October 16th, 2011, 10:29 am
Todd McLellan has mentioned in the press several times that the Sharks had to play a serious game of catch-up last year in the second half. Lolling around at 12th in the West in early January, they had to rip off a massive hot streak in order to secure their 2nd seed playoff position. After all of that emphasis, it seems the Sharks decent start has been held to two periods. After 40 minutes at home versus Phoenix, the Sharks were up 6-1, and just dominating the Coyotes. Since then, the Sharks have been outscored 7-2, and dropped the last two games against teams we think will miss the postseason. Both the Ducks game and the Blues game seemed to have the same symptoms- sloppy passing, not a lot of physicality, and giving the opposition too much space, especially on the power play.
This is just an observation from a guy in the stands, but last night there seemed to be a lot of 5 and 6-foot attempted passes underneath Blue skates and sticks. Many of those passes didn’t work out. A lot of tricky and slick attempts went nowhere, and even turned into scoring chances the other way. Now I go and read the game recap, and T-Mac agrees:
“We weren’t prepared to play a grind-it-out game,” McLellan said. “We wanted to play this fancy puck possession stuff against a team that wanted to grind it out.” Later, he added: “We choose to be the Globetrotters in the first seven or eight minutes of the game, and it doesn’t work that way.”
Lots of east and west, not enough north and south. We clearly got the shot differential, but Greiss did not have a Quality Start, while Brian Elliot was close to having a Goalie Steal.
On the good side, it’s nice to see the fourth line playing quite a bit (Winchester 9:54, Andrew Murray 10:17, Andrew Desjardins 9:54), and the third line, especially Torrey Mitchell, has been good as well. Mitchell had another point last night, and giving him two more points on the season than Joe Thornton (0). Joe especially was a big offender in the Globetrotter department. While he did make several passes that had me scratching my head, wondering how he got that through, he also had several that had me scratching my head, wondering what the hell he was thinking. I guess it’s a fine line. Overall it almost seems as though the Sharks think they have such a talent surplus over the other team that they can not commit as much to the unpleasant parts of the game, like getting hit, forechecking aggressively, and doggedly working the boards and corners. As the Blues and Ducks have both proven the last 48 hours, it just doesn’t work that way in the NHL. Kent Huskins will hurt you with a laser wrist shot.
October 7th, 2011, 4:56 pm
As I mentioned on the last podcast, I’ve managed to read the latest Hockey Prospectus annual from cover to cover in seven days. Hockey Prospectus, formerly known as Puck Prospectus (which I like better, because hey, who doesn’t like alliteration?), is site of hockey writers/fans that plumb the vast depths of advanced hockey analytics, relying on, and in many cases inventing, the advanced stats that I’ve put in the Stats Glossary. I didn’t expect whipping through the entire thing, and certainly not that quickly. I more expected to read the way I did last year’s, which was to look up the Sharks, read the articles at the end about different stats topics, and browse a bit for certain players and teams. Not this time.
Before I go on, I know Fear the Fin has already written about the book recently (which they got for free, dammit!), so I’m going to hope you all believe I’m been planning this post since I first bought the PDF last week. Either way, I’m going to try to avoid talking about the same topics in that post. Mostly, I’ll be pointing out fun facts and jabs the guys at Hockey Prospectus have levied on various NHL players, coaches, and management. It’s really one of the unexpected delights of the book. But the articles are always great, I would especially recommend the ones on Ultimate Faceoff Percentage (UFO%) and Core Age.
Here are, in no particular order, are some of my favorite quotes and stats from the book:
- “George Parros has certainly earned his devoted fan base with his community charity work, and was named the fourth-smartest professional athlete by the Sporting News, thanks to his time studying economics in Princeton. Perhaps he can apply that knowledge to discuss Jason Blake’s contract with Bob Murray.”
- “At 6’7”, homegrown St. Louis Blue Ben Bishop is the tallest goalie to ever play in the NHL, but his suspect .896 save percentage in the AHL will have to improve if he hopes to make a more permanent return. Bishop can only move diagonally.”
