Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

The ides of March are come (and gone)

The Sharks earned two important points by beating Nashville, but it was a bigger win than two points indicates.  Nashville is a good team, a strong team, a major player these days:

Darin Stephens ‏ @SharksStats: “Entering last night: Nashville 29 wins when scoring first, 26 wins when leading after two periods (both 5th in NHL). #GoodWinByTheSharks”

Beating the Predators was a big deal.  The Sharks haven’t prevailed against anyone in that class for a while.

I think a lot of people associate the Ides of March with dreadful regicide, but really it’s just the middle of March.  Also, the fact that we think of Caesar’s murder as a tragedy on a grand scale and the wrong thing to do… well, hey, we weren’t there.  Neither was Shakespeare.  Maybe Julius Caesar was a jerk. 

For the Sharks, the 15th has come and gone and was not marked by a dagger to the heart, or back, or neck.  No, it was more like a time for settling debts, time to get all those shrieking monkeys off their backs.

Everybody wanted in on the action.  Havlat started strong and in a hurry to get something going.  I do not know what the dispute with Rinne was about.  Surely Rinne said something, right?  Those Finns are such troublemakers.  Couture was everywhere like Savoir Faire.  Moore was ubiquitous too.  It looks like Moore has (finally) been worked into the penalty kill.  He seemed very much at home there, with that short-handed rush and at least one clear that made me say “phew!”

This tweet caught my eye during the game:

@RoneFace: “Justin Braun: best player on the ice? #Sharks #SJSharks”

Best player on the ice?  Usually I want to say “yes, always!” but if I were to nitpick I could notice those shots from the blue line that got blocked and wound up going the other way in a hurry.  With Rinne in there, those shots might not be worth taking.  But if that’s the harshest criticism that comes to mind, it’s safe to ignore it. He wasn’t in a bad position to get back after he took those shots so my point certainly isn’t that he didn’t play very well.

Rather, his performance stood out less because the whole team was doing things right.  When Havlat said, during the intermission interview, that he felt like they were playing well and they just needed to keep doing the same things they were doing, I got worried.  I mean yes, they looked like they were dominating most of the play, but still, they were trailing.  That kind of confidence is exactly what I know they need to have but I’m just watching, I can worry.  Clowe showed more of that bold confidence in the shootout:

“I tried the forehand the last couple of times and when I went in on him, I was thinking backhand,” Clowe said. “I looked up and he was over on that side of the net, so I just kind of switched it up at the last minute and it worked.” -Mercury News

Not only did he change his mind at the last minute, but doing so didn’t throw him off.  That’s a sign of true confidence and that is really really good.

The win wasn’t as irrefutable as it could have been, it was another one-goal game and a shoot-out.  But I believe it was a turning point.  One game does not solve anything, the team is still only in 9th place in the West, and the Kings have a chance to strike back tonight.  Nevertheless, that win was a sign that the Sharks can do this.  I think a lot of folks were starting to have their doubts about that.

During the third period, I started to worry that the Sharks would not win.  If they didn’t, I thought, this wonderful game would not be remembered so much as wonderful but as another miserable loss.  The “nobody panic” comments would come: “we played well, we didn’t get the bounces, we just need to keep doing what we’re doing…”  I was so afraid that the effort would be blighted by a loss.

Apparently McLellan and Wilson were thinking the same thing after the game:

“...had Clowey not scored and they scored, we would have come in and felt so down yet have played the exact same game. That’s just how it works, such a fine line.”-Working the Corners

By the time the shootout came around I was very anxious.  As Clowe took the ice, I thought “if Clowe scores here, I will go out and adopt a dog to name after him.”  A few weeks back, someone was begging for someone to take her dog, and I had decided that would be fine, if it were renamed “Clowey.”  But she changed her mind and kept her dog.  So maybe that’s where that crazy promise came from.

I cannot afford another dog.  I complained of this on Twitter, and a kind soul sent me a link to a virtual dog adoption site.

I just have one question from last night’s game: what are the players looking at on the jumbotron?  There are no penalty replays. I guess there are some highlights, and random audience shots.  I would hate to think they are checking the out of town scoreboard during the game.  That would be distracting, and also that’s not usually on the jumbotron but off to the side.

The weather today is absolutely grim: dark and rainy and cold.  The Sharks and the Red Wings are all practicing at Sharks Ice, at the same time.  That should be interesting.  What a big bunch of NHL bodies there will be in the building.  Good thing it is such a large facility.

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: dominic+moore, ides+of+march, justin+braun, martin+havlat, ryane+clowe, todd+mclellan

Comments

Avatar

it was one game. It was one game against a team that is securely in the playoffs. What about the previous 12 games when the Sharks sucked? Its too bad all of your analogies and metaphors can help the Sharks put the puck in the net - or keep them out of theirs.

Posted by Julio Caesar from nocal on 03/16/12 at 05:24 PM ET

petshark's avatar

Yep, one game, one goal, a shootout win no less.  But since that’s the most they seemed able to accomplish in recent games against weaker teams, I see it as an improvement. 

As for metaphors and analogies helping them, wow, that would be something.  Heck, they wouldn’t have lost a game all season if that’s all it took.  I wonder how many points they would get for each “playing like crap” comment?

Posted by petshark from Nor Cal, and on Twitter @petshark47 on 03/16/12 at 05:52 PM ET

Matt Fry's avatar

I’m just relieved they won.  It was a little worrisome for awhile there.  The fact they beat a team that’s itching for home ice advantage in the playoffs probably is pretty encouraging for them.  Hopefully, this game was a turning point.  Sometimes, one game is all it takes to get some confidence back and play like the team they should be.  I’m hoping that with their playoff lives on the line, they’ll play more like a championship team during the last dozen games and throughout the playoffs. 

Their destiny is pretty much in their hands with games mostly against divisional opponents over the stretch.  I’m rooting for ‘em, no matter what.

Posted by Matt Fry from Winnipeg on 03/16/12 at 07:42 PM ET

petshark's avatar

Matt, I was relieved too. They have a lot of bad games behind them to overcome but you can only play the next one.

Posted by petshark from Nor Cal, and on Twitter @petshark47 on 03/16/12 at 09:23 PM ET

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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