Thursday, October 04, 2007


Niskanen update. He played about 15 minutes in last night's season-opening loss to Colorado. Outside of a blocked shot, he didn't do anything statistically notable in those 17 shifts. He was solid handling the puck, he did what he needed to do when it came to passing, and he didn't get beaten by anyone in the defensive zone. He didn't remind anyone of Bobby Orr, but Niskanen also didn't do anything to make you think he'll be the first one sent back to Iowa as soon as the Stars are inclined to make a roster move.

Now that might happen, mind you. But I have no more reason to believe it will now than I did before the game.

Side note: Niskanen knows the Iron Range was watching. And he got some love on Versus last night. They talked about how he's from Virginia (he's actually from Mountain Iron), and commentators Joe Beninati and Daryl Reaugh relayed a funny story.

Seems like someone in the press corps for last night's game saw Niskanen's name and assumed he was Finnish (as in "from Finland"). The reporter asked Niskanen how good his English was, which left open the easy zing "Outside of a Minnesota accent, it's pretty good".

Much funnier on TV, I guess.

Stars send down two other college stars. Most UMD fans, I'm sure, are aware of Junior Lessard. I don't need to explain what he's been doing, except to tell you that he was sent down again and is starting the season at Iowa.

Also starting the season at Iowa is former Michigan Tech star Chris Conner. While Lessard's failure to make the Stars' opening-night roster wasn't much of a surprise to Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News, he seems downright peeved that Conner was sent down:
This isn't the end of the world. Conner can come up at any time and probably will get his chance to become an NHL regular before Christmas. But it's the Stars' job to put their best lineup on the ice for every game, and they're not doing that right now.
I think he's right. There's a side to this whole thing that I'm not totally in sync with, and that's the point where a young player merits making a team. I understand that you don't want to have a young player rotting in the press box when he can be playing in the minors, but it's kind of a waste of Conner's career to keep him in Iowa when he's clearly ready to play in the NHL. I'd say the same thing about Lessard, but I do think there is a flaw in his game (speed and defensive coverage) that makes it tough for the Stars to call him up for anything but the perfect fit.

Great. More controversy that will be stupid. Remember the Kenny Rogers thing last year? Well, it might be on the verge of happening again. Check this one out:
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle downplayed video that showed closer Manny Corpas pouring liquid on his body in the bullpen before pitching against Philadelphia in Game 1 of the NL Division Series.

Corpas was caught by TBS cameras on Wednesday taking a sip of a liquid out of a cup and then pouring some down the back of his neck and all over the front of his jersey. Corpas, who earned the save in Colorado's 4-2 win, patted his chest and rubbed his fingers before throwing a pitch.

Now, this is probably not a big deal no matter what. I loved the story header: "Rockies' Corpas got jersey wet before pitching". For a moment, I was wondering if the baseball playoffs had wandered into a Girls Gone Wild video shoot.

I don't know how it works in terms of the rules, but this strikes me as much ado about nothing. The Phillies didn't comment on it, which is the correct response. Maybe ignoring it will allow it to go away after a round of "Around the Horn", "PTI", and "Baseball Tonight" arguing.

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