III Communication

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Tag: Calgary Flames

Great Game Previews In History: 15 October 2014

by J.R.

Today In History

In 1211, during the Byzantine-Latin Wars, the forces of the former, led by Theodore I Laskaris, are defeated by those of the latter, led by Henry of Flanders at the Battle of the Rhyndacus in what is now Turkey.

Henry wanted to expand his empire deeper into Asia Minor, but an earlier war with the Bulgarians left him with just a tiny holding. Meanwhile, the Byzantine Nicaeans were devastated after a protracted war with the Seljuks, so Henry landed some knights and attacked.

Laskaris set up an ambush at the Rhyndacus River, but Henry’s forces, bolstered by those knights, overran the Nicaeans and proceeded to march deep into their territory.

Incredibly, this battle was won with no casualties and the war-weary successor states quickly wrapped up their differences with the Treaty of Nymphaeum.

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Great Game Previews In History: 14 October 2014

by J.R.

Today In History

Minutes before giving a campaign speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Teddy Roosevelt is shot on October 14, 1912.

The would-be assassin is New York saloon owner John Flammang Schrank. Schrank said he made the attempt because he opposed presidents seeking a third term (can you imagine being so goosed about term limits that you’d try to shoot somebody?) and that he was advised by the ghost of William McKinley to take action (it will not surprise you to learn Schrank was committed and died in a mental hospital in 1943).

In any event, Roosevelt was not killed. Schrank’s bullet hit his eyeglasses case, the 50-page speech he was set to give and lodged in his chest, but Roosevelt, being something of an amateur anatomist (as one is), knew the bullet hadn’t entered his lung because he wasn’t coughing blood, so he gave the speech anyway.

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Great Game Previews In History: 11 October 2014

by J.R.

boerToday In History

After years of escalation — which included a war and a British-led raid to take Johannesburg — the Boer republics of Transvaal and the Orange Free State invade the British-held Cape Colony and Natal, beginning the Second Boer War. Talk about being united and divided simultaneously, eh?

The war began with rapid invasions by the Boers, who had the great advantage of having a fighting force that was nimble, familiar with the area, good on horses and fairly easy to mobilize. Within a few weeks, the Boers had made great inroads into British-held territory, driving back the British in some cases and laying siege to garrisons in others.

Spoiler alert: though the war pioneered the use of modern guerrilla warfare, the Brits ultimately win this one, the Boer territories are incorporated into the British colonies and the Union of South Africa comes to be in 1910…and then develops into a truly reprehensible country but then gets sort of OK again and then hosts the World Cup.

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[Redacted]: Stars’ Playoff Drought Finally Over

by obscenealex

Five seasons.  That’s how long the Stars left fans in the lurch between playoff appearances.  Only Trevor Daley remains from that 2007-08 team that brought Dallas to the Western Conference Finals, upsetting the Mighty [Naughty Times] of Anaheim and San Jose [Accidents] before losing 4-2 to the Dead Things.  The turnover was severe as the Stars retooled and rebuilt and looking back at it, even though I watched it all happen, it is truly amazing how many changes this team has seen.

The deep pockets of Tom Hicks brought Dallas a Stanley Cup in 1999, but a series of poor financial decisions outside of the team dragged the Stars down with him.  The Stars subsisted on boiled shoe leather from 2009 through the beginning of the 2011-12 season and at least part of that time had creditors and the NHL managing the team’s finances.

Les Jackson's face says it all.

Les Jackson’s face says it all.

Doug “I’ll give you a 1st for Ladislav Nagy” Armstrong was canned at the beginning of 2007-08 when the team got off to a bad start.  From there, the two-headed monster of Les Jackson and Brett Hull reigned for a little over a season, most notably adding Brad Richards and totally useless [crap cranium] Sean Avery on Hull’s decision.

