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

post Feast or Famine

November 30th, 2011, 9:13 am

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

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.

post DOH 172 – One Game is Better Than None

October 12th, 2011, 9:53 pm

Filed under: podcast — Written by Mike

The season starts with a bang, the Sharks beating up on the Coyotes 6-3.  However, it’s been 4 days since, and no games.  Mike and Doug talk about the only game, the Niemi and Havlat situations, look forward to the Ducks and Blues, and talk some NHL news too.

post DOH 168 – Wellwood Check-Swing

September 15th, 2011, 11:54 pm

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

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.

post Game 5, Another Goalie Steal

April 23rd, 2011, 11:12 pm

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

I was so mad at the Niemi tonight, because he basically gave that game away in the first ten minutes. People might quibble on how responsible he was, but I think he was at least partially to blame on all three.

  1. Shot through traffic with a deflection, but he had a pretty narrow butterfly.  A 6’2 butterfly goaltenter should be able to cover the bottom of the net when he goes down, and he didn’t.  This was his ‘best’ goal.
  2. Clifford’s goal came because Niemi couldn’t catch the damn biscuit, and left it 2 feet outside of the crease for him to clean up.
  3. Penner’s goal was just an outside shot with Niemi too deep.

I knew once the Kings were up 3-0 they wouldn’t make the same mistakes they made in game 3, and sure enough, they sat on it, played the 1-2-2, got two and three guys in the shooting lanes, and pulled it out. But the real story of the night was Jonathan Quick, who made 52 saves, only giving up one goal. I was thinking to myself, how often does a Sharks goalie put up a line like that?

So I decided to invent a new stat, called the Goalie Steal. A goalie steal is when the goaltender gives up 1 goal or less while making 35 or more saves. 35 isn’t particularly significant, but I had to put a cutoff point somewhere. 31 or 32 saves just doesn’t sound that impressive, and somehow, 36 does. I went back and looked at the box score for every playoff game the Sharks have participated in since the lockout. Here are the goalie steals:

Date Goalie Saves Goals Against
4/23/2011 Quick 52 1
5/16/2010 Niemi 44 1
4/18/2010 Anderson 51 0
4/27/2009 Hiller 35 0
4/16/2009 Hiller 36 1
5/4/2008 Turco 61 1

Notice anything missing about this list?  Yep, not a single Sharks goaltender has posted a Goalie Steal since the lockout.  Nabby had a 34 save shutout in 2007, so maybe I should give him a freebie.  But anyway, the point is the same- there hasn’t been a dominating goalie performance in the playoffs in a very very long time.

I admit this does certainly have something to do with the Sharks D- if they don’t give up a lot of shots, then the goalie doesn’t have the opportunity to steal a game.  That’s frankly true for most games- the Sharks haven’t given up 35 or more shots in too many playoff games.  But in every damn one of those games, they had to score 3 goals (the ‘magic number’) or more to win, or lost it.

post DOH 137 – Sharks are WINNING

March 2nd, 2011, 6:53 pm

Filed under: podcast — Written by Mike

Sharks win all three games this week in extra time, and the trade deadline came and went.  The Dudes break down the games and the trades, and digest the new Antti Niemi contract extension.

post Off Again, On Again

December 3rd, 2010, 9:00 am

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

The win-loss-win-loss train rolls on, this time the Sharks posting their first shutout of the season on Dany Heatley Princess Night in Ottawa.  Best game of the season for several players, Antti Niemi and Justin Braun among them.  I know I’ve been critical of T-Mac for his choices of when to play Niemi in the past, but last night was the right time.  Ottawa has had a bad stretch lately, and you probably want Niitty to play against Montreal on Saturday.  One thing that did amuse me last night was the ‘storyline’ that Niemi has just gotten ‘better and better this season’ (according to Drew Remenda).  I’m a Drew fan, but he got this one way wrong.  Here’s the string of Niemi’s save percentages in his last five games: .903, .878, .938, .813, 1.000.  That’s not ‘better and better’.  That’s up and down, just like the Sharks have been.

The Sharks were utterly dominant at times last night, which is encouraging for Sharks fans, but also frustrating in a way.  It’s the same or less stacked lineup than we’ve seen against recent losses against Columbus, Dallas, and Colorado, yet it was night and day the way they played.  I know I thought the Sharks might reel off some good wins after the performance at home against Chicago- I’m not nearly as confident this time.  Maybe we can get Joe Pavelski or somebody to bash Montreal as a hick town or say that poutine tastes like barf.  Then the fans will boo that player every time he takes the ice, throw flaming jerseys in effigy, and the Sharks roll to another win on the backs of the charged atmosphere.  Maybe the Sharks should plan a 30-city Disparagement Tour, finding a systematic way to infuriate the fans in every arena in order to light the fire they apparently need.

