Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

Quicksand and Passing

I didn’t expect rain last night.  When I heard it coming down, I worried that I may have left things out. It was so unexpected that I couldn’t even remember what I needed to bring in, I didn’t know where to start battening down the hatches.

I think the Sharks had a similar experience in St. Louis.  Maybe they didn’t skate long enough in the morning to figure the ice out.  Maybe they didn’t practice hard enough to notice.  The result was a bunch of guys who all looked like they were skating with broken feet on dull skate blades.  Once they were in the game, it was too late to fix a problem of that magnitude.  Despite all that horrible bad luck and maybe a touch of poor preparation, the Sharks did some admirable things in this game. 

Most vivid in my memory is the two-minute 5 on 3 penalty kill that failed in the second period.  Even though it failed, it was remarkable that it happened at all (how often does a team get a 5 on 3 for a full two minutes?).  For ninety seconds, the three skaters who had to do the whole thing (of course, of course, how often do you get to change during a 5 on 3?) did a hell of a job. 

I don’t mention Niemi as much because the goalie always has to do the whole penalty kill, so getting out is never an option for him.  But those three rounded numerals- 8, 88 and 3- did a magnificent job hanging in there as long as they did. I thought so anyway.

I won’t go into whether or not I thought they were legitimate calls, except to say shit happens.  Ryane Clowe didn’t want to comment, but he couldn’t help himself:

“I’m not sure about those calls. I don’t want to really comment, but it seems like repeat offenders when it comes to referees.” -Mercury News

This is why we love Clowe interviews.

What about those failed power plays?  Yes, those were opportunities that got away.  But I think I know why the Blues have been so successful at home lately.  I haven’t watched many of their games but I wonder if many teams come in and fall down a lot, unexpectedly.  I have never seen the like from the Sharks.  Even shellfish poisoning wouldn’t present like that.  So, they didn’t score on the power play?  I was happy they didn’t let the Blues score except 5 on 3.

I don’t have any legitimate reason for using the title I chose.  I don’t think this game had anything in common with those Nella Larsen novels, once published together under that title and now sitting over there on the shelf.  I guess if I really tried I could come up with several thousand words about seeking your identity through extended travel, or underestimating the forces allied against you, or becoming your own worst enemy.  Or there may be something in there about playing the Blues.

The Sharks did look like they were trying to skate through some kind of sand, which hurt their passing… and their ability to carry or shoot or do anything at all with the puck.  The skating problems sucked the rest of their game down the way quicksand might.

When I made the comment about falling down for no reason? I was kidding, kidding already!  Besides, that was last week’s episode.

Kevin Kurz fielded a question about the Sharks’ blue line in this morning’s mailbag.  In addition to saying he thinks Vandermeer will continue to show up on the fourth line as needed, his assessment went as follows:

Your top four is obviously set with Dan Boyle/Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Brent Burns/Douglas Murray. Justin Braun is manning one of the points on the second power play unit, so he’s not coming out. That leaves Jason Demers as your sixth defenseman, and Colin White and Jim Vandermeer in the press box.  -Sharks Talk

That all sounds reasonable to me, I just don’t think it will happen that way.  Granted, the team has had long enough to miss Demers, to see a lot of White and Vandermeer.  I still expect McLellan will keep one of those more veteran defensemen on the third pairing, because he does that whenever possible.  Tear your hair out if it makes you feel better.  Or hope that, as usual, I’m wrong.

What about Mike Knuble?  His name came up in Kurz’s mailbag too.  Interesting as he may be to some Sharks fans, we probably won’t see him tonight:

@SWhyno: “Mike Knuble getting extra work after skate. Looks like he’s going to be healthy scratch for #Caps again vs. #SJSharks”

That will be the third game in a row.  Want to know what he’s saying?  You can follow him on Twitter @mikeknuble22.  (But no, he isn’t tweeting about being scratched.)

Next?  Word is: Greiss v Neuvirth tonight:

@SWhyno: With Vokoun (flu) ailing, looks like Neuvirth starts back-to-back days for #Caps for 1st time all season..

Place yer bets.  The Capitals have not been playing well at all.  They are struggling for a playoff spot.  Might they be hungry?  Do they have a chip on their shoulder?  Can they do anything about it?

They outshot the Jets 32-26 in three periods and got a key goal (this time two) in the third period…“We outshot a team, were 2-for-3 on the power play. We didn’t give up too many good chances against, so those are good things that we could take away.” -Capitals Watch, Washington Times

They still lost.  I wonder if most NHL teams say the same things?  But wait, that quote is days old.  The Capitals, like the Sharks, played yesterday too:

They surrendered too many odd-man rushes, hanging surprise starting goaltender Michal Neuvirth out to dry, and even giving up a short-handed goal in the third period to Brandon Prust. -Capitals Watch

Oh well.  That sounds awful but I have to keep in mind that the Sharks do stuff like that too sometimes.  Take away for fans? Anything can happen, even if the Capitals haven’t had much luck against the Sharks.

Go Sharks!

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: brent+burns, douglas+murray, jason+demers, jim+vandermeer, joe+pavelski, michal+neuvirth, mike+knuble, ryane+clowe, washington+capitals

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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