Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

Entries with the tag: justin braun

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

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

Sharks camp day two: “As quick as we start”

Can Sharks fans expect anything different from the mostly same Sharks as last season?  This is a question many have asked now, but to my mind it misses an important point.  This season is not last season, it would not be last season even if it were not an insanely compressed season.  This is now, that was then.  Even old habits do not manifest themselves in exactly the same way as they did yesterday.  The team is going into the unknown, without much time to prepare.  If I don't know where I'm going or what will happen there, I will always grab the old horse, the one I've known for years.

That old horse is right out in the field, I still throw a saddle on him whenever I have to ride without notice.  He is a fractious beast, headstrong and not terribly well-mannered, but I know him. I know a lot, he knows a lot, together I trust us to cope with whatever the unknown throws at us.  I cannot imagine why anyone would chose differently. 

I have seen some say that young teams will have the edge in this short race, but I don't buy it.  Go with what you know when heading into unknown territory.  Todd McLellan, without making the equine comparison, said the same thing:

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  Tags: james+sheppard, john+mccarthy, justin+bowers, justin+braun, matt+irwin, matt+tennyson, sacha+guimond

Demers and Braun on Finland

Two Sharks defensemen went to play in Finland during the lockout.  Oddly, they both returned with hand injuries and probably won't be available to start the shortened season.   The only thing that would make it more odd would be if it was the same hand.  It isn't.  Jason Demers has a soft removable cast on his right hand, Justin Braun has a cast with a port hole for ultrasound therapy on his left.

Jason Demers played 30 games with Karpat Oulu, and then some more games with Canada's team in the Spengler Cup tournament.  His team won that, which made me think I need to work on how I ask questions.  When I commented that Switzerland was a nice way to wind up his time in Europe, he left out that whole winning thing:

To have Christmas and New Years with my family was icing on the cake for that trip.

Maybe you have to be a little more explicit when asking about beating your Captain's team for a title.  Obviously time with your family is important too, but.... WINNING!!!!  In all, Demers did have a very successful time abroad:

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  Tags: finland, hand+injury, jason+demers, justin+braun, sm-liiga, spengler+cup

Broad strokes: Sharks overseas

Over the past few days, I discovered an impatience I haven't felt for a while, the "hold on, no games today?  Or tomorrow?  Or... I'm supposed to wait how long for a game?" feeling.  It was irritating, but not bad.  It reminded me of a normal hockey season.  It feels like being all adapted to the new hockey universe.

This impatience drove me to start hunting for European and KHL games online.  This is not only difficult because feeds tend to move around, but also because an audio feed will not do. I don't speak most of the languages these games are broadcast in.   I did manage to dig up a Dinamo Minsk game going on yesterday morning.  A video feed was not available to me (which only took me about an hour to figure out) but following the scoreboard was better than nothing. So that was fun, except that Minsk blew a lead and fell 6-3.  At least Pavelski got a goal.

There are several Sharks abroad.   I found the following information online, but I can't be sure how complete it is.  I started with Eurohockey.com because they have an easy search that found most of the Sharks quickly.  From there I sort of wandered:

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  Tags: antti+niemi, bundesliga, del, douglas+murray, jason+demers, joe+pavelski, joe+thornton, justin+braun, khl, logan+couture, michal+handzus, nla, sm-liiga, t.j.+galiardi, thomas+greiss, tommy+wingels

Getting accustomed: Bulls win 3 of 4, NHL still winless

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:

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  Tags: echl, justin+braun, lockout, pat+curcio, sf+bulls

4 or 5 like Braun

Cap Geek released the details of the new contracts for Andrew Desjardins (1 year, $640k) and Justin Braun (3 years with average cap hit of $1.25m).  Information about Tommy Wingels’ contract was released a little earlier, but to make the list complete, he has a 2 year contract with a cap hit of $775k.  Also made official yesterday was Brad Stuart’s contract, 3 years at $3.6m.

So, what next?  The Sharks are still looking for a winger or two, and they are a little cap heavy on defense.  Numbers-wise, there are only 7 NHL defensemen under contract.  If they decide they cannot have so much cap space wrapped up on defense, they will have to move one of the blue liners to get that winger they want.  “That winger…” Gee, where have I heard that before?  Oh well, at least they’re not shopping for defense.

