Monday, October 29, 2007

The Importance of Being Earnest

I knew that title would grab you. What can I say, I play to my base. And although the plot of the play has nothing to do with Sharks hockey (which I only just found out by reading wikipedia), the title itself is still apropos.

The Sharks came out shooting. And shooting. And driving. And shooting. On Saturday, they had 17 shots all night. Tonight, they had 16 in the first period, 9 in the second, and 10 in the third. They dominated the first 10 minutes of the game, and what always seems to happen happened. There was a tricky rebound that bounced right to Mike Ribiero, and he chipped it over Nabokov for a 1-0 lead on the first Dallas scoring chance of the night. But the Sharks continued to fight, and Pavelski, on a great (one might say earnest) second or third effort swept a wraparound in before Turco could cover his far post.

Then, in the second, Dallas got an early Christmas gift with a shot from Niskanen that changed direction twice off of two different Sharks players and went in the net. The Sharks went into the third down 2-1.

But they kept digging, and we saw two beautiful feeds from Thornton to Setoguchi to take the lead, then Bernier was rewarded for his strong forecheck with a nifty little screened wrister that darted in on the near side. All Sharks goals were even strength, which is icing on the cake.

But as the Keith Jones in the Vs. studio seemed to say at every opportunity, the Sharks don't play a consistent style. Tonight's style suited them. With a billion division games coming up, I hope they continue to go with it.


The Sharks dominated the first ten minutes of this game. Turco kept Dallas from getting embarrassed early, with the Sharks getting many early chances and peppering him with shots...but you could see it coming. Dallas scored a cheap goal and just like that, despite all their early efforts - the Sharks were down 1-0. Then they fell down 2-1.

They did not quit. They played with the same intensity and it paid off. Setoguchi is the sniper that has been missing at Jumbo Joe's side. Marleau was finally opening it up and using his speed. Bernier actually made himself noticed with a goal, some big hits and one of the lamest fights I've ever seen.

Dallas didn't look good to me - they're not gonna make the playoffs this year unless they get some more offense. This is the perfect time for the Sharks to rattle off four or five wins and get some distance in the Pacific. Can they maintain this effort? Will Setoguchi's effort make it easier for Dougie Wilson to part with a major forward to get the coveted big time defensemen? With Toronto crumbling, would McCabe waive his NTC?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Hard to Be Patient

So I watched the Detroit game this morning, and (thanks to Center Ice) the Columbus game this afternoon. Both were disappointing, and for different reasons.

The Detroit game was a bummer mostly because it's clear that Detroit is much better than the Sharks right now. Their breakout is crisper, the cycle steadier, and the scoring chances quicker. They spring a winger almost every single breakout, always with enough speed and skill to make a play even on an able defenseman. The Sharks played ok in the first two periods- the first two goals were off the post- but both goals came on bad turnovers, now officially an epidemic. Then the third the Wings opened it up and made the Sharks look stupid.

The Columbus game was even worse, because the Sharks played listlessly and sloppily the entire time. They took a lot of penalties (and probably should have gotten more called), had very few long possessions, and again committed idiotic turnovers in their own zone. They had every excuse in the world to lose- back to back away games less than 24 hours apart, against a solid home team. But excuses don't fly at the highest level of sports.

It's so hard not to be impatient at times like this, and start calling for the coach's head, for top players to be benched or traded away. Especially since the illness is one of effort and work ethic and not of talent. It's hard not to think that Ron Wilson is no longer getting through. The fact that he still juggles the lines continuously, once seemingly the work of an eccentric hockey genius, now seems pointless and desperate.

I grit my teeth and try to remember that other than the Devils, no team in the NHL has played fewer home games up to this point. Still, we don't have a homestand longer than two games until late November. I hope the Sharks can find a way to staunch the bleeding by then, or they'll have to work their way out of a big hole come the new year.

