10.15.2008

NHL Quick-Check + Stars vs. Predators preview

Some news around the NHL:

- Ryan Hollweg has gotten himself suspended again. Personally, I think this is getting out of hand. I mean, some NHL players have gotten longer suspensions (Chris Simon) or suspensions for worse reasons (Sean Hill), but Hollweg is ridiculous. Barely into the second week of the 08-09 season, Hollweg has his second 3-game suspension. This man is going to get himself kicked out of the NHL, and I'm surprised that the Leafs haven't demoted him to the Marlies already.

- I know it's only a few games into the season, but it's always fun to look at the names atop the score charts and imagine what the NHL would be like if those guys led the league for the whole season. Then again, if Aaron Voros (7 points) was leading the NHL in points at the end of the year (along with Brandon Dubinksy, also 7 points), then the NHL might want to check back and see just how useful those rule changes would be.

- Along the topic of scoring leaders, can Keith Tkachuk make a comeback? The old power-forward has 4 goals already for St. Louis, and is on pace for, well, technically 82-84 goals. While that obviously won't happen, it'll be interesting to see if the Blues winger can get his goal-scoring into the 30-40 range for a few more years. He scored 27 goals last year.

- The NHL has decided to get the fan's answer on the ultimate question (no, not the question of life); Who's better? Alexander Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby? Fans across the NHL can write their own argument for either star player and have the opportunity for their opinions to appear on NHL.com. I'd write my own piece, but I like the play of both superstars and would only barely come out with Ovechkin on top.

Stars vs. Predators Preview:

- The Fort-Worth Star Telegram is reporting that Fabian Brunnstrom is going to make his debut tonight. But hold your applause, Stars fans—Brunnstrom is reportedly going to play on a line with Brad Richards and Sean Avery. Now, I'm not saying this line combo can't work. But not only does it break up the skilled duo of Richards and winger Loui Eriksson, it also takes bodyguard/agitator Avery off of the Neal-Modano-Avery line that played so well in the opening game of the season. Now, Avery is a new player, so his chemistry can still be messed around with, but Eriksson and Modano have rarely, if not never, played together and won't have much time to learn each other's game. The Stars need a win tonight, and they need it badly. A better line combo choice could have been Brunnstrom-Richards-Eriksson and keep the Neal-Modano-Avery line together. Another option that would have been interesting to see would be Morrow-Ribeiro-Brunnstrom. The Stars have had Steve Ott play the protector role for the intimidating duo of Morrow and Ribeiro, but Morrow is a tough guy in his own right and Ribeiro is no weakling either. Essentially, my ideal line combinations would be as follows:
Morrow-Ribeiro-Brunnstrom
Neal-Modano-Avery
Ott-Richards-Eriksson
Barch-Petersen-Crombeen
Hopefully, though, Brunnstrom can prove me wrong and play well tonight. Perhaps another Star will get his first goal in his first game?

- Jason Arnott suffered a hand injury and is expected to miss about 3 games, according to ESPN. This could be seen as very helpful to Dallas; without Arnott, the last Stars-Preds game would've ended up 1-1. Arnott terrorized the Stars by scoring 2 goals, and had so many other scoring opportunities that 4 goals wouldn't have seemed impossible.

- The Stars' defensive play will be under the most scrutiny; it was the main reason for a 0-1-1 start that surprised many Stars fans. I'm hoping that defensive coverage and awareness was the main focus during the Stars' practices, and hopefully tonight will produce better results.

That's all for now. I'll have a blog up after the game, most likely tomorrow, unfortunately live-blogging won't be an option.

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