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Arlington, TX • United States • 35 Years Old • Male
Dear Santa Clause (aka: Mr. Hicks and Mr. Armstong),

As this sport very much relates to a holiday – the regular season being New Year’s through Thanksgiving and the playoffs being Christmas – here is my Christmas wish list for the off-season (in essay form!).

The Dallas Stars have now compiled three straight first-round exits after solid, promising regular-season campaigns. It is time for a change…we need some new blood…more specifically, we need some real SCORERS! I feel terrible for what I am about to say, but it is time to move away from the likes of Antti Miettinen, Jussi Jokinen, Ladislav Nagy, and Patrik Stefan. Plain and simple, games 5, 6, and 7 of the series with Vancouver exhibited a major difference in the physical realm, compared to that of the prior games. Getting hit by Eric Lindros, Loui Eriksson, Joel Lundqvist, and Steve Ott makes you aware of your surroundings quite a bit more than Nagy, Miettinen, and Jokinen. Please do not misunderstand, I am not placing the entire blame on them…but we need a change in the system. We cannot continue to rely solely upon Mike Modano and Brendan Morrow, and expect them to do everything, all the time. Watching Miettinen and Jokinen make this team, and seeing their creativeness with the puck has been wonderful at times. But those guys, and others like them, are not getting it done in the playoffs…nor do I believe they will ever be a force in the playoffs. We need a new direction, with all four lines able to contribute goals, every game. This will also free up Mike to explode offensively, not being relied upon to have to score. If the Stars can acquire that scoring touch and it envelopes every line, then with our current defense and all-star goalie, we will win another cup or two before Mikey Mo hangs ‘em up!

Dallas’ un-restricted free agents include Stu Barnes, Nagy, Lindros, Darryl Sydor, Matthew Barnaby, Krys Barch, Stefan, and Jon Klemm. Without question, Nagy and Stefan are gone. Barnaby is likely retiring due to concussion problems; regardless, I do not believe he stays. Barnes and Sydor are absolute keeps! Klemm is also a keeper...but a likely trade casualty. Barch stays for sure…he is our future enforcer…and maybe our first real enforcer since Hatch! Last but not least, what do we do with Big-E? I told my buddies several times before the playoffs that Lindros was gone no matter what. I was strongly hoping that he would not get healthy and clog up the ice. But as fate (and desperation) would have it, he was inserted into the lineup for the last three games…and I was forced to amend my position! This guy was wearing #88, but it was not the man we watched during the regular season. This was the Eric Lindros everyone described as a playoff monster…the point per playoff game Lindros. Though he did not find his scoring touch, he was a force to be reckoned…even laying out Burrows in game 7 for a little retribution! For the record…as long as he is healthy and wants to play…he stays!

The Stars’ restricted free agents include Miettinen, Jokinen, Lundqvist, and Mike Ribeiro. Obviously, Ribeiro is signed asap…without him we don’t even make the playoffs this year. I have never seen a player on this team with as much “puck luck.” He can stick-handle in a phone booth…it is almost as if he has super-strength, super glue on his blade! Lundqvist is my vote for the Stars rookie of the year…he stole that spot from Eriksson with his superb and veteran-like performance in the playoffs! He not only re-signs, but he then purchases a home in the Metroplex. With the mentoring of Barnes and Jeff Halpern, Lundqvist became a solid checker and even scored a few goals along the way! I called this, by the way (my friends can attest)…he was my pick to make the team out of training camp but there was simply no room. Then the injuries started mounting and he was finally called up. He proceeded to make the most of it, capping his rookie season as one of the best players in the series. As for Jokinen and Miettinen, I think it is time for them to move on. I really respect them and have enjoyed watching them, but they need new homes.

With Sydor and Klemm re-signed, our defense stays the same…Sergei Zubov, Sydor, Philippe Boucher, Trevor Daley, Stephane Robidas, Mattias Norstrom, Klemm, Nolan Baumgartner, and Niklas Grossman. They are obviously deep in talented d-men, so I would imagine at least three of the last six plug into trade scenarios. Other trade bait could include Miettinen, Jokinen, and possibly goalies Dan Ellis and Tobias Stephan.

