Monday, April 21, 2008

A beautiful day in Stars-land

So starved are we for Dallas-area sports success, we are positively giddy about the Stars' first-round victory over the defending Stanley Cup-champ Ducks.

Really, though, this was a remarkable series win for the Stars, regardless of the near-precedent setting of it. Even though it's been nearly two years since one our teams (in ANY sport) made it out of the first round, the Stars' triumph would be worth getting excited about no matter what has been going on around it.

These were the big, experienced, tough, defending-champ Ducks. Pronger, Neidermaier and Neidermayer, Selanne, Bertuzzi, Perry, and that Giguere guy; not a team to be taken lightly.

And what did the Stars have to counter? How about Zubov and Boucher out with injuries, three rookies on the blue line, an offense which was having trouble finding the back of the net down the regular season stretch, and the indecipherable grey matter between Marty Turco's ears. A recipe for trouble?

Well, no, as it turns out.

Who could have predicted the steadiness (with some minor lapses, of course) of Niskanen, Fistric, and Grossman? Did you foresee the major step-up taken by Trevor Daley? Or the grittiness of Robidas? The defensive corps of this team was, without question, the surprise of the series.

Goals from all over were a pleasant surprise as well. Stu Barnes is playing like he's 24 again. Ribeiro continues to amaze - the guy must weigh 170 in full pads, so how is he able to get to the net against monsters like Pronger and Neidermayer? Erickson and Lundqvist, where did they come from? I love Modano, but who can deny that Morrow is 5 times the captain Mo was?

And then there's Turco. He didn't look great throughout the series, but he certainly looked good with flashes of great. Does this finally get the monkey off his back? I hope so. I want to be a fan of this guy, but he hasn't made it easy up until now. I'd love to see him succeed and shut his critics the heck up.

So, what's next? Well, we have to wait and see who the opponent is going to be, of course. Either San Jose or Colorado are going to be tough. But, the Stars just knocked off the champs. You have to feel good going on to Round 2. I sure do.

Go Stars!

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