Moving a defenseman out would leave them with Worcester prospects or someone from free agency to fill in the seventh spot.  How confident are they that they could go into next season with only Worcester players to fill in as the seventh defenseman?  Last season the team used all 8 defensemen, even called up a 9th at one point.  So, are the Sharks ready to start with only 6 proven NHL d-men now?

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  Tags: jason+demers, justin+braun, kurt+gogol, matt+irwin, nick+petrecki, sena+acolatse, taylor+doherty, worcester+sharks

How much should we put on Todd McLellan for the Sharks’ season?

Still waiting for news from Shark Territory.  Today I listened to the Morning Skate radio show out of Ohio.  They mentioned McLellan as one of the coaches currently under review, who might become available. He was not among the radio show’s first two choices for the Blue Jackets—Alain Vigneault and Guy Boucher were. What I found curious was that Joel Quenneville was on that list too. Really? I didn’t follow the Blackhawks closely at all this season, but what are the chances he’s gone? Tom Renney rounded out that list. Anyway, the lengthy review process puts McLellan in a mixed company of coaches not yet guaranteed a job next season.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun have been playing in the World Championships, but Vlasic was injured in the last game against the USA. It didn’t look very grave but he was listed as day to day with a lower body injury.  Now he is not expected to return to the tournament.

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  Tags: doug+wilson, iihf+world+championships, justin+braun, marc-edouard+vlasic, todd+mclellan, trent+yawney

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

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

Red Wings @ Sharks, pregame notes

Red Wings at HP tonight.  Datsyuk in, Lidstrom still out. Franzen

maybe but he

didn’t skate this morning.  The Red Wings are on a losing streak, some say it a sign of things to come for post-Lidstrom hockey in Detroit.  Lidstrom may not be playing tonight but the Red Wings are not “post-Lidstrom” yet.  Besides, Datsyuk is back.  I am overwrought with concern for his health, quite appalled that they would let him play so soon after his surgery.  He should by no means be playing yet, he should wait until Monday.

Too bad.

Even with Wingels’ recent injury, the Sharks are healthier than they’ve been in a while.  If indeed neither White nor Vandermeer are injured even a little, playing Demers and Braun together may signal a real shift in philosophy for the Sharks.  I like it.

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  Tags: detroit+red+wings, jason+demers, justin+braun

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.

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  Tags: dominic+moore, ides+of+march, justin+braun, martin+havlat, ryane+clowe, todd+mclellan

Almost half way there

One of the things that stuck out for me in the Sharks’ Tuesday loss to Minnesota was how many times Niemi got run into or buried under bodies. He seems like a sturdy fellow but that has to be kind of tough on a goalie. That’s a special kind of failure to defend. That was just one symptom of breakdowns from the Sharks. There were enough such to have McLellan shuffling the lines and looking very cross. I just hope Niemi didn’t get banged up, bent wrong or otherwise harmed under there.

The television cameras gave us a good indication of why Ryane Clowe will be wearing a cage for the next week.  Apparently the treatment of bleeding noses makes good tv. 

Of course the last-minute comeback to push the game to overtime was fun also.  That those goals came from the team’s usual suspects made me wonder about a couple of things.

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, dan+boyle, jason+demers, justin+braun, la+kings, mid-season+standings, patrick+marleau, 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

Thanksgiving

It took me a lot longer than I expected to get back online after the trip to Vancouver.  The access was there (even at the Vancouver airport, so very nice of them!), but I couldn’t think clearly at all.  I was distracted by things like what it means that I’m watching a hockey game on my phone in an airport waiting room while a young man in hiking boots across from me is knitting.  Am I sexist for noticing that?  Was that legitimately unusual or am I an old fuddy-duddy?  In any case, the whole moving from place to place left me disoriented and I’m still a little fuzzy.

The Sharks have announced their Black Friday sale.  That would be coming up on Black Friday, which is Friday.  Everything except jerseys will be marked down 30%, and jersey customization will be available on site for $65.

