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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cue "Taps"

WOW. Someone just played Panic's entrance music. If things looked bad for the Stars just a few days ago, now the team is pondering meteor shower insurance. Rudy posted the news but if you have anti-scroll disease, Brenden Morrow is out for the season.

The Stars are effectively "fixed." As in they've been de-balled.

With Marty Turco having a mini-meltdown and Brad Richards giving weepy interviews in emo shirts, trading away Jussi Jokinen and Mike Smith is looking closer to Bochenski for Versteeg these days. Honestly, Richards had enough positive moments in the playoffs that he gained a ... sort of flattering nickname in the "Five Dollar Shake." No Pulp Fiction jokes for him now, though. Although perhaps a "do I LOOK like a bitch?" might work.

So, with chicken little getting on the first trip to DFW Airport, I thought it might be fun to look at the different ways this mess can shake out:

1. The put-your-head-between-your-legs-and-pray approach

The plane's losing cabin pressure. Oxygen masks just popped out over your head. Babies are crying. Virgins are tearing off each others clothes and all you can do is prepare for a fiery grave.

In the Stars case, they are hoping the after-life includes one of the top two draft picks. There seems to be some hockey nerd slap fights over who's going to be the number one pick, but it's pretty hard to imagine John Tavares suffering an Angelo Esposito-type fate (or Aaron Rogers type fate, for you hockey borderliners). But even if Tavares suffers from a Fannie Mae-ish drop in stock, the Stars could benefit from getting the next big hype machine (Tavares) or Victor Hedman, Sweden's answer to Zdeno Chara.

Let's face it, kids, Smokin' Sergei Zubov is aging as hastily as Meg Ryan (seriously, what butcher of a plastic surgeon made her lips into couch cushions?). Turco's struggles are well documented, but even if he rights the ship he's not exactly a young man either. And the Stars' offense is anchored by really old players (Modano) and guys who are hovering around the dreaded 30-zone (Morrow, Mike Ribeiro). (Oh, and of course douche bags like Sean Avery)

In other words, this might be the perfect time for the Stars to have a free fall to a high-end pick. Dallas doesn't have NHL draft savants like Detroit so those perpetual playoff runs and future mortgaging trades make it tough to bring in high-end offensive talent. The defense has some guys who still have a chance to be good again, but no Jack Johnson, no Erik Johnson or any other future franchise D guy not named Johnson.

So maybe the Stars can pull a San Antonio Spurs - a team that hovered around good for years, had one atrocious year and ended up with Tim Duncan. Just sayin'.

2. Us against the world?

Something tells me that Linda Cohn and Co. left the Stars bandwagon in a ditch somewhere in podunkia. Allowing awful end of the period goals, taking stupid penalties and generally shitting the bed means that the Stars can go back to being way under the radar.

Could that be a good formula for a rebound? Stranger things have happened and Morrow, despite his playoff heroics, was struggling too this season. *Shrug*

3. Liquidation time!!! Clearance sale!!! All underperforming players must GO!

Never hurts to dream.

Then again, the Stars COULD go apeshit and go into full-on rebuild mode. After all, the economy is shit and the crowds will get sparser by the meltdown. Carrying an expensive losing roster might not be feasible with the economy getting gang raped. And if nothing else, the Stars have some big contracts and big names who could actually have decent trade value.

Turco might not exactly be at his most valuable level, but he has a huge contract. Who knows ... maybe a miracle could happen and they could move him for Jason Spezza.

WOW! This is fun! Making up completely unsubstantiated rumors is almost as fan as playing Gears of War 2!

In all seriousness, the Stars could look to shop players (kinda doubt Turco will go anywhere though). Zubov is a high-skill, high-age guy who could be a splendid trading deadline candidate. Richards might be too expensive, but he's still a very talented player. Ribeiro is a tool and an injury faking douche. This is undeniable. But he's also been a point per game player. He actually was really good in the playoffs and didn't writhe around on the ice like an asshole last year.

Would there be anyone crazy enough to take Avery off their hands?

If there's anything the NHL has shown me, it's that stupid trades and free agent signings happen all the time. It would be nice if the Stars came out on the winning end this year.


So, those seem to be the three paths the Stars can take. Without bias or any "research" to get in the way of my opinions. Hope you enjoyed it.


MotherPucker.ca said...

I prefer option #1... but man does this ever suck for the stars. I had them picked as a high finisher this year, but I'm absolutely shocked with the situation they are in now and going forward.

Unknown said...

they are hoping the after-life includes one of the top two draft picks

As long as you're not talking to the a-offseasonists.

cristobal said...

If the Kings are in playoff position in early March, Zubov would be a great addition if he could be acquired.

jamestobrien said...

The Kings certainly would make a lot of sense, even if it might be painful for Stars fans to see so much of him in the Pacific. I could definitely see Zubov getting moved, possibly even in the same way a lot of vets would get traded only to resurface with his former team after that one playoff run.

They have to at least consider it.

Sarah said...

and Brad Richards giving weepy interviews in emo shirts

...but did he smear his mascara or has he upgraded to the water-proof kind?

Seriously though, this is why I never make public predictions. I expected the Sharks to be slowed by transition and for the Stars to take off offensively.

No team with that much talent should be that bad. I know it is easy to blame the coach, and I'm not much of a fan of making a coach the fall guy for 22 players who can't pull themselves together. That said, some of this is just bad coaching. I don't know the nuances of many of the Stars, but I know Richards' game, and he has been criminally misused at key times. I mean, what the hell is he doing on the bench during a power play? And what they hell is he doing on the ice on a penalty kill?

Oh, and Turco has blown goats.

P.S. What exactly makes a shirt emo?

Unknown said...

Dave Tippett is one of the better coaches in the league. Brett Hull is off to a not so hot start to his GM career. With any luck, Tippett is fall guy and goes back to Kings to be power play coach again. (See: Hardy, Mark (minus firing))

Patty (in Dallas) said...

I think Zubov would retire if they tried to trade him. Although I assume he has some kind of NTC. Everybody else does.

Earl Sleek said...

Dave Tippett is one of the better coaches in the league.

Agreed. That would be silliness if he had to take the fall for this, but then again the NHL is an often-silly league.

I think Zubov would retire if they tried to trade him.

Disagreed. We can imagine player loyalty all we want, but I don't think this seems likely. Players know enough about the "it's a business" aspect of hockey that they generally play beyond trades.

At least, I can't think of the last person who retired because they were being traded.

cristobal said...

Richards might be emo, but Darren McCarty looks like he's had a mental breakdown. What happened to him? Meth? It's sad.

Patty (in Dallas) said...

Disagreed. We can imagine player loyalty all we want, but I don't think this seems likely.

I don't really think it's because he's loyal, just that he's close enough to retirement that he wouldn't want to go to the trouble of playing for another team for a couple of months.

jamestobrien said...

I would never try to read the mind of Smokin' Serge Zubbie. That would be dangerous, eh?

As far as what defines a shirt as emo, I guess the ultimate factor is the shirt wearer. And Brad R was definitely emo in that interview. Also, it was black and had a weird hole design in it ... and was awkwardly tight. That fits the emo bill for me. But what do I know, I bite the heads off fish!!

Anonymous said...

Any chance Modano waives his NTC to go to a playoff contender?