Friday, October 26, 2007

PTI: Fighting is bad, Blah Blah Blah

For whatever reason, I still watch PTI. Kornheiser and Wilbon are pretty entertaining. And when Mercury is aligned with Mars, they talk about hockey, usually pejoratively. Today was no exception, when they talked about the big Koci-Chara fight that left Koci a big bloody mess:

Barry Melrose Rocks had a post on this, in the glorious theme of "Dan LeBatard is a moron", but I'll talk about Tony. Like LeBatard, he knows nothing about hockey, and doesn't care to find out. Fine by me, but when you open your big yap, all the mystery dissipates. You're a moron.


I'm sick of fights; I'm sick of designated goons. I know in the arena, these are very popular things. I thought as a culture, we had gone beyond this.

Yeah, which is why UFC is the fastest growing sport. Get over yourself. Clearly you have no idea that there is an unwritten code in hockey that still exists. Unlike basketball, their ridiculous comparison, where nobody knows what the hell is going on, and no one knows how to fight anyway.

Tony again:
The people that run hockey are old hockey players. And they believe this is a test of masculinity, and it's nonsense.

Thanks, Dr. Gray. This from a guy that does color for Monday Night Football every week, a sport that is more dangerous, and more tied with masculinity than any sport I can name other than cockfighting. Where a guy taunted another guy who was unconscious on the field.

Listen, David Koci is a dope. If he doesn't fight, he's out of the league in about 30 minutes. There aren't too many people like Koci in the league any longer, and that's a good thing. I'll be honest. Fights are entertaining to me, mostly because the participants are willing and able. If fighting was one or more guys ganging up on a weaker player, I would be leading the charge to ban it. And I think that fighting does sometimes serve a purpose to the game.

Funny how they didn't mention that the guy who rearranged Koci's face is Zdeno Chara, a highly skilled and coveted player in the NHL. Proof positive it ain't always scripted theater.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Channeling their inner Holmstrom

It was a marvelous sight to see. Clowe in front of the net. Bernier in front of the net. Davison in front of the net. Michalek in front of the net. Semenov dumping Godard into the Sharks bench....okay, maybe the last one was a little embarrassing since Semenov was getting pounded - but still, it was pretty funny.

The Sharks played their best game of the season tonight, destroying the Flames and chasing the Kipper on Calgary's home ice. The Sharks own this team, having won four of the five from them - which is interesting given the physical brand of hockey Calgary plays. What can you say, the Flames bring out the inner beast in the Sharkies. An all around excellent effort with an A+ going to Coach Ron Wilson for following through with his promise to send the big boys in front of the net, ala Holmstrom. He did and boy did they get results. I hope this part of the gameplan sticks for it has been missing the last few years and, in my opinion, is a major reason why we haven't risen to the next level.

One of the only guys who didn't play well, again, was Cheechoo. The Train was invisible and got even less ice time than Rob Davison. With some big name defensemen rumored to be available, could Cheechoo be the bait the Sharks use to land Kaberle or Chara?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Right Idea

Here's a quote from Ron Wilson about Tomas Holmstrom that I found in David Pollak's blog:

He goes and stands in front of the net. And he gets punched and he gets whacked by the goalie, he gets knocked on his keister and he fights back and he maybe gets a penalty. The next shift, where’s Tomas Holmstrom? Back in front of the net. It might have taken him some time to get comfortable doing that, but because of what the reward is, you have to do that.

That’s what I want to see. When you do get punched in the head, or they dump it in the corner and you get run on the very first shift of the game, does it effect your second and your third and your fourth shifts?

Don’t allow anybody’s efforts to get you off your game. That’s what we’re working on.

I don't know if you can put it any better than that. This is what the Sharks need to do. This tells me Ron Wilson is still the right coach for the Sharks. That may change. In my view, the Sharks haven't played this way, until maybe last night.

