Petshark: Talking Stick
The SF Bulls have won three of their last four games. They started the season with only two wins in their first ten. Of the eight after that, they've won four. I asked Pat Curcio what changed. He attributed the improvement partly to the fact that a new young team "takes some time to get accustomed." He also mentioned the latest round of roster moves:
"We wanted to be a young team, hard-working and ready to go to the next level. We made some moves that I thought were best for the team and so far so good."
Some comments floated around Twitter that echoed my own reaction to the high number of trades, releases and additions. On any given day there will be a good sized list of moves on the ECHL Transactions page. There are many factors at work here, and not only during a lockout. An ECHL team is limited to 20 active players and 2 on reserve, with an unlimited number on 21 day injured reserve. Any move will probably require a second. Curcio explained why the Bulls have made 14 moves in the last two weeks:
After their last meeting, there was reason to doubt the San Francisco Bulls' chances against the Ontario Reign. During the first 8 minutes, the Bulls didn't spend a lot of time outside their end of the ice. That turned out to be the case for most of the game. Thomas Heemskerk wasn't going to have an easy time of it in his second game in two nights. To his credit, he held up better than the rest of the team.
The first penalty was booed roundly before being announced, a tripping penalty against the Bulls' Clendenning. The Bulls killed that off and celebrated with a brief offensive rush, only to be pushed back again. The Bulls didn't give the Reign a lot of room to set up their offense, but they couldn't organize an attack of their own. Frantic passes off the glass went to opposing players, missed passes turned to icing.
With half of the first period gone, the Bulls only had one shot to the Reign's 7. The Reign scored two goals, just over 30 seconds apart. The Bulls took another penalty and killed it off but didn't manage to get another short until the second period.
The Worcester Sharks and the San Francisco Bulls both play today. Last weekend was great for Worcester. They won 2 of 3 and got the OT point in the loss. Sunday's nail-biter featured a 0-0 tie all the way into a shootout, against the Manchester Monarchs who currently sit well above Worcester in the AHL Conference standings. Stalock was in net for that one. All that has to be good for morale.
The SF Bulls wrapped up their long road trip in Ontario on Wednesday night with a 3-1 loss. It was not an easy road trip for them. They haven't won since their second road game in Bakersfield on October 19. Let's hope being home can restart the engine.
As has been reported, Ryane Clowe's agreement with the Bulls was made official and announced by the team. It isn't clear yet whether he will play. With more NHLers signing deals with ECHL teams this week (Setoguchi helped the Reign beat the Bulls on Wednesday), it would seem like a moot point. Of course Clowe should play, if he wants to. Or should he?
Despite lack of evident progress in major league negotiations, hockey goes on. Sure, we can expect the Winter Classic to be cancelled tomorrow, but that hardly qualifies as progress. It represents a big loss for the sport and the league, but I don't know who believed the NHL was going to get out of this lockout without taking heavy losses. Well, there was that one guy... Anyway, tough deal for Detroit and those Canadians who were looking forward to having a Canadian team in that game. The catch to those losses is that however much money some teams lost under the old CBA, they can apparently afford to lose more.
@PollakOnSharks: "So, @RattoCSN, if it isn't about the product (and not arguing), this more about egos or some sort of collective economic suicide mission?"
May they lose to their heart's content-- not my problem.
It isn't easy for NHL fans to transfer their enthusiasm to minor.. err, development league teams. There are statistics to tabulate and other impersonal ways of analyzing team performance, but most fans need to connect on some level with the players on the team. We like to know their names, recognize their faces, be familiar with their playing habits. If you explode the roster all over the planet, most people will have trouble feeling the same passion for a new team in a different league than they knew last season. As a two-teaming fan whose loyalties extend to affiliated minor league teams, it should not be a big leap for me.
I caught a wild kitten last week. The folks at the animal shelter said he is just a couple weeks too old to be tamed. I said what the heck, the Sharks are locked out, the Bulls are on the road, I'll give it a try anyway. As I sat there with the three pound feline cornered, petting his back gently, trying to make purring sounds, I wondered if I could find a parallel between this process and the NHL CBA negotiations. I got stuck on who is the tiny cat and who is the busy-body human.
