March 23rd, 2012, 8:29 am
After two terrible games against division opponents this week, the Sharks staunch the bleeding somewhat by edging the defending champs, the Bruins, 2-1. Just when you think the Sharks are ready to give up the ghost, they come back like a Monty Python sketch. “But I don’t want to go in the cart! I’m not dead.”
There are still several signs that are very troubling about this team, mostly in the scoring department. The last time the Sharks won a game by more than one goal was five weeks ago, against the Caps (thanks Kevin Kurz). That’s also the last time the Sharks have scored more than three goals in a win. The last time they scored more than three goals period was also five weeks ago, in a 6-5 loss in OT to the Lightning. That’s 18 games ago, almost a quarter of the season. In those 18 games where the Sharks didn’t score more than three, they scored three goals (supposedly the magic number) only four times. Let’s put that a different context. In the 55 games previous to that, the Sharks scored 3 or more goals 33 times, or 60% of the time. That doesn’t include wins like 2-1, 2-0, etc. Since, the Sharks have scored three or more goals only 22% of the time. That’s not a decline. That’s an anvil falling out of the sky.
The good thing about last night is they stayed step for step with the Stanley Cup Champions, and the 4th line was more than just a non-liability. They were an asset, matching up well with the Bruins very respectable fourth line of Dan Paille, Shawn Thornton and Greg Campbell. The bad thing is the Sharks still are not scoring in bunches. They score once, have some good quality chances not go in, then slowly fade. Whether they hold on or chip in another one seems to be a coin flip at best. Looking at the stat sheet, another bad thing was the return of Michal Hanzus. He was -1, and lost 5 of the 7 faceoffs he took. T.J. Galiardi can’t come back fast enough.
There’s no more time for the Sharks to turn this around. They have to be going in the right direction now. Another game or two of disappointing losses will put them in an ugly position to make the playoffs. Let’s hope the win against Boston was the turn, and now the Sharks are sailing in clear waters and strong wind to the finish line.
February 9th, 2011, 7:05 am
The Dudes are joined by a guest this week in a way they’ve never done it before – live! Or as live as a podcast can get. Mike and Doug gush about the wins over Washington and Boston, continue with another Young Dudes segment, and even premier a new one. Please take a moment to answer the poll question on dudesonhockey.com
Podcast: Play in new window
May 17th, 2010, 8:29 am
After the Sharks lose game 1, they aren’t quite as down as you might expect. They got 45 shots on Antti Niemi, which would normally be good enough for the win. Mike and Doug think that, like the Colorado series, if they keep getting lots of scoring chances, they will win. But the NHL isn’t only about the Sharks, the Dudes break down the epic collapse of Boston in round 2 vs. Philly, and talk about how the honeymoon may be over for the Cinderella Montreal Canadians, losing 6-0 in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Dudes also talk about the teams that lost in the second round, and what changes they might make.
Podcast: Play in new window
April 29th, 2010, 11:01 am
Game 1 at the Tank tonight. The city of San Jose doesn’t take kindly to people arriving late to an early 6pm start, so I hope the Red Wings plan it better than their Tuesday night arrival. Here’s the Dudes thoughts on the four conference semis. Chime in with your predictions as well.
Montreal (8) vs. Pittsburgh (4)
Doug: The buck has to stop somewhere and it would be mission impossible for the Canadiens to knock off both the Eastern Conference titans, right? Pittsburgh has the experience, talent and heart to overcome a little Jacques Martin mojo. Penguins in five.
Mike: Pittsburgh got a huge gift in the 6-8 seeds winning, and them not going to the Stanley Cup Finals for the third straight year would be a choke job on their part. Pens in six, and it only goes that long because Josh Gorges PWNS.
Philadelphia (7) vs. Boston (6)
Doug: This series might have more grinding than a weekend with Wilt Chamberlin. It has the potential to be the most entertaining, if you like old school, blood and teeth cocktail hockey. I’ll be watching and as usual, Chris Pronger will still be standing at the end. Flyers in seven.
Mike: Marc Savard is back, and this emotional high will last until he skates through the middle with his head down (or up) and Pronger sticks him in the nuts. Then cross-checks him in the head. Then stomps on him. Flyers in six.
