Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

Old dogs and new tricks

Dan Boyle gave an injury update last night after the game:

“I don’t want to make it sound like an excuse, but [injuries have] been a factor. I had a broken foot there for a while, and it really hurt my skating. Just being healthy for me has been a big difference the last five or six games or so.”  -Sharks Talk

“A big difference.”  You don’t say. 

Let’s go back a little ways in the saga of Dan Boyle explaining his troubles this season:

“The game’s changed,” he said. “Everybody’s playing the same way – the neutral zone is pretty much eliminated, which is where I get a lot of my offense. Everybody just fires long bombs, chipping it in. It’s just a little bit more frustrating for me.”  -Working the Corners, Nov 27, 2011

There’s that.  Maybe Boyle was in the painful process of updating and revamping his style of play.  Or maybe his sticks were too long and he had a broken foot.

From what I have heard other players say, those things can really mess with your game.  I think remember Simon Gagne playing with a broken foot, but if I recall correctly, even he took a couple games off, during the playoffs.  I think there were a lot of broken Flyer feet on that team that season, and most of them went missing at least for a bit because of it. Maybe Boyle is special.  I think he is a special player.  Maybe he’s so special that broken feet and stick length should make no diff to him.

Boyle, Boyle, Boyle.  What else are you hiding?

It seems more and more likely that Matt Irwin was, after all, called up in case Boyle had to be declared injured, what with him being injured.  Boyle is feeling better, and Irwin has been sent back to Worcester. 

Speaking of hidden things, I did a post a while back about the new boards at HP and in the Sharks’ rink at Sharks Ice.  That post was eaten by the tech gremlins, as were the comments posted about it.  But I have a distinct memory of someone posting a comment to the effect of “I’ve skated in the Sharks’ practice rink at Sharks Ice and there’s this gap in the top of the new boards and me and my buddies have gotten our skate blades stuck in it while going over the boards.” 

Or something like that.  Boy oh boy do I wish I could find that comment.  In view of last night’s events, I have a burning desire to go poke my fingers in the tops of those boards and see if that is what happened to Havlat.  He looked darn surprised when his right leg didn’t follow the rest of him over the boards.  Which you would if your skate blade got securely lodged somewhere it shouldn’t.

To say the least, Havlat’s injury is a terrible disappointment, for him, for the fans, for the team.  “Havlat was all over the place all night until with 9:27 left in the third period, ”  Pollak ain’t just whistling Dixie.  I didn’t get to watch the game live but even on the car radio, then the Android audio feed, between conversations with the vet, I could tell he was having a heck of a night.  First a goal, then a penalty for roughing (which seemed new and unusual), a general sense that he was finally starting to click with a line.  For all that to end with this injury is the worst possible luck, not good news for the Sharks, and maybe something that needs to be looked into.  Hey, I’m sure guys get hung up on boards under normal circumstances… maybe not all the time, but surely it happens.  There’s no need to assume that the new boards have a strange little trap on the top at HP like they do or did at Sharks Ice.  I just find it very strange that someone mentioned it back in September.  I do not like coincidences. 

I mentioned the vet there.  Yes, five minutes before the game started I had to take my parents’ dog to the animal ER.  He was having back pain. He played too hard yesterday and maybe he doesn’t realize that he’s getting up there in years.  In any case, at that moment my folks decided he absolutely had to go to the vet despite my father’s certainty that they would charge two thousand dollars to treat him.  My mother insisted that they could not let him just die there on the floor so… he needed drugs, no one else could take him. 

I stayed calm, tuned the car radio to K-FOX, did not curse myself for failing to renew my XM radio account, listened through some FM static and all was well.  All well except when I turned the feed off to talk to the vet, which only happened twice.  Each time I tuned back in, the Oilers had scored.  That’s the sort of thing to make a fan superstitious.  It’s nice to feel needed but not in a way that completely defies logic. 

It was the fastest trip to doggy ER I have ever made. We were done before the second had even ended, for much much much less than two thousand dollars.  I was able to deliver the dog and his drugs and care instructions to my folks and still get home in time to watch the third.  Once I was installed on the couch in front of the tv, one of my big dogs, Marleau, started whining and pacing and barking and sad-facing me.  (Marleau wasn’t named after Patrick Marleau.  His name was just re-spelled in Patrick’s honor, in a fit of sentimentality a couple of playoffs ago.)

The reason the dog was causing this fuss was because he wanted to get on the couch.  I don’t know when I started letting him do that again, I had both dogs trained to stay off the couch it seems only weeks ago, but there he was, confident that he belonged on the couch, just like he did during the last Sharks game against the Avs.  During that game I caved.  Shortly thereafter Couture tipped a Marleau shot into the net.  I thought that was amusing.

Last night, Sharks were still tied, the Oilers were giving them more trouble than I thought was reasonable, the dog was whining and shoving his nose at my hand while I tried to read Twitter on the phone.  It is really hard to watch a game and swype on an Android keyboard while a dog is poking your hand with his nose.  So I let him on the couch.  He jumped up, walked in a few circles, flopped down and shut up.  And Marleau scored the gwg.

I don’t feel like the Sharks have reclaimed their rightful place among the big dogs in the League, but I do think I’ll be removing a lot of yellow dog hair from the couch this winter.


Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: dan+boyle, marleau, superstition


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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