Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

The Curse of Banská Bystrica

Oh what a difference a week can make.  A diligent fan should follow her team wherever they go, even off the rails.  So here I go.

A week ago tomorrow, I was at The Tank watching the Sharks tear a win from the Blackhawks, a win as indisputable as any rope pulling contest between my two Labs.  But they did win.  Since then, they lost two, Marleau moved back to the top line where it is rumored he will never score again.  Dan Boyle’s age has come up, and by association, Douglas Murray has aged half a dozen years in three days, revealing that he is, in fact, the portrait of Dan Boyle, doomed to age in his partner’s place.  Boyle feels badly about that so his mojo is off, but he still doesn’t want to share the puck or the PIMs.  With anyone.

On the flip side of that we have Mitchell, who was told by a woman in white that his hair and teeth will fall out if he shoots the puck, so he passes it whenever possible.  Havlat has a horror of the number three ever since seeing Seven, so being moved to the third line rendered him pale to the point of invisibility.  Niemi has contracted sloth syndrome (not the sinful mess kind, the cute but slow-moving furry tree-hugging kind).

Clowe can’t figure out where to go without Couture on the ice, which distracts him so much he can’t do anything else.  McGinn has been playing his game pretty well, which only emphasizes how he’s on a different wavelength from the team and this makes him feel left out.  Braun forgot who he plays for, set up a goal for LA, and got kicked off the team.  Handzus has missed a game and several practices with a bug which we can but pray is nothing like the virus that ate Chris Pronger’s knee.

Burns is in a funk because the penguin at the zoo didn’t like him.  Vandermeer can’t figure out how he got so lucky as to play now.  Demers has a haunting suspicion that when all is said and done he might get blamed for the whole mess.

Vlasic can’t actually bend spoons.

Couture is out of luck because the top line has gone from being called “The Big Three” to “Two Guys Named Joe.”  Then again, the Joes would have as much luck handling the puck with sticks made of cooked rigatoni.  I don’t know why they don’t just eat their sticks and kick the puck.  That’s not fair.  Jumbo seems to have no trouble sending the puck hither and yon.  He’s just seeing things, like Sharks where there are none.

The fourth line looks on in wonder, waiting for the ship to burn down or get under way again.

This is all because no one could remember the name of Michal Handzus’s home town.  To mine the points they need and be carried forward on victory’s swift waters, they need to appease Banská Bystrica.  Like the name Beetlejuice, they must learn its name and repeat it three times.  Let’s hope they did that in their meeting Tuesday.

Niittymaki knows it, he’s said it.  He’s feeling good, dancing in the crease like Fred Astaire.  He mentioned that they were coping with this hip problem on and off all through last season, which explains a lot.  This is why they should keep three goalies on the roster.  A backup who is actually sort of injured doesn’t really count as a backup.

McLaren is remorseful about the snow shower in LA and promises to never do it again.  I was surprised by that penalty.  I thought only Jimmy Howard drew snow shower penalties from the Sharks.

As for all these cataclysmic changes since last week, they’re ghosts.  As McLellan has been saying, the team wasn’t playing all that well before, they were mostly getting lucky bounces which led to wins which just look better and more shiny than losses.  Appearances can be deceiving, this didn’t all happen in one week, nothing is all that much worse than it was a week ago, which isn’t so terrible. 

Sometimes the cure is more painful than the disease, like Nitty’s hip.  Before the surgery, he could sort of play, but he still needed the surgery.  He got it.  Hopefully it means an end, or at least a long respite from that problem.

Whatever curative measures the team is undergoing now will have to be done on the fly, they can’t take 12 weeks off.  As the night is coldest before the dawn, let’s hope morning is near so the curse can be lifted.  May the ghosts be banished soon, how to play hockey rediscovered, and the name Banská Bystrica remembered… by everyone in Shark territory.

Filed in: | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: antero+niittymaki, banska+bystrica, dan+boyle, fan+hysteria, overboard, superstition


Chet's avatar

i was at the LA/SJ game monday. the sharks were in total disarray, though i think they hit three posts. i wouldn’t hit the panic button with this team yet, but it’s clear they miss the gooch a bit. once other teams figure out they need to cover thornton like teams cover datsyuk (two guys if below the hash marks) and to keep a guy close to couture so he can’t snap off wristers and one-timers, the sharks become much more one-dimensional. still, their window is open this year, if barely.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 12/01/11 at 01:27 AM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.


Notify me of follow-up comments?


Most Recent Blog Posts

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