Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

Entries with the tag: brent burns

Todd McLellan is a genius

McLellan is an outside-the-box-fearless genius for solving a problem with the pieces at hand instead of waiting for new ones. That declaration is contingent on him keeping Brent Burns at forward. Failure to continue doing so will trigger revocation of said genius status and an indefinite stay inside the box.

Loved Cranky showing off for his dissenters.  Seriously, all the way down and around the net, with a shot reversed through his legs?  Beautiful.  Makes me want to say something vulgar to the haters.

Back to that big fancy new forward Brent Burns. I've liked that idea more by the minute, but I think my liking is maxed out, I don't know if I can keep liking it more. It might give me an aneurysm or something.

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  Tags: andrew+desjardins, antti+niemi, brent+burns, douglas+murray, genius, jason+demers, logan+couture, los+angeles+kings, matt+irwin, ryane+clowe, todd+mclellan

The Sharks: Losing Mind Games

Winning breeds winning. The Sharks defense is "winning," their offense isn't.  It's easier to get your brain into a defensive or reactive mode when you lack confidence.  Being aggressive or creative requires confidence, or such a lack of it that you feel fear, like a cornered animal.   You don't want to be cornered.  The execution of a cornered animal is about as precise as a cannon with one broken wheel.  Fear, while it might make you go faster or be stronger, won't help with precision or missed passes.  You know the ones I mean, those passes that leave the stick about two seconds before the brain registers "Wait, he's not on my team..."

Ray Emery playing well is never depressing for me.  I was in the Emery Comeback Camp from the time I heard he was hoping to return from that hip surgery.  I couldn't believe he'd make it back, but I was impressed that he wanted to do it. So part of me is always rooting for Emery.  After the game, he was asked about the Sharks:

That's a great power play, those guys they put out there are a great group, so if we keep them off the board, it's a bonus.

Such a nice thing to say, even if it's not true.

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  Tags: antti+niemi, brent+burns, chicago+blackhawks, confidence, defense, jamie+mcginn, logan+couture, power+play, ray+emery

Every which way to lose

Holy flashbacks, Batman.  This is what Sharks fans mean when they say "these are the same old Sharks," when they start making suggestions like the ones described in this tweet:

@BroThornton: bring back irwin! trade marleau! go back to the cow palace!

It was the sort of game that leaves you speechless.  You could go rant somewhere about this or that mistake, but... where do you start?  Where does it end?  Beaten by Columbus 6-2?  It makes me tired just thinking about it.  I don't know if I've got a rant left in me to do it justice.  McLellan described that speechless, astonished feeling very well  post-game:

"It's a pretty simple league -- the team that works the hardest wins," a visibly intense McLellan began. His team, he added, was "outworked, out-executed, out-detailed, out-goaltended, out- a lot of things."

The team lost in every way they could.  In that respect, they succeeded with flying colors.

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  Tags: brent+burns, flashbacks, justin+braun, larry+robinson, todd+mclellan

Too familiar by half

The pre-game transaction news gave me more to think about than yesterday's game, and it wasn't unexpected news at all:  Burns activated, Irwin reassigned, Petrecki waived.  All this was bound to happen.  As for the game, I couldn't decide whether the Sharks were all playing with flu symptoms, or if Tippett's Coyotes and McLellan's Sharks are way too familiar with each other.

They say that familiarity breeds contempt.  Contempt seems like a waste of perfectly good scouting reports, but it might have been more entertaining than yesterday's stalemate.   The game felt lost even before the shootout started.

But that's crazy, if they are so familiar with each other, wouldn't they be able to anticipate each other's moves, and compensate accordingly?  Yep.  And if they were both doing that, I think it would look exactly the way it looked, like a choreographed, scoreless skate.

@SharksStats: Today was the 2nd 1-0 shootout loss in Sharks history. Nabokov was the losing goalie in the other instance, Oct. 12, 2009, also vs Phoenix.

There's that.

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  Tags: andrew+desjardins, brent+burns, douglas+murray, matt+irwin, nick+petrecki, penalty+kill, phoenix+coyotes, shut+out

Sharks practice: here a change, there a change

If Burns is practicing next to Stuart, what does that mean?  The other d-pairs were: Murray-Irwin, Boyle-Vlasic, and Demers-Braun.  So, a Stuart-Burns pair could mean something is going to be different tomorrow.  Take your choice: Murray and Irwin sit, or Demers and Braun sit, (I had to take a second to catch my breath after laughing at that one) or Brad Stuart isn't playing tomorrow.  That might also give you a chuckle unless you're like me and you always think people are injured, and you can't believe that Burns is ready to play yet:

‏@PollakOnSharks :Burns paired w/Stuart at #SJSharks practice today, McLellan says he's getting closer to starting. Sat vs. PHX? "That might be pushing it."