Now for the fun part! The Stars have approximately 37 million dollars tied up in next year’s salary cap. The cap looks to be raised to approximately 48 million dollars, giving Dallas approximately 11 million dollars to play with. This is more than enough money and trade stock to pickup two top-notch scorers and an extra tough guy. Drum role please…free agent #1 – Ryan Smyth…free agent #2 – Bill Guerin…and free agent #3 – Aaron Downey!!! Stars fans and goalies have hated Ryan Smyth forever! Of course I do not really mean hate…I mean loathe, despise – okay, okay…hate is strong enough! Now that the Oilers have dumped him in the east, his goal-scoring and presence in front of the net is welcome (with open arms) to move to Dallas at any time. Billy G. never wanted to leave and, just like Bret Hull, he showed us this year why the organization should not have given up on him! And good old Aaron Downey…this guy is ultimate teammate! He even took a pay-cut after the lockout to stay in Dallas. The fans will never forget the one-punch TKO administered to Hurricanes tough guy Jesse Boulerice! I believe the Stars would benefit with Downey’s extra weight (and punch!) from time to time. He would be there to back up Otter and Morrow, and be a mentor to young Barch.

With the lines of my choosing, these moves would make the lineup as follows…

Morrow, Modano, Lehtinen
Smyth, Ribeiro, Guerin
Ott, Lindros/Hagman, Erikkson
Lundqvist, Halpern, Barnes

Zubov, Sydor
Boucher, Robidas
Norstrom, Daley

Turco
Smith
Ellis/Stephan

Backups would be Downey, Barch, Lessard, Klemm, Baumgartner, and Grossman.

With these players and Turco in net, the Stars do not just advance past the first round next year…THEY WIN AT LEAST TWO MORE CUPS!


This is my Christmas wish list – please make your decisions quickly!


From a faithful and loyal STARS fan (and season-ticket holder!)...


