Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Worst Summer of Our Lives

Now that we're back from our nearly 3 month hiatus (read: lazy break), we feel as though it's a good time to turn off the abrasive lightheartedness and acknowledge the tragic losses the hockey community has suffered this summer.

Three tough guys losing their lives far before their time and just a few days ago an entire team of players being suddenly taken from us.

There really aren't any words to describe it. Hopefully the rest of the hockey world will band together and play their hearts out in honor of those who can't anymore this year.


We leave you with a couple of links that really pulled at our heartstrings.
Dinamo Minsk's touching tribute to Lokomotiv Yaroslavl
An absolutely gutwrenching story about the Skrastins family

(On that last one, unfortunately the author had to remove the story out of respect for the family. The comments still pay tribute to Skrastins, though.)

BREAKING: Stars Sale Imminent

According to news from Dallas Stars employees (read: workers from the warehouse in the team store in Frisco), the sale of the Dallas Stars to an as of yet unknown party is going to happen "very very soon".

"We had a meeting that we're getting paid tomorrow because the club is declaring bankruptcy and freezing accounts tomorrow," says the source. "This is so the new owners won't take on our debt and shit. Basically we're being sold very very soon, things are going to court to finalize stuff."

UPDATE 1: Our anonymous source, who will henceforth be called "Rimjob" a la Woodward and Bernstein, has told us that his boss' superior held the meeting earlier today with 7 other employees from the merchandise department.

UPDATE 2: For those who are calling BS, and there are a few of you, consider it like this: If they freeze the accounts and declare bankruptcy tomorrow and the sale doesn't come within the month, it means that every person that works in the Starcenters, from the shop workers to the zamboni drivers, are not going to get paid what they are owed on the 30th.

I'm not an expert on bankruptcy law, but I'm pretty sure that not paying the people who work for you is illegal.

More details to come as they emerge

Saturday, July 2, 2011

It Is Written

Hockey Fans, yesterday Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk gave us a sign. That sign said "I read and enjoy the commentary on Six Six Hicks."

Why, we hear you asking?

Adam Pardy, Vernon Fiddler, Radek Dvorak, Michael Ryder, Jake Dowell, and Sheldon Souray. Six free agents. That's just biblical right there.

But seriously, holy signings Batman.

We're making a pledge here and now to profile every member of the Stars' roster (and some brief prospect profiles) by the time the season starts up again, so for right now we'll go signing by signing and add our commentary.


Adam Pardy - Defenseman - 2 years / $4 million
The money here is a head scratcher, but given the fact that the Stars were $10 million under the floor at the beginning of the day, it's understandable that they overspent a little bit. According to the Razor Boy and his new Twitter, Pardy started out his career as a "deer in headlights" defenseman which brings up glaring red lights shaped like the outline of a Matt Niskanen defensive error. Luckily, though, he finally realized that he's 6'2" and 206 pounds and started to use it.
What Makes Us Hopeful: He's got the size and a short term deal.
What Makes Us Worried: Several Flames fans identified him as the worst Flames player on the ice on several occasions.
Potential Nicknames: Pardy Time, Excellent, Wayne, Garth

Vernon Fiddler - Center - 3 years / $5.4 million
At the beginning of the day when the first three signings came out, it was extremely worrying that Vernon Fiddler was being called the best Stars deal of the day. Luckily, GM Joe got busy and found others to throw money at, so we can finally see the Fiddler deal as what it is: Smart. Damn smart. Fiddler was one of the best faceoff men in the league last year and has a penchant for killing penalties.
What Makes Us Hopeful: Oh hey! Faceoff wins!
What Makes Us Worried: The biggest of three signings including Adam Pardy and Radek Dvorak, which makes up the terrifying "Didn't he used to play for Nashville or something?" line.
Potential Nicknames: Roof Man, Raise the Roof, Mini-Me, Little Bit of Country, Garth

Radek Dvorak - Right Wing - 1 Year / $1.5 million
When this deal went through, we immediately consulted the Oracle formerly known as Wikipedia thinking to ourselves "Oh hey didn't this guy hit 30 goals at some point in his career?". Our answer was that yes, he did score 31 one year. The problem? That was 11 years ago with New York. His highest total since then was 17.
What Makes Us Hopeful: We mean... it's a veteran to play on the fourth line we guess. That and his one year deal means we have someone to keep a portion of Jamie Benn's cap hit warm for next summer.
What Makes Us Worried: He's on the wrong side of 35, which means he's lost a step when he only had about three to give.
Potential Nicknames: Devo, Whip It, The Eradekator, Garth

