The Dallas Stars playoff hopes took a huge hit last week as they went 0-3 on their 3 game road trip with loses to Vancouver, Calgary and San Jose last week. What makes this fustrating is that these arenas that the Stars usually play well reguardless of the result and that didn't even happen last week.
First in Vancouver, the Stars went into the 1st intermission tied at 1-1 and then the Cancucks just went on a shooting barage, even though the 2nd period shots were only 9-6, but the chances they had were of high quality and were peppering Marty Turco and were down 3-1. The 3rd period brought some hope about 8 minutes in when Steve Ott scored his 16th of the year and then it looked like they could get a point of this game then with 5 minutes, an unlikey game winner from Steve Bernier from 2 other unlikey scoreers Mason Raymond and Kevin Bieksa which just put the teams efforts to wast basically, even though the total shots on goal were 26-25, the quality of the Vancouver Shots were very noticable and their effort on special teams made a huge difference in the game.
The Next night, the Stars made the short trip to Calgary where the Flames are in a battle with Vancouver for the Northwest Division title. The Stars looked better than in Vancouver which includes opening the scoring early in the 2nd period as Bredan Morrison just over a minute into the 2nd period, however only 3 minutes later with Jamie Lundmark's goal. After that, the game went into a defensive struggle as both teams seemed to be afraid to lose then go for the win as both teams needed the win for much different reasons. Going into the 3rd period contuined to be a defenseive struggle untill Eric Nystrom scored the game winner to make it 2-1. Later then in the 3rd period where the Stars seemed to have just no life at all and where they only got 19 shots on goal for the entire game and had a hard time exucting on just about any kind of play at all. I'm just about ready to declare the Stars playoff chances dead in the water, (more on that in a little bit.) because they have a lack luster roster that's banged up and some of the guys probally shouldn't be playing for the Stars right now.
Just on Sunday, the Stars have called up C Tom Wandell from the Sweden Elite League team IK Timira, usually you call up someone from North America, he's been good for Timira, but it takes a long time to get used to the NA Game from Europe.
This week, the Stars have a reletivy favorable schedule this week with a 3 game home stand against the Vancouver Canucks tommorow night, the Los Angeles Kings comming up on Thursday and then the Florida Panthers on Saturday. Vancouver is defently going to be the toughest matchup while the Kings are pretty much out of the playoff race and the Panthers are fighting it out to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. If the Stars don't win at least 2 of the 3 games this week, i'm declaring the Stars playoff hopes dead, espically if they don't get a win either against the Kings or Panthers. After this week, 5 of the final 7 games will be on the road and it dosen't matter the oppenents it's always tough to win on the road and the way they are falling like a rock, currently the Stars are in 12th in the Western Conference, but they are only 3 points out of 8th. However, with the way they are playing, nothing is going to help them out.
If I were coach Tippett, this would be my last major rush and if it dosen't work out this week, it will probally be time to give up on the season and let the injured players just focus on their treatment and focus on working for pontential players and line ups for next year. Their is one clear moment that broke the back of this team and that was in Early March when Brad Richards went out. With how imporant he is, espically on special teams the bite has been taken out of the PP and we don't a dangerous point man to get dangerous shots off on opposing goalies. As for the goaltender sitaution, Marty Turco will probally half to play ever game for the rest of the season. Comming up over the off season, back up goalie needs to be a poritiy, because Tobais Stephen is not only a less then average goaltender but he gives up big rebounds that lead to goals that could make the difference in games. Stephen needs to go come season's end.
This is a year that Stars Fans and the media need to give the team a pass because of all the injures and the Sean Averey fiasco in the early part of the year. Anyone who dosen't is a fool, because this team would probally be in a firece battle for at least the Division title, and possibly home ice in the West. No one should be fired because of what's going on and I think that owner Tom Hicks is smart enough to realize what happen and that this is a team that can have a great shot of getting back to Stanley Cup Contention this season. This team was very criticlised during the 5 year playoff drought in which they were outsted in the 1st round playoffs 3 times in a row, but this is a year that no one could have predicited with the off the ice news that happen. Reading the Injury reports at time just became such tired head and became soo bored with.
Central Hockey League Playoffs Kick off Tonight.
