Kukla's Korner

Petshark: Talking Stick

Unclaimed Stars

Logan Couture was picked last in the NHL All Star Draft.  Antero Niittymaki wasn’t picked off waivers at all.  Couture will be remembered for being picked last, he got a car and donations to his favorite hockey charities and it’s possible he will get a superincredible season in 2012-13.  That last one isn’t guaranteed because the sample size is too small to call it a pattern.

But all’s well that ends well and the award for best sportsman on Twitter goes to Logan Couture (@Logancouture), the San Jose Shark who went last in the draft.  -Kevin McGran
@Logancouture: “Is it me or is it getting hotter back here after every pick?”

@Logancouture: “Who went last? I missed the end of the draft?”

@Logancouture: “First order of business. Pimping that Honda out”

Apparently the car will go to Logan’s brother.  Couture did handle himself well.  Several players were less composed than he was during the proceedings.  Carey Price was so flustered by not realizing he had been called that he dissed his All Star Captain on his way to the holding box.

I was happy with how the draft played out.  Except for Kimmo ending up on the wrong team, Sharks and (most) Flyers are all together. The weekend might hold some interest for me even if there aren’t any real hockey games going on.  Team Alfredsson certainly has a lively group of tweeters on its roster.

Nitty, for not being picked, got misquoted, badly translated, sympathized with and railed at.  Some fans bemoaned his circumstances, others felt they had been disrespected.  There was some debate (now closed) about whether he heard about being waived from his agent or from the Finnish reporter (he heard from his agent).  That misunderstanding led to further railing against the Sharks organization for being so rude.

Glad that all got cleared up.

What is harder for me to reconcile is the path Niittymaki took with the Sharks.  I know, I know, shit happens, but it still seems so far away if not long ago that Doug Wilson announced the signing of the Finnish Olympian as a replacement for Nabokov:

In explaining why the Sharks had Niittymaki at the top of their list of free agents, Wilson pointed to his new goalie’s performance in the 2006 Olympics, where he was named the tournaments MVP after Finland won the silver medal. -Working the Corners, 7/1/2010

I was not appeased by the signing, even if Nitty was a former Flyer.  I was in a moderately hysterical state about where Nabby would go.  But it wasn’t long before I thought of Nitty as a reliable guy to have in net, though I distinctly recall whining that Niemi wasn’t getting enough starts.  Nitty was the number one when last season started.  When I mentioned that 2010 Sharks @ Flyers game, the one where I knew the Sharks would win because they were facing Bobrovsky in a shoot-out… well, it wasn’t just Bob that gave me that sense of security.  I had complete confidence in Nitty to stop the Flyers. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that Nitty wasn’t a bust.  He just got broken and lost his place in line. 

So now what?  Some have suggested Nitty could be picked up if he were put on recall waivers because that would lower the cap hit for the claiming team.  Others, like Justin Goldman of The Goalie Guild, think he will be assigned to Europe.  The latter does seem like the most straightforward way to get the matter resolved.  But if the Sharks want to help Nitty find a new NHL team, I guess they have to give recall waivers a try.  Worcester certainly doesn’t need another goalie and Nitty didn’t thrive there anyway.

I hope he has a good weekend, and gets to play somewhere soon.

The Sharks also made what appears to be a strictly AHL trade with the Florida Panthers: defenseman Sean Sullivan for forward Tim Kennedy.  Both players have been playing in the AHL, but neither has a strictly AHL contract.  It makes sense for the Worcester Sharks (who need forwards) and the San Antonio Rampage (who need defense).

It could mean absolutely nothing for the San Jose Sharks, though Kennedy has played 27 games with the Panthers this season.  The Sharks could have used the contract space, and even what little cap space Sullivan represented.  The Sharks could have moved Sullivan without taking an NHL contract back.  Maybe Kennedy does have a lot more potential than it appears.  Those 27 games are something to think about.  This year’s Panthers are fairly robust, so if they used him he might be worth looking at for San Jose.

Perhaps San Jose really does care about how their AHL team does, apart from conditioning and preparing prospects.  Maybe they would actually sign a player just for Worcester’s benefit. 

Or maybe, for the rumor-mongers (yes, sometimes I do partake, but only socially), it means Doug Wilson has something bigger in the works.  That’s always fun.  We will see.  Good luck to Mr. Sullivan.  Welcome Mr. Kennedy. 

As for the rest of the All Star weekend, I hope for good tweets from all and that the best team (Alfredsson, of course) wins.

Go TaO!*

*Teal and Orange.

Filed in: , San Jose Sharks, | Petshark: Talking Stick | Permalink
  Tags: all+star+game, antero+niittymaki, logan+couture, sean+sullivan, tim+kennedy



Um, dude. Carey Price. He doesn’t get rattled very easily, he is the #1 goalie in the most unforgiving market in North American professional sports and he does it very well.  I seriously doubt he was stressed during something as pointless as the ASG draft.  I don’t know why he dissed Chara, but think about this for a second: Price is the goalie for the MontrĂ©al Canadiens, and Chara is the captain of the Boston Bruins.  Think about that for a second.  Think of the rivalry and then think of the fact that it was Chara who, not quite a year ago, nearly killed Price’s friend and teammate, Max Pacioretty. 

My suggestion is that you actually learn something about the world beyond the SJ Sharks before you blog about it.

Posted by Jean-Pierre on 01/28/12 at 11:34 AM ET

petshark's avatar

Dear Jean-Pierre,
Thank you for your input. Always glad to hear from people with insight into other fan bases.  I’m sure news of this dreadful incident involving Chara and Pacioretty will reach the western US eventually.  Pony Express is unreliable this time of year. 

I’m sure Price has his reasons for telling the story he did (which did not mention any vendetta).  To be clear, I am not suggesting he completely lost it, he was merely flustered.  I doubt a puck would have gotten by him even in those circumstances, but a hand to shake?  Possibly.

I could go look up where I saw that story about Hartnell having to tap him on the leg to let him know he’d been picked and Price saying he didn’t see Chara (I didn’t see him either on the replay), but I don’t really care that much about the All Star Game.

Posted by petshark from Nor Cal, and on Twitter @petshark47 on 01/28/12 at 04:13 PM 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

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