Petshark: Talking Stick
Entries with the tag: Patrick Marleau
Tuesday afternoon, I heard Walking on Sunshine on the radio and it stuck in my head. I heard a whole lot of songs after that, but I couldn't wash it out. I also felt unaccountably cheerful, sort of the way the Sharks looked at the morning skate. Part of me thought them looking jolly was an ill omen, the way it was the last time I noticed that, before the Ducks beat them some time last season.
Of course, there is no good reason to not be cheerful when you're thinking about a hockey game. Win or lose, it's still a hockey game and the whole point of the thing is to have fun and make people happy. Maybe the sun shining and the fluffy merry nature of sport and entertainment would not be suppressed.
It was still derned uncomfortable, being all bouncy happy for no good reason.
If Burns is practicing next to Stuart, what does that mean? The other d-pairs were: Murray-Irwin, Boyle-Vlasic, and Demers-Braun. So, a Stuart-Burns pair could mean something is going to be different tomorrow. Take your choice: Murray and Irwin sit, or Demers and Braun sit, (I had to take a second to catch my breath after laughing at that one) or Brad Stuart isn't playing tomorrow. That might also give you a chuckle unless you're like me and you always think people are injured, and you can't believe that Burns is ready to play yet:
@PollakOnSharks :Burns paired w/Stuart at #SJSharks practice today, McLellan says he's getting closer to starting. Sat vs. PHX? "That might be pushing it."
And no, Brent Burns has not shaved his beard as he told Brodie Brazil he would do. He not only said that he'd shave before he played, but that he'd shave when he got close to playing. I would say today is close to tomorrow, and still there he was all furry faced.
Boyle and Vlasic? Of course they will play, unless Boyle doesn't. Hey, it was just practice. Maybe no one will play where they practiced.
The reports about Jason Demers and Brent Burns should be considered positive developments. The reports I mean are things like:
Jason Demers practiced with the team and took line rushes with Matt Irwin this morning while Nick Petrecki and Brent Burns skated together. Still, McLellan stopped short of declaring Demers good-to-go. -Working the Corners
Even if Demers isn't expected to play tonight, he isn't far off. With him available to play, the team will have choices to make but they are good choices. Like sitting Sheppard to make room for Gomez, it is more a wealth of riches than a shortage of options.
Brent Burns, while probably not as close to playing as Demers, also showed visible improvement. His merely being in the practice tells us that. Still, what he told David Pollak doesn't inspire confidence:
The Sharks appear to be working from a checklist. Obviously scoring in the first period is on that list. They have done that ever since that disappointing game in Calgary. Also, power play goals are important, their power play lacked some shock and awe last season. Needed to fix that.
Patrick Marleau had his two-goals-a-game objective. Perhaps that was drawing too much public attention away from the team, so he skipped it last night. Making NHL history would be way too high profile for such a modest guy. Still, it was clear that the Sharks wanted to get that 2nd goal for Marleau, because historic records are fun to hold. Too bad they were so worn out from back to back games.
Who were they playing against last night? I thought I heard it was some team that had a winning streak at HP Pavilion to defend. Does it even matter who the Sharks play anymore?
With tedious regularity, Patrick Marleau scores two goals. Of course it's not tedious at all, it's a beautiful thing. Someone should write a song about it.
He scores two goals in Alberta,
And two in the next game.
He scores two goals before he scores two goals,
Well, we're not to game five yet. But he's already done something that hasn't been done in nearly 100 years:
@SharksStats: "Patrick Marleau 2nd player in NHL history to begin a season with 4 multi-goal games (Cy Denneny, 1917-18 Ottawa Senators). #Elias"
Brad Stuart predicted this.
Yesterday, David Pollak published some quotes from Brad Stuart about his career and about the Sharks, what he saw while he was here the first time, and what he saw playing against San Jose later. One of those answers might explain this mind-boggling start from Team Teal:
Pollak: "...wasn’t last year a step backward?"
