Thursday, December 20, 2007

Moving? Sorta

We've accepted an offer to begin blogging on the Sharks at David Johnson's site, The two of us are now admins and bloggers at the Sharks subsite, which you can get to by using the teams link on the upper left, or the direct one below. We might still post here a little bit, but the frequency will go down pretty drastically. So come on over, the water's fine! Until Grier peed in it, that is. But here's the new link, nice and big.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Agony and the Ecstasy 2 - Electric Boogaloo

The evening could not have started better. Good steaks, beers, the stiffest jack and coke I've ever had, winning a Patrick Marleau-signed souvenir stick- all the makings of a great night. Then the Sharks played.

The atmosphere in the Tank was hyped up in anticipation of a good matchup, and while the game stayed close and well contested, the Sharks were never really in it. The Sharks probably had two, maybe three decent scoring chances. That's besides the "dump it towards Giguere and see what happens" style of chances. No odd-man rushes that I saw, no breakaways, no strong moves in tight. The Sharks just can't create offensively.

The Ducks are the better team. They match up physically with the Sharks, have better scoring threats and better D. They cashed in on two of three breakaways, and that was the game.

With Cheech, JR, and Clowe out, the Sharks are seriously hurting for goals (not that Cheech has really contributed in that department this year). As long as the Sharks are in the 20s in scoring (as of now, they are 23rd out of 30 teams in goals scored) they don't have a prayer in going far in the playoffs. Everything will just get tighter as the season progresses. If Marleau, Cheech, and Michalek catch fire, it all might turn out ok. But unless and until that happens, the Sharks are worse than Dallas, Detroit, and Anaheim in the West. We'd be looking at another 4-5 or 6-3 matchup, which today would mean the Avs or Wild. Then Detroit, then the Ducks. Does anybody honestly think the Sharks could win those three series in a row?

It way too early to really think about that. But Ron Wilson needs to start putting some effort and practice time into putting the biscuit in the basket. If the Sharks still can't do that in a month's time, the other Wilson needs to find some players who can.

P.S. I swear I didn't read this article before I wrote the last post. Synchronicity, eh? It warms the cockles of my hockey heart to see that Carle has such a good attitude about his current predicament, and I'm that much more certain he'll be an impact player in the NHL.

The Agony and the Ecstasy

This is the mostly highly-anticipated game of the season for me. Grier and I plan on eating some steaks, having some drinks, and breaking down the Sharks (yet again) before the game tonight. I'll be wearing my plain Sharks jersey- Carle will likely be a healthy scratch. The game tonight is the ecstasy part.

But Carle is the agony part. I'll be honest- I'm getting a bit worried. I don't really care about the contract extension- I'm not paying the salary. It might put a bit of a crease in the Sharks' payroll plans if Carle doesn't pan out, but my concerns are different. To me, in his first season, Carle showed an insane amount of promise. He was confident with the puck, a good skater, competent passer, and eager to score goals. Those kinds of skills aren't gained once you are in the NHL. On the other hand, the defensive side of the puck often needs to be taught in the bigs. The list of players that turned from solely offensive threats into solid two-way players is long and distinguished.

So I was excited when I saw Carle's offensive upside. Sure, he wasn't exactly Nik Lidstrom in his own zone, but that comes (or can come) with time. Then the sophomore slump hit, and hit hard. The last month, Carle's ice time has become miniscule, with the few minutes he does play riddled with errors and poor judgement. He seems scared to try and create a scoring chance in fear of showing defensive liability. The other times, he sits in the press box.

In one way, Carle's signing to a multimillion dollar, multi-year extension may help him. If Carle was a 7th round draft pick 6 years ago, he would likely be in the minors or on waivers right now. The fact that the Sharks apparently believe (as I do) that Carle could turn into a top defensemen might just get him some more ice time than he rightfully deserves. For his and the Sharks' sake, I hope he can make the best of it. If he doesn't, he may very well become trade bait to a team that's willing to take a flyer. The clock is ticking.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


It looked like it was going to be one of those nights.

