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Deep Hockey Thoughts

by Seamus O'Callahan / Dallas Stars

Seamus O'Callahan
A few thoughts as the trade freeze for the NHL goes into effect (no trades allowed between 2 pm today and 11 pm on February 28).

-- Last night was the biggest Stars win of the season. Really. Think about it – the regulation win pulled Dallas to within one point of a playoff spot. A regulation loss would have dropped the Stars 5 points back of 8th place Calgary. That’s a big difference when there are only 22 games left in the regular season.

-- Marty Turco was lights-out. And good for him (and good for the Stars). He has played well lately, going 3-1-1 in his last five games with a 1.38 goals-against-average, stopping 168-of-175 shots for a .960 save percentage. Too bad he hasn’t had this consistency all season.

-- Anyone else find it funny that last night Mike Ribeiro scored two of the craftiest goals you’ll ever see in a game, throws in a helper (making him a factor on all three of Dallas’ scores), and he’s not one of the three Stars of the Game?

-- I am of the opinion that Marty Turco got robbed of a shot on goal last night. Midway through the second with the Stars on the penalty kill, Turco throws the puck up the middle of the ice. I believe he was trying to hit Brenden Morrow with a breakaway pass, but who knows? The puck is not touched and goes square in on Kiprusoff’s net, which he has to stop from going in as a goal.

Now, if the puck had gone in the net, not only would Turco officially be awarded the goal, but also a shot on net. But since it did not go in, no shot, for the NHL ruled that he was “attempting a pass.” (How do you guys know what he was trying to do?).

Sorry, guys, I disagree – can’t have it both ways. I think he should have a shot on goal. And what’s the big deal anyway? Everyone wants the shot – the fans, the players, definitely Turco and most definitely Kipper (helps his save percentage). Forwards are awarded regularly with shots that were not intended to be put on goal (deflections, etc.).

Had Turco been credited with a shot on goal, he would have tied an NHL record for career shots at six, tying him with Martin Brodeur, Rick DiPietro and Ron Hextall. It also would have been just the 64th recorded shot by a goalie in NHL history.

-- In essence, the Stars had a shutout last night at Calgary. The lone Flames goal came off the stick of Morrow, who accidently put it past Turco when the captain was trying to clear the puck out of the slot.

Jarome Iginla was credited with the goal, for he was the last Flame to touch the puck. May I also note that Jarome also got credited with a shot on goal even though he was attempting a pass (like Turco). Just saying.

-- And since we’re on the subject of rules I disagree with, why did Turco get credited with a loss on his record last Thursday at Columbus? The game-winning goal was an empty-netter that made it 2-0. Dallas scored in the final seconds, making the final score, 2-1. The NHL rules state that the losing goalie in a game is the one who gives up the game-winning goal. Since Alex Auld was on the bench with Marty when the winner was scored, maybe he should get the loss too? I vote no-decision on his record. My vote doesn’t count though.

-- Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals (42), points (89), plus/minus (+43), shots (275), goals per game (0.79) and points per game (1.68), despite missing eight games. The Capitals are 17-2-1 since Ovechkin was named the team captain Jan. 5, with Ovechkin averaging a shade under two points per game in that span (16-23-39). The Stars visit the Caps on March 8, a nationally-televised game on Versus.

-- Before playing the Caps, the Stars will visit Buffalo. The Sabres (32-18-9) are challenging for the Northeast Division title on the strength of goaltender Ryan Miller, the addition of rookie defenseman Tyler Myers and a balanced scoring attack. Miller leads all NHL goaltenders in save percentage (.930), ranks third in goals-against average (2.19) and fifth in shutouts (five). The 6'8" Myers leads all rookies in average ice time per game (23:35) and assists (24). The club's top seven goal scorers are separated by just four goals: Thomas Vanek has 17, Derek Roy 16, Jason Pominville 15, Tim Connolly 14, Jochen Hecht, Clarke MacArthur and Drew Stafford 13.

-- How hot are the Kings? Their record after 60 games (36-20-4) is the second-best in franchise history, trailing only the 1974-75 squad (33-11-16). The Kings won a club-record nine consecutive games from Jan. 21 through Feb. 6, including an unprecedented 5-0 road trip. Their 19 road wins are just two short of the club record (21 in 1980-81).

-- An all-time favorite of mine is still making history. Ducks right wing Teemu Selanne needs three goals to reach the historic 600-goal plateau and four goals to tie Hockey Hall of Famer Jari Kurri for first place all-time among Finnish-born players. Only 17 players in League history have tallied 600 career goals, a list that includes two players from Europe (Kurri and the Czech Republic's Jaromir Jagr) and six right wings (Kurri, Jagr, Gordie Howe, Brett Hull, Mike Gartner and Dino Ciccarelli).

-- Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane will head to Vancouver as Team USA's youngest player and leading scorer. The 21-year-old Buffalo native has 64 points (24 goals, 40 assists), just eight behind his career high of 72 set during his Calder Trophy-winning season of 2007-08.

Enjoy the Olympics everyone!

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