There was an interesting remark made by Drew on the telecast last night, and he just said it offhand during the middle of the action, but it stuck with me. It's sort of a different way of saying what Ron Wilson said. He said basically: The foundation of good play is a strong work ethic. Lots of talent will put you over the top, where you win games and be dominant. Right now, the Sharks are trying to use their talent as a foundation, and work a bit to win games. Until they decide they have work hard every night, every shift, even with all their talent, they will struggle.

Shit, maybe we should put Drew back behind the bench too.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Who Does This Sound Like?

From a recent Scott Burnside post:

When the New York Rangers add two talented, veteran centers in Scott Gomez and Chris Drury in the offseason to a lineup that already boasts multiple Stanley Cup winners Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan and the best young goalie in the game in Henrik Lundqvist, reason tells you, emphatically even, that this is going to be a good hockey team. Maybe even a Stanley Cup team.

And yet after dropping a 5-3 decision to the previously winless Atlanta Thrashers on Thursday night -- a Thrashers team so desperate, so discombobulated, it fired coach Bob Hartley the day before -- the Rangers are a scant two points better than the Thrashers with a 2-4 record.
Man, this sounds awfully familiar. Change the names of the players, and it could be yet another "Sharks are disappointing" article. I get that people need to write something this time of year, but writing 3 or 4 articles on this topic since the beginning of the season seems a bit much. We're seven games in. Seven.

With all the great preseason press the Sharks got, having them come out of the gate at .500 could be a shock. "Hey! Maybe I have no friggin' idea what I'm talking about!" Barry Melrose says to himself. Well, probably not.

It could be a hell of a lot worse. We could be in Atlanta right now.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dear Dougie: We Need D

There's a certain blueliner that's fallen out of favor in a certain hockey town. The biggest hockey town in North America. No not that one. One that still sells out every night. This particular town lives and breathes hockey year round. Every misstep, every player's comment is under a microscope. A great player is getting booed for one stupid mistake, the kind of mistake that happens once in a career. And it happened to him. Not in the Stanley Cup Finals, not in April when they're fighting for a postseason spot. In the first two weeks of the season.

You've figured it out by now: Brian McCabe.

Doug, we need Brian McCabe. He scores goals. He plays special teams. He's been under 100 penalty minutes only once in the past 10 years. He's a big mean son of a bitch.

What do we give up? Carle, Vlasic, and Rivet are untouchable in my opinion, because we'd just go back to where we started. Joe is too much.

Everyone else is on the table. Yes, everyone. Marleau straight up? For three more years of McCabe? Bet your ass. Bernier and Pavelski. Goc and Ehrhoff. Make it happen. The Gooch is waiting in the wings. Kaspar can play this year. Jesus Christ, activate Tomas Plihal if you have to.

Make it happen.

Dear Dougie...What about Hossa?

"Dear Dougie" will be a post where Mike or I will have a trade suggestion to share with Doug Wilson, aka Dougie. Feel free to agree, blast or add to the trade suggestion. These are only musing, thoughts of players that might look good on the Sharks.

I am making my pitch for the Sharks to consider getting Marian Hossa from the Atlanta Thrashers. Atlanta is terrible and a fire sale is coming soon. There is no future in Georgia and they have to start rebuilding with young players. With Hossa as a UFA at the end of the season, he is sure to bolt the South for greener pastures. After looking at cap room and young assets, I find three potential playoff teams that I think could make a pitch for Hossa's services via trade. Pittsburgh could dangle Jordan Staal. Washington could offer Backstrom or Semin for the chance to pair Hossa with Alexander O. And then, there's our Sharks. We have one of the deepest young cores in the NHL and a logjam of players at the forward/center position. With Devon Setoguchi waiting in the wings, could Cheechoo be the chip that gets Hossa in Teal and White? We have all read how much Atlanta loves Steve Bernier, atleast according to Eklund. Could a package of Cheechoo and Bernier make it happen? I like Cheech, don't get me wrong. I just think Setoguchi is waiting in the wings and they are similar players. If you can replace Cheech with the Gooch and Bernier with Hossa - isn't this a major upgrade to this team that occasionally struggles to put the puck in the net?