They couldn't get it going on the powerplay. Michalek took the laziest penalty shot in recent memory. The refs F'd the Sharks on two calls, Corey Perry's crashing of the Sharks bench and Travis Moan's third man in.



This team stuck together and Joe Thornton put it past J.S.G in round six of the shootout to give the Sharks their biggest win of the season.

Kyle McLaren was so physical, dishing out hit after hit, it has been so great to see the old Kyle back. We missed you Big Mac. The Davison-Pavelski-Brown line was extremely pesky and aggressive. Torrey Mitchell could have quit on that breakaway when he got hooked, but he made an amazing play and brought the Sharks back to life in the 2nd period. The Sharks outshot the Ducks, won more facoffs and matched their physical play. As Randy Hahn said after the game, this Ducks team plays with so much arrogance against the Sharks - they play as if they don't believe San Jose can't beat them. Well tonight might have taken them down a peg.

I hate to see Matt Carle in the press box, but adding Rob Davison to the line up tonight was a great call by Ron Wilson and the staff. I think we can expect to see this same line up the rest of the week and poor Mikey has to put his Carle jersey back in the closet...for now. As I said this morning, this team was either going to answer the bell or turtle up. This was a gut check and the importance of this win should carry over to Tuesday night with Team Teal brimming with confidence. They got it done without Cheech, without JR, without Clowe and without Semenov.....well, I guess they didn't miss Frankenstein out there. PUTTIN' ON THE RITZ!!!

So the question is out there if you are Doug Wilson. If these Marleau rumors are true, and Dougie has been listening to offers, what do you do? You let these guys stick it out. We've been waiting all year for this team to click and now, DW's patience is paying off. Don't make the big splash Doug. Keep the Captain. Keep the boys together for now and tinker down the road. The ship has been righted. Abort Operation Major Shake-up....if there ever was one.

Looking forward to Tuesday night. It's going to be a live one at the Tank.

Emotions Will Be Riding High Tonight

Yesterdays loss was disappointing, but I wasn't disappointed in the Sharks overall team effort. To my eyes, the Sharks have shown more life in the last three games than they have all season. This is why I've found it odd that Bay Area sports reporter, Ryan Garner on, picked today to blast the Sharks for their total team effort, lack of fire and intensity.

Here is my take Ryan.

1) The Sharks outhit Dallas 26-14

2) Rivet made a statement by roughing up Dallas agitator Steve Ott, assessing 17 penalty minutes in the process - all of them well worth it.

3) The Sharks crashed the net and scored a goal that didn't require three passes or Joe Thornton.

4) 4-2 is a deceiving final score. The Stars scored one goal on a fluke puck rolling up the back of the net and off Nabby's back. The other was an empty net. So really, in my eyes, this was a 2-2 matchup and a great game by both sides.

The effort was there - the result wasn't. Now the team is walking into an emotional game in Anaheim - a showdown with the Ducks featuring their two new players - former Captain Niedermeyer and Doug Weight. The crowd will be electric. The Ducks will be fired up. How will the Sharks respond?

I think this could be a pivotal game for the Sharks season and potential roster changes. If the Sharks play hard, physical hockey like they have this week and pull out a road win or lose a close, hard fought battle - Doug Wilson will feel inclined to keep this roster intact before the trade freeze next week. If the Sharks turtle up, like they have before this year in the face of adversity, then perhaps Ryan Garner is right - and change could be in order. The rumored deal with Montreal netting the Sharks NHL iron man and poster boy for overcoming adversity, Saku Koivu, for our Patrick Marleau would certainly shake things up. At this point, I would not part with my favorite whipping boy of the early season, Steve Bernier, in any deal. This kid has finally found himself and we're seeing what a potential physical force he could be in the NHL. Don't trade Bernier, Dougie. If he has to be in the package, its not worth it. Use your poker face and tell Gainey to "go fish".

Do you think the Sharks play the party pooper role tonight at the Pond?

Friday, December 14, 2007

And Now...the Latest Episode of GM's Against Brian Burke

This week on GM'S AGAINST BRIAN BURKE! Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson plots against his Western Conference rival in his underground lair. Let's take a listen...

