Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

On the road again

I was surprised by how difficult it was to find a place to watch Sharks or Flyers games the first day I was here. I spoke to bartenders, hostesses, a hotel concierge and one bar-restaurant manager, and none could answer me the simple question: where can I watch a Sharks/Flyers game?

Answers I received:

-“We might show that if it’s on CBC and nothing else is on.  But I can’t promise anything.”

-“Right upstairs”, to which upstairs responded “what channel is it on? Oh, no, we only show Canadian teams.”  To which downstairs retorted “I used to work upstairs, I know they have a lot more hockey channels than we do down here.”

I did not go back upstairs to pursue this matter.

Sigh.  It isn’t that I expect every place with a tv on the wall to have every cable sports package there is.  I just expect them to know how to use the remote for the tv over the bar, to be in some kind of habit of finding things and generally knowing what cable package they have.

I began to wonder if maybe Canadians don’t ask bartenders to change the channel, because it’s rude?  Maybe they will sit there and watch indoor bicycle racing because that’s what the tv is tuned to, and miss the hockey game?  I had some difficulty believing that.  Besides, someone had to tune it to indoor bicycle racing in the first place, someone with special tastes because there’s just no way that’s on randomly.

The next day, I stepped outside my comfort zone and walked in the opposite direction from where the hotel told me to, past the Occupy folks, far far away from places like Tiffany’s.  I saw a silk elephant in a window, a pink and orange and white checkered elephant balancing on one foot on top of a golden ball, holding a Vuitton handbag. I guess it’s charmingly self-conscious to put a pink and orange and white checkered silk elephant on a gold ball to represent how utterly unnecessary your product is but that may be giving Vuitton too much credit. 

Far far away from that… all right, only about ten minutes away, I found sports bars and pubs where bartenders understood the term “Sports Bar” as I do.  Not everyone had Center Ice but they knew what it was and how to figure out if they would be showing the game I was asking after. 

It was like escaping from The Twilight Zone, or Oz or The Land of the Lost.  That could also be because the convention I’m attending has a whole lot in common with Best in Show, and that has nothing to do with where the convention takes place.

In the mean time, I had already purchased the NHL Gamecenter, because I couldn’t have my viewing interfered with by feuding bartenders.  So I did catch the Sharks game Thursday night.

I liked this quote from Vlasic:

@KKurzCSN: Vlasic:“I just think tonight the opportunities I took went in for me. They don’t always. I was fortunate to get many bounces my way.”

I am pretty sure I know why they went in on those opportunities for him. He took them.  As well as he’s played defensively this season, I don’t think I have ever seen him so aggressive on offense.  Pollak called him a “wild man.”  Indeed.  Pickles went nuts out there, in a good way.  Holy shamoly but he was everywhere. 

That change of routine would certainly catch the Red Wings off guard.  It had to be very frustrating for them.  Where was the shy boy who used to hang back, and never do anything but throw the puck around the boards?  I’ll bet Vlasic made Detroit’s day.

Who, or what, responsible this?  What has gotten into you, Mr. Vlasic?  This has not been answered to my satisfaction. 

Kevin Kurz wrote about how Niemi improved over this latest homestand.  I guess he has.  It’s hard to tell when the team plays well.  Not much for a goalie to do when the Sharks have the puck most of the time and make it hard for the other guys to do anything with it when they don’t.

Nemo did have some good saves Thursday.  Very tenacious and alert.  Just the kind of thing to make an opponent want to smash his stick over someone’s head crazy.  So that’s good.

What about Demers?  Will he get the same consideration that Nemo got?  Will McLellan keep him in there to see if he might warm out of it, whatever mental stiffness he’s suffering from?  Did McLellan give him a try with Vlasic in Thursday’s game, as he did with Braun earlier?  That would only be fair.  I thought I saw them together for the blink of an eye but that may have been mid-change or something. 

Is White having trouble adapting to the Sharks systems?  Is he not used to such changes, having been with one team his whole career before now?  That could be a possibility but in the 11 years he was with the Devils, he had like 12 different coaches.  So really, new systems should be familiar.  I’m not sure how much each coach changes a system but surely some of those had to do something other than imitate the guy who just got sent away, right?

Maybe.

Whatever the situation with White, Demers is still being outplayed by Braun.  He needs to fix that.  He needs to jump out of the muddle, remember how to play, forget whatever is clouding his brain and get back to work.

Speaking of work, last week Kurz also mentioned the fourth line and their improved performance ever since a meeting with McLellan.  In Thursday’s game they played around 10 min each, Winchester a little less, Murray and Desi a little more.  They certainly do seem very confident and helpful out there:

@PollakOnSharks:  “Not sure what is says when the 4th line spends more time in offensive zone than the other three for #SJSharks.”

Maybe McLellan should have some meetings with the other lines too.  The 2nd line might need some feedback.  No time like the present.

Go Sharks!

Filed in: hockey, , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+desjardins, andrew+murray, antti+niemi, brad+winchester, colin+white, jason+demers, marc-edouard+vlasic, todd+mclellan, travel

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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