Michael Ryder - Right Wing - 2 Years / $7 million
Now this is what we're talking about. To start the day Stars fans were foaming at the mouth for some premier free agent talent and we finally got it after a few hours. We were at the Stars development camp today when we read that this deal had gone through and took no shame in the fact that we let out a very audible "hah!" while Bob McKenzie delivered the twitter goods.
What Makes Us Hopeful: Never scored less than 30 points in his career, Stars have a great pedigree of adding players from cup winning teams.
What Makes Us Worried: There have been several worries about work ethic over the years, worries that are made more worrisome by the fact that he's going to have a rookie coach behind the bench.
Potential Nicknames: KITT, Hasselhoff, Goldilocks, Garth

Sheldon Souray - Defenseman - 1 year / $1.65 million
There are two words to describe this signing and they are "Studly Wonderbomb". We're not going to lie, we weren't crazy about this signing. But then we realized that Dallas is A.) going to have a new powerplay quarterback with a cannon that could shoot right through Wolverine's skeleton and B.) is going to be one Angelica Bridges stronger.
What Makes Us Hopeful: Dude's got a howitzer.
What Makes Us Worried: He scored 19 points last season. In the AHL.
Potential Nicknames: Studly Wonderbomb, Garth


Jake Dowell - Center - 1 year / $800,000
This is, bar none, our favorite signing of the day. The reason for that odd claim? This signing is just bursting with the hard-working aroma of last summer's Adam Burish signing. Mostly because Dowell was Burish's teammate both in Wisconsin and in Chicago, but partly because, as this heart-wrenching THN interview details , Dowell is probably the de facto Stars candidate for the Masterton Trophy this year. He's been through hell in his life and he's done the incredible by making it to an NHL roster. That is exactly the kind of player that needs to be in the Stars locker room.
What Makes Us Hopeful: This might just define the term "heart and soul player".
What Makes Us Worried: Let's be honest, we aren't expecting 20 goals. The only worry we have is that he'll lose his work ethic, and we just don't see that happening to a guy whose been through so much.
Potential Nicknames: The Dowell Jones Industrial, Garth


Stay tuned for the start of the Player Profile series.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Welcome to Dallas to Jamie the Giant


We're running out of nicknames for players named Jamie, mostly because we used up at least six on Jamie Benn alone, but Dallas' newest Jamie (full name: Jamieson) has made it easy for us.

Six Six Hicks officially welcomes Jamie "The Giant" Oleksiak to the Dallas Stars family.

Stay tuned for more nicknames tomorrow after the rest of the draft is concluded.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

CONFIRMED: Mark Fistric goes Postal in Edmonton Beer League Game

According to unconfirmed inside sources (read: Twitter), Stars Defenseman Mark Fistric went completely primal in a Division 3 Beer League game, reportedly tomahawking an 18 year old after the end of the game and tackling a goalie.

There are a few questions we have about this story here at Six Six Hicks:

1.) Is it a true story? By "unconfirmed sources", we're talking two degrees of separation. One of our friends has at least three friends up in Edmonton who were playing against El Fisto and reported this via Twitter. The common argument against is likely going to be that they're just making this up, but if they were, why in God's name would they have chosen Mark "Marky Mark" Fistric of all people to target? We're pretty sure the only time people hear his name, it's just after he's redeemed his "one open ice hit per game" coupon, then they forget he existed quickly afterwards. We're going to have to go with true on this one, but not 100% positively. More like 93%.

2.) Why in the hell is Mark Fistric playing in a Division 3 Beer League game in Edmonton? At first we tried answering this with a "He's an NHL player, he should at least be in Division 1" before realizing that this is Mark Fistric we're talking about here. This is a man who would have trouble stickhandling his way out of a brown paper bag, giving up halfway through to hit it in the head with a helmet.
 
