Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick


Todd McLellan had to leave the game for treatment after a Wild stick hit him in the head when a Sharks player not to be named here pushed that Wild player into the bench. Please let McLellan be okay, least of all because the Sharks need him.

“Man is harder than iron, stronger than stone and more fragile than a rose.” -Turkish proverb

Then the Sharks lost, 4-3.  That stung.  I spent the day reviewing this “first to three” notion.  I don’t think winning teams abide by it.

I was so happy for those days after the Sharks won a game… oh… wait, how long ago was that? Maybe it was the Flyers. Yep, it was the Flyers, last night. I cannot recall when the Sharks last won. I was so happy about that too, I was afraid to write anything in case I jinxed it.

Then this. Congratulations to Jed Ortmeyer for the game winning goal. Maybe they won’t send him right back to the AHL. It is really very unjust of the Wild to keep doing that.

Couture got hit too, and hit and hit and hit and no one responded, even after he had to leave the game mostly on one leg. Evidently Clowe doesn’t know how to respond without fighting and that was off the menu. It would seem no one else knows how to respond at all. Excellent.

I’m being too hard on Clowe there.  I did see him throw some hits, especially after Couture left.  I just didn’t see any significant change in the way the Sharks were playing after their coach was taken out, and then Couture.  Why didn’t either of those events galvanize them? 

It must be because the Sharks are so fragile. I thought that was a cute slip of the tongue when Couture first said it. I hoped it was, instead of a glimpse into the fast disintegrating psyche of the team. Now I am not so sure.


Definitions: easily broken or destroyed, constitutionally delicate, lacking in vigor

Synonyms: breakable, delicate, frail, frangible

Don’t know what “frangible” means? It means fragile.

Fragile.  First Couture said it in December. Then Thornton said it again this month. Then Hedican repeated it tonight before the game, without questioning it. Then Remenda did the same, after the game: “this team is fragile.”

You see what you started, Couture? Leadership is a powerful thing, use it wisely. This is not how you should use it.

Before the game, while Randy and Drew were discussing what you do with a slumping team, they talked about how you don’t dwell on mistakes, you move on, like you do with your kids.

I’m not an expert on this school of thought that says you should not make and keep a list forever and ever of every single *#$%@& up in your life. Who needs a prayer book when you have the Unabridged History of Your Sins to review as you lay you down to sleep?

I have heard about this newfangled theory of forgetfulness and feminine management style where you don’t bludgeon people with their mistakes. It’s not instinctive for me but I understand the theory. I have found it helpful for training nervous, fearful horses who are too flighty and not fighty enough. You need to dwell on the positive, work around the negative, build trust and confidence.  As for people, well, telling them they are wrong and bad is rude.  That’s something I’m working on.

Yet the Sharks say “fragile.” Why are the Sharks so very fragile? Do they need to be slapped in the belly with an empty gunnysack until they stop flinching? That’s how you desensitize horses. (This does not hurt them.) No? Okay, they need positive reinforcement.

How is calling themselves “fragile” in any way positive?

“Sometimes I wish I could walk around with a HANDLE WITH CARE sign stuck to my forehead.”
― Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

You can talk yourself out of being weak, or afraid, or in pain. If it isn’t a fatal wound, you really can, but you do not begin with “I’m so weak and afraid and it hurts so much….” No, you begin with “I can do this, I am strong, I am brave,” that kind of fluffy happy stuff I never learned in the school of “cowgirl up and get over it you useless lump.”

I know that the old school of child and people training was not ideal. But I don’t think the Sharks are using this modern one correctly. I mean, behold the results. There must be a happy middle ground. To hear them talk about their fragility and their bad habits you’d think they were all doing time in a rehab facility.

I wonder if they meet regularly with a sports psychologist?  If not, now would be a good time to start.  Quick, now, before it is too late. I would bet money that s/he says “stop calling yourself fragile.”

ANTONYMS: infrangible, nonbreakable, strong, sturdy, tough, unbreakable

You are what you think you are. The Sharks need to start thinking something other than “fragile.”  “Infrangible” will do.

“..It occurs to me that the peculiarity of most things we think of as fragile is how tough they truly are… Hearts may break, but hearts are the toughest of muscles, able to pump for a lifetime, seventy times a minute, and scarcely falter along the way. Even dreams, the most delicate and intangible of things, can prove remarkable difficult to kill.”
― Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: bret+hedican, drew+remenda, fragile, joe+thornton, logan+couture, psychology



Umm ...sort of ok writing job but where’s the hockey talk?

Posted by justagoalie on 02/27/12 at 03:27 AM ET

petshark's avatar

Thanks for stopping by. See the about blurb to the right for what I usually write about here.

Posted by petshark from Nor Cal, and on Twitter @petshark47 on 02/27/12 at 04:38 AM ET

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About Petshark: Talking Stick

Native of Northern California.  Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.

I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle.  I watch, I react, I write it down.

My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked.  I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind.  When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom.  It hasn't, I don't think it will.  At all.

Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.

I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.

I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at talkingstick@petshark.net