Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

Entries with the tag: ryane clowe

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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Filed in: hockey, , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+desjardins, antti+niemi, brent+burns, douglas+murray, genius, jason+demers, logan+couture, los+angeles+kings, matt+irwin, ryane+clowe, todd+mclellan

It looks like the Ducks, it sounds like the Pond…

I'd really have to see them walk to be sure.  These don't seem like the Ducks we all knew, didn't like, and that the Sharks could usually beat back in the day.   Last season was one thing.  The Ducks beating the Sharks so often seemed like one of many very strange happenings in a very bad season.  But this season?  What do the Ducks know that the Sharks don't?

The Ducks blocked 24 shots to the Sharks 15. Maybe this game was about slowing the future Ducks down since they obviously have San Jose's number.  Hitting them with a lot of shots is one way to do that.  Another stat that was kind of interesting was that the Ducks out-hit the Sharks 23-19, and out-shot them 32-26.  Doesn't the team without the puck usually hit the most?  So the Sharks had the puck, and didn't shoot it?   I guess if you count the blocked shots in there it isn't so bad.

Couture scored the only Sharks goal.  That wasn't so unusual, but to have the assists go to Andrew Desjardins from fourth line, and Tommy Wingels from the third, that was kind of cool and unlikely.  I guess that's what happens to the lines when Clowe gets sent away for nearly a third of the game.

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, andrew+desjardins, douglas+murray, jason+demers, logan+couture, martin+havlat, michal+handzus, penalty+kill, ryane+clowe, tommy+wingels

Unassisted

It's fairly unusual to have no assists given when a team scores four times in a game, especially when they are the only goals that team scored.  It almost makes you think of the dread hazard: "playing like individuals instead of a team."  In the case of the Sharks last night, I don't think that was the situation at all, though all of their goals were unassisted or shootout goals. 

Yet none of those goals only belonged to the guys who got credit for them.  Even the shootout goals were the result of the team making it through overtime.  Couture's goal was beholden to Scott Gomez, who successfully got the puck away from Whitney at the perfect time for Couture to take it.  Joe Pavelski's goal... well, yes, he did race up the ice, take the puck away from two players and put it in the net.  But he had help getting that opportunity too: Boyle and Clowe closed on Yakupov at the same time.  Boyle got the puck off the stick, and Clowe was in the way so the talented Edmonton forward couldn't get right after Pavelski.  "Unassisted" sounds so solitary, it makes you think a whole bunch of players are going uncredited.

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Filed in: hockey, , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: bret+hedican, commentary, dan+boyle, edmonton+oilers, fear+the+fin, jamie+baker, joe+pavelski, michal+handzus, ryane+clowe

The checklist: things to track while your team is just winning

The Sharks appear to be working from a checklist.  Obviously scoring in the first period is on that list.  They have done that ever since that disappointing game in Calgary.    Also, power play goals are important, their power play lacked some shock and awe last season.   Needed to fix that.

Patrick Marleau had his two-goals-a-game objective.  Perhaps that was drawing too much public attention away from the team, so he skipped it last night.  Making NHL history would be way too high profile for such a modest guy.  Still, it was clear that the Sharks wanted to get that 2nd goal for Marleau, because historic records are fun to hold.  Too bad they were so worn out from back to back games.  

Who were they playing against last night?  I thought I heard it was some team that had a winning streak at HP Pavilion to defend.  Does it even matter who the Sharks play anymore?

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  Tags: andrew+desjardins, antti+niemi, dan+boyle, patrick+marleau, penalty+kill, post, power+play, ryane+clowe

Training camp opens: it’ll be over before you know it

Are the Sharks ready?  Is anyone? 

I had to decide not to go to training camp today since I had plans to go with friends to a Bulls game.  It takes us months to find a date that works for all of us, so I don't have regrets there.  But I am cranky that the Sharks couldn't skate early enough for me to do both.  It irked me that Flyers and Red Wings had volunteered to do physicals yesterday, and as far as I know Sharks didn't.  My crankiness is no doubt amplified by eager impatience for this season to get going.

Dan Boyle explained that this eagerness is shared by the players.  They can't truly know if they are ready either:

I did the best that I could to stay in shape... as much as you try, I think you need to play games to get into game shape.  It may take a week or two but... Everybody's so excited to be playing, I think adrenaline will kick in and this was just such a miserable summer for everyone so we're all excited to be back on the ice.  It should be a pretty exciting start to the season.

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  Tags: bracken+kearns, dan+boyle, frazer+mclaren, james+sheppard, john+mccarthy, matt+irwin, matt+pelech, matt+tennyson, nick+petrecki, ryane+clowe, training+camp

Bulls’ winning streak against Thunder ends in San Jose

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

Plenty of hockey today

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?

