Stargazing: Dallas Stars Remain Unbeaten, Red Wings Call Fistric Hit "Dirty"

DALLAS - OCTOBER 14: Goaltender Kari Lehtonen #32 of the Dallas Stars makes a save in front of Tomas Holmstrom #96 of the Detroit Red Wings at American Airlines Center on October 14 2010 in Dallas Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

For nearly two years now we've been saying to ourselves over and over "if only the Stars could find a way to win three in a row, then things might get turned around." The lack of an ability to get on any sort of roll the past two seasons has been a prime example of the team's overall inconsistency and the main reason why this team has failed to make the postseason since 2008.

Yet just three games into the season, the Dallas Stars are 3-0-0 and are playing with more confidence as each game progresses. There's still some concerns that need to be addressed -- this team is far from perfect -- but the Stars are proving that if they just play together and every player on the ice puts forth maximum effort, then anything is possible. It also helps to have a world class goaltender in net who is providing more stable netminding than the Stars have had in a long time. The Stars are once again confident in their goalie and it's showing in how they play the game.

Today in Stargazing, we take a look at Mike Modano's return to Dallas and how the Red Wings feel they were the recipient of a "cheap shot" by Mark Fistric.

  • Jean-Jacques Taylor of the DMN was at the game last night and remarks how odd it is to see Mike Modano wearing red.
    He also says that other than Emmitt Smith, the Dallas area has been lucky in not having to see their beloved franchise players go elsewhere, which makes Modano's departure so painful to see. [DMN]
  • The Detroit Free Press covers the salute the home crowd gave #90, with Modano saying, "It's great to be back and see a lot of familiar faces and people." [Freep.com]
  • SBN's Winging It In Motown was impressed by the reception Modano received, although I doubt anyone was expecting to hear any boos from the crowd. They also cover how the Red Wings had one of the worst games in recent memory and the Stars capitalized on mistakes made by Nicklas Lidstrom and Niklas Kronwall. [WIIM]
  • Mark Stepneski gives his thoughts on the big win, saying that once again special teams were the big story. [ESPN Dallas]
  • Mike Heika says that Mike Modano will always been remembered fondly, yet it's Kari Lehtonen who truly represents a bright future for the Stars [DMN]

Notes on the game, courtesy of the Dallas Stars:

- With the victory tonight, the Stars have won three games in a row for the first time since January of 2009. Dallas won five straight games from 1/21/09 (4-1 W at Florida) to 2/3/09 (3-1 W vs. Calgary). The third victory in the five game wining streak was a 4-2 win at Detroit.

- The Stars are 9-0-3 in their last 12 home opening games.

- Dallas has won the last three games against Detroit and beat the Red Wings for the sixth consecutive time at American Airlines Center, the longest home winning streak against the Red Wings since taking four straight from 1990-91.

- The Stars are 7-2-0 against Detroit since the 2008-09 season.

-Brad Richards recorded two assists and one goal (1-2-3) and is now tied for the team-lead with 5 assists for the season. Over the last five games against Detroit, he has six assists and two goals (2-6-8). Richards has recorded multiple points in every game this season.

-Brenden Morrow added his fourth goal of the season tonight (1-0-1) and leads the team in goals.

-James Neal earned his first multiple point game along with his first goal of the season tonight against Detroit. (1-1-2)

-Mike Ribeiro added two assists and is now tied with Richards for the team-lead with 5 assists on the season (0-2-2). Ribeiro also has four assists in the last two games.

-Kari Lehtonen picked up his third win of the season. Lehtonen has stopped 95 of 103 shots this season (.922 SV%, 2.58 GAA) and is currently tied with Michal Neuvirth (Washington) for the most wins by a goalie in the 2010-11 season.

Finally, some controversy. Supposedly. Although it seems the only ones interested in creating the controversy is the Detroit Red Wings.

Early in the game Mark Fistric checked Johan Franzen with what appeared to be a relatively normal shoulder check. Franzen was turning into the check as it was made and appeared to duck his head down; he was sent flying back into the boards and left the game with what he himself is calling a concussion.

Anyone watching the game and who has watched the replay should see a shoulder that makes contact with Franzen's jaw. The Red Wings don't see it that way. Per Mlive.com:

Franzen said he believes Fistric should be suspended for cracking him in the nose with his elbow at 12:31 of the first period.

"Probably (he should be suspended), yeah, that’s the rules,’’ Franzen said. "It’s an elbow to the head.’’

Franzen was more candid, talking to the Detroit Free Press:

"He threw his elbow out there and hit me in the face," Franzen said. "It was right in the face, nose, jaw."

Mark Stepneski has more:

"I thought the hit on Franzen was an elbow, but the beauty of my situation, unlike the referees on the ice, I have video, so I get to look at it," Babcock told the Free Press. "The league deals with that stuff, not me."

Here's video of the play:

It's an unfortunate hit and you never like to see someone go down with a head injury. Yet this is as far from a "dirty hit" as you can get and I just don't see how anyone can determine an elbow was involved. I hope we don't hear about any suspension talk out of this, even with the NHL's crackdown on hits to the head.

What are your thoughts?

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