ScoreBoard caught up to Fox Sports SW analyst Craig Ludwig this morning to chat Dallas Stars playoff chances, USA hockey and the Olympics, the Mike Modano jersey retirement and skating for a good cause.
ScoreBoard: The Stars currently find themselves 2 points behind the Phoenix Coyotes for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference after dropping their third game in a row (last night to Pittsburgh 5-1). With 14 games left in the regular season its starting to feel like deja vu all over again for the Stars. Are they on a path again to just miss out on the playoffs due to a late season collapse or is this just a blip on the radar screen?
Ludwig: The Stars have their #1 goaltender back, their remaining schedule is friendlier than the Phoenix schedule and they play the Coyotes the last game of the season so its in their control. I still believe if they get back to cleaning up their defensive zone and limiting the the quality scoring chances against them they can grab the last wild card spot.
ScoreBoard: Last time we spoke was before the winter Olympics – what was your overall take on the hockey tournament and Team USA in general?
Ludwig: I thought the Olympics were great for the game of hockey. The US looked good out of the gate but the game against Canada was the turning point. After Canada dominated most of the game the US team just couldn’t recover. Team Canada had possibly the best team ever assembled and they deserved to win the gold medal.
ScoreBoard: From a fan’s perspective the Modano jersey retirement ceremony was amazing. What was it like to be part of it on the stage at center ice? What was it like seeing all the guys from the ‘99 Cup team.
Ludwig: First off what the Dallas Stars organization did for Mike and bringing the rest of us along for the ride was incredible. Its always great to catch up with the guys that you accomplished so much with. The weekend was about Mo and we we’re all grateful to Mike and the Stars that we were included in his honoring.
ScoreBoard: This Saturday you and a bunch your fellow former Stars (including Mike Modano, Ed Belfour, Joe Nieuwendyk, Jere Lehtinen and Marty Turco as well as current Stars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin) will lace up the skates and take the ice after the Stars vs. Senators to play in an alumni game in memory of local hockey player, Travis Stryker, who along with his mother and father were killed in a tragic car accident en route to a hockey tournament (leaving his twin brother and older sister). The proceeds from the game will benefit the Stryker family and will go toward future community needs. What a great idea and great cause. How did this come about?
Ludwig: The hockey community is a small world so when there are tragic things that happen it hits all hockey families regardless of what area you live in. This particular tragedy hits close to home so we all want to help in any way we can. Stars alumni director Bob Bassen has taken the lead on this and is putting together a great event that we are all excited to be part of to try and help the Stryker family out