October 7th, 2010, 10:03 am
They waited until the very last minute as expected. Joe Thornton is the new captain of the Sharks. It’s a bit of a surprise, though not to everyone. After talking with Randy, I’m certainly not as surprised as I would have been if it was announced a month ago. If one guy ‘stirs the drink’ as Randy put it, it makes sense. The other contender, Dan Boyle, gets the “permanent ‘A’”, with the other ‘A’ rotating. Maybe the most surprising thing about the announcement is the news that Clowe will share the ‘A’. No mention of Pavelski.
Of course this is going to be covered and debated in Sharks Nation with zeal, and we’ve had our fair share of captaincy discussions over the past couple of years. The more I think about it, the less I think I know about it. This quote from McLellan is a bit of a clue:
The verbal leadership gets way overrated. We don’t need cheerleaders on our team by any means. We need people who speak their mind and then back it up on the ice.
Let’s face it, it’s not about us. It’s not about how good or bad a guy is at a press conference after a game. It’s not about whether we think a guy is too sunny, or too laid-back, or too intense. The captain is the PR face of the franchise, and for that reason, we think we should have a say, and what we see is all there is. Sure, it’d be nice if those two things agreed, and many times they do. But the real measure is wins, losses, and Cups. Warm fuzzies in the fan base aren’t counted. Would you really want it any other way?
September 8th, 2010, 7:55 am
Mike and Doug talk to Randy Hahn, the play-by-play television voice of the San Jose Sharks. They visit the news of Niemi arriving and Jamison leaving, and discuss the captaincy, something Randy commented on recently on his blog. Then the Dudes go into the Niemi thing in more detail and answer some listener emails. Check out the video preview too on youtube…
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August 25th, 2010, 11:35 am
I got a link to this Randy Hahn mailbag via Kukla, and while the Kukla story is about some jagoff that wants to trade Joe Thornton (89 pts last year) for the Blues’ David Backes (48 points), I think the most revelatory quote is this one:
As for the captaincy issue, it is my belief that Joe Thornton should be the next captain of the San Jose Sharks. Joe is the leader of the team on and off the ice. He is the straw that stirs the drink. It is time for Jumbo to wear the “C”.
Not sure how I feel about that, but it sure is interesting. Comments?
August 11th, 2010, 10:01 am
I’m only partly joking. The cornerstone of sports fandom, especially hockey fandom, is argument. Who’s better this year, the Caps or the Canucks? Who’s the best player of all time, Gretzky, Orr, or Lemieux? While the first question will be easy enough to answer (look at the eventual standings and playoff achievment), the second is just good clean fun. Corey Pronman, over at Puck Prospectus, has modified a scale used for baseball prospect scouting to break hockey into tools and ratings, called the 20-80 system.
- Skating (Acceleration, stride, top speed, turning/edge control)
- Puck Skills (Passing, stick-handling etc.)
- Shot (Accuracy, velocity, release)
- Physical Game(Size, strength, able to handle physicality)
- Hockey Sense (Decision-making, awareness, smarts
- 20: Can barely perform this skill, there are 