Two dudes blogging and podcasting about the San Jose Sharks, straight from sunny California.

post Who’s the Goat?

November 13th, 2009, 10:52 am

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

*Vesce shown actual size

Dallas is certainly a worthy opponent, and the Sharks again managed not to lose in regulation last night, falling 3-2 in the shootout to the Stars.  Of course, the way they lost will the be the topic of discussion today, mostly because there isn’t much to talk about regarding the Sharks.  I don’t mean for this to be a strident, finger-pointing post, because these games happen, and you can’t expect the boys in teal to be in absolute top form every game of the year.  I thought Dallas played very well, with a few more crazy-Turk (Turco) moves than I’m used to seeing.  I was a bit surprised at their lack of offensive firepower- I thought their D would be the main issue with the Stars.  Only James Neal seemed to be a consistent threat, with Brad Richards (their top scorer) and Mike Ribero (their top actor) held at bay.

So the game seemed to be going according to plan, the Sharks finally manage to crack Turco on a classic Dany Heatley tally and a flukey Ryan Clowe wrist shot that went off the D, and then the third period happened.  The one off of Demers’ boot was just bad luck more than anything.  The second was worse, because it stemmed from a bad clearing attempt, with a scrum in front finally tying the game.  Fairly lively overtime, and like always, I go into the shootout with more than a touch of dread.  Nabby is tied for third all time in losses in the shootout (tied with Tim Thomas, behind only Giguere and Luongo) with a win percentage of .455 and save percentage of .584.

The title of this post refers to the odd (some might say lame) selection of the third shooter in the shootout.  McLellan kept his second best shootout player (Ryane Clowe, 6 for 13 all-time) on the bench in favor of Ryan Vesce (now 0 for 1 all time).  To be honest, after you get past Pavs (14 for 25) and Clowe, it does get a little thin, choosing between Dan Boyle (4 for 13), Patrick Marleau (5 for 17), Dany Heatley (4 for 21) or Devin Setoguchi (1 for 6).  I’m glad McLellan chose Boyle, because if nothing else, it’s entertaining watching Boyle make about a thousand moves, sending the goalie into a full spin and flop.  This time Turco spun and flopped correctly, and made a no-look save on Boyle’s backhand.

But Vesce, not so much.  He skated straight down the center of the ice, handled the puck a couple of times, tried to deke, and left the puck behind him.  He swept at it on the backhand, but because the forward progress had stopped, it wouldn’t have counted even if it had gone in.  Not exactly an impressive performance.

It’s a minor point, but who’s the goat in this situation?  McLellan for putting in a guy that’s ice cold?  Or Vesce who didn’t even manage to keep the puck on his stick when he tried to shoot it?

12 Comments to “Who’s the Goat?”

  1. Evilducks says:

    It’s a shootout, I don’t think anybody is a goat. I don’t think Vesce losing the puck is in any way worse than Pavelski completely missing the net. Neither had any chance of going in, why single out Vesce?

    It was a fluke that Dallas came back with that luck goal of Demers’ foot. It sucks that we gave 2 points to another division rival at home, but I didn’t see a lot in the game that angered me. We had a lot of offensive chances and Turco stoned us, same on the other team. Good teams will get chances no matter how well the other is playing.

    There seems to be this notion (not saying you dudes do this) that if the other team generates any sort of offense then the Sharks are playing badly, like somehow they’re the only good team on the ice and we should just dominate everybody else. There are some very good players on the Stars as we have unfortunately been forced to learn over the years.

    This isn’t last years team, they’re playing well, expect more games like this as the year continues.

    I hate the Stars, good game, shame we didn’t win, that’s what happens in the shootout sometimes.

  2. […] Stars – 3 San Jose Sharks – […]

  3. Doug says:

    I hate to cross over to another sport, but would you let a AAA player hit with two on and two outs and the game on the line if you had a proven veteran with a hot streak on the bench? That’s what McLellan did…and I hope he doesn’t do it again. Putting Vesce in the clean up spot when he had two of the best goal scorers in the NHL in Marleau and Heatley and shootout ace Clowe staring back at him was the wrong call. I doubt it will happen again.

    • Evilducks says:

      Except those situations are what those players are paid to do. If you two on and two outs who would you send to the free throw line to make a basket? Does it matter if it’s a AAA player if he’s better at shooting the ball?

      The only problem I have with the Vesce choice was that he was cold, I don’t care what his apparent spot in the roster is because making a shootout goal has nothing to do with actual hockey skills ability. Heatley’s best ability is his one timer and getting to the open spots, not applicable. Joe is that he can see the ice probably better than 99.9% of the league, not applicable. Patty is fast as hell (and probably should take more shootouts) but that rarely helps in the shootout as well. Clowe is excellent at cleaning up garbage, don’t think you can play rebounds in the shootout.

      Vesce’s knock is he’s too small for the NHL. That’s not a problem in the shootout. The guy might have a great wrister, could deke really well and we just don’t know because even Marcel Goc can muscle him off a puck.