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Filed in: , hockey, , San Jose Sharks, , | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: ahl, cba, devin+setoguchi, echl, ryane+clowe, sf+bulls, theo+peckham, worcester+sharks

Enough lockout non-news

There's a theory that refusing to give voice to your dark thoughts is more productive than letting rants run riot.  I'm going to try that.  The NHL CBA negotiations are going nowhere, both sides look kind of stupid, childish and not the least concerned with whether or not we see any NHL hockey this season.  That wasn't a rant, just a brief statement of fact.  A more comprehensive discussion of the situation can be found here from Elliotte Friedman.

Here are some bits of info I've picked up about players and teams that matter in my hockey universe: Back on September 29th, Logan Couture's team beat Joe Thornton's now Rick Nashless team in Switzerland:

@Logancouture: Big win for @OfficialGSHC. Also bragging rights over the big guy!

Jason Demers is getting rave (or maybe just good) reviews in Finland.  Really it's hard to get the details via Google Translate and I won't apologize for not speaking Finnish.  I hear it is a very difficult language.

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  Tags: jason+demers, joe+thornton, logan+couture, nhl+cba, patrick+marleau, ryane+clowe, sf+bulls, srjc+polar+bears, tommy+wingels

Ring Pavlov’s bell in San Jose, who drools first?

Among other things that went wrong in Pittsburgh during the playoffs, Evgeni Malkin was unrelentingly pestered to the point of frustration by a 19 year old Flyer rookie.  I mention this as I did yesterday not only because it gives me tremendous satisfaction but because the same thing happened to a lot of teams this season: a bunch of new kids beat the old guard.  Hell, even the Coyotes made it out of the first round for the first time.

Jason Plank ‏ @fearthefin: “First time since 2001 that one of Detroit, Vancouver, or San Jose failed to advance to second round. All went out in 5 games this year.”

Even veterans fall down.  They tend to get back up and make adjustments quicker than a first-timer does.  The Sharks all just fell down together big time, I don’t want Doug Wilson to waste that lesson by sending a bunch of them packing and bringing in guys who have no memory of the group fail.  It’s time to get some heads examined, because body-swapping has lost its kick.  Or you can keep trying to get a better fix like a proper junkie would.

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  Tags: addiction, joe+pavelski, patrick+marleau, ryane+clowe, trade

Let’s get it going

In the last couple of hours before the game started, there were tweets about cooking, wanting to puke, trouble breathing, and countless calls to “drop the puck already!” After a busy day I was able to engage in some nervous house tidying and, after all those tweets about cooking, I had to make some food.  I put Darla’s orange collar on but had to stop myself before changing Marleau’s to teal.  No need, it was just Wednesday.

Sharks fans had to wait an extra day for the playoffs to start, or that’s how it feels anyway.  Through all that waiting I still couldn’t make any sense of the noise, the predictions, the hype.  It’s nerve-wracking, I can’t imagine how fans do it for more than one sport.

“Everybody looks good and looks healthy,” Joe Thornton said. “Let’s get it going.” -Working the Corners

I couldn’t agree more.

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  Tags: joe+thornton, playoffs, ryane+clowe, saint+joseph, saint+louis

Experienced?

The Sharks used two sheets of ice today, skated for well over an hour.  Mitchell practiced on the third line without sharing the spot with Handzus.  Evidently he suffered no ill effects from yesterday’s practice.  Clowe was still out, which is alarming despite the assurances that he will be fine for Game 1.  When teams start using playoff-speak, I need to see with my own eyes to believe.

That Brian Elliott was injured in practice has most people thinking Halak will start for the Blues.  Since they traded Bishop away, they don’t have an experienced NHL backup.  I don’t think it matters a lot unless Elliott’s injury is a lot more severe than anyone thinks.

I keep hearing predictions that say the Sharks have more recent playoff experience than the Blues, but the Blues will win the series anyway.  Pshaw.  If the Sharks can beat the Blues even once,  why not four times?  I want to look at the other, more verifiable claim: that the Sharks have more playoff experience than the Blues have and this matters.  I know it matters, I believe the Sharks have more experience, but sometimes I like to make lists anyway.

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  Tags: experience, playoffs, ryane+clowe, st+louis+blues, todd+mclellan, torrey+mitchell

Sharks 2012 Postseason, Day 1

The Sharks skated for a fairly long time today, as could be expected after a day off and with no game until Thursday.  There’s also those 15 things they have to work on, some of which are detailed at Working the Corners.  Unlike that skate, this will be short.