Just a thought.....

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Statement Game

DETROIT @ SAN JOSE - Tomorrow Night!!
This game has been circled on the Sharks schedule from the beginning of training camp. Red Wings. At the Tank. This is the Sharks chance to show their fans, the Red Wings and the rest of the NHL that they haven't forgotten their Round Two collapse and that the 2007-08 Sharks are going to be different. The Killer Instinct. The chance to flex their muscles and bury the dreaded Dead Things on home ice.

I'm predicting a big Sharks win tomorrow night. The emotion of the opening night that never was on Saturday. That disappointment will be long forgotten with a strong showing against Detroit. This is the first Statement Game of the young season.

Sharks 5 Red Wings 2

Officially the new best newsy Sharks blog

Written by David Pollak, the new beat writer for the Merc. I've also added it to the blog roll.
Interesting tidbits of late on that blog (call me you own personal aggregator)

  • Osgood will be starting tomorrow, and not Hasek. Ozzy actually has better stats this year than the Dominator.
  • Matt Cooke was originally suspended for 10 games for leaving the bench for the altercation at the end of the Canucks game, but that was recinded. I'm still wondering how come they had five skaters and a goalie at that point (while on the penalty kill) and Cooke didn't count as leaving the bench. Who cares? As Joe said, he's "amusing" and not much more.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Plenty of Time to Work Out the Kinks

Last night's game was a crazy, unsatisfying affair. We get to the arena and it's completely dark. The power has gone out. There is a huge mob of people waiting in line outside, because they won't let anyone in. We find out later the lights actually go out during the pre-game skate. We wait a few minutes, the lights come on in stages, and we are eventually let in. Once we sit, we notice, although it's game time, the ice is not cut, and there is no PA or ribbon screen. The game ends up starting about a half-hour late, with none of the fanfare that generally accompanies a home opener. No anthem, no ceremony for Ricci and Marchment, no starting lineup announcements. The players come out (not from the Sharks head) around 8pm, and the refs drop the puck soon after. Very strange.

After a first period that wasn't as bad as the shot totals would indicate (12-4 in favor of the Bruins), the Sharks are losing on a garbage goal. The second and third periods, the Sharks vastly out-chance Boston, and Michalek manages score on a power play goal with 33 seconds left. Then it gets really strange.

Boston is in ultra-pressure mode, dumping the puck behind the Sharks' net. Vlasic makes a routine play and shovels it around the boards. Except for the fact that the ref is standing flat-footed in the corner, right against the boards. Why the ref is standing there, I've no idea. At least half the time the puck will get cleared along the boards, and he's right in the way. The puck goes off his skate, past Vlasic, and right to a Boston player behind the net. He passes it out front to an open player, who takes a slap shot between the circles and in. Game over.

The fact remains that the Sharks should have won, and could have won. So what the hell is going on? Forget the freaky play at the end. In my view, the Sharks have two big issues closely intertwined:

  1. The biggest team in the NHL is playing like the smallest. I'm not saying we need to goon it up, but all three players on the Marleau line are well over 200 pounds, and no one hits anybody. Puck in the corner? That defensemen needs to feel the pain. Teams are playing close up on the Sharks for a reason- there's no physical intimidation going on at all. McLaren needs to stop playing scared, have confidence in his partner, and drop some more players on their collective asses. Think Trevor Letowski.
  2. More north-south, less east-west. Sometimes I think all the skill some of our players have is actually inhibiting our ability to score. Joe, Marleau, and Michalek are so good, they want to make pretty plays. Maybe they think they're too good to stand in front of the net and take the punishment. I think it's rubbing off on other players. The puck gets cycled around, and there's no one else in the NHL that can protect the puck like Big Joe. But he waits. And waits. And dishes it off. And gets it back. And waits. JESUS, MARY, AND JOSEPH, GO TO THE NET. Who's gonna body Joe out? Who's gonna body Bernier out? Chara, Volchenkov, and Pronger. That's it, that's the list. Put the puck through traffic and crash it. It ain't pretty, but it works. It works a hell of a lot better than trying to saucer the pass over three sticks and between a guy's legs. Opponents are playing for it at this point. This is why 5-on-5 looks so bad. Even strength chances need to be created with speed and strength. They will not just appear, even if you wait for a whole shift.
We're only a few games in, and there's tons of time to work out these kinks. The Sharks need to realize that teams are getting up for these games- no more catching them unawares. It seems like every damn prognosticator in hockey has picked the Sharks to win this year. Opponents will be prepared on the X's and O's side. The Sharks have to answer with fire, thunder, and lighting. That's means heart, hits, and dazzling speed.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Trade rumors/Matvichuk

