Petshark: Talking Stick
Sluggish. Disorganized. Inexplicable. Those are just a few of the words that come to mind about last night’s game, and by association the other seven losses in the last ten games. It makes me want to ask the Sharks “are you done? Do you feel better now?” You know, the way you ask a hysterical person if they have done all the shrieking and unintelligible ranting they need to do.
Because there is no rational explanation or excuse for the degree of ineptitude displayed lately by this team. Even McLellan’s absence does not explain it, because he has only been out for the last three games. The lack of preparedness and execution we’re seeing now has been there for a while, it’s just gotten worse.
Douglas Murray called it a funk. So I looked that word up. I know what it means, but sometimes there’s more to a word than you realize. In Middle English, it meant “spark, touchwood, or tinder.” By the time Modern English came around, “funk” had changed: “a verb meaning “to panic, fail due to panic”. Perhaps from ... obsolete Flemish fonck (“distress, agitation”), from Middle Dutch fonck (“perturbation, agitation”).” This is what happens when no one uses the dictionary: we can’t even tell the difference between a useful spark and panic-induced failure.
When I arrived at practice this morning, the first thing I looked for was Douglas Murray’s expression. He was smiling again. Sure, maybe someone had just said something funny to him but I thought it was too much of a coincidence that, during the last two practices, he has been smiling a whole lot. I compare this to the tail end of his last recovery: he did not smile, he very clearly expressed frustration until the day he was cleared to play. He doesn’t like not playing and he is not very good at hiding it. Predictably, there’s a veritable glow about him when he knows he will be able to play.
I wonder if having a lousy poker face is a problem for Douglas Murray. I guess it doesn’t much matter, during a game, if you can gauge his mood. What are you going to do about it?
Murray is ready to play (no matter what Woodcroft says, come ON, the guy’s wearing a flashing neon “Good to go!” sign), Couture is probably back, all kinds of good news coming in. If that’s not enough to chase your blues away, what will it take?
It seems like the Sharks just got their defense in line and then, by tragic coincidence, their offense is laboring. Like unruly cats their O and their D can’t get pointed in the same direction. How unlucky is that?
Not very. I mean it doesn’t seem like a matter of luck at all. When your best offensive players chip in with extra defensive care, they aren’t as available for the other.
They could be, I guess they should be, but on this team they haven’t been. It’s a pattern we’ve seen before. It’s how they play when one or more defensemen get hurt and have to leave the game, or when the goalie is pulled and a rookie jumps in for his first NHL appearance ever: “all hands on D.”
By winning against the Flyers, the Sharks climbed up to sixth in the West. By not winning, the Flyers fell to sixth in the East. The Flyers still have two more points and one more win on their record than the Sharks, but last night’s game brought them closer in the standings, close like that game. Them being close in the standings is not significant to anyone but two-teaming fans like me.
I may be that, but last night I was no homer. My loyalties cancelled each other out. In that period of forced clarity I noticed some things, even though I did not have the benefit of in-game penalty replays or a full view of the ice. I had to go home, feed the critters, and watch the game on tv to see that stuff.
I didn’t know what it would be like to go watch them play each other live, my two teams. I found myself rooting for everyone to do well, cheering for both goalies, happy the game was close, only disappointed it didn’t go to overtime. I was less disappointed when I saw how the Sharks started to look so tired at the end, and when I realized that if the game went on much longer someone might get killed.
Actually, the Flyers have been here for a couple of days now, learning about Pinkberry from Wayne Simmonds, being bussed between rinks and meeting fans at Sharks Ice. It is very exciting for Bay Area Flyers fans. It’s like a TaO fan holiday.
Yesterday I saw this article on NHL.com detailing the deadline day trade between the Sharks and the Avalanche. The title is “Avs add McGinn on deadline day.” It goes on to talk about what a splendid acquisition McGinn is for the Avs.
Isn’t that nice? McGinn is the big news, the article makes his acquisition out like the big story, only devoting a few lines at the end about Galiardi and Winnik…
Wait, what? OMG, DW, what did you do?
