Petshark: Talking Stick
Entries with the tag: echl
There are games going on today in the AHL, and the Worcester Sharks will be in one of them. They play tonight at 7 EST against the Monarchs. The Worcester Sharks' Friday game got some attention for suspense and spectacle, with the highlight goal from James Sheppard and the tenacity of Matsumoto to keep after that game winner. But their Saturday game was memorable too, with Mashinter scoring after a very long dry spell, and a game winner on top of it. Unfortunately, Sena Acolatse is likely to be out for some time, after being injured in that game.
The Bulls' last game of the year rivaled the season opener for attendance (8,000+), and they won handily to boot. The Bulls owed Vegas one, after that regrettable visit to Nevada last month. That was a close game but it shouldn't have been. With Scott Langdon back in the lineup, the team grabbed an early lead and went on to win 4-1. Hans Benson was also back, and he left a mark or two on the game. Speaking of back in the lineup, or the lineup in general:
@Guimond15: "Flying all night ! Back in san francisco tomorrow #freshmind #misstheboys #playoffhockeynow"
Filed in: , hockey, , San Jose Sharks, , | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
Tags: brandon+mashinter, echl, hans+benson, james+sheppard, sacha+guimond, san+francisco+bulls, scott+langdon, torrey+mitchell, worcester+sharks
For me, Friday's Bulls game started with a long drive through the rain. This demonstration of diligence and commitment is less impressive if you know that I had a thrilling Worcester Sharks game to listen to on the way. No hardship there. It was probably exactly the sort of game I would never want to watch (I think they may have broken some season penalty minute records, could hardly go five minutes without a fight. I believe Frazer McLaren alone racked up 27 minutes before being excused.) Still, the back and forth scoring and right up to the last second suspense made for a great listen.
SF Bulls defenseman Sacha Guimond has gone back to Canada. This tweet from Simon Danis-Pepin sat there in my Twitter timeline for days:
@Simon_D_Pepin: "Having a good hangout with @Guimond15 before he heads north. Feel like my son is going away to college. #lesbulls #ledream"
I couldn't get anyone to explain it on Twitter, and I couldn't get to the city to ask someone about it. All I could get before the game was that Guimond was, in fact, going back to college in Canada. That was sort of anti-climactic. Guimond's official status would remain a mystery until after Friday's game. At that point I learned that his status isn't officially official, there is a possibility he will return but the forces of a scholarship are against it. He needs to enroll very soon or give up a hefty educational opportunity.
Last night, the Sharks' ECHL affiliates, past and present, met in San Jose. They have met before, many times, but this was a new experience for both of them.
It was bound to happen, the Stockton Thunder was unlikely to keep losing to the San Francisco Bulls. When two teams meet as often as these do, they will figure each other out and the team that has lost the first three matches will probably find a way to win one. The teams will have a chance to get to know each other even better- they have nine more games to play. It's just too bad for the Bulls that their first loss to Stockton happened in San Jose. The final score was 6-4 Stockton.
The Bulls had a day to rest after a quick but rough road trip. From Thursday's OT win against Stockton, they rode to Ontario to be brutally defeated Friday, then drove back north to Bakersfield to win handily Saturday night.
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Tags: echl, jordan+morrison, lockout, marek+viedensky, mikael+tam, pat+curcio, ryane+clowe, san+francisco+bulls, scott+langdon, stockton+thunder, taylor+nelson, thomas+heemskerk
Last night, the San Francisco Bulls beat the Stockton Thunder 4-3 in overtime. It was their fourth of four games at home, the first of three games in three nights, the second and third to be played in Ontario and Bakersfield.
New things seen at last night's game: The Cube can be broken, and repaired quickly. A shot from I'm not sure who in the first period went too high and hit the board right in the period number. A panel was knocked loose but was as easily fixed during intermission.
Also new: Peter Sivak moved to the line with Justin Bowers and Dean Ouellet, and Jordan Morrison centered both Sharks forward prospects Marek Viedensky and Daniil Tarasov. That second line scored the first goal of the game, credited to Tarasov, with the assist to Viedensky.
Stockton's only goal before the third period was a power play goal, scored with only 13 seconds left on a double minor against Justin Bowers in the second. When they say "the puck took a crazy bounce", they mean this one-- it took several pinball-like bounces before popping over Heemskerk's glove and into the net. It really shouldn't have been a very disheartening goal-- bouncing plus four minute penalty kill should warrant some self-forgiveness. Nevertheless, it put a damper on the Bulls. The Bulls had outshot the Thunder in the first period but didn't do so again in the second or third.