To his credit, it was a really defensively sound paper bag.
So our answer to this question, speaking as people who have played Rec league games against players leaps and bounds better than us, is that Mark Fistric might actually be a bit of a jerk. But he's our jerk, right? That always seems to work out for us.
Case + Point
3.) Where the hell was this kind of rage last season? I mean, the team had plenty to be angry about last season between all of the blown leads and Mark Crawford being Marc Crawford, but Fistric had twice the reason to be angry. He was a healthy scratch for several games this year because Crawford thought he wouldn't do as good a job as JEFF WOYWITKA.

To me that just bursts with shades of that old story about the tortoise and the hare, except the tortoise only gets the icetime they were racing for because the hare was too busy beating up teenagers in beer league games to realize that there was an actual race going on.
As the Razorboy might say: "IT WAS LARCENY"
There is one thing, and we mean one very lonely thing, keeping The Fisterino off of July's Thislist, and that is the hope that this random mugging (which, according to Twitter, also included Fistric emerging from the dressing room without shoulder pads challenging the entire opposing team) is a sign of things to come. If "The Edmonton Titan" can keep up this mean streak into the regular season just in time to crush Corey Perry's Hart Trophy-winning face, he'll survive to live another day.

Going back and getting his grandpa would be acceptable as well.
4.) Remember when hockey players were the most well-behaved athletes? Yeah... we do too.


UPDATE
THIS IS NOW CONFIRMED, HERE'S PROOF http://www.strathconashl.com/sites/3333/page.asp?Site=9975&page=Boxscore&LeagueID=9975&SeasonID=12&DivisionID=8&GameID=2830

In before "there are tons of guys called Mark Fistric in Edmonton.

UPDATE 2
We are told that on the scorecard the penalties that are given to Chad Michaud are actually Fistric's. Simply a mix-up with numbers there, we are assured. Having dealt with scorekeepers before, it's actually a small miracle that they didn't give a penalty to #98 instead.

UPDATE 3
According to the Beer League in question, Fistric has been suspended for 5 games (including a $50 fine which is sure to burn a hole the pocket of his metal studded jacket) for his indiscretions.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Three Gees and why they're going to save the Dallas Stars

As usual, we know what you're thinking. "The Three Gees? Who in the Oklahoma* is that?"

The Three Gees are a Canadian band whose last names all start with G. Between the three of them, they hold the power to turn the Dallas Stars back into the powerhouse of yesteryear. Let's go down the line and meet them.

We promise we'll get better at Photoshop
Glen Gulutzan - GG Gee - Guitarist
Even if GG hadn't been named the Stars' head coach, we still would have included this picture because that smile is just so unbelievably suave and he bears an uncanny resemblance to Radiohead's Thom Yorke (at least in our minds).

But since he was named the Stars' head coach, let's talk about his role in the resurgence of the Stars.

Basically, everything is in place for Gulutzan to come in and knock it out of the park. Everywhere he's gone, he's won, and he's done it in the same way: He worked with what he had available to him. This was especially true during his stint with the Cedar Park Baby Stars. In his first season, he took them all the way to the Calder Cup finals. What did he have to work with? Nothing special.

Just Saint Jamie of Central Saanich, he who scored many holy goals in the name of Star.

Is Jamie Benn going to be enough to bring the Grown Up Stars to the promised land? Since we don't know the limits of Saint Jamie's ability (or if he even has limits), the answer could be yes, but it's probably no.

Even then, look at what he has to work with: the forementioned Jamie of all Trades, a full season with Sergei Goligoski, a full season without Matt "Oh, I'm supposed to cover that guy" Niskanen, a follow-up year from All-Star Loui Eriksson, what we here at SSH predict to be a breakout year for Tom "Look what I can do with more ice time" Wandell, a potential rebound year for Steve the Pepperpott, a healthy Adam "Warrior Sword" Burish, a healthy Nicklas Grossman, a full year and training camp out of Tomas Vincour, and another healthy year from Kari Lehtonen.

He has done it at every level he's been at and now he's got players from the best league in the world at his disposal. He's going to be making the music this year.

Let's find out who's going to play bass.

Tom Gaglardi - Dollah Dollah Bill Gee - Bass Guitarist
As you might have been able to gather from the title of this site, a good owner is the key to success in professional sports. Without him, nothing is possible. He supplies everything you need to succeed (read: money) and with any luck lets the hockey people do the hockey.

