Saturday, June 21, 2008

Weekly Topic: Playoff Memories

Obviously, being a Stars fan, there's one huge thing that stood out in the playoffs for me. How about the Stars making it past the first round for the first time in what feels like forever? I knew that the team was good, but I really had zero expectations when it came to the playoffs, which may explain why I burst into tears when the Stars won game six of the first round. Behind the cut, I go into a bit more detail about the team and the whole fantastic-ness of the situation.

The Stars, throughout their entire playoff run, were definitely the underdogs. No one expected them to win the first round against Anaheim, despite the fact that both teams were pretty fairly matched. When the Stars managed to win that round, everyone said that they would lose against the Sharks, and that the Sharks would win the Cup (which I never, ever believed). Alas, the Stars almost dominated that series, taking a 3-0 lead in the series. Of course, they almost lost it, but still won in a dramatic four overtime win in game six. Unfortunately, they met their match in the Detroit Red Wings.

Marty Turco had some serious monkeys to get off his back when the playoffs began. He was fantastic in the 2007 playoffs, with three shutouts, but again lost in the first round. This year, the team in front of him played their hearts out and managed to win. Even in the Detroit series, Marty came up with some important saves. Games they could have lost 8-1 were lost 4-1 instead. He was astounding, and truly helped carry the team through.

Brenden Morrow is a captain who leads by example. I'm not sure what he says in the locker room, but he puts everything out there on the ice. He will never lie down and take it. He gets right back up and keeps going on. He is, as the Versus commercials said, a giant-killer.

Veteran guys Mike Modano and Sergei Zubov may be getting up there in age, but still play their hearts out. Zubov sat out the first round with an injury, but returned in the San Jose series, a bit shaky. He got better and better with every game he played, and by the end, was 100% the old Sergei Zubov we all know and love. Mattias Norstrom played with a sports hernia through the entire playoffs. That is serious drive, right there.

I would talk about the whole team, but I'm getting exhausted (it's 2:40am here), so I'll close by talking about the rookies. Injuries on the blueline led to key ice time for rookie defensemen Matt Niskanen, Nicklas Grossman, and Mark Fistric. Niskanen was a little shaky, but I just discovered that he was playing with a hairline fracture on his foot. How that went unnoticed, I don't know - perhaps he was just showing that hockey player determination, and played through it even knowing it was more serious than anyone thought. Nicklas Grossman and Mark Fistric are hard-hitting, bruising defensemen who proved they could compete at the NHL level.

When it's all said and done, I'd say that the team has a bright future. They've proved they can make it, and I would consider them a bit of a Cinderella story in this playoff series. No one expected them to make it as far as they did, but they pulled through, believing in themselves the whole way. I can say with a high degree of certainty that all of their fans believed in them, too.

1 comment:

Ellie said...

morrow was a nice addition to my fantasy team this year : )