Petshark: Talking Stick
It felt uncomfortably warm in San Jose, even before noon. After the dramatic storms seen here during Game 1 and in St. Louis for Game 2, a windless warm day seems ominous. It’s hard-to-breathe weather. Or maybe it’s just me.
Looking back to those last regular season games against the LA Kings, it sure looks like the Kings won by losing. We’ve only had the two games so far, but it feels like the Sharks are so far behind already.
Todd McLellan hasn’t said he will change the lineup for tonight’s game, but Kevin Kurz tweeted that Colin White left the ice early. I saw some fan tweets during and after Saturday’s game saying White could be an option if the Sharks anticipated any more fighting. I’m not sure I follow that. I remember a game where McGinn said he jumped in so White would not have to fight. I’m sure he can do it but I don’t think it’s his thing anymore. More likely, McLellan felt that the Demers-Braun pair was overwhelmed. I’m not sure I believe White will be an improvement there but who knows. Maybe Murray will come out. I don’t think that’s likely, I don’t like what it would imply, but it could happen.
So I spent two days running to and from home to the hospital and back again, carrying dogs and dispensing pills to one of those dogs and doing other stuff people can’t do when they’re having a baby, and wondering and worrying and asking wrong questions to doctors and then deciding I should stop speaking before I freak my brother and his wife out in their time of happy panic. I even forgot to write about the Flyers on Sharks game day and then I spilled makeup on my Sharks jersey. Maybe the stained jersey can be the memento of the kid’s birthday in lieu of a nice win from the Sharks.
So that’s all over, at least the part that is the most dangerous thing a person can do that isn’t considered a medical disorder or suicidal. About the time Jack was being born, Pickles and Nemo were collaborating to score the game’s first goal. It’s okay to call him Pickles if you’re mad at him, right Clowe? Do we have a special name for Nemo? Come on guys, I’m trying to train a little fan here!
Northern California got some rain and fireworks for Game 1 in St. Louis. I think we even had tornadoes. Apparently it’s St. Louis’ turn today, so both teams get to hear and feel the thunder. To survive this one, the Sharks will need to do more than prove they are hard to drown. That surprised the Blues once, it won’t work again.
Nothing ever turns out quite the way you expect, even when it’s the predicted outcome. David Pollak wrote:
The boss gave me the green light before the series started to book flights for Game 5 because I found a fairly decent air fare. Now the only way that ticket goes to waste is if the Sharks sweep. -Working the Corners
There are two predictions that I find odd: predicted sweeps and predicted seven-game series. The one claims there will be total dominance and the other claims there will be next to none. So to me, predicting a seven-game series and still choosing a winner is like not choosing at all. (For reasons I may get into later, I’m in a babbling mood right now, so this may go all over the place. Apologies. )
In the last couple of hours before the game started, there were tweets about cooking, wanting to puke, trouble breathing, and countless calls to “drop the puck already!” After a busy day I was able to engage in some nervous house tidying and, after all those tweets about cooking, I had to make some food. I put Darla’s orange collar on but had to stop myself before changing Marleau’s to teal. No need, it was just Wednesday.
Sharks fans had to wait an extra day for the playoffs to start, or that’s how it feels anyway. Through all that waiting I still couldn’t make any sense of the noise, the predictions, the hype. It’s nerve-wracking, I can’t imagine how fans do it for more than one sport.
“Everybody looks good and looks healthy,” Joe Thornton said. “Let’s get it going.” -Working the Corners
I couldn’t agree more.
The Sharks used two sheets of ice today, skated for well over an hour. Mitchell practiced on the third line without sharing the spot with Handzus. Evidently he suffered no ill effects from yesterday’s practice. Clowe was still out, which is alarming despite the assurances that he will be fine for Game 1. When teams start using playoff-speak, I need to see with my own eyes to believe.
That Brian Elliott was injured in practice has most people thinking Halak will start for the Blues. Since they traded Bishop away, they don’t have an experienced NHL backup. I don’t think it matters a lot unless Elliott’s injury is a lot more severe than anyone thinks.