And no, Brent Burns has not shaved his beard as he told Brodie Brazil he would do.  He not only said that he'd shave before he played, but that he'd shave when he got close to playing.  I would say today is close to tomorrow, and still there he was all furry faced.

Boyle and Vlasic? Of course they will play, unless Boyle doesn't.  Hey, it was just practice.  Maybe no one will play where they practiced.

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  Tags: brad+stuart, brent+burns, dan+boyle, martin+havlat, patrick+marleau

Swim. The fall didn’t kill you

The Sharks eased into the end of that winning streak.  There was no sudden crash, though the Ducks game certainly came close.  The team went through a nice smooth arc: Win, WIN, WIN, Win, win, shootout win, shootout win... loss.  See how they kept getting closer to losing?  If you want to nitpick, I guess you could say they are due a regulation loss but there's no need to jump off that bridge yet.  We saw it coming, we had a sense of what the end would feel like, no shock here.

Considering how many lineup changes McLellan made, I thought the Sharks played pretty well against the Predators.  I think more players played better than in the last couple of games.  That doesn't always happen when you change three of four lines, two of three defense pairings, and add a couple guys to the lineup.  There were mistakes, but the most glaring were redeemed by their makers.

The Predators are not an easy team for the Sharks to play.  The Sharks like to be able to play, not scuffle endlessly in the corners and creep up and down the ice.  But they did pretty well.  If you put aside the stuff of nightmares that the non-goal from Martin Havlat was, the Sharks nearly won in regulation.  That isn't to say losing is okay, or that the Sharks didn't.  But the fact of that chance means that the team was not playing badly.  It was a dumb error, but that's all it was. It wasn't the game-defining event that it very well could have been.

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  Tags: brent+burns, jason+demers, marc-edouard+vlasic, martin+havlat, nashville+predators, scott+gomez

All good things

Jason Demers is ready to play. He took slapshots Tuesday and Wednesday, and spent some extra time working with both Larry Robinson and Jim Johnson after Tuesday's practice.  Wednesday, he was practicing with a power play unit.  That would argue for Demers being in sooner than later.  My guess is that sooner would be even sooner if Boyle is still out Thursday.  Today, Frazer McLaren was waived so the Sharks have made room for someone.  That's a one, not some two.

Brent Burns, just yesterday so glum, looked better today.  He did more drills with the team, he was taking longer strides, making more turns and stops.  He looks better than he did before camp. Suddenly, he looks not so far from good to go, but that would be sudden.  It's unreasonable to think one day would make such a difference.  But back to back days skating, and skating harder the second day is great news.  At least it indicates steady progress.

McLellan put some new lines to work this morning:

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  Tags: antti+niemi, brent+burns, dan+boyle, hasso+plattner, jason+demers

Pre-game notes, Ducks @ Sharks 1/29/13

The reports about Jason Demers and Brent Burns should be considered positive developments.  The reports I mean are things like:

Jason Demers practiced with the team and took line rushes with Matt Irwin this morning while Nick Petrecki and Brent Burns skated together. Still, McLellan stopped short of declaring Demers good-to-go. -Working the Corners

Even if Demers isn't expected to play tonight, he  isn't far off.  With him available to play, the team will have choices to make but they are good choices.  Like sitting Sheppard to make room for Gomez, it is more a wealth of riches than a shortage of options.  

Brent Burns, while probably not as close to playing as Demers, also showed visible improvement.  His merely being in the practice tells us that.  Still, what he told David Pollak doesn't inspire confidence:

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  Tags: adam+burish, anaheim+ducks, andrew+desjardins, brent+burns, jason+demers, joe+thornton, justin+braun, patrick+marleau

A busy road trip for the Sharks

Two games, two cities, two wins by three goals each, a new player.  Busy few days for the Sharks.

Such games can make a fan base hungry like an infusion of MSG.  Raise the bar that way and folks are more happy than grateful.  They say things like "where were these Sharks last season?"  Ten goals in two games?  Two multi-goal games for Marleau?  Goals from Boyle in both games?  Six goals in one period?

