April 19th, 2010, 8:26 am
What a way to lose. The Sharks, after possibly the most dominating performance of the entire season, lose after Dan Boyle puts the puck into his own net, on an angle a shooter couldn’t score from 99 times out of a100. In the postgame, Boyle was obviously crushed, and possibly questioning the wisdom of agreeing to a trade to a team that is obviously cursed. What’s next, the ghost of Shawn Cronin making Nabby-sized hole in the ice?
*Checking wikipedia... Ok, Shawn Cronin is still alive. So we can rest easy about that one. But I do want Mr. Cronin to look both ways before crossing the street.
In the meantime, let’s come up with a better tagline for the end of this video. This one leaves me a bit cold…
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.
March 5th, 2010, 8:50 am
I’m not sure what I expected last night when I went to the Canadiens game. I always try to see the Original Six teams when I can, there’s just so much history. I’m reminded of that one episode of the Simpsons where they sent Bart to military school, and the school’s motto is “A Tradition of Heritage”. Anyway, I just re-read The Game by Ken Dryden, and I agree with the blurb on the cover- it’s the best hockey book ever written. You get some great writing about day-to-day stuff of the Canadiens in the 70s, with some really excellent portraints of some of the players on that team. These are guys as hockey fans we know, but not because we remember them as players. Jacques Lemaire, Bob Gainey, Guy Lafleur, Mario Tremblay, Larry Robinson. The team of Béliveau (one of my all time favorites), Richard, Geoffiron, et al, is still a little something special, despite the fact that they haven’t won a Cup since ’93 and haven’t really been in contention for a while (#1 seed notwithstanding).
The big knock against the Habs this year is how small they are. They went out and got Mike Cammaleri, Brian Gionta, and Scott Gomez, giants none. The only giant they have is Hal Gill, a 6’7 behemoth, but he gets knocked a lot for being too slow. Think Alexei Semenov with bad ankles. Damn, I told myself I was done with Semenov cracks. Guess I need to take a new sobriety date.
There was a ton of extracurricular activity last night, lots of face-washing, pushing and shoving, and general nasty jabbering. No fights broke out- both teams have jettisoned their resident enforcers. We saw Tomas Plekanec get into a couple of altercations after some questionable play against Thornton and Marleau, then get decked by Heatley in the 3rd. We saw Nichol injured after getting run from behind into the boards without a call. We saw Josh Gorges (who almost led Montreal in ice time (!)) and Thornton trading a little bit of something. And we saw a beleageured goalie, Cary Price, stand on his friggin’ head for much of the game. The Sharks scored their second goal on their 35th shot. No NHL team averages 35 shots per game.
But now we know why he is beleageured. It wasn’t enough, and the Sharks turned a 2-1 third period deficit into a 3-2 victory on goals by Heatley and Malhotra. If you were looking at the box score very quickly, you might say that Price managed to cough up another one, but really he kept them in it for much of the game. Well, his friend The Post helped as well. Boyle hit the bar on a penalty shot after Hal Gill somehow accidentally-on-pupose threw Price’s errant goalie stick into his path. Then Heatley hit the post again less than a minute later on one of his signature one-timers. Those shots go in, or one of the other 30-odd shots go in, and the Sharks win going away.
I was a little surprised at the Habs’ pluck, but I suppose they are trying to make the playoffs. It turned into another test for the Sharks, and unlike the game against the Devils, it was a test they passed.
Update: Here’s the Lapierre hit on Nichol. I’m even more jazzed up about it after hearing Ray Ferraro rant.
February 3rd, 2010, 8:34 am
After things have been going so well for the Sharks, they lose two of their top four defensemen, and lose in a disappointing fashion to both Chicago and Detroit. The Dudes talk about what it all means, break down the blockbuster trades in the NHL of the past week, and still leave enough time for listener email. Also, make sure to weigh in on the new poll question after you listen.
Podcast: Play in new window
January 29th, 2010, 9:16 am
Save the opening ten minutes of last night’s game, the Sharks put in a really good effort. The second and third periods were more or less how we expected the entire game to be- fast, end-to-end, with dynamic chances. After the longest layoff since mid December, the Sharks started the game flat, which certainly includes Nabby. They coughed up three goals before you could say “Kris Versteeg douchey sunglasses.” While the first goal was clearly a missed assignment, leaving Byfuglien alone in the high slot for an open shot, I thought the second two were mostly on Nabby. He had plenty of time to get in position on Brower’s first of the night, leaving the near side open. Then, on the third goal, a shot came from a sharp angle, and instead of Nabby kicking it to the corner or directing it behind the net, it was kicked back to Hossa, who passed it to Ladd for the tip-in. I might have pulled Nabby right then and there.
