Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

Entries with the tag: jamie mcginn

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

Who’s on third?

As praise for the Kings is heaped onto the web, one of the explanations that keeps being presented is the acquisition of Jeff Carter. I agree, if he and Richards are such great buddies, playing together can’t hurt. Happy players play better.

Oh, they don’t mean that? They mean Carter made the top six so much better?  Oh.  Here I was getting used to the happy notion that teams know they need more than two lines to really do the job.  I guess we’re back to only needing a top six.  Please tell me GMs aren’t really thinking that way anymore.  Please tell me it’s just confused people trying to make sense of the LA Kings suddenly getting their act together.

Sigh.

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  Tags: doug+wilson, jamie+mcginn, kevin+kurz, la+kings, scoring+depth, tommy+wingels

Jason Demers and other game day thoughts

This morning, Brent Burns was skating with Colin White. No one skated for long,  but that’s what I saw. Predictably, the other two pair were Boyle with Vlasic and Braun with Demers.  Forward lines pretty much the same as in the last game.  From David Pollak’s observations, don’t expect to see Douglas Murray.  Niemi starts.  I mean, I assume he will.  He left the ice first and there’s been no breaking news to the contrary.

The Stars, as could be expected since they played last night in Vancouver, mostly didn’t skate.

“The players know where we’re at. The time crunch is on them. They know what’s left. They know what the standings are. We can pretend it’s game 31, but it doesn’t feel that.” -Todd McLellan, Working the Corners

Neither team has an edge in the “we feel really pissed off about losing in our last game” standings.  They should both be a little testy tonight.  Have at it, fellas.

Yesterday, Kevin Kurz tried to answer the question of “What’s gone wrong with the Sharks?”  His general points seem sound enough, but I was surprised to see which two defensemen he singled out as problems:

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  Tags: jamie+mcginn, jason+demers, joe+thornton, justin+braun, leadership, veteran

The curious case of Mr. Clowe

Last night, Ryane Clowe was struck in the head by a slapshot, which he said was the last straw in a game that caused him great deal of agitation:

“I was boiling up to here before the puck in the head,” Clowe said, holding his hand even with his forehead, “and it probably tipped me over. More than anything, I just didn’t want to have to leave the game. That’s what I was ticked off about.” -Mercury News

That seems like a reasonable explanation for an otherwise inappropriate outburst.  I have another, more scientific explanation.  Observe where the subject was struck by the flying puck.  You can see the mark on his head near the end of this sequence gif’ed by @mymclife:

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  Tags: jamie+mcginn, optimism, phrenology, ryane+clowe, todd+mclellan

Enquiring minds want to know: WTH, Sharks?

“Everyone wants to know” what is up with the San Jose Sharks.  They signed a new player! Oh, people don’t mean the Stalberg signing?  Okay then.

“Everyone wants to know” might be putting it too strongly, but anyone who’s anyone has noticed that the Sharks are playing way way WAY below expectations.

The players reassure us that they are engaging in the recommended amount of yelling during and after a game, even if they seem calm in front of the cameras.  That’s good to know.  Maybe someone should set up a noise meter in the room just to be sure.

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  Tags: brodie+brazil, faith, jamie+mcginn, kevin+kurz, lazy, psychology

The Flyers are here

Actually, the Flyers have been here for a couple of days now, learning about Pinkberry from Wayne Simmonds, being bussed between rinks and meeting fans at Sharks Ice. It is very exciting for Bay Area Flyers fans.  It’s like a TaO fan holiday.

Yesterday I saw this article on NHL.com detailing the deadline day trade between the Sharks and the Avalanche.  The title is “Avs add McGinn on deadline day.”  It goes on to talk about what a splendid acquisition McGinn is for the Avs.

Isn’t that nice? McGinn is the big news, the article makes his acquisition out like the big story, only devoting a few lines at the end about Galiardi and Winnik…

Wait, what?  OMG, DW, what did you do?

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  Tags: antti+niemi, ilya+bryzgalov, jamie+mcginn, logan+couture, todd+mclellan, zac+rinaldo

Deadline 2012

They say that the NHL Trade Deadline is at 3pm in the afternoon, but out here it’s High Noon.  It is an especially cruel High Noon because, even after the waiting and worrying, you still don’t get to go out and confront anyone or anything.  You sit and watch your online news source or wait for the phone to ring or prepare to make an announcement.  Oh, I guess that last part is a kind of confrontation.  So the GMs have that.  The fans and the players don’t.

I was glad that the announcement of McGinn being traded to the Avalanche came while the team was still in the air.  That would make for a smaller group to share the unsettling news with, instead of being alone or in a throng of questioners.

What about Sgarbossa and Connolly?  I wonder where they were.  I don’t suppose Sgarbossa will have to move anywhere right away.