Vancouver (3) vs. Chicago (2)
Doug: The dislike between these two teams is delicious. The Hawks were criticized in Round 1 for not playing with much heart, but they showed me a lot at the end of Game 5 when they refused to go down. I would love to pick Vancouver, but when have they ever made the Conf. Finals? Not since their Stanley Cup run in 1994 behind Bure and Linden. Hawks in six.
Mike: It’s disappointing to see Doug abandon his prescient observation that Chicago’s goaltending is a ticking time bomb. I now take the reins of that bandwagon. Canucks in seven. Steve Bernier has 27 points in the series.
San Jose (1) vs. Detroit (5)
Doug: The path to glory has been determined and the Sharks are going to have to earn it. If ever there was a year for our boys to oust the mighty Wings, this is their best chance. We have the talent, depth and a goalie who knows he could be looking for a new team if he doesn’t make this happen. Daniel-san kicks Mr. Miyagi in the nuts. Sharks in six.
Mike: Past DOH guests Craig Custance (DOH 94) and Mark Purdy (DOH 88 and 51) have written about this series already. It appears that both have picked the Wings to win, so now I’m questioning my decision to link to the them. No matter. As Custance said, this could change the reputation of the entire franchise. This is the best team the Sharks have ever had in the playoffs, and you can’t say that for the Wings. Sharks in seven.
Tags: Boston Bruins
, Chicago Blackhawks
, Chris Pronger
, Detroit Red Wings
, Josh Gorges
, Montreal Canadians
, Philadelphia Flyers
, Pittsburgh Penguins
, San Jose Sharks
, Steve Bernier
, Vancouver Canucks
January 15th, 2010, 7:58 am
The story of last night was three guys, two of which you probably expected- Joe Thornton and Tim Thomas. The third? Daniel Paille. This guy, who was drafted in the first round in 2002, was being ground into obscurity in Buffalo before being traded to Boston this year for a third and a fourth round draft pick. Paille, who played not a single second on the power play (that would be zero point zero) managed seven shots and a goal, and from my vantage point, seemed to be either creating chances or in on them all night. And although this article sings his praises in Boston, it’s about his prowess as a penalty killer, not as a offensive juggernaut, which he seemed to be last night. I certainly noticed him much more than Marco Sturm, who played four more minutes and (allegedly) registered six shots.
Tim Thomas, being the unconventional, floppy goaltender he is, came up big several times, to keep the Sharks almost off the board, the only goal coming from a flukey loopy duck of a shot that fluttered over his head before big Joe put it in. He did manage to crack the tough nut (I’m being sarcastic here) of Ryane Clowe in the shootout, not biting or freezing at all on Clowe’s forward fake, easily gloving Clowe’s predictable backhand roof shot. Really Clowe. It’s a great move. Great. But you need more than one, if only to give the appearance you’re not going to use it every single time.
So the title refers to Chara scoring in the shootout on a slap shot, a move about a predictable as Clowe’s. As soon as I saw the lumbering Slovak throw his gigantic feet over the boards, I though to myself, “slap shot between the circles” and I was right. Not that it takes a genius to figure that one out, he’s got fewer moves than the new guy on The Pickup Artist. But the 87-inch stick (or whatever the hell it is, I’m sure it’s taller than Scott Nichol) flexed almost in half when he beat Nabby on the stick side.
The second line continues to struggle, with Seto gripping the stick so hard it’s leaving impressions. There’s no fun in his game right now, it’s a grit-your-teeth, I-need-a-point-so-bad-I-peed situation. I have no idea how you relax when you’re in a brutal slump in a contract year, but he has to find a way. Yoga. Trancendental meditation. Mescaline. Whatever.
With goaltenders in the game playing that well, it almost doesn’t matter who’s out (Marc Savard, Patrice Bergeron) or how much you dominate in the faceoff circle (42-24, jeezus). While it’s certainly disappointing, with Thomas and the new one-man wrecking crew Paille on their respective games, I actually feel fortunate the Sharks got a point. But Clowe still needs a new move.