It took a really long time for anything like lines to appear through a jumble of drills, but I waited them out.  Maybe I just waited until I started seeing things.  I have to allow for that since David Pollak said this:

But lines were jumbled without Clowe so it’s not worth my time or yours to point out the combinations on the ice unless you think Brad Winchester, Marty Havlat and Tommy Wingels will be sharing shifts. -Working the Corners

Nuthin’ but time here, so this is what I thought I saw.

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  Tags: colin+white, ryane+clowe, torrey+mitchell

O me of little faith

Here’s another interesting word: doubt.  Nowadays it means “I don’t think it will happen but I’m not sure.”  It used to mean “I think it will happen but I’m not sure.”  It’s a subtle difference but it’s noteworthy.

Tickets for the Sharks’ first round of the playoffs go on sale tomorrow morning, though the dates of those games have yet to be announced.  I guess everyone has a general idea, give or take a day.  The tickets will be on sale Saturday at 10:00 am, online at Ticketmaster (Game A, Game B) or from the HP ticket office using a wristband procedure detailed here.

I wouldn’t say I doubted that the Sharks would make it into the playoffs (by either definition) but I certainly didn’t have faith that they would.  I can’t say what the Sharks’ frame of mind was, surely they must have had some faith.  But prior to the game, the Sharks were certainly not expecting any help from outside sources:

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  Tags: doubt, douglas+murray, faith, joe+thornton, playoff, ryane+clowe, tickets, todd+mclellan

Ratto vs. Remenda, Sharks in 9th… Don’t Explain

After last night’s game, Drew Remenda and Ray Ratto had a disagreement on television.  It distracted somewhat from the awful fact that the Sharks lost again when they should not have:

Chris Sampang ‏ @chrissampang: “There’s something sad when the entire #SJSharks fanbase is reduced to “Ratto was right” or “Drew was right,” instead of celebrating a clinch”

Of course neither Ratto nor Remenda is right, not really.  I sympathize with both views, and I think both could result from a genuine interest in seeing the Sharks do well.  You can watch the video of the smackdown here. I’ve transcribed the basics at the end of this post.

None of us out here can know whether the Sharks can’t do it or won’t do it.  Neither can I know how much Ratto or Remenda care about how the Sharks do, or how representative they are of their respective constituencies.  There are a whole lot of words flying around that don’t tell us a great deal.

We certainly can’t predict what the Sharks will do in the end.  I didn’t have much to say about last night’s game, couldn’t muster the energy to pick a side in the R-R fight.  I still don’t, but for reasons unrelated to hockey, I was listening to Billie Holiday’s Don’t Explain.

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  Tags: drew+remenda, ray+ratto, ryane+clowe, sad+songs, the+end+is+nigh

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

Next rest: 200 miles

I’m not really going to talk about that Ducks @ Sharks game.  It does not merit the effort.  I pity the souls who were obliged to do it.  As I tweeted last night, the time I spent watching that game would have been better spent gouging my eyes out with a plastic fork.  So I’ll tell you about driving from the Bay Area to Los Angeles instead.

You need to drive California to get a sense of it.  Flying over it will not do and often takes as long. I don’t know how the first Euro-Californians could even conceive of California as a single geographical unit. There are states back East and countries in Europe that could fit on a cattle ranch in California.  I think General Vallejo, when he designated his Northern California ranch, he must have said “I do not want to be able to find the boundaries of my land.  If I can find the end of it, it is too small.”

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  Tags: anaheim+ducks, california, i-5, la, road+travel, running+late, ryane+clowe

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

Looking for wins

There are bounces and there are mistakes and there are travel delays and three games in four days and freak accidents and injuries… and the Sharks lose again.  I’m all out of anger and sorrow.  Despair starts to set in.  I walk away from the game, start doing the laundry and the dishes.  I can’t really walk away, I keep poking my head around the corner to peek at the tv, I keep hoping.  It doesn’t work out.

Later, Ryane Clowe said “We’re looking for wins…” (Sharks Talk)  That made me start humming “in all the wrong places….”  When I start humming country songs, I know I’m in a bad place, is that stale beer I smell?  I moved on to a better tune, that old standby from Monty Python.

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  Tags: adirondack+phantoms, logan+couture, monty+python, ryane+clowe, stockton+thunder, trenton+titans, worcester+sharks

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

Mug safety and other thoughts

Something, presumably not grave, happened to the Sharks number one goalie yesterday in practice.  I will assume it had nothing to do with a baseball bat:

@PollakOnSharks: “Change in net: #Sjshark Niemi dinged up in practice and Tyson Sexsmith recalled from WOR to serve as Greiss’s back-up tonight vs. DAL.”

