Stargazing: NHL Suspends Ott Two Games; Dallas Stars Up For Sale?

Stargazing is a daily assortment of Dallas Stars  and Texas Stars news, and whatever other random ramblings are bouncing around inside our heads. Note: These posts are not intended to be in-depth analysis articles, but rather a gathering of news from around the internet on the Dallas Stars.

And we were wondering just exactly what we would talk about during the three day break between games. Enter Steve Ott into the equation and here we are, already tired of this.

The suspension is for the hip check on Carlo Colaiacovo, with nary a mention of the apparent knee-on-knee contact with former Star BJ Crombeen. Many of us here felt the latter would be the subject of any punishment as severe as a suspension. We felt the hip check might get him a fine.

You know, like Rob Scuderi's did?

We're not here to tell you that Steve Ott doesn't deserve a two game suspension. He was a little wound up on Saturday and he has a history. Fine, give him a two game suspension. He'll be back this Saturday for Nashville. What we are pondering is just how punishment in the NHL works.

Colin Campbell mentioned lack of injury while discussing why Scuderi received a fine for his low hip check. Puck Daddy wonders what that has to do with anything: ""He didn't injure the guy" is a ridiculous standard of enforcement because it excuses reckless behavior as long as there wasn't a deleterious result from the player's actions."

Mike Heika says: "The frustrating thing about the NHL's supplementary discipline is that it appeared to me that Ott's hit last March on Gregory Campbell was more worthy of a suspension than this one. He received no suspension for that hit."

So while we can't figure out just how the NHL will punish it's next miscreant, we do know that Steve Ott should effort to avoid the seemingly random roll of that dice. We need him in the lineup.

After the jump, believe it or not, we're going to talk about this some more. Also, some interesting back and forth in the media about the possibility of a sale of the Dallas Stars.

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David Shoalts of the Globe And Mail had an article this morning about the possibility of the Dallas Stars going up for sale after the Texas Rangers are sold:

The official NHL position remains that once Hicks sells the Rangers, he can concentrate on the Stars. But sources in the banking community say Hicks's problems are severe enough that the Stars will be sold, too, once the Rangers sale is completed.

The sources say a line of buyers for the Stars is already queuing up in front of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. And word is one interested party is Calgary oil-and-gas tycoon Bill Gallacher, chairman of Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. and managing director of Avenir Capital Corp., a private equity firm. He also owns the WHL's Portland Winter Hawks.

[snip]

The Stars would attract a lot of looks if they go on the market because they were among the league's leaders in attendance when the team was a Stanley Cup contender and they come with a half-interest in an arena that makes a lot of money. One source expects the Stars package price to be more than $200-million and perhaps closer to $300-million.

There is a lot of talk that the sale of the Rangers will not fix all of Tom Hicks' financial difficulties, so a sale of the Stars is not completely out of left field. Yet Hicks shot down the notion that his hockey team is up for sale this afternoon:

"That's not going to happen," Hicks said. "The Rangers process, however that comes out, will take care of HSG's needs. The Stars are not part of that. They are not for sale." [ESPN Dallas]

``Hicks Sports Group is working through the default issue with its lenders, and is in the process of getting things resolved,'' said Hicks, who has the Rangers up for sale. ``I believe that will be resolved in a positive manner and we'll move forward from there. But I have no interest in selling the Stars. [DMN Stars Blog]

Hicks is adamant that the finances of the Texas Rangers have not affected the Dallas Stars and that this years low payroll is just a reflection of what he believes the Stars should be operating at. Yet the more this story grows about how the Hicks Sports Group continues to face financial difficulty (the Texas Rangers had to get help from the MLB this summer), the more there will be stories written about how the Stars might be next on the block.

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Richard Durrett was on the scene in Frisco this morning when word about Ott's suspension was got around:

Stars forward Steve Ott didn't want to comment on his two-game suspension for a hip check on Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo on Saturday.

The NHL's official release called it a "low hit" and noted that Ott was a repeat offender in terms of suspensions. He forfeits $35,585.36 of salary.

When asked if Ott will change his game at all, he was quick to respond.