Doug Wilson: Alright boys, welcome to the third annual meeting of the Legion of GM's Against Brian Burke. Let's recap our past accomplishments, shall we? This summer, we almost convinced Scott Niedermeyer to retire, but someone wasn't able to finish the job....Lou.

Lou Lamoriello: Sorry Doug. I let you down.

Doug Wilson: Yes you did, Sweet Lou. You let us all down here in the Legion. That's the last time I take a salary dump off your hands....Last month, we convinced Brian that waiving Breezy was a good idea. Nice work everyone.

Wayne Gretzky: Thank you so much guys. To show my gratitude, I've got a great tip on the Patriots/Jets game tomorrow from my wife...

Doug Wilson: Hold it. How the #%&@ did you get in here Gretzky? You lost your GM license a long time ago. Now go fix your hair and pretend to coach that team of yours. Okay, GM's...this week we have to find a way to completely screw over Brian Burke as he tries to dump salary to get Niedermeyer back. Any ideas?

Kevin Lowe: I'll offer five years, 55 million for Corey Perry!

Doug Wilson: Put a sock in it Lowe. Next?

John Ferguson, Jr: Please stop booing me. I'm doing the best I can. Does anyone want Andrew Raycroft? Anyone?

Doug Wilson: Stop begging John. Have some dignity. Come on boys! Doesn't anyone have an aging veteran, an unknown prospect and a bag of shit to offer?

John Davidson: How about Doug Weight, Michal Birner and a 7th round pick for All-Star center Andy McDonald?

Doug Wilson: Brilliant!

JFJ: Damn it! Does anyone want Mark Bell?

Doug Wilson: This meeting of the Legion of GM's Against Brian Burke is adjourned....Good work everyone.

Keep Them Doggies Rollin'

Yeah, the Canucks are pretty banged up. Bobby Lou, Morrison, and various other players were out last night. But a team that lost to the Kings without Cammaleri and Frolov beat the hell out of Vancouver last night. And when their grip on Vancouver's neck loosened a bit when the lead was thinned to one goal, the Sharks squeezed harder, got quick goals by Jumbo and Bernier, and coasted to a 5-2 victory. The Sharks are 3-0 against the Northwest leader this season.

The story of the evening was clearly the blinding speed shown by Patty and Michalek en route to their mirror-image goals. Michalek turned the jets on down the right side, and Marleau the left. Both cut to the middle and beat the goalie far-side high.

I can't imagine what ran through Drew McIntyre's head when he saw Big Joe barreling down on him on a breakaway in the third period. He probably could have used a diaper when Joe wound up for the slap shot. Welcome to the NHL, meat.

In other news, Semenov went out of the game in the 2nd with a hand injury. I don't pay that close attention to who is getting ice time when, so I didn't discover that until this morning. But I admit, my first thought was, "There is a God." Not very nice of me. I wouldn't actually wish an injury on him, but I take favors when they come. Hopefully it will give my boy Carle an opportunity to work himself back into the lineup for good.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Shh! Don't Wake the Giant!

Someone in the Sharks organization leaked Alexei Semenov's team picture before color correction and cosmetic surgery:

In the latest installment of "Did You Know", did you know that last night's +1 effort was Frankenov's first plus game of the season? Brings him up to a glistening -6 in 12 games. On the positive side, he's a big dude. Big. Really Big. The problem is he seems to be made of wood, and he doesn't use his size for the forces of Good. Only for the for the forces of Slow. Yeah, he got into a fight last night, and promptly got his ass kicked by Todd Fedoruk, who's entire face is now made of paper maché. Or as the Canadians would say, "POP-i-yay MA-shay". Or as Semenov would say, "UNNNHHHH".

In fact, I heard the build-up to the fight, because it was near section 124:
Semenov: BRAINS!
Fedoruk: What the fuck d'you say to me?!
<drops gloves>

But we kid because we love. Sort of. I still can't understand why Semenov is out on the first PP unit every night. He has three points, none on the power play. I've been reduced to thinking that Ron Wilson has an overdeveloped sense of irony.

But as Grier said, it was an all-around great effort by the Sharks last night, and I would rank it as the Sharks' best of the season.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wild for San Jose!

