Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

Be careful what you wish for

Todd McLellan wanted a good start against the Predators, a good first period from the Sharks.  He got one.  I guess he phrased his wish incorrectly because the genie forgot to include a good finish with that good start.  Apparently McLellan isn’t as upset about Saturday’s loss as he was about Thursday’s win:

“... I thought we had a much better game, we just didn’t win. There was about a 10-minute lull in the third period where we weren’t our best. But, sometimes we don’t give enough credit to the other team… They were better for that 10 and 12 minutes, and we didn’t stop them.

“... The whole was better than it was two nights earlier.”  -Shark Talk

When the game ended, I felt the same way, and wasn’t sure why.  Maybe I was still drunk from the Flyers win earlier.  Or maybe it’s the surgeon’s logic: the operation was a success, but the patient died.

Those dern Preds are like a recurring nightmare for Sharks fans.  Maybe they wouldn’t be such a problem if they showed up more often in Sharks players’ nightmares.  I don’t want to talk or think about that game any more. 

Today the Sharks face the Kings.  The Kings have been getting better, and better.  This season I wish the Sharks were not playing them so often because conflicting loyalties traumatize me.  I don’t give a hoot about the Kings but I’m still a little upside down from recent changes in the Flyers which directly affect how I look at the Kings.  I really don’t want to root against Mike Richards.  I will do it, but I won’t like it.

Also, Simon Gagne still feels like a Flyer to me and I have this nagging suspicion that bad things happen to teams that lose him, while correspondingly good things happen to the teams that get him.  That’s nice for him but I really wish he wasn’t a King now, and playing with Mike Richards.  It’s too much psychic trauma.

Naturally, I had to get a ticket to the game.  Maybe I didn’t want to listen to anyone else narrate the drama unfolding on the ice in a way that doesn’t follow my peculiar hockey world view.

Enough about the other team and why this game will be such a mind-bender for me.  I’m not really worried about the Kings being a persistent problem for the Sharks.  When the Sharks want to beat them, they will, no matter who is on the team. 

No, the Sharks’ worst enemy is, as ever, themselves.  If they don’t slack off or lose focus or go stupid all o’sudden, they don’t have to worry so much about the other guys having a good period or suddenly pushing back or outworking them, because they will have built a cushion for such contingencies.

Like a 2 goal lead.  If the Sharks had pushed a little harder there in the 3rd…?  No, I don’t want to think about that.

There’s no formula for winning all the time.  All you can do is minimize the damage by not beating yourself.  By not taking anyone for granted even if it’s a team that loses all the time.  Remember the Oilers, and I mean last season’s Oilers and the ones the season before that?  I qualified that statement because this season’s Oilers are looking a little easier to lose to.  We’ll see.

@PollakOnSharks: “Truthful Clowe on whether #SJSharks see LAK as biggest division challenge: “It looks like every team is going to give us a run right now.”“

I like that, as long as it’s a mindset and not a prediction.  Take nothing and no one for granted.

McLellan used line combinations in the Preds game that we hadn’t seen in theory or practice before the Pens game.  Moving Couture to the 1st line, Marleau to the 2nd line and Havlat to the 3rd looked kind of hasty when it happened in the Pens game.  It worked, it even worked well against the Preds.  However it came about, as an epiphany or a long-researched plan, it seems to be an option McLellan likes.  Don’t expect to see it exclusively.  Unless I’m mistaken, the old order (12-19-8, 29-39-9, 64-26-17) and the new (39-19-8, 17-12-29, 64-26-9) both turned up at practice Sunday.  I like that a lot (so much so that I may have imagined it) because it smells like concrete options the team can engage on the fly.  Who doesn’t like those?

I’ve been nagging the genie to tell me what was up with Ferriero, especially when he wasn’t on the ice Sunday morning.  He was, not surprisingly, sent back to Worcester.  That isn’t the answer I wanted.  His comings and goings may not seem earth shattering but to me they remain indicative of other conditions, like a weather vane.  When everything was going to crap, they called him up because he could help.  That they stopped short of keeping him I take as a sign that the team has a little more confidence in the players now in SJ.

Or maybe other things that might have happened could not be made to happen in a satisfactory way.  Instead of being an answer to the question of Obiwan Benn Ferriero, the matter has been put on the back burner.  I guess I should have asked the genie for a more conclusive answer, not just any answer.

Finally, I wished for a more reliable, proven backup goalie for the team.  I don’t know if Greiss has proven himself in a way that will encourage McLellan to start him more, but he has certainly shown that he is reliable.  The bloody-minded short-term gain side of me wants to see Greiss start more now.  Right now, he’s sharper than Niemi is.  The patient “no player left behind” part of me knows that Niemi needs more time:

...It seems as though McLellan will stick with him for now, with the hope that he improves with more action.

“He’s still working his way into the season. So, we know he’s going to get better,” he said. -Shark Talk

Niemi took a while to get going last season, started this season late to boot.  Maybe it would be better to get him going now than later.  Besides, Greiss has been steady, starting or backing up.  Maybe he would benefit from more play but so far he hasn’t looked rusty or out of sync.

I want to see Niemi playing at his best as much as anyone does.  I hope it doesn’t take him long to get there.  Wouldn’t want to wear him out getting him ready. I still think Greiss deserves more starts.

So they have the backup I wanted them to have.  I should have asked to see him play as much as he deserves to.  Damn genies.

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: antti+niemi, benn+ferriero, la+kings, mike+richards, ryane+clowe, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, thomas+greiss, todd+mclellan


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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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