Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

One (?) singular sensation

Tonight the Sharks face the Ottawa Senators for the one and only time this season.  Ottawa’s team has been, yes, I know, this is bad… sensational.  But they have been.  Merriam Webster defines sensational as “exceedingly or unexpectedly excellent or great.”  With so many players who are either oft injured, old or very young, the team was not expected to do so well this season.  Here are some comments from back in October about the Sens’ prospects for this season:

In the final pre-season, we caught a glimpse of the future.

Plucky upstart roster squeaks win thanks to stellar goaltending.  You could have turned off the lights in the Gardens, and the combined gleaming grins of Sens management would have kept the building well-lit.  The win was a paint by numbers Picasso, nothing beautiful, but as close as possible to the real thing as could be expected from a squad of mostly rookies. -Sen Say, October 3

So what if it hasn’t been those rookies carrying the scoring?  Who expected Michalek’s resurgence, or Alfredsson’s renaissance?  Certainly not Sens fans.  Who saw Turris getting his act together so quickly?  No one who was watching him out here.  But here Sens fans are in January, and their team hasn’t fallen on its face yet.  This wasn’t even the plan, which was to rebuild:

All indications are the Senators remain committed to building through young assets and the draft, not trades for veteran players or the signing of aging UFA’s, and that is laudable, but when a competitive group gets a free shot, you know they’re going to take it.

And that’s what this season has turned into, a free shot at the post-season, and as the thinking goes, once you make the post season, anything can happen.  The Lightning had a free shot last season, and darn near made it to the finals… -Sen Say , Jan 17, 2012

So yeah, the Senators really are having a sensational season.  Another aspect to that word is a sense that this success is fleeting and superficial.  So they may not have a great season in 2012-13.  Who can really predict that a team will be better next season than this?  All the Sens need is this one for now, you can forget the rest.  Dah-dum dum,

How much of a problem will today’s Sens be for the Sharks?  Their goalie is either “stellar” or “pedestrian” depending on which blog you read, on which day.  In any case, I feel strongly that it is foolish to discount Mr. Anderson.  You never know when he’ll go all Neo on you and shut the door.

I don’t know if there was any shaking of fingers after the Chicago game, during which Clowe removed his cage and continued to play without it. He says he has had no concussion symptoms, but the cage was too much for him to play through:

“It was annoying me and we decided to just let it rest and heal,” said Clowe, who will not play Thursday night against Ottawa and could miss the next three games before the NHL All-Star break as well. -Working the Corners

“Annoying.”  Well, that doesn’t sound like much of a standoff, squabble or heated debate.  It certainly makes me wonder why visors and cages are such a problem for players to get used to.

I know, I know, it interferes with your field of vision, there’s that stupid special rule about throwing the first punch if you have one on, the further risk of fighting if you have to remove your helmet.  It’s annoying.  Yet younger players seem to get along fine with them, so it must be a function of being unused to it, which begs the question “at what point do you get used to playing injured?”  I’m not saying no one should, just that having an arm or hand or foot or other part that doesn’t go where you want it the way you are used to it going… well, that has to be annoying too, doesn’t it?

And yet so many players do not wear visors, hardly any it seems wear skate guards.  This makes no sense, not even by the “I’m not used to it” logic.  Get used to it, maybe you won’t have to get used to other annoyances later, with less warning.

I don’t mean I think Clowe should play with a cage on.  If his face needs that much protection probably not playing really is the best plan.  It just reminds me of that pet peeve.

It would appear that I get to go right to stage 4 of Desi-watch.  After just a couple of reports we are already at “omg it’s too soon he can’t possibly be okay get him off the ice!”  They say he has been cleared to play and he practiced yesterday.

So much good news I hardly know what to do with it.

Fear the Fin mentions that, since Desi is back, McLaren is out.  Maybe it is just an unfortunate sentence structure, but the way Taylor put it, it sounded as if McLaren being out is good news in itself.  Certainly Desi being back, once my nail-biting anxiety clears, is good news.  But I thought McLaren played well in the last game.  Surprisingly well, actually.  He got several chances, he took no penalties, he made a very good showing.  That’s good news too.  A little more depth is a great thing.

I hope to make it back in time to see tonight’s game in real time on Game Center.  I am in Philadelphia.  I guess I’m cheating on my team but it isn’t like I’ve run off with some total stranger team.  More about that on my non-Sharks blog if you are curious.

Go Sharks!

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+desjardins, frazer+mclaren, ottawa+senators, ryane+clowe, safety, visors

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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