- “(Bobby Ryan) also gets along great with Corey Perry since they both have two first names.”
- “John Scott is one of those few players who make the league minimum, but is yet overpaid.”
- “Huet played in Switzerland last year, but could play his final couple of years in the NHL once his deal expires this season (or says our Cristobal).” <rimshot>
- “Steve MacIntyre can punch people really hard in the face.”
- “Brian Elliot was having a terrible season with the Senators before he was dealt in exchange for Craig Anderson. Then he got worse.”
- “Of all players drafted since 2005, only Sidney Crosby and Anze Kopitar have played in more games than Marc-Edouard Vlasic.”
- “David LeNeveu’s save percentage is .887 in 22 NHL games, and .908 in the AHL. Except for emergency situations, David should LeNever be used.”
- “With the Edmonton franchise now entering uncertain Year X of a rebuilding phase meant to last until indeterminate Year Y, Tambellini has at least proven completely capable of putting together the very worst roster in the league.”
- “All things considered, Ott is a gem of a player who doesn’t get the credit he deserves around the league as a whole because of the style that he plays.” (That one hurt a little, but I agree.)
- “A big, rugged defenseman who had a fantastic defensive season in 2009-10, Matt Carkner’s defensive GVT wasn’t nearly as impressive last year, but was still solid. He’s also willing to punch people when Chris Neil needs to rest his hands.”
- “Cam Janssen is quite possibly the league’s worst player, whose only useful purpose is alerting other players that their careers are probably over whenever coaches line him up alongside them.”
- “No team needs more than one of Mike Brown, Colton Orr, or Jay Rosehill on its roster. Brown is plenty. Indeed, some teams would be happy to have none of them. And yet, here they all are, together again.”
- “This past season, only four forwards who played more than 30 games in the NHL had a zone start ratio above 70%: cheap shot artist and general liability Cam Janssen (74.4%) and the Vancouver Canucks first line (Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, and Alex Burrows). To put those numbers in further context, only eight forwards had zone starts north of 65%… Vigneault is able to shower the twins with some of the softest possible ice time (for a first-line scoring unit at least) for several reasons: primary amongst them is this season’s Selke Trophy winner, Ryan Kesler… Of course, even Kesler can’t take all the defensive zone draws, which is why the Canuck’s bottom six is littered with players with awful zone starts and mostly marginal output as a result. In the last two seasons, Vigneault has opted to feed his bottom end the less desirable minutes, forcing guys like Ryan Johnson, Darcy Hordichuk, Tanner Glass, Jannik Hansen, Raffi Torres, and Manny Malhotra to climb uphill in order to cede the high ground to the club’s scorers. Last season, for instance, the trio of Malhotra, Torres, and Hansen had the very worst combined zone start of any regular forward unit in the entire league, 25.0%, 29.6%, and 34.3% respectively… The Sedins have enjoyed a meteoric rise to the very top of the NHL scoring charts the last couple of seasons and have been spoken of as legitimate Hart candidates as well. However, the truth of the matter is they are very good players who have stood on the shoulders of their coach and teammates to become elite ones. “
- (About Ryane Clowe) “Those mourning the demise of the “power forward” in the NHL are no doubt huge fans of the Newfoundland native, who was one of just three players in the league last season to amass at least 60 points and 100 PIM.”
- The Sharks have zero (0) prospects in Corey Pronman’s top 100. Charlie Coyle is #69.
- Joe Thornton is 4th in the league in combined GVT since the lockout, behind Ovechkin, Crosby, and Datsyuk. Boyle is 4th amongst defensemen behind Lidstrom, Rafalski, and Visnovsky. People forget about the little guy.
Our Books We Like link on the right there is active, so if you want to buy this (and you should), go ahead and click that link first. It’ll throw a buck or two our way, and not cost you anything.
