Showing posts with label Dallas Stars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dallas Stars. Show all posts

Sunday, April 05, 2009

In Dallas that D stands for default

"We have no concerns about the Stars' ability to carry on," --NHL Vice President Bill Daly, trying to put out the latest brush fire among NHL franchises...

While the NHL is suggesting that there’s nothing to worry about, the details of the financial troubles of Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks are sending a few shock waves around the NHL this weekend.

Friday’s announcement came out of the blue, as the NHL was forced to acknowledge that the reports from a financial website known as FINaleternatives.com were correct that the owner of the Dallas Stars was in default on some 525 million of American dollars in loans.

In that report, the website broke down the distress of Hicks sports as such, with the company failing to make interest payments on a $350-million bank term loan, a $100-million second-lien loan and a $75-million revolving credit facility. While the loans interest payments were being missed, Hicks himself outlined that he was presently in the process of trying to renegotiate the interest terms on his loans, which involve 40 banks.

FINAlternatives followed that story with a review of the situation on April 4th, in which the news making developments were described by the Hicks group as just a business strategy in which they “decided to withhold last week’s interest payment” in an effort to renegotiate some loan terms and covenants

Dallas is just the latest of NHL franchises to suddenly find itself more of interest to the financial pages than in the Sports section. Phoenix of course has been a financial page mainstay for most of the season and it was only a few weeks ago that the Montreal Canadiens became story 1 in Quebec with talk the George Gillet was looking for a buyer for the storied original six franchise.

Ongoing melodramas have been playing out in Nashville, Tampa Bay and Atlanta to name a few of the more high profile ones, with whispers about other locations as well suffering from attendance woes and financial troubles associated with the current recession.

Dallas however, like Montreal takes the concerns to a whole new level for those involved with the NHL from the league office, through the teams and on to the fan base.

A Stanley Cup champion and one of the success stories of the push to the southern states, up until this news came out many had thought of the Stars as one of the blue prints as to how to run a hockey franchise.

The NHL is expressing little concern over the state of the Stars at the moment, expressing their confidence in Hicks to settle things down, and he himself has said that there is little worry about the banks gaining control of any of his sports franchises (he also is an owner of the Texas Rangers of MLB and co-owns Liverpool of the English Premier League with George Gillet) and has stated that he will continue to pay for the operation of the Stars and the Rangers, though he is looking for like minded investors looking to join him.

While the NHL is officially remaining steadfast in their belief that all is well, the increasing frequency of less than favourable financial information must be starting to be raising eyebrows amongst the other owners, who may see the values of their franchises drop as the economy continues on into recessionary times and once strong franchises begin to shake under the stresses

Much like the world economy of the day, which has government after government seeking a blue print to lead the way out of the difficulties, there seems to be a growing need to see that the NHL is preparing to address these growing problems within the league.

They can say that they’re not worried and that all is well, but the troubling signs are starting to multiply, it would be nice to know if they have a plan in place to address them and head off any future problems, before the events of the day surprise them like they did on Friday, and more importantly for the league to show that they are on top of the situations before the events of the day overtake them.

Globe and Mail-- Stars owner in financial trouble
Dallas News-- Hicks negotiating with lenders over Rangers, Stars debt
ESPN-- Hicks dismisses claims over stateside teams
Fort Worth Star Telegram-- Tom Hicks' sports group misses interest payment

Friday, November 23, 2007

Leafs drop the lead in big D, Stars keep streak alive




The Toronto Maple Leafs went to Irving on Thanksgiving Day Thursday, a chance to watch the mythical Cowboys keep their winning record alive and take in some of the ambiance of America’s Team.

They apparently did not take notes…

On Friday, Toronto met the hometown Stars and after taking an early lead in the first period and holding the Stars to a tie heading late into the second, they let things unravel through the third.

By the third period, the Stars were playing more like the Cowboys, taking charge of the play and packing away two more goals in the third, good enough to secure a 3-1 victory and keep a modest little wining streak of 4-0-1 alive since GM Doug Anderson was let go.

It was not a barn burner of a game by any stretch, as Marty Turco made 18 saves on 19 shots on the way to victory, his first in the nets in three games as the Stars had gone with backup Mike Smith for the recent winning roll.

Toronto has a record of 1-3-2 in their last six games, with just one soul satisfying victory over the Ottawa Senators to boost their spirits. Friday night saw the Stars directing 24 shots on Vesa Toskala, who turned aside 21 of that Stars attack.

