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Stargazing: Benn and Texas Stars Try to Close out Rockford Tonight

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If I had to guess, (and I do) I would wager that camp will start for next season sometime around September 10th. That's only 140 days away. 140 short, short days, right Stars fans? <insert heavy sigh here>

In the mean time, the off-season is setting in more and more each day as Stars related news items creep to a practically non-existent crawl. The first round is a wonderful distraction, but sometimes it just reminds how fun the party is and that we're not there to enjoy in the many agonies and triumphs. Besides, it looked like more fun after all the game 1's because they were upset-tastic. Now the better teams (and also San Jose) are emerging over the course of these 7 game series as they're supposed to.

There's Stars playoff action of a kind tonight, with Jamie Benn and The Texas Stars up three games to none on the Rockford Icehogs looking to close that series out. I'm excited that Benn is dominating and that the rest of those guys are getting such great experience, but I'd be a lot more excited if I could watch it in television.

Anyway, let's see what Stars related news items there are to dig up today, including a discussion of trading Mike Ribeiro...

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First, click over to D -Magazine for humorous take on Tom Hicks and his convoluted sale of the Texas Rangers

3. I will now attempt to summarize Tom Hicks’ decision-making process for the last few months: First, he was all, "Yay! I will sell the Rangers to these baseball hero people!" Then he was all, "Oh, wait, I wants some money!" Then he was like, "Oh noes, Monarch Alternative Capital, I kind of didn’t pick the highest bidder!" And then MAC says, "The hell you say, well, we don’t like this deal!" And then the MLB is like, "Oh, you will like this damned deal, and you will like it hard and long, because this is the deal we like, and we will dangle your body — dipped in chum — over piranha infested waters if you mess this deal up."

Though honestly, I don't know why we keep using Hicks' name. MLB has made it pretty clear that he's just a name sitting on the sidelines now. Baseball is in charge of this sale.

How would you like Gary Bettman doing the talking for the Stars at some point? Yikes.

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This is but part of a Mike Heika answer to the question of trading Mike Ribeiro:

I think the reason they might be open to moving a player like Mike Ribeiro is to open up salary that could be used on a defenseman. Bottom line, the team is deep at center and management believes it can better replace a player at that position. I believe they think that Jamie Benn, Tom Wandell or some of their other players (Toby Petersen maybe?) can pick up Ribeiro's points if given parts of his time on ice. Now, not one of those is going to become a 70- or 80-point guy, but the combined increase in minutes for those players can result in the lost points being made up by a group effort.

Please visit Mike's DMN blog for the rest.

Maybe some NHL CBA expert can tell us, but what exactly could you get for Mike Ribeiro? And by that I mean "how little?" If you're trying to spend that money elsewhere, then you want either a.) The defenseman that helps you or b.) Practically nothing (no salary) back so that you can spend the money somewhere else.

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Richard Durrett is doing his series on all the Stars players (I'm trying to save that over here for the truly boring doldrums of July/August) and tackles Nick Grossman:

Grossman got some time on the penalty kill, averaging 2:07 of shorthanded time per game. He's also a guy that isn't afraid to get into a scrap or two if necessary.

Grossman made steady improvement, figuring out better gap control and how to use his size to his advantage. The Stars expect him to continue to develop in those (and more) areas. He's not going to be a scoring defenseman. The Stars just want him to be a solid blue line player that can handle some of the top opposing players.

Check out ESPN Dallas for the rest.

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Check out Hundred Degree Hockey for a preview of tonight's Texas Stars Game 4 @ Rockford:

Could the Stars break out the brooms tonight and win their first ever playoff series in a sweep? It's possible. After a offensive thumping of six goals spearheaded by Jamie Benn (2-2-4), Rockford precariously on the edge of the end of their season. It's worth noting that every team with a 3-0 series lead in the NHL since the lockout has won the series.

Last gameday preview, I mentioned that through two games IceHogs goalie Corey Crawford was doing well (5 goals against). Wednesday's game did not go as well; Crawford was pulled after allowing 5 goals on 21 shots in two periods. Backup Hannu Toivonen started the third in relief and allowed one goal on the first of five shots in the period. Crawford still gets the start.

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Stephen has more at Hundred Degree Hockey.

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The Stars official web site ran a piece on Philip Larsen this week:

"I think it was very important," Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk said of the chance to view Larsen, as well as young winger Aaron Gagnon, at the NHL level before the end of the season. "To give those guys an opportunity and to show them we appreciate the steps they’ve made this year was terrific for them. And for those guys to be a part of that night, with the last (home) game against Anaheim, I think to have that experience is going to benefit them. Philip Larsen, he has attributes that I think we’re really excited about. He’s very quick, he’s quick to pucks, he moves pucks and his future looks pretty bright."

"I think he did a good job," added Swedish defenseman Nicklas Grossman. "I saw him in camp and thought he was an exciting player to watch and play with. He has some great skills and he’s still really young. I think it’s great they can do it like this. He played in Sweden and they (lost in the playoffs), but he can come over here and play here. It’s his first two NHL games and he was just pumped.

Many more quotes at stars.nhl.com

Could Larsen fill in some kind of hole created by sending someone (a D) away in a trade? Could the Stars field Robidas/Grossman/Fistric/**New Mystery Man**/Skrastins/Larsen. Whoops. Did I just trade Trevor Daley?