Stuart: “Sometimes that can be a bit of a wake-up call and maybe that will motivate the team as a whole to not let that happen again. It all depends on how you handle it as individuals and as a team – who takes responsibility upon themselves to be better. And everybody’s got to do that.” -Working the Corners
So there you have it. This is what the Sharks look like when they are awake.
I think there's more to it. I recall many times last season when Joe Thornton would throw passes to no one. At first I thought this was a positioning issue, like he was too often in the same place or trying something new he wasn't used to. That doesn't seem to be the case. Obviously, the Sharks were having problems with their sonar:
There's a theory that refusing to give voice to your dark thoughts is more productive than letting rants run riot. I'm going to try that. The NHL CBA negotiations are going nowhere, both sides look kind of stupid, childish and not the least concerned with whether or not we see any NHL hockey this season. That wasn't a rant, just a brief statement of fact. A more comprehensive discussion of the situation can be found here from Elliotte Friedman.
Here are some bits of info I've picked up about players and teams that matter in my hockey universe: Back on September 29th, Logan Couture's team beat Joe Thornton's now Rick Nashless team in Switzerland:
@Logancouture: Big win for @OfficialGSHC. Also bragging rights over the big guy!
Jason Demers is getting rave (or maybe just good) reviews in Finland. Really it's hard to get the details via Google Translate and I won't apologize for not speaking Finnish. I hear it is a very difficult language.
Filed in: hockey, , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
Tags: jason+demers, joe+thornton, logan+couture, nhl+cba, patrick+marleau, ryane+clowe, sf+bulls, srjc+polar+bears, tommy+wingels
At the arbitration filing deadline, T.J. Galiardi tried to make things a little interesting for Sharks fans. The matter will not go to arbitration, as yesterday Galiardi announced on Twitter that he had signed a contract. David Pollak confirmed that the contract is for one year.
I will also take the McCarthy and Matsumoto signings as confirmed despite no official word from San Jose. Add to those, from the same source:
@210Darryl: “I can confirm that the #WorSharks have signed Ferris State goaltender Taylor Nelson to a contract. He will likely play in ECHL this season.”
John McCarthy’s name appeared on the Sharks web roster a few days ago. Some days before that, Tim Kennedy’s turned up, though I could find no other mention anywhere that he had accepted the Sharks’ offer. Surely someone told the webmaster to add his name, so I guess we can consider him signed as well.
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.
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.
Last night, Teemu Selanne scored his 66th career goal against the Sharks, in the 6th meeting this season. That’s three sixes. Lordy.
Jonas Hiller described the performance of the Ducks lately:
“Everybody is really motivated and we didn’t want to eliminate ourselves. We are still trying to play good hockey. We don’t want to just give up. That is what we did tonight, and that’s why we won.” -Sharks Talk
I thought that was interesting because lame ducks do not just give up, except on the long game. Knowing you have nothing left to lose is liberating and often frees people to do things they wouldn’t have done were they considering the next stage. But what the Ducks are doing it isn’t quite lame duck behavior.
Yesterday I explained why I expected the Sharks to lose in Dallas, including a preposterous theory that every season they will lose six in a row with the last loss being to the Oilers. And still the Sharks lost. What happened to me being usually wrong?
How am I supposed to do this if they change the rules and don’t tell me? It isn’t that I imagine I cause an outcome by speaking of it. I don’t take jinxes that seriously. No, I’ve just always felt like a terrible meteorologist, believing fair weather is coming when really there a big dumping rain storm on the way and vice versa.
I wasn’t heartbroken about last night’s game. My Twitter feed felt differently:
Jon D. Allred @Jon_Allred: “#SJSharks had several chances to win this game. But when they can’t hold a lead or score on a 4-on-3 pp in OT, they didn’t deserve a win.”
