Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

No rumpus, no tricks

When talking about the Sharks and the Jets, I think you have to mention West Side Story, so I did. The Sharks @ Winnipeg was not a surprising game, unless you consider shut outs surprising.  The better ranked team won, there were no calamitous incidents, no very strange penalties.  The Sharks don’t have very many shut outs this season, so another does add some needed sparkle to their 2011-12 record.  That record is looking better and better, as Jamie Baker points out:

@Bakes_Jamie13: “Sharks have only lost 1 game in regulation since Dec 14 - it was on boxing day against Anaheim. in last 14, Sharks are 9-1-4. #KeepErGoin”

One thing they are keeping going is their NHL shots per game lead:

@SharksStats: “Elias Says: Sharks have had 35+ shots in each of their last 11 games. Longest streak since ‘83-84, when Flyers had 35+ shots in 12 straight.”

I know, they always shoot a lot but it is neat to break long-standing records.  The fact that the Flyers hold that record now does make it more interesting to me but I won’t mind if the Sharks break it.

The Sharks and the Jets do not have much of a rivalry, and to see any history between the teams you have to think of the Sharks and the Thrashers, who didn’t play often enough to be rivals.  The Sharks did play the Jets in Winnipeg before, but none of these Sharks and none of these Jets had any part of that.

This lack of rivalry undermines the West Side Story comparisons.  Except for Byfuglien—a villain only in my little book of players who caused problems for “my” teams—there wasn’t much to get heated about in this year’s NHL remake.  Byf wasn’t playing anyway.  So that much was true: no rumpus, no tricks.

Speaking of rumpus or lack thereof, I wonder how much the cage bothered Clowe.  Did it cramp his style?  I would think it reassuring to know you could bang your face against the boards as much as you like and not even have to close your eyes, if that was something you liked doing.  But having to not do things you are used to doing, like challenge others to engage in fisticuffs, that could be distracting… if that was something you liked doing.  Certainly a cage is harder to forget about than a visor.  I’m sure Mike Richards wouldn’t have made that mistake had he been wearing a cage.

The game in Winnipeg was a fast one.  Maybe that was because I watched it on a new tv with a bigger screen.  Or maybe it was the Jets, since we know the Sharks do not opt to play a speed game.  Maybe it was the ice, described here by Jason Demers:

“The boards are great, the ice is great, I like it a lot. It’s a lot different than California ice,” he said. “It’s a lot harder. It’s fast, really fast.” -Working the Corners

The Sharks weren’t phased.  What I liked most about the game was that the Sharks were not tripped up by that old familiar, the lower-ranked opponent.  They played the full game like they had their own game to play, regardless of what the other team brought to the party.

Another post-game comment I liked came from The Sharks’ onlyplayergoingtotheAllStarGame, Logan Couture:

“We were telling him to do that more often,” Couture said of Burns jumping into the play at full throttle. “When he gets going like that, he’s flying up the wall. Not too many (defensemen) can skate with him and pivot with him.” -Mercury News

So, was Burns feeling shy about jumping in before?  Maybe felt he overdid it at the beginning of the season?  It’s true, of course, Burns can be very hard to corral when he gets going.  Also true, getting down behind the net so he could make the pass to Couture for that goal was very impressive.

Couture’s remark was like a fast-growing seed that could sprout into a more involved narrative: one player hesitating to do something he is good at, the rest of the team enthusiastically encouraging him.  Obviously you don’t want Burns galloping off without notice, abandoning his post on defense, but so long as the team is ready for it they can cover for him.  He can do his thang.

Logan Couture was a good choice for the All Star Game.  He does deserve it, and he is young so the added travel and playing time isn’t such a problem as it might be.  I’m sure he’ll be a fine ambassador for the team.

Darin Stephens tweeted this stat about Couture today:

@SharksStats: “Logan Couture has 55 career goals, yet has failed to score against only 3 teams: CAR, NJ & TOR. He’s played a combined 6 games against them.”

I think that’s kind of impressive.  Couture clearly hasn’t shown a strong preference for any particular opponent.  I think it’s reasonable to expect those three teams are on his To Do list.  He’ll have a chance to make some progress on February 17th and 24th, when the Sharks play Carolina and Toronto respectively.  New Jersey will have to wait until next season.

And we will have to wait until tomorrow to see if the Sharks will break that 1983-84 record for lots o’ shots.

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: brent+burns, logan+couture, nhl+all+star, ryane+clowe, winnipeg+jets

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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