If you’ve been following Twitter news about Alex Stalock, you might wonder why the Sharks would fly Sexsmith all the way out here and send Nitty back to Worcester instead of just bringing Stalock over from Stockton.  Sure, Sexsmith is higher in the depth chart but all that to and fro air travel is hardly a sound ecological strategy.  Luckily, I stumbled on an answering machine tape out in Stockton that recorded this recent phone call:

“Hi, Dan, Doug here.  How are you this morning?”
“No.”

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  Tags: al+stalock, antti+niemi, fictional+conversations, john+mccarthy, ryane+clowe, stockton+thunder, thomas+greiss, tyson+sexsmith

Dinner with Douglas Murray: 21k. Burns back in the lineup: priceless?

At the last minute I got a break on some tickets to the Sharks Foundation benefit at Club Auto Sport, San Jose (sponsored by Porsche and Joseph Georges wines).  It seemed like the sort of thing I should check out if at all possible so I did.  Granted, I have a moderately bad reaction to wine, and I’m no petrolhead, so it wasn’t the kind of event I would normally attend.  Even so, there were some good wines and a lot of pretty cars that even I could appreciate after I got over the flushed, feverish sick feeling that hits me when I drink wine.  Even a tiny bit of wine, it seems.  They tasted good anyway.  And how can you not love a DeLorean tricked out as a time machine?  Yes, fun and pretty cars.

There were a lot of photos being taken but I didn’t see any autographs being done.  That lent a casual, friendly air to the event.  Of course I could have missed them if they were discreet.  A reliable eye-witness I am not.  I didn’t see anyone climbing inside the cars, it is possible that this was not permitted.  I did not ask. In the back there was a little Ferrari room, with Ferraris in it. 

The silent auction sold mostly large bottles of wine that had been autographed by the team.  The live auction featured the ever-popular dinner for four with Douglas Murray. The high bid for that was around 21k.  Um. Wow.  I’m going to guess the event raised a whole lotta money for the Sharks Foundation.

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, jason+demers, jim+vandermeer, john+mccarthy, ryane+clowe

One (?) singular sensation

Tonight the Sharks face the Ottawa Senators for the one and only time this season.  Ottawa’s team has been, yes, I know, this is bad… sensational.  But they have been.  Merriam Webster defines sensational as “exceedingly or unexpectedly excellent or great.”  With so many players who are either oft injured, old or very young, the team was not expected to do so well this season.  Here are some comments from back in October about the Sens’ prospects for this season:

In the final pre-season, we caught a glimpse of the future.

Plucky upstart roster squeaks win thanks to stellar goaltending.  You could have turned off the lights in the Gardens, and the combined gleaming grins of Sens management would have kept the building well-lit.  The win was a paint by numbers Picasso, nothing beautiful, but as close as possible to the real thing as could be expected from a squad of mostly rookies. -Sen Say, October 3

So what if it hasn’t been those rookies carrying the scoring?  Who expected Michalek’s resurgence, or Alfredsson’s renaissance?  Certainly not Sens fans.  Who saw Turris getting his act together so quickly?  No one who was watching him out here.  But here Sens fans are in January, and their team hasn’t fallen on its face yet.  This wasn’t even the plan, which was to rebuild:

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  Tags: andrew+desjardins, frazer+mclaren, ottawa+senators, ryane+clowe, safety, visors

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

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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Filed in: hockey, , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: cal+clutterbuck, dany+heatley, devin+setoguchi, high+school+hockey, jack+jablonski, jamie+mcginn, jenna+privette, joe+pavelski, logan+couture, minnesota+wild, ryane+clowe

Starting from zero: new coaches in So Cal, new trends in San Jose

Last night, the California NHL teams with new coaches faced off.  The game went to a shootout.  I think this could be good news for Sharks fans, because unless both the Kings and the Ducks have already made enormous strides with their new coaches, it looks like they are not much changed from the state of terrible that got their previous coaches fired.  I don’t know how many people expected dramatic improvement, especially from the Kings since their new coach just arrived the day before. Coaches aside, these are mostly the same teams that suddenly failed to perform for coaches they did pretty well with last season.

I am not above wanting our team’s opponents to play badly.  Hockey players may be proud enough to prefer to win a good game instead of an uneven one, but I don’t have any compunctions about being greedy for points no matter who the Sharks get them from.  What about that idea that the Sharks play better against tougher opponents?  Throw it out.  What about the fact that the Sharks played better on the road?  Toss it.  What about the Sharks playing better in the [fill in the blank] period and falling down in the others?  Forget it.  Starting from zero is the best approach after a gluttonous victory like we saw Wednesday.  That game against Tampa Bay broke with all the Sharks’ trends this season, including being the fourth home win in a row.

