Petshark: Talking Stick
Still waiting for news from Shark Territory. Today I listened to the Morning Skate radio show out of Ohio. They mentioned McLellan as one of the coaches currently under review, who might become available. He was not among the radio show’s first two choices for the Blue Jackets—Alain Vigneault and Guy Boucher were. What I found curious was that Joel Quenneville was on that list too. Really? I didn’t follow the Blackhawks closely at all this season, but what are the chances he’s gone? Tom Renney rounded out that list. Anyway, the lengthy review process puts McLellan in a mixed company of coaches not yet guaranteed a job next season.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun have been playing in the World Championships, but Vlasic was injured in the last game against the USA. It didn’t look very grave but he was listed as day to day with a lower body injury. Now he is not expected to return to the tournament.
The LA Kings have a bus going around Lala Land today, its ultimate destination Game 3 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals at Staples Center. Their Twitter account is keeping us all updated on its progress. Because I bought a ticket to a Sharks @ Kings game, I also get emails keeping me informed of the Kings’ adventures, stinging little missives like salt in a wound.
The Sharks ownership group has given Doug Wilson a vote of confidence for the time being. I can’t say that was the wrong thing to do. One really bad year shouldn’t erase the value of several very satisfactory years past. So, no big surprise that Wilson will stay. Where should he start, fixing this thing?
Doug Wilson says you need to keep your head, take emotion out of the equation when deciding what changes to make in the offseason. As a fan, I have no responsibility to do that. Additionally, I lack information, as a lot of people do. What we see from outside the organization, even what is shared with the media, is so limited as to only be a glimpse of the whole picture.
That doesn’t mean we can’t piece something together from what we do see, as the two-dimensional residents of Flatland might understand a three-dimensional star in their midst. Their understanding will not be perfect but they can extrapolate from what they do see, and suspect, or feel.
I won’t argue that keeping Marleau is the best thing, even if that’s what I feel. Maybe he needs a reset, moving might be good for him. What I fear is that trading him would be such a big, dramatic move, it would throw up such a dust cloud that no one would feel pressure to address the more pernicious reasons behind the team’s failures. If you can’t get the best out of Patrick Marleau, your own prodigy, someone who has a shitload of talent and a strong vested interest in your team’s success, what is wrong with you?
Among other things that went wrong in Pittsburgh during the playoffs, Evgeni Malkin was unrelentingly pestered to the point of frustration by a 19 year old Flyer rookie. I mention this as I did yesterday not only because it gives me tremendous satisfaction but because the same thing happened to a lot of teams this season: a bunch of new kids beat the old guard. Hell, even the Coyotes made it out of the first round for the first time.
Jason Plank @fearthefin: “First time since 2001 that one of Detroit, Vancouver, or San Jose failed to advance to second round. All went out in 5 games this year.”
Even veterans fall down. They tend to get back up and make adjustments quicker than a first-timer does. The Sharks all just fell down together big time, I don’t want Doug Wilson to waste that lesson by sending a bunch of them packing and bringing in guys who have no memory of the group fail. It’s time to get some heads examined, because body-swapping has lost its kick. Or you can keep trying to get a better fix like a proper junkie would.
Here we go, into the offseason blame game. It should be as fun as a Bud Light ad. First, you get rid of the most visible under-performers, the players:
From a pure hockey standpoint, the smartest Sharks solution would be a maximum reboot and rebuild. Older players would go out the door. They would be traded for draft picks or young prospects. Over a few years, a new core of Sharks would be developed into winners. By 2017 or so, they’d be back among the league’s four or five best teams. -Mercury News
Well, yeah, but only if you keep the new youngsters around. Train ‘em up and ship ‘em out, assuming you do find a bunch of good ones (which would be safer to assume if present depth could back you up), and you’re right back here.
Besides, if Marleau and Clowe and Niemi and Boyle were all gone, who would fans have to blame? Well, there’s still Thornton, he will hang around and he’s fun to complain about. But what if he keeps playing well? Whose name will we scream in the ecstatic writhings of despair? Meh, someone will step up.
This is going to be long. It is, after all, the end of the Sharks’ 2012 playoff run.
Hands shaking. Why? I’m not even watching the game live. This has all happened before, it has literally happened already, I am watching on delay because I am that paranoid. Still with the hands shaking.
Before the game, Boyle said that no one outside the room believed they could do it. That was a dagger.
Why is a win so important to me? I won’t lose pay if the Sharks don’t come back to play another day. Hell, I might get more paid work done if this is over.
The Sharks’ audience didn’t leave early in such great numbers last night, not the way they did as Game 3 stumbled to the finish. Sure, the Sharks were only down by one goal for most of the game, they were never down by three. Still, I like to think people stayed because that was very likely the last game they would see this season. It hasn’t gone on long enough to feel like a real second season.
So we stayed and we gave a cheer full of gusto for Thornton’s last-minute goal. As the noise died down, I got that feeling best described by a Peggy Lee song I first heard in the movie After Hours. It is depressing, maudlin even. I don’t recommend it for play during a hockey game, or after one for that matter. But I remember the movie being hilarious.
As others have pointed out, Winchester and Handzus may play today instead of Galiardi and Moore. Seems like the Sharks roster is back where it started before moving McGinn…except for not having McGinn anymore. I hope they aren’t taking everything back to the drawing board. I know I wanted them to throw their keys in the river but I didn’t mean parachute into Antarctica to do it and hope to find your way back by puck drop.
Mark Purdy wrote a piece about Thornton returning to the penalty kill, saying that Moore has been a disappointment after being acquired for that. He didn’t mention that it’s hardly ideal to rely on someone who’s wearing a cage anyway. I know a player can play with a cage but I still wouldn’t call him exactly a “healthy scratch” if he has to wear one.
“We’ve unmasked madmen, Watson, wielding scepters. Reason run riot. Justice howling at the moon.” -Sherlock Holmes, Murder by Decree
Last night Raffi Torres nearly broke Marian Hossa’s neck. Maybe he did break it. It was an escalation of violence in a series that seems to have more injuries than the much talked about Philadelphia-Pittsburgh series. I say “seems” because I don’t believe Giroux, Schenn and Couturier have all avoided injury. They all had head injuries this season, I don’t believe they all got out of that unscathed. But we know that Hanzal and Hossa have both been seriously injured, while others missed games or parts of games with injuries, and probably some are playing injured as you find on all teams. But this situation is not normal like you find on all teams. It’s as if the Shaw incident was not definitive enough, people could not agree that he should have or could have avoided hitting Smith. Torres cleared that up.
Who is responsible for the escalating level of underhanded viciousness we are seeing in round one of the 2012 NHL playoffs? Who can stop it? Do we want to?
I used to think I was a jinx. It’s a suspicion that still pops into my head now and again. Like tonight. Tonight I did something I have never done before: left a Sharks game before the final horn. I have never walked out on a game… except once, but that was football and I hate football, it was miserable weather, the seats were horribly uncomfortable… and I hate football. But I’ve never left a hockey game before.
It wasn’t because the players were standing around looking like they were going to start fighting, which I figured would be followed by nothing but five more disappointing minutes of failure. No, I had started thinking about leaving before that, and not because they were losing 4-1 or I thought I wanted to get a jump on the traffic. A few minutes either way makes no difference to my drive, and it isn’t like me to walk out when things look dire.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org