And what's more, the new owner of the Dallas Stars (knock wood) is Canadian. He actually knows something about the product he's buying and, since most Canadians look at a baseball bat and discuss its potential applications to Mounties and the word "eh", he's extremely unlikely to skip out on a Stars playoff game to be at a meaningless Texas Rangers snoozefest.

When Gaglardi eventually takes control of the team, have full confidence that he'll know the relationship between the phrase "spending to the cap" and "competitive".

Added bonus: Gaglardi has already done his first act of service to the NHL and indeed the hockey world by suing the owner of the Vancouver Canucks.


Now our clairvoyance has once again revealed your thoughts.

"Who is the third Gee?" you ask.

"I swear to god if you say Scott Glennie there will be Oklahoma* to pay," you warn.

"Nicklas Grossman and Alex Goligoski cannot win us championships by themselves," you contend.

You last two were absolutely right, if not a little bit confrontational. The third Gee is a bit of a curve ball and we expect to take a little bit of flak for it (that we will promptly ignore after being thrilled that we're worthy of flak). So without further ado...



Joe Gnieuwendyk - Silent Gee - Vocals
A bit of a stretch? Absolutely.

Name inaccuracies aside, GM Joe has built the backbone of this team in the two years he's been here, and by backbone of the team we mean Kari Lehtonen. He also swung the deadline deal that sent James Neal and Matt Niskanen to Pittsburgh for Alex Goligoski and not Matt Niskanen. He ALSO decided not to pull the trigger on a Mike Ribeiro deal during the draft and did the same at the deadline with Brad Richards.

He also drafts pretty well. In 2009 alone the Stars picked Scott Glennie, Alex Chiasson, Reilly Smith, and Tomas Vincour, all of whom had outstanding years last year with their respective clubs. Despite what the stats say, they also picked up a proven winner and very long term goaltending prospect in Jack Campbell. GM Joe will have his work cut out for him in this years' draft, when his first round pick will be later in the draft than it has ever been, but everyone knows that the Stars wait until the fourth and fifth rounds to pick their blue-chippers (see: Saint Jamie).

GM Joe has come under a lot of criticism from some Stars fans, otherwise known as the ones that still need to have offsides explained to them, for not trading Brad Richards at the deadline. The reason why we're being derisive with those fans is because they're wrong to be angry. What GM Joe did was give us hope for a playoff spot, something we only missed by a two points if you'll remember, and turn down deals that he didn't see as good enough. "Good enough" meaning "getting adequate replacement for our best player" in this case.

The fact is that that rush for the last playoff spot was an invaluable team building and indeed player building experience. The entire roster could smell the post season over the stench of the locker room (which apparently smells a whole lot like soggy Cool Ranch Dorritos). In a locker room led by Brenden Morrow, whose motto is "If you get slashed in the back of the leg and can't put weight on it, attack the little Burrows** who slashed you even if it means hopping into the other team's bench" or something like that, do you really think they'll say "Oh, well now that we don't have Brad Richards we're just going to wallow in self pity and irrelevance"?

Oklahoma* no. Brenden Morrow is going to go Full Metal Jacket on that locker room. Oklahoma*, he'll go Steel Magnolias on that locker room if he needs to. This is a man whose motto is "When an opponent has an affair with the wife of one of your teammates it is your duty to beat the everloving Burrows** out of said opponent" after all.

My point is, GM Joe knows exactly what he's doing. He went the Steve Yzerman route to becoming an NHL GM, which was to take jobs in advisory roles where he would be close to other GMs around the league and learn about what it took to become one before jumping into the fire. All of the fans who were calling for his head after the Neal trade, otherwise known as the one where the guy we got back outscored the two we gave away, are the same ones saying that losing Brad Richards is the end of days.

We'll be fine. In fact, thanks to the Mega-Funky Three Gees, we'll be an "Irresistible Force" on our way to take the Cup away from "Massachusetts" where we'll be "Stayin' Alive" long into the night when our opponents will say "You Win Again" as we ascend to "Immortality".

