September 26th, 2010, 1:56 pm
Don’t think about that either.
March 31st, 2010, 9:26 pm
The Sharks turned on a dime once in the past 10 days, ripping off a 4-game winning streak after a 6-game losing streak. Now they’ve turned on a dime again with a terrible effort against the Stars. Mike and Doug break it down, talk about the injuries to Thornton and Vlasic (and Clowe), and give an update on the playoff picture.
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March 31st, 2010, 9:34 am
This movie sucks!
Although the Sharks didn’t play, last night was a great night for San Jose. The Hawks lost, 5 points behind with only one game in hand. The Coyotes lost, Breezy giving up 4 goals on 29 shots. And the Wings won, which in our Convoluted Calculus of Counterparties™ is actually a good thing. As loyal readers and listeners know, I want to avoid the Red Wings in the first round at all costs. Seriously, if it meant the Sharks had to dump the last six games of the season, I might be able to work up an argument for that. But as it happens, it’s not required. The Winged Wheel is on fire. They’ve won six straight, and are 11-1-1 in their last 13 games.
Detroit is now only one point behind Nashville. Given they have three (!) more games against the Blue Jackets and one against Philly (plus one against Nashville), I’d say their chances are very good they end up the five seed. My earlier prediction of the Sharks facing the Wings in the first round is getting dimmer by the day. With Phoenix faltering just a bit, I’m hoping this gives the Sharks an easy path to the #1 seed, hopefully facing the reeling Avs in the first round.
Speaking of reeling, how ’bout them Hawks? Their early season strategy of “who needs a decent goalie? We’ll just give up 20 shots a game and win anyway” isn’t working out so hot lately. Although they still lead the lead in shots allowed with 24.9, they’ve given up more than that in eight out of their last ten. One of the games where they did better than their average, they lost. To Columbus. Niemi got most of those starts, so does this mean they will go back to Huet? I’m sure Coach Q is just thrilled he has such a thoroughbred stable of goaltenders to choose from.
So the Sharks seem to be back in a good position, actually, a great one. They have a bit of competition from below in Phoenix, whose trapping style could easily eat up some teams struggling for motivation late in the season. They have Detroit on a run, destined for a seeding far from the Sharks’ first-round gun-sights. And Chicago’s once-impenetrable armor is now looking like Swiss cheese.
It’s a great opportunity to continue the run tonight against Dallas, who are all but eliminated from postseason play. No Modano means no Shark-killer. I say the win streak continues. Look for the podcast to be posted tonight sometime after the game.
March 26th, 2010, 10:05 am
Not to say the Sharks couldn’t immediately fall into another slump starting Saturday in Vancouver, but the play over the last two games has shown to me real promise. Less east-west drop passes and stickhandling, more north-south drives to the net and grit in the corners. And although the win last night against Dallas was far from perfect, it’s the general approach to the game that seems the most encouraging. Less fuss, more effort. Clowe with a move on Robidas that looked like the dressing-down he gave Ehrhoff a week ago. Seto going a thousand miles per hour and hitting everything possible. Nabby challenging shooters. Steve Ott playing like a cheap-ass. Nice to see the world is back on its axis.
Certainly the biggest downside of last night’s game was Rob Blake’s early exit. Sure, we’ve been on him quite a bit lately, but his play the last two games was on par with the best he’s had as a Shark. Although I still would like to seem him get a couple of fewer minutes, especially since Vlasic is back, it’s hard to argue with his success the last two games. The question is, can he keep it up? If he’s a little banged up and needs to sit out a couple of games, that could be a blessing in disguise. We can certainly use him battling in front of the net and getting the point shots on net like he’s been doing recently. What we don’t need is him fatigued and looking a bit like the proverbial pylon.
Also nice to see the ice-time has settled out a little, defense-wise. I was just looking at the Vancouver box score from last week, and Huskins had over 22 minutes of ice time to Wallin’s 14. Very strange. But last night, Wallin had 15:08, Huskins 14:18. That’s more like it. Although Boyle had almost 30 minutes, with a whopping 7:40 on the PP. That’s three minutes more than anyone else.