Filed in: , hockey, , San Jose Sharks, , | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
Tags: andrew+crescenzi, daniil+tarasov, dean+ouellet, dylan+king, echl, jordan+clendenning, jordan+morrison, justin+bowers, kris+belan, marek+viedensky, peter+sivak, sf+bulls, stockton+thunder, thomas+heemskerk, tyler+bunz
A different group of guys lost to the same group of guys that beat the Bulls back in early November. Well, not exactly the same group. Two Colorado players from the last meeting have gone (Joey Sides, Adam Chorneyko) and one was added (Kevin Ulanski). In Friday's game, the quantifiable distinction amounted to one assist from Ulanski. That's not right, Sides had 2 assists and a goal before. I don't think the math actually matters here.
Curcio describes falling behind early as a persistent challenge for the Bulls:
"We didn't get any breaks early. Being such a young team-- not making excuses-- we don't battle through adversity... if we get up early, we can do anything once we're up. When we're down we're a different group of guys."
If you want to look for indicators of how a Bulls game is going to go, Jordan Morrison going to the box early could be one, at least in the games I've watched. Still, the Eagles' didn't score until after a second penalty was called against Belan, giving the Eagles a minute and 23 seconds of five on three. Then Chad Costello scored his 40th point of the season.
The damage from those penalties was limited to the one goal. Unfortunately, it set the tone for the rest of the period. The little errors crept in and multiplied, passes failed, decisions didn't work out:
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Tags: colorado+eagles, echl, jordan+morrison, kyle+jones, pat+curcio, sf+bulls, taylor+nelson, teddy+bear+toss, thomas+heemskerk
The Bulls play the Colorado Eagles at the Cow Palace tonight. Bring a teddy bear to toss, enjoy the game, forget your worries. The game will be broadcast on Comcast Hometown Network, for those with access to that. Otherwise, listen for free on KNBR.com or the Colorado feed on iHeart, or pay to watch on America One Sports.
Neither the SF Bulls nor the Worcester Sharks showed up on the transaction lists today, or since the December 1 recall of Mikael Tam to the AHL.
Daniil Tarasov did end up starting on a line with Justin Bowers and Dean Ouellet for Wednesday's game. That worked out well and quickly, as he scored the first goal less than five minutes into the game. Assists went to Bowers and defenseman Scott Langdon. The Bulls went on to roll over Bakersfield for a final score of 4-1. Two of the Bulls' goals came from Peter Sivak, the first on a power play in the first, assists to Viedensky and Tarasov. His second was scored at even strength in the second, assist to Alex Tuckerman. The fourth Bulls goal was scored by Dean Ouellet in the third, assists to Bowers and Tarasov.
The SF Bulls (as the new San Jose Sharks affiliate), will be the home team when they face the Stockton Thunder (last year's Sharks affiliate) at the HP Pavilion in San Jose. The game is scheduled for Monday, December 17 at 7:30 pm. There will be free tickets available, even some for those without season tickets or ticket packages for the Sharks or the Bulls. General public tickets will be available Dec 12. Parking will be free in the HP lot on a first come-first serve basis. Bring a toy for Toys for Tots. They are the beneficiary of this event. Fans hungry for hockey will also get some relief.
Is this the beginning of a make whole arrangement with the fans? You can never make whole again, but you can try to make amends.
Last winter, I tried to fly out of Detroit in perfectly mild weather, but there was some insane fog in San Francisco, so my flight was canceled. It was rescheduled, and then that flight was delayed too. It was a big long foul-up. I found ways to kill about eight hours, but eventually was stuck sitting on the plane for two hours before it actually took off. What kept me calm during that last bit of waiting was this: anticipation that I would get a prize for my patience.
The Bulls play the Las Vegas Wranglers tonight. It's been four days since the Bulls' last game. Such breaks are fairly common in the ECHL. Pat Curcio explained how the team handles that:
"The biggest thing for us is we want to stick to the plan. We want to make sure we're working as hard as we can. Win or lose... push a little harder when you've got an extra day or two."
This break is noteworthy because it is the first to follow a winning streak for the Bulls:
@Clendenning49: 4s gotta be a winning streak, Rollin.. @SFBulls @k_belan43 @1986jmorrison
I usually call it a streak at three but certainly four works too. It's another test for the Bulls: will the break make a difference? I can feel the suspense building.
Stop patronizing me, NHL et al. I'm not patronizing you, but then you don't have anything to sell. Your shop doors are locked.
So just don't. NHL, don't pretend you're trying to avoid going broke. I know you're just trying to get more on top of the very much you already get from the sport. NHLPA, don't tell me I'd do the same thing in your position, I can't even imagine being in your position. Media, stop telling me this lockout is such a bleeding catastrophe because it leaves me without hockey to watch. If you don't know there's plenty of hockey for me to follow, you haven't done your homework. If someone is telling you you're not allowed to cover anything but major league sports, I'm sorry. I can't help you.
It doesn't matter who I side with in the dispute. I have no say. Let me in the room, give me 20 minutes and a sturdy piece of lumber, I could probably sort it out for you but you wouldn't like it. So don't apologize to me, you don't really care what I think. I'm going to watch some hockey.