Edmonton.  Calgary.  Still, better to win than lose, and winning with authority is best.  Do we thank the new coaches?  Do we thank the fact that the players have been chomping at the bit to get going for months now?  I feel the need to thank someone, everyone for the way the Sharks looked.

How 'bout that new penalty kill?  Um... maybe the team should avoid taking penalties and it won't matter so much.  But of all the things the team was doing, that was the most new thing, so I'm willing to be a little patient.

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  Tags: brent+burns, frazer+mclaren, james+sheppard, scott+gomez, tim+kennedy

Elimination Day, April 21, 2012

This is going to be long.  It is, after all, the end of the Sharks’ 2012 playoff run. 

Hands shaking. Why? I’m not even watching the game live.  This has all happened before, it has literally happened already, I am watching on delay because I am that paranoid.  Still with the hands shaking.

Before the game, Boyle said that no one outside the room believed they could do it.  That was a dagger. 

Why is a win so important to me?  I won’t lose pay if the Sharks don’t come back to play another day.  Hell, I might get more paid work done if this is over.

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  Tags: brent+burns, elimination, experience, fan, joe+thornton, justin+braun, playoffs, st.+louis+blues, tommy+wingels

St Louis @ San Jose, WCQF Game 3: Mirror mirror

I used to think I was a jinx.  It’s a suspicion that still pops into my head now and again.  Like tonight. Tonight I did something I have never done before: left a Sharks game before the final horn.  I have never walked out on a game… except once, but that was football and I hate football, it was miserable weather, the seats were horribly uncomfortable… and I hate football.  But I’ve never left a hockey game before.

It wasn’t because the players were standing around looking like they were going to start fighting, which I figured would be followed by nothing but five more disappointing minutes of failure.  No, I had started thinking about leaving before that, and not because they were losing 4-1 or I thought I wanted to get a jump on the traffic.  A few minutes either way makes no difference to my drive, and it isn’t like me to walk out when things look dire.

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  Tags: brent+burns, colin+white, hockey+fan, jinx, keys, supersition

Once more into the Pond, dear Sharks


Happy Birthday, Logan Couture.  He says that all he wants for his birthday is a win. That’s very mature of him, planning to give us a present on his birthday, or, at least, to go get his own.

So, the Sharks play in Anaheim tonight.  What have we got?

We have stats to tell us what we know has already happened: Sharks lost 4 of 5 to the Ducks.  We have dinosaurs.  We have the Ducks who won’t lie down.  Wait.  I don’t think I have ever seen a duck lie down.  How would a duck lie down?  To lie down, I think you have to put your head on the ground, or a pillow, or…  Wouldn’t a duck have to be dead to do that?

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, brent+burns, bruce+boudreau, fans, joe+thornton, tj+galiardi

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. 

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  Tags: brent+burns, douglas+murray, jason+demers, jim+vandermeer, joe+pavelski, michal+neuvirth, mike+knuble, ryane+clowe, washington+capitals

The toughest game: those wily Coyotes strike again

It was said on Twitter. McLellan was quoted saying it on Working the Corners and in Kurz’s CSN blog. It was discussed during the pregame show.  It was the big story before Saturday’s game in the mostly empty Jobing.com arena: how very dangerous, unpredictable, hungry and possibly tough to play against the Phoenix Coyotes would be.  What were they thinking?  Here’s what I was thinking:

I didn’t get it.  Why would the Coyotes be more frantic than Dallas?  Isn’t that losing streak they’ve been on an indication that they are not playing well?  Was everyone trying to say the Coyotes have the Sharks’ number? 

If that’s the case, I thought, it’s a very bad sign for the Sharks.  I hoped fervently that it was all a bunch of manufactured drama, like the endless euphemism-filled discussion of where Niemi was hit by that puck, why he missed the last game.  I’m still not clear.  As Brodie pointed out during the pregame show, women don’t understand these things.  Someone will have to be more specific.

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  Tags: antti+niemi, brent+burns, csn+ca, jamie+mcginn, labradors, logan+couture, mike+smith, patrick+marleau, phoenix+coyotes

Those were not the dragons I was looking for

There’s dragons and there’s Dragons.  That Sharks @ Oilers game wasn’t what I had in mind to start the Year of the Dragon.  There were some good things, like Logan Couture earned his 100th NHL point.  The Sharks did control much of the game.  They just couldn’t score accordingly, so they lost.