Speaking of Wallin, thanks to Jeremy for creating this YouTube gem. Make sure to comment and rate. I’ve watched this at least 5 times already, and laughed out loud every time. Well done, sir. It’s no doubt the best video on YouTube that combines Wallin, techno, and food.
January 2nd, 2010, 12:08 pm
Well, I guess we know what John Davidson’s New Year’s resolution was.
Poor Andy Murray. Wasn’t this guy just praised for leading this team to a playoff run and rewarded with a Jack Adams nomination six months ago? What a difference a year makes…and the worst home record in the NHL. My advice to John Davidson? Avoid more panic moves like this one, big guy. Wait for someone to make an even bigger panic move, say, Bob Murray trying to save his skin by canning Randy Carlyle sometime in the next two months (my bold New Years Prediction) and hire that guy to give this team a personality in the off season.
How about a few more bold predictions in 2010 before the Sharks tangle with the Oilers tonight.
Prediction #2 (since Carlyle was #1): The Dallas Stars will be shaken up at the deadline, not stirred. The new GM has been suspiciously quiet, and I think he won’t be able to help himself by dealing Turco, Lehtinen, Brunnstrom, and even the legend himself, Mike Modano. Why not deal him to a team that has a real Cup shot and give him a final shot at glory? He’d look pretty good in a J.R. role on the Blackhawks, just saying.
Prediction #3: Dean Lombardi is going to add another veteran player down the stretch to make the Kings even more dangerous and Frolov will be his bait. I’m thinking something like getting Jeff Carter from the Flyers for Frolov and a 2010 2nd round pick. This gives the Flyers some salary cap flexibility while not killing their playoff hopes, and the Kings just get better with Carter.
Prediction #4: The Coyotes will fall harder than Tara Reid at Carlos and Charlie’s. I’m thinking they disappear from the playoff picture all together. They’ve played their hockey cards and the verdict is boredom.
Prediction #5: The Sharks, after much deliberation, will not pull a deadline deal for the first time in four years. Even though I still think we need another D, the Sharks and Doug Wilson will be the Gambler the other way and will take their chances and hold onto their 1st round pick.
Someone beats the ever loving snot out of Jacques tonight at the Tank. I’m thinking it might be Ryane Clowe who does the honors. Let’s start 2010 with a big win.
December 22nd, 2009, 11:37 am
Happy Holidays, everyone. The Sharks have delivered an early gift, in beating Dallas and Anaheim right before Christmas, and the Dudes wonder whether that gift was well-earned, or will be short-lived. Doug and Mike identify an aspect of the Sharks’ roster that changed right before they started winning again, and wonder if that’s the key. And as it has become custom, the Dudes ask Santa for some hockey-related gifts.
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December 21st, 2009, 12:36 pm
- Claude Lemiuex wants you to show up tonight, Sharks.
Will the real San Jose Sharks please stand up?
This two game road swing is a pretty important moment for the Sharks franchise as they approach the halfway point of the 2009-10 season. As my holiday fingers type this post, the Sharks sit in a first place tie with the LA Kings in the Pacific Division and has lost their #1 seed in the Western Conference. Now, I don’t care about winning the conference, honestly I’d prefer if they didn’t so there’s not some eery sense of doom and gloom before the playoff series even starts – but winning the Pacific is very important. Whoever doesn’t (us or the Kings) will likely be in that dreaded 4 or 5 seed, and could have to dance with Calgary or Vancouver first. No thanks.
The Sharks have had no luck against the Stars and Blackhawks so far this season and if they come up with a stink bomb on this two game swing, I think Doug Wilson and company will have to pull the trigger on another move that rattles the core of this team. Anyone who reads this blog with any regularity knows that I firmly believe without an upgrade on the blueline, the Sharks are not going to be a real Cup contender. Dropping two games to teams that can’t figure out could finally be the straw that breaks the Vlasic’s back.
