Petshark: Talking Stick
Yesterday the NHL and the NHLPA met again to talk about meeting again:
@DarrenDreger: "Good, candid discussion in negotiations today. NHL and NHLPA will determine when the next meeting will be tomorrow."
That "tomorrow" means today... a Saturday? It may not seem like much but talking is progress, progress that could yet prevent a lockout. Wait, what? But... but... but... we're all ready for a lockout. We've been TOLD there will be one, that there was never a chance the season would start on time. We're all cranky and bitter and people have not purchased tickets or made reservations they would have made if they thought the season would start any time before December! Sharks fans have season tickets to SF Bulls games! They can't just go talking like this... they can't not not play now. And yet they are hard at work to do just that:
@Russostrib: "Konopka says #NHLPA staff is still hard at work at #NHLPA office. He's sticking around til the morning to see if they'll meet again #MNWild"
Well, that's what you get, ye of little faith and anyone else trying to make sense of the signs. Just when the KHL and even the Swedes were getting ready for open season on NHL players, we get this talking stuff.
All signs point to an NHL lockout. The CBA negotiations are on hold, no talking scheduled. I have that feeling you get when your favorite new tv show gets cancelled. That "oh yeah, I forgot that TPTB don't give a crap about me or good taste or quality or... I'm cancelling my cable. I'll watch what I want when I want and none of your damned ads. So there," feeling.
Some Sharks fans are really angry. A lot of hockey fans are unhappy. Some are proud to say "I'll come back no matter how long I have to wait, I'm one of the greatest fans." My sense is that the NHL doesn't worry much about such fans, how can they not take them for granted?
I'm not angry anymore. I feel like I was just wrong. Wrong like when you think you're going to be great friends with someone and then you find out they lack the most essential virtues you require in a friend. They forget to feed their pets or pick up their kids. All the time. They burn down their business to collect the insurance money, even though they don't really need it. They opt for a lockout on the off chance that they can guarantee a few more bucks without having to really work for it. Stuff like that.
I had my television service disconnected a couple of weeks ago. It was at my request. There is no NHL in the offseason, there may be none in October. There is nothing I need to watch live. It is set to restart in a couple of weeks, unless I request otherwise. At first I was nervous, started missing shows I had wanted to watch. I made sure I had watched everything on my DVR, as if I wouldn’t have another chance to watch it.
It only took a couple of days for me to be glad I did it. While talking to my horseshoer, I learned that many people had told him the same thing- they had turned off their cable and were glad for it. I still watch DVDs of old shows I liked, or go to movies, or even rent movies. I still like to watch things but it is nice to not have any time pressure or DVR memory limit pressure to watch anything right now. My viewing material will wait forever.
I went to a family dinner last night. I don’t think I mentioned hockey once. There simply isn’t anything to say unless I want to go off on greed and selfishness and bickering. Of course union negotiations are something any sports fan can relate to, in the sense that every big league that goes through them throws the fans overboard, one way or another.
Per Renaud P. Lavoie, Brandon Mashinter has re-signed with the Sharks. That’s a good thing since David Pollak had him penciled in among the three maybes for the fourth line. The two-way contract is for one year at $550,000. Also on that theoretical line is John McCarthy. I’m very happy about that.
Captain’s Practice at Sharks Ice officially started Monday. Thomas Greiss was there but no other Sharks, per David Pollak’s Twitter feed. The absence of more NHL players isn’t very telling at this point.
The question of Michal Handzus still looms. Pollak points to his good performance for Slovakia last May as a sign that he could be better this season. Certainly he could be. Last season was his worst in a while. I remember when Wilson first signed him, I also looked at his performance in the IIHF Championships. It seems that the international game agrees with him, which isn’t true of all NHL players, especially those not known for speed. Curious. How many more games he will play for the Sharks isn’t clear, and not all of that is on him. The last year of his contract may be foreshortened. Now is a good time for players to get any surgery they might possibly need.
Help us, Doug Wilson. Sharks fans need some relief, something to distract the gossip gremlins as they scamper unchecked through our village. Matters are getting desperate. David Pollak felt obliged to address a Joe Thornton trade rumor, and I found myself watching a tape-delayed bicycle race the other day. Desperate I say.
