Dallas Stars

Stars-Gazing: My Top 10 Hockey Observations

10. Went to Bruins 3, Stars 0 Friday night. First hockey game this season. Dallas didn't look good, but the experience wasn't half-bad.

9. If you haven't been to American Airlines Center in a while, prepare to be dazzled. The four-sided HD video screens on the over-hanging scoreboard are fabulous. There are also two new video boards at each end of the joint. The things were in place when I went to the UFC event last month, but they're even more spectacular for a real sport.

8. Hanging around baseball clubhouses and football locker rooms makes you forget, but not all professional athletes are pricks. The Stars are accessible and amiable.

7. So Boston has this mammoth player. Towering over people. Relatively speaking he looks like Gheorge Muresan. Turns out Bruins' defenseman Zdeno Chara is 6-foot-9. Impressive.

6. As if the Stars' Ice Girls weren't head-turning enough, have you seen these dancers up behind each goal? They wear leg warmers, which is cool. But they also wear what amounts to nothing more than bras and those boy-short panties, which is hot.

5. On this particular night the AAC was deader than Zombieland. The bench wasn't buzzing, coach Marc Crawford mostly stood in stunned silence (except for a tongue-lashing of Tom Wandell) and the biggest crowd uproar was for the Texas fight song, the always uncomfortable-yet-entertaining Kiss Cam and the ridiculously drunk stripper on the glass who kept sloshing beer and shouting "Let'sssss Gowww Mav-eee-wrecks!"

4. It didn't feel like Stars' hockey without Mike Modano, still out with a cracked rib.

3. I sat exactly two rows behind the Stars' bench and got a different perspective. The game is crazy physical. I get that. Some player (I was too fascinated with all the blood to catch his name) took a puck off the left cheekbone. What I don't get is the shifts. As in, why are they so short? I know skating is difficult. But it's not harder than, say, running. Can you imagine Jason Kidd playing three possession before heading to the bench for a breather?

2. Marty Turco looked awful. Couple of quirky bounces - one off a skate - for goals, but one shot he just totally whiffed on with his glove. Less than 24 hours later backup Alex Auld played well in a surprising bounce-back victory at powerful Chicago. Goalie controversy? Or just peace of mind that Dallas has a competent backup?

1. As I'm leaving I'm thinking the Stars (who, by the way, host the Los Angeles Kings tonight) suck, that Boston must be dominant and the two are clearly headed in opposite directions. Sure enough, the Stars are 3-1-3 and the Bruins 3-4-0. Oh H-E-DoubleHockeySticks, what do I know?

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt