Petshark: Talking Stick
Apparently Todd McLellan chose “trust” as the theme of the season for the Sharks. If the team has been doing trust exercises, I bet there are a lot of bruised derrieres right now. This morning Twitter was fairly quiet regarding the Sharks. Two lone tweets came out from practice saying only that the gates were closed and the injured defensemen were skating before the group. It was an unsettling silence, a silence that allowed for all manner of speculation after yesterday’s loss.
@FTFsTCY: “There are definitely rumors floating around today. Just an FYI that any involving Marleau are bunk. He has a full NMC.”
It turns out that David Pollak was still in transit from Denver, and his internet access was limited. Kevin Kurz was ill. I guess Mark Emmons just didn’t feel very chatty. Nothing much came out today in terms of Sharks news, especially about the NHL issues of the day. No one has a concussion and McLellan has not been fired. And no, Marleau is not being traded (as far as we know).
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.
In college, I read about a ritual in some Native American cultures where you give away all your possessions. This is supposed to get rid of your bad luck, spiritual crisis or mental funk. Is that what the Sharks are doing, giving away the puck and fan patience, bit by bit each game? I think doing it by accident misses the point.
And still their even strength scoring plummets, their power play ails, points slip away. Their penalty kill seems better than before, but is that just compared to the fall off of the rest? Last night, Kevin Kurz tweeted:
“Blues may have played well defensively, but I’m not completely buying some of the post game quotes. Final recap, here: http://t.co/nm2BubxJ”
Before even reading those quotes, I thought “I don’t buy them either.” The Sharks are usually understated in their postgamers (which has to make you wonder what Clowe or Boyle say off camera). Even so, there just doesn’t seem to be any valid excuse for this loss. Perhaps a mea culpa on a par with Bryzgalov’s “lost in the woods” speech. Maybe that would do.
It wouldn’t be ridiculous to say that the stars were aligned so the Sharks would win Thursday. Statistically, Dallas was expected to lose. But the Sharks haven’t really been following statistical rules lately, have they? So better to say they are following some metaphysical pattern that we can’t quantify. Maybe Cancer got shot up by a meteor shower and all its children are still picking up the pieces.
Most Sharks had good reason to be a little cranky, impatient, even pissed off with themselves. Were they angry at each other? Of course not, hockey players don’t get angry with teammates. In any case, one would hope they’d had enough of losing and were ready to win.
All I needed from the Sharks Thursday was to not lose to another team they should beat. Their recent outings had lowered the bar for what I required from a Sharks game. I won’t put the Panthers in the class of “teams Sharks should beat handily” just yet. But there were the Habs too. Sure, the Sharks beat them. That was fun but it could have been less suspenseful. Minnesota? Yeah, they’re doing pretty well but there’s no reason to think the Sharks can’t beat them. Every time.
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.
The Minnesota Wild’s goalie was green, no one knew what to expect from him. That is worth a couple wins. It would make more sense to be beaten by Harding, or Backstrom if he was available, but I could make the excuse that it’s harder to beat a good prospect the first time you see him than a few games down the road. Let the puns commence. By all accounts, Hackett can.
The Sharks D-pairs were described in advance as all over the map. I could dig my nails into that excuse and hang on for all my fingers are worth.
Why? This loss feels like one too many. Despair sets in so quick these days. It doesn’t seem possible for the Sharks to right this mess. It could happen, we fans would buck right up with a taste of victory. Instead, this ship of fans is becalmed at sea, supplies running low, the stench hinting of plague. Panic is in the air, buffered only by fatigue. Mutiny is imminent. Someone finds a rum hoard.
Things might be about to get a little crazy in Shark territory. That whole philosophy of always pairing an offensive defenseman with a shut down guy could very well be scrapped tonight. Those who called for Braun and Demers to be paired, or for Ian White to have never been let go… well, you probably won’t get your wish but the sands are shifting on the blue line, according to Kevin Kurz and Brodie Brazil.
@brodiebrazilCSN: “Pretty sure #sjsharks will not dress 7 d based on how long Colin White was on the ice after practice.”
@KKurzCSN: “White and McLaren skated long today, so looks like they are scratches. As far as D pairs, look for 22-44, 88-61 and 2-60 if I had to guess.”
88 and 61? Burns and Braun? Even if it isn’t that pair, the team is short a DD without White, since Murray is out. This could get very interesting.
Why is it cool to boo Dany Heatley? I get why Sens fans do it. To the best of their knowledge, he dissed them. But the rest of us? San Jose? What did he do to us? Lots of rinks around the NHL boo Dany Heatley, for reasons hard to discern. I’ve asked, but the reasons people give me (people other than Sens fans) don’t hold water anymore, if they ever did.
As far as I can tell, it’s just trendy, people don’t ask why. Most of those rinks never had him on their team. I think San Jose should have a reason to boo him, not just do it like a jerk reflex.
He cost the Sharks a lot, not only in cap space. The Sharks traded Milan Michalek for him:
Still, few Sharks fans in the Bay Area shed many tears when he was shipped to Ottawa along with Jonathan Cheechoo for Dany Heatley, then thought to be the player that would put the Sharks over the top. -Sharks Talk
Fans were sorry to see Cheechoo go, and regretted losing Michalek as well. Heatley had a big burden of sentiment and sense to shoulder. He didn’t put the Sharks over the top. He didn’t win a cup for us, and all these years later, Michalek is burning up the scoring charts. Boo who?
Shame isn’t helpful. It makes you stop when you should go. It makes you afraid to go out, horrified you ever did, fat and old and badly dressed as you are. What were you thinking? Just parading around in public with those wrinkles? That hair? Shame makes you old, your teeth yellow, your skin blotchy and horrible overnight, even if you were a reasonably unremarkable-looking person the day before. As shame starts to fade, you might develop a deep resentment for the person who made you feel shame, even if it’s yourself.
I don’t think the Sharks were feeling fat or ugly Sunday. I even doubt they felt shame. Successful people don’t waste their energy or time on shame. They may feel remorse, promise to do better next time, or to never do that again, but they don’t sit on the floor of the bathroom, chewing on a sleeve, afraid to go out and be seen, paralyzed by shame. Cat-o-nine-tails? Some fans might hope. No, not that either.
Tonight the Sharks play the Florida Panthers. This is not an opponent they see often, and not one that has been noticed much by anyone, in a long time, until recently.
What’s funny about the Panthers’ goal sound, you know that growl or scream or whatever, is that panthers don’t make any sound unless they want to warn you away. So that sound isn’t really very scary. What’s scary is when you don’t hear anything at all, unless it’s a rustling in the leaves over your head before the panther drops out of the tree. What is scary about a panther is that you don’t hear him. This could very well be the strategy that the Florida Panthers have been using to spread their strain of cat scratch fever through the NHL.
Several have lots of hair. Not flowing locks, but certainly thick manes covering their necks. Hold on, panthers don’t have manes, they’re supposed to be sleek. Oh well, the Panthers are defying a lot of expectations lately. Who are these guys? Many names you know but not familiar together. It’s like watching an episode of The Love Boat: you know the faces but the costume is all wrong.
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