They say that the NHL Trade Deadline is at 3pm in the afternoon, but out here it’s High Noon. It is an especially cruel High Noon because, even after the waiting and worrying, you still don’t get to go out and confront anyone or anything. You sit and watch your online news source or wait for the phone to ring or prepare to make an announcement. Oh, I guess that last part is a kind of confrontation. So the GMs have that. The fans and the players don’t.
I was glad that the announcement of McGinn being traded to the Avalanche came while the team was still in the air. That would make for a smaller group to share the unsettling news with, instead of being alone or in a throng of questioners.
What about Sgarbossa and Connolly? I wonder where they were. I don’t suppose Sgarbossa will have to move anywhere right away.
Todd McLellan had to leave the game for treatment after a Wild stick hit him in the head when a Sharks player not to be named here pushed that Wild player into the bench. Please let McLellan be okay, least of all because the Sharks need him.
“Man is harder than iron, stronger than stone and more fragile than a rose.” -Turkish proverb
Then the Sharks lost, 4-3. That stung. I spent the day reviewing this “first to three” notion. I don’t think winning teams abide by it.
I was so happy for those days after the Sharks won a game… oh… wait, how long ago was that? Maybe it was the Flyers. Yep, it was the Flyers, last night. I cannot recall when the Sharks last won. I was so happy about that too, I was afraid to write anything in case I jinxed it.
Lately, it seems like the Sharks can’t win. Who can’t relate to that feeling? Even Charlie Sheen would have to admit that, in some sense, he isn’t always #winning. Not being able to win can show up in so many aspects of our lives.
Simple things like my gender role make me feel like a loser all the time. I can’t seem to do “woman things” right. I’m not house proud, not into days at the spa, I have no regular hair dressing appointment, I never get manicures, I absolutely hate shopping, like I-can-barely-get-groceries hate shopping. I always forget to wait and see if someone else will carry my bags. I have to remember to giggle appropriately, which is of course never appropriate. If these things sound like a silly way to gauge the merits of a woman, they are. And yet… there’s Twilight, and Latisse and boob jobs and people inject Botulism into their faces. Ugh.
Fans don’t usually get asked about blockbuster trades, except so folks can watch our little heads spin ‘round and explode, or see how long it takes us to tear each other to shreds. Well, we do get asked for that reason all the time, but never in a serious “what you say might influence what happens” kind of way. Kevin Kurz asked Sharks fans how we feel about the Sharks being on track for the last lap of the Nashcar race. I don’t mean he wants our heads to spin or any of that but… what reaction do you expect when someone tells us the Sharks may move Joe Pavelski?
@RyMartin24:”@bigjonallred Trading Joe Pavelski, American Hero, would be a crime against our beloved country.”
There were others, some involved threats of violent acts which I would rather not quote in case those tweets go badly for the tweeters. Others did say they would consider it, but without them, where would the fan friction come from?
So, should the Sharks acquire Rick Nash? What about Carter? Carter would cost less up front… No. No and no and no. I’m just one fan but I’d be willing to say “no” 15,000 times if it would make a difference.
In this time of speculation and rumors, this last week before the NHL trade deadline, I’ve become obsessed with signs. Not zodiac signs, though that could probably help if I really believed in them. Will Nash end up in LA? Will it matter? Do the Caps miss Boudreau yet? Will Doug Wilson make another move? Will the Coyotes catch the Sharks tonight? There are signs to read, but I don’t know how to read them.
One of the cats went missing. It was the night of the Sharks game in Detroit. It was not one of the friendly pet cats, but a familiar furry face nonetheless. He’s been on the ranch for nearly ten years I think, the wild tuxedo cat named Fred. I felt unaccountably guilty. Even if I was sure a coyote would come calling, Fred was so wild I could not have done anything about it, short of camping out overnight.
This made me look up the definition of “Cassandra complex.” I was glad to discover that it is not actually future vision. It doesn’t even apply here because I don’t know what the heck I’m predicting. I’m a terrible prognosticator. Some friends asked if I had lotto numbers for them anyway. Gotta love friends who know how to ignore that you’re batshit crazy.
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