Of course, neither side qualifies as a completely helpless, fearful little thing. And both sides understand what they need the other for. The kitten doesn't understand that making friends with people can double his life span and reduce stress dramatically. It is a poor comparison. Still, I will be keeping track of our relative progress, and I suspect my negotiations will end before the NHL's, even with the multi-year head start they have on me. Really, this is all stuff they should have been thinking about ever since the last time they did this. I concluded that the CBA negotiations are less like a rapprochement and more like two lions fighting over a kill. They are not concerned with making friends. Ironically, they aren't even that hungry.
Things are heating up. In Northern California, we can expect it to get really warm in the next few days, the Bulls won a game and something seems to be breaking loose in the NHL CBA talks. This tweet sums that last part up for me:
@TheFourthPeriod: Being told there's plenty of good traction tonight over CBA. Still a lot of work to be done, but this could move relatively quickly.
We'll see about that. In the mean time...
The San Francisco Bulls play the Ontario Reign at 7pm tonight. It's the team's third game ever, and their first road game. Ontario's NHL affiliate is the Los Angeles Kings. Ontario led the division at the end of last season but the playoffs weren't kind to them. Glancing over their roster I noticed a familiar name: Dan DaSilva, previously of the Worcester Sharks.
A little over year ago, news emerged that the San Francisco Bulls, a new ECHL team, would be taking up residence at The Cow Palace. How time flies. San Francisco's new hockey team has now held a dozen practices. They play their first regular season game tomorrow.
I asked Head Coach Pat Curcio if that seemed rushed:
"It didn't, until last Friday. When I looked at our lineup ... we have 13 rookies ... and we were playing a team with 12 veterans in their lineup. That was a little bit overwhelming... but the guys worked through it. Tomorrow night... Bakersfield's got at least a dozen guys that played there last year."
ECHL Rules limit the number of veterans on a team. But that doesn't mean ECHL teams are all made up of players in their first professional season. Obviously some, like Bakersfield and Colorado, do have many players that fall in between rookie status and the veteran cut off.
There's a theory that refusing to give voice to your dark thoughts is more productive than letting rants run riot. I'm going to try that. The NHL CBA negotiations are going nowhere, both sides look kind of stupid, childish and not the least concerned with whether or not we see any NHL hockey this season. That wasn't a rant, just a brief statement of fact. A more comprehensive discussion of the situation can be found here from Elliotte Friedman.
Here are some bits of info I've picked up about players and teams that matter in my hockey universe: Back on September 29th, Logan Couture's team beat Joe Thornton's now Rick Nashless team in Switzerland:
@Logancouture: Big win for @OfficialGSHC. Also bragging rights over the big guy!
Jason Demers is getting rave (or maybe just good) reviews in Finland. Really it's hard to get the details via Google Translate and I won't apologize for not speaking Finnish. I hear it is a very difficult language.
Filed in: hockey, , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
Tags: jason+demers, joe+thornton, logan+couture, nhl+cba, patrick+marleau, ryane+clowe, sf+bulls, srjc+polar+bears, tommy+wingels
I don’t like the word bitch. I don’t mind it as a verb meaning angry complaining, but the noun ain’t what it used to be. Once it meant a difficult, unyielding, demanding female, not unlike an angry protective mother dog should be. Some women liked that image, it had some power. More recently the word has been retasked as shorthand for an angry, impotent person who has no more standing than a toothless dog. It’s a lot like WhileTheMenWatch, a not so original, spayed version of women talking about things women don’t really want to talk about, like sports.
Back in March, I went to LA to see a Sharks game with two cousins and a woman I hadn’t met. She was an avid hockey fan, unlike my cousins. My cousins are men, they like sports, one even likes hockey but doesn’t follow the NHL. I know they are legit sports fans because I had to sit through football games with them. But they are not active NHL fans. Maybe they are at this particular moment but they were not back in March.
Oh, congrats ex-Flyers in LA. That’s as far as I can go.
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.”
Filed in: hockey, , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
Tags: cal+clutterbuck, dany+heatley, devin+setoguchi, high+school+hockey, jack+jablonski, jamie+mcginn, jenna+privette, joe+pavelski, logan+couture, minnesota+wild, ryane+clowe
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