Oh Starry Night

When the Blackhawks welcome the Dallas Stars into the United Center on Tuesday night, they’ll be facing the only Western Conference team they’ve yet to draw a point from.  The big news for the Stars is they’re expecting Mike Ribeiro to make his return.  Ribeiro has missed the last month after getting struck in the throat by Christopher Higgins’ stick. 

Despite no longer being a Western Conference powerhouse, the Stars can still fill up the back of the net.  They have nine guys in double-digit goal totals.  Loui Eriksson, James Neal, and James Benn give them a nice starting point to build around.  Brad Richards is having his best season since coming over from Tampa Bay with 63 points in 56 games.  That’s good for 10th in the league just ahead of Patrick Kane. 

The Stars don’t boast much of a threat from their backline.  Ex-Hawk Stephane Robidas has carved quite a career for himself and has already set career highs in goals (10) and assists (23) this season.  2005 1st round pick Mark Fistric easily leads the team in +/- with a +15.  Otherwise, there’s not a whole lot to see here. 

Marty Turco will probably end up getting the start in net.  His name has popped up in trade rumors with the Hawks lately.  Let’s break it down: 34 years old, a save percentage hovering around 91%, tendency to let in a soft goal, minimal playoff success.  I thought the Hawks already had someone like this locked up for the next two years.

Staying on the same theme, Antti Niemi will get the start in goal for the Hawks.  This will be the second time in his career he’s played two games in a row.  The first time didn’t turn out so well when he didn’t even make it out of the first period in Vancouver.  He’ll need a much better showing if he expects to get more than spot starts the rest of this season.  Clamoring fans be damned.

Whether Tomas Kopecky gets more top-6 minutes remains to be seen; he certainly hasn’t deserved it.  Joel Quenneville was not at practice on Monday because he was in Massachusetts for Brendan Burke’s wake so we won’t know his plans until the first few shifts of the game.

On a side note, the Blackhawks new practice facility, Johnny’s Ice House West, finally opened last week.  None of the amenities are finished other than the Blackhawks private locker room.  Their media room, workout room, and coaches room are still in the process of being finished.  The ice is immaculate, though, and I suppose that’s all that really counts.  That, and the Hawks finally have their own practice facility, even if it was 5 months later than scheduled.  

Anyone with plans to attend practice should be warned the surrounding neighborhood is a little rough around the edges.

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17 Responses to Oh Starry Night

  1. Dave Morris says:

    Wait a minute…Kopecky’s been skating on a line with Hossa and Bolland.

    Have you been talking to Q again?

    PS George Parros called tonight after the Ducks quacked the Kings…he wants to know why Lou and Lee don’t like him.

  2. Lou says:

    @Dave, i don’t want an enforcer to waste line space. Could really care less who the name is

  3. Dave Morris says:

    @Lou> but George brings StachePower. Isn’t that worth something to you?

  4. Lou says:

    @ Dave, very true but stachepower is only good on long PKs when you find a morsel of food in it. Since Georgous George is not likely to be killing a penalty but rather serving it, stache power might not be useful

  5. Andy says:

    @Lou, don’t forget the long trips to the penalty box, they are much more likely. That food could sustain him for the duration of a 5 minute respite in the box.

  6. JM says:

    Kopecky is the new Matt Walker.

  7. Dave Morris says:

    @Lou> facial hair is VERY important come playoff time. Parros mos’def brings that.

  8. Lou says:

    @Andy maybe you and your cohort can go get him one of those sammiches you eat every game

  9. feyer says:

    I can envision the Parros “1 Goal” commercial now. He skates up to the microphone and takes a shot that somehow finds the net. “My goal…… to score another one before the season is done.”

  10. John says:

    To be fair, I saw this show on CSN about a year ago. It was kind of like a Mythbusters but sports-related. Anyways, the topic was whether it was better to have a sumo wrestler play goalie than to have someone athletic in net. Parros was the shooter and he was picking corners on the poor fat bastard like he was Mario Lemeiux.

  11. Patrick says:

    If Parros were a part of a deal for Neidermeyer (rather than Wiz), I’d be all for it, and better yet if they could move Kocecky in the process.

    I’d move Barker, Versteeg and Kopecky for Neidermeyer and Parros, and if a few draft picks need to exhchange hands too, go for it.

    As Dave mentioned, Parros isn’t a total meathead – he went to Princeton after all…

  12. Dave Morris says:

    @Patrick> have you tweeted Stan yet?

    If the Hawks could grab Niedermayer, with Parros as a side dish, they not only gain two more Cup winners, they exponentially increase their critical PFHQ (Playoff Facial Hair Quotient).

    StachePower rules.

  13. Patrick says:

    I thought Stan was a reader of the FF… 🙂

  14. John says:

    Patrick, that is waaayyy too much for a rental player at the end of his career. No way Anaheim gets a better package for Niedermayer than Atlanta got for Kovalchuk.

  15. Patrick says:

    Yea, you’re probably right. I was thinking of an immediate return as well as short and long term cap-balancing, rather than long-term return. My thinking is the Ducks would have to throw something into the deal to get it done, perhaps a prospect or pick or two. What deal would you make? We know it ain’t Wiz…

  16. John says:

    I would grab Niedermayer if the price was right. If Bob Murray would accept his patented poo-poo platter for a veteran on an expiring contract. Otherwise, I’d look strictly for a depth d-men who won’t slay you in your own end.

    People have been clamoring for a big, physical defenseman to clear the front of the net and have completely forgotten how awful Matt Walker was last year. Just give me someone who can play.

  17. Dave Morris says:

    @John> do the Hawks have any players who would fit on, may I remind you EX-Hawk, Bob Murray’s pu-pu platter?

    @Patrick> Stan makes FF his first stop on the Web for Hawkey news and views.

    PS Dennis Seidenberg remains the preferred option…I notice posters on other blogs have picked up on my recommendation.

    Gotta go now…JWoww’s on the other line.

    Enjoy the game tonite.

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