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

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 Quick Thread

June 26th, 2010, 5:26 pm

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

Leaving town tomorrow, so unfortunately I don’t have the time to properly write up what’s been happening, so I figured I’d create a new post for draft weekend discussion.  Topics of interest:

  • Drafting Charlie Coyle 1st round (who?)
  • Ducks getting both Cam Fowler (at 12!) and Emerson Etem
  • Trade of Keith Ballard to the Canucks
  • Sharks re-signing Wallin and Nichol (Wallin?  $2.5M?  I sincerely hope we only saw an injured Wallin last year)
  • Possibility of trading Nabby’s rights for something
  • Seto?
  • Hamhuis sweepstakes
  • Anything else your little hearts desire

I hope you’ve been following our thoughts recently on twitter. Link on the right there.

post DOH 105 – The ‘Goodbye Nabby’ Mega-Episode

June 23rd, 2010, 7:54 am

Filed under: podcast — Written by Mike

Even though we are months away from the first preseason game, there is still a ton of hockey to talk about.  The Dudes are joined by Jon Swenson of Sharkspage to process the biggest news of the offseason so far- the departure of Evgeni Nabokov.  Now that the captain and the #1 goalie are gone, there are tons of different ways the Sharks can go here- Mike, Doug, and Jon try to explore some of those avenues.  Then, Mike and Doug try and predict what will happen to the marquee free agents out there.


post So Long, Nabby

June 22nd, 2010, 3:23 pm

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

The news came down from Pollak (and the Sharks own site) that Evgeni Nabokov, who has been with the Sharks his entire career, will not be back for the 2010-2011 season.  Avid readers of this blog and listeners to our podcast know that we have advocated this move since the season ended.  That’s not to take anything away from Nabby- he’s been a stalwart goalie for the Sharks for many years, but given the Sharks cap situation and their bevy of young netminders already in the system, there’s no more room for a 35-year old goalie who will likely make something near his 2009-2010 salary of $5.3M.  With Marleau, Pavelski, Setoguchi, and others to be signed, the money wasn’t there.  It’s also not certain the money should be there, as Nabokov’s career and post-lockout SV% numbers do not put him in the ‘elite’ category.

We’re going to Select-A-Seat tonight, then recording the podcast.  Stay tuned.  Lots of other NHL news to talk about too.

post DOH 101 – Pick Apart the Carcass

May 26th, 2010, 8:55 pm

Filed under: podcast — Written by Mike

Mike and Doug continue the discussion they began on ChompTalk last Sunday, speaking of the Sharks demise at the hands (wings?) of the Hawks, and Philadelphia’s chances to triumph in the finals.  But most importantly, the Dudes start the important due diligence of examining each of the actors that may not be back next year, starting with Doug Wilson, Todd McLellan, Patrick Marleau, and Evgeni Nabokov


post Final Thoughts – Mostly Goaltending

April 14th, 2010, 3:02 pm

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

Only hours away before puckdrop, and in visiting my usual blog suspects this morning, I got a little more interested in the goaltending matchup.  On the podcast (scroll down) David said that Anderson needs to have a near-perfect series in order to win, and I guess I might have mistakenly took this to mean that the Sharks have a goaltending advantage.  Gabe Desjardins disagrees, to put it mildly:

Is there any aspect of the game where Colorado’s better than San Jose?  Just one: goaltending.  Craig Anderson is a vastly better goaltender than Evgeni Nabokov, even if Nabokov has somehow managed to put up respectable numbers this season.

I asked him about it a bit in the comments saying I’d put them about even, and his reply was:

Since the lockout: Craig Anderson save percentage = .916; Nabokov = .910. Nabby sucked for four seasons; he didn’t become good this year.

