III Communication

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

Tag: Vancouver Canucks

Great Game Previews In History: 24 October 2014

by J.R.

Today In History

Perhaps the most important treaty in human history is signed as the concept of the modern nation-state is born with the signing of the final bits of the Peace of Westphalia October 24, 1648.

Coming at the end of a massive diplomatic congress — delegations were sent from 16 European states, 66 states of the Holy Roman Empire (which represented 140 total Imperial states), and 27 interest groups representing 38 interest groups — the three treaties of Westphalia ostensibly ended the Thirty Years War between the Protestants and Catholics in the Holy Roman Empire and the Eighty Years War between Spain and the Dutch.

What it, in fact, did was create the modern notion of sovereignty, a primary export of Western Europe for the ensuing 300 years.

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Great Game Previews In History: 23 October 2014

by J.R.

Today in History

The Danish Civil War, which you didn’t know existed, came to its bloody conclusion at the Battle of Grathe Heath in 1157.

The slide to war begin with the abdication of Eric III, the reasons for which are unknown.

And as they do in a power vacuum, things got really bad.

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Great Game Previews In History: 21 October 2014

by J.R.

Today In History

Near Leesburg, Virginia on October 21, 1861, Union and Confederate forces clash in the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, one of the early engagements of the Civil War.

Maj. Gen. George “Wha?” McClellan sent Brig. Gen. George McCall to see what had been going on down near Leesburg. Several reconnoitering expeditions resulted in very little, as did McClellan’s order that the 1st Minnesota make a “slight demonstration” to draw out the Confederates.

McClellan ordered McCall to return to Langley and, in the meantime, a scouting party from the 15th Massachusetts discovered a stand of trees which they mistook for a Confederate camp, thus they were ordered to take 300 men and attack this stand of trees.

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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: 10 April 2014

by J.R.

Today in History

349px-Maximilian_emperor_of_MexicoOn April 10, 1864, Maximillian, younger brother of Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I, becomes Emperor of Mexico during the second French intervention, establishing the second Mexican Empire.

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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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Great Game Previews In History: 26 March 2014

by J.R.

Today In History

During the Breton War of Succession in 1351, thirty knights and squires from the House of Blois and thirty from the House of Montfront met in an arranged battle — the Combat des Trente — midway between the castles of Josselin and Ploërmel during a war fought to determine who would be king of Brittany.

The battle had little to no effect on the outcome of the war — ultimately won by the English-backed Montfort, though terms in the peace treaty ensured that a successor who would be friendly to the French would eventually take the throne of Brittany — but is nonetheless the most remembered part of a relatively-forgotten war.

According to legend, the battle was simply a chivalric exercise, fought in honor of the women who led the two factions: Joan of Brittany and the eventually-crazy Joanna of Flanders; however, other historians claim that the people of the countryside had been abused by the Montfort’s and umbrage was taken by the House of Blois’ Jean de Beaumanoir.

In any event, this wasn’t a battle that would seem normal to modern military historians (or to fans of Conference III). The two sides fought for hours to no result and then (this blows my mind) TOOK A BREAK FOR REFRESHMENTS.

“Je suis tellement soif!”
“Alright, mate, that’s drinks then.”

 

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Great Game Previews In History: 19 March 2014

by J.R.

Today In History

Cavelier_de_la_salleDuring an expedition to claim all the land in America between the Gulf of Mexico and Fort St. Louis — an expedition that left France with 320 people which dwindled to 36 — René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, explorer of the Mississippi, was murdered.

The Belle, the last of the three ships remaining from those he had sailed from France, had run aground (just as its two sister ships had done earlier) and, for two years, La Salle’s group had been wandering around aimlessly searching for the Mississippi Delta. On March 19, 1687, Pierre Duhault and a companion hid in the grass. As La Salle passed by, Duhault shot him in the head. He was stripped of all his clothing and jewelry and left to die where he fell, somewhere near what is now Huntsville, Texas. René-Robert Cavelier de la Salle died one hour later.

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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: 12 March 2014

by J.R.

Today In History

Sitio de Roma 537 dC Ostrogodos atacan templo Adriano.previewVitiges, king of the Ostrogoths, ends his siege of Rome, retreating to Ravenna and leaving the city in the hands of the Byzantine general Belisaurius on March 12, 538, which is also the fifth anniversary of Chris Chelios’ first NHL goal.

The Ostrogoth siege had gone pretty well, but it sowed the seeds of its own destruction, as even the invading force was beset with fatigue and famine and disease.

The end of the siege was precipitated after the Ostrogoths broke a truce by trying to re-enter a Byzantine-occupied portion of Rome via an aqueduct. They were repelled, the Byzantines occupied a handful of cities, splitting Italy in two and forcing a retreat by the Ostrogoths to Ravenna.

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