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.

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