Petshark: Talking Stick
Four goals for the Sharks’ fourth win in a row, half-played without a fourth line.
It isn’t right to start by talking about the 4th line. The correct thing to do, I know, is say how the top lines were awesome and scored and the Sharks won. Yes, all that. And Nemo, lots of good things he did. He was unflappable as he often is. Well done. Yay top guys we expect so much from and hardly ever properly appreciate for doing amazing things like being super fast and crazy clever. They can be difference makers in the playoffs, but only if they get proper support, and I don’t mean applause or a meticulous laundry service. I mean effective play from the lower lines.
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.
There’s a story about two joggers being chased by a bear. One stops to tie his shoes and the other asks “why are you doing that? You can’t outrun a bear.” The first replies “I don’t have to run outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you.” The same goes for winning a game. You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be better than the other guy.
I thought the Sharks game in Boston was their best of the season, but I use strange metrics. They had some messy meltdowns, but as a whole their game was more resilient and aggressive. Niemi looked miles better, until the third period. His own error behind the net resulted in the first goal that broke his shutout. The second Bruins goal was a cruel one. The Sharks, make that Boyle and Murray in particular, got tangled up and left their goalie all on his own while he was still trying to get over the first big failure. Not fair, that is no way to support your goalie in his time of need. Even after all that, Niemi still finished the game looking quicker than he did in New Jersey.
This morning, Pollak reported that Joe Thornton was clean-shaven for the early skate. It just so happens that, in trying to make sense of this nascent season, I had been rereading my entries from this week last year, and on October 21, 2010 I mentioned that the Sharks all looked very nice clean-shaven. They have not gotten so furry as the did during the 2010 early bad patch, but it made me say huh anyway. After Pavelski scored his tying goal, I noticed that his hair is very short now. Unless he shaved his head some weeks ago, he probably had it trimmed in the last week or so.
Little things like that, aside from providing fodder for obsessive observers, do actually have some significance. It’s like cleaning up your house, trimming things down, simplification. These are the easy things you can do to get your head in order. Snip snip, scrape scrape, and you feel like a new person. There is more to do, but you are probably better prepared to do it.
When I first saw that Benn Ferriero had been called up for the Sharks’ road trip, I worried that this meant Martin Havlat’s visit to the doctor had not gone well. After all, Ferriero was the Havlat placeholder for the majority of training camp. It might be safe to say he wasn’t used anywhere else but with Couture and Clowe on the second line.
Of course it is a relief to discover that Havlat will in fact be starting, that the trip to Cleveland went very well. Yay! Granted, there is no way he can live up to the hype this wait has generated but yay anyway.
So what the heck was Ferriero doing with the team yesterday, and, according to Kevin Kurz, practicing on the 4th line? Ferriero ended up on the 3rd line, but why would they even try him on the 4th? Once I start to worry a subject, I have to worry it to death.
Despite the fact that the above message is usually accompanied by instructions for a very simple solution (“please refresh your browser”), droves of Zynga game players feel impatience and even rage when they see that. It means that the game is probably loading slowly to begin with because the programmers made some change or another, and simply clicking “refresh” will mean more waiting and may not even solve the problem.
So when I thought the Sharks seem just a little out of sync, it was with mixed emotions. You don’t know really how long it will take to get everyone moving in harmony, even if you know that this is all that’s needed. The pieces are there, they just need to be pulled together.
Turn the page. Turn it around. Turn up the volume. Okay, not sure how that last one works but I think it is time for the Sharks to take a turn for the better. Yes yes, they did win one already but that was ages ago. We’re ready for another.
The odds of losing three in a row are not a lot better than the odds of winning three in a row. I guess you could say three’s a charm. The Ducks already won three in a row, has to be harder to win four, right?
The odds of the Sharks starting two seasons in a row by winning one and losing three in a row have to be very long.
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Tags: anaheim+ducks, andrew+desjardins, andrew+murray, antti+niemi, jamie+mcginn, martin+havlat, silly+prediction+methods, tommy+wingels, torrey+mitchell
I tune in a little late and then start writing because if the Sharks lose I hate writing about it, better to start before it happens. I see the lineups flash across the screen.
Wow, I did not see that coming, 7D and no Wingels. Mitchell on the second line I didn’t think about but I can see how that’s an option. Andrew Murray up on the the third line. Well, he has been very steady.
Andrew Murray gets smushed, Clowe takes issue with that. Randy says we would like to get the power play but you also like to see Clowe standing up for his teammate. Hm. I’ll take the power play for 2, Randy. Oh well.
People get hurt in all kinds of situations but it’s more likely when people are confused and scrambling. Last night, the Ducks’ Jason Blake was the unlucky party:
“It was a weird, freak play – the battle in the faceoff and I didn’t really know he fell right away. He was kind of behind me” Burns, continued: ” ...the puck was there and I was trying to kick the puck up and I think he was trying to get the puck. It was just a battle and I didn’t even know he was on the ground.” -David Pollak’s Twitter feed
All seem to agree that it was a freak accident, but one of the things that tends to happen when things are going badly is someone gets hurt.
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.
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