* = You may be wondering why there's a random mention of Oklahoma followed by an asterisk. In an effort to make Six Six Hicks "PG", we'll be using code words instead of profanity. In this instance, Oklahoma is where all of the sinners from Earth go after they die. This statement is coincidentally true even without a hidden meaning.
** = Something that's found in sewer systems en masse.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The June Six Six Hicks Good People List

We can't be all about negativity here at SSH, so we're going to try our hardest to say some nice things about some members of the Stars organization. We also didn't spend much time thinking of a title for this list, mostly because, as mentioned, we're not too crazy about these "fluff" things.

But, just because at heart we love everything that has a Dallas Stars logo on it, next to it, or associated with it, we're going to go ahead and start loving the fluff anyways.


ADAM BURISH


Let's make this perfectly clear right now: Adam Burish deserves some form of captaincy. How important is he? The team went 4-11-4 without him last season. To put that into further perspective, the Stars were 38-18-7 with him in the lineup. Clearly he says something in the locker room before every game he's in that boosts them to greatness. We'd like to imagine it's something like "REMEMBER 2000!" or "REMEMBER THAT TIME MARCHMENT BUSTED OUR GM'S KNEE!" or, who are we kidding, "REMEMBER THE ALAMO!"

He clearly has a strong influence in the room, so you might as well make it official. He is, after all, credited with the creation of the Warrior Sword. That alone is worth at least an extra letter on the jersey. 

Plus, I mean, check out the Dumb and Dumber tux.



As far as we're concerned, there is no other picture of Krys Barch
KRYSTOFER BARCH

Let's make something else perfectly clear: Krys Barch is never going to be an impact player with the Stars. That being said, anyone who's watched him over the last few seasons knows exactly what he has to offer (apart from images that will haunt Chris Chelios' dreams forever).

He also does something a lot more openly than any other Dallas Star. He tweets. And it's usually really interesting.

Much like Phoenix's tough guy and Twitter superstar Paul Bissonnette (aka BizNasty2point0), Barch proves that grinders and backup goalies are some of the only players in the NHL worth listening to because, unlike some of the league's superstars, they have something interesting to say. That's probably because they have a great view of the game from their warm seat on the bench.

Barch regularly defends good old fashioned hockey on his Twitter and, so long as he keeps on playing it instead of turning into an Alex Burrows type, he'll have a place on our Good People List.



RALPH STRANGIS

Ralph Strangis has been the voice of the Dallas Stars ever since we here at SSH started watching way back in the day. His call of Brett Hull's historic goal in the early hours of a special summer day is the one of the most memorable moments of our lives as Stars fans.

Tack onto that the fact that he is undoubtedly the biggest Stars fan on the face of the earth, and you've got a lock for the Good People List. 


Instead of gushing, here's a collection of the man, the voice, the legend:
A young Ralph on Press Your Luck 
Ralph and Razor having a laugh 
Dallas' introduction to the greatest voice in sports 





DARYL REAUGH

I'm going to fight the Stars fanboy temptation to gush and just show instead of tell why "the third best goalie in the history of the Finnish Elite League" is on the Good People List.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyxcVr6HeyE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbMTJhvlYkU&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWvskTZo7Pg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQs_xtcyBsE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xY48DdC0e9A&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N98bnMtkAGk&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dCslLvyZLk&feature=fvsr
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZz78450ofk



SAINT JAMIE OF CENTRAL SAANICH

If you need to ask why Jamie Benn is on the Good People List, you didn't watch the second half of last season. 

There are no words, only awe.

Apologies for the music. 












TOMORROW: The Three Gees and how they are going to save the Dallas Stars

Friday, June 17, 2011

The June Six Six Hicks Thislist: The Boys of Summer

What is the Six Six Hicks Thislist, I hear you asking as you start wondering why you should care.

For one, it's a really cheap way to get out of using vulgarity despite how fun it would be. For another, it's a monthly review of the people that we here at Six Six Hicks love to hate, hate to hate, and in some cases just plain hate.

So without further ado, let's get started with June's list.

THOMAS O. HICKS SENIOR
The Hicks (screwupus majoris) seen here probably ruining someone's season.
First of all, we here at Six Six Hicks would like to congratulate Mr. Dicks Hicks on becoming the first honorary member of the Six Six Hicks Thislist Hall of Fame. Membership of this prestigious club comes with the distinction of being exempt from all future Thislists so that we won't be found repeating ourselves.