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  Tags: colorado+avalanche, jamie+mcginn, michael+sgarbossa, mike+connolly, nhl+trade+deadline

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

Welcome to the Year of the Dragon

Luck and legend distinguish the Dragon from the other symbols in the Chinese and Mongolian zodiac.  It is said to be the very luckiest birth year, the sign of the emperor.  Unlike the other symbols, a dragon is not the sort of critter most of us will see in our lifetimes.  Since there are twelve signs in this system, that is a little surprising.  The year starts today and ends around this time in 2013.

As someone who grew up in San Francisco, I guess I should say something about the Niners.  They lost.  Bummer for Niners fans.  I wasn’t all that anxious for them to win because I feel that trips to championship finals disperse geographically in such a way that if the Niners had gone on, this would have been bad news for the Sharks.  Look what happened with the Giants- the other Giants I mean.  Condolences to Niners fans, may the loss not be in vain.

The Sharks begin the year in Edmonton.  I don’t know if any of them attended a parade, but a big spectacle like an NHL game should do.  Wow… that would be cool, if someone brought a paper and silk dragon to the game and sent it around the stands… I know, that probably won’t happen.

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  Tags: dan+boyle, james+sheppard, jamie+mcginn, jason+demers, joe+thornton, logan+couture, patrick+marleau, thomas+greiss, todd+mclellan, tommy+wingels, year+of+the+dragon

Jack and Jenna

My brother is going to be a father.  He and his wife told me the other day that they had decided they would encourage the boy (yes, they know it will be a boy) to play hockey.  Neither parent has much interest in the sport.  I think it was a gesture to include me in the care of the child.  I am touched that they are so quick to hand their first born over to me, but my initial reaction was “really?  I would be afraid to encourage my kid to play hockey.”

I’m a worry wart.  I would have the kid ride horses, because even though more people get head injuries riding horses than doing anything else, I know how to do it right, it would be safe if I were in charge.  Right.

Anyway, when I expressed my concerns about the safety of the unborn person (hey, they’re planning his sports activities, I’m not the only crazy person here), my brother said “really?  But hockey isn’t dangerous, they’re all padded, it’s not like football.”

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  Tags: cal+clutterbuck, dany+heatley, devin+setoguchi, high+school+hockey, jack+jablonski, jamie+mcginn, jenna+privette, joe+pavelski, logan+couture, minnesota+wild, ryane+clowe

“O-M-F-G THE SHARKS BEAT THE DUCKS!! FINALLY!!”

That tweeted reaction to Wednesday’s win courtesy of the tweeter known as @TeamNiemiClowe.  I may have left out some exclamation points.  I try to stay positive, I wish I had the cheerleader mentality some have attributed to me, but when I saw that tweet I thought “really?  Has it come to this?  Shouldn’t beating the Ducks be less of a big deal?”  I am in the clutches of the dark side, the angry CB cackling in my head.  During the game, I took it out on the number three:

Numbers more important than 3:

  • First two goals scored by #10.
  • First period ended with score at 1-0, which neither contains nor is divisible by three.
  • 2 Sharks goals scored 22 seconds apart, by guys with names that start with B and have 4 letters: Brad and Benn.  There’s no “b” in three.

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, andrew+desjardins, dan+boyle, jamie+mcginn, three

Out of gas

First, some news:  Desjardins only got fined for boarding Sami Lepisto, no suspension.  Thank goodness, don’t need the lower lines destabilized right now.  Also, Terry Murray got fired.  His place is being filled by John Stevens.  Finally, Nitty is off IR and going to Worcester for conditioning.  He can stay there for a maximum of 14 days and could conceivably play in 6 games, if he plays 3 in 3 days.  Uh huh.

“Out of gas.”  That’s the title of one of my favorite episodes of Firefly.  It’s also one of the things folks said about the Sharks third period and OT in Chicago.  What did the team think?  The coach?  Hard to tell.  Their quotes are as opaque as ever.  So I decided to look up some better quotes.  Here’s one from the above-mentioned episode of Firefly:

Mal: Ship like this, be with you ‘til the day you die.
Zoë Washburne: ‘Cause it’s a deathtrap.

They’re both right, it’s the classic problem of one thing seen from two different perspectives.

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  Tags: andrew+desjardins, dan+boyle, firefly, jamie+mcginn, joe+thornton, patrick+marleau, pillars+of+the+earth

The Right Hand of Zus

You know how those stories about Greek gods always involve or imply the torment and suffering of mortals?  That’s what being a fan is like sometimes.  Even though the players are doing the hard work, the bleeding and breaking and rushing about, we spectators watch and hope our fragile little village will be spared by the storm.  So it has to be a good thing to have a guy named Zus on the team.  No way your church tower gets blown over by the western wind storm of the century, not with Zus on your side.

