Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

Look on the bright side of loss

I did harp on how important the third period would be in last night’s Coyotes @ Sharks game.  I’d like to start with how obvious it was that the Sharks took the third period very seriously, worked hard and had their heads in the game, even if the first and the second periods slipped through the cracks.

I’d like to, but I have to settle for giving the team the benefit of the doubt and supposing they were trying really hard to get their act together, in some subtle way I just couldn’t see.  They were more frantic but no more effective.  After all, Thornton was bleeding from his face.  He must have been trying to do something.

The Sharks again outshot their opponent, in the second 2 periods by 11-5 and 13-7.  So they were doing something.

Dan Boyle saw lots fewer pk minutes than usual.  That’s progress, in that someone else is doing that for him.  Also, the pk seems to be working a lot better.  No power play goals for the Yotes last night.

You have to start with the positives.  See Mike Yeo complaining about the Wild’s last win, two games ago.  Tutt tutt.  I don’t know what he said to the team but saying that to the public is bad luck.  Give the Fates their due or they will punish you.

Todd McLellan called the team “lethargic between the ears.”  Ryane Clowe also attributed the poor showing to mental sluggishness:

“I don’t know how we can look like dumb hockey players some nights,” he said. “We have so much talent and we’re all such good players, but sometimes it has nothing to do with that. It’s between the ears and that’s what it looked like on the power play.” -Working the Corners

I guess that’s what I’ve called being hit with the stupid stick.  It happens.  Instead of cussing and cursing over a game, I like to hum “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” by Eric Idle from Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

The Worcester Sharks are playing the Bruins’ AHL team today.  It’s their third game in three days.  They lost yesterday but won Friday, with a really cool-sounding short handed goal from McCarthy during a 5 on 3 pk.  I’m listening to the game on WTAG and trying not to think about Colin White.

I can’t tell if I’m just biased against him because he’s new.  It isn’t fair to judge any of the Sharks by what they did last night, the whole team was pretty addled.  Even Greiss wasn’t better than all of them, which they needed him to be, even if they didn’t deserve it.

I just can’t stop thinking about how many times I watched the puck approach the blue line, and hoped against hope there was a Sharks D-man lurking there just off screen to keep it in.  Instead, the shot expanded to show White backing away from that puck, not even moving to push it back.  That wouldn’t bother me so much except that there wasn’t a Coyote all that close to the puck, there was a choice to make, it wasn’t obvious to me that White had to get a jump on someone who was probably faster than him.  And the choice he made was always to back away.

I know, it’s important to not let the opponent get behind him at all, with or without the puck… I guess.  Besides, it isn’t White keeping Demers on the bench.  It’s Braun, in a good way… sort of.  I can’t wrap my head around how the team can be so rich in one area and in such a crisis in another.  I found myself missing Wallin.

Oh dear, Mike Moore is out after being boarded.  Face first into the glass they say?  Ugh.  Oh, they’re fighting again.  Already they’ve had a bunch of fights.  Come on, guys, you’re not even losing yet!  No one is, actually.  Still a zero sum game at the DCU.

Now Tommy Wingels is being interviewed during intermission.  He’s talking about the theory of bunches, the way goals come in them.

I guess the SJ Sharks don’t have any active bunches right now, if last night’s shot clock was any indication.  Though they didn’t score they did have some ridiculous chances there in the third.  Probably the difference between a chance and a goal is some tiny degree of poise, like Pavelski’s shot that seemed to bounce off his stick and fly wildly over the net.  Or Couture’s shot that hit the post on that breakaway.  Or all those other near-misses that made Mike Smith look absolutely awesome and hella lucky.

Mike Smith is better than not good, I’ve seen some opinions that say he is really very good.  As important as it is to have a good goalie, facing one is no excuse to lose.  If it were, the Sharks would never beat the Bruins, would never have beaten Bryzgalov’s Coyotes.  So saying Mike Smith or Brian Elliott are underrated is irrelevant.  I think they probably are, but it doesn’t matter, unless their low rating determines how a team approaches playing against them.

Is it possible that the Sharks could really put the first game against the Coyotes out of their minds?  They said they intended to, but can anyone really do that?  Weren’t fans a little extra mad that the Sharks lost 3-0 to the Coyotes?  The Coyotes?  The Coyotes keep surprising everyone, so much so that no one should be surprised anymore and still they are.  How could they possibly survive losing Bryz and replacing him with Tampa Bay’s backup, who Tampa Bay apparently didn’t even want anymore?  How is it possible?

Apparently the Worcester Sharks, over the last four periods of play, have taken 62 shots and scored 1 goal. Ugh.  Sounds horribly familiar.

Last night Minnesota lost too.  5-2, Kings.  When Minny was down 5-0 going into the third, they still managed to score two goals.  I think I’m more cranky with the Sharks than I would be with the Wild.  That is how the Coyotes are surviving their change in goal.  They never say die, they don’t quit.  They don’t have a big home crowd rooting for them, even at home, they are self-sufficient this way, self-motivated.  They’re not unbeatable but they won’t go down easy, they have no reason to take any opponent for granted.

Such a positive mental attitude is easier described than employed.

Oh dear, the Woo Sharks are losing now and on the penalty kill and Moore is still out… I’m going to go listen to that until I can’t take any more.

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: dan+boyle, mike+smith, minnesota+wild, phoenix+coyotes, ryane+clowe, todd+mclellan, worcester+sharks

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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