But give the boys some credit- they woke up, and managed to tie the game eventually on the NHL’s #1 team in terms of shots and goals against. Going back to the formula that beat the Hawks in their barn on December 22nd, the Sharks were shooting high all night on Huet, and several missed seemingly by millimeters. All this without Marc-Eduouard Vlasic, who Doug and I only noticed wasn’t out there in the middle of the third. He actually only played 7:25, his normal load for the first, and never came back for the second or third. The fact that Huskins had more ice time than he’s had all season (25:46), Murray third most all season (23:54), and Blake third (24:26), seemed particularly evident on the last play of the game, when Murray rushed the puck deep, the Hawks produced a turnover and an ensuing rush, and Murray looked even slower than usual in getting back in the play- from where I was it looked like dead legs.
I can’t find a single report that even mentions Vlasic’s injury, much less the extent of it. I expect Pollak should have something on his blog today. All I can say is, Boyle, we missed you, and Vlasic, get well soon. Hurt even more because he had another strong offensive night, being in exactly the right place and passing the puck perfectly to Pavelski. Say that three times fast.
January 22nd, 2010, 10:51 am
Me no like Blake. Me want Boyle or Demers.
Just a quick hit from last night’s game. The Sharks responded as we all hoped they would and have now made it five in a row over the Ducks. You think that’s not intentional? I can only imagine it is an unwritten team goal to sweep the season series with the Ducks this year and they are one more win away from just that. It makes me tingle inside with giddiness.
What did everyone think of the new D pairing last night? It certainly brought out the best in Vlasic and Blake, so has the coaching staff stumbled onto something here in Boyle’s absence? I thought Vlasic played his most aggressive game of the season, tying his career high of five shots and burying a goal from the point. Rob Blake got into the action and scored as well, activating from the point and batting in a Joe Thornton laser. So, is it coincidence that Blake and Vlasic played more effectively without each other, or are they just a mismatched couple to begin with? On paper, Blake and Murray seems like an immobile disaster, but they played pretty effectively together. They were out there for the Ducks goal, but Blake and Murray were out there in some form for every goal last night. Demers and Vlasic were fun to watch, pushed the tempo and it seemed to free up Vlasic’s game – which was also odd. But, whatever works baby.
So, is it time to break up the band? When Boyle returns, slide him next to Pickles, or if they decide to scratch Leach, play Boyle with Huskins. Could this solve the Sharks inconsistent returns on the blueline this year?
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, HERE’ S CLOWE BEATING THE TAR OUT OF RON JEREMY.
January 21st, 2010, 12:17 pm
I'm George Clooney...without the beard and guest spot on Facts of Life
News just broke that Dan Boyle will miss tonight’s game with an “upper body injury” and the star of UP IN THE AIR, Jason Demers, will be taking his place.
Normally, I’d be wetting myself at the thought of Dan Boyle not suiting it up tonight, but I’m actually curious to see how they look without him. It’s going to be a telling sign if the Sharks will be business as usual, riding high as they have been for the last two games, playing their best hockey of the season or if they will go totally in the toilet, spiraling into an embarrassing home loss to the Ducks. This is where good teams can come together and overcome the short-term absence of great players to collect a few gritty victories.
How will Jason Demers do with a featured role? Will Vlasic flourish or sink when given more minutes and asked to push the tempo and lead the rush?
The Sharks should be given credit this season for managing their injuries effectively and not rushing players back when they’re not ready to play at their potential. If Boyle is dinged up, I’d rather have him sit out until next Thursday against the Blackhawks than get roughed up tonight against the Ducks. Pick your battles at this point and tonight, the Sharks have made the smart play.
This will also give management a chance to see what hockey life looks like without Boyle. If he went down with a long term injury, I would fear that all Stanley Cup hopes would be dashed. So, if the Sharks stumble and regress tonight, doesn’t Doug Wilson have to consider making that trade of forward depth for another quality puck mover to balance out the roster?