First, let's focus on what good Tom Hicks has done for the Dallas Stars.

Now that we've gotten that over with, let's focus on the bad. But seriously, all Stars fans have at least one thing to be thankful to Tom Hicks for and that's saving them from (from what we've read) good guy Norm Green's financially shaky hands and funding the team that won the franchise's only Stanley Cup.

But you're not reading this to hear gushy stuff like that, so let's get to the juicy part of this well done steak.

Tom Hicks, compared to competent owners like Washington's Ted Leonsis and Detroit's Mike Ilitch, doesn't seem to give a damn about the Stars. In fact, in the 2007 playoffs it was reported that the then-owner of the Texas Rangers skipped a Stars playoff game against the Canucks to watch the Rangers play a regular season game. This wasn't late in the year, mind you, this was April. This was also when the Rangers weren't getting bandwagoned a good following.

More recently, Hicks financial mismanagement has led to an underfunding of the Stars that has seen them sit somewhere close to 10 million dollars under the salary cap and because of that missing out on premier free agents and deadline acquisitions (most notably the venerable Bradley Richards). Just think of where the Stars would be if they'd had a big, strapping two-way defenseman on the back end instead of Jeff Woywitka or Karlis Skrastins. For the imagination impaired, think "playoffs".

In short, Hicks had a good run as Stars owner when he had money to spend, but then he went and did his best Kobayashi impersonation and bit off way more than his hot dog-loving mouth could chew, managing to screw up both the Stars and Liverpool in the process.

Speaking of his former teams, in depth research (read: Wikipedia) revealed that he actually owned a fourth team from 1999-2003, a Brazilian soccer club called Corinthians. What happened there, you ask? He promised a new stadium to the winners of the 1998 Brazilian champions and then went on to start selling their star players and changing their signature uniforms.

Hrmmmm...
KARLIS SKRASTINS
Admittedly a more intense looking man than I.

Karlis came to the Stars on the pretense that he was a shotblocking, stay-at-home stalwart that would stabilize the back end and bring order to an otherwise chaotic stable of young defensemen (read: Trevor Daley). Admittedly, he fulfilled that expectation on a few nights and was a stupendous shot blocker, but then at points in his stint with the club there were awkward moments when he would be sighted at the faceoff circle in the offensive zone and everyone watching that was aware of what the term "stay-at-home defenseman" meant was left wondering "when did the 'home' in question become the hashmarks?"

I have a theory that if Karlis Skrastins was 6'5" and 240 pounds of the most masculine flesh Latvia has to offer, he would have been one of my favorite Stars of all time. He'd probably be able to not only smartly defend like he's lauded to be able to do, but also pummel opponents into the ice like he learned when he was growing up in the notoriously tough streets of Riga. Sidenote: I was joking about the "tough streets of Riga" bit, but then I learned that Riga actually has the highest crime rate in the European Union, so Karlis really doesn't have an excuse as to why he didn't pummel the likes of Burrows and Perry into the ice.

Unfortunately, he's 6'1" and 210 pounds of masculine-looking flesh that's sold in bulk in Latvia's version of Wal-Mart (Which I imagine is called "Blockashot-Mart" based on the little I know about the great nation of Latvia). His "stalwart defense" culminated in a minus-5 career rating in Dallas. In fact, his "stalwart defense" only ever resulted in one plus season in his entire career with a plus-9 season with the Florida Panthers in 2008-09.

Now, it's really unfair to mention Karlis in the same breath as someone who we deemed worthy of devil horns on the site banner, because from what we've heard he's a class act, but just be forewarned that we aren't always going to include Tom Hicks, so a spot on the Thislist isn't always going to have this much bite to it.

Regardless, this is kind of like assessing a performance review to a worker just before he quits before you can fire him. According to several sources, the Stars latest Latvian has signed a contract with the KHL's Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. We here at SSH wish him well and pray that GM Joe finds someone competent to fill the caveman-shaped hole on our backend.

JEFFREY "WILDCAT" WOYWITKA
Woywitka, seen here finishing a rush up ice that he started last October.
Now this one really hurts. We can tell you first (and, thanks to Krys Barch's obsession with Twitter, second) hand that Woywitka is a great teammate and an all-around great guy. Unfortunately, he skates slower than a mother of four in the fast lane.