      • Mike says:

        I agree with most of what you said here. But my point wasn’t that Vesce’s inclusion in the shootout was a mistake. My point was that he was included in the shootout instead of the second best shootout player on the team. I looked, but couldn’t find, AHL shootout records. It’s possible that Vesce was lights-out in shootouts for Worchester, which would make me soften a bit. Even if not, throw him in as the #4 or #5 guy if it gets that far.

        • Evilducks says:

          It probably came down to what the coaches have seen from him in practice.

          Mostly I just hate the shootout and get some what annoyed when people think we should just put the highest paid players in there despite the reality of the situation.

          My big gripe is that he was cold and would have rather seen Clowe take the shot. I don’t like Heatley in the shootout at all, despite his very recent success. The numbers just aren’t in his favor. But even then, I’m sure you’ve seen all the whining about Clowe taking shootout attempts recently because he only has ‘one move’ and every goalie knows what he’s going to do.

          I think Vesce had an opening but lost the puck, it happens.

  4. Evilducks says:

    Rest easy friends. According to the update at WTC Vesce has been sent down, we won’t see him missing any shoot out shots for the moment.

    Also, Shelley is out for at least 2 more games…

    We have an opening in the forward lines, who’s coming up?

    Could it be Mitchell?


  5. Doug says:

    Looks like it’s Logan Couture joining the club for Saturday since he is not playing tonight vs. the Lowell Devils and Torrey Mitchell is. We might finally see McGinn and Couture on a line together which could produce some pretty exciting 4th line shifts.

    Evil: In my brilliant baseball analogy (Mike’s true favorite sport) I never mention salary. It’s not like I’m calling for Joe Thornton to shoot. It has nothing to do with who’s the highest paid, Pavs sure isn’t (well…this year). It’s about who could have gotten us two points and I would have picked Clowe or Marleau, even Seto and Heater, every single time over Ryan Vesce and twice on Sundays…and three times on Easter Sunday….is this joke wearing thin? It’s true, we don’t know who rules the shootout in practice, but we sure know Clowe’s near 50% conversion rate – whether people know his move or not, he still scores. Go down with your horses, not a hunch. GO SHARKS!

    • Evilducks says:

      I agree with you on Clowe, as that’s who I would have gone with. Using salary was my bad, saw that somewhere else.

      I hate when we pick Seto or Heater to shoot, they’re terrible at it. I’d rather see what some of the newer guys can do frankly because they stink.

      Seto is 1 for 6 all time and Heater is 4 for 21. Marleau is no wonder boy at 5 for 17.

      Your horses are anemic in the shootout.

      Why not find out what some of our less known guys can do? Considering some of the best shootout shooters out there are guys like Jussi Jokinen, Joe Pavelski and Wojtek Wolski, you don’t always get shootout wins from your normal go to guys. Like you said, you wouldn’t put Joe out there, why would you put Heater out there? Nobody is going to pass it to him in the slot where he can get a wicked one timer off before the goalie can react. Thats where most of his goals come from.

      I wouldn’t have anchored the line-up with Vesce either, I would have put him second. Pavs is an excellent lead off guy and go with somebody you trust as the anchor, put new guys in for the 2nd shooter. I’d like to see McGinn, Couture, Malhotra, Ferriero, etc. See what they can do, because frankly we don’t know… and neither does their goalie.

      Oh, our superstars aren’t the only ones that suck at the shootout. Ovechkin is 12 for 40, Lecavalier is 12 for 39, Malkin is 5 for 25, Gaborik is 1 for 13, Kovulchuck is 7 for 30.

      They may be superstars in hockey, they’re AHL candidates in the shootout. Scoring in the shootout has absolutely nothing to do with the way most goals are scored.

      • Evilducks says:

        Just for more fun… Shootout superstars:

        Jussi Jokinen 24 of 44
        Vyacheslav Kozlov 24 of 41
        Ales Kotalik 20 of 38
        Erik Christensen 17 of 31
        Wojtek Wolski 17 of 30
        Joe Pavelski 14 of 25
        Patrick Kane 11 of 22
        Patrick O’Sulliven 11 of 22
        Jamie Langenbrunner 11 of 22
        Jonathan Toews 9 of 15

        That’s all the guys with 15 or more shots that maintain above a 50% shootout average. Lots of superstars in that mix.

    • Mr. Plank says:

      Nice find Doug. Here’s what I got:


      Gives the kid some better looks and keeps the fourth line solid defensively. I doubt it happens with the whole “earn your spot” manifesto management currently has in place, but a blogger can dream right?

  6. Evilducks says:

    Pollak update with McLellan on why he went with Vesce:

    “Why did I use him in the shootout? For a few reasons. One, he’s very good in Worcester. He scores and that’s part of the development process. Two, the day before in practice, we had a shootout and he was very good. Three, very few goaltenders know him.

    “Those were the reasons why. The negatives on the bench, when we were deciding, were that he was a little bit cold, he hadn’t played the last part of the game. But sometimes it’s good to show confidence in those types of players and let them know you believe in them.”

    So yeah, pretty much the practice thing and the fact goalies don’t know what to expect.

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