I've decided the Sharks are like a bad case of herpes....they show up unpredictably from time to time , when in full force they are a huge pain in the ass to those they encounter and they are a part of Chris Pronger's life eight times a year.

The Sharks played their best game in weeks tonight against Minnesota. This was not a phantom win. They finished checks. They crashed the net. Bernier and Pavelski showed up and demonstrated all that "potential" we've been waiting to see. Marcel Goc and Kyle McLaren finally got out of the press box and both of them had excellent games and were seemingly everywhere on the ice. Fittingly, Goc, Bernier and Pavelski were the games three stars and McLaren kicked Aaron Voros' ass in a fight during the third period. Super Joe didn't have to carry the load tonight. Even Semenov was a +1.

The goals weren't pretty. They don't always have to be, something the Sharks have a hard time getting through their Teal skulls. Minnesota, a team known for hard work, hustle and team defense looked outmatched tonight. This would be a first round match up if the playoffs began today, and I'm sure the Wild hope this won't end up being the case. The Sharks finally looked like the biggest team in the NHL and won back the home fans tonight.

So....will the "Teal Herp" return again in full force vs. Vancouver on Thursday or will the Canucks have taken their Valtrex? If the Sharks play like they did tonight - the Canucks, without Luongo in the pipes due to injury, will be next on the homestand hit parade and remission for the rest of the NHL will be tough to come by.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Countdown on Marleau....

An interesting bit of news from the Ottawa Sun. Patrick Marleau's no trade clause apparently kicks in on January 1st, 2008 - so we can expect these Marleau rumors to continue the next few weeks and then finally disappear.....or come to fruition. While I think the Sharks need some new blood and an infusion of energy, trading Patty and getting equal value is going to be difficult. I don't see Toronto, Ottawa or Montreal offering anything that can help this team RIGHT NOW become better and take steps to defeat the Red Wings or the Ducks in a seven game series. Vermette and a pick? Kaberle for Marleau and McLaren? No thanks.

Will Patty stay or will he go?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Broken Record

Round and round we go, when the Sharks will win at home - nobody knows.

I count my lucky stars that I wasn't able to attend last nights embarassment, but I was in Downtown San Jose having a late dinner with some friends at a San Jose landmark restaurant, Original Joe's - the type of place you would expect Tony Soprano to walk into at any moment. We were surrounded by Sabres fans and right behind me was a table of Buffalo players, including Derek Roy, Brian Campbell, Maxim Afinogenov, Ales Kotalik and Tim Connolly. I was impressed by how awesome they were with their fans, signing autographs, shaking hands and posing for pictures while they were trying to eat their dinner. It only further illustrates that hockey players are the most gracious professional athletes in the United States and that they really get how important the fans are to their sport.

I texted Mike and said. "We are sitting behind a bunch of Buffalo players."

MIKE: "Tell them to go #$&@ themselves."

ME: "Wow. I just heard them say it was 7-1."

MIKE "No comment".

I can only imagine how terrible the game was. I tried saying last week that the Sharks are still not themselves, even though they went 3-0 on the recent road swing. They beat Colorado without Sakic and Svatos, they beat Dallas who really isn't that good, let's face it and they barely beat Phoenix in a game that was dull beyond belief. To an outside NHL fan, it appears the Sharks are still alive and well with a winning record and in playoff position, but for a team that we say over and over should be taking that next step, to lose at home to a Buffalo team that is not the powerhouse they were the last two years 7-1? Unreal.

Where is McLaren, by the way? Great to Semenov get another -2. What is going on here? Are we turning into a defensive team that will run out seven defensemen and try to hold on for 2-1 wins night after night? How will this Jekyll and Hyde team respond against a very good Minnesota club on Tuesday? What does Doug Wilson need to do to get this team on the right track?

Eklund posed the question of Marleau and McLaren for Kaberle this morning and it made me dry heave.

I am so confused by this team that, for the moment, I have to agree with Mike.

No comment.

Sabres Stab Sharks in the Nuts

Pretty embarrasing game, losing 7-1 like that. Especially after leading 1-0 after the first. The speed and crispness of Buffalo's breakout was apparent throughout the entire game, but it wasn't without risk. The Sharks had at least two breakaways, and a two-on-one. If the Sharks scored on at least half of those, it might have been a different game.