I want to go on record as saying that the rumor of Pavelski to Montreal for Halak and an unnamed defensemen must be bogus. I can't imagine Doug Wilson trading Pavelski for anything other than an impact Top 2 defensemen. This isn't going to happen, not with Pavelski. I think if the Sharks are going to play "let's make a deal" - here are the guys who could be bait.

Marcel Goc - I don't want to lose Marcel, but with the emergence of Torrey Mitchell and Logan Couture waiting in the wings, he could be used as a pawn.

Patrick Rissmiller - A UFA next season. Looks like his days with the Sharks could be numbered.

Steve Bernier - Has improved a bit, but still nothing to show for it on the scoresheet. I think Setoguchi takes his spot on the 2nd line when he is healthy.

How about the Sharks making a deal with the Devils again - this time for Richard Matvichuk. There is no risk, he has one year left on his deal @ 1.4 million. He is better than Davison/Murray/Semenov. The Devils are probably selling cheap, you probably could get him for Davison or Semenov. A tough, stay at home D-man sounds good to me. Matvichuk anyone???

Also, if Doug Wilson is concerned about Patzold as the back up (as I am) then why not sign a proven NHL back up. Scott Clemensson is out there. Robert Esche is too. How about the Shark killer himself, CuJo? A one year deal would get it done with either of these guys and the Sharks wouldn't have to part with anything in the process.

What do you think??

A Grudging Congratulations

Well, we are now four games into the season, and Grier was right and I was wrong. Torrey Mitchell was a bold call to make the club, and he has. He's played well in all four games so far this season, and the list of players behind him on the depth chart is growing. I'd have to say that Rissmiller, Brown, and JR are definitely behind him now. He was helped a bit by Setoguchi's injury, but congratulations are in order.

I just hope that Mitchell's youth and enthusiasm will help to keep him skating hard and trying hard. It's a looooong season. A letdown of some sort is inevitable. But the difference between good players and great players is the ability to bounce back from a bad game or stretch.

Unbeknownst to me, the idea of Oz making the opening day roster was a loser from the start. Apparently the substance abuse program denied him the ability to play until last night. And he didn't. He's still not signed, which means he's not taking up a roster spot, leaving a chance of making the club. The only thing Davison and Murray are contributing right now is the willingness to drop the gloves.

To Grier's and my relief, the Sharks managed to put forth a decent effort to get a win against Chicago last night. Remember, I picked Oprahtown to finish third in the Central, and they beat Detroit last Saturday at home. They are not the hapless Hawks that we've seen the past few years. Toews had his first goal in his first game on his first shot (as Randy Hahn was fond of saying last night during the telecast). Kane is playing well, and they have good young D in Keith and Seabrook. The Sharks didn't convert on many scoring changes they should have, but they converted on a late power play. Michalek managed to chip one in past the Bulin Wall, who has a few cracks in his once-pristine facade.

Can't wait for the home game on Saturday. The house will be rocking, and I will be enjoying free food courtesy of my winning bet with Grier. Come by section 124 if you're in the neighborhood. Just scream out "McLovin" at the top of your lungs, we'll find you.

The Sky is Falling. The Sky is...Wait - We Won?

