Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

May the Road Rise Up to Meet You

It is time to put down my talking stick and admit that I've taken up residence at the Cow Palace. It's all good.  If you have enough saddle blankets under the sleeping bag, the concrete floor isn't too cold. No, no, no, I'm not working for the Bulls, I'm just haunting the old barn.

It's been an improbable, enjoyable, unpredictable trip. If I hadn't written down just about every thought I had along the way, I wouldn't be able to remember where I started. Blogs are better than breadcrumbs, everybody should have one. Blogs don't fall in a straight line, they twist and turn and sometimes retrace the path, sometimes hit a dead end. Sometimes a stray crumb points you in a new and exciting direction, sometimes your blood sugar is low and you have to eat it.

Thanks to Paul for letting me do this, and to the Sharks and their fans for being such an engaging community. Thanks to the folks who answered my questions, and the ones who smiled hello. Answers led to more questions, that's the way learning works. It spreads like a virus if you let it.

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  Tags: adieu, adios, aloha, farewell

Todd McLellan is a genius

McLellan is an outside-the-box-fearless genius for solving a problem with the pieces at hand instead of waiting for new ones. That declaration is contingent on him keeping Brent Burns at forward. Failure to continue doing so will trigger revocation of said genius status and an indefinite stay inside the box.

Loved Cranky showing off for his dissenters.  Seriously, all the way down and around the net, with a shot reversed through his legs?  Beautiful.  Makes me want to say something vulgar to the haters.

Back to that big fancy new forward Brent Burns. I've liked that idea more by the minute, but I think my liking is maxed out, I don't know if I can keep liking it more. It might give me an aneurysm or something.

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  Tags: andrew+desjardins, antti+niemi, brent+burns, douglas+murray, genius, jason+demers, logan+couture, los+angeles+kings, matt+irwin, ryane+clowe, todd+mclellan

‘Twixt the cup and the lip

Are these recent Sharks' losses nothing more than a slip, a dribble away from being wins?  Are the Sharks just a flinch away from team fusion?

There was a spell during last night's game that made me want to cover my eyes, but I couldn't look away either.  Okay, yes I could, but I had to put the game on pause and go do chores to stop looking.  During those ten minutes or so, the team looked worse than they have in a long time.  The errant passes, failures to clear and general happening of anything that could go wrong also emphasized how suddenly the Sharks pulled it together.  The recovery made me think "see, they can just kick themselves into gear!"

Boyle, who isn’t afraid to be critical of his team’s effort, said: “I don’t say it too often after a loss, and maybe not so much the first 10 minutes, but after that I thought we were the much better team. It was a very good effort. We had lots of chances that we haven’t had in awhile. There was a couple freaky bounces and things that happened out there, but overall for 50 minutes, I think that was a very good effort.” -CSN Bay Area

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  Tags: court+vision, dan+boyle, hockey+iq, hockey+sense, joe+thornton

Peter Sivak

Peter Sivak was the first player signed by the San Francisco Bulls, ECHL affiliate of the San Jose Sharks.  A quick google search for "Peter Sivak" will turn up several mentions of one of the fastest goals in professional hockey history.  Whether it was 5 seconds from the faceoff, 4.8 seconds, or 3.23 seconds isn't important.  It was very fast.  It isn't entirely surprising that he did that.  Sivak takes a lot of shots, from every angle, very quickly.  This is one of the reasons he is the Bulls' leading goal-scorer.

His North American career did not start so auspiciously.  In his first month with the team, he had only one goal, three points, and 22 shots in eight games.

After that slow start, Sivak's production picked up with a statistical jolt.  In 24 games through November and December, he scored 10 goals, had 25 points, and took 92 shots.    In January and February, he had 16 goals, 20 points, 109 shots in 23 games.  During his first two months in the league, he took a paltry 12 penalty minutes, not bad for a player expected to score and stay out of the box.  Since then, his penalty minutes have gone down even more, to just 12 minutes in 40 games, including a penalty-free February.

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  Tags: marek+viedensky, pat+curcio, peter+sivak, profile, slovakia

AHL/ECHL Monday Mentions, March 11

AHL:

News that I completely missed last week: Sena Acolatse is back in the Worcester lineup, has been since March 1st.  I may be inattentive but I think that is exciting, awesome and a good thing for the Sharks.

Worcester only played two games since last Monday, a relatively leisurely schedule for the AHL.  Saturday, Sebastian Stalberg scored the only first period goal to give the Sharks the lead over the Providence Bruins.  The Sharks had a fair chance to take a two goal lead when James Livingston was awarded a penalty shot but Bruins' goalie Niklas Svedberg stopped that.  The Bruins came back in the second to score two power play goals and take the lead away.  A couple of minutes later, James Livingston tied the game back up.  In the third, the Bruins retook the lead and it wasn't until 19:00 of the regulation that John McCarthy tied it again.  The game went to a seven-round shootout that the Bruins won with goals from Craig Cunningham and Trent Whitfield.  The one Sharks shootout goal was scored by Denny Urban.