The Sharks aren’t using the word “fragile” anymore. They aren’t talking about the sanctity of three. I think those are good things. Now I hear the phrase “in a rut” which feels like a gross understatement but maybe I should think of it as hopeful. Getting out of a rut is easier than hoping someone finds you before you suffocate face down in a ditch next to a muddy back road.
Jeremy Roenick thinks Sharks fans should be in a panic. Way ahead of you, buddy, already singing “Que Sera, Sera” because hey, this is just a game, I’m not on the team, I can’t be getting my head all screwed up over it.
Which is another way of saying I am so far down in the doldrums that I can’t even be bothered to look for the light. Some fans are still cussing and kicking. That’s nice.
It was said on Twitter. McLellan was quoted saying it on Working the Corners and in Kurz’s CSN blog. It was discussed during the pregame show. It was the big story before Saturday’s game in the mostly empty Jobing.com arena: how very dangerous, unpredictable, hungry and possibly tough to play against the Phoenix Coyotes would be. What were they thinking? Here’s what I was thinking:
I didn’t get it. Why would the Coyotes be more frantic than Dallas? Isn’t that losing streak they’ve been on an indication that they are not playing well? Was everyone trying to say the Coyotes have the Sharks’ number?
If that’s the case, I thought, it’s a very bad sign for the Sharks. I hoped fervently that it was all a bunch of manufactured drama, like the endless euphemism-filled discussion of where Niemi was hit by that puck, why he missed the last game. I’m still not clear. As Brodie pointed out during the pregame show, women don’t understand these things. Someone will have to be more specific.
Luck and legend distinguish the Dragon from the other symbols in the Chinese and Mongolian zodiac. It is said to be the very luckiest birth year, the sign of the emperor. Unlike the other symbols, a dragon is not the sort of critter most of us will see in our lifetimes. Since there are twelve signs in this system, that is a little surprising. The year starts today and ends around this time in 2013.
As someone who grew up in San Francisco, I guess I should say something about the Niners. They lost. Bummer for Niners fans. I wasn’t all that anxious for them to win because I feel that trips to championship finals disperse geographically in such a way that if the Niners had gone on, this would have been bad news for the Sharks. Look what happened with the Giants- the other Giants I mean. Condolences to Niners fans, may the loss not be in vain.
The Sharks begin the year in Edmonton. I don’t know if any of them attended a parade, but a big spectacle like an NHL game should do. Wow… that would be cool, if someone brought a paper and silk dragon to the game and sent it around the stands… I know, that probably won’t happen.
Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
Tags: dan+boyle, james+sheppard, jamie+mcginn, jason+demers, joe+thornton, logan+couture, patrick+marleau, thomas+greiss, todd+mclellan, tommy+wingels, year+of+the+dragon
As has happened so many times this season, a player was hit hard in the head and went to the quiet room. Andrew Desjardins was able to get to his feet but he had to be helped off the ice:
“I got up and my legs fell under me a little bit, so obviously he caught me pretty good,” he said.-Sharks Talk
Now Sharks fans wait, and that’s pretty much what the team does too. During the game, one of the announcers mentioned something to the effect of “we hope he can return to the game.” This comment made me angry which is why I won’t repeat who said it. I absolutely did not want to see Desjardins back on the ice in this game. He looked distinctly woozy, he clearly needed to be treated as if he had a concussion. You can’t wish it away, you take care of it.
One of the things that stuck out for me in the Sharks’ Tuesday loss to Minnesota was how many times Niemi got run into or buried under bodies. He seems like a sturdy fellow but that has to be kind of tough on a goalie. That’s a special kind of failure to defend. That was just one symptom of breakdowns from the Sharks. There were enough such to have McLellan shuffling the lines and looking very cross. I just hope Niemi didn’t get banged up, bent wrong or otherwise harmed under there.
The television cameras gave us a good indication of why Ryane Clowe will be wearing a cage for the next week. Apparently the treatment of bleeding noses makes good tv.
