Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

Chill, it’s only September

Chicken Little checking in from Sharks Ice. 

The Czech word for the color orange is not the same as the word for orange the fruit.  I find that curious.  Similarly, I wonder how it is that I avoided ascribing any significance to Havlat wearing orange, then panicked when it did occur to me that it was odd, then took comfort in the news that the Sharks no-contact color is NOT orange, only to be flung back into a state of alarm by the news that Havlat is, in fact, not 100%.  Yet.  I guess orange doesn’t mean what I thought it did, and yet there it is, sitting right next to what I thought it was.  It’s not fair, it’s way too confusing.

As I ran back and forth thus headless, more than one person told me to chill, that there was no need to panic.  Intellectually, I know this.  Viscerally, I can’t stop freaking out.  It’s just too much information of the wrong kind.

Not only is Nitty expected to be out until who knows when, and Havlat still with the shoulder that I knew about and dismissed, but now Nemo with the minor surgery that we are simply not supposed to worry about because he’ll be back presently.  What the…? 

@PollakOnSharks: “Niemi update: Heeded advice not to ask where that cyst was. Goalie says he should be playing in a few days and regular season no worry.”

You don’t just go chopping up your goalie right as the season is about to start!  There could be infection!  There’s a wound!  And I respond very badly to being told not to worry.

So before I discovered that Havlat was fine, and then found out he wasn’t, in between there, I had cornered myself into the optimistic thought that if he starts playing a little late that will be a good thing for some of the other guys.  There are so very few spots for so very many players at Training Camp.  I don’t want too many of them sent off to Worcester.  I don’t have anything against Worcester, except that it’s on the wrong side of the country for my liking.  I want to see more of McGinn and McCarthy and Ferriero and Desjardins, out here in the west. 

I don’t expect to get everything I want, but I was taking comfort in the notion that more of them might hang around, if I have to wait to see Havlat at 100%.  Now I’m working my way back to that state of serenity, despite the fact that the team has released a host of prospects (Joe Antilla, Zach Bell, Trevor Cheek, Antoine Corbin, Charles Inglis, William Wrenn, Dylan Wruck, Scooter Vaughan), and still two more players are out with injuries (Tony Lucia and James Marcou). 

James Marcou.  I was so happy to see him on the roster with other rookies.  His concussion last season was no secret, mention of it predated the new Twitter rules, so just seeing him listed was good news.  Now that news has been taken away again.  Pushing that out of my thoughts…

To my untrained eye, Andrew Murray looked much stronger, sharper, faster on Thursday than he did on Wednesday.  At this rate, he could look entirely different by Monday, not that he needs to, just that the difference was that noticeable.

Winchester continues to impress.  He wasn’t billed as someone I expected to notice in no-contact play, but I did notice him.  I liked the way he put the puck where he wanted to put it, near or far, without haste or delay or fuss.  It wasn’t fancy, but I really like it when the puck goes bing-bang, landing right on another player’s stick.  I like efficient accuracy.  Who doesn’t?

Last off the ice were Mitchell, McCarthy, McGinn, Ferriero and Andrew Murray.  They hung back practicing shots.  Maybe they were also waiting for others to clear the gauntlet of fans. 

The East rink is more exposed in this regard than the South rink.  The players have to walk through the main lobby, the length of the Central rink, before they reach space closed to the public.  It isn’t so awful, there aren’t that many people yet.  Certainly no one has been tripped or tackled that I know of, though logistically that is more likely when they use the East rink than when they use the South. 

Fans are getting a little pushier, asking for photos and autographs before the practice even starts.  I’m sure there’s something in the practice viewing policy about that, but I understand.  They just want to beat the rush, they would rather have their photo taken with a dry hockey player than a sweaty one.  They have their nice fan gear on.  I get it.  I also want to say “tough shit, sit down and let them practice!”  But I don’t say that because that would be rude, and it isn’t my job.

I hung around to see if the rookie practice would be open, watched the CSN guys putting up the set for Friday’s slew of interviews, eventually made my way through those sets to the rink.  I’m sure black is necessary for some technical reason, but I find it interesting that we tend to enclose information in black boxes.  That’s what the sets looked like from the outside: giant black boxes.  Within those boxes, reporters and players record information.  I guess that went on this morning.

I was watching the rookies engage in drills that made my ankles hurt to watch (I have lousy ankles) when I learned about Havlat and Nemo and 12 weeks for Nitty.  I wanted to bang my head against my desk.  Fortunately, I had no desk.  Trying to focus on the drills, I couldn’t stop thinking about a shark with its fins cut off, turning round and round, slowly sinking to the bottom of the ocean.  I like the Sharks having two Finns, it is better to have two than none.

I was brought back from the drowning thoughts by a loud shot from the blue line.  I looked up to see a tall, serious-looking fellow do it again, and again.  He received a pass with a tap, sent it off with a whack, the goalie was there to stop it: thwackTap, whack, thwack, tap, whack, thwack.  I looked up the tall player after he finished shooting.  So that is Taylor Doherty.  I decide I like him, his having inadvertently saved me from drowning and all.

Also in that little reverie there was a goalie.  I couldn’t see his number, I don’t know who he was.  But he did stop those pucks, uncomplicated as the shots were.  The Sharks do have more goalies, their net is not empty.  This makes me feel a little less hysterical.  Telling me to calm down won’t work, but making a loud noise with a stick often will.

Get well soon, Finns and orange-clad Czech.  You will be missed even if the absence is very short, but I don’t think anyone will drown.  In fact, Todd McLellan says the team will do better than not drown:

“It’s unacceptable for a group such as ours to not commit and be all-in,” McLellan said. “We have a responsibility to each other, to our organization and to our fans to give everything we have every night.

“And if that means blocking a shot in Game 1 and having a lump on your foot for a while, you block the shot in Game 1 and you deal with the lump,” he continued. “That’s how it has to be.”

Well, I did sort of ask for a “Give me victory or…” speech.  That’ll do.

Filed in: | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+murray, antti+niemi, brad+winchester, chicken+little, fans, james+marcou, martin+havlat, sharks+ice, taylor+doherty, 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