The continuing slide by the Blue and White, will no doubt once again start up the rumblings that the positions of GM John Ferguson Junior and perhaps even head coach Paul Maurice, may be on the cusp of a change.

With the Stars and Thrashers now the poster children for turning around a negative situation, it may not be too long before the public chants start to be heard in the Air Canada Centre, declaring that it’s time for a change at the centre of the hockey universe.

Considering the efforts of the Leafs in the last six games, they aren’t doing much on their end to give the impression that they could be the kind of team that they sat and watched on Thursday afternoon.

All of that successful history and hype either overwhelmed them or went clear over their heads like a wayward slap shot from the point.

While the Cowboys had a few dark seasons in recent years, they also have had far more successful ones over the last three decades.

Something that the Leafs and their fans certainly can’t relate to in any way!

One thing is certain, nobody and we mean NOBODY is saying "How about those Maple Leafs"

Monday, October 01, 2007

From the NHL catwalk: Stars


As the NHL and Rbk release the new updated uniforms for the NHL this year, we'll provide a link to the NHL shop page and a preview of the new look. Here's the new clothing choice for discriminating Dallas Stars fans.
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Stars shop page.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Big Save, a goal post and a much desired victory.


The scoreboard doesn’t correctly identify the drama of a Monday night in Vancouver.

With a 4-1 victory over the Dallas Stars, the Vancouver Canucks have advanced in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but make no mistake this was a nail biting, nervous tic, no trip to the bathroom 2-1 victory. The two empty net goals in the waning minute of play, a mere closing door for the Stars season.

For Vancouver fans it was a roller coaster ride of emotions, the Canucks once again coming out in the first period and playing far too tentatively, afraid to take chances, not taking the Dallas zone, in fact it was a first period that resembled far too much of this series, a plodding, boring affair that threatened to do the unthinkable put an audience to sleep in a game seven showdown.

Dallas once again got off to an early lead, and in a series that produced few in the way of goals, there were many no doubt thinking that a 1-0 lead thanks to Joel Lundqvist was all that Dallas would require to put away the Canucks for another season.

It was the second period that proved to be the turning point of the series, a welcome change of attack for Canuck fans with a much desired result posted after sixty minutes. It was careless penalties that proved to be the downfall of the Stars, allowing the Canucks to begin to untrack a power play that had been held off the board for far too long.

The Sedin’s not only had been held scoreless for most of the last three games, they had been rendered almost invisible, with the Stars parading to the penalty box in the second the twins began to find the room that makes them effective and the result was a Henrik Sedin wrister that beat Marty Turco, tying up the game and returning the GM Place crowd back to its boisterous best.

From that point on the Canucks seemed for the most part to take control of the flow of play, the bulk of which seemed to be in the Turco end of the rink. The Stars goaltender who had been under the microscope for most of the series, had nothing to be ashamed of after his game seven appearance. His goaltending was the only thing left in the Dallas arsenal to at least keep them close for 59 minutes, time and time again he was called on to knock down a blast from the point, deflect a streaking puck for the corner or rescue a dribbling puck goal line bound.

If anyone in Dallas is tying the can to the Stars goaltender for the series loss, then they probably haven’t watched too many hockey games. If they feel that Turco is to be a scapegoat in Dallas, we’re pretty sure that there are at least 26 other NHL teams that would be drooling at the prospect of him donning their colours for next season.

The Stars lost when they spent far too much time killing penalties and not near enough time directing shots at Roberto Luongo. The Canucks who took their own share of pointless penalties at inopportune times, seemed to fare better when it came to keeping the Stars at bay, and when they failed Luongo was there to bail them out.

In the third period, Luongo became a Canuck of legend with his nerves of steel save on Stu Barnes, a Star left alone in the slot with a gaping upper right piece of net waiting for his shot, a shot which Luongo somehow snared much to the disbelief of Barnes.

Moments later, Luongo would hear the re-assuring clang of a cross bar hit and a puck deflected out and away from the nets, an oh so close miss that pretty well defines the margin of victory in a game that was everything a playoff game could be for two of its three periods.

Trevor Linden the long time workhorse of the Canucks and perhaps one of the teams most popular players added to the fan club on Monday, his redirection of an Ohlund shot from the point would be the winning goal, a fitting candidate for perhaps one of the more important game seven goals in his long and illustrious Canuck career.