Really, the most interesting thing that happened during the game is the complete and utter failure of Dmitri Patzold. I've no doubt this guy could mature into a NHL caliber goalie, but he just ain't there yet. He gave up 3 goals on 9 shots, and looked very tentative, especially his lateral movement. The first goal he gave up, he just didn't get a good push across, or hesitated to do so. The far side of the net was wide open.

It's clear now why Nabby has started every game, and will probably continue to do so. Lack of confidence in your goalie will greatly affect the way you play, and if Patzold starts a few games, I would predict the offensive output to be even more anemic than it already is. It's time to grab a veteran backup that may not be a solid #1 all the time, but you can at least know that he can face down NHL competition. Patzold can't do that right now. Or maybe the Sharks should try Griess out. He's 6-6 in Worchester with a 3.33 GAA and .895 SV%.

All NHL teams go through bad games and slumps. The measure of a good or great team is their ability to bounce back. Will we see the Sharks in the Detroit series, who were a shadow of their former selves once they lost the OT game? Or will we see the Sharks after the "Destruction in the Desert" game last year, when they righted themselves quickly after an 8-0 blowout in Phoenix? We'll definitely know after this week's games against the Wild, Canucks, and Stars.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Phoenix, More like Colorado than Dallas

Hoo boy, the game last night was boring. If it weren't for Grier and some others buddies over, complete with beer and pizza, I don't know if I would have stayed awake for the whole thing. There were only a handle of quality scoring chances for either team in the game it seemed, and a broken play (Thornton was really looking for Roenick) resulted in the game's only goal.

Like the Avs game, the Sharks seemed to recede into a bit of a shell late in the game, with extra drama inserted by Rissmiller's completely retarded penalty. I know it was a total accident, just bad luck really, but taking an offensive zone penalty with two minutes left in a one goal game has to be infuriating for the coaching staff. The 6-on-4 last minute was pretty tense, but no great scoring chances came about.

That's enough of that- even reading about that game is giving me the yawns.

In other news:

  • We were flipping around various games on Center Ice, and we watched some of the last of the Dallas-Ottawa matchup. First of all, I LOVE CENTER ICE. Second of all, if Ottawa is doing their thing, and there were only flashes of it that I saw, nobody in the NHL could hang with them. I know they've lost a bunch in a row, but they get their ass in gear, they'll give anybody in the playoffs all they can handle. Even Detroit. I can't say the same about the Sharks right now.
  • Recchi was claimed by Atlanta. They still have the same problem they had yesterday- if Kovalchuk goes cold or gets hurt, Atlanta is in a world of hurt. And even if he stays healthy, they could start sucking again at any time. Hmm, kind of like Nabby and the Sharks.
  • Things have quieted down in Toronto for the time being, nothing like winning a few. I'm still stunned that for all the trade rumors that have been floating around, none involved Tucker. Could it be that he's the name that GM's have been keeping under their hats, trying to throw JFJ and the press off the scent?
  • Listen to the Teal Spiel tonight if you can- Randy Hahn will be on taking questions. I might try to call in, but I'm probably meeting friends for dinner before tonight's game.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Nieds and the CBA - Updated

So I see this quote from Bob McKenzie at TSN:

The Ducks' committed payroll for next season is the issue. With Niedermayer potentially returning, and with another year left on his contract after this season, the Ducks could not add him to the roster now without freeing up cap room for next season. In the new CBA, it's called 'tagging' room and the Ducks don't have enough of it next season to allow Niedermayer back on the roster this season – unless they move a player who is under contract for next season.

