March 9th, 2012, 9:25 am
That’s last night’s game, and soon, the title will describe the season. The Sharks cough up another 3rd period lead, decide not to try in an overtime power play, and then cap it by putting Tommy Wingels as the third shooter in the shootout, a guy who has literally never participated in the shootout in his career. I know we were looking for desperation, but to me that means urgency and fire, not grasping at straws.
But I’m going to try and not let my extreme frustration leak over too much into this post, and talk about something that is becoming increasingly obvious- the rift between Doug Wilson and Todd McLellan. Exhibit A is T.J. Galiardi. Only on the Sharks for two weeks now, Galairdi has been scratched once, and played only 2:30 against St. Louis. His average ice time in the other two games was about 11:40, which is far below his average with the Avalanche before he was traded. And Galiardi was, by many reports, on the outs with Joe Sacco in Colorado. So the Avs want to get him out of town, and then trade him to a team that plays him even less than he played before? There’s a disconnect here.
Exhibit B is the penalty kill. DW goes out and gets three guys who can play the kill, because, frankly, the kill has sucked for much of the year. As of this writing, it’s 28th. So we get Daniel Winnik (averaging 2:51 this season on the kill) Dominic Moore (1:50) , and Galiardi (1:06). So who are the big killers last night? Pavelski (1:41), Couture (1:35), and Marleau (1:31). The three PK specialists we got are dwarfed in SH ice time by Andrew Desjardins (1:35). Only Moore played a full shift (0:41), with Winnik, probably the best PKer of the three, playing just 0:14. What is wrong with this picture? Play the #2, #3, and #4 scorer the most on the PK, make the new defensive forwards ride the pine, even when you’ve averaged only 1.9 goals per game over the last 10? It just makes no sense to me.
If the Sharks manage to squeak into the playoffs, all bets are off. But if April brings a Marleau-Roenick tee time, either T-Mac or DW will be gone, and possibly both.
February 27th, 2012, 5:40 pm
Another trade deadline day has passed, and the Sharks are again active, trading Jamie McGinn, Michael Sgarbossa, and Mike Kennedy to Colorado for T.J. Galliardi, Daniel Winnik, and a 7th. The Dudes talk about the trade, the worst road trip in memory, and all the other deals that happened.
Podcast: Play in new window
February 14th, 2012, 3:38 pm
But I want to know the way to San Jose, Mommy!
It appears Columbus star winger, Rick Nash, has been officially posted on the auction block. I’m honestly shocked that the BJ’s are going to let what appears to be a lame duck GM in Scott Howson make the biggest move in franchise history, trading away their only star player and star draft pick. That makes no sense to me at all. Howson has had one year of success with this team and the rest has been pure famine. Now…he can’t control injuries, but he can control who they draft and so far, under his watch, they haven’t produced Jack or Squat.
The return for Rick Nash needs to be stunning, like Kate Upton!! or something that remakes the outlook of this franchise in the short term and the long term. The team on the other end is getting a star player that is signed for the long haul. Columbus needs to look no further for a blueprint on this deal than the trade they made to acquire Jeff Carter and the trade LA made to acquire Mike Richards.
To Flyers: Jakub Voracek, 2011 1st round pick (#8 overall/Sean Couturier) and a 3rd rounder.
To BJs: Jeff Carter
To Flyers: Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn (their top position prospect) and a mystery pick.
To Kings: Mike Richards
They are very good players, Carter and Richards. Nash is a two time 40 goal scorer, a Rocket Richard winner, a former overall 1st round pick and a multi-gold medal winning athlete for Canada. The price will be more than what is listed above for the Cheesesteak Twins. The Blue Jackets should require a top NHL ready prospect or a top ten pick and a quality, young NHL 2nd line forward signed to a cap friendly deal and another very strong, close to NHL ready player in this deal.
That having been said, this is Scott Howson. He could screw the whole thing up, Wile E. Coyote style and run into a hole in a painted mountain. Would be a perfect final chapter.
Where am I going with this? Well, both ESPN Cross Checks Blog and Craig Custance discussed the San Jose Sharks as a potential landing spot for Rick Nash, given his desire to win and his friendship with a certain shirtless Jumbo Joe. (No mention of his recent tiffs with Danny Boyle, but I’m thinking that could be patched pretty quickly over a Blue Moon. Derek Brassard is a wuss anyways).
