Western News and Notes - 11.29.08
The Dallas Stars were good last year, and they made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals.
What the heck happened over the summer?
The Stars are stuck in the basement, and All-Star goalie Marty Turco has the worst GAA in the NHL.
It was no surprise when the Conference-leading Sharks rolled into Dallas and easily won the game 6-2. It was the first time the Sharks had been in town since losing a 4-OT game in last season’s Western Conference semifinals.
Stars coach Dave Tippett was not too happy with the performance of his players, especially in net.
“Our goaltending has to be better,” he said. “Our (penalty kill) has to keep pucks out. We have a lot of things we have to work on. We expect a lot more from certain players and that starts in goal with Marty.”
How bad is it? Well, Turco hasn’t won a game at home since October 15th, the team has the fewest points in the West, and they have yet to win consecutive games this season.
I think we are about to see considerable changes made in Texas. A big trade? A coaching change? Either way, something has to be done before the season slips away and they join Toronto in the John Tavares sweepstakes.
Chris Mason made a return to Nashville Tuesday night and played better than he had in years.
It was the first time the netminder had played in Nashville since the Predators traded him to the St Louis Blues in June.
The Preds peppered Mason with 47 shots through regulation and overtime, but they just couldn’t seem to put anything past their former teammate. Mason then stopped Rich Peverley and Ville Koistinen in a shootout to give the Blues a 1-0 victory.
Dan Ellis stopped 17 shots before surrendering to David Perron and Brad Boyes in the shootout.
The Predators happened to set a couple of franchise records in the process. They recorded the most number of shots in a game without scoring, and their 30-shot advantage was the biggest in team history. They seemed to have done everything right, except score a goal.
“I thought it was arguably our best game,” said coach Barry Trotz. “We came out and did what we wanted to do. We had at least 35 scoring chances. We shut down the second-best power play in the NHL. We showed a lot of patience and maturity. We just needed one to go in and we had plenty of opportunities to do that.”
By now, everyone knows that Roberto Luongo suffered an injury last Saturday in a game against the Pens and he is considered to be week-to-week with an adductor strain.
“Once you’re in that kind of pain, you always think of the worst right away. For the 24 hours there, I was pretty worried,” Luongo said. “Once I got up on Sunday and was able to come over to the rink and was able to walk and stuff like that, I realized maybe it wasn’t as bad as I first thought.”
Luongo is just one in a long list of injured goalies this season. Martin Brodeur may miss the rest of the season after tearing his bicep during a game. Nabokov missed several games, Fleury is out, the Blues had their guys dropping like flies…who is next?
Jean-Sebastien Giguere of the Ducks has left the team for undisclosed personal reasons. Giguere went back home to Montreal and is not expected to be back with the team until later this weekend.
The Ducks have called up David LeNeveu from the Iowa Chops to back up Jonas Hiller for the time being.
Odds and Ends
The Nashville Predators have acquired F/D Wade Belak from the Florida Panthers in exchange for F Nick Tarnasky.
The Colorado Avalanche have placed Darcy Tucker on injured reserve after he suffered a knee injury Monday in a game against the Ducks. He is expected to be out for 4 weeks.
The Chicago Blackhawks have placed D Aaron Johnson on injured reserve with an arm injury. Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin was also injured this week and is considered day-to-day.