"The reports of the Wizard's demise have been greatly exaggerated." So said Ralph Strangis as veteran Ray Whitney emphatically ended his scoring drought with two tallies last night, both of them leveling the score after the Stars had fallen behind by a goal.
It was a player on the opposite end of his career arc though who made the biggest play of the game. On a night when listening to the radio broadcast had me oft wondering whether it was a Texas or a Dallas Stars game being broadcast, it was one of those new, still unfamiliar, faces who provided the 'shout out loud can't believe this is happening nearly drive off the road' moment of the game. Colton Sceviour would appear to not miss when given a breakaway opportunity. Small sample size be damned, somebody make sure this kid is one of our shooters next time the Stars go past overtime.
And speaking of new faces, the Stars defense saw yet another debut as Cameron Gaunce joined Kevin Connauton on the blueline, a partnership renewed from the end of last year, when the two played the same role with the Texas Stars. Fittingly enough, Gaunce's only prior NHL experience came with the Avalanche. Only 11 games though, and that came a couple seasons ago. Understandably, last night would appear to have felt like starting all over again.
"I hate to admit it, but I was a bit nervous. I thought the nerves would go away, but I can admit that. I was very happy with my gap, I was happy with how I defended. I thought Connauton and I played well in our zone tonight. When we did have a miscue or two, we were able to battle and get it out of the zone. Overall, I was happy with it." [Stars Inside Edge]
The young Stars defense must have been doing something right last night, as they limited the Avalanche to half the shots they managed on Monday night. But the trial by fire continues. The ups and downs that have been the story of the season. Happily though, for today anyway, the Stars are on the up.
Enjoy the ride.
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And if you really want to experience the emotions of such players as Whitney and Sceviour, or kind of anyway, there are these handy dandy quotes. [Sports Day DFW]
Aren't you glad you're a devoted follower of Defending Big D and not some other team's blog, and thus are spared reading drivel like this? [Mile High Hockey]
'Tis the season for, among other things, ugly sweaters. Imagine if the NHL joined the festivities... [Hockey by Design]
And lastly, there's this. It may be a few years away yet, but start preparing yourselves for the Stars' version of the Sedin twins.
Thank you for everyone's kind words and support. We couldn't be more excited. Especially after hearing two heart beats..!!— Mike Modano (@9modano) December 17, 2013