I heard a lot about those perilous high winds, but they never came to my neighborhood.  If I really thought this was connected to my NHL team allegiance, I would have to build a shrine or something.  Surely it isn’t just Michal Handzus making things happen or not happen.  Surely he must have some help.

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  Tags: fan, fear+the+fin, jamie+mcginn, joe+thornton, logan+couture, martin+havlat, michal+handzus, ryane+clowe

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

Fashionably late? Better late than never?

I was late to the Penguins @ Sharks game and had to play DVR catch-up.  I missed most of the first period.  Apparently so did the Sharks.  I’m flattered, really, that they waited for me, but in the larger scheme of things it might have been better for them to go ahead and start without me.

2-0 Penguins.

I guess if you have to have a bad period it is more satisfying for the audience if it is the first period instead of the last.  Still, a little less suspense would go a long way with me.  I feel slightly battered by that game. 

Greiss was heroic.  He seemed to do everything right.  Oh, sure, he wandered into traffic a couple of times behind the net but hey, that goes hand in hand with all that jumping out to make aggressive stops.  He needs a loose rein.  Besides, that gave his team a chance to make it up to him, make up for that hideous spectacle that was most of the game.

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  Tags: jamie+mcginn, justin+braun, marc-andre+fleury, patrick+marleau, pittsburgh+penguins, ryane+clowe, thomas+greiss

Wednesday notes from Sharks Ice

Good news from Sharks Ice: Nitty was on the ice this morning before practice. He wasn’t wearing pads but he was out there so that’s a good sign.

Not at practice were Dan Boyle and Martin Havlat.  Since we did hear that Boyle was under the weather in the last couple of games, him being out today doesn’t worry me much.  To prevent worry, I’m going to hope strongly that Havlat has caught the bug and isn’t missing for any other reason.  Fingers crossed.

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  Tags: antero+niittymaki, benn+ferriero, jamie+mcginn, martin+havlat

Four goals, four wins,  three and a half lines.

Four goals for the Sharks’ fourth win in a row, half-played without a fourth line. 

It isn’t right to start by talking about the 4th line.  The correct thing to do, I know, is say how the top lines were awesome and scored and the Sharks won.  Yes, all that.  And Nemo, lots of good things he did.  He was unflappable as he often is.  Well done.  Yay top guys we expect so much from and hardly ever properly appreciate for doing amazing things like being super fast and crazy clever.  They can be difference makers in the playoffs, but only if they get proper support, and I don’t mean applause or a meticulous laundry service.  I mean effective play from the lower lines.

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  Tags: andrew+desjardins, andrew+murray, benn+ferriero, brad+winchester, jamie+mcginn, todd+mclellan

Fix it please, fix it now

When I first saw that Benn Ferriero had been called up for the Sharks’ road trip, I worried that this meant Martin Havlat’s visit to the doctor had not gone well.  After all, Ferriero was the Havlat placeholder for the majority of training camp.  It might be safe to say he wasn’t used anywhere else but with Couture and Clowe on the second line.

Of course it is a relief to discover that Havlat will in fact be starting, that the trip to Cleveland went very well.  Yay!  Granted, there is no way he can live up to the hype this wait has generated but yay anyway.

So what the heck was Ferriero doing with the team yesterday, and, according to Kevin Kurz, practicing on the 4th line?  Ferriero ended up on the 3rd line, but why would they even try him on the 4th?  Once I start to worry a subject, I have to worry it to death.

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  Tags: andrew+desjardins, benn+ferriero, dany+heatley, jamie+mcginn, logan+couture, martin+havlat

Turn, turn, turn: time to win one

Turn the page.  Turn it around.  Turn up the volume.  Okay, not sure how that last one works but I think it is time for the Sharks to take a turn for the better.  Yes yes, they did win one already but that was ages ago.  We’re ready for another.

The odds of losing three in a row are not a lot better than the odds of winning three in a row.  I guess you could say three’s a charm.  The Ducks already won three in a row, has to be harder to win four, right?

The odds of the Sharks starting two seasons in a row by winning one and losing three in a row have to be very long.

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, andrew+desjardins, andrew+murray, antti+niemi, jamie+mcginn, martin+havlat, silly+prediction+methods, tommy+wingels, torrey+mitchell

Hurry up and wait

The Sharks wanted to start the season off fast.  That sounds like a good plan, even if the NHL schedule made us hurry up and wait for a week before the next game.  I also wish these starts were not against the Yotes and the Ducks. The Ducks should offer some resistance but the current incarnation of the Phoenix Coyotes is hardly rigorous competition for what some are calling the best Sharks team ever, or in a very long time.  That’s why a blowout was sort of on the agenda Saturday night, especially after that preseason game I can’t seem to remember.

Everything was going according to plan until the end.  I imagine it’s hard to keep playing hard when there’s not much push back.  The Sharks won 6-3, but for quite a while the score was lots more lopsided than that. There are several good recaps of the game: 

Fear the Fin
Mercury News
Working the Corners

If you haven’t already, go read those.  I did.