Happy Holidays,


--Nephew23


PS. Is it next season yet?
Filed Under:   dallas   stars   nhl   eklund   fans  
April 26, 2007 9:17 AM ET | Delete
Very NICE Blog. I do like the lineup!!! To answer your question we are only 129 days from 2007-2008 NHL Season. GO STARS!
April 26, 2007 12:43 PM ET | Delete
I'm surprised that you rate Ribeiro so highly. He was very ineffective against the Canucks. Sure he skated all over the place, but with little result...and he uses his teammates only as a last resort -- usually the wrong time and place. Your fantasy team is cool, but Dallas is a team built to win in regular season and not the playoffs. Do remember Brett hull resonding when asked how to stop Mike Modano? His answer was, " have hitchcock coach him!" Same could be said of tippett.
April 26, 2007 1:05 PM ET | Delete
Will the Stars please get a coach that will unleash Modano!
April 26, 2007 6:16 PM ET | Delete
129 days wow, that a long time to be so bitter.
April 26, 2007 7:31 PM ET | Delete
Guerin and Smyth? Yeah, that's a wish. You won't get either one. Nor do you need either one. What you need is a sniper, and you don't have one. As for Ribeiro, the Habs thought so highly of him they traded him for Niinimaa straight up. Soft and selfish, and of no use to us, I don't know why you wanted him. As for Modano, he's been overrated his whole career, offensively and defensively. And keep Jokinen, even if just for the shootout.
April 26, 2007 7:51 PM ET | Delete
lol...your name says it all doaf!
April 26, 2007 8:52 PM ET | Delete
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNw8ZZT8tOU - check this out
April 26, 2007 9:08 PM ET | Delete
Maybe you all need a reminder...I did not know Ribeiro before this year...only by name. He was excellent for us this year and that's all I care about!
April 26, 2007 10:45 PM ET | Delete
Allright people...get over it, Ribeiro has been GREAT is Dallas...Maybe he wasn't great in Montreal, because he wasn't given the chance and oppurtunity. And to doaftheloaf, please don't talk about Modano like that.. we know you wish you had a player like him, so that maybe your team would have make to playoffs once in a while. And to you Luongo07, how many more games your team is playing this year? To my count only 3... and after that the summer will kick in for the Vans. And dude, take my advice, change your name, this Loungo goalie is not gonna be MVP or anything like that.
April 27, 2007 12:17 PM ET | Delete
(to kahockey)... On the one hand, you say the Canucks only have Luongo. Then you say he's not anything like an MVP. Hmmm. What would your def of MVP be? Luongo has a very good chance of being (legitimately) league MVP. Doesn't mean he will be, but he has more of a chance than any Star this year. Turco, as well as he played won't get a sniff...and even your best player -- by miles -- Zubov won't. Now Anaheim is completely capable of ending the Canucks' season in 3 more games, but as long as the Canucks play to their top level it will still have been a succesful beginning for these Canucks. Hopefully they'll push Anaheim better and winn some of these games (like 4 of them), but even if they don't that'll still be more games than the Stars went. Oh yes, the Stars, a team built for regular season success; one that absolutely cannot (with the present makeup) win in the post season. That used to be the Canucks -- until Nonis started... and AV. As I've quoted before: as Bret Hull said when asked how do you stop Modano? "Let Hitchcock (or Tippett) coach him!" That's the Stars: tough, tough, tough defensively...to the point of stifling their own players. AV is trying to find the balance with the Canucks -- and it should only get better next year. No, I haven't given up on these Canucks, but Anaheim is an excellent team and will be very hard to beat. So it goes.
April 27, 2007 2:17 PM ET | Delete
To my record the STARS at least made it to the Playoffs, and then they lost. However, Vancuver didn't even make it to the playoffs last year. They made it this year..somehow they won the northwest division title(mostly by luck)...They got lucky in the first round of the playoffs...Refs helped them as much as possible in game 7...Canucks can's score a goal against STARS unless it's empty netter...TURCO had a better save percentage and goal against than Loungo...I am sure it is hard for you Vans to see these stats...but that is it...Take it
April 27, 2007 4:46 PM ET | Delete
You know what they say ka: stats are for losers. We all know the canucks blew themselves out of the playoffs last year...so what. This year, Nonis made the necessary changes (as much as he could), got a goalie, and made the playoffs. Then followed that up by beating Dallas. not bad for a start....Let's get off that ridiculous "won the division by luck" garbage. No team gets 100 points by luck -- and you know that. Are you aware that in Game 6, Dallas had twice as many power plays as the Canucks? We didn't whine, we said our team played crappy(they did) and would have to play much better in Game 7 and they did. Sure, there were a couple of phantom calls -- as there was in every game both ways -- but the fact is Dallas took wayyyyyyyyy tooooooooo many penalties chasing down the Canucks as they couldn't beat the heat. Are you aware that in the series, Dallas had more power plays than the Canucks in every game but 1 and 7? If you're so stats oriented, you shouldn't have missed that. Turco was great against vancouver...the only reason the series didn't end in 5 games. Both goalies were equally fine. Their stats were almost identical. But when the Canucks scored, they won...and Luongo made many timely saves. Let's hope he can keep it up against Anaheim. Dallas may have made the playoffs more often recently than the Canucks, but as I've said, they are a team that will never win in the playoffs without some big changes. I would have thought as a Dallas fan(atic) you would welcome those changes -- to get your team to win in the playoffs. I'd take Luongo any day over Turco if I were GM, but if I couldn't have Luongo, I'd snap up Turco in a flash! He's good.
April 27, 2007 6:48 PM ET | Delete
rdfred, hey man no need to waste your time on the exitous of the first round. I have been at it for days with these two.
April 27, 2007 8:02 PM ET | Delete
On that note...lets leave our bickering for the next blog...its going to be a beaut about penalties (and no, not just Game 7!). Any more thoughts by Stars fans about this linuep?
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