After missing the playoffs for the first time since 2002, Joe Nieuwendyk was brought in as GM and did many things right.  He restocked the Stars’ bare prospect cupboard, making it one of the best in the NHL in a very short timeframe.  He iced a decent team on a shoestring budget.  To the frustration of some fans, he even fired Dave Tippett as he attempted to aim the team towards a fast, puck possession style of play and kept Brad Richards, who also had a no trade clause, for a failed playoff push when it was clear Richards wouldn’t re-sign in the offseason due to frustrations over the team’s financial situation.  However, his inabilities to find adequate coaching, align team management in Dallas, and fully develop the Stars’ on-ice identity as well as Jim Nill being seen as a better option by new owner Tom Gaglardi were his real undoing.

As the first coaching hire after Tippett, Marc Crawford relied heavily on two lines and completely lost the room at the end.  Glen Gulutzan was brought up from the Texas Stars as a replacement.  Despite his ability to mentor young players, Gulutzan was too green to be an NHL head coach and something went completely [tuckus] over teakettle between Nieuwendyk and Gulutzan when Reilly Smith burned through the first year of his entry level contract at the end of 2011-12, getting scratched and barely seeing any ice time when he played.

No facet of the organization was immune to change.  Even my ticket sales rep left during the lockout.  More importantly, though, from the 2007-08 season to now, the player turnover has been astounding:

 

Left as a UFA: Brad Richards (Glen Sather’s band of merry misfits), Sheldon Souray (Mighty [Naked Funs]), and Adam Burish ([Poopy Pants]).

(3 NHL-caliber players)

What did we do to the hockey gods to deserve this shit?

What did we do to the hockey gods to deserve this [gentleman]?

Was not resigned: Mike Modano (Dead Things), Sergei Zubov (KHL), Marty Turco (Butthawks), Karlis Skrastins (KHL, RIP), Darryl Sydor (Boos), Niklas Hagman (LOLeafs), Antti Miettinen (Tame), Mark Parrish (AHL/Lightning), Brendan Morrison (Crapitals), Jamie Langenbrunner (Boos), Eric Nystrom (Perds), Radek Dvorak (Mighty [Babymaking Activities]), Mark Fistric (Oilers), Steve Begin (Boston), Jeff Woywitka (Les Habitrails/Rangers), Brad Winchester (Boos), Tom Wandell (KHL), Joel Lundqvist (SEL), Johan Holmqvist (SEL), Tobias Stephan (Swiss-A), Perttu Lindgren (SM-Liiga), Andrew Raycroft (Italian Serie A), Richard Bachman (AHL/Oilers), Andrew Hutchinson (AHL/Penguins), Chris Conner (AHL/Penguins), Jason Williams (AHL/Penguins), Garrett Stafford (AHL/Phoenix), Matt Climie (AHL/Phoenix), Warren Peters (AHL/Wild), Aaron Gagnon (AHL/Jets), Brian Sutherby (AHL), Ray Sawada (AHL) and Brandon Segal (AHL).

(About 14 NHL-caliber players, although some of them barely so, 8 European league/KHL players, and 11 AHLers)

Retired: Jere Lehtinen, Stu Barnes, Mattias Norstrum, Brad Lukowich, Landon Wilson, and Brent Krahn.

(3 NHL-caliber players and 3 AHLers)

God dammit.

God [bless him].

Traded: Brenden Morrow (Penguins); Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, and Matt Fraser (Boston); Mike Ribeiro (Crapitals); James Neal and Matt Niskanen (Penguins); Steve Ott and Adam Pardy (Sabres); Michael Ryder (Les Habitrails); Jaromir Jagr (Boston); Stephane Robidas (Mighty [Making Flowers]); Derek Roy (Cantnucks); Mike Smith, Jussi Jokinen, and Jeff Halpern (Lightning); Nicklas Grossman(n) (Flyers); Philippe Boucher (Penguins); Krys Barch (Florida); Philip Larsen (Oilers); Fabian Brunnstrom (LOLeafs); Tomas Vincour ([Rear]alanche); Dan Ellis (is now Florida’s problem); Junior Lessard (AHL/Lightning); Jake Dowell (AHL/Wild); Lane MacDermid (AHL/Calgary/retired); Doug Janik (AHL/Les Habitrails); Francis Wathier (AHL); Dan Jancevski (AHL); and Ivan Vishnevskiy (AHL).

