It feels like a milestone kind of day today doesn't it? Tonight Marc Crawford will be the head coach for his 1,000th NHL game. James Neal will also be playing in his 100th game tonight was well. And it just so happens this is the very first Stargazing that yours truly is providing to the world and truth be told I'm more worried about screwing this up than I was about poking fun at Bryan Hayward to Brent Severyn last night during Defending Big D Live. (Honestly, I actually do like Hayward as a color guy when he's not doing it for the Ducks). So bear with me today as I take a wonderful feature here on DBD that Brad and Brandon W have done such a great job with and try not to burn it into the ground.
Speaking of Mr. Severyn, I don't know how it was for you fine folks that have had a chance to listen to it live or even on-demand as it is now, but for us that got to talk to him it was a joy to hear from someone who has been through the battles of NHL life and relay some stories and insight into what it's like to be a player in the National Hockey League. Such a great, laid back and funny personality... A very easy guy to talk to and I hope he joins us again in the future!
I know Mr. Severyn expressed some regret that Brandon B. and myself didn't have much speaking time, honestly I didn't mind one bit. I could listen to players tell stories about life in the NHL and what it's like in a dressing room. His insights into the Dallas Stars were also great and any doubts I had in this Stars club to compete all season faded with Brent's observations.
We as Stars fans should feel good about this team, this franchise and the people who run it. I know I am.
Today in Stargazing: Tonight's starter in net revealed, Modano still has Olympic dreams, Richards is embracing a mentor role with the team, coach Crawford has mellowed with time... a little bit, Razor Reaugh brings his hockey masks for a little show-n-tell, we find out that the Florida Panthers also worry themselves with a slow start to the season, and while I still can I take one final shot at the sad-sack Toronto Maple Leafs because it's what us Western Canadians do.
With the Stars playing back-to-back tonight and tomorrow, Alexander Auld is your starting goalie tonight as Mark Stepneski from Andrew's reports from this morning's game day skate and it most likely has to do with the fact that it's either now or not for a while for Alex to get a start at home:
"He hasn’t played a home game yet," said Crawford. "I talked to Marty and told him it didn’t look like we’d have another opportunity to play Alex at home based on what we’ve looked at for scheduling of goaltenders. I think it’s important that we just don’t play Alex on the road. Sometimes it’s nice to hear a cheer when you do something well and hopefully he has a great performance tonight.
Mike Heika has a great feature on Mike Modano and his aspirations on making the U.S. Olympic team and the battle he faces making it with his ongoing rib injury.
"It probably doesn't help things," Modano said when asked about the Olympics. "You wanted to have a strong start to the season and have a good two, three months. But we'll see what happens when I get back. If I feel good and healthy, maybe I can put a couple of months together that are strong."
Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com talks about the bond that is forming between the veteran Brad Richards and the young gun James Neal both on the ice and off it where Neal is still living with Richards. Richards it seems is really embracing his role as one of the Stars leaders:
Richards has taken the role of mentor to Neal seriously. In addition to real estate agent, Richards acts as big brother, assistant coach, personal trainer, nutritionist and accountant.
"He's big on saving money," Neal said. "He's on me about that and to pay my rent checks. I try to get on him and act like the big brother, but he's pretty stubborn. It doesn't work. I'm just the little brother."
Mr. Heika profiles coach Crawford's stay in Dallas so far and finds out that his past experiences not only as coach but as an analyst for CBC's Hockey Night In Canada last year, has helped him gain some perspective on his style of coaching and made him better for it:
"As much as it was difficult, I do believe my experiences with the Kings and my year in television made me a better coach," Crawford said. "I think it just gives you perspective."
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Jacques Plante wearing the first ever goaltender's mask in an NHL game, Razor fondly(?) recalls the moment he threw on a mask and then shows off some his different looks over the years:
From then on I tended the aluminum framed net full of holes on the streets of PG with fearless defiance. I wish you could have seen me, MFG - I was good!
Over on the Florida Panthers side of things, Pete Pelegrin and George Richards of The Miami Herald examine the Cats' history of slow starts and how it has compounded issues for the team this season:
"Hockey is a very interesting sport,'' defenseman Jordan Leopold said. "It's a game of mistakes, as probably every sport is, you try to limit those mistakes and they have gotten the best of us for the first 10 games of the season. Obviously, you look at the positives and try to take positives from it, but also we have to look at the negative, too, and figure out why we are giving up opportunities when we are.''
And lastly today as I have mentioned on here, Maple Leafs propaganda flies around us Canadians about as much as snow flakes do, so it's unfortunate that this offer isn't really real and is instead a work by Canadian comedian Rick mercer on his show - aptly titled - The Rick Mercer Report: