It's been 21 years since Mike Modano's 50-goal season, which is basically an eternity in hockey. Any time someone mentions that season, the natural thing to do is speculate on when we'll see another one. It's been touted that it could well be sooner rather than later, especially with garçons Hemsky and Benn serving dish after delectable dish to the magnificent stick of Tyler Seguin. You know all this. 14 and 91 potted about 30% of the team's goals last season (which is a lot!), and the expectation is for them to continue hitting the 25-30% mark or better even with the additions of more depth scoring in Giggles and whatever Hemsky's nickname turns out to be. Personally, I recommend "Gesundheit," just because "alesh!" is the sound a really annoying cubicle neighbor of mine used to make when they sneezed. The Stars do not usually ask me for nickname suggestions.
What we tend to forget about, though, is that 70% difference. In fact, I want to look at a subset even of that chunk. So, let's focus on those particularly adorable players who scored only a single goal over the course of the whole season. How special must that feeling be when that first goal of the year finally goes in? Probably Very, unless you're Scott Gomez or Alex Burrows, and you realize that you're only permitted Visible Relief upon your long-awaited first tally of the season. Even if you are neither of these guys--and you probably are not--it's still a special occasion when you witness that fluke goal, especially when it is significant for the team as well as yourself. For instance, Matt Fraser only scored one goal in the playoffs for Boston, but it was kind of a big one.
So let's honor those gritty, dirty, blue-collar, nose-to-the-grindstone, [five more clichés] players who managed to get on the score sheet without realizing they would never do so again that year. Here's to you, blissfully unaware players!
We'll just do 2009 through this season for now, as that amount of video clips is already pushing my luck. Ray Sawada only scored one goal back in the 2008-2009 season, in case you're interested.
2013-2014: Kevin Connauton, Dec. 16, 2013
Connauton has a great slapshot, which has yet to produce a goal. He is also a great skater, and that did produce a goal this time. So far, it is his only one.
This one was cool for a few reasons. First, it was special because it was KC's first NHL goal. Second, it was scored from like three feet away, which is usually not where defensemen are, on account of the opponent's goal being about the least eponymous place a defenseman could be. Third, Connauton, despite being a pretty good get for the rather lioness-like face of Derek Roy (seriously, just think about it) has yet to really push his way into the lineup, and one wonders how much of a chance he'll really get for goal #2 with so many other young blueliners knocking on the door. An easier way to summarize this is: when you are scratched in favor of Aaron Rome, it is hard to classify your future as bright.
2012-2013: Matt Fraser, Feb. 25, 2013
We had four goals to choose from on this one: Wandell, Fraser, Benn (guess which one) and Robidas.
Robidas scored with a run-of-the-mill slapshot through traffic, and that is mundane, although I guess not as much this time, since it only happened once that whole year.
Wandell scored on a decent but expected finish off an odd-man rush, nothing too elaborate on his part. He was fast when he was healthy.
Jordie Benn scored his first NHL goal also from down low, but on a powerplay rebound in which he was apparently trying to stop Erik Cole from shooting. See? This is the definition of poaching a goal, I think.
No, instead I went with Fraser, who also scored his first NHL goal, and on NBC, no less. It is a nice one, pounded in from the slot on a feed from behind the net. What is remarkable about this one is that I am now remembering all about how 2012-2013 was the season in which the Stars had like fourteen different players record their first NHL goal before Reilly Smith finally did. Maybe that was the goal that convinced Vancouver to start shopping Schneider, because it was a bad goal. Reilly Smith would not agree.
Yep, really. Somehow Phillip Larsen scored three goals, and a lot of guys scored two, but there were no players with a single biscuit this year. Also of note: Jake Dowell scored twice and played in 52 games that year, and I think this must have been that one weird season when Reilly Smith's professional clock was started just so he could play in a few ultimately meaningless games at the end of the year. Sorry about that, Boston. Not!
You can go watch the top 5 goals from that season, if you want. They are good, but they are not why we are here. Onward!
2010-2011: Tomas Vincour, Mar. 9, 2011
(about the 2:30 mark)
Nicklas Grossman also scored a single goal that season, but I chose Vincour's goal because that was nowhere near my favorite Grossman goal of all time.