In just a little while from now, this year's Central Hockey League Playoffs will get underway with the Conference Play In Round. The Southern Conference should be refereed as the Texas Conference, because back on Saturday night, the Corpus Christi Icerayz clinched the final playoff spot with a shootout win over the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs 3-2 with goals comming from Justin Quenneville and Mark Tobin in the 2nd period. Then in the shootout, goals from Jereme Tendler and John Adams scored to win the shootout 2-1 to win the game and clinch the final playoff spot. Tonight, the Southern Conference Play In will have Southeast Division showdown as the RG Valley Killer Bees against the Corpus Christi Icerayz. In the Northern Confernce, the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs will take on the northwest Division runner up Rocky Mountain Rage.
With so many teams from the Southwest in the playoffs, this should provide the region a great oppurnity to play for a championship and hopefully some great traveling fan bases, espically in the South Division with every team from Texas in the playoffs. We will have some great matchups regaurdless of the teams comming up throughout April and May on our road to crown a Preisdents Cup Champion.
Here's the schedule and Previews from the Central Hockey League Website.
Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs VS. Rocky Mountain Rage
3/23, Game 1, Bossier-Shreveport @ Rocky Mountain
3/25, Game 2, Rocky Mountain @ Bossier-Shreveport
3/26, Game 3, Rocky Mountain @ Bossier-Shreveport*
The Winner will take on the Colorado Eagles in the Conference Semifinals. The other semifinal will have the Mississippi Riverkings VS. Oklahoma City Blazers
RG Valley Killer Bees VS. Corpus Christi Icerayz
3/23, Game 1, RG Valley Killer Bees @ Corpus Christi Icerayz
3/25, Game 2, Corpus Christi Icerayz @ RG Valley Killer Bees
3/26, Game 3, Corpus Christi Icerayz @ RG Valley Killer Bees*
The Winner will take on the Texas Brahmas. The other semifinal will be between the Odessa Jackalopes and the Laredo Bucks.
My Predicitions for the Central Hockey League Playoffs this season.
Play In Round
Bossier-Shreveport over Rocky Mountain in 2
Corpus Christi over RG Valley in 3
For Bossier-Shreveport, the competivies of the Northeast Division this year has prepared them well and a win should come easy over a team that for most of the 2nd half of the season pretty much had nothing to play for.
Corpus Christi has a lot of talent that has under achived a lot in recent years and they hungry to prove to the league that can make a run. RG Valley has a great future with their young talent but hardly any of them have much experience in the playoffs.
Colorado Eagles over Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs in 6 games
Mississippi Riverkings over Oklahoma City Blazers in 6 games
Texas Brahmas over Corpus Christi Icerayz in 5 games
Laredo Bucks over Odessa Jackalopes in 7 games
Mississippi Riverkings over Colorado Eagles
Texas Brahmas over Laredo Bucks
Preisdent Cup Championship
Texas Brahmas over Mississippi Riverkings
News and Notes
The Playoff Dates for Texas High School Hockey Playoffs are now out. This year, the playoffs will lead up to the State Tournament which will be in Austin from April 17-19 at Chaparral Ice Center.
Here's a link to Chaparral Ice: www.chaparralice.com
Here's the league playoff dates for Both Dallas and Houston.
Play In Game: March 31
1st Round: April 7
Quarterfinals: April 9
Semifinals: April 13
League Championship: April 15
Division Quarterfinals: March 31- April 3
Division Semifinals: April 5
League Championship Round Robin: April 7-9
League Championship Game: April 10
Road to the RBC Cup
The first of the Canadaian Junior Hockey League Championships is now set and awaiting the schedule for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League's Credit Union Cup between the RBC Cup Champions Humboldt Bronocos against the Melville Millionares in which it will be starting up on Friday with the winner taking on the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Champions to play for the Western Region Championship and a spot at the RBC Cup National Championships in Victoria, B.C. comming up in May.
The Humboldt Bronocos will have home ice advantage with them being the #1 seed in the Itech Conference while the Melville Millionares were the #2 seed in the Sherwood Conference this season.
Here's the website for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League: www.sjhl.ca
SJHL Credit Union Cup Championship
#1I Humboldt Bronocos VS. #2S Melville Millionares
3/27, GM1, Melville @ Humboldt
3/31, GM2, Humboldt @ Melville
4/3, GM3, Melville @ Humboldt
4/5, GM4, Humboldt @ Melville
4/7, GM5, Melville @ Humboldt*
4/10, GM6, Humboldt @ Humboldt*
4/12, GM7, Melville @ Humboldt*
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