March), the Stars might be the type of sleeping giant that could dismantle a No. 3 seed (especially the paper thin Canucks) and make a certain probable No. 2 seed very nervous.

Turco with as little pressure as possible, a hardworking offense and a very solid defense. It might just take the easiest-to-ignore Stars team to finally win in the playoffs again. Hey, if it worked for Peyton and his wildcard Colts, it could work for anyone.


Miss. Scarlett said...

Interesting, I was just thinking that Alfie was the Manning of the NHL. In terms of Captains I guess.

Meaning, this has to be their year!

PJ Swenson said...

Not sure how Phoenix can trade Nagy within the division to Dallas. His contract is up at the end of this season, but if he adds scoring punch to that roster, he may be there awhile.

The first time I saw Dallas this year I thought they would be a very dangerous team in the playoffs, and they were almost completely under the radar to start the season.

jamestobrien said...

There's some credence to Alfie being the Peyton Manning, but then again, goalie is considered the most important position in hockey and QB is considered the most important position in football. I think that makes the parallels more interesting.

Plus I think Turco gets definite media darling points.

On the Nagy trade, I think it could have a huge impact. The Stars are dependent on veteran players who are getting a little up there age-wise, so making a big run now truly might be a great move.

Giving up a first pick is a big gamble though. I've read a lot about Dallas being a good hockey town, but Dallas residents are notorious bandwagon hoppers. Just look at the Mavericks. I worry how long a perennial loser can thrive in Cowboys country.

Still, I give a tentative thumbs up to the Nagy deal IF they can keep him for more than 27 games plus the playoffs...

Moné Peterson said...

Chiming in late, here. The Turco-Manning comparison doesn't seem appropriate to me. Manning is one of the greatest (regular-season) quarterbacks. That doesn't apply to Turco, who has only had one outstanding season, in 2003. He's been fairly mediocre, statistically speaking, since then. You could have made the analogy about Hasek prior to 2002, although it breaks down from there.

Just to have some fun here, the Peyton Manning goaltender playoff run would entail:

1. Entering as a #3 seed and beating a really weak team in round one.

2. Facing the #2 seed in round two and playing absolutely terrible, only the opposing goaltender is even worse, so his team wins in six .

3. Facing the #4 seed, who upset the #1 seed (who was coached by Bryan Murray). Said #4 seed jets out to a 3-1 series lead before Peyton the Goaltender plays out of his mind, makes big saves, and leads his team to a seven-game victory.

4. Facing a hobbled team from the other conference who can't get any offense going. Peyton Goalie is barely tested but doesn't screw up, and his team skates to an easy 4-1 series win.

I'd be curious to see if anything close to this has actually happened.