StarGazing: Monday Edition

In this edition of StarGazing, the Dallas Stars have signed their number one goaltending prospect to a three year entry level deal, fan favourite Stu Barnes never gave coming out of retirement a second thought and one of the greatest playoff series of all-time is going to a seventh game plus much more.

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There is no question that Marty Turco is going to play forever.  Many Stars fans would absolutely love to have "Turks" around for as long as he is able to play.  I have a feeling though that Dallas fans will be able to breath easier knowing the talent that they have waiting to make the jump to NHL.  We have already seen the potential that Matt Climie has at being a number one golaie, but the casual Stars fan may not be familiar with Richard Bachman. 

"I looked at it, it’s kind of been in the back of my head for a little bit now and I just felt like the timing, it’s the right time for me to leave," Bachman said of his thought process. "I’ve kind of seen a lot of different stuff at the college level and felt like it was a good time for me to get out of there and make that next step into the pro game and start seeing some pro hockey with the different level of play and in the situation here, it felt like a good time for me."

Dallas Stars co-GM had this to say about Bachman's decision to leave Colorado College after his sophmore season.

"I left school after my sophomore year as well," noted Stars co-General Manager Brett Hull, who attended Minnesota-Duluth before turning pro with Calgary in 1986, "and I think it’s just, as a player, you get to a level where you have to keep going, and some people don’t need the four years of college. I think he is one of those guys. He wants to play in the NHL and the best way to do that is to go on and start playing with better competition at the pro level.

No matter where he begins his pro career, Bachman, who was recently ranked as the organization’s top goalie prospect by The Hockey News, looks destined to wind up in Dallas at some point and the journey starts now.

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Many Dallas Stars fans did not hide their feelings that they wanted Stu Barnes to return to the team this past season.  But if you ask him, he is enjoying life after hockey.

"It wasn't even a consideration,'' Barnes was saying the other day.

There is no doubt that Barnes had many options as his playing days came to a close, but decided that he enjoyed coaching so much, he wanted to stick with coaching.

After considering his options over the summer, he signed a two-year deal to join the Dallas coaching staff in late August of 2008. He and his family enjoy living in Plano, and Barnes felt he absorbed enough about the coaching business during his first year to merit a second season.

"For me it was just learning,'' Barnes said. "If I helped some players a little, who knows. The fortunate thing is we've got a good group of coaches and players who helped along the way. Hopefully I'll be better at what I do.''

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Wow.  That is absolutely the only that comes to mind when talking about tonight's game 6 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.  This game had absolutely anything and everything a hockey fan could ask for, including heading to a game seven that will be played on Wednesday evening at 7pm EST/6pm CST.

The play that sent it a decisive game seven was nothing short of an absolutely perfect tip by David Steckel.

"I told myself if I had a chance again, I wouldn't miss," Steckel said. "I was in the right place at the right time. I personally didn't know where it went or anything. ... It was the biggest goal of my career so I didn't know what to do. I just jumped around."

I think the biggest key to this win was that the Capitals got scoring from some unexpected sources.  Big Viktor Kozlov netted a pair, Brooks Leich scored on the PP and of course you know about David Steckel.

"It just so happens that Alex (Ovechkin) is so dominant and so good that we all talk about Alex, but that line of Stecks, Laich and Bradley were great all night," Boudreau said. "Kozzy getting two big goals and Varlamov standing as tall as any 21-year-old can stand."

"It's always fun when Ovie scores, but it's hard because the other team pays a lot of attention and is very close to Ovie, so it's a good thing other people give us goals," Kozlov said.

Oh yeah.  That 21 year old goalie has been playing pretty well too.

"They wanted not to make a game of it," Boudreau said. "I think they just wanted to come in and blow us out."

If you aren't watching game 7 on Wednesday night...well, you just better watch because this is going to be a once in a lifetime game.

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Well ladies and gentleman, we have our first conference finalist.  The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks 7-5 tonight to eliminate them from the Stanley Cup playoffs tonight.  It is the first time that the Blackhawks have advanced to the conference finals since 1995.

Another historic event also took place on Monday night in Chicago.  Patrick Kane became the first Blackhawks player to score a hat trick since Gary Suter on April 24, 1994.

Whoever they face in the next round better be ready for a dog fight.  How sweet would it be to have a Wings Vs. Hawks Western conference final after the two teams met on New Year's Day at Wrigley Field?  We will find out tomorrow night as the Wings play host to the Ducks tomorrow night at The Joe.

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