Petshark: Talking Stick
There are bounces and there are mistakes and there are travel delays and three games in four days and freak accidents and injuries… and the Sharks lose again. I’m all out of anger and sorrow. Despair starts to set in. I walk away from the game, start doing the laundry and the dishes. I can’t really walk away, I keep poking my head around the corner to peek at the tv, I keep hoping. It doesn’t work out.
Later, Ryane Clowe said “We’re looking for wins…” (Sharks Talk) That made me start humming “in all the wrong places….” When I start humming country songs, I know I’m in a bad place, is that stale beer I smell? I moved on to a better tune, that old standby from Monty Python.
Of ending Detroit’s record-setting home win streak, Todd McLellan said:
“There have been a lot of teams that came in and tried to do it. Some have come extremely close, others haven’t,” McLellan said. “We’re going to take our kick at the cat and see what we can do.” -Working the Corners
Was Todd McLellan’s peculiar choice of words a malapropism or a Freudian slip? Could it be both? Cats, unlike cans, are famous for quick, evasive action. There’s a high likelihood that the cat is unharmed and the kicker ends up on his caboose. Is that what McLellan is trying not to think about?
Beating Detroit will not be easy, it hardly ever is with or without a winning streak on the line. McLellan has been slow to say who the starting goalie will be. I really don’t think it matters right now.
Game four of the monster Sharks road trip left me without much to say. It was depressing. I could not think of anything to respond to that I haven’t whined about before. Torn between the belief that there must have been something good to take away from that game (like new Shark Dominic Moore making himself useful) and an urge to simply let loose with a howl of frustration, I resorted to drawing pictures. It isn’t that I have jumped ship. It’s just a mood.
I am no more a cartoonist than I am a journalist so consider yourself warned.
Someone cuts McCarthy’s face. I see red. I try to remember that line so nicely spoken by Samuel L. Jackson, something about “great vengeance and furious anger.” I am incapable of delivering that, even if I am in the mood to do so.
Before I can stuff my temper back in its box, the Lightning score, taking the lead—again. But Vlasic gets a little revenge, ties it up. Then, of all improbable things, White scores a go ahead goal.
I’m dizzy with all the ups and downs of this game.
I review my list: get points, win a lot, stay healthy, pick up a forward… two out of four is not excellent.
Not good, guys.
Before the last game I was worried about some pretty routine things that do tend to happen, just not all at once on the day I talk about them. I suppose that would be different if I were writing a group itinerary, in which case writing things down would presumably be part of why they came to pass. I guess I feel like I wrote a reverse itinerary yesterday, a great big jinx.
Dwayne Roloson will start for Tampa Bay tonight. Roloson has been having a very stinky season. I hate to see a goalie demoralized, especially a Libra. Writing that makes me worry if I just did something that will make him have the best game he’s had for a very long time. N’ah, I’m not really worried about that, what I was worried about was this road trip.
The length of it didn’t worry me. The Sharks haven’t played as well on the road this season, winning just over 62% at home but only 52% on the road. I didn’t count OT points but I guess I should. Do that and they have points in almost 69% of their home games, 68% on the road. A rule of thumb: don’t quote me on the math, I can’t count. Still, that didn’t worry me.
I was worried about the teams the Sharks are playing on this trip: Tampa Bay, Carolina, Minnesota, Columbus, throw Detroit and Nashville in to spice things up, and then remember Washington. I don’t know where to put Toronto on the worry scale, but I don’t think they tip the balance. On average, it’s not a daunting list. I looks like a gift horse. You don’t want to look it in the mouth because it would be rude but also the chances are good that the gift is older than it appears and it probably has crummy teeth. The gift horse will require extra care and feed and, in the end, will be more of a burden than a gift.
In today’s Mercury News there’s a story by Mark Emmons about Alex Stalock’s return to pro hockey. Stalock recently completed a stint with the Stockton Thunder:
When Sharks training camp opened in September, there was a growing optimism. Stalock skated for the first time. He slowly worked up to a rehab stint with Stockton, a minor league affiliate for the Sharks and Edmonton Oilers, making his return on Jan. 21. -Mercury News
It’s a very good story about a player and a recovery that is just this side of miraculous. Yet Emmons doesn’t mention the name of the minor league. Sigh.
The league’s name is sort of like Ulysses S Grant’s middle name: just initials. Unlike Grant, the league does have a proper name where the initials are: East Coast Hockey League, but nobody out here calls it that. It’s one of those names that tells you where someone came from but not what or where they are now. “Taylor,” for example: once upon a time, someone in that family was a tailor, probably in England. The odds are pretty slim that this person is actually a tailor in England now.
I didn’t expect rain last night. When I heard it coming down, I worried that I may have left things out. It was so unexpected that I couldn’t even remember what I needed to bring in, I didn’t know where to start battening down the hatches.
I think the Sharks had a similar experience in St. Louis. Maybe they didn’t skate long enough in the morning to figure the ice out. Maybe they didn’t practice hard enough to notice. The result was a bunch of guys who all looked like they were skating with broken feet on dull skate blades. Once they were in the game, it was too late to fix a problem of that magnitude. Despite all that horrible bad luck and maybe a touch of poor preparation, the Sharks did some admirable things in this game.
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Tags: brent+burns, douglas+murray, jason+demers, jim+vandermeer, joe+pavelski, michal+neuvirth, mike+knuble, ryane+clowe, washington+capitals
In just over an hour, the Sharks will hit the ice for their first of nine road games. That’s a long road trip, even for a team used to a lot of travel. McLellan says he doesn’t put much stock in the theory of road trip bonding, but he does see the benefits of getting away from the distractions of home life:
“Some of the players will get more rest on the road,” McLellan said, “maybe get an afternoon nap when the little ones aren’t jumping on you. The family activities obviously don’t exist on the road, so there is a chance to get a little more rest for some of them.” -Mercury News
That’s why people go on vacation or work retreats, to get away, be in the moment instead of the past and future and all the things other people need from them. Maybe I need to get away again, my brain is flying in six different directions right now, only a few of which have anything to do with hockey. At least a few of them do.
Marleau, Pavelski and Niemi are the first on the ice. Marleau sprinkles pucks around one end of the rink, gives the bag to Niemi, who takes it to the other end. Pavelski and Marleau start shooting, others come out on the ice.
McGinn begins doing goalie drills with Niemi, while others do shooting and tipping drills.
I check Twitter. When I look up, Marleau and Pavelski have left. It’s an optional skate I guess.
Boyle is there, smiling.
Clowe is there too, visorless. I think he looks sheepish without it but I must be projecting, imagining he knows he should wear one. I’m sure he doesn’t think so. I hope his head is as hard as it seems. Sigh.
Owen Nolan didn’t want to stop playing professional hockey. He knew it was time but he fought it all the way. When we’re done doing one thing and ready to move on to the next thing, it is often called retirement. I think I’ve retired from school, but along the way I graduated a lot too. Seems like there’s more hope and optimism attached to graduation than to retirement, though both situations are a little like being evicted from your long time home. Some people cry, and other people give you congratulation gifts.
Nolan’s retirement was a little different in that he was simultaneously re-connected to the Sharks organization, though he hadn’t played with the team for many seasons. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau presented him with a Captain’s jersey in the new Sharks colors.
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