Vincour's goal displays his main asset, which was a pretty good-sized frame. We also see yet another bungling goaltender, which makes me suspect that when a player scores only one goal all year, it is because it takes something of a breakdown by the other team to allow their inferior skills to prevail. In this case, it was especially poorly-timed on Calgary's part, as it allowed Dallas to complete a comeback after being down 0-3 in the first period. The Stars would eventually lose in the shootout, but you can at least say not untruthfully that Vincour helped the Stars to earn a point in the standings than they otherwise would not have, and that is not unimportant.
Vincour's other good asset was his ability to get traded to Colorado for Cameron Gaunce, who has scored zero goals ever, but is still with the Stars, while Vincour has only played in two games with the Avs. (It's almost like Colorado has a large quantity of good forwards or something.) Maybe Cameron will be on this list next year, but probably, we should hope that enough Dallas defensemen stay healthy so as not to allow that to happen.
2009-2010: Mark Fistric, Oct. 22, 2009
We'll end with my favorite. You can skip to the 6:00 mark to see Mark's goal, but come on -- you want to see these highlights. Benn with a wicked wrister during his rookie season, Kopitar with a hat trick that failed to keep the Stars from tying it up later on, and Neal with a for-some-reason-reviewed goal to tie it up late and send it to OT. I don't remember what happened after that. Perhaps Dallas won. It was a long time ago!
I was at this game, and it was one of the few times I actually felt confident that the Stars were going to come back against the Kings. Fistric's goal is, out of context, unremarkable, just a routine slapper with traffic that somehow found its way past Quick. In context, though, it was awesome. Seeing the most prototypical defensive-defenseman of all defensive-defensemen score goal #3 on that night to suddenly strip all cockiness from the building was the literal best. Fistric may be struggling to stay in the NHL these days, but I'll always remember his lone contribution that year with fondness.
It was about time Staples Center fans saw their own big lead evaporate in the third period as they watched helplessly.
(Note: Warren Peters scored one goal that year, doing so on a deflection from a Robidas point shot, but I was perfectly happy not to have to remember Warren Peters' name, so you can go watch that one yourself. Tom Wandell GWG included! Plus it took me looking at Peters' scoring log from 2009-2010 just to narrow down the video clip for when he did it, and I was too annoyed at how long I had spent looking at his name to even think of embedding a video of that goal.)
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Here are your links, as requested.
Here's an interesting writeup on the Stars' connections with the WHL, although it may be a bit early to start making comparisons to Detroit's scouting of Sweden and Russia. [The Hockey Writers]
Tyler Seguin may not have won the ping pong tournament at Smashfest, but he did win some signed Jose Bautista paraphernalia. Is it really "winning" if you pay $2,000 for it, though? [SportsNet]
Although it's only been a couple of years since the last scrimmage between Dallas and Texas, the forward roster from that game makes it look like eons ago. Only one of the 12 forwards in that lineup is still with the organization. Wow. [Hundred Degree Hockey]
Good-bye, Michael Neal. Who would have guessed back few years that it would be not James's little brother, but Jamie's older hermano who would eventually join him with the big-league club? [ECHL]
In a continued misuse of "Moneyball" as a synonym for "advanced statistics," here's a bit about how far teams have come in implementing advanced statistical analysis around the league. This is more surprising for the teams that aren't emphasizing these tactics than for those who are, in my opinion. [Columbus Dispatch]
Dallas fans can surely sympathize with the difficulties keeping the ice quality high in a warm climate. Arizona may have the toughest challenge of all, though. [Puck Daddy]
Did the Sharks miss their chance to trade Niemi? Find out, watch the video, and see if you can stop staring at Doug Wilson's hair. You could run a bowling tournament on that thing. [CSN Bay Area]
Puck Daddy also hops on the "Hey, Loui Eriksson can play hockey pretty well when not subjected to brain trauma" train. [Puck Daddy]
Evan Sporer wonders how successful NHL teams can be when paying big money to two star players. This sounds like it could be a real problem for teams paying inferior players millions more than Dallas will to Benn and Seguin for the next few years. All the same, I think we would all love it if our duo ends up making it onto this list in a few years. [SB Nation]
Not hockey-related, but here is the latest installment in the dismal ineptitude that is the Colorado Rockies: they handed out 15,000 free Troy Tulowitzki jerseys at a game this week. The problem? They misspelled his name. Hoo boy. [Purple Row]
Finally, here is a mystery I would like to solve. How does TSN compile a Top 10 Hockey Goalie Bloopers list and omit my favorite of all time? 6:40 mark below is what I am talking about. (As if you'll really be able to resist watching the entire clip.)