February 6th, 2013, 9:33 pm
After the best start in franchise history, the Sharks have lost three in a row. The Dudes go over the disappointing mess of the Chicago game, the sudden lack of power play and Patrick Marleau, the jam at bottom-pairing defense, and the worst trade in Sharks history.
Podcast: Play in new window
February 12th, 2012, 9:20 am
So maybe the Sharks didn’t beat the Hawks the way we wanted, but a win is a win.
Podcast: Play in new window
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.
February 5th, 2012, 7:20 pm
It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and the Dudes would rather talk about the Sharks than watch football. They break down the encouraging wins against Columbus and Dallas, but lament the discouraging loss against Phoenix. But both agree that Chicago next Friday is a big test
Podcast: Play in new window
April 9th, 2011, 11:05 pm
At this point, entering into the last day of the season, the Sharks have clinched the #2, but could still play Chicago, L.A., Nashville, or Phoenix. The Ducks, having a lot of regulation and overtime wins, are guaranteed the #4. Doug’s wish didn’t come true tonight- the Preds lost.
The worst thing that could happen is Chicago loses in OT or the shootout. Because they have more ROW (regulation and overtime wins) than the Kings, they win that tiebreaker and move into the #7. So we want a beatdown tomorrow, one way or the other.
It’s possible that seeds 4-8 could all end up with 99 points. If that happens, it’s really crazy. Chicago would move up to the #5 because they’d have 39 ROW. Nashville and Phoenix would have to go to the fourth tiebreaker, because they’d have the same number of ROW, and split the season series. The Preds have a better overall goal differential, so they are the #6. We’d play Phoenix (I wonder if playing one team 9 times in a row would be an NHL record), and the Kings would fall to the #8.
It could get even crazier than that. If the Hawks won in the shootout then there’d be a three-way tie for ROW. The tiebreaker is points per game in those matchups. Chicago has acquired 13 points in 10 games versus those two opponents, Phoenix 9 points in 8 games, and Nashville 10 points in 10 games. So Chicago would still get the #5, but Phoenix would move up to the #6 and we’d get the Preds.
Because Dallas went 3-1 against the Hawks this year, they are still alive- they have to win in regulation or overtime tomorrow and the Hawks have to lose in regulation for the Stars to snag the #8.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend – go Wings! And go Minnesota – we want Vancouver facing Chicago again.
November 25th, 2010, 11:32 am
Not only did the Sharks win, but Doug and I both were flawless in our hockey picks. Check out DOH 125 for all the ‘rules’. Doug mentioned in that episode how much we missed Douglas Murray, and it certainly was apparent last night. He hit everything, he jumped into the play, he made good defensive stops. The guy was an animal, and clearly itching to get back in the lineup, especially against the Sharks’ playoff ouster. Helluva game. If only the Sharks could play with that energy and urgency on a consistent basis, we might just have something here.
Yesterday, when I heard Niemi was going to start, I though that was a pretty wacky move. Ok, a dumb move. Now that McLellan’s gamble paid off, I still don’t understand it. If Niemi starts this weekend against Vancouver and gets shelled, I’m not sure if anything was really gained. Chicago is a rival team- to me, it’s straightforward. You start the guy who is the better goalie at the time, and Niitymaki is clearly that. Niemi seemed like a good candidate to start against EDM on Saturday, second half of a back-to-back. Let him build some confidence after a few good starts. I guess last night’s win kickstarted the recovery, but it still seems like a needless gamble.
Here I am, bitching after the Sharks finally get a win after three atrocious games, and against a tough team. I should be thankful. I am thankful.
August 2nd, 2010, 9:46 am
Well, it turns out even the $2.75M arbitration award was too rich for the Blackhawks’ blood. They ditch Niemi and sign Marty Turco for one year, $1.3M. I guess you could say Doug Wilson’s evil plan of signing Hjalmarsson to an offer sheet really paid off. The Hawks now have to go with a goaltender who’s last 5 years of save percentage are .898, .910, .909, .898, and .913. I consider .900 to be the Mendoza line for goaltenders, and .910 is roughly NHL average.
The Hawks are delightfully, wonderfully screwed for goalies. According to Hockey’s Future, the Hawks have only one goaltending prospect in their top 20, Alec Richards at #11. Richards posted great numbers his last year at Yale, but has been unable to crack the magical .900 mark in either the ECHL (in a full season) or the AHL (only six games). A blue chipper this guy ain’t.
The annoying thing about Turco is his ability to play well against the Sharks. Each of the past three years Turco has posted a better save percentage against the Sharks than his season average. It’s not statistically huge, but it’s irritating. I guess the one upside is we are only facing the Hawks four times this year, versus the customary six against Dallas.
