III Communication

Covering The NHL's Conference III Better Than Anyone On The Whole Internet. Like Ma Bell, We Got The III Communication

Tag: San Jose Sharks

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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III Communication’s Official Guaranteed To Be Right Playoff Predictions

by obscenealex

Obscene Alex and J.R. can’t agree on the utility of explicit language; can they agree on the outcome of this year’s playoff series?

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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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DemocraThree: 4 April 2014

by J.R.

demo210

Every Friday 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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Great Game Previews In History: 27 March 2014

by J.R.

Today In History

The Naval Act of 1794 — passed on this day in, uh, 1794 — authorized the building of the first six frigates of the U.S. Navy. A real original six.

One of them — the Constitution — is still in commission in Charlestown Navy Yard and part of the Navy’s educational outreach programs.

That leaves five and, wouldn’t ya know, there are five Conference III games today.

 

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Trade Central Time Zone: Your Guide To The 2013-14 Trade Deadline

by J.R.

Exactly one week from the moment this is posted — Wednesday, March 5 at 2 PM Central (1 PM Mountain) — the NHL will hit its trade deadline, which makes the next week simultaneously one of the most interesting and exhausting weeks on the schedule. It can be very confusing, what with real insiders — like Uncle Bob — trying to cut through the noise of rumormongers, charlatans, fake accounts of real reporters and fake accounts of charlatans.

We’re here to help with a handy guide to what you need to know for the week ahead.

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The [Redacted] Week in Review with Obscene Alex: Toilet Gunk Edition

by obscenealex

The color of the wax was pretty close to rust in this mess.

The color of the wax was pretty close to rust in this mess.

Howdy, [donkey trilbies], and welcome to this week’s edition of the [Redacted] Week in Review.  Good players that matter are in Sochi by now, trying to find functional toilets.  Lesser players are on break.  Without Conference III hockey to cover over the next week, I find myself somewhere in the middle – I just replaced a toilet at my house and Olympic hockey is unlikely to offer the same enjoyable opportunities to converse with opposing fans that the regular NHL schedule does.  As a quick note on both, though, the nasty old wax ring I pulled off when I removed my old toilet was about the same color as the Phoenix Coyote jerseys.  I only wish I had taken a picture for posterior posterity.

It seems like this week has crawled as slowly as watching a New Jersey Devils shot trying to cross the goal line.  Nate MacKinnon is still running away with the Calder scoring race, Winnipeg lost two out of three this week, and the Blackhawks are still wearing the Conference III Crown of [Fecal Matter].  Not everything is the same, though… here’s some new stuff to enjoy:

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Great Game Previews In History: 5 February 2014

by J.R.

Today In History

On this day in 1958, a B-47 carrying a nuclear weapon (which may or may not have been disabled) collides with a F-38 off the coast of Georgia and jettisons its cargo to shed weight and avoid detonation on emergency landing. The crew did not detect an explosion and, despite several searches off Tybee Island in the subsequent decades, the bomb has never been found.

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Great Game Previews In History: 1 February 2014

by J.R.

Today in History

441px-Edward_III_of_England_(Order_of_the_Garter)Following the deposition of his father by his mother, Isabella, and Roger Mortimer, Edward III accedes to the English throne on this date in 1327.

He was just 14, so Isabella and Roger pretty much steered the ship of state, which was the plan all along after the had Edward II arrested for “incompetence; allowing others to govern him to the detriment of the people and Church; not listening to good advice and pursuing occupations unbecoming to a monarch; having lost Scotland and lands in Gascony and Ireland through failure of effective governance; damaging the Church, and imprisoning its representatives; allowing nobles to be killed, disinherited, imprisoned and exiled; failing to ensure fair justice, instead governing for profit and allowing others to do likewise; and of fleeing in the company of a notorious enemy of the realm, leaving it without government, and thereby losing the faith and trust of his people.”

Given the choice between abdicating in favor of his son or resisting and risking that a non-royal would take power (presumably, this would have been Mortimer, who, in fact, ended up in charge anyway), Edward II abdicated and Edward III became king.

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