As predicted, the Sharks won in Chicago. They played much better than the 2-1 score would indicate to those who didn't watch the game. We dominated the play against a much improved Blackhawks team. Chicago hung in there but took a fatal penalty late in the third penalty. I said to Mike, "This is when championship teams step up and put the dagger in." And they did. The Sharks showed their mental toughness and beat a pesky team that played with a lot of emotion. Chicago will not make the playoffs this year (sorry Mike) but they have a future atleast. I love Duncan Keith and Toews/Kane are going to be fun to watch for many years. Too bad Havlat is made of glass.

2-1-1 road trip. Good start.

We could be 4-1-1 before we know it.

Boston is hurting on their West coast road trip. We are their last game of a five game trip and they will be ready to go home. What is the story there anyways? They make the deal for Manny Fernandez and then, after he loses in the opener, he rides pine? Way to give your netminder a confidence boost, Claude Julien. Bruins will get housed at the Tank on Saturday. Vancouver is really struggling, having given up 14 goals in three games. We should go in there and win again.

Rob Davison played solid last night. He will probably get the call again Saturday. I think Wilson will ride the hot hand back there with Murray/Davison, until they sign Ozolinsh or make a deal for someone else. The new lines were jumping. Even with some players clearly not in regular season form (hello Cheechoo???), Michalek came to life with Marleau at his side and Torrey Mitchell is really fun to watch. Even the fourth line of Goc-Roencik-Brown had some moments.

Here is a question for you....if Setoguchi is ready to go on Saturday night, whose place does he take? What line does he skate on?

Looking foward to Saturday!!

Monday, October 08, 2007


Everyone needs to relax. Take a deep breath and calm down. Yes, the Sharks did lay a giant turd last night in Colorado. Yes, it was troubling to see them get outworked and not use their superior size, familiar criticism that plagued this team last year, but don't we all have bad days? Haven't you ever spilled coffee on your crotch, got a speeding ticket and stepped in shit while failing to clear the puck on a 5 on 3 power play. This was the Sharks day yesterday. You bounce back...and they will.

Here is the key - how will the Sharks respond in Chicago? I predict they will come out with a chip on their shoulder and a spring in their step. This team is eager to prove they are not the same club that folded last year in the face of adversity. When the Sharks win on Wednesday, they are coming home with five points on a difficult four game season opening road trip. A 2-1-1 record.

So, let's calm down everyone and wait for Chicago. The boys will respond. The top line might get broken up. Setoguchi might see his first action of the season. Patzold may even get the call in the pipes, but a win is coming.

This Made My Year

After the gigantic steaming turd the Sharks laid last night in Colorado, I needed something to cheer me up. Winning my hockey game last night was helpful, but not nearly on the same scale as this.

24/7 hockey on TV? I think I need to change my shorts.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Sharks in the Shootout- Far Less Effective Than Phil Spector

So mclaren's right hip put a comment in the last post about how bad the Sharks are in the shootout. And as I am wont to do in situations like this, I get curious about the numbers. I'm a math guy. Sorry. If you hate numbers, click here and go take a nap. Try to wake up in the real world.

Still here? Ready for some Sharks shootout facts?

  • Sharks are 3-9 since the shootout was started in the 06-07 season (a lovely 1-7 in the first year). That's the worst in the NHL both in terms of percentage and in terms of wins.
  • The Sharks have also had the fewest shootout opportunities of any team in the NHL.
  • Nabokov is 2-5 lifetime in the shootout. That's among the worst of goalies with 5 decisions or more. Other horrible shootout goalies include Ray Emery (1-6), Mikka Kiprusoff (4-11), Jussi Markkanen (1-4), Andrew Raycroft (3-7), and Cam Ward (1-4).
  • Vesa Toskala was 0-4 in the shootout with the Sharks.
  • Patrick Marleau is 0-6 in the shootout.
  • Joe Thornton is 1-6, 0-1 with the Sharks.
  • Joe Pavelski has the most shootout goals by a Shark with 4 (on 4 attempts, including last night). Other Sharks with multiple shootout goals- Cheech with 3, Clowe with 2, Marco Sturm with 2, and Nils Ekman (remember him?) with 2.
  • The best in the NHL is Jussi Jokinen, who is 15 for 25. In terms of percentage, Paul Kariya and Slava Kozloz are slightly better, shooting 12 for 18 (66.7%).
So other than the goal-scoring and the goal-saving, the Sharks are money in the shootout.

