Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

Sharks here and there

Where are the Sharks?  Of course they are in Calgary, about to play a game.

But where do they stand now, with camp all wrapped up?  It might have something to do with where they have been.  I asked several players over the course of the week about the pros and cons of playing overseas during the lockout.  There seems to be a consensus from observers, myself included, that those who did play are in a better position to start, even if those who did not play might be better off in a couple of months.  Fitness wasn't exactly what I was asking about, and I got several interesting answers that addressed the mental aspect of playing overseas.

Earlier in the week, I had asked Jason Demers and Justin Braun about how they made the transition to the Finnish game, a somewhat different question from making the adjustment back.  Here's what I asked other players later in the week, and what they told me.

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  Tags: antti+niemi, douglas+murray, joe+pavelski, michal+handzus

The glass wall

The names of the players on the mostly final Sharks roster are out there by now. By association, the names of the players who were sent back down are also known to Sharks fans: John McCarthy, Bracken Kearns, Matt Pelech, and Matt Tennyson.  The Worcester Sharks are playing right now. Listen in here.

Yesterday a Worcester player was sent down to the ECHL: Sacha Guimond.  He had been called up from the Bulls, but due to a recent trade involving the Bulls captain Justin Bowers and the rights to Guimond, the young defenseman won't be coming back to San Francisco.  Instead he's going to play with the Gwinnett Gladiators, to hone his skills and await another shot at the AHL. Because he was originally a Bulls prospect and not a Sharks prospect, he could in theory be called up by any team.  He was in Worcester on a PTO.

That has to be frustrating.  There you are, working away, trying to do a good job, feeling like you're part of the team, there's laughter and uniforms and a budding understand of how things work.  Busy busy busy you are, so busy you have no idea how you ended up wrapped around that stanchion.  You suppose it must somehow be your fault, you should have seen it coming, did someone push you there?   And where did that blood come from?  Is it pumping or merely seeping?

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  Tags: bracken+kearns, frazer+mclaren, james+sheppard, john+mccarthy, matt+pelech, matt+tennyson, nick+petrecki, sacha+guimond, sebastian+trudeau

Two scrimmages and finding Mash

I was in a city named Read.  There was a festival going on, something like a Dickens or Renaissance Fair.  The city had winding cobbled streets on steep hills.  I kept bumping into people from my Twitter feed.  Jewel Staite was singing an operetta on an open air stage.  A Dickensian play was being performed in an amphitheater, the cast mostly Sharks prospects.  There were silver beer steins in every hand.   I realized I was in costume too, everyone was.  We were literally players on a very big stage.  "As in: All the world's a...?" I thought.  That cliche overload might be what woke me up.

I think this means that I am ready for hockey season to start.  The immersion process has begun.

The Sharks scrimmaged today, no drills.  Irwin cemented his place as the front runner for a spot on the blue line by being paired again with Dan Boyle.  As far as I could tell, Petrecki and Tennyson were paired, making Pelech the odd man out.  Braun was with Murray again, and Vlasic with Stuart.

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  Tags: bracken+kearns, brandon+mashinter, todd+mclellan

Sad news from Sharks on the passing of George Gund III

George Gund III, the first owner of the San Jose Sharks, passed away this morning at the age of 75.  The Sharks sent out a press release that read, in part:

George Gund III will always have a special place in the hearts of Sharks fans for his role in bringing the team to San Jose," said the ownership group of Sharks Sports & Entertainment. "His love for the Sharks and the game of hockey cannot be captured in words. George was a trailblazer and he knew that NHL hockey could not only survive, but thrive in the Bay Area. The Sharks organization will always serve as a proud reminder of George's passion. He will be greatly missed and our condolences are with his family.

In his memory during the 2012-13 season, the Sharks will wear a helmet decal and, later, a jersey patch bearing his initials: GG III.

You can read the full release on the Sharks website.  Condolences to the family, and heartfelt thanks to Mr. Gund for bringing the NHL to the Bay Area to stay.

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  Tags: george+gund+iii

Sharks camp day two: “As quick as we start”

Can Sharks fans expect anything different from the mostly same Sharks as last season?  This is a question many have asked now, but to my mind it misses an important point.  This season is not last season, it would not be last season even if it were not an insanely compressed season.  This is now, that was then.  Even old habits do not manifest themselves in exactly the same way as they did yesterday.  The team is going into the unknown, without much time to prepare.  If I don't know where I'm going or what will happen there, I will always grab the old horse, the one I've known for years.

That old horse is right out in the field, I still throw a saddle on him whenever I have to ride without notice.  He is a fractious beast, headstrong and not terribly well-mannered, but I know him. I know a lot, he knows a lot, together I trust us to cope with whatever the unknown throws at us.  I cannot imagine why anyone would chose differently. 

I have seen some say that young teams will have the edge in this short race, but I don't buy it.  Go with what you know when heading into unknown territory.  Todd McLellan, without making the equine comparison, said the same thing:

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  Tags: james+sheppard, john+mccarthy, justin+bowers, justin+braun, matt+irwin, matt+tennyson, sacha+guimond

Training camp opens: it’ll be over before you know it

Are the Sharks ready?  Is anyone? 

I had to decide not to go to training camp today since I had plans to go with friends to a Bulls game.  It takes us months to find a date that works for all of us, so I don't have regrets there.  But I am cranky that the Sharks couldn't skate early enough for me to do both.  It irked me that Flyers and Red Wings had volunteered to do physicals yesterday, and as far as I know Sharks didn't.  My crankiness is no doubt amplified by eager impatience for this season to get going.