When I wrote about Dragons, I was thinking of something like this:


From Dark Wallpapers

See the nice color, and the water and how big and scary that guy is?  Storms don’t bother him.  Certainly no little oil spill would slow him down.

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  Tags: brent+burns, joe+pavelski, logan+couture, thomas+greiss

The latest game

The Sharks game against the Calgary Flames was the last one to end last night.  I think it’ unfair to blame them for going to a shoot out.  They also had the latest start time and they were not the only game to go to a shoot out.

The Sharks had some tough breaks in the game, some shots they wish they’d scored on, a laughable goalie interference call in OT.  The Flames had some of the same, so it was even… until that grossly bad call in OT.

Anyway, the Sharks won.

@FearthefInGame:  “Beast mode activated by Brent Burns, who shakes off a defender on the wall before the puck finds Handzus. Torrey Mitchell bangs home rebound”

That’s how they tied it up.

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  Tags: brent+burns, calgary+flames, ryane+clowe, torrey+mitchell

No rumpus, no tricks

When talking about the Sharks and the Jets, I think you have to mention West Side Story, so I did. The Sharks @ Winnipeg was not a surprising game, unless you consider shut outs surprising.  The better ranked team won, there were no calamitous incidents, no very strange penalties.  The Sharks don’t have very many shut outs this season, so another does add some needed sparkle to their 2011-12 record.  That record is looking better and better, as Jamie Baker points out:

@Bakes_Jamie13: “Sharks have only lost 1 game in regulation since Dec 14 - it was on boxing day against Anaheim. in last 14, Sharks are 9-1-4. #KeepErGoin”

One thing they are keeping going is their NHL shots per game lead:

@SharksStats: “Elias Says: Sharks have had 35+ shots in each of their last 11 games. Longest streak since ‘83-84, when Flyers had 35+ shots in 12 straight.”

I know, they always shoot a lot but it is neat to break long-standing records.  The fact that the Flyers hold that record now does make it more interesting to me but I won’t mind if the Sharks break it.

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  Tags: brent+burns, logan+couture, nhl+all+star, ryane+clowe, winnipeg+jets

The crooked fence rule

Things might be about to get a little crazy in Shark territory. That whole philosophy of always pairing an offensive defenseman with a shut down guy could very well be scrapped tonight.  Those who called for Braun and Demers to be paired, or for Ian White to have never been let go… well, you probably won’t get your wish but the sands are shifting on the blue line, according to Kevin Kurz and Brodie Brazil.

@brodiebrazilCSN: “Pretty sure #sjsharks will not dress 7 d based on how long Colin White was on the ice after practice.”

@KKurzCSN: “White and McLaren skated long today, so looks like they are scratches. As far as D pairs, look for 22-44, 88-61 and 2-60 if I had to guess.”

88 and 61?  Burns and Braun?  Even if it isn’t that pair, the team is short a DD without White, since Murray is out.  This could get very interesting.

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  Tags: brent+burns, defense, joe+thornton, justin+braun, ryane+clowe

Shameles

Shame isn’t helpful.  It makes you stop when you should go. It makes you afraid to go out, horrified you ever did, fat and old and badly dressed as you are.  What were you thinking?  Just parading around in public with those wrinkles?  That hair?  Shame makes you old, your teeth yellow, your skin blotchy and horrible overnight, even if you were a reasonably unremarkable-looking person the day before.  As shame starts to fade, you might develop a deep resentment for the person who made you feel shame, even if it’s yourself.

I don’t think the Sharks were feeling fat or ugly Sunday.  I even doubt they felt shame.  Successful people don’t waste their energy or time on shame.  They may feel remorse, promise to do better next time, or to never do that again, but they don’t sit on the floor of the bathroom, chewing on a sleeve, afraid to go out and be seen, paralyzed by shame.  Cat-o-nine-tails?  Some fans might hope.  No, not that either.

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  Tags: brent+burns, douglas+murray, logan+couture, sharks+talk, todd+mclellan, working+the+corners

Red Card: Sharks @ Stars

I don’t know exactly what a red card is but I suspect it has to do with misbehaving in a soccer game.  So I think it’s kind of ironic that I watched the Sharks @ Stars game at a sports bar called Red Card. I usually lean toward older, danker places where the wood (there’s got to be lots of wood) was steeped for years in cigar smoke and the leather upholstery is a bit alive with the scent of many bodies.