(20 NHL-caliber players and 10 who are not)

Claimed off waivers: B.J. Crombeen (Boos), Todd Fedoruk (Tame)

(2 NHL-caliber players)

Bought out: Totally Useless [Fecal Forehead] Sean Avery

(1 waste of life I wouldn’t even [extinguish with urine] on if he was on fire)

New: The entire team minus Trevor Daley

 

Master troll Kari Lehtonen

Master troll Kari Lehtonen

Now granted, 32 of the players above were players who briefly saw NHL action before falling back down into the AHL, Europe, or the KHL, but this is still a hell of a lot of turnover.  42 NHL players.  Enough to ice two NHL teams with two healthy scratches for good measure.  Is that number a sign?  Also, here’s a hilarious bit of trivia – Ivan Vishnevskiy, once heralded in Dallas as the second coming of Sergei Zubov, was the main piece headed to the Atlanta Thrashers to bring Kari Lehtonen to Dallas.  Later that season, the Thrashers realized they made a horrible mistake and flipped him to the Butthawks for Andrew Ladd.  Oops.

#IAmValNichushkin

#IAmValNichushkin

In the end, though, all that misery was worth it.  The Stars have new owner Tom Gaglardi and with him came a new, savvy GM in Jim Nill.  Nill recognized what many fans didn’t and hired Lindy Ruff, who has turned out to be a great coach instead of the past-his-prime dinosaur fans feared.  Nill also took a smart gamble, did his due diligence and drafted Valeri Nichushkin, a player Joe Nieuwendyk wouldn’t have touched with a ten foot pole. Nill recognized a prospect pool full of good players, but no blue chip skaters, and risked a late first round pick on Jason Dickinson, a player that showed strong upside if he could fit all the pieces together.  He snagged a goaltender, Philippe Desrosiers, that is tearing up the QMJHL.  Most importantly for the present, he traded Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, and Matt Fraser for Tyler Seguin and Raptor Jesus a few days after the draft. He also added other complimentary pieces to fill out a roster mixed with youth and veteran leaders on short term deals to guide them.

Gaglardi rebranded the Stars off the ice by bringing Jim Lites and Mike Modano back into the fold and introducing new uniforms.  Jim Nill and Lindy Ruff have rebranded them on the ice into the fast, puck possession team Joe Nieuwendyk was aiming for but never quite reached.  Jamie Benn has grown into his role as captain and with a monster season, has led by example.

This season has seen ups and downs.  Winning streaks and losing streaks.  Times when fans have literally cried for joy and times when they’ve wanted to reach into their televisions and strangle the [snot] out of certain players.  Stepping back though, Stars fans know this team is just beginning to come together.  More pieces will be added and subtracted before they’re a true contender.

Paul Bissonnette is looking for his ball.

Paul Bissonnette is looking for his ball.

Back in September, most experts picked Dallas to finish outside the playoffs for a sixth season in a row.  Many fans, including myself, expected the same – a rebuilding year.  Instead, the Phoenix Coyotes now find themselves playing golf after the Stars triumphantly stomped all over the Blues this past Friday.  Hockey fans everywhere should thank Dallas for ensuring nobody had to watch the Coyotes stumble and trap their way through the first round.

Mickey heard the Stars were coming to town.

Mickey heard the Stars were coming to town.