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  Tags: black+friday, colin+white, justin+braun, marc-edouard+vlasic, martin+havlat, sale

Remember the 3rd, Sharks, remember the 3rd!

Tonight the Sharks play the Coyotes.  Greiss will be in net. Wow.  I mean yay! and also wow.  Maybe the Coyotes games will be Greiss’ games this season?

The Coyotes are in 8th place in the Western Conference right now.  That’s four spots behind the Sharks but only two points behind.  I could say the Coyotes are nipping at the Sharks’ heels but sharks don’t have feet.

I don’t think many people thought Mike Smith was a great replacement for Ilya Bryzgalov, but considering Bryz was given the elite streets of gold treatment last Summer, I don’t think replacing him was ever in the cards for the Coyotes.  But I also think a lot of people underestimate Smith.  He made a pretty good showing in the playoffs for Tampa Bay.  Combined with the Yotes’ tendency to show up and work hard, Smith and company might be one of those teams you have to be very careful not to take for granted, even if your last meeting was a blow-out in your favor.  Remember the 3rd, Sharks, remember the 3rd!

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  Tags: colin+white, dany+heatley, devin+setoguchi, douglas+murray, jason+demers, justin+braun, marc-edouard+vlasic, mike+smith, minnesota+wild, phoenix+coyotes, todd+mclellan

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

The Kings’ new clothes

Here’s what’s been said about last night’s game against the LA Kings: “Sharks hold court over Kings in 4-2 win,”  “Sharks learn from mistakes, trump Kings 4-2,” “San Jose Sharks defeat Los Angeles Kings 4-2.”  Now that’s more like it, Sharks.

During the second intermission, I heard a man say behind me “3-1, huh? Isn’t that what the score was last time…” But another man cut him off saying “What the hell… saying that…. What are you trying to do?!?”

I kept telling myself “lightning never strikes the same spot twice, right?”  Of course we all know that isn’t true, especially if you set up a lightning rod.

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  Tags: colin+white, dan+boyle, douglas+murray, jason+demers, justin+braun, los+angeles+kings, marc-edouard+vlasic

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

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

Niemi, Stalock on the ice, Wingels on 3rd, who’s on 4th?

When you know someone has been hurt, you watch them differently than you would watch someone you assume to be healthy.  Any little misstep will be cause for doubt.  Considering the gravity of the injury sustained by Alex Stalock last season, I think it’s nothing short of a miracle that I only noticed one misstep this morning.  He wore lower pads only. I’m no expert and I don’t know how his leg feels but it looked like both legs were doing what he told them to. Between exercises, he tossed the puck around, hitting the wall, and shooting at both nets.  Part of me thought “Dude! Don’t even play around with putting the puck in your own net!” But having fun is good for healing, so he should do whatever amuses him for now.

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  Tags: alex+stalock, antti+niemi, ben+guite, justin+braun, matt+pelech, sean+sullivan, tommy+wingels

Sharks Training Camp 2011, Day 2

Sunday morning, Sharks Ice
I spent Saturday feeling like a rat in a kitchen, and I don’t mean an “ooh goody I found a bag of oatmeal next to this big wheel of cheese” happy rat.  For the record, no one tried to stomp me, it was just a state of mind I get into when I’m in new situations.  That level of crazy has subsided, partly because there is nothing scheduled that might involve me falling into a situation that is so insanely foreign to me that I start chewing on the walls.  Another part of it is: they let me back in.  I guess I didn’t break anything.

I’m sorry I don’t have a decent report from yesterday.  I actually wrote a lot about that but it all boiled down to a drawn-out scream of “what am I doing here?” and had nothing to do with the Sharks.  You can’t choose which part of the lake they throw you into, and you can’t learn to swim any faster for being thrown in the deep end.  First time in the water, not drowning is a win.

Today it is almost like normal me being at practice, except that I don’t absolutely have to sit on the cold benches by the rink.  I probably will go out there anyway, because not being able to hear the skating gives me the jitters.  I ventured into the building without a coat.  It’s like running around naked.

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  Tags: benn+ferriero, colin+white, jason+demers, justin+braun, training+camp+2011

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