Stargazing: Stanley Cup Finals Begin This Weekend

104 days remaining until the (likely) start of Dallas Stars training camp. Yes, I am counting them. Remember in elementary school how they would have you make a construction paper chain of little loops and then you could take one off every day until Christmas? I haven't ruled it out.

In the mean time, things are finally getting difficult out here for hockey fans in general. We'll have gone 5 days between hockey broadcasts tomorrow when the SCF's get cranked up, and we have to wait all the way until June 3rd for some mysterious reason for the Texas Stars to resume play. And of course soon, there will be no hockey at all. (Why don't they play the World Championship in July? I might actually pay a little attention of out pure desperation...)

The well is near empty where Dallas Stars news is concerned, but we'll scrape up what we can today heading into the weekend. As June gets going, we're going to fill the time with player report cards and the like, and get you ready for the draft on the 25th.

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Let's get started with those Modano quotes from The Ticket yesterday:

"Physically, I feel fine," Modano said. "I think it's the mental part now. It's just the motivation, the work that you have to put into it, the preparation and things that go on in the summer time, so once you make that decision, then you know you have to stick through it. You don't want to just half-ass it or whatever, so you want to go in there and be an impact guy and not be a liability when you come back and be committed to it throughout the whole season."

I think he's trying to talk himself into it, personally. If he likes what he sees on August 1st, he might just be able to. What say you?

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If you're a fan of the great Mike Heika, you can head over to Versus.com for a cool piece on the late Bill Wurtz's son in Chicago...

Just as impressive, the cavernous United Center that once seemed like it was far too big for hockey is starting to get that cozy feeling of Chicago Stadium again. The National Anthem there may be the single greatest experience a sports fan could enjoy in 2010, and the city is buzzing with hockey talk. Credit Quenneville, credit Bowman and Bowman, credit McDonough and one of the hardest working PR staffs in hockey.

But mostly credit Rocky Wirtz.

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John Tranchina (Dallasstars.com) was in Cedar Park last weekend when I was and he got some Ray Sawada qutoes and wrote a nice story...

"I just try to do what I have to do to get up to Dallas, which is being physical, playing good defensive hockey and trying to get the puck to the guys who score goals," said Sawada, who was called up three different times this season to the big club, seeing action in five NHL games. "I think I ended off the year pretty good. I had a solid start to the playoffs and I just hope I can keep playing that same way for at least a couple of weeks."

"It’s been huge," Sawada said of the Texas Stars’ run so far. "I’m not sure how big the expectations were from anybody, but the team is playing great so far, the goaltending has been awesome, and of course, having Jamie Benn get sent down here has been a huge impact. I think everybody’s really happy with our progress so far, but we’re here now, so we’re just looking to go to the Finals."

Sawada played with the Moose last year when they faced Hershey in the Calder Cup Final, so he knows what a daunting task this is for the Texas Stars.

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Pro Hockey Talk (via TSN) says the Winter Classic is about to get an addition....

Rumors were swirling about next year's outdoor games for quite some time, but now it's just about official. There will be two during the 2009-10 season. The first will take the traditional Winter Classic spot on New Year's Day 2011 and will feature a bout between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals at Heinz Field. Canada will receive a second outdoor game, with the Montreal Canadiens visiting the Calgary Flames at McMahon Stadium sometime in February.

I'm surprised it took them this long for Sid/Ovi.

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Speaking of Ovi, Razor had some pretty unkind words for him in his latest blog, along with a plethora of other nuggets...

Dave Tippett...can't beat Mike Babcock

Alex Ovechkin...is a one trick pony and a big game gagger.

Goaltending...isn't as important as it used to be, unless your goalies name is Nabokov.

Flyer fans...could intimidate a Hun.

Habs fans...intimidate officials

Hawks fans...intimidate their young players.

Sharks fans...deserve better results

And he has much, much more...

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The AHL Finals Schedule:

Game 1 – Thu., June 3 – Texas at Hershey, 6:00 pm
Game 2 – Sat., June 5 – Texas at Hershey, 6:00 pm
Game 3 – Mon., June 7 – Hershey at Texas, 7:30 pm
Game 4 – Wed., June 9 – Hershey at Texas, 7:30 pm
*Game 5 – Fri., June 11 – Hershey at Texas, 7:30 pm
*Game 6 – Mon., June 14 – Texas at Hershey, 6:00 pm
*Game 7 – Wed., June 16 – Texas at Hershey, 6:00 pm

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