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Petshark: Talking Stick

San Jose just keeps on rollin’

As has happened so many times this season, a player was hit hard in the head and went to the quiet room.  Andrew Desjardins was able to get to his feet but he had to be helped off the ice:

“I got up and my legs fell under me a little bit, so obviously he caught me pretty good,” he said.-Sharks Talk

Now Sharks fans wait, and that’s pretty much what the team does too.  During the game, one of the announcers mentioned something to the effect of “we hope he can return to the game.”  This comment made me angry which is why I won’t repeat who said it.  I absolutely did not want to see Desjardins back on the ice in this game.  He looked distinctly woozy, he clearly needed to be treated as if he had a concussion.  You can’t wish it away, you take care of it.

We know now that you can be concussed even if you don’t lose consciousness or feel particularly woozy.  Symptoms can crop up later in either situation.  So if someone does have one of those symptoms right away, the odds are good he has been concussed.

I was very happy to hear McLellan say the “right” things I had heard too many coaches say already this season:

“You just don’t know when it’s going to step up and affect you,” McLellan said. “Right now he’s feeling OK, but we’ll see how he is in the morning.” -Working the Corners

It could be many mornings before there’s an answer.  I’m okay with that and I hope the Sharks are too.  As we’ve seen with our small sample size of cases lately, the ones that get treated soonest get better soonest.

Now Sharks fans are on Desiwatch.  It begins with “I hope he feels okay,” then turns into “I hope he’ll be back soon,” evolves into “when will he be back?” and for the very head-injury sensitive might bloom into full blown “oh no he’s back it’s too soon omg get him off the ice!”  Best case scenario, that last wears off as symptoms fail to return.

Desjardins may not be high profile, but he definitely has a role, as McLellan points out:

“I feel for Desi. He’s really starting to fit in and play real well for our team. He’s gotten more penalty kill time, and been a real competitive guy.” -Sharks Talk

If Desi can be back on the sooner end of the scale, there should be a place waiting for him. It’s a mixed bag of depressing and hopeful: 

Desjardins said he was taken to what is known in the NHL as the “quiet room” after the hit, but he said after the game he was feeling much better.

“You can’t risk anything, but we don’t know anything” he said of the decision to keep him out of the rest of the game. “I feel fine, I feel all right.”-Working the Corners

I was happy to hear that but I won’t believe it for…oh.. ten days or so. Get well soon, Desi.

In his post-game interview, Marleau was asked about conditioning and he mentioned Mike Potenza.  I’m glad the Sharks have the best strength and conditioning guy in the league, but I would like to know where their concussion guy ranks. 

Worry worry.

It was good that the Sharks won, it’s even okay that they only won by one.  The Blue Jackets do that a lot, lose by one, not only to the Sharks. So even if the 2011-12 Blue Jackets are kind of terrible, they are good enough to do that.  To be fair, the Sharks don’t seem averse to the one-goal games either.

It is not okay that the people counting the shots in the game clearly robbed the Sharks of at least two shots.  Now they have to start over chasing that 1983 record for lots-o-shots.  Boo.

I spent much of the game going over Sharks special team stats for the last ten games.  This was a ridiculous exercise inspired by the mention, before the game, that the Sharks penalty kill, while better than before, is still abysmally ranked.  I thought that had to be an unfair or inaccurate assessment.

What made the exercise ridiculous is that there’s probably a site that could do it for me, but I like to try and reinvent the wheel every month or so.  On top of this, I am very bad at math, and I tend to make transcription errors not only in gathering data but also in doing calculations.  Hence, I am really very bad at math.  I suspect dyscalculia.

All I figured out was that yes, in fact, the Sharks’ power play and penalty kill numbers are mostly worse than most of the teams around them in the standings.  Even over the last ten games they have not been great.  Yet behold their true mid-point numbers:

@brodiebrazilCSN: “Hard to believe the #sjsharks are exactly halfway through the season. 25-11-5 record, 55 points, +25 goal differential”

Not a three in the lot of them, but a lot of better numbers, like two.  That’s two more points the Sharks have and someone else in the Western Conference doesn’t. 

Another great number is five. It shows up in that list a lot, and also Winchester is in the good graces of five right now.  The Sharks are his fifth NHL team, he played his first NHL game in ‘05.  He has five goals this season.  The Sharks won all five games he scored in.  Five is a good number for Number 10.

It’s not bad for the Sharks either.  55 points is good for third in the West, ninth in the league.  It’s only five shy of first in the league.  As Jamie Baker said after the game, “San Jose just keeps on rollin’.”  Sounds good to me.


Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: andrew+desjardins, columbus+blue+jackets, patrick+marleau, todd+mclellan


Matt Fry's avatar

How does “we hope he can return to the game.” make you angry?  Of course we hope he can make it back into the game.  I wouldn’t want to see anyone injured in any game.  I think you took his comment just a little too close to the heart.  I believe that comment means in this context “We hope he’s not injured” or “Let’s hope he’s alright.

Posted by Matt Fry from Winnipeg on 01/15/12 at 09:35 PM ET

petshark's avatar

Of course I hope no one gets hurt, but once I can see he IS hurt it is easy for me to shift gears to hoping he’s getting proper care.  With head injuries, that doesn’t involve getting back in the game you were injured in. So to say that made it sound like coming back in was a viable option which it shouldn’t be when a player is staggered like that. I don’t think the speaker thought that through, but it’s an example of why players, especially lower-liners, are still playing through concussions.  Being okay, or getting okay again, in this situation, does not mean coming back in the game. Just the opposite. Our broadcasters shouldn’t be saying otherwise.  So that’s why I was angry.

Posted by petshark from Nor Cal, and on Twitter @petshark47 on 01/16/12 at 01:52 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