And since I'm a geek, I have to figure out what this means. I have a copy of the CBA on my desktop (doesn't everyone?) and I look up this "tagging" rule (50.5(e)(iv)(C)):
In order for a Club to sign such a Player to a multi-year SPC after December 1 of a season, the Club must have Payroll Room equal to or in excess of the Averaged Amount of the Player Salary and Bonuses for the remainder of such season. If, however, the Averaged Amount of the SPC exceeds the Club's Payroll Room for the then-current League Year, the Club may still sign such SPC, provided that it has Payroll Room and, if such Payroll Room is insufficient to acquire the SPC, it has an amount equal to one or more SPCs that will expire at the end of such League Year, in an amount equal to or in excess of the amount by which the Averaged Amount exceeds the Club's Payroll Room (the "Tagged Payroll Room"). Until such time as the Club has or makes Payroll Room in the current year in excess of such Tagged Payroll Room, the Club may not engage in any Player transactions requiring Payroll Room, including but not limited to, acquiring an SPC or "extending" or entering into a new SPC (the "Tagging Rule"). In the event the Club does have or creates such excess Payroll Room, it may use such excess Payroll Room in accordance with the terms of this Agreement.

It's like a friggin' obfuscated code contest. But I think I figured it out. The salary cap (around $51M) is actually pro-rated daily for the regular season, 187 days. So now that SN comes back, the Ducks don't pay him his entire $6.75M salary, it's pro-rated for the days he missed. That enables the Ducks to be under the cap this season, even though his average salary puts them over it. But the 'tagging rule' above says that if it's a multi-year deal, which SN's is, the team must also have salary at the end of this year equal to the amount they went over (based on his average salary, not the pro-rated one). If they don't, they need to clear out other players with multi-year deals before Scotty can suit up. I've tried running the numbers, but I don't see the Ducks over the cap this year, even taking SNs average salary cap hit, so I'm confused on that point.

For those wondering, the rule for single-year SPCs (standard player contracts) is that a club can sign them for whatever amount they want, as long as the total amount paid comes in under the cap. So if the Sharks have $1M left under the cap, they could theoretically sign Selanne to a $187M single year contract on the last day of the season, paying him $1M for a single day's work, and come in under the cap. This means the Roger Clemens idea is is full effect- there is no CBA prohibition on joining a team at any point of the season.

Update: It turns out the Ducks also need to pre-calculate the cap for all the years of SN's contract, and given the raises to Getzlaf and Kunitz next year, factoring in SN's numbers, they Ducks will by over. It's seems very odd the Ducks need to correct that overage now, but it is what it is. Thanks for the comments.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Niedermeyer's "retirement" part of a larger problem...

First, Joe was amazing tonight. He has put the team on his back lately, with seven points in the last three games. But Mikey, I wouldn't say we "housed" the Stars tonight. One thing about Dallas, they come to play and they play hard. There was a stretch in the 3rd period when I thought we were in trouble, but the Sharks played through it and held on for another close win. Good to see Marleau involved as well. Did anyone else notice f'ing Frankenstein was on the ice for that Modano goal? I hate that douchebag.

I want to say something about this whole Niedermeyer situation. I think it stinks. Not just because it's the Ducks. Not just because it's Niedermeyer and his stand out play will have a huge impact on the Pacific Division and probably give the Ducks a huge boost. Not just because he is convienently coming back when the Sharks and Ducks play head to head three times, like Mike said. My problem is that players going into "retirement" and then magically changing their minds after the rigors of training camp and the boring part of the season has past could soon become a more regular occurance in the NHL. Hell, it is Roger Clemens favorite summer trick. Wait until the highest bidder comes around, missing Spring Training, join the team in middle of the season for the fun part and make a ton of cash. Bogus teammate and bad for sports in general. What kind of message does this send? Hey kids - don't bond with your teammates, serve as a role model for younger players and work your ass off through the rough patches at the beginning of the season like everyone else. If you're an aging superstar, you can skate with your buddies and join the big boys in the clutch, and look like a hero in the process. This year in the NHL, we have three of these situations. Niedermeyer's fate has been determined. Will Selanne be the next to decide retirement isn't for him? What about Forsberg, who is waiting until the best team with the right offer comes along in 2008 so he can jump right in for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Do you see the problem? What is going to keep Joe Thornton and Sidney Crosby from saying...hey - I don't want to play until December either! My back hurts too! This type of behavior could become more common place in the years to come. I hope not, but this isn't a good trend so far.