I think the Sharks are riding high, and while the Ducks have been hot winning 7 out of 8, they still aren’t very good on the road. In January, the Ducks are 5-0 at home but a meager 2-3 on the road. Last time I checked, the Sharks have thumped the Ducks four times this year, winning in regulation every time by a total score of 16-6. I expect the Sharks to win a close one without Boyle. Sharks 4 Ducks 2 in regulation. Everything remains right in the world.
GENERAL HOCKEY NEWS
I guess Bob Gainey has carte blanche to do anything he wants in Montreal without any consequence? This latest move from the outside seems pretty tacky, sending enforcer Georges Laraque home and banishing him from the team while he is dealing with the tragedy in Haiti. It’s not just the tackiness of the move, it’s the fact that Gainey gave Laraque a three deal deal with a no movement clause. Who does that with an enforcer? Bob Gainey does. He is one more move away from approaching Mike Milbury status in my book, and it could come when he trades Halak, clearly the better goalie, for some sort of spare part. Good luck Canadiens fans. You’re going to be mediocre for a long time as long as Gainey is running the show. He’s turned into the Don Nelson of hockey. “Sorry Georges. We will tolerate Alex Kovalev’s mediocrity and the illegal gambling of the Kostitsyn’s, but when you underperform on my watch – you’re toast!”. What a joke.
Collect your cash and live to fight another day.
December 30th, 2009, 10:07 am
San Jose is the new Regina!
A quick congratulations to Dan Boyle, Patrick Marleau, Thunder Joe and Dany Heatley for making Team Canada for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics! Hard for anyone to argue that they all don’t deserve it and it would be surprising if Babcock didn’t use the Sharks top line as a unit in Vancouver.
Has Mike Green’s Norris Trophy status dropped that much? Has the reported locker room drama in Calgary prevented their three All-Star blueliners from being on the team? How funny is it that the worst team in the West (Anaheim) has three guys on the toughest team to make in the world? That doesn’t bode well for how badly Murray has screwed up their supporting cast.
Who got the Olympic shaft the hardest, Dudes?
December 23rd, 2009, 11:33 am
Especially when a bear is riding it.
Doug wanted at least three points on the recent back-to-back, and he got four. However, it’s a time of giving, and I could argue that all four points were gifts from the hockey gods. As I said on the recent podcast, if Ivan Vishnevskiy hadn’t fumbed the puck into our own net, Dallas would have tied that game; I’m sure of it. And last night, Nabby withstood a hailstorm of biblical proportions, making 45 saves, giving the Sharks the win despite being on the short end of just about every statistical category, even faceoffs.
Watching the post-game interview with Dan Boyle with the sound off, you would have guessed that they lost. Other than the power play, which was pretty damn good, there weren’t a lot of high spots. One high spot was Patrick Marleau, who again made the Hawks defense look incredibly foolish, generating chances for himself out of very little. This guy HAS to be on the Canadian Olympic team. In fact, it was a veritable showcase of Olympic talent last night- Marleau, Heatley, Thornton, Boyle, Pavelski, Kane, Toews, Keith, and Seabrook all have good shots at making their respective teams, and that’s just North America. Nabby, Hossa, Hjallmersson, and Murray are the European reps.
Clearly this was a marquee matchup, and the Sharks came out on top. A win’s a win, right? I suppose. It’s difficult to believe that the Sharks would win another game if they played Chicago ten more times like that, so it rings a bit hollow with me. As I’m writing this, Doug just texted me with “Last night was a perfect example of why the Hawks will not win a Cup with Huet.” But I disagree. Huet had two consecutive shutouts before last night, and gave up only two goals on 33 shots the night before that. I do admit that Huet wouldn’t be my first choice to backstop a Stanley Cup contender, but given the Hawks are best in shots allowed, and second best in shots taken, they can continue to shield Huet if they keep playing like this.
Actually, there were times last night where I thought to myself that this Hawks team was not unlike the Sharks last year. Gaudy shot totals, though many were of the unscreened long range variety. Top of the league in December (they still are in my mind, because they have two games in hand). Could Chicago meet the same fate at the Sharks did last year, because they “peaked too early”? Who knows? All I know is there’s no way I’m missing the final matchup of the season between these two teams on 1/28.
December 15th, 2009, 11:00 pm
EJ Hradek from ESPN.com joins the Dudes once again for his takes on the Sharks. EJ muses about the Sharks needing another defenseman, what losing Dan Boyle might have meant to the team, and whether the Sharks will/should sign Nabby and Marleau. All that and more, including listener emails.
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