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  Tags: alaska+aces, bracken+kearns, daniil+tarasov, denny+urban, james+livingston, john+mccarthy, kris+belan, las+vegas+wranglers, niklas+svedberg, peter+sivak, sebastian+stalberg, sena+acolatse, tommy+grant, worcester+sharks, yanni+gourde

In-confidence

One does not simply walk into the NHL. To get there, your confidence has to overcome challenges as pesky as orcs, possibly as ferocious as uruk-hai. Certainly there's a spider big enough to suck the last drop of self-assurance out of you, you had to have seen her along the way.  If a player makes it to the NHL, he has obviously lived to tell the tale.

Confidence is a funny thing, all made up of memories and habits and hormones, recent events and old. Oddly, it can be increased by the most ridiculous exercises. You can sit cross-legged on the floor, repeating things like "I am an attractive person, people will respond positively to me, they will help me achieve my goals." That sort of exercise can actually make you feel braver and more confident, even if your logical mind thinks it is a load of horse-poop. But that's all confidence is: a state of mind.  If events from a week or a day ago can change how you see unrelated present events, isn't that as ridiculous as chanting self-praise?  Ridiculous and inevitable.

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  Tags: baby-steps, colorado+avalanche, confidence, lord+of+the+rings, surprise

Never Disappointed

“If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

That seems like good advice, doesn't it?  Of course if you recognize that it's from a story about a descent into madness and all kinds of sad, you might need to rethink that assessment.

The Sharks have lost eight out of their last twelve games.  Or you could say they have won three of their last five.  One sounds better than the other, and the latter is more relevant since, even though one was a shootout, those games are more recent and probably better indicators of where the team is mentally than nine games ago.  You could also say they lost to Calgary, which sounds pretty awful by itself, and since that was the very most recent game, you could argue that it is the most relevant.

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  Tags: fans, guideline, hope, rule

Winsome

Brad Stuart hasn't given anyone reason to regret that he's a Shark again, but last night he made a particular splash with some extra gritty play and a charming grin to show off the dental work he got during the game.  Stuart made an excellent ambassador for a team that had just scrambled to a shootout win after dropping a two goal lead.

The Sharks were outshot (33-22 in regulation), out chanced, and generally out-played through much of the game, but how can you be angry when Stuey lost a tooth and hardly missed a beat?  Not to mention the short-handed goal from Adam Burish (which Stuart also made possible) and Scott Gomez finally scoring.  The Sharks still make me wonder.

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  Tags: adam+burish, brad+stuart, bret+hedican, drew+remenda, jamie+baker, ray+ratto, scott+gomez

AHL/ECHL Monday Mentions, March 4

AHL:

The Worcester Sharks had a lukewarm weekend.   Perhaps it was closer to tepid.  They lost two of three games in three days.  Friday they played at Providence, scoring first but losing 3-1.  That first goal was a short handed tally by Marek Viendensky, at 19:15 of the second period.  It held up until the mid-point of the third period when the Bruins tied the game.  The Bruins scored two more in the last three minutes of the third, including an empty netter.  The final SOG count was 23-19 Bruins, Alex Stalock made 20 saves.

3/1/13 scores & saves:
Worcester: Marek Viedensky(2)(SHG).  Alex Stalock made 20 saves for the Sharks.  The Sharks power play went 0/4, their penalty kill 5/6.
Providence: Kyle MacKinnon(10)(PPG, Tardif, Cunningham), Alden Hirschfeld(3), Trent Whitfield(5)(ENG, Hanson, Exelby)

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  Tags: ahl, alex+stalock, bracken+kearns, dean+ouellet, frazer+mclaren, harri+sateri, marke+viedensky, taylor+nelson, thomas+heemskerk, worcester+sharks, yanni+gourde

The Sharks’ Confidence looks SOG-gy

Did the Sharks lack confidence through February?  Well, obviously, but in what?  What has been dragging them down?  Have they dealt with "it" yet?

I had a thought yesterday morning, stemming from something one of the Bulls said to me weeks ago.  He mentioned that the offensive game comes first for most players.  They learn defense later with experience.  It wasn't the first time I've heard that, but it took a while to sink in.  Shouldn't shooting the puck be almost an involuntary reflex for a hockey player?  Wouldn't it take a lot of un-training, or a horrible lack of confidence to suppress it?

Why would the Sharks lack confidence when they were passing the defense test with such high marks?  Didn't they trust themselves yet?  Were they still thinking too much?

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  Tags: confidence, dan+boyle, joe+thornton, shot, standings

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About Petshark: Talking Stick

Native of Northern California.  Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.

I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle.  I watch, I react, I write it down.

My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked.  I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind.  When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom.  It hasn't, I don't think it will.  At all.

Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.

I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.

I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at talkingstick@petshark.net

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