Here’s a stat that many of you know, and it’s rather sobering in terms of where the Sharks fall in the real power rankings of the NHL. If you take an overtime loss for a loss, here’s the Sharks record.
Chicago Blackhawks 23-11 .676
Nashville Predators 22-14 .611
LA Kings 22-15 .594
Phoenix Coyotes 21-15 .583
Calgary Flames 20-15 .571
San Jose Sharks 20-15 .571
Vancouver Canucks 20-16 .555
Colorado Avalanche 20-17 .540
When you take into account that Dallas is actually 15-20, losing to them tonight for a third time this year is unacceptable.
I think San Jose will deliver the good tonight on the road with a convincing win with a side of payback. The puck movement was so much improved with Demers on the blueline, I think the offense that struggled in the last meeting with Dallas should be ignited. The effort against the Ducks was a good sign (except for about five minutes at the beginning of the 3rd). All four lines were rolling, hitting, winning face-offs. The Sharks are as deep as any team in the NHL and I think they will wear down a Dallas blueline that will be without Trevor Daley and Marc Fistric. Sharks let the good times roll tonight and keep an itchy Doug Wilson at bay for another day.
Plus I guarantee a fight between McLaren and Barch, probably in the first ten minutes of the game.
Prediction: Sharks 5 Stars 3
November 13th, 2009, 10:52 am
*Vesce shown actual size
Dallas is certainly a worthy opponent, and the Sharks again managed not to lose in regulation last night, falling 3-2 in the shootout to the Stars. Of course, the way they lost will the be the topic of discussion today, mostly because there isn’t much to talk about regarding the Sharks. I don’t mean for this to be a strident, finger-pointing post, because these games happen, and you can’t expect the boys in teal to be in absolute top form every game of the year. I thought Dallas played very well, with a few more crazy-Turk (Turco) moves than I’m used to seeing. I was a bit surprised at their lack of offensive firepower- I thought their D would be the main issue with the Stars. Only James Neal seemed to be a consistent threat, with Brad Richards (their top scorer) and Mike Ribero (their top actor) held at bay.
So the game seemed to be going according to plan, the Sharks finally manage to crack Turco on a classic Dany Heatley tally and a flukey Ryan Clowe wrist shot that went off the D, and then the third period happened. The one off of Demers’ boot was just bad luck more than anything. The second was worse, because it stemmed from a bad clearing attempt, with a scrum in front finally tying the game. Fairly lively overtime, and like always, I go into the shootout with more than a touch of dread. Nabby is tied for third all time in losses in the shootout (tied with Tim Thomas, behind only Giguere and Luongo) with a win percentage of .455 and save percentage of .584.
The title of this post refers to the odd (some might say lame) selection of the third shooter in the shootout. McLellan kept his second best shootout player (Ryane Clowe, 6 for 13 all-time) on the bench in favor of Ryan Vesce (now 0 for 1 all time). To be honest, after you get past Pavs (14 for 25) and Clowe, it does get a little thin, choosing between Dan Boyle (4 for 13), Patrick Marleau (5 for 17), Dany Heatley (4 for 21) or Devin Setoguchi (1 for 6). I’m glad McLellan chose Boyle, because if nothing else, it’s entertaining watching Boyle make about a thousand moves, sending the goalie into a full spin and flop. This time Turco spun and flopped correctly, and made a no-look save on Boyle’s backhand.
But Vesce, not so much. He skated straight down the center of the ice, handled the puck a couple of times, tried to deke, and left the puck behind him. He swept at it on the backhand, but because the forward progress had stopped, it wouldn’t have counted even if it had gone in. Not exactly an impressive performance.
It’s a minor point, but who’s the goat in this situation? McLellan for putting in a guy that’s ice cold? Or Vesce who didn’t even manage to keep the puck on his stick when he tried to shoot it?