Dan Boyle explained that this eagerness is shared by the players.  They can't truly know if they are ready either:

I did the best that I could to stay in shape... as much as you try, I think you need to play games to get into game shape.  It may take a week or two but... Everybody's so excited to be playing, I think adrenaline will kick in and this was just such a miserable summer for everyone so we're all excited to be back on the ice.  It should be a pretty exciting start to the season.

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  Tags: bracken+kearns, dan+boyle, frazer+mclaren, james+sheppard, john+mccarthy, matt+irwin, matt+pelech, matt+tennyson, nick+petrecki, ryane+clowe, training+camp

Demers and Braun on Finland

Two Sharks defensemen went to play in Finland during the lockout.  Oddly, they both returned with hand injuries and probably won't be available to start the shortened season.   The only thing that would make it more odd would be if it was the same hand.  It isn't.  Jason Demers has a soft removable cast on his right hand, Justin Braun has a cast with a port hole for ultrasound therapy on his left.

Jason Demers played 30 games with Karpat Oulu, and then some more games with Canada's team in the Spengler Cup tournament.  His team won that, which made me think I need to work on how I ask questions.  When I commented that Switzerland was a nice way to wind up his time in Europe, he left out that whole winning thing:

To have Christmas and New Years with my family was icing on the cake for that trip.

Maybe you have to be a little more explicit when asking about beating your Captain's team for a title.  Obviously time with your family is important too, but.... WINNING!!!!  In all, Demers did have a very successful time abroad:

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  Tags: finland, hand+injury, jason+demers, justin+braun, sm-liiga, spengler+cup

The Bulls lose to Idaho and Guimond is on his way to Worcester

The Bulls fell to the Idaho Steelheads last night, 2-1.  The Bulls took an early lead, but Idaho outshot them through the game so it wasn't a terribly surprising outcome.   What was surprising was how composed the Bulls looked, despite the condition of their roster.

Tarasov and Tam have gone to Worcester, Crescenzi and Devane went back to Toronto, Viedensky is still injured... add to that, several players had flu symptoms.  They had every excuse to really fall apart.  Yet the game was a good, balanced, defensive game with neither team giving the other a lot of room.  Of the team's performance, Alternate Captain Scott Langdon said:

I think we had good possession in their end, I think we had a good forecheck.  Sometimes you just can't put the puck in the net for whatever reason... It'd be different if we spent the whole game in our own end but we didn't so we just have to move on to the next one. 

Sacha Guimond was loaned to Worcester today, so that leaves another hole in the Bulls defense.  That hole will be even bigger as Scott Langdon was suspended for last night's hit on Idaho's Mathieu Tousignant:

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  Tags: idaho+steelheads, sacha+guimond, scott+langdon, worcester+sharks

The game goes on: more to do in less time for Sharks

A couple of days ago we got news that Katie Moore, wife of Dominic, passed away.  I can't think of any words to make sense of this sorrow.  Dominic tweeted a few words yesterday:

@mooredom: I'd like to express our deep appreciation for the overwhelming care and sympathy we have received since my wife's passing on Monday. The example Katie displayed throughout her life and in particular during her illness is a source of continued strength and inspiration, as is the love and support of those around us. Donations can be made to the future Katie Moore Foundation at katiemoore.org

The outpouring of support and condolences has been recognized and appreciated, but I can't help thinking it is better that the family was able to go through the ordeal without any public attention.  I do think the hockey community gives people their space in such times, but on hearing the news I was reminded and glad of it.  In the case of such an awful loss, it is a good thing if the family can be together without distraction.  Healing thoughts to the family.

According to Doug Wilson, the Sharks don't anticipate many roster moves:

...with a 48-game season expected to begin Jan. 19, there's less time than usual for newcomers to become familiar with the Sharks' approach to the game and terminology used by the coaches. "We brought in 10 players a year ago," he said. "I wouldn't want to be bringing 10 players into a short and compressed season." -Mercury News

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  Tags: daniil+tarasov, john+mccarthy, jonathan+lessard, katie+moore, michael+wilson, mikael+tam, nick+petrecki, patrick+rissmiller, worcester+sharks

Unlocking the rosters: ECHL, AHL bracing for NHL training camps

It's a little like a combination lock being opened, the roster spinning that ECHL and AHL teams will have to do in the next week.  The CBA documentation may not be in order yet, but the roster shuffle has started in anticipation of NHL training camps opening this weekend.  The SF Bulls' Andrew Crescenzi and Jamie Devane will be heading back to Toronto tonight.  Who else will go?  Possibly one, or three more, according to this SF Weekly report.  Depends on whether or not the two from Toronto were counter there.

The Worcester Sharks of the AHL have  a lot of players out with injuries right now.  Off the top of my head: Tim Kennedy is likely to be out for some time.  Curt Gogol is still recovering from an ugly hit that resulted in a suspension many have deemed inadequate.  I didn't see it but I'll believe the reports.  Brandon Mashinter did not play in the last game, and a minor injury was mentioned.  Defenseman Sena Acolatse was also absent for the last game due to an injury.  Bracken Kearns, who did finish the game Sunday, was absent for a bit of that game getting his hand repaired after a fight.  So that could be not actually okay.  I know I missed someone in there, but the gist of it is that the Sharks' AHL team has all kinds of players missing right now.  NHL training camp can only shorten their bench.

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  Tags: andrew+crescenzi, brandon+mashinter, jamie+devane, john+mccarthy, matt+irwin, nick+petrecki, sena+acolatse, worcester+sharks

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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 talkingstick@petshark.net

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