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  Tags: jamie+mcginn, phoenix+coyotes, practice, thomas+greiss, tommy+wingels

Sharks hockey starts tomorrow, and so does Greiss

Welcome back NHL hockey.  Yesterday’s practice gave me some what ifs to ponder.  What if the Sharks had to manage a penalty kill and, for whatever reason, the only forwards on the ice were McGinn & McLaren?  What if the team was down two men, and the only forward was Andrew Murray?  Apparently, in these situations, the team could make due with White and Vandermeer there too. Something tells me that exercise was more about who was on the power play than the penalty kill but it still made me wonder. 

Tomorrow the Sharks play their first game of the season, and there are several things I’m looking forward to, not the least of which is being there to hear the noise.

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  Tags: andrew+murray, antti+niemi, jamie+mcginn, jim+vandermeer, martin+havlat, thomas+greiss, tommy+wingels

Questions and a few answers

For those going to the game Saturday, the Sharks will host their annual opening night street rally from 5 to 7, next to HP Pavilion.  There will be food, music, carnival festivities (face painting, dunk tank, slap shot hockey, other fun stuff), and a scavenger hunt.  For more on the scavenger hunt and a chance to win game tickets, go to: www.sjsharks.com/streetrally.

They’ll have a benefit beer booth and Sharks gear to tempt you.  Even if you aren’t going to the game but are in the area, check that out.  It’s all subject to change in case of inclement weather, fingers crossed.

Mike Moore and Cameron MacIntyre reported to Worcester today.  Evidently MacIntyre got there last night, and was promptly interviewed.  Thanks to @worcestersharks for posting the vid.

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  Tags: antti+niemi, cameron+macintyre, frazer+mclaren, jamie+mcginn, martin+havlat, sharks+street+fair, tommy+wingels

Sharks sign Winchester: what’s it mean?

So, my roster guess is already pretty wrong.  That’s okay, I’m usually wrong about things like that.

What does signing Brad Winchester mean?  Not only did the Sharks give him a contract, they gave him one of their two remaining contract spots.  They obviously thought he could bring more to the team than most of the young players he was competing with during training camp.  That makes that contract bigger than it looks at one year for $725k. 

The list of players he was competing with includes: Jamie McGinn, Cameron MacIntyre, and John McCarthy.  Those are not all similar players but they were all competing for a lower line spot on the NHL roster. McCarthy has already been sent down.  I would have put Frazer McLaren on that list but he wasn’t fairly tested during this camp as he was recovering from injury.  So I won’t say Winchester beat him out for a spot, but there doesn’t seem to be room left for him.

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  Tags: brad+winchester, cameron+macintyre, fans, frazer+mclaren, jamie+mcginn, john+mccarthy, mike+moore

Sharks roster taking shape?  All set?

Just because it seems like the thing to do these days, I’ll share my lineup guesses.  Today could be the last chance to do that since tonight is the last exhibition game.  Announcement of the final decisions are imminent, though there aren’t a lot of decisions left to make.

Marleau-Thornton-Pavelski, Clowe-Couture-Havlat, Wingels-Handzus-Mitchell, McGinn-Desjardins-A Murray, Ferriero, McCarthy.
Boyle-Murray, Burns-Vlasic, Demers-White, Vandermeer.
Niemi, Greiss.

There, that’s what I guess the Sharks roster will look like come October.  Why?  The top six are self-evident (F and D), even if they get moved around a bit.  The goalies?  It sounds like Niemi will be just fine by the start of the season.  If not, no biggie.  He’ll be back and Greiss seems to be finding his groove.

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  Tags: andrew+murray, benn+ferriero, brad+winchester, frazer+mclaren, jamie+mcginn, jim+vandermeer, john+mccarthy, justin+braun, tommy+wingels

Don’t hurt yourself

The announcement said there were 16 thousand people there Saturday night to watch the Sharks preseason game against the Coyotes.  I thought that was a pretty good turnout. 

When people say “don’t hurt yourself,” they usually mean you are slacking off, not putting forward your best effort.  In the case of this preseason game, I would say there was some of that.  But it really is critical to not hurt yourself, so I couldn’t decide if it bothered me that a few players were just not themselves.  It’s still September, the team doesn’t need any more injuries.  Besides, in a game they will happen, like it or not.  For example: 

@PollakOnSharks:...linesman just took puck where nobody wants to get hit by a puck. He’s persevering, but in obvious discomfort.

Ugh.  So I’m not going to whine about players with nothing to gain from this game not seeming to over-extend themselves.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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  Tags: benn+ferriero, coyotes, harri+sateri, jamie+mcginn, john+mccarthy, michal+handzus, nick+petrecki, preseason

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