One down, 29 to go.  Although if they keep going hot and cold this way, San Jose may be added to that list without even trying.

post DOH 114 – Randy Hahn’s Summer

September 8th, 2010, 7:55 am

Filed under: podcast — Written by Mike

Mike and Doug talk to Randy Hahn, the play-by-play television voice of the San Jose Sharks.  They visit the news of Niemi arriving and Jamison leaving, and discuss the captaincy, something Randy commented on recently on his blog.  Then the Dudes go into the Niemi thing in more detail and answer some listener emails.  Check out the video preview too on youtube…

post Sucks to Be You, Thomas Greiss

September 1st, 2010, 7:46 pm

Filed under: blog — Written by Doug

Greiss is German for unemployment.

An unconventional offseason continues for the  Sharks as rumors abound that Stanley Cup winning goalie, Antti Niemi, will form the Finnish Wonder Twins in San Jose with Antero Niittymaki.

WONDER FINNISH TWIN POWERS ACTIVATE! FORM OF A STANLEY CUP!

Friend of the podcast, EJ Hradek, wrote about this, said it again on the show last week – and we giggled and doubted it would be so – and while it’s not official official, it sure looks like Niemi is coming to town. You gotta love live prerecorded internet entertainment – just after Mike and I spent a half hour last night discussing how deep the Sharks goalie prospects are, Doug Wilson goes out and adds another netminder. Now, the deal is rumored to be one year/2M, which would not delay the real development of anyone we hold important to the Sharks future in net (Stalock, Sateri, Sexsmith) but the reality is that if Niemi does his job and raises the Cup in back to back seasons (that’s the goal here right?) – then is he really going to be let to walk out of Tombstone again? Doubtful DW would let him walk. How would you like to be Thomas Greiss today? You might see him bussing tables at Elephant Bar next week, or traded to the Oilers. Which job is better, by the way?

I’m conflicted. I’m surprised. I’m confused – but I’m going to try and step back and look at this logically.

Part I.

Does Niemi make the Sharks better? Yes. Hell yes. He won a Stanley Cup last year and beat our buns – I want him on my team. He knows how to win, he’s an underdog who has excelled from being a non-prospect in Finland, to a non-factor afterthought signing in Chicago, to a guy deemed not worth keeping over 2nd line players like Patrick Sharp in Chicago – and you think this cat won’t be motivated? I like the player and I like having him in Teal.

Part II.

If this is real and Niemi signs, the Sharks will have 1.1M left of cap space and Doug Wilson has not been able to effectively replace Rob Blake. We need DW to upgrade over Blake and instead we’ll be looking at a combination of Huskins or Wallin or Demers in his top four defensive minutes – barring any last minute preseason trade. This makes me conflicted, surprised and confused – and it makes the Wallin deal look extra bad with a side of wrong at the moment. No chance he gets that cash if the Sharks hadn’t given it to him and I’d say a 50% he’s still sitting on the open market right now with his brethren Jay McKee, Garnet Exelby and Paul Mara. If the Sharks win the Stanley Cup with this current collection of D – it will be the biggest surprise of all.

Part III.

Here’s the toughest pill to swallow – but I’m giving it a go. We don’t like the current blueline – I think everyone would agree it’s not perfect – but the goal is to win games in March, April, May and June – not in October. Doug Wilson says this all the time and I’m gonna keep drinking the kool-aid. There’s spare parts on this team, he has draft picks he’s willing to part with and he’ll make a little more cap room by ditching Greiss to the minors – so we’re really looking at 1.67M of space to dance with. We know he’s willing to deal at the deadline and especially for D – so we might have to wait a few months – but DW has to add that #2 d-man and I still believe he will. If he doesn’t, was getting Niemi worth anything at all? You brought this guy here to win THIS YEAR because this is your window of opportunity and I think DW knows it.

Talk to you next week on the podcast – who knows what other shocking business we’ll have to cover. If anyone sees Thomas Greiss, give him a pat on the shoulder and a quarter.

post DOH 112 – EJ Hradek Breaks the Tedium

August 24th, 2010, 8:32 am

Filed under: podcast — Written by Mike

Still very little movement in the world of NHL hockey, so the Dudes go back to an old standby – ESPN’s EJ Hradek.  Mike and Doug question EJ about his comments regarding Antti Niemi, and the possible free agent fit for the Sharks’ defensive needs.  Also, special bonus content is revealed this week, but you’ll have to listen to find out.

post DOH 111 – Uhhhhh…..

August 18th, 2010, 8:39 pm

Filed under: podcast — Written by Mike

Not a whole lot happening in the world of the San Jose Sharks, so Mike and Doug move scattershot over the barren news landscape for crumbs.  Tomas Kaberle, Kevin Bieksa, Antti Niemi, and your emails will do nicely.

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