So, welcome back Niedermeyer. Your team hasn't been the same without you. Now you can hug your brother and cry over family photos of you two holding each others Cup. Drew Remenda speculated tonight that the Ducks will likely have to make a trade to accomodate the Ducks impending salary cap problems for next season, when they must resign RFA Corey Perry. I think Schneider is gone. And if I were him, I would flip Niedermeyer the bird on his way out the door.

F You Ducks, and Thank You Stars

Although all the mystery was gone, the Ducks tried to do it up nice, and announced Scott Niedermayer is coming back. I was shocked. Shocked! The real question is, how long has this been planned? I wouldn't doubt this was the whole idea back before the season started. The Ducks save a bit on salary, Scott gets to miss some of the drudgery of the regular season, and they get to stage a nice dog and pony show once the Ducks struggle a bit. Amazingly, Nieds will be back just in time for the week when they play the Sharks three times. How about that.

In the meantime, the Sharks again housed the Stars in big D and won 3-2. Funny how we're 3-1 against the Stars, the division leader, but 1-2 against the Kings, the division goat. I refrained from writing a game recap post after the Colorado game, mostly because I was lazy, but also because I was pretty frustrated with the Sharks play in the second half of the game. I thought I was seeing things, because I saw quotes from Ron Wilson in the paper the next day about how the Sharks played better, and did a good job late. I couldn't disagree more.

The Sharks went into a shell once they gained the lead in the Avalanche game, and didn't come out for 30 minutes. They'd chip it out to center, barely forecheck, and wait for the Avs to gain the zone, where they would push them to the outside, and chip to center again after 45 seconds or so of nail-biting. They didn't even try generate scoring chances. Maybe that's the kind of hockey you're supposed to play on the road, but I thought the Sharks were playing with fire. They were leaving counterattack chances on the table, and giving Hejduk, Stasny, and company way to much time to create.

The opposite happened tonight with the Stars. The Sharks had a 2-1 lead going into the third period, and before the ink was dry from the columnists making notes on Modano's game-tying goal, the Sharks were skating hard again. I didn't even have time to bitch and complain about the Sharks playing for the tie. They drew penalties, kept the Stars deep, and Joe scored on a pretty Michalek feed to put the Sharks up 3-2. I braced myself again for the prevent defense, and I didn't see it. Instead of letting Zubov jump into the play, the Sharks pressed the pace, keeping the Stars' D honest. More scoring chances followed, and the Sharks won 3-2 going away.

Joe has now scored or assisted on 137% of the Sharks goals this season, his GAA is 1.02, his save percentage .989, and his plus-minus requires exponents. He's the early leader for the Hart, Vezina, Ross, Masterson, Calder, and Heisman trophies. I mean seriously, is there anything this crazy bastard can't do?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

One Dougie Might Want Back....

As more trade rumors abound about the Sharks and Toronto hooking up for another big deal, I wanted to reflect on the one major deal between the two clubs and a subsequent trade that Doug Wilson probably wants to take back.

Remember March 3rd, 2003 when the Sharks traded away franchise poster child Owen Nolan to Toronto for a package that included Leafs captain Alyn McCauley, prospect Brad Boyes and their 1st round pick. The Sharks were in the middle of a dismal 73 point season and a last place finish in the Pacific. Trading their captain for a role player, prospect and draft pick made sense for a team rebuilding - this is not the type of package that Doug Wilson would accept for current Captain and rumor-hound, Patrick Marleau. But then....the interesting move....after posting impressive numbers with the Sharks top farm club (60 points in 61 games) the Sharks traded Boyes and the 1st round pick, the two centerpieces of the Nolan deal, to Boston in a three way deal that netted Team Teal nice guy and current healthy scrach, Curtis Brown. Boyes had 69 points the next year in Boston and has since landed in St. Louis, been converted to wing and currently has 15 goals in 24 games. That draft pick also ended up being young, promising defender Mark Stuart.

Brad Boyes and Mark Stuart for Curtis Brown. Think Doug Wilson wants a do over?