If I were to put together a shootout lineup, I would go Pavelski, Clowe, Cheech, with Michalek or Bernier on deck. Bernier scored in the Teal and White game, remember? Against Taylor Dakers, but that's beside the point.

Opening Night Thoughts

I didn't finish watching the game until 1am, so my impressions may be as worthless as tits on a hog. I never understood that expression, which makes it all the more appropriate.

  • D-Gate! We need some pressure defense. I think there were a couple of Edmonton power plays where the Sharks literally did not touch the puck. We'd just let 'em skate around the outside, cycle for a while, then they'd give to Souray and he'd blast a shot at about a thousand miles per hour. It'd ricochet around at a couple of hundred miles per hour, and eventually get kicked to the point or a corner again, where they'd repeat. I guess it was effective, since Edmonton didn't score a power play goal, but the Sharks are playing with fire if it continues.
  • Torrey Mitchell looked awesome. A post, and a couple of good scoring chances. The question that will be answered soon enough is 'can he put out that kind of effort every night, even on a Wednesday night away game in Columbus'?
  • Bummer about Setoguchi's ankle- he really should have made his debut last night, he earned it.
  • If Joe keeps shooting like he did last night, he'll both open up more passing lanes and score 35 goals. He was like a Shark with a friggin laser beam on his head with that goal (see what I did there?)
  • The Sharks are worthless in the shootout. WORTHLESS.
And I want to apologize to Scott Thornton for my crack (and the Kings, although that part hurts a little). After this epic beatdown of George Parros, I'll never doubt again:

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Thank the Sweet Lord Hockey Is Back

The first two games of the season didn't really count. They were in a country that cares almost nothing for hockey (kinda like the U.S.). With two teams where I didn't want either of them to win. And the games were at 3 in the morning or something, playing on TV directly against top college football games. Way to make a splash, NHL.

But last night was better, scheduled against playoff baseball. Whoops. Since baseball is only slightly less interesting than a paint-drying seminar, it was easy enough to click past that crap, and enjoy my first day of Center Ice, bought and paid for. Toronto and Ottawa. I got home from work so late I only saw the third, but it was tight hockey, a close game, and Dany Heatley, fresh from signing his new 6-year extension that will pay him about $8m per, scored late in the third to tie, and in overtime to win the game. Great way to start the season. And the other 27 people watching all across America were as thrilled as I was.

And by the way? Starting Raycroft? Horrible decision. They showed a "plays of the game" type graphic late in the third with the score tied 3-3 that Raycroft had "made 24 saves". That's a .888 save percentage. Last year, that would have been good enough for 41st in the NHL, behind Brent Johnson, but ahead of Alex Auld. Attention Leafs: start Toskala, and let him win you some games.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Torrey Mitchell makes the club!

My bold prediction comes true. Wilson says today in the San Jose Mercury News that Mitchell will be in the opening night line up, along with fellow rookie Setoguchi.

No real clues as to how the other lines are going to shake down after Thornton-Marleau-Cheechoo. Whose spot did Mitchell take in the line up? I can only guess it is Curtis Brown.

One more cut to go and its gotta be Semenov, right? Unless this deal for Halak is real and Wilson is formulating a deal with some of our spare parts. I am not sold on Patzold as the back up. If Nabby goes down, the Sharks season could go in the tank - literally.

Could Goc be the bait? It appears he has been passed up on the depth chart by Pavelski.

About 50 hours to go!