It was a big win. It didn't clinch a playoff spot, it wasn't their first win ever, but it was a big win. It was the first time the team won three in a row, and their first win against the Reign. It was a chance for the team to take a significant lead, hang on to it and build it to a final score of 5-1. It was a big win for the Bulls, and it was a win for Pat Curcio and his roster overhaul.
I felt sort of badly for writing about the 7-0 Bulls loss a couple of weeks ago. It didn't seem fair to cover that game in such detail, and say so little about them after that. But that was the game I went to. By Friday night, the team looked completely different. If you had told me that replacing half of the players in the space of two weeks would result in a consistent and almost shocking improvement, I would not have believed you. I'm a believer in slow-growth chemistry. You don't just throw guys together and they all know what to do, not outside of Hollywood disaster films.
Everything looked better. Those errant passes, those innumerable penalties, the frantic clears becoming turnovers, all of that was gone. How significant was it that Devin Setoguchi didn't make the trip with the Reign? The Reign beat the Bulls without Setoguchi in their first meeting, though it was very close. Setoguchi scored a lot in the games he played against San Francisco, but I'm not sure he accounted for every little thing going wrong for the Bulls before. Just as the Reign's lineup looked different, so did the Bulls'.
The SF Bulls have won three of their last four games. They started the season with only two wins in their first ten. Of the eight after that, they've won four. I asked Pat Curcio what changed. He attributed the improvement partly to the fact that a new young team "takes some time to get accustomed." He also mentioned the latest round of roster moves:
"We wanted to be a young team, hard-working and ready to go to the next level. We made some moves that I thought were best for the team and so far so good."
Some comments floated around Twitter that echoed my own reaction to the high number of trades, releases and additions. On any given day there will be a good sized list of moves on the ECHL Transactions page. There are many factors at work here, and not only during a lockout. An ECHL team is limited to 20 active players and 2 on reserve, with an unlimited number on 21 day injured reserve. Any move will probably require a second. Curcio explained why the Bulls have made 14 moves in the last two weeks:
After their last meeting, there was reason to doubt the San Francisco Bulls' chances against the Ontario Reign. During the first 8 minutes, the Bulls didn't spend a lot of time outside their end of the ice. That turned out to be the case for most of the game. Thomas Heemskerk wasn't going to have an easy time of it in his second game in two nights. To his credit, he held up better than the rest of the team.
The first penalty was booed roundly before being announced, a tripping penalty against the Bulls' Clendenning. The Bulls killed that off and celebrated with a brief offensive rush, only to be pushed back again. The Bulls didn't give the Reign a lot of room to set up their offense, but they couldn't organize an attack of their own. Frantic passes off the glass went to opposing players, missed passes turned to icing.
With half of the first period gone, the Bulls only had one shot to the Reign's 7. The Reign scored two goals, just over 30 seconds apart. The Bulls took another penalty and killed it off but didn't manage to get another short until the second period.
The Worcester Sharks and the San Francisco Bulls both play today. Last weekend was great for Worcester. They won 2 of 3 and got the OT point in the loss. Sunday's nail-biter featured a 0-0 tie all the way into a shootout, against the Manchester Monarchs who currently sit well above Worcester in the AHL Conference standings. Stalock was in net for that one. All that has to be good for morale.
The SF Bulls wrapped up their long road trip in Ontario on Wednesday night with a 3-1 loss. It was not an easy road trip for them. They haven't won since their second road game in Bakersfield on October 19. Let's hope being home can restart the engine.
As has been reported, Ryane Clowe's agreement with the Bulls was made official and announced by the team. It isn't clear yet whether he will play. With more NHLers signing deals with ECHL teams this week (Setoguchi helped the Reign beat the Bulls on Wednesday), it would seem like a moot point. Of course Clowe should play, if he wants to. Or should he?
Despite lack of evident progress in major league negotiations, hockey goes on. Sure, we can expect the Winter Classic to be cancelled tomorrow, but that hardly qualifies as progress. It represents a big loss for the sport and the league, but I don't know who believed the NHL was going to get out of this lockout without taking heavy losses. Well, there was that one guy... Anyway, tough deal for Detroit and those Canadians who were looking forward to having a Canadian team in that game. The catch to those losses is that however much money some teams lost under the old CBA, they can apparently afford to lose more.
@PollakOnSharks: "So, @RattoCSN, if it isn't about the product (and not arguing), this more about egos or some sort of collective economic suicide mission?"
May they lose to their heart's content-- not my problem.
It isn't easy for NHL fans to transfer their enthusiasm to minor.. err, development league teams. There are statistics to tabulate and other impersonal ways of analyzing team performance, but most fans need to connect on some level with the players on the team. We like to know their names, recognize their faces, be familiar with their playing habits. If you explode the roster all over the planet, most people will have trouble feeling the same passion for a new team in a different league than they knew last season. As a two-teaming fan whose loyalties extend to affiliated minor league teams, it should not be a big leap for me.