Monday, December 03, 2007

Teal Spiel Roundtable with Dan Rusanowsky

So here's the segment, me in the "roundtable discussion" on the Teal Spiel, the only existing Sharks radio show. Before I was just your regular schmuck caller, and now I was the schmuck roundtable guy. It was cool to be on with Mr. Rusanowsky- he's forgotten more about hockey than I'll ever know. To be honest, after listening to it, I thought I was pretty bland and uninteresting. Great plug, huh? Is it that obvious I don't have a marketing degree?

Seriously though, it was pretty fun. Might have been a one-time thing, but I'd do it again anytime they'd ask me.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Day Off, Let's Monger Some Rumors

As Grier has said before, Eklund is a nice source of entertainment (no link purposely). He's right some of the time, but a lot of times he seems to be talking out of his ass. But hey, it's Sunday! What else are we going to talk about?

So I'm going through my usual hockey blog list, click on the latest Eklund, and see a story on the new ownership group falling through in Tampa Bay... then this:

So does that mean that Vinny LeCavalier, perhaps the best player in the world, could be gone?


I talked to another source who told me something that I also believe. "Of course every team out there would cherish Vinny, but a there are a few that would massively overpay for him. Two are of course Montreal and Toronto, but don't count out Philly, Pittsburgh, San Jose, or LA."

Of course there's a firestorm of comments with various trade proposals. One from an Sharks fan that offered Marleau, Carle, Bernier (or Cheech) and a 1st round for Vinny.

For one, It would actually be pretty difficult to "massively overpay" for Vinny if you just offer young players and/or prospects. Outside of Crosby, Kane, Toews, Phaneuf, and AO, it's more or less a crapshoot. Anybody outside of that group that isn't an established NHL player yet is a roll of the dice. Some with pretty damn good odds (Sam Gagner) and some not as good (Gilbert Brule).

The trade the Sharks fan offered above doesn't make a whole lot of sense from the 'Ning's standpoint- they would be taking on some big contracts, and the whole point of the trade would be to reduce salary.

So to the Lightning I say: You want young talent? How about this deal: Bernier, Pavelski, Ehrhoff, Greiss or Patzold (your choice) and a 2nd rounder.

I'm trying to hide the fact that such a big trade doesn't make a whole lot of sense from the Sharks' perspective either- ownership doesn't appear to want to gain salary, and we would be adding yet another high-priced center. Unless Patty becomes a winger (and I'm not convinced that's a good idea) the Sharks would be idiotically deep at the pivot position, and still troubled at the wing.

That being said, Vinny is the clear-cut leader in the Hart trophy race right now. Who among us wouldn't want to see him in teal?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Little Something Extra

There was a little extra spring in the Sharks' step last night en route to their win against Colorado. Joe again was "The Man"™ in scoring two goals and assisting on the third. I actually thought at first that the third goal went in off the defenseman's skate and not Grier's, which would have given Joe the hat trick.

It would be easy to launch into a lament here about the lack of secondary scoring and so on, but there were several encouraging things about the Sharks play last night:

  • They actually carried the puck into the offensive zone most of the time on the power play. And pretty much every time they did that, they maintained control and set up. Imagine!
  • Like the game against the Kings, they weren't afraid to stand in front of the net. Colorado's biggest defenseman is now Scott Hannan, who isn't quite big enough to bang with some of the bodies we got.
  • Save the 30 seconds at the end of the second period where Colorado scored that power play goal, I'd say the Sharks played a complete game. Rarely were they pinned in their end, and they were able to keep the puck low and give the Avs fits by maintaining possession behind the net and in the corners.
Always great to see stuff like that, but the inevitable question is, can they keep it up? That's a question that won't be answered until Monday against the Avs or Wednesday against the Stars.

I did attend the "Ice Insights" thing last night at the Tank, open to season ticket holders. The four broadcasters for the Sharks fielded questions from the angry mob. And they did seem angry. Stuff like "why the F is Wilson juggling the lines so much", "who should be benched", and "who should be traded". The most interesting answer of the night was when Drew said the three players he would bench were Patty (no surprise), Cheech (<yawn>), and Mike Grier (hey now!). He didn't have time to elaborate on that, but it was surprising. I'm hoping our Grier might do a Real Grier Breakdown.