I keep hearing predictions that say the Sharks have more recent playoff experience than the Blues, but the Blues will win the series anyway. Pshaw. If the Sharks can beat the Blues even once, why not four times? I want to look at the other, more verifiable claim: that the Sharks have more playoff experience than the Blues have and this matters. I know it matters, I believe the Sharks have more experience, but sometimes I like to make lists anyway.
The Sharks skated for a fairly long time today, as could be expected after a day off and with no game until Thursday. There’s also those 15 things they have to work on, some of which are detailed at Working the Corners. Unlike that skate, this will be short.
It took a really long time for anything like lines to appear through a jumble of drills, but I waited them out. Maybe I just waited until I started seeing things. I have to allow for that since David Pollak said this:
But lines were jumbled without Clowe so it’s not worth my time or yours to point out the combinations on the ice unless you think Brad Winchester, Marty Havlat and Tommy Wingels will be sharing shifts. -Working the Corners
Nuthin’ but time here, so this is what I thought I saw.
The last goal in the last minute (2 seconds shy anyway) of the last game on the last day of the regular NHL season was scored by Dan Boyle for the Sharks. The Sharks’ pride prize was winning four in a row to end the season against their nearest divisional rivals. In their last 10 of the season, they were 7-3-0. The prize in standings was to play the St. Louis Blues instead of the Vancouver Canucks, to which I had to say “wait, wait… WAIT!”
From the regular season record, the Sharks would have been better off playing Vancouver in the first round. They only beat Vancouver once this season, but they didn’t beat St. Louis at all.
The Kings were 3-1 against the Blues but only 2-2 against the Canucks. To me, that suggests that the Kings had greater playoff incentive to win last night.
The Sharks will once again wear black for the playoffs. Of course this disappoints me and I cannot understand why the team can’t get teal jerseys that they like as much as the black ones. I can see how the design could require more fabric or a heavier one, but figure it out already! It doesn’t matter if you like the style of the teal ones, if you’re not going to wear them. You can’t be Team Teal in black. It is ridiculous.
So new teal jerseys as comfy as the black ones, these are on my off-season wish list.
David Pollak @PollakOnSharks: Handzus in for ailing #sjshark Mitchell in finale tonite vs. LAK.
That word “ailing"alarmed me. For some reason it makes me think of a worsening condition instead of a regular injury. I’m sure that isn’t what he meant, but the situation is still disturbing. Douglas Murray stayed out with the last players to leave the ice, so I would guess he’ll be out tonight too.
Here’s another interesting word: doubt. Nowadays it means “I don’t think it will happen but I’m not sure.” It used to mean “I think it will happen but I’m not sure.” It’s a subtle difference but it’s noteworthy.
Tickets for the Sharks’ first round of the playoffs go on sale tomorrow morning, though the dates of those games have yet to be announced. I guess everyone has a general idea, give or take a day. The tickets will be on sale Saturday at 10:00 am, online at Ticketmaster (Game A, Game B) or from the HP ticket office using a wristband procedure detailed here.
I wouldn’t say I doubted that the Sharks would make it into the playoffs (by either definition) but I certainly didn’t have faith that they would. I can’t say what the Sharks’ frame of mind was, surely they must have had some faith. But prior to the game, the Sharks were certainly not expecting any help from outside sources:
According to David Pollak and Brodie Brazil, Douglas Murray won’t play tonight. According to Kevin Kurz, the Sharks’ lines will remain the same as the last game, leaving Ferriero, Handzus, Vandermeer and Winchester out. A prior tweet from Kurz says Jeff Carter will be out for the Kings.
Some time back, Randy or Drew mentioned Highlander during a game without saying the obvious thing, the thing you say when you mention Highlander: “There can be only one.” No, I think he said something about the quickening. I don’t think it was a game against the Kings but a discussion of Jonathan Quick is the obvious next step.
Does Quick get stronger with every team he beats? There is every reason to suppose he does, like any hockey player, gain confidence with each win. That powerful confidence boost comes even if it’s a lucky bounce of a win, like a random shard of glass coming down and chopping off the K’immie’s head. (For the uninitiated, that’s an evil Immie, stemming from the fact that most evil immortals had names starting with a “k” sound, as in “King.”) That’s why you thank the post that helped out. You are glad for the win no matter how you get it.
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