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Giving (Canadian) Thanks

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Today is Thanksgiving up here in the great white north eh? I'm not sure why our day comes a full month before the American version of it, but outside of the date there really isn't much of a difference between our Thanksgiving and the American version. We still fill ourselves with turkey and stuffing, we have football on the TV pretty much all day (go Stampeders!) and we count the blessings we have in our life.

This includes the Dallas Stars. We have more to be thankful for at this point that you might think.

I'm thankful for James Neal and Jamie Benn for showing that not only do they represent a great future for Stars hockey, but that the future may be now! In the first four games together they have four goals and three assists for seven points. The Blackhawks Patrick Kane and Jonathan Towes in the same time have only two goals, three assists for five points. So you tell me which team has the dynamic young star duo! (Ok I know this is a stretch, but let me roll with it for now while we can ok?)

I'm thankful for the Stars penalty kill.  Yes, the 9 out of 16 for a pathetic 52.6 percent rating for nearly dead last in the league abomination that it is now. I'm thankful that there is no place to go but up and no more room but for improvement, right coach Crawford?  I mean it can't get worse at this point and I'm pretty sure "stand still in front of your goalie and hope it hits you" wasn't the PK strategy you planed on going with this season.

I'm thankful we don't have Sean Avery on our team. I know this is kind of beating an almost year old dead horse, but this is the first Thanksgiving we have that I get to give thanks about it.

I'm thankful for Karlis Skrastins who's shot block total is already in double digits (11). Last time we had such a solid and dedicated shot blocker like him was Richard Matvichuk and he last played for the Stars in 2004. He may turn out to be the best pickup the Stars made this past summer.

I'm thankful for Alex Auld who right now is the best pickup the Stars made this past summer.  I'm not thankful for the goalie controversies it might cause down the road (or even later this week should Turco stumble against Nashville or Boston) and the subsequent fan debates it will spur, but still it's nice to have an actual option in goal now instead of "Turco or bust"

I'm thankful the Calgary Flames started Curtis McElhinney. As a Stars fan that had to deal with Tobias Stephan last season, I think we can relate to the Flames backup woes.

I'm thankful for the shootout. I know right now this is a sore spot for Stars fans, but lets be honest here: I don't recall seeing this much complaining back when this thing started and the Stars had a lineup of Zubov, Jokinen and we-don't-need-no-stinkin-third-shooter. That said though, maybe coach Crawford needs to rethink the shootout stategy based on last night because that whole "go in at mach five" thing Brad Richards has isn't working and dare I say it, but it looks like Mike Ribiero has ran out of deke ideas.  Hey last night playing EA's NHL10 I scored an awesome penalty shot goal with the captain, so he must be great in these things... right?

I'm thankful that NHL rumor mongering sites and so called "insiders" are more hype and flash than actual news and facts and lest you doubt me, read this single Twitter tweet and then try to say with a straight face that these insiders aren't just pulling random rumors out of their rears.

Lastly I'm thankful for the 1-0-3 record. I know it's not the most ideal record to have, but note that zero in the regulation loss column.  If you came to me before the start of the season and said the Stars will get points out of their first four games and earn four of a possible six points on the western Canadian road swing... I would have taken that gladly wouldn't you?