Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

Out of time: Sharks @ Flames

I guess Couture had a talk with the puck ambassador.  It was as if the puck leaped in his direction, first chance it got, full of apologies for the rude behavior of its Edmonton kin.  This resulted in a very early lead for the Sharks.

Drew mentions that Galiardi “got comfortable” with his new team very quickly.  That reminds me that, in my histrionics about losing a young dragon when McGinn was traded, it took me a while to notice that Galiardi was also born in the Year of the Dragon. 

The thing I miss most while watching games on delay is the company of fellow fans online. I could go to a bar for real life company too, but then I would be watching it in real time which I don’t want to do since the Sharks won last time I watched with a healthy delay.

I’m not sure I will be able to keep up this not watching live thing. It is lonely.  I don’t know how I used to do it.

Randy and Drew mentioned how difficult it is to come up with superlatives to describe Thornton’s importance to the franchise.  They mention some stat he’s just behind Jagr in.  I think that is adequate, isn’t Jagr a living superlative?  Statistically he’s also a moving target.  That makes it more fun.

I can’t help but wonder if the Sharks aren’t in playoff mode in more ways than one.  They hardly ever share more than absolutely necessary about injuries but it seems like more than a coincidence that Vandermeer has been a scratch since he got hit in the face with that puck.

The Sharks are honored by a visit from the new and improved too many men standard, put in place just today.  It singles them out more than once, giving them a chance to show off their penalty kill.  Lucky them.

I have long suspected that Niemi might have a fearsome temper.  He always seem so contained.  I saw it in Edmonton, when he looked so enraged about being run over.  Someone on Twitter pointed out that he also got a little hot under the mask in Dallas.  I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not.  I think it is, I think that staying calm is overrated if you do it for too long.

And now Demers is down.  Well, it was some time ago because this isn’t live.  That is awful, more awful since it looks like his head.  I am gratified to see Glencross is gone for the game after doing that.  I don’t like the idea of hurting people but I have a vengeful streak.

As “natural” as that reaction may seem, it doesn’t accomplish anything.  Eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind and so forth.  So I was glad Glencross was tossed, even if part of me wanted to see him get worse.

One advantage to watching the game on delay is that you can skip ads.  I also feel less anxious about what is happening or will happen because it has already happened.  No idea what that is about.  Maybe it’s just the quiet in my brain, just me and the game to watch, no other games or other people’s thoughts chiming in.  It’s lonely but peaceful, like a desert island.

Seeing the replay of the hit on Demers, I think it could have been worse. I wouldn’t want it to happen to me, but at least Glencross wasn’t coming at speed, bringing a lot of weight and momentum to bear.

That’s why I want rules and laws to keep folks from harming people in the heat of the moment- I no longer want to see Glencross strapped to the guillotine.  If he’d already been executed, that would be regrettable.

The second period starts with one of those daunting long power plays.  They are daunting because it’s easy to take all that time for granted.  The Sharks don’t look sleepy or inattentive.

Just as I write that, almost two minutes into the power play, the Sharks do slow down and look confused.  Then I see Winchester out there.  Well, I guess with such a long power play, McLellan would have to be a little creative.  Still, Winchester?  He wouldn’t be my first choice for power play time.

Couture makes a couple of cat-like moves to keep the puck out of the net but 1) the Flames shouldn’t have had an odd-man rush during a Sharks power play, and 2) the Sharks spent the rest of the power play sort of flailing around.

This is not the way to play with a measly one goal lead and a five minute power play.

Not long after, the Flames prove my point by scoring.  Sigh.

More memorable than the five-minute power play was an earlier penalty kill, with Desjardins in the thick of a short-handed rush.  That was nice, and makes me wonder why sometimes the Sharks seem more aggressive on the penalty kill than on the power play.

Fans and players and coaches talk so much about playing a full 60 minutes.  It sounds straightforward but man it is hard.  It is hard to just meditate for five minutes, never mind an hour.  The brain is trickier than any puck, it has will and wile and does not want to stay where you put it.

