Got any Vanilla with Two Flakes?

s/t to @HockeyBrunch who suggested this..

So, back to the UC and the blessed relief of Pat & Edzo who have, in between whining about luxury travel, also been a-hankering for that soft-serve ice cream in Chicago.

It’s back to business as usual, and I do mean usual, as the Stars provide the opposition yet again (part of Realignment means that we’re going to get very used to certain teams)

Rather than blather on about the Hawks vs Stars for the third time in a couple of weeks or so, I thought I’d talk to David Wilson of Defending Big D about how the Stars are doing and what we can expect from them. He’s also a Cricket fan, so some of this may only be for the benefit of me, him and JR Lind.

CtA) The Stars are propping up Conference III (with games in hand) but certainly seem to be  much, much better than their lowly position suggests. Is making the playoffs still a realistic proposition?

All I can say is realignment blows. It’s fine for you guys, who can swan around the country and go 6-1 on a mammoth road trip, but for those of us who huddle together for warmth in the middle of the pack, Conference III is a disaster. Not that the old un-Pacific Division would have been treating us much better this season… As to your question though, making the playoffs is definitely still a proposition, but I’m beginning to feel that it’s a realistic proposition only when I’m wearing my Victory Green colored glasses. And looking through a green-tinted window at an Irish landscape in the springtime (ed: it’s raining). The Western Conference is just too strong. Having said that though, I still fully expect at least one team in the top eight of the West to crash and burn at some point this season. They can’t all continue to be stunningly amazing, besides you guys, and the Stars areplaying well, holding their own against the big boys and putting together a solid record during a road-heavy early season.

There’s still a chance we’ll be the last ones squeezing in the door when the playoff party starts.

 

CtA) The Hawks/Stars games have been very close this year (late goals notwithstanding in the first game). What do you think has allowed Dallas to stick so close to the Champions?

 

This might be a case of me slipping on my tinted glasses again, but I would ask what allowed the Champions to stick so close to Dallas? Especially in Friday’s game when the Stars outpossessed the Hawks and held a late lead. The Stars are a surprisingly strong possession team, and are top ten in fancy stats for it. Take out a stuttering start to the season when the defense was shaky and the forward lines hadn’t yet clicked, and our numbers would look even better. Granted, you guys rank number one in those categories, but still. You’re getting too cozy up there on your pedestal, looking down on the rest of the league.

 

CtA) Tyler Seguin obviously captures all the headlines,but aside from him, who for you has been the standout player(s) this year?

 

Tyler Seguin has obviously been the standout for us, but I don’t think any mention of him is complete without the words ‘Jamie Benn.’ The pair seemed to click immediately, and, regardless of who plays on their wing, they’ve been a handful for the opposition. Even the scoring slump that followed the outburst in Calgary was far from chanceless. Other players to watch are of course Big Val Nichushkin, or the Young Soviet as one of your idiot broadcasters put it, Rich Peverley, who I feel has tipped the scales our way in regards to who won the Seguin-Eriksson trade, and the trio of Antoine Roussel, Vernon Fiddler, and Ryan Garbutt. I’m not sure if it’s a glaring sign of a lack of depth when that line gets promoted from fourth line to second line duties, or a testament to their recent play. I love ‘em, every other teams’ fans probably hate them, but regardless, they’re fun to watch.

 And of course, there’s Kari Lehtonen. I say of course because I’m a Dallas fan, but I still don’t think he gets the national attention he deserves.

 CtA) You’re an American Cricket fan, which is just as odd as me being an Irish Hockey fan.. how do you reckon the Ashes are going to go? (England vs Australia.. currently in Oz)

 You had to bring it up didn’t you? After the absolute tonking England received at the hands of the Aussies in the first test. In all honesty though, the English batting order was exposed. Again. It happened in the Australian tour over the summer, but then the Aussies top order was equally exposed, so England’s batting problems were swept under the rug. Granted, there were some things going on behind the scenes with Jonathan Trott during the first test, but the rest of the England batsmen just weren’t up to it. Hopefully the infusion of some young blood in the batting lineup will produce better results later this week, and if Stuart Broad can maintain the form he had last week, and if Graeme Swann (and did I hear Monty might be in?) can take wickets on a pitch favoring spin… then England might make a series of it.

But that’s a lot of ifs…

I don’t know why I answered that last question seriously. Are we the only two on this blog who even know what the Ashes are? (ed: Yes) Focus damn it. There’s a hockey game tonight! Go Stars!

 

Big thanks to David for taking the time to answer my stoopid questions. You can follow him @daveyssuitcase and also read the oppostion’s opinions at the excellent Defending Big D

It’s the first game back from a succesful road trip, there have been some strange line ups in practice and this has “Trap Game” written all over it.. but I fancy the Hawks to continue their recent dominance. just don’t expect a blowout.

 

Puck drop at 19.00 Central… Let’s Go Hawks!