I caught a wild kitten last week. The folks at the animal shelter said he is just a couple weeks too old to be tamed. I said what the heck, the Sharks are locked out, the Bulls are on the road, I'll give it a try anyway. As I sat there with the three pound feline cornered, petting his back gently, trying to make purring sounds, I wondered if I could find a parallel between this process and the NHL CBA negotiations. I got stuck on who is the tiny cat and who is the busy-body human.
Of course, neither side qualifies as a completely helpless, fearful little thing. And both sides understand what they need the other for. The kitten doesn't understand that making friends with people can double his life span and reduce stress dramatically. It is a poor comparison. Still, I will be keeping track of our relative progress, and I suspect my negotiations will end before the NHL's, even with the multi-year head start they have on me. Really, this is all stuff they should have been thinking about ever since the last time they did this. I concluded that the CBA negotiations are less like a rapprochement and more like two lions fighting over a kill. They are not concerned with making friends. Ironically, they aren't even that hungry.
Things are heating up. In Northern California, we can expect it to get really warm in the next few days, the Bulls won a game and something seems to be breaking loose in the NHL CBA talks. This tweet sums that last part up for me:
@TheFourthPeriod: Being told there's plenty of good traction tonight over CBA. Still a lot of work to be done, but this could move relatively quickly.
We'll see about that. In the mean time...
The San Francisco Bulls play the Ontario Reign at 7pm tonight. It's the team's third game ever, and their first road game. Ontario's NHL affiliate is the Los Angeles Kings. Ontario led the division at the end of last season but the playoffs weren't kind to them. Glancing over their roster I noticed a familiar name: Dan DaSilva, previously of the Worcester Sharks.
A little over year ago, news emerged that the San Francisco Bulls, a new ECHL team, would be taking up residence at The Cow Palace. How time flies. San Francisco's new hockey team has now held a dozen practices. They play their first regular season game tomorrow.
I asked Head Coach Pat Curcio if that seemed rushed:
"It didn't, until last Friday. When I looked at our lineup ... we have 13 rookies ... and we were playing a team with 12 veterans in their lineup. That was a little bit overwhelming... but the guys worked through it. Tomorrow night... Bakersfield's got at least a dozen guys that played there last year."
ECHL Rules limit the number of veterans on a team. But that doesn't mean ECHL teams are all made up of players in their first professional season. Obviously some, like Bakersfield and Colorado, do have many players that fall in between rookie status and the veteran cut off.
The Sharks have just confirmed the news that Marc-Edouard Vlasic has been signed to a five year extension. They didn’t confirm the money part, they never do that. Rumor has it at $4.2m per. But the term, the most exciting part, they announced. Hooray, thank the hockey gods, Vlasic and Wilson for that. If Vlasic weren’t under contract with the Sharks for another season, you know teams would have been chasing him because he’s that awesome. Phew.
Capgeek now has contracts listed for Matsumoto, McLaren, and McCarthy. Odd that they still have nothing on Kennedy. Also still pending are RFAs Pelech, Petrecki, Sheppard and Mashinter.
It may not be a big surprise, but the Sharks and the Bulls made their affiliation official today. I’m sure we weren’t supposed to read too much into the late season presence of Rawhide and Bulls gear at Sharks games, but I did.
In today’s Mercury News there’s a story by Mark Emmons about Alex Stalock’s return to pro hockey. Stalock recently completed a stint with the Stockton Thunder:
When Sharks training camp opened in September, there was a growing optimism. Stalock skated for the first time. He slowly worked up to a rehab stint with Stockton, a minor league affiliate for the Sharks and Edmonton Oilers, making his return on Jan. 21. -Mercury News
It’s a very good story about a player and a recovery that is just this side of miraculous. Yet Emmons doesn’t mention the name of the minor league. Sigh.
The league’s name is sort of like Ulysses S Grant’s middle name: just initials. Unlike Grant, the league does have a proper name where the initials are: East Coast Hockey League, but nobody out here calls it that. It’s one of those names that tells you where someone came from but not what or where they are now. “Taylor,” for example: once upon a time, someone in that family was a tailor, probably in England. The odds are pretty slim that this person is actually a tailor in England now.
It’s been 16 years (or it will have been) since a hockey team played at the Cow Palace. I don’t mention that simply to make those of you who saw it feel old. As Carol Klatt, Mayor of Daly City said: “16 years is a long time to go without hockey.” Mayor Klatt confessed to being a Blues fan, since she is originally from Missouri. She’s also been back to watch the Blues play. Old loyalties aside, she promised: “I plan to be behind the glass when that first puck hits the ice” in a San Francisco Bulls game.