There were flashes of the player that made him the 27th pick overall in the 2001 Entry Draft sprinkled throughout his two years as a Star, but after Matt Niskanen was traded and removed the "this is the measure of a bad defenseman" line from the limbo pole holder of Stars fans everywhere, we started to see that he was the next "seventh wheel" on the Stars' six-wheeled defense corps.

He had a few games where he was defensively sound and was a decent presence on the offensive blueline, but for the most part he was losing races to the puck and, despite his size, losing battles as well. Seeing as he's a UFA come July, I wouldn't expect to see him back in the gold and green (or sometimes black) next year.

RICHARD RENNER
What we got when we searched "rick renner fox sports" on Google Images

Rick Renner is the reason why I get nervous every time the Stars sign a European player. That isn't because, if Don Cherry is to be believed, the player in question is soft or perhaps even because he might be unmotivated.

No, it's because I know that at some point while watching a Stars game on Fox Sports Southwest, I will hear Rick Renner absolutely BUTCHER said European's name. I have another theory that they actually pay him to do it. That's the only explanation for its regularity.

Tomorrow: The Inaugural Good People List of June - The monthly foil to the Thislist where we'll list off the people within the Stars organization that we just cannot get enough of.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

2010-2011, We Hardly Knew Ye

For the Stars, 2010-11 ended much the same way 2009-10 and 2008-09 did: in the regular season. They did improve by leaps and bounds by actually being in the hunt right up until the final buzzer of game 82, but ultimately the result was the same. No playoff hockey in Dallas, leaving the Championship-fever to the Mavericks, Rangers, and FC Dallas for another year.

2010-11 started with a 3-0 bang, most notably in Dallas against Mike Modano and the Red Wings, but as the season went on it turned into a T.S. Eliot-esque whimper. The fact of the matter is that the Stars controlled their own fate at the Xcel Energy Center in April and they just could not do anything with it. We remember the nailbiting while watching the Red Wings squeak out a win over the defending champion Blackhawks and the jubilation when, for the first times in our lives, we cheered when the Wings won a game. All of that Wing-love was for nothing.

Why? We had a Jamie Benn who had put on his big boy skates after coming back from injury, the emotional boost from the return of Adam Burish (the Stars went 4-11-4 in games without him), the return of Brad Richards who was the sole reason the Stars were even classified as an NHL team (according to TSN), and the borderline miraculous work of a stunningly healthy Kari Lehtonen.

Well, three things.

First, Marc Crawford. We happen to know that he's a great guy and a decent coach, but he mismanaged the bejeezus out of the last few weeks of the season. This was most visible when Jamie Benn's production started to slow down from its meteoric pace. In the absence of Brad Richards, Jamie started to put the team on his back, something that anyone whose ever run a 200 meter dash with a 200 pound slab of concrete on their back is hard to keep up for too long. He just got way too tired to be as effective as he could have been. We'd blame part of that on Crow's mismanagement.

Second, the defense. This is probably the team's biggest downfall. The players who were supposed to be the ying to the chaotic yang of the Daleys and Goligoskis of the team (i.e. Karlis Skrastins) just did not play the no-nonsense defense that we were relying on them to play. The opposition's forwards were largely allowed to do whatever they wanted in front of the Stars' net, mostly because the two defensemen who had the ability to clear them out (Nicklas Grossman and Mark Fistric) were either injured or benched. Add to that Jeff Woywitka's propensity to engage in and subsequently lose both races to and battles for the puck and you have what proved to be one of the most porous defense corps in the league.

Third and expanding on that last point, Teemu Selanne. The Finnish Flash basically stole the 8th seed away from the Stars with his last second heroics in two late season games. For that, and other reasons stemming from our hate for names that sound like kinds of fish, we hate him.

But, as will be detailed on Sunday, there is hope for the future. Stay tuned to find out why the mystical trio of funky Canadians known as the Three Gees are going to save the Dallas Stars.

RANDOM TIDBITS
-We here at Six Six Hicks would like to congratulate the Boston Bruins on doing the world a favor and not letting Alex Burrows lift the Stanley Cup.

-Furthermore, Remember this, Mr. Conn Smythe?

