Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

The forgotten funk

The Sharks have not forgotten that stretch of frustrating losses and uninspired play they called a funk.  They are not clear of it yet:

“We haven’t done anything yet,” Thornton said. “We’ve got six games left, and we’ve got to win some games just to get into the playoffs. It’s great getting all the way up to third, but we still have to keep going and working hard every night.” -Mercury News

When I wrote about the word “funk,” I didn’t really forget about another, fairly conspicuous definition of the word, but I did omit it, planning to bring it up again if the situation called for it.  I don’t know if now really is the time but just in case I don’t get another chance….

I didn’t know how Funk music got its name, but I imagined it was sort of the way the Blues got theirs: someone decided to make something beautiful out of a desperate situation.  It was that or throw in the towel.  It isn’t the best way to go about success, but if you’re down there in the stinky doldrums you might as well make the best of it. 

I was only sort of right.  Forgive me for citing wikipedia but my battery’s about to die and I have to hit the road.  Robert Farris Thompson postulated that:

funky has its semantic roots in the Kikongo word “lu-fuki”, which means “bad body odor”. He says: “Both jazzmen and Bakongo use funky and lu-fuki to praise persons for the integrity of their art, for having ‘worked out’ to achieve their aims ... This Kongo sign of exertion is identified with the irradiation of positive energy of a person. Hence ‘funk’ in American jazz parlance can mean earthiness, a return to fundamentals.” -Wiki

Sounds a lot better than my notion.  I like the mention of fundamentals and positive energy.  Those sound like useful tools for a team scrambling to make the playoffs, to win by hook or by crook or by any which way, even loose.  Though McLellan has said he doesn’t care how they win, just that they win, last night was a chance for them to make winning look well-planned:

All of those lines contributed to the scoring as the Sharks got two goals from Joe Pavelski, one each from Andrew Desjardins and Torrey Mitchell, and an empty-netter from Ryane Clowe. Goalie Antti Niemi made 31 saves in earning his 31st victory of the season, giving up a lone goal to Avalanche defenseman Shane O’Brien. -Mercury News

What a nice, balanced performance it was.  Even giving up a goal added to the symmetry.  It would not have been as elegant to have 32 saves in the 31st win.

I guess I will have to make peace with the number three.

Last night during the game against the Avalanche, this tweet came across my feed:

@Realdeal411: “San Jose could go from 9th to 3rd if they hold their lead. Making me look like an ass”

See, earlier in the day he’d posted a piece about which bubble teams he thought would make it.  The Sharks were not among them.  But can you blame him for thinking they wouldn’t be?  He is not alone. 

I guess you should not bet against the Sharks any more than you should bet on them.  Just consider them the wild card for betting purposes.

This morning’s practice was very busy.  Lots of drills to undermine a goalie’s self-confidence, with two on ones, three on twos.  I wonder if that was why Dan Boyle was double shifting in the drills with Murray and Vlasic, to help him undo some bad habits in this area.

I wonder if part of the reason Boyle bungled that odd man rush last night was because he wasn’t sure Havlat would be able to catch the man Boyle told him to catch?  One could be forgiven for not believing someone could be that fast.  Oh well, oops.

The only players absent today were Clowe, Havlat, Burns and Handzus.  For what it’s worth, Winchester and Ferriero filled in for Clowe and Havlat, while Galiardi took Handzus’ spot on the third line.  Marleau praticed with the Joes. As mentioned, Boyle filled in for Burns while also practicing in his usual spot.  White and Vandermeer practiced as a pair, as did Braun and Demers.

Someone played a prank on Demers, pasting a big white “F” on the back of his jersey.  I am sure Brodie Brazil is getting that story even now.

Everyone seemed in good spirits but not boisterous.  Good.  We all remember what happened the last time they played the Ducks after too much smiling.

That Couture was skating today is little comfort to me.  I am in full-blown paranoia mode about injuries to the Sharks.  Last night was quite a test in this regard.  Wingels, Vlasic, Couture, even McLellan all took turns trying to be injured again.  Did I forget anyone?  It was quite the smash’em up derby out there. I can’t believe none of them were injured.

Ray Ratto had some choice comments about what the Sharks are doing right now:

San Jose’s inconsistency has been a thing of exquisite beauty. They have turned the notion of playing to form into a minute-by-minute experience, and momentum into a hilarious joke. They are anything but trustworthy. -Sharks Talk

That’s what he sees, what he also says fans are thinking about in these end of season days.  I’ve doubted.  I have despaired, I have been angry.  While I agree Sharks fans are getting a rough ride here, I don’t believe we have to accuse the team of being untrustworthy.  If you do what you do and you do it all the time, even if it is a series of different things, well then, you are not inconsistent.  If you have never been consistent then to become so would be inconsistent.  I’m going to dwell on the “exquisite beauty” part.  I like that part.

Playoff hopes?  How are they doing?  Great, they are bouncing around the hospital room, can’t hardly keep them indoors.  But they’re still wearing hospital gowns so we know they aren’t ready to be discharged.  It all looks good, that’s all we can ask.

So play on, Sharks.  Do that funky thing you do.  Go roast some Ducks.

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: dan+boyle, joe+thornton, martin+havlat, ray+ratto

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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