Would we want Rick Nash? Of course. We’re not loco pants …but can we pay the price, or does it even make sense to pay it? The Sharks can’t offer a prospect like Brayden Schenn. We have no such player in our system – but Columbus will demand an NHL sure thing in this deal. They must.We will have a mid-high 20’s first round pick. Not a ton of value in a big deal like this – not for Rick Nash. They need players with a track record of some kind.
After talking it over with Mike, here is the Dudes on Hockey guess at what it would take for the Sharks to land Rich Nash:
To Columbus: Joe Pavelski (in place of a Brayden Schenn type signed long term),Jamie McGinn
Justin Braun (top NHL ready D prospect),Their pick of Tyson Sexsmith, Harri Sateri or Alex Stalock.
To San Jose: Rick Nash and Samuel Pahlsson
This isn’t going to be a Doug Wilson fleecing situation. Any GM is going to have to give up a ransom to land Rick Nash, and while he would look smooth on Jumbo’s wing, we should just put the thought out of our pretty little heads and hope he ends up kicking it on the East Coast and far away from our conference. LA could offer a package around Jonathan Bernier and Jack Johnson. VAN could offer Corey Schneider and Alexandre Burrows for starters.
He will go somewhere. Just not Silicon Valley. Let’s focus up on Paul Gaustad kids.
February 9th, 2012, 10:31 am
A great moment last night with Owen Nolan at center ice, the entire crowd standing, cheering, not wanting the cheers to end. I’m sure Nolan felt the same. Both the Sharks and Flames giving it up for the veteran of both teams, the #1 overall pick in 1990, who, like so many others, had a long industrious career that didn’t quite end the way he wanted.
Basically, a microcosm of the game last night. The Sharks played just well enough to stay in it, but the Flames would take control whenever the Sharks tied it up. Olli Jokinen, of all people, looking like he was playing in his Florida Panthers heyday, dropping a hat trick on the Sharks. And most of all, the Sharks breakout defense being completely hamstrung without Dan Boyle in the lineup. The game winning goal in particular was a comedy of errors that was worthy of the Three Stooges, with Colin White assuming the role of Shemp. I half-expected Niemi to put the flat of his hand between his eyes so Jokinen wouldn’t be able to do the two-fingered poke.
The best part of the game was when the Sharks were down 2-0, then came roaring back in the space of 90 seconds. But true to form, the Flames regained the lead four minutes later, in perhaps the textbook definition of “how not to defend a 2-on-2”. It looks like a 2-on-1 for a moment, with Murray backing up, but Burns is quickly back in the play. Iginla passes to Jokinen, and Murray slides over to take Jokinen. Burns decides to hang out in no-man’s-land, leaving Iginla uncovered between the hash marks, who promptly buries the return pass from Jokinen. For good measure, there’s a third guy coming into the frame, also uncovered, who probably would have scored on the rebound if Iginla somehow failed to score from 15 feet out.
I’m hoping the Sharks were just looking forward to Friday, when they’ll come out with the same dominance they showed against Dallas and Columbus last week. It’s not all puppies and rainbows in Chicago either, I read this, and it cheered me up a little.
January 15th, 2012, 4:28 pm
We will record the podcast tomorrow, since it would be a crime not to watch and talk about the Hawks game.
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January 6th, 2012, 7:58 am
Sorry about the delay everyone, we will have a new podcast posted this weekend, probably Sunday, so we can talk about the Caps game.
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December 14th, 2011, 9:11 am
That’s a curse my dad used to use, and it applies to the Sharks’ latest streak. There’s really nothing positive, or even productive for me to say now, so I will leave you with this, in case you haven’t seen it. It didn’t cheer me all the way up, but it did help a little.
December 6th, 2011, 9:14 am
The biggest news of the season so far is the announcement of a complete overhaul of the NHL alignment, going from six 4-team divisions and two conferences into four conferences, two with 7 teams, two with 8. The idea would be to make the travel a bit more equitable (see this Puck Daddy post for all the gritty details). But with most things, you can’t make anything completely equal- the 8-team conferences, of which the Sharks will be a part, will have one more team to contend with to make the postseason. Each conference will do a 4-team mini-playoff, with the winner of each conference heading to the Stanley Cup Semifinals.
It’s a radically different scheme than today. Most people (myself included) are somewhat leery and afraid of change, so my initial reaction was, “that’s crazy, and therefore bad!”. But after thinking about it for only a short while, I’m getting used to the idea, and I kind of like it. Here are my pros and cons:
- Visibility. The biggest pro of the new scheme is we will see every NHL team in San Jose every year. For instance, this year we won’t see the Rangers, Flyers (Pronger BOOOOO), or Maple Leafs in our barn. Not being able to crack jokes in person at Joffrey Lupul’s expense just hurts me a little bit inside.