Red Card isn’t like that.  It’s got shiny metal highlights and a lit bar that changes colors. It also has exposed brick walls and black and red leather upholstery. You know it’s a pub, even if the chairs and bar stools are of a distinctly modern design.  It also has a bunch of satellite feeds so it gets pretty much any sports event you need to see.

I order soup and beer and watch the Sharks game begin.

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  Tags: antti+niemi, brad+winchester, brent+burns, jamie+mcginn, jason+demers, jim+vandermeer, red+card, ryane+clowe, todd+mclellan, travel

The green coats are coming!

The Minnesota Wild are here.  It seems strange for that to be an alarming thing, but surprise, surprise they’ve won 5 in a row.  Their penalty kill and their goalies are vying for bestest ever in the universe.  Yes, the sky could fall.

That pk has been perfect for at least 5 games in a row, 21 or 23 successful penalty kills or something.  But against who?  Eeek!  The Red Wings?  Twice in a row no less?  And the Canucks?  Nobody panic.  The Wild were feasting on the bleeding body of a Red Wings losing streak.  The Canucks? Well who knows with them.  Also the Blues fell in there, shortly before their coach was fired, and the Flames are in a muddle too.  Also, the Minny power play hasn’t been as strong as the penalty kill.  So, that five game winning streak and flawless penalty kill might be misleading.  Certainly Yeo seems to think so, he was not happy with the team in their 3-0 shutout last night:

@Russostrib: Yeo very unhappy with #mnwiId play tonight - scoring chances allowed, penalties taken, lack of physicality”

Um… yeah.

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  Tags: brent+burns, colin+white, jason+demers, jim+vandermeer, justin+braun, marc-edouard+vlasic, minnesota+wild

Is everything going according to plan yet?

It is early still to say whether or not the Sharks’ plans for the 2011-12 season are working, but there is some data available.

First part of the plan was to get Dan Boyle’s minutes down.  It does look like his TOI is creeping down.  At least from the first game (27:28) to the last (22:49) there’s a reduction, with a spike of in the middle there.  Boyle’s time on the penalty kill isn’t dropping off as much as some would like but overall others are balancing out his minutes.  The drop is not drastic but it is there, probably because Vlasic and Burns are looking better.

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  Tags: antti+niemi, brent+burns, dan+boyle, joe+pavelski, marc-edouard+vlasic, patrick+marleau, thomas+greiss, todd+mclellan

“Your game is out of sync…”

Despite the fact that the above message is usually accompanied by instructions for a very simple solution (“please refresh your browser”), droves of Zynga game players feel impatience and even rage when they see that.  It means that the game is probably loading slowly to begin with because the programmers made some change or another, and simply clicking “refresh” will mean more waiting and may not even solve the problem.

So when I thought the Sharks seem just a little out of sync, it was with mixed emotions. You don’t know really how long it will take to get everyone moving in harmony, even if you know that this is all that’s needed.  The pieces are there, they just need to be pulled together.

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  Tags: brent+burns, harri+stateri, joe+thornton, martin+havlat, out+of+sync, road+trip, ryane+clowe, thomas+heemskerk, twitter

Suite charities

As reported last weekend, Martin Havlat and Brent Burns have each purchased suites for use by people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to go to hockey games.  Both are continuing traditions they started elsewhere.  Havlat donated such a suite in Minnesota, according to the press release, and also in Chicago, according to Twitter.  I’m having trouble verifying that last bit, these guys don’t broadcast this stuff.  That’s nice.  It’s inconvenient for nosy people like me but it is laudable.

Burns established Burnzie’s Battalion, part of Defending the Blue Line, when he was in Minnesota.  His suite will be available to members of the Armed Services and their families.  Havlat, in conjunction with the Sharks Foundation, will make tickets available through Bay Area organizations for underprivileged families and children with illnesses and their families.

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  Tags: brent+burns, defending+the+blue+line, martin+havlat, sharks+charities

The glass and other things we’ll probably see more and less of

Thanks, Brodie, it was nice to get some attention for the new glass and boards system at HP.  I agree that we will see a lot more game and a lot less stanchion.  I’m not sure it will provide as much of a home ice advantage as suggested in Brodie’s article. 

“They are more lively,” Sharks captain Joe Thornton told me. “It will be a nice home ice advantage, you know we’ll get used to those boards.  It’s going to be good for us.” -Sharks Talk

 

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  Tags: boards, brent+burns, brodie+brazil, glass, goalies, hp+pavilion, thomas+greiss

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