Interesting.  I wouldn’t make the claim that Nabby is an elite goaltender, and reading the great Brodeur Is a Fraud blog where the argument is made that SV% isn’t the perfect stat, but it’s a hell of a lot better than all the others, seems to back this up.  However, Nabby does have a better SV% this year than Anderson – .921 to .916.  Also, after reading this and this from Jonathan Willis, we see that Nabby and Anderson are above average in consistency, with SV% standard deviations of 0.064 and 0.054, respectively.  Those are new numbers I calculated based on their stats from the entire regular season.  We did see Nabby regress a bit in save percentage, as Gabe pointed out, but stayed relatively consistent.

Also, since Nabby ‘sucked’ the last four years, I wanted to find out the difference between sucking and not.  So let’s look at last year, where Nabby’s SV% was 0.910, good for 27th in the league.  Certainly not great, not even good.  If Nabby faced the exact same number of shots, and ended up with a 0.921 SV%, a tick better than Bobby Lou and good for 4th in the league, I think we could call that a great (or even elite) performance.  So what was the difference between Nabby’s and Luongo’s performances?

That’s seventeen goals over the course of the season, equivalent to around 4 or 5 wins.  Another way to put it , since Nabby only played 62 games, that’s one goal every 3.6 outings.  To me, that doesn’t sound like a lot.  It really shows that the difference between an average or below-average goalie and an excellent goalie is very small- just one fewer shot facing a late lateral push, an open 5-hole or a sluggish glove.  If Nabokov didn’t do that once every 216 minutes of playing time he would have been a top-5 goalie in the NHL last year, versus a top-30.

Oh yeah, GO SHARKS.

post Was That Only a Week Ago?

March 29th, 2010, 11:10 am

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

Seems so long ago that the Sharks got crushed by the worst team in the NHL 5-1.  But it’s only been eight days.  I think Adrian Dater said it best (from Colorado’s perspective):

Here’s the problem: they didn’t win the game. And another: that wasn’t the real Sharks they played tonight. That was San Jose’s B Team. No Joe Thornton, no Evgeni Nabokov, no Rob Blake. First-line center, starting goalie, arguably the top D-man – not in the lineup.

Well, ok, maybe not.  Blake is ‘arguably’ the Sharks’ top D-man? Please.    But he was right in the first part- the Sharks were missing some key players, fought against a much better team than the Oilers and won.  Despite the sinking feeling that inevitably comes with Jumbo being out of the lineup, the fact that the Sharks can still pull off wins against playoff teams is very encouraging.  The latest news on Joe is that it might not be serious- tests are being done today (Pollak), and he’ll most likely be on the road trip.  If he sits out a few games, it’s not the end of the world.  It was particularly interesting to see how the Sharks would respond without an all-world passer in the lineup, and they responded exactly how I hoped they would- with gritty goals.

Despite my criticism for Todd McLellan this year about his (in my view) overplaying of Nabokov, one marked difference between this year and last is the care the coaching staff has taken with injured players.  I think the lesson was learned from last year’s playoffs when Marleau played the Ducks series with a fairly serious knee injury.  This is a situation I’m sure T-Mac does not want to replicate, and sitting Blake and Thornton is absolutely the right plan.  I hope he sits both of them an extra game or two just to be sure.  Blake could probably use the rest anyway, and we need Joe 100%.  It also makes the last games more interesting – I like to watch Couture mature (I’m a poet and I don’t even know it), and the Demers-Vlasic combo could be the #2 pairing next year.

In other news, it seems Cheechoo has been suspended two games for this hit (thanks for the link, Joel)


While I admire Cheech’s ingenuity with the poolhall-type combination shot, it was a pretty dangerous play, and deserves to sit.

post Sharks, the Game Started at 7:30. It’s Now 7:45

January 29th, 2010, 9:16 am

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

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.

post Don’t Look a Gift Horse In the Mouth

December 23rd, 2009, 11:33 am

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike
Especially when a bear is riding it.

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.

post Episode 78 – Holiday Report Card With EJ Hradek

December 15th, 2009, 11:00 pm

Filed under: podcast — Written by Mike

EJ Hradek from 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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