"Not one bit," Ott said. "The only thing I can do is continue to throw textbook hits and that's it."

Yeah, well...just stick to the textbook ones. By the way, I'd like a copy of that textbook.

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Shameless plug: Don't forget Defending Big D's coverage of the suspension:

We've covered Steve Ott extensively this week on Defending Big D and I'm not going to rehash everything I've been saying for the past two days. But here's the bottom line:

Steve Ott toes the line between agitation and insanity. Stars fans love the edge he brings to the team, but at the same time he needs to find ways to hold himself back. He's much more valuable to this team when he's on the ice and not when he's suspended or hurt. Ott is now a three-time offender in the eyes of the NHL; any more questionable or dirty hits and he could be looking at a very lengthy suspension.

That being said, the fact that Ott was suspended for just the hip check is ridiculous and proves just how inconsistent the NHL is when doling out punishments. Rob Scuderi lays out a much more devastating type of hit and only receives a fine; perhaps the suspension has more to do with Ott's past and reputation.

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Brenden Morrow gives his thoughts on the suspension:

I actually haven't seen the hit. I am going to defend my teammate just because I am loyal to him. From what I saw, in my opinion, this last week that didn't get suspensions, I was surprised that Steve was the one. I know there are issues with repeat offenders and I haven't seen what their reasoning for it was, if was a low hit. A few of us were talking and we thought the hit on [B.J.] Crombeen may have been the worse of the two. Seeing the [Rob] Scuderi hit and replays of the [Mike] Richards hit and all those things that kind of got passed by, to see Steve get the worst of it is disappointing for me as a teammate. ... We feel for Steve. He shows up and plays hard for us. He's ended up on the worse side of a few of these calls in the past.

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Mark Stepneski has the update from Tuesday's practice:

As for the practice, Brad Richards was back on the ice today after a day off to rest his sore groin. Matt Niskanen practiced again and is ready to go. Mike Modano practiced and looked good, but he’s still needs to some time before he can play. Jere Lehtinen skated before practice and is scheduled to skate again tomorrow.

 

Here were the practice lines today:

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Morrow-Ribeiro-Benn
Sutherby-Wandell-Petersen
Barch-Modano-Brunnstrom

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With Ott out, we thought we might see Fistric slide back up to forward. Not so fast, says Marc Crawford:

With Ott out, the question arose whether Mark Fistric might be used as a forward again. Coach Marc Crawford said he does not expect Fistric to be used as a forward, and from the tone of his voice, I would say Fistric will probably be in the lineup with Niskanen. That means the Stars will call up a forward. They have not said who it will be yet. We'll see. [DMN]

Which Texas Stars forward would you like to see brought back? From the look of those lines, someone who can win a face off. Gagnon?

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While not Stars related, I enjoyed watching it so much last night I just can't leave it out:

The Anaheim Ducks couldn't stay out of the box on Monday. By the end of the night, all those penalty minutes had equated into the Toronto Maple Leafs' first win of the season.

Niklas Hagman scored three of the Leafs' five power-play goals and Tomas Kaberle tallied a goal and four assists with the extra man in a 6-3 victory at the Honda Center. Jonas Gustavsson returned from a groin injury to make 25 saves as Toronto ended an 0-7-1 skid that represented the worst start in franchise history.

This game was just loaded with stories that interest the Stars fan. Leafs fans across the net were praising Jonas Gustavsson, who got beat three times and had two ring off the post in the third period. We'll have more on him later. Then there's Hagman who tallied a hat-trick at the Honda Center in the win. And of course, the Ducks. I think we know the Ducks aren't really this bad, which is why it's nice to see them playing catch up. Because they will catch up.

Please check back tomorrow for full coverage of Stars/Maple Leafs.

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If you care about such things, there's the ESPN Power Rankings to consider:

Stars #14. Snubbed by Team Canada at its Olympic orientation camp this past summer, Brad Richards has roared out of the gates with 13 points (3-10) and a plus-5 rating in nine games.

Please, Brad Richards, don't play for Team Canada. You're going to need the rest. Rest that groin.

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