Unfounded Boyle trade rumors caused speculation and some scoffs. The Thornton trade rumor caused a moment of laughter. Shane Doan could… no won’t .. wait.. will… probably not come to San Jose. Not sure Sharks fans care much about that, maybe no one ever believed he would join the team. Now the gremlins are spitting dating rumors on the storefronts. Do something, Mr. Wilson. Put up a plaque at The Tank and have an unveiling ceremony. Something.
There’s nothing to report from Shark Territory, but it’s been a long time since I posted anything so here are some thoughts on the latest lack of news.
A little over a week ago, Kevin Kurz asked if the Sharks owners should be allowed to profit from their NHL team. I winced at the word “allowed.” Lyle Richardson asked why the team is not profitable in his article from the 18th. But to ask if the owners should be allowed to make money is absurd. There is no law, rule or viable lobby that argues team owners should not be allowed to profit from their teams. Of course NHL teams are for-profit ventures. That said, there’s a difference between allowing someone to do something and finding ways to help them do it.
It gets sticky in terms of PR (which owners may or may not actually care about) when you cry poverty and you aren’t poor, and then try to make your employees pay for your unsatisfactory profits. Whether the NHL thinks they will benefit from a more closely regulated expense system or not, they had time under the 2005 CBA to figure out what a cap system can and can’t do to save owners from each other.
The Sharks have just confirmed the news that Marc-Edouard Vlasic has been signed to a five year extension. They didn’t confirm the money part, they never do that. Rumor has it at $4.2m per. But the term, the most exciting part, they announced. Hooray, thank the hockey gods, Vlasic and Wilson for that. If Vlasic weren’t under contract with the Sharks for another season, you know teams would have been chasing him because he’s that awesome. Phew.
Capgeek now has contracts listed for Matsumoto, McLaren, and McCarthy. Odd that they still have nothing on Kennedy. Also still pending are RFAs Pelech, Petrecki, Sheppard and Mashinter.
It may not be a big surprise, but the Sharks and the Bulls made their affiliation official today. I’m sure we weren’t supposed to read too much into the late season presence of Rawhide and Bulls gear at Sharks games, but I did.
The way the Sharks are installing new ACs, you’d think we’re having a heat wave. (Dah-dum-dum.) It has been warm, actually. It took several minutes for my tap to run cold just now, and it’s after seven.
Just as I finished listening to the conference call and interviews with Larry Robinson (KNBR, 95.7, Rusanowsky), the Sharks announced that they’ve hired Jim Johnson. I’m still giddy from the first announcement. What next? Will the next -son be Albert’s, David’s or Robert’s? Is there a good goaltending coach by one of those names?
By far the most exciting Sharks news of the off-season so far, the Sharks are expected to formally announce Monday that Larry Robinson will be their new Associate Coach. His credentials are well summarized by the descriptors attached to his name: “Legendary,” “Hall of Fame Defenseman,” “6-time Stanley Cup winner” or, if they’re counting as coach, which certainly Sharks fans should be “9-time Stanley Cup winner.” How did San Jose get so lucky? I’m sure the formal announcement will give more details, but scuttlebutt is that we have his grandchildren, or at least their parents, to thank for residing in California. I’m so excited, happy and stunned by this news that I don’t know when I’ll be able to process it except by smiling a lot. In the mean time, a quick list of bits already up about it:
@Dave_Stubbs: “Hall of Famer Larry Robinson has just been hired as associate coach of the San Jose Sharks. Two years, one-year option #Habs”
At the arbitration filing deadline, T.J. Galiardi tried to make things a little interesting for Sharks fans. The matter will not go to arbitration, as yesterday Galiardi announced on Twitter that he had signed a contract. David Pollak confirmed that the contract is for one year.
I will also take the McCarthy and Matsumoto signings as confirmed despite no official word from San Jose. Add to those, from the same source:
@210Darryl: “I can confirm that the #WorSharks have signed Ferris State goaltender Taylor Nelson to a contract. He will likely play in ECHL this season.”
John McCarthy’s name appeared on the Sharks web roster a few days ago. Some days before that, Tim Kennedy’s turned up, though I could find no other mention anywhere that he had accepted the Sharks’ offer. Surely someone told the webmaster to add his name, so I guess we can consider him signed as well.
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 email@example.com