Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

Lame Ducks and a case for five

Last night, Teemu Selanne scored his 66th career goal against the Sharks, in the 6th meeting this season.  That’s three sixes.  Lordy.

Jonas Hiller described the performance of the Ducks lately:

“Everybody is really motivated and we didn’t want to eliminate ourselves. We are still trying to play good hockey. We don’t want to just give up. That is what we did tonight, and that’s why we won.” -Sharks Talk

I thought that was interesting because lame ducks do not just give up, except on the long game.  Knowing you have nothing left to lose is liberating and often frees people to do things they wouldn’t have done were they considering the next stage.  But what the Ducks are doing it isn’t quite lame duck behavior.

In politics, so long as there is hope for future success, a person will refrain from doing what they want because they know someone will object.  Once the end is near they can do what they want.  In hockey, the Ducks should have been doing exactly the same thing they are doing now, only sooner.  So they are just spoilers, dogs in the manger.  There’s nothing commendable about that.  Selanne’s comments before the game said as much:

“The Sharks obviously need these points,” Selanne said. “It would be nice to not let them have those.” -Mercury News

They aren’t out to make anything, just to break other people’s toys.  So lame.

It was another one goal game.  Not only was the Ducks’ third goal an empty netter but it was not even a goal.  It was a made up figment of illiteracy.  It was also a perfect thing to deflect my anger about the Sharks losing.  What does it matter, if they lost by one or two?  Was it a close game?

“There weren’t a lot of momentum swings. It was pretty evenly played. You had a feeling whoever was going to get that next one was going to hold a real distinct advantage. There weren’t a lot of chances either way.” -Sharks Talk

Maybe all that is true, but it should not have been close at all.  Somehow that made it feel like a blowout.  Yes, the Ducks have that renewed short-timer energy, but the Sharks are supposed to need these wins.  It speaks volumes that the Sharks did not trounce, clobber, rout, completely demolish the Ducks.  The Ducks are just out there killing time, the Sharks are not supposed to be.

While Three did make itself known, in the absence of Douglas Murray, the Ducks’ three goals, and the third period being the whole game (aside from losing Murray earlier), I think Five is making a case for itself as a very significant number for the Sharks.

By losing last night, the Sharks dropped five places, from third to eighth in the conference.  They have five games left.  The Ducks won five games against them this season.  And there’s this:

Darin Stephens ‏ @SharksStats: “5th game this season in which the Sharks did not go on the penalty kill, but the first time this season they lost such a game.”

Then there’s the jersey number five, worn by Colin White, who has not played much lately but got a lot of attention when he did.  Is Five a friendly number?  The only other five is worn by Tommy Wingels.  If the Sharks could score five goals, that would make it an ally.  I think this would be a good plan. 

Oh yeah, and a win will bump the Sharks back up by five places in the standings.  I am liking Five more and more.

Tonight, the Coyotes will be playing for Team Three:

Brodie Brazil ‏ @brodiebrazilCSN: “#nhlcoyotes coming off 3 days rest and likely getting 3 players back tonight: Aucoin, Vrbata, Doan.”

The Coyotes are three points out of the Division lead.  The Sharks will probably be without Douglas Murray.  I mean really, whatever the injury is, it doesn’t sound like it could have gone away overnight.  Of course the team isn’t saying for sure.

The Sharks didn’t practice this morning, they had a meeting instead. So we can only guess that number 5 will be back in.

Brodie Brazil @brodiebrazilCSN: “Ok so I lied. #SJSharks have decided to practice, and heard most guys will be skating.”

A couple of games ago, I was listening to Dan Rusanowsky on the pregame radio broadcast.  He said that Pavelski was due a multi-point game since it had been a while.  Pavelski got it.  Is Marleau due now?  Does anyone remember when you could almost rely on Marleau to do impossible things like score two goals in the last minute of the game?  No?  Me neither.  I don’t like to bash anyone but Patty, you’re up.

That said, it is absolutely the wrong thing to expect or hope or believe that one player will save the team’s collective bacon.  Kevin Kurz described Niemi’s performance last night as “shaky at times.”  I didn’t notice that as much as I noticed several critical saves, even before he stopped Selanne on that breakaway.  Sure, Selanne was just out there killing time and laughing at the Sharks, but even so.  He did not score on Niemi.

Maybe Niemi isn’t likely to steal games for the team, but if no one else is snatching victories from thin air, why should Niemi take the heat?  After all, it is called stealing, which implies getting something that doesn’t belong to you.  Coyotes love stealing things, but that’s why they are usually so skinny: theft is an unreliable supply chain.

Unlike last night, the win has equal value to both teams.  I hope that the Sharks are ready for an opponent that actually cares about these points, one that will be entirely willing to beg, borrow or steal them.  The Sharks should be ready to do the same.  Are they?

This just in from Twitter:

Mark Emmons ‏ @markedwinemmons: “McLellan said Douglas Murray will not play. Colin White will be in the lineup tonight.”

There you have it.  Five is the magic number, people, FIVE. 

Go Sharks.

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: colin+white, douglas+murray, five, lame+duck, patrick+marleau, phoenix+coyotes, spoiler, superstition, three

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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