Of course the last-minute comeback to push the game to overtime was fun also. That those goals came from the team’s usual suspects made me wonder about a couple of things.
First, some news: Desjardins only got fined for boarding Sami Lepisto, no suspension. Thank goodness, don’t need the lower lines destabilized right now. Also, Terry Murray got fired. His place is being filled by John Stevens. Finally, Nitty is off IR and going to Worcester for conditioning. He can stay there for a maximum of 14 days and could conceivably play in 6 games, if he plays 3 in 3 days. Uh huh.
“Out of gas.” That’s the title of one of my favorite episodes of Firefly. It’s also one of the things folks said about the Sharks third period and OT in Chicago. What did the team think? The coach? Hard to tell. Their quotes are as opaque as ever. So I decided to look up some better quotes. Here’s one from the above-mentioned episode of Firefly:
Mal: Ship like this, be with you ‘til the day you die.
Zoë Washburne: ‘Cause it’s a deathtrap.
They’re both right, it’s the classic problem of one thing seen from two different perspectives.
During a broadcast of a Worcester Sharks game the other day, Ben Guite mentioned goalie drills. He wasn’t very specific, but he said that shooting drills were more fun than goalie drills, if you’re not a goalie, which he isn’t. I don’t remember if he used those terms, but this answered a question I had some time ago about goalies at team practice. I wondered if goalies get enough or the right kind of practice when they practice with the team. The answer seems to be: not really.
Even when the goalie is engaged in the drills, seeing a lot of shots, if those shots are practice for the shooters, they will probably be varied, the kind of shot that particular skater needs to practice. The goalie will get work, he will get some practice, but it’s not comprehensive.
I was late to the Penguins @ Sharks game and had to play DVR catch-up. I missed most of the first period. Apparently so did the Sharks. I’m flattered, really, that they waited for me, but in the larger scheme of things it might have been better for them to go ahead and start without me.
I guess if you have to have a bad period it is more satisfying for the audience if it is the first period instead of the last. Still, a little less suspense would go a long way with me. I feel slightly battered by that game.
Greiss was heroic. He seemed to do everything right. Oh, sure, he wandered into traffic a couple of times behind the net but hey, that goes hand in hand with all that jumping out to make aggressive stops. He needs a loose rein. Besides, that gave his team a chance to make it up to him, make up for that hideous spectacle that was most of the game.
It is early still to say whether or not the Sharks’ plans for the 2011-12 season are working, but there is some data available.
First part of the plan was to get Dan Boyle’s minutes down. It does look like his TOI is creeping down. At least from the first game (27:28) to the last (22:49) there’s a reduction, with a spike of in the middle there. Boyle’s time on the penalty kill isn’t dropping off as much as some would like but overall others are balancing out his minutes. The drop is not drastic but it is there, probably because Vlasic and Burns are looking better.
After spending yesterday paying attention to another team, I feel especially cranky that we have to wait until tomorrow, yes it is finally just tomorrow but it is still not today, to see the Sharks play. If you’re paranoid, that smacks of NHL conspiracy and disregard for our needs as fans. Whatever, you can’t always get what you want.
Marleau did skate today, but said he was not 100%:“Hopefully the muscle ache goes away,” Marleau said, “and we’ll be ready to go.” (-Working the Corners). I’m not sure it’s worth it for him to play. Is it safe? What if he pulls something? I mean, it seems like everyone else has scheduled injuries and illnesses for now, why not him too? No need to rush back.
Brodie Brazil had a few things to say about how the Sharks’ top lines will look when the season starts:
Go ahead and ink in Joe Thornton, centering Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski. There’s San Jose’s top line to begin the season…it’s pretty clear to see Todd McLellan following that with Logan Couture, flanked by Ryane Clowe and Martin Havlat. -Sharks Talk
I must have missed the quote where McLellan says he’s sorted out the 3rd slots on the top lines and isn’t giving it another thought.