- Travel. More games against fewer teams that are closer mean fewer time changes. Playing Nashville or Detroit in the first round of the playoffs really sucks from a travel standpoint, and under the new alignment, this would never happen.
- Playoff potential. The Final Four thing is just cool (new and improved Frozen Four, anyone?). Right now the Stanley Cup Semifinals are just another step on a long journey to the Cup; if I were the league, I’d really play up this angle.
- Rivalries. It will be hard to maintain the same bad blood with the Wings or Chicago if we only face them twice a year, and never in the playoffs until the 3rd round.
- OD’ing on a few teams. When you play a terrible team six times, the games can often be snoozers. With the larger conferences, the chances of two or even three teams being bad is much higher.
I will leave you with a chart I made indicating how the number of matchups will change. I used this year’s schedule, and assumed, for simplicity’s sake, that the three teams we will play 6 times next year are the Ducks, Coyotes, and Kings.
Pie charts suck, you get your bar chart and like it
November 30th, 2011, 9:13 am
After a nice run where the Sharks managed to accumulate the best points-per-game rate of any team in the NHL, the lean times have come in two bad losses in the last two games. And frankly, if it were not for the near-goalie-steal performance of Antti Niemi against the Hawks, we’d be looking at a 3 game losing streak, disturbingly to the class of the West. I can never really decide if losing to the best teams is better to losing to the worst teams. Which is worse, irritating inconsistency (losing to Columbus) or depressing mediocrity (losing to Vancouver)?
The famine is not without casualties. First and foremost is Justin Braun, who Pollak said “was reassigned to Worcester less than 24 hours after his misplay cost San Jose a goal in Monday’s loss.” I suppose it’s possible that particular blunder led to his demotion, but I don’t buy it (wasn’t it Niemi’s fault more than his?). As we’ve said on the podcast several times, Braun is a good young defenseman that you want to play early and often, and continue to develop his game. If he’s clearly head-and-shoulders better than his offensive contemporary, Jason Demers, then you keep him in San Jose. With Demers playing more the last few games, and Braun not playing quite as well, Braun would fall into the mixing bowl that is the 3rd defensive pair. Which means he’s in, he’s out, he doesn’t get consistent minutes. Which means I agree with the decision to send him East to the struggling Worchester Sharks. Lord knows they need all the help they can get over there.
The next two games might be what the doctor ordered. Neither Montreal nor Florida are patsies, but they are not in the same conversation as Vancouver, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Doug and I are going to wait until the weekend to record the next podcast, mostly due to scheduling, but we’re hoping for a good effort against the Habs to help balance what would have likely been a negative-Nancy episode.
November 21st, 2011, 9:02 pm
I was going to post something about my trip, which has very little to do with hockey, but I can’t in good conscience now. Sid’s comeback is just a hair more impressive than mine. I hope you’ve seen the game or highlights. Two goals (both backhand shots, no less) and two assists. Remember, he missed 68 games. It’s impossible not to make a comparison with Mario Lemieux here. Lemieux had a much longer absence, to be sure, but from a hockey perspective, Crosby means just as much to the Penguins now as Mario did then. And, to top it all off, they both scored four points in their respective returns. Just amazing.
Back to the Sharks- it’s been a great welcome home present for me to see them dismantle Detroit, Dallas, and Colorado in the last three games. Of course the number one thing to talk about is the penalty kill, which I’m sure we will when we record the podcast this week after the Chicago game. Just wanted to give a bit of a funny stat. I decided to calculate how the Sharks ranked in terms of the percentage of games they gave up a PP goal, instead of just overall PK%, where they currently stand at 3rd worst (74.6%). I fully expected the Sharks to have given up a PP goal in a greater percentage of games than any other team- it seemed like every goddam game the opponent scored with the man advantage. But it’s not actually the case:
- Dallas 65% (13/20)
- Carolina 63.6% (14/22)
- Islanders 61.1% (11/18)
- Winnipeg 60% (12/20)
- Columbus 60% (12/20)
- Los Angeles 60% (12/20)
- Detroit 57.8% (11/19)
- Ottawa 57.4% (12/21)
- Toronto 57.4% (12/21)
- Colorado 57.4% (12/21)
- San Jose 55.5% (10/18)
Dallas is a full seven percentage points better in PK% – 17th overall, the best on this list- and yet has given up a PP goal in 65% of the games they’ve played. I don’t really know what that means, but it’s interesting.