Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

The crooked fence rule

Things might be about to get a little crazy in Shark territory. That whole philosophy of always pairing an offensive defenseman with a shut down guy could very well be scrapped tonight.  Those who called for Braun and Demers to be paired, or for Ian White to have never been let go… well, you probably won’t get your wish but the sands are shifting on the blue line, according to Kevin Kurz and Brodie Brazil.

@brodiebrazilCSN: “Pretty sure #sjsharks will not dress 7 d based on how long Colin White was on the ice after practice.”

@KKurzCSN: “White and McLaren skated long today, so looks like they are scratches. As far as D pairs, look for 22-44, 88-61 and 2-60 if I had to guess.”

88 and 61?  Burns and Braun?  Even if it isn’t that pair, the team is short a DD without White, since Murray is out.  This could get very interesting.

I’m always glad to see Braun back in San Jose, but I also always wonder if his arrival portends trade activity.  That, or I assume Demers is going to sit again, which wouldn’t make sense right now.  How can you single him out of that mishmash of awful that was the Sharks D last game? I think this way because I’m stuck in the OD-DD school of thought. 

The idea of seeing a blue line with a double OD pair is exciting and also scary.  Has McLellan resorted to shoving a square peg in a round hole?  Does he use his heel or a mallet to do that?  Is this a stroke of genius?  We will see.

While Sharks fans get ready to boo Heatley, the Sharks have no hard feelings for their old teammates:

@markedwinemmons: “Ryane Clowe said he had coffee yesterday with friends Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi. Torrey Mitchell also had dinner with Seto.”

But don’t worry, it will be all business tonight:

@markedwinemmons:  “Clowe on Heater and Seto: “I certainly will say hello again tonight on the ice when I try to run over them.”

That’s all well and good.  I don’t really care who the Sharks are playing tonight, I just hope they play.  As a fan, I am beyond worrying about matchups and opponent records.  I just want the Sharks to pick a plan and stick to it.

Thornton, conspicuously absent from the quote roster for a while after that game, did say what he thought they needed to do now.  Like the drills they ran Sunday, it was nothing new:

“The work ethic is there,” he said. “We just need to work a little smarter. Our team always works really hard. But sometimes we don’t work smart and use our heads. We over-think easy plays and make things difficult on ourselves. That last game was more between the ears than anything else.” -Working the Corners

Aka: work smarter, not harder.  It’s one of those irritating little posters put up in an office, a picture of a bland, grinning person in a suit who just makes you think of your boss saying it way too many times to be heard anymore.  It sounds easy even if it is insanely hard.  It is true: you can work your tush off doing a thing wrong, and still that feels more natural than doing it right.

My grandfather used to say “it takes just as long to build a crooked fence as it takes to build a straight one.  Do the work now or later.”  This analogy is easier to accept for me than the grinning exec with the platitude.  My grandfather actually built the fence, he said this while holding fence pliers and stake driver in hand.  You are going to do the boring stuff, the planning and measuring and line drawing at the start, or you will do the correcting and extra bracing and makeup work at the end.  Tired and cranky as you will be by then, you’ll probably hurt yourself.  All that for a crooked fence, an unsatisfactory result you will have to live with.

Similarly, the Sharks are going to spend their energy executing a plan and paying attention from the start, or they will spend it scrambling around trying to do the impossible at the end, and probably still lose. 

So it really doesn’t matter who they play tonight.  They could play the Coyotes or the Bruins or the Kings or the Stockton Thunder. Whoever it is, the only opponent they have to worry about is themselves.

Oh, Nemo is in net.

Go Sharks!

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: brent+burns, defense, joe+thornton, justin+braun, ryane+clowe

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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