-As the Razorboy points out, it's kind of sad that the same Bruins team that probably stole 5-6 points from the Stars in the stretch due to the effects felt by that old fashioned, barnstorming donnybrook at TD Banknorth Garden in early February. At the same time, it's also kind of fitting. At least to us.

-The worst part about a Dallas Star being nominated for an NHL Award (Loui Eriksson, Lady Byng)? Stars fans will have to find out if he won or lost while being sandwiched by bits from the unfunny Jay Mohr. You know that an awards show host is going to be bad when he openly admits to not knowing the game he's representing in the promos. SSH is toying with the idea of liveblogging the event (and tearing it apart in the process).


Tomorrow: The Inaugural Six Six Hicks Thislist- a list of the people surrounding the Stars that we here at SSH just cannot stand.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

GM Joe set to appoint Glen "The Man" Gulutzan as Stars Head Coach

Stars fans: get excited. We're about to have a new coach and, in a controversial decision, General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk actually chose one with a history of winning.

Yes, Glen Gulutzan, known to people fond of rhyming as Glen "The Man" Gulutzan, has been the Cedar Park Baby Stars' coach for the last two season and in that time he's gone 87-56-17 over the regular season and 16-14 in the playoffs including a run to the Calder Cup Finals in the team's inaugural season.

But before that he was coaching in front of the greatest fans in the world in the greatest hockey city in America with the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL where he posted a 254-124-53 record in the regular season and a 36-31 in the playoffs including a run to the Kelly Cup finals in the 2007-08 season. For the math-impaired amongst you, that works out to be a 341-180-70 record across his whole coaching career.

The big knock against "GG" is his age and, according to former theother6seconds blogger Cole Jones, his mugshot makes him look like a punk "and not in the Henry Rollins way".

Decide for yourself.
While many people are chalking GG's 39-years young youth up as a tally in the "con" column, think about the Stars current roster: The majority of the team aren't even 30 themselves. Then with all the retirements and free agent defections of the past few years, not to mention the Brad Richards departure that hung around like an $8 million elephant in the room since he was traded to the team in 2008, the team is set to get even younger. I'd argue that it's actually beneficial to have a younger coach that's going to be able to build a rapport with his young players as they begin a new era.

What about the veterans, you say? Well, the only influential veteran on the team that isn't on the way out is Stephane Robidas, and when have you ever heard of Robi causing locker room problems?

That said, I do see a little bit of a problem arising when it comes to Mike Ribeiro, the heir of the vacated first line center position. He's still a far cry from the problem manchild that was Sean Avery, but he still has had more locker room problems over the course of his career than anyone currently on the Stars roster. Then again, it's probably a good thing that someone like him is the only cause for concern given how little we've heard about him since he was given a more important leadership role on the team. It's highly unlikely that he'd cause any trouble, but he's probably the most likely to do it.

Finally, young coaches have been all the rage across the NHL over the last couple of years, the youngest being Tampa Bay's 39-year old bench boss Guy Boucher who, if you'll remember, just took his team to the Eastern Conference Finals in his first year. Tied for second is Pittsburgh's Dan Bylsma who was 38 when he led the Pens to a Cup after being their coach for less than 50 games.

In any case, GG is a great choice for the Stars as they transition from the Era of Brad to the Era of Jamie.

Tomorrow: The Inaugural Six Six Hicks Thislist- a list of the people surrounding the Stars that we here at SSH just cannot stand.

Welcome to Six Six Hicks

Welcome to Six Six Hicks, a blog devoted to the Dallas Stars as written by a lifelong fan of the team and recently converted fan of Liverpool FC. As that sentence alone might suggest, I've had my share of experience supporting Tom Hicks-owned  ruined teams, hence the title of the site (which, due to publicity and likely legal reasons, might need a change or two after today).

We (read: "I") here at SSH strive to give you a unique (read: "semi-hilarious") look into the stories surrounding Dallas' fourth favorite (and now tied for second most successful) sports team. This will include draft buzz, free agency buzz, post-game buzz, and that buzz you get in your ear shortly after reading something that makes you want to punch through a wall.

From time to time we'll get special insight from observers outside of this dark and lonely corner of the blogosphere, bringing you a brief respite from the normal bevy of bad jokes and probably-wrong assessments of the Stars.