The next Sharks power play started out better and didn’t fall apart until the last 30 seconds or so, when everyone seemed unable to handle passes.  They seemed to line out long enough to set Demers up for a good chance, but his stick broke.  Whatever had them rattled bled out of the power play and into a goal against.

The period ends with part of a power play for the Sharks, and the third begins with the rest of it.  After the way the last two went, I wonder how you refocus to do better on the next one.  Maybe it’s easier if you are trailing, which the Sharks are now.

Forgetfulness.  A selective memory is a much-praised skill in pro sports.  Again, not so simple.  You don’t want to forget everything.  Some errors need to be remembered and avoided, some of your opponent’s habits need to be kept in mind.  Add to this the importance they place on emotion and you really have a muddle of head games.

I’m sure Logan Couture struggles with these mental acrobatics as everyone does, but sometimes he seems immune.  He has a habit of storming in, almost impatient, moving so quickly, so effectively.  He makes it look so easy that you wonder “why didn’t you do that before?”

Which was how the tying goal looked to me.  One of those “all right, enough of this nonsense, put it in the damn net!” plays.

Why doesn’t he do that more?  Well, obviously it isn’t as easy as he makes it look, and it isn’t all him.  So many players have to be in just the right place at just the right time for it to go that way.

Desjardins is having a good game too.  The puck isn’t behaving for him but he keeps after it, doesn’t let it get away from him just because it bobbles, bounces off his pads, or jumps over his stick.

I love that Rusanowsky has an overcoat more than 20 years old.  That must be one high-quality coat.  I would like to see that coat.

Pavelski is not having a great game.  The puck does not love him tonight.

When I said the hit on Demers could have been worse, I didn’t mean “please show me a worse hit” on Galiardi.  That was horrible and ignored.  Then again, since Shanahan’s office is open for business again, maybe it will be addressed later.

Poor Galiardi.

So now the Sharks are supposed to be motivated by emotion but also stay composed.  I don’t know how anyone can say that’s easy.

The uncalled penalties come fast and furious, trips, punches, all manner of shit going uncalled.  The game seems to be getting out of control.

Wonderful.  Who can rein things in?  Who will bring order back?  To either team?

I’m glad to see Galiardi back out there… sort of.  I hate these guys playing through things.  It makes any injury worse.  That takes all the reassurance out of seeing them back on the ice during a game they got clobbered in.

The game drags relentlessly on in a tie.  I notice that I’m catching up with real time.  This is distressing.  My anxiety level rises the closer I get to real time.

That is just strange and wrong.  What does it matter if I watch it in real time, so long as I don’t know what is going to happen?  I’m not there, I have no control over what happens, at any time.  Some funky psychological stuff going on there.

The clock races on to the end of regulation.  I will certainly catch up now, unless I go do laundry or something.  Maybe I need to vacuum.  That sounds like a good idea.

There’s not enough time.

OT is already starting.  Oh hell.  This is stressful.  I had been getting over my anxiety about the Sharks playing 4 on 4 before the Edmonton game and then that fell apart.  This makes OT more distressing.

A good shift and some heart-breakingly close chances start things out for the Sharks.  These produce nothing.  Calgary responds with a good shift of their own but it still goes down to the last minute before a fairly straightforward glove save by Kiprusoff leads to a face off in the Flames’ zone. Pavelski wins it, gets it to Boyle at the blue line, only to have Boyle’s shot blocked.  It is not a wise decision from Boyle.  That little block results in a 2 on 1 rush for Calgary and a cruel ending for the Sharks.

Well, I guess I can watch live next time.  Clearly this little exercise didn’t help.  If this sport doesn’t kill me with a stroke, it will certainly strip me of my superstitions… won’t it?

Curtis Brown says some reassuring things on the post game, but confirms my thoughts on the hazards of a five-minute power play. I don’t like knowing bad things. If I know it, then the players and coaches should certainly have known it a long time ago and figured out how to deal with it.  Why haven’t they?

Now the Sharks come home.  This trip was better than the last one, with 4 of 8 points gathered.  Time to come home, Sharks.  Just come home.

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: calgary+flames, emotion, fan, logan+couture, superstition, time

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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