Puck Daddy - NHL

As the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue, we're bound to lose some friends along the journey. Gone but not forgotten, we've asked for these losers to be eulogized by the people who knew the teams best: The fans who hated them the most. Here is Dave from the Red Wings blog Gorilla Crouch, recalling the Dallas Stars.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today to remember the 2007-08 Dallas Stars. 

The Stars will be remembered for their hard work in kicking the Anaheim Once Mighty Ducks and the San Jose Sharks to the curb. Alas, Dallas didn't make quick work of either foe, and in doing so sowed the seeds of their demise. In two battles amongst fellow Pacific Division foes, in which none of the teams involved could find the back of the net with a GPS unit, the 13 games in ice time over those series took a toll on this Stars team. 

It was a toll from which they would never recover.

I don't want to say the Stars looked sluggish at the start of the Western Conference Finals against Detroit, but I've seen mite hockey teams show better skating skills. When your team gives up breakaway goals to Jiri Hudler, you've got skating issues. Heck, a mite hockey player couldn't have done a worse job defending Henrik Zetterberg's first short-handed goal than Brad Richards did. Richards is being paid $7.8 million per season to do that?

Of course everyone knows Marty Turco has struggled when it comes to facing Detroit.  Why is it every time Turco plays against the Red Wings it looks like he's playing goalie for the first time in his life? After looking brilliant in playoff series against Vancouver [last year], Anaheim and San Jose, Marty allowed an average of 3.75 goals per game in the four losses to Detroit. This classic Pavel Datsyuk goal provides the perfect "Lucy with the football and Charlie Brown approaching for the kick" moment that completely encapsulates Turco's career against the Wings.

The Stars were led by a number of very gritty forwards. And by gritty I mean guys who couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat. Brenden Morrow missed a wide open net on the power play in Game 3. Henrik Zetterberg had as many short-handed goals against the Stars as Morrow had goals in this series. Steve Ott completely missed the net on a 4-on-1 chance and the only thing Mike Ribeiro could hit was Chris Osgood's chest with his stick...after Game 2 was over and there was no pressure, of course. 

Ribeiro's reputation as a gritty, fearless leader who will play through pain was established during his time with the Montreal Canadiens. Mike Modano's most impressive scoring these days takes place off the ice. He's having more success there than the Stars were when trying to score on the power play.

The Stars defense was led of course by Kelly Sutherland. His ability to rob the Red Wings of sure goals was critical to Dallas' yeoman efforts to avoid being swept. I won't question Sergei Zubov's contributions during this series; let me instead say that Philippe Boucher put on a better performance.  If you happen to see the elderly Russian man whose visage appears on your carton of milk, please call the Dallas front office immediately.  

While the end was a foregone conclusion after Detroit jumped out to a 3-0 lead, we should all remember that this was a Stars team that advanced further than many people thought possible. That suggests head coach Dave Tippett has the team headed in the right direction.  If he could turn anything associated with the Los Angeles Kings into a competent, effective unit then he might even be up to the task of ramping up the Stars' offensive production to where they can eventually average two goals a game in the conference finals.

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