The two empty net goals late in the third, were but the siren call for Canuck fans to breathe again, the Stars tired, frustrated and defeated could only watch on as the clock ticked off the final seconds and they prepared for their game end handshakes.

The final scene at centre ice post game was a moment that no doubt few in GM Place will forget, as Luongo and Turco met to acknowledge each other’s contribution to a low scoring and goaltender dominated series, which saw Turco record a remarkable three games of shut out hockey before the Stars surrendered the hard fought ice they had conquered in games five and six a remarkable comeback that came up just short.

There will without a doubt be many conversations about penalties in the wake of the game seven decision. The Stars will be feeling rather victimized by the NHL zebras, while the Canucks will counter that they to had some calls made against them that were not helpful to their cause.

If nothing else, the officiating of Game Seven will send a message to the league that penalties will be called, regardless of the timing, the flow or the criticism of the teams.

For teams like Anaheim and San Jose that have made regular pilgrimages to the penalty box in the opening round, the message is out there, transgress at your peril, if in doubt ask the Stars…

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Does the D in Big D stand for Defeat?




The sounds coming out of Dallas aren’t particularly comforting if you’re a fan of the Dallas Stars, as the team faces possible elimination from the Stanley Cup derby tonight in Vancouver, the obituaries seem to almost be ready to print.

The Dallas News features a number of stories today that seem to indicate that the white flag is about to go up and the Stars are set to disappoint their faithful once again.

From the spell that Roberto Luongo seems to have over the Stars, columnist Tim Cowlishaw has all but ceded the required fourth and final win to the Canucks tonight.

They examine the taming of Mike Modano, a Star who has not shined very brightly in this series and who is quoted as saying that this series seems a lot like the first round of last year. Dallas historians will remember that was a series which saw the Stars eliminated in five games. Not exactly a rallying cry to get the boys moving.

And Captain Brendan Morrow pretty well nails the coffin shut with his sound bytes that the team is playing scared and lacking in confidence. A brush fire that head coach Dave Tippet was trying frantically to extinguish today as his team gets set for tonight’s puck drop.

All in all, it’s not a mood which resonates with the sound of a team ready to launch an improbable three game comeback to steal a series that the Canucks seem to have all but won.

The first ten minutes of tonight’s game five match up will tell the story, Dallas will need to come out flying, hitting, shooting and scoring fast. Should the Canucks score first and better yet put a couple of goals in early, then all that is left is the post game handshakes and newspaper post mortems on another disappointing season in Big D.

In fact, they seem already to have moved on to more important issues in Dallas. Hockey which never has been a high profile sport to begin with, seems to already to be banished to the back end of the paper. On Thursday, the desperate struggle of the Stars was overshadowed by the real news of the day in Big D.

The annual Texas/OU football extravaganza will remain at the Cotton Bowl, an event of much more significance to Texans, than the stumbling ways of their gypsy like hockey team.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Head to Head against the Cowboys in Big D?

We’re not sure what the NHL schedule makers were thinking when they put together the match ups for game number five, of week number four. But surely it shouldn’t have taken too much thought to examine the possibility of competition in each market, on any given night. Especially a Monday Night in Dallas!

They sent the Vancouver Canucks on a road trip, playing their third game of a five game trip to go up against the Dallas Stars. An interesting match up as far as hockey would go, but in the end it was not the most dramatic of the night.

Instead, the real battle of the night was the Stars against the Cowboys, and by all appearances it was the Cowboys in a landslide.

Monday night the Cowboys were home to take on their arch rivals the New York Giants, in a state where football is religion, hockey became a very apparent afterthought. With both games starting at 7:30 local time, the panning of the television cameras told the story of the night.

The Cowboys took to the field to the roar of a gigantic stadium crowd, celebrating their teams appearance on the nationwide broadcast of Monday Night Football. TSN had the game with all its NFL trappings on their channel.

Over at Sportsnet Pacific the Stars skated on the ice to the concept of family and friends’ night, with over half of the announced crowd of 16,639 disguised as empty seats.

For those Stars fans that spent the night fixated on their Boys, the Stars pulled out a close match up with the Canucks, winning their eighth game in nine starts by a score of 2-1.

The Cowboys, well they had their troubles with the Giants , dropping an error ridden game 36-22.

The Stars have made a few converts during their time in Big D, but make no mistake about it, Dallas, IS Cowboy country.

If the NHL is truly interested in battling for a share of the media spotlight in Dallas, they might want to give their hockey team an even break and not send them up against the colossus in Cowboy Silver and Blue!