Petshark: Talking Stick
by petshark on 03/03/12 at 08:10 PM ET
When I arrived at practice this morning, the first thing I looked for was Douglas Murray’s expression. He was smiling again. Sure, maybe someone had just said something funny to him but I thought it was too much of a coincidence that, during the last two practices, he has been smiling a whole lot. I compare this to the tail end of his last recovery: he did not smile, he very clearly expressed frustration until the day he was cleared to play. He doesn’t like not playing and he is not very good at hiding it. Predictably, there’s a veritable glow about him when he knows he will be able to play.
I wonder if having a lousy poker face is a problem for Douglas Murray. I guess it doesn’t much matter, during a game, if you can gauge his mood. What are you going to do about it?
Murray is ready to play (no matter what Woodcroft says, come ON, the guy’s wearing a flashing neon “Good to go!” sign), Couture is probably back, all kinds of good news coming in. If that’s not enough to chase your blues away, what will it take?
I haven’t seen any lines published today, and I arrived a little late to catch them. This is what I saw yesterday: 29-19-57, 34-8-12, 18-17-37, 10-2-26. This morning’s skate threw all of that into doubt though. Along with Winnick and Couture and Clowe, Handzus and Mitchell were wearing white. So maybe they got bumped up. Wingels was in teal.
Desi and Ferriero were left out of yesterday’s line rushes and were the last skaters to leave the ice today. So they’re out I guess.
Havlat skated with the team for the third practice in a row, or I think it’s the third. In any case, it doesn’t appear that the work has set him back.
Thus far I have respected the Sharks’ Head Coach’s desire to not be the focus of attention, but I feel like I should be able to say something. He is the coach.
McLellan gave a statement today to balance out yesterday’s deafening silence on his condition. Yesterday, he was on the ice for about 40 minutes of practice, today he was not on the ice.
He hopes to return to his usual duties soon. Obviously he can’t say how soon. Tom Renney resumed his duties for good and for real 18 days after his February 6 concussion. He coached a couple of games during that time but wasn’t actually ready to go. We could use that as a measuring stick for a good result (Renney is back) and maybe an extra long recovery (he tried to coach too soon). Let’s hope McLellan gets away with less than 18 days of feeling crappy.
After McLellan left yesterday, some players worked on special teams with Woodcroft. Havlat got to work on the power play with Braun, Galiardi, Moore & Murray as a penalty killing unit. The rest of that power play unit was Desjardins, Wingels, Zus & Winnick. Maybe Galiardi took turns on both the pp and the pk. It got hard to track them with no color coding. Anyway, these were not the obvious special teams. Clearly this was a chance to get the new guys up to speed.
Good plan, I thought.
Tonight the Sharks will try to beat the Blues for once this season. In three losses, they’ve been beaten by uncommon goaltending, a strong defensive system, and at least one game of unremitting awful from themselves. Some say the Sharks are having trouble feeling the urgency they need at this time of the season, in their place in the standings. I don’t know if one game can make all the difference but since the Blues have won three and this is the last meeting between the teams, maybe it will stand out as a “must win.”
While the Blues were practicing, I noticed Scott Nichol working on faceoffs. I also noticed him doing a lot of talking and gesturing between draws. I had the distinct impression that he was giving his opponent-teammates advice. Wonderful.
Huskins is back. I think it is important to keep an eye on him. He didn’t get a lot of respect from Sharks fans but just before he broke his ankle this season, he helped fell the Sharks and my other team by scoring two goals in the space of a week. He was on track to embarrass his past scoring highs, for someone else’s team. Aw, Husky, why you gotta be like that?
Oh well. To borrow from something Willie Nelson once said: there are no ex-Sharks, just more Sharks. I can’t be bitter.
It’s unlikely that the Blues will allow many goals or chances, but the Sharks will only need one more than they give up. Just one goal. This is what they expect, right? For better or worse, they don’t expect more room than that in this last stretch.
Allrighty then, go get that goal, Sharks. It’s just a shot away.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org