July 31st, 2010, 12:38 pm
New word on Seto, he got one year, $1.8M. That’s better than we had hoped for, and in line with what Doug said. This is another incarnation of the Ryane Clowe situation from a couple of years ago- we’re not sure if you can take this to the next level, so we’ll give you one year, retain your RFA rights, and see what you can do. There’s no reason to lock up a guy as inconsistent as Seto has been the last year. He scored 31 goals two years ago (on a line with Jumbo) but last year, only 20. Doug Wilson has made two statements in the last week that crystallize his philosophy on this kind of thing. About Joe: “we want to create an environment where people want to stay,” and about Seto: “we have very high expectations.” Translation? You play well this year, meat, and show us you’re a top 6 forward all the time, and we will reward you next year. Could it be a sign-and-trade like the next guy? I doubt it.
Second good news- the Ducks trade their second best defenseman, James Wisniewski, who just got a $3.25M
arbitration award contract, to the Islanders for a third round pick. My first reaction- what a terrible deal for the Ducks. Makes me happy. I read Sleek’s post, and at least according to him, it’s about cash. But to me, you don’t give up your second best defensemen for a third round pick. Stupid. Now, after Visnovsky, the obvious #1, they have Toni Lydman, Luca Sbisa, Sheldon Brookbank, Brendan Mikkelson, and Danny Syvret. Think about that the next time you are bitching about the Sharks’ blue line. Bob Murray may be the best thing to happen to San Jose hockey in a long time.
The one loss is that Antti Niemi got a much lower arbitration award than we had hoped for- only $2.75M. This is probably low enough for the Hawks to do some more shuffling and fit him in somewhere under the cap. There’s little doubt that Huet and his $5M+ contract will be dumped in the minors this year, even if Niemi isn’t re-signed. There’s just no way for the Hawks to afford him, and can you say Huet will really be much better than a minor leaguer? The Hawks dodged a big bullet here- I though $4M was too much to wish for but over $3M was certainly in the cards.
The fourth piece of news is less polarizing – a two year, $2.5M extension for Jason Demers starting next year. He will still make $543k this year. Demers looks like a good young defensemen, one that hopefully will be a bargain a $1.25M a year from now. But it’s uncertain. I like Demers, hope he continues to improve, and this contract is movable if he doesn’t fit into the plans. It’s a safe signing, and not bad for the Sharks, so I call it a small win.
July 14th, 2010, 7:38 am
The honeymoon is over- the Blackhawks matched the offer sheet given to Niklas Hjalmarsson. And the Dudes break down where this leaves the Sharks, what other free agents they might target, and the current roster and it’s problems.
Podcast: Play in new window
July 9th, 2010, 10:53 am
That Cup won't buy you any cigarettes up in here, but we'll take that pretty boy you got.
Sorry I haven’t posted lately, as we’ve said in the podcast, I’ve been out of town, and all the semi-interesting UFA stuff happened before I got back. This morning, I get the first juicy news since my illustrious homecoming. The Sharks have signed another difficult-to-spell person that no one expected. This time, it’s a different Scanadavian country, and a different position- the Blackhawks’ Niklas Hjalmarsson was signed to a 4 year, $14M offer sheet, per Bob MacKenzie. Hjalmarsson averaged almost 20 minutes of ice time in the #4 hole, behind Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Brian Campbell. I would be willing to wager (and I imagine DW does too) that Hjalmarsson would not be in that slot for 28 other teams (Philly possibly the only exception). Assuming this is true, let’s look at at Hjalmarsson’s RFA options from his perspective:
- Sign with cash-strapped Chicago for a sizable home town discount, even though they have already lost Kris Versteeg, Brent Sopel, John Madden, and Dustin Byfuglien.
- Get traded by Chicago to a team that offers the best deal to Stan Bowman, which is essentially a crap shoot. Look where Byfuglien ended up.
- Have some control over your future, and sign an offer sheet with a decent team for the kind of money that you are looking for.
Clearly Hjalmarsson chose #3, and who could blame him? Doug Wilson recognized this, and pounced. Now Stan Bowman, Chicago’s GM, is between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, he can retain his excellent young defenseman, but will likely have to trade Patrick Sharp or even more to get under the cap again. On the other hand, he lets NH go (I’m sick of typing Hjalmarsson), gets a 2011 1st 2nd and 3rd round draft pick in return (per TSN), and is in dire need of a #4, #5, and #6 defensemen. The draft picks will soften the blow, but keep in mind they come from the Sharks, which will likely be late round picks. No players are left in the upper twenties that are slam-dunk NHLers. Those picks could easily end up being Matt Pelech and Marc-Andre Gragnani.
This also asks the question- why didn’t the Sharks do this with with Antti Niemi? It’s a good question, but like many, the answer is money. I think that the Sharks only budgeted $2M or so for a goaltender, and Niemi would certainly want more than that. We will find out after Niemi’s salary arbitration.
It’s too early to go into the possible Sharks roster ramifications because Chicago could match the deal, and tomorrow will look just like yesterday. I’d put the chances of that right at 50-50. Could this spark another GM feud like the Brian Burke- Kevin Lowe dustup? Lucky for us, we have the first real taste of drama in the Sharks offseason.