Now, the Stars ironically find themselves facing Stephane Robidas, who was traded to a contender at his request at the deadline, and that Mickey Mouse organization in Anaheim.  After all the seasons of selfless effort where Robidas was one of the heart and soul players on the Stars – the countless times he broke his nose, all the times he got crushed by a hit and popped right back up, and the one time he couldn’t get back up this season – I truly wish him the best, but not at the Stars’ expense.  No, I want to see Dallas crush the hopes of Anaheim and the aspirations of the second California team they face in the next round again, just like in 2008 and as one final round of retribution for lumping the Stars in with a bunch of west coast teams for so many years… but if they don’t, I’m still happy because everything the Stars do from here is just icing.  You see, the Stars have exceeded everyone’s expectations.  They have nothing to lose and that’s what makes them dangerous.

Pass those boys some shells – it’s duck season.  Stars in 7.

Great Game Previews In History: 11 April 2014

by J.R.

Today In History

The War of the Spanish Succession came to an end on this day in 1713 with the signing of the former Conference III 11th-ranked Treaty of Utrecht.

Allegory_on_the_Peace_of_UtrechtIt was actually a series of treaties, because the War of the Spanish Succession was so dang complicated. On one hand was Louis XIV of France and his grandson Philip V of Spain and on the other, representatives of Anne, Queen of Great Britain, the Duke of Savoy, the King of Portugal and the United Provinces of the Netherlands.

It had the force and effect of curtailing French ambitions at ruling Europe while preserving the balance of power, which was, like, the thing to day in early modern Europe.

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[Redacted] Week in Review: Stop the [Bovine Excreta]

by obscenealex

I’m not in a welcoming mood this week.  Get off my [well-manicured] lawn.

Oh, I have to write a column for you to read?  Well [gird yourself] then, you spoiled [solipsist].  Here it is:

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Great Game Previews In History: 14 March 2014

by J.R.

Today In History

800px-IvryrubensOn March 14, 1590, Huguenot forces led by King Henry IV of France defeated the Catholic League led by Duc de Mayenne at the Battle of Ivry during the French Wars of Religion.

Henry had moved to occupy the League-occupied city of Dreux, but the forces of Mayenne — bolstered by Swiss infantry and Flemish pikemen — gave chase, intending to break a siege. Henry deployed his army — outnumbered badly, with the Catholic League having 12,000 foot soldiers to 8,000 Huguenots — on the plain of Saint André near Ivry.

Henry gave a pre-game pep talk:

“Companions! If you today run at risk with me, I will also run at risk with you; I will be victorious or die. God is with us. Look at his and our enemies. Look at your king. Hold your ranks, I beg of you; and if the heat of battle makes you leave them, think also of rallying back: therein lies the key to victory. You will find it among those three trees that you can see over there on your right side. If you lose your ensigns, cornets or flags, do never lose sight of my panache; you will always find it on the road to honour and victory.”

And then with volleys from six royal cannon, the battle was joined.

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DemocraThree: 7 March 2014

by J.R.

demomk2

Every Friday (except this week obviously) [Ed note: I’m an idiot] bloggers from around The Heptarchy will update us on the news and notes from their teams (with that fancy header image courtesy of Mike D; like democracy itself, it’s a perpetual work-in-progress). Yes, we ripped this off from TRH’s Pacific War Room; no, we don’t care. And since we ripped it off, we’ll follow their lead and go in standings order.

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[Redacted] Trade Deadline Special Edition

by obscenealex

Greetings, [fellow travelers], and welcome to a special trade deadline edition of [Redacted].  Without further ado, let’s have a look at what each Conference III team did over the past few days.

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Great Game Previews In History: 3 March 2014

by J.R.

Today In History

Gal_nations_edward_iOn March 3, 1284, Edward I issued the Statute of Rhuddlan, the means by which the newly conquered territories of North Wales would be administered.

That sounds pretty boring, maybe, except it fundamentally created the union between the whole of Wales and the whole of England and is still considered a document essential to the concept of the “United Kingdom.”

In short, the statute took the lands under direct royal control (that is: the most recently conquered lands of North Wales) and annexed them to the crown (which is how Edward was able to make his son the “Prince of Wales,” a title held by the heir-apparent to this day, but not by right; because of the wording of the Statute of Rhuddlan, the heir has to be created as Prince of Wales).

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