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Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: darryl+sutter, dwayne+roloson, helene+elliott, la+kings, ryane+clowe, todd+mclellan

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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Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: brent+burns, defense, joe+thornton, justin+braun, ryane+clowe

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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Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  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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Filed in: hockey, , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: antti+niemi, brad+winchester, brent+burns, jamie+mcginn, jason+demers, jim+vandermeer, red+card, ryane+clowe, todd+mclellan, travel

Look on the bright side of loss

I did harp on how important the third period would be in last night’s Coyotes @ Sharks game.  I’d like to start with how obvious it was that the Sharks took the third period very seriously, worked hard and had their heads in the game, even if the first and the second periods slipped through the cracks.

I’d like to, but I have to settle for giving the team the benefit of the doubt and supposing they were trying really hard to get their act together, in some subtle way I just couldn’t see.  They were more frantic but no more effective.  After all, Thornton was bleeding from his face.  He must have been trying to do something.

The Sharks again outshot their opponent, in the second 2 periods by 11-5 and 13-7.  So they were doing something.

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  Tags: dan+boyle, mike+smith, minnesota+wild, phoenix+coyotes, ryane+clowe, todd+mclellan, worcester+sharks

Be careful what you wish for

Todd McLellan wanted a good start against the Predators, a good first period from the Sharks.  He got one.  I guess he phrased his wish incorrectly because the genie forgot to include a good finish with that good start.  Apparently McLellan isn’t as upset about Saturday’s loss as he was about Thursday’s win:

“... I thought we had a much better game, we just didn’t win. There was about a 10-minute lull in the third period where we weren’t our best. But, sometimes we don’t give enough credit to the other team… They were better for that 10 and 12 minutes, and we didn’t stop them.

“... The whole was better than it was two nights earlier.”  -Shark Talk

When the game ended, I felt the same way, and wasn’t sure why.  Maybe I was still drunk from the Flyers win earlier.  Or maybe it’s the surgeon’s logic: the operation was a success, but the patient died.

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  Tags: antti+niemi, benn+ferriero, la+kings, mike+richards, ryane+clowe, simon+gagne, simon+gagne, thomas+greiss, todd+mclellan

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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Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: jamie+mcginn, justin+braun, marc-andre+fleury, patrick+marleau, pittsburgh+penguins, ryane+clowe, thomas+greiss

“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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Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: brent+burns, harri+stateri, joe+thornton, martin+havlat, out+of+sync, road+trip, ryane+clowe, thomas+heemskerk, twitter

Brian Elliott has a good game

I tune in a little late and then start writing because if the Sharks lose I hate writing about it, better to start before it happens.  I see the lineups flash across the screen.

Wow, I did not see that coming, 7D and no Wingels.  Mitchell on the second line I didn’t think about but I can see how that’s an option.  Andrew Murray up on the the third line.  Well, he has been very steady.

Andrew Murray gets smushed, Clowe takes issue with that.  Randy says we would like to get the power play but you also like to see Clowe standing up for his teammate.  Hm.  I’ll take the power play for 2, Randy.  Oh well.

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  Tags: brian+elliott, michal+handzus, ryane+clowe, st+louis+blues, stream+of+consciousness, thomas+greiss

Bobbled pucks, fading off, and other signs of shellfish poisoning

People get hurt in all kinds of situations but it’s more likely when people are confused and scrambling.  Last night, the Ducks’ Jason Blake was the unlucky party:

“It was a weird, freak play – the battle in the faceoff and I didn’t really know he fell right away. He was kind of behind me” Burns, continued: ” ...the puck was there and I was trying to kick the puck up and I think he was trying to get the puck. It was just a battle and I didn’t even know he was on the ground.” -David Pollak’s Twitter feed

All seem to agree that it was a freak accident, but one of the things that tends to happen when things are going badly is someone gets hurt.

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Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: anaheim+ducks, ryane+clowe, thomas+greiss, todd+mclellan

Sharks top lines, all set (?)

Brodie Brazil had a few things to say about how the Sharks’ top lines will look when the season starts:

Go ahead and ink in Joe Thornton, centering Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski.  There’s San Jose’s top line to begin the season…it’s pretty clear to see Todd McLellan following that with Logan Couture, flanked by Ryane Clowe and Martin Havlat. -Sharks Talk

I must have missed the quote where McLellan says he’s sorted out the 3rd slots on the top lines and isn’t giving it another thought.

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Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: benn+ferriero, joe+pavelski, joe+thornton, line+combinations, logan+couture, martin+havlat, patrick+marleau, ryane+clowe

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