Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

The Right Hand of Zus

You know how those stories about Greek gods always involve or imply the torment and suffering of mortals?  That’s what being a fan is like sometimes.  Even though the players are doing the hard work, the bleeding and breaking and rushing about, we spectators watch and hope our fragile little village will be spared by the storm.  So it has to be a good thing to have a guy named Zus on the team.  No way your church tower gets blown over by the western wind storm of the century, not with Zus on your side.

I heard a lot about those perilous high winds, but they never came to my neighborhood.  If I really thought this was connected to my NHL team allegiance, I would have to build a shrine or something.  Surely it isn’t just Michal Handzus making things happen or not happen.  Surely he must have some help.

I’ve noticed consistent enthusiasm from Matt Taylor of Fear the Fin for good deeds done by Jamie McGinn.  I always see him there with me when I’m tweeting in the McGinn jubilation parade.  Why do we do this?  What do we see?  McGinn isn’t a top six player, he has a history of making some poor decisions, we don’t expect him to break scoring records.  I won’t speak for Matt, but I like to follow the players who are not breaking gaudy records.

Top six guys are hit or miss, they will never be consistently consistent, they rely on inspiration like so many artists.  Fast and strong and tenacious as he is, McGinn still hasn’t been able to break into the vaunted ranks of the top lines, but right now he is doing a job consistently.  That’s nothing to sniff at for a younger player.

Remember last post-season?  When he took so much heat for those badly-timed penalties of disputable legality?  The thing I noticed about those hits was that they were badly timed in every way, but they were executed well, and no one one was maimed.  As a result, the Sharks had to kill penalties they would have preferred not to, but McGinn also got the name “Canuck hunter” from the Vancouver press. 

That isn’t a bad thing to have on your team, is it?

Add to all this, he hasn’t taken many penalties at all this season, he has even scored some very timely goals.  Sure, he’s playing on the right wing of Michal Handzus, one of the smarter players there is, but see how well he works with him.  Their meeting is very well-timed.

Maybe I just like seeing him succeed because he’s taken a lot of shit from the critics.  Critics suck.

I don’t know what is in store for the 3rd line come trade deadline, but right now, Jamie McGinn is one of the most consistent players on the team.  Sometimes consistency is worth a lot more than sporadic brilliance.  Especially when all the bright lights blink out at once.

Some of the bright lights flickered to life Thursday night.  Yes, the Habs are in a big stinky funk, beating them should have been more straightforward than it was, but the recently absent top scorers did seem to wake up.  Putting Couture and Clowe back together is probably a good idea.  Hey, if they seem like big brother and little brother, who’s to argue?  Everyone knows you can’t split Sam and Dean up, no matter how much trouble they get into.

And Havlat?  He seemed to find his way again.  If I were a real believer in astrology, I would say this is because Couture and Havlat are both fire signs, and Clowe is an air sign, and you know how well air and fire work together.  If that were a theory that could gain any traction at all in mainstream hockey fandom, The Firing Line would be a good name for them… except I guess people think of being on the firing line as being on the wrong side of it.  So there are a lot of things wrong with that name.

Anyway, McLellan made a good decision putting the nines back together.  So much has been said about spreading speed and talent around, there is no logical reason not to consider line chemistry in that spread.  Maybe having Marleau on the top line makes the team top heavy, but Couture and Clowe are better together than Marleau and Clowe.  To maximize your assets, sometimes simple math isn’t the solution.  Not all variables are equal.

As for that other top line, they’ll sort it out.  They’ve been there, here, before.  Of course, Ratto had to go speculating on tv that Jumbo is hurt, which is all wrong and backward.  Now is not the time to play hurt, why would he do that?  No, no, no.  Can’t go there.  Not going to think about that.

It was a tussle of a game, not a dominant win, just a sign of life.  I don’t think I’ve seen such a furiously paced overtime in a long time.  It’s hard to get excited about a single point in a regular season game, as a fan it hardly soothes the sting of a loss at all.  But a win?  That’ll do.  Let all the villages in Shark territory rejoice: we have been spared for another day.

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: fan, fear+the+fin, jamie+mcginn, joe+thornton, logan+couture, martin+havlat, michal+handzus, 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