Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

Don’t hurt yourself

The announcement said there were 16 thousand people there Saturday night to watch the Sharks preseason game against the Coyotes.  I thought that was a pretty good turnout. 

When people say “don’t hurt yourself,” they usually mean you are slacking off, not putting forward your best effort.  In the case of this preseason game, I would say there was some of that.  But it really is critical to not hurt yourself, so I couldn’t decide if it bothered me that a few players were just not themselves.  It’s still September, the team doesn’t need any more injuries.  Besides, in a game they will happen, like it or not.  For example: 

@PollakOnSharks:...linesman just took puck where nobody wants to get hit by a puck. He’s persevering, but in obvious discomfort.

Ugh.  So I’m not going to whine about players with nothing to gain from this game not seeming to over-extend themselves.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Most of the guys out there didn’t have that option, they had a lot to gain.  Others had it but didn’t use it.  Handzus, for example, did not hesitate to block shots or do what he does.  You know, when things got a little hairy in the defensive zone and I’d see he was there and think “oh, good, we’re fine.”  He may feel, in his elite fitness and training way of seeing things, that he has some catching up to do, and he’s doing it.  Though, again, I don’t really think blocking shots has any fitness value in itself.  I guess it’s just a reflex and instinct tuning thing.  Handzus knows what he’s doing, I’m not going to worry about him.

Petrecki made an interesting impression.  It drove me nuts that he failed to keep the puck in too many times.  I say “too many” because a lot of players failed to keep the puck in, but something about the rest of his game made me expect him to be better there too.  He did look impressive.  He looked very big, nimble and confident.  He was hard to push around, did some pushing of his own.  So letting the puck bounce by him and out of the zone just seemed inconsistent.  Yes, he didn’t get much scrimmage time with the group, he’s just been cleared to play.  I could blame Vlasic, since he too is just back and was Petrecki’s partner, but the stray pucks in question were not coming from Vlasic.  It just stuck out to me.

McCarthy displayed that je ne sais quoi (or je pense que je sais ce que c’est)  that makes me like him.  He always seems to have a plan, or at least an objective furiously pursued.  These plans often don’t pan out but it always looks like a good idea.  He couldn’t beat LaBarbera but he had chances, chances snatched on the fly and taken without hesitation. 

McGinn.  His plans seem less elaborate than McCarthy’s but he has that marvelous way of jumping into the thick of things and scattering players.  It’s uncanny, and is a useful thing for messing up someone else’s plans.  I don’t think the Mitchell-Handzus-McGinn line has quite gelled but it still looks like a good assortment pack.  I believe that trio will amount to something, given a little more time.

Special teams got a lot of practice in.  As David Pollak tweeted:

Now I get it. Sharks must want to test the new PK and players told to rack up minors. Vandermeer in for cross-checking at 4:44.

It sounded plausible.  The Sharks did rack them up, and the penalty kill seemed fine.  The Coyotes seemed to be on the same wavelength.  In the end they each managed six and a fighting major.

Both goalies saw a lot of shots and stopped almost all of them.  Sateri did well, and he wasn’t being over-coddled.  LaBarbera, I think, outdid himself.

I’m not sure where the fight fit in to this scheme.  Certainly it was the sort of game where someone wants to do something to shake off the frustration.  It was stifling, progress seemed out of reach.  But the fight between MacIntyre and Chipchura didn’t break loose the deadlock, on the ice.

Off the ice, it sent my brother into a rant.  I had forgotten that, being siblings, we might have similar reactions to fighting in hockey, but he is a lot bigger and louder than I am.  He demanded to know how the refs decide when to let players fight and when not to, and then when to end it.  I couldn’t explain that, though it crossed my mind that sometimes Leights signals the ref to end it.  Leights wasn’t there.

Seeing my brother get so upset about it, and then go hurtling off on a tangent about why you can’t let basketball players do that because… I thought maybe I am becoming jaded.  Maybe I have filed fighting among the things I cannot change.  I have, I still don’t like it, but I’m not so agitated about it anymore.

My brother also cleared something up for me about this rage for high-scoring games.  “People like to get up and cheer,”  he said.  Now that makes sense!  See, when you say “high scoring game” to me, I don’t assume there’s reason to cheer.  I didn’t realize people mean “my team scores a lot” when they say “high scoring game.”  Call me a pessimist, or too literal, but now I understand what they are talking about.

The only goal in the game was Ferriero’s.  Of all the guys looking for a spot on the team, he is the only one I wish Wilson would trade if he cannot fit him in with the big club this season.  He seems so completely ready to do something, somewhere.  He doesn’t need to go get more playing time in the AHL, he doesn’t need to sit on the bench here in SJ most of the season.  He should be put to good use, sooner than later.  I do usually want to keep everyone, but not if it means wasting them.  That isn’t fair.  It isn’t even logical.  You shouldn’t waste assets.  Use them or get something for them, don’t just let them gather dust.

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: benn+ferriero, coyotes, harri+sateri, jamie+mcginn, john+mccarthy, michal+handzus, nick+petrecki, preseason

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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