Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Star Status

Game 6 between the Stars and Sharks was anything but ordinary. The goaltenders looked like videogame characters, the players kept pushing and kept being physical even after 6 periods! It is difficult to fathom just how tired they must have been in this all important game. For the Sharks, it was do or die...and for the Stars, it was win at home or lose all momentum and head to the Shark Tank and avoid the embarrassment of letting a team come back down 3-0 in a series. Just taking a look at the stats shows you how ridiculous of a game this was:

-117 total shots, yet only 3 total goals. The average shots in a normal NHL game is 34, with around 5.3 goals per game.

-Turco had 61 saves, with a save percentage of .894%

- Mike Ribeiro alone was on the ice for over 52 minutes. In a regular game a NHL player averages around 23 minutes of on-ice time.

-In just his fifth game back after suffering an injury in Januay, Zubov played an incredible 53:50. I can't even stand up for that long!

The Stars are finally back in the Western Conference Finals, it just took the eighth longest game in NHL history to do it. They haven't been there since 2000, and they will now face the Red Wings, which is the worst matchup the Stars could have dreamed of. More about that in a second....

Is it possible to just retire Brenden Morrow's #10 jersey now? He has played at an unbelievable level as of late. This Dallas franchise over the years has had some players that could take over a game on the offensive end (Modano, Nieuwendyk, Hull)...but never has someone that has skated through this city ever been able to do it on both ends.

These playoffs have been the "Captain Morrow" show. In the Game 6 marathon alone Morrow had 18 hits, including one of the best checks I have ever seen to close regulation. As both teams headed to the locker room for the first of many overtime intermissions, Milan Michalek lay face down on the ice from Morrow's huge hit. No one else in the game even got to 10 checks, yet Morrow delivered 18! The game really felt like it would never end, but Morrow had different plans. He got the power play goal after a game that lasted 5 hours and 14 minutes.

"That was as fitting as anything I've ever seen in sports, that Brenden got the game-winner," head coach Dave Tippett. "It's been a long time since I've seen someone have a series like that. That's him taking the team on his back and carrying us. Turco was great too."

Marty Turco was not just great, he was....epic. Between the first and second overtime, Turco told his teammates that he would not let anything by him. He did just that, stopping shot after shot. His counter-part on the opposite end of the ice wasn't bad either. In fact, the save of the night went to Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov. The Khazakhstanian (do you think he is a fan of Borat?) made an improbable save in the first overtime on Brad Richards. He dove from the opposite side of the crease, did the splits, and reached out with his glove. The play was reviewed, but the momentum of the puck did not carry Nabokov's glove completely across the goal line.

Next up for the Stars are the hated Detroit Red Wings. For some reason Detroit has had the Stars number. In fact, Turco has not won a game at Joe Louis Arena since he was a young man playing for the Michigan Wolverines. It is going to be a tough series, "Gaudruple OT kinda tough..." good thing the Stars have experienced something like that.

Game 1 is Thursday at 6:30, you can read ESPN's preview of that game right here.

Some things I wrote down during the Sharks/Stars marathon:
-After the game came the traditional handshake. Since it could have been Jeremy Roenick's last game of his career, all eyes were on him. Roenick and Modano shook hands, and then hugged. It gets my award for "Most Awkard Man Hug I Have Ever Seen." It seemed like it lasted for over 10 minutes.
- Jonathan Cheechoo has by far the coolest last name ever. That's the name that would be given to a mafia member that sneezes a lot.
- How has FSN color commentator Daryl Reaugh not been offered more national televised jobs? He never ceases to amaze me with his phrases. He has a phrase for every single second of action, and he never repeats them. The game went so long Sunday night that at one point after another amazing save he screamed, "I'm running out of superlatives for these goalies!" It was classic...
-In the third overtime Turco stopped a wrister by Ryan Clowe that at first looked as if it had gone to the back of net. After the replay showed that Turco had fell on it and clutched it under his backside, Reaugh analyzed the play as follows:
"Look at that, Marty stopped it after all. He put it right under his butt...or what body part is that exactly? Right where the crack forms. The nubble! He stopped it with his nubble!"


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