October 3rd, 2011, 7:37 pm
I’m aware, and slightly sorry, for the lack of written word in the past few months. I feel as though the podcast covered most of what we had to say. But I’m am going to try and write a little more once the season begins. For instance, I just added a Stats Glossary there on the right side, so click on that and read about some wonderful advanced hockey numbers. I plan to do a longer stats-related post sometime later this week, so get your pillows out!
September 27th, 2011, 11:22 pm
The Dudes try and put into context what the Sharks undefeated preseason means, if anything. And they tackle the biggest Sharks question out there- who will make the 3rd and 4th lines? After charting the rise of Wingels and the fall of McGinn, Mike and Doug have an opinion, but realize they’ve been wrong a lot of preseasons past. After all that, they tackle the new discipline method handed out by Brendan Shanahan, and talk about the Wayne Simmonds and Sean Avery incidents.
Podcast: Play in new window
September 15th, 2011, 11:54 pm
Lots of stuff happening, with the season drawing nearer, but the Dudes start with injuries, and the deal that didn’t happen- Kyle Wellwood, originally reported as signing with the Sharks, but actually with Winnipeg. Lots of other news with Brad Winchester, young stars, and NHL news. Mike and Doug still have enough time to preview the Atlantic division.
For those of you that want to join one of our fantasy leagues, here is the info. Please only sign up for one league initially, so everyone that wants to play can.
UPDATE: ALL LEAGUES WERE FULL SO A FOURTH LEAGUE HAS BEEN ADDED. WE WILL NEED 10 PLAYERS MINIMUM TO MAKE THE LEAGUE HAPPEN. SEE YOU THERE!
UPDATE: The fourth league is full. That’s it for this year. May the best “dude” win.
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September 7th, 2011, 6:17 pm
Thanks to my main man Bryce, we now have some desktop wallpapers of the Sharks’ 2011-2012 schedule. Four different backgrounds in two sizes. I’m partial to the diamond fin myself.
August 25th, 2011, 10:59 pm
Not much is happening, but the Dudes can pull topics out of their hats like magicians. Plus, there’s a bit of Sharks news.
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August 17th, 2011, 9:42 pm
Not much Sharks news, but the Dudes make their own news with a new friend of the show. Pics enclosed.
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July 13th, 2011, 7:36 pm
WILSON! SIGN US SOME ROLE PLAYERS! WILSON!!!!
Mike’s on vacation so the next podcast will be delayed a few days. Luckily, there’s not much news to talk about since Doug Wilson appears to be out of whoppers for the moment. In the mildly interesting news department, the Sharks resigned RFA John McCarthy to a one year, $525,000 deal and signed former Columbus forward, Andrew Murray, to a one year, two-way deal, no details confirmed. He is a bottom six forward with size and 181 NHL games of experience. It should be noted that when healthy he can throw the body around with 147 hits in the BJ’s 2008-09 playoffs debut. Unfortunately, he missed all four of their playoff losses with a hamstring injury. There’s that little health thing again. He hasn’t played a minute of AHL hockey in four years, and he won’t likely want to ride the bus, so if he’s healthy, Murray might be a guy to keep an eye on in camp to see if he pushes the Sharks young guns (Desjardins, McGinn, McCarthy and Ferriero) for a roster spot.
Also joining the Sharks this week were former Avalanche, Bruin and Predator, Ben Guite, and former Calgary Flame 2005 first round draft pick, Matt Pelech. Both these guys have been plying their trade in the AHL recently and I’m pretty confident they will be looking for an apartment in Worcester. Pelech is an interesting story though. He’s a shutdown defender that in 2009 was hospitalized with a life threatening blood clot in his shoulder. This combined with other injuries led to a disappointing professional run with the Calgary organization, but he got decent marks from Flames Nation in their profile and projection of him in 2010. Did I mention in the useless fact department, he’s also the nephew of Canucks GM, Mike Gillis. I’m not expecting much from Pelech, but he’ll likely gobble up some of Mike Moore’s minutes in Worcester and how will he aid or hinder the development of Dudes on Hockey love child, Nick Petrecki?
In Kyle Wellwood news, Andrew Strickland is reporting that Wellwood can’t even get a single NHL team to pick up the phone and give him a call. Pretty amazing for a guy who likely thought his stock was raised by his admirable performance in Teal after being claimed on waivers. Apparently, Wellwood’s agent was told by a few teams that they might be in touch later, but no one initiated any conversations with Wellwood, according to Strickland. In the words of Larry David, I find that “Pretty…Pretty…Pretty…shocking! Cheryl, do you respect Wood?” If Kent Huskins can drum up business, what gives with Wellwood? Also, at this point, if the Sharks wanted him back, wouldn’t he have pulled a Benjie Molina and come crawling back to DW like Molina did after no one offered him a deal in 2010? I think the cord is cut and Wellwood is using his floaties. 1-800-KHL-KYLE? Ouch.
This week is the Sharks Prospect Camp. If you follow coverage of other teams around the NHL, there is tons of news about their prospect camps, rosters published, coverage of scrimmages and all that great stuff that keeps someone like me entertained over a Blue Moon. Under a cloud of secrecy, the Sharks prospects skate this week with no real media coverage and I can’t find a prospect list published (if you’ve seen it, post it below). All we’ve seen is a quick interview of Tommy Wingels and a profile of how thick Brandon Mashinter’s skull is on the Sharks official website. Such a bummer. Would love to know more about what’s happening there this week.
We’ll kick the tires on all this and more on the next podcast. Please send your questions as we enter the lull of July and we’ll aim to have some more guests before training camp rolls around. Until then, soak up some rays and talk to you soon on tape delay.
July 8th, 2011, 11:55 am
So far, so off the radar this offseason with the additions of Handzus, Vandermeer, Burns and Havlat.
You gotta love how Doug Wilson operates so far off the grid, it keeps us guessing and the next move could come at any moment – or not until February. Who knows? I’ll give Doug Wilson high marks for his efforts this offseason and we know this about our GM – he will not spend the 6.1M in cap space that remains just because it’s there. If a player is available that fits any amount of that space that is on the infamous “Ghost Roster”, he will act quickly. If not, he will wait.
In the past, Doug Wilson has acquired a 3rd line energy forward with fighting ability in Travis Moen and Ben Eager. While Eager’s ability to play on the 3rd line is debatable, Moen has been pretty effective everywhere else other than San Jose in that role of hitting people and chipping in with some goals and rough stuff.
In 2009, the Sharks were linked at the trade deadline with The Beast from the East, Ottawa Senators forward, Chris Neil. He ended up not being traded and signed a contract extension, but with two years left on his deal at 2M per season, he fits my final roster goal of adding a rugged 3rd line winger who will hit anyone and anything. Neil played 80 games last year, finished 6th in the NHL in hits with 258 (Dougie Murray had 203 as a point of hitting reference). Neil played nearly 13 minutes a game and almost all of it came even strength. He has playoff experience during the Senators playoff run in 2006-07 and he didn’t lose his mind like Eager and was able to suit up for all 20 games, playing over 10 minutes in all the Cup Finals tilts.
You can choose to believe the rumor mill or not, but Neil’s name in Teal has come up multiple times, as has Jason Chimera’s (a guy we’ve talked about on the podcast as another potential roster casualty in Washington). Chris Neil would be a real solid addition and complete the Sharks remodeled look on the 3rd line. He’s an intimidating presence, an experienced agitator who has some hockey skill and a great locker room reputation.
What would it take to get him? Ottawa needs young forwards and might be interested in someone like Tommy Wingels, Benn Ferriero or Brandon Mashinter. They aren’t going to win many games this year, so they might want to go for youth and shed Neil’s salary. I think they’d want a young player who could potentially play now, not someone who is two-three years away.
What do you think? Does Chris Neil match what you’d like to see Doug Wilson do next?
Neil-Dog in Teal?