Petshark: Talking Stick
Niittymaki’s back in Worcester for conditioning. McLaren’s on waivers, probably going to the Woo. Wingels joins Clowe on the injured list. What does it all mean?
Nitty: maybe when he played in that first conditioning stint, he discovered he wasn’t 100% yet? Maybe now he is? Or… what, the Sharks wanted him elsewhere when the Tampa Bay scouts came to town? Why? They weren’t going to see him anyway, and they’ve seen him before. Seems most likely a function of reconditioning, plain and simple. No reason to “showcase” him in the AHL.
McLaren: maybe the team thought he did pretty well game before last, so he was back against the Sens. I guess they rethought that after seeing him against the Sens. I don’t know, didn’t seem like he did anything too dreadful. He took a penalty, who didn’t? I think he spent less time in the box than Pavs did. I think anything sub-par from him would hardly stand out in the mess that was that game.
Tonight the Sharks face the Ottawa Senators for the one and only time this season. Ottawa’s team has been, yes, I know, this is bad… sensational. But they have been. Merriam Webster defines sensational as “exceedingly or unexpectedly excellent or great.” With so many players who are either oft injured, old or very young, the team was not expected to do so well this season. Here are some comments from back in October about the Sens’ prospects for this season:
In the final pre-season, we caught a glimpse of the future.
Plucky upstart roster squeaks win thanks to stellar goaltending. You could have turned off the lights in the Gardens, and the combined gleaming grins of Sens management would have kept the building well-lit. The win was a paint by numbers Picasso, nothing beautiful, but as close as possible to the real thing as could be expected from a squad of mostly rookies. -Sen Say, October 3
So what if it hasn’t been those rookies carrying the scoring? Who expected Michalek’s resurgence, or Alfredsson’s renaissance? Certainly not Sens fans. Who saw Turris getting his act together so quickly? No one who was watching him out here. But here Sens fans are in January, and their team hasn’t fallen on its face yet. This wasn’t even the plan, which was to rebuild:
The Sharks game against the Calgary Flames was the last one to end last night. I think it’ unfair to blame them for going to a shoot out. They also had the latest start time and they were not the only game to go to a shoot out.
The Sharks had some tough breaks in the game, some shots they wish they’d scored on, a laughable goalie interference call in OT. The Flames had some of the same, so it was even… until that grossly bad call in OT.
Anyway, the Sharks won.
@FearthefInGame: “Beast mode activated by Brent Burns, who shakes off a defender on the wall before the puck finds Handzus. Torrey Mitchell bangs home rebound”
That’s how they tied it up.
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.
When talking about the Sharks and the Jets, I think you have to mention West Side Story, so I did. The Sharks @ Winnipeg was not a surprising game, unless you consider shut outs surprising. The better ranked team won, there were no calamitous incidents, no very strange penalties. The Sharks don’t have very many shut outs this season, so another does add some needed sparkle to their 2011-12 record. That record is looking better and better, as Jamie Baker points out:
@Bakes_Jamie13: “Sharks have only lost 1 game in regulation since Dec 14 - it was on boxing day against Anaheim. in last 14, Sharks are 9-1-4. #KeepErGoin”
One thing they are keeping going is their NHL shots per game lead:
@SharksStats: “Elias Says: Sharks have had 35+ shots in each of their last 11 games. Longest streak since ‘83-84, when Flyers had 35+ shots in 12 straight.”
I know, they always shoot a lot but it is neat to break long-standing records. The fact that the Flyers hold that record now does make it more interesting to me but I won’t mind if the Sharks break 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.
My brother is going to be a father. He and his wife told me the other day that they had decided they would encourage the boy (yes, they know it will be a boy) to play hockey. Neither parent has much interest in the sport. I think it was a gesture to include me in the care of the child. I am touched that they are so quick to hand their first born over to me, but my initial reaction was “really? I would be afraid to encourage my kid to play hockey.”
I’m a worry wart. I would have the kid ride horses, because even though more people get head injuries riding horses than doing anything else, I know how to do it right, it would be safe if I were in charge. Right.
Anyway, when I expressed my concerns about the safety of the unborn person (hey, they’re planning his sports activities, I’m not the only crazy person here), my brother said “really? But hockey isn’t dangerous, they’re all padded, it’s not like football.”
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The Caps came to San Jose, gave Sharks fans a great game to watch, and brought Stephen Whyno from The Washington Times with them. Well, the Caps didn’t bring him but that’s why he was here. He promptly wrote a story about Douglas Murray and his approach to hitting, under new rules and old. Murray followed that up with a demonstration, during the game. For anyone bothered by said demonstration, there’s a Twitter hashtag: #blameWhyno.
A few good things happened this weekend in my hockey book, along with the above-mentioned marvelous Sharks demonstration of why the Capitals will never win here. Sharks have been winning. Flyers winning too. Leighton won in the AHL outdoor game. Yes, I’m an unabashed Leighton fan. I am strange, perhaps, or just loyal to a fault. Whatever. The Phantoms won 4-3 in OT, not a splendid win for a goalie, but hey, a win’s a win, most of the time.
James Sheppard on the ice this morning:
David Pollak: “Long-awaited James Sheppard update: Practiced today w/ #sjsharks teammates, knee feels good and a March 1 target date for game action.”
Also on the ice: 19, 88, 61, 30, 1, 69, 57, 2, 78, 17, 28, 64, 68, 39, 26, 10, 60, 31.
Not yet: 29, 12, 22, 3, 8, 44.
88 hootin’ & hollerin’ over a goal. No need to point out who he scored on.
There’s 12 now. And 8, and 29.
Now Todd McLellan. Well that is interesting. Looks like a not very optional skate today.
I’m always happy to see more than ten players show up for optional skates, when they’re really truly optional. I don’t mean I think badly of the ones that aren’t there, I just mean the appearance of working away industriously is a good thing to see.
Oh! There’s Pic… I mean 44.
After sleeping on it and reading Sharks game recaps, I realized that there were a lot of good things about last night’s game against the Ducks. Things like allowing no shots on goal during penalty kills. Things like out shooting and out scoring the other guys, blocking a lot of shots. Burns coming back after blocking a shot with his hand, and, apparently, Demers feeling okay. These are all very good as karmic signs go, no matter who the other guys are.
Like the Blue Jackets. They’re sharing a nest at the bottom of the standings with the Ducks. Unlike the Ducks, they haven’t had a single good spell this season. They started out losing and injured, they are still losing. Maybe I’m being generous when I say the Ducks had a good spell. They won four in a row at the start of the season and since then have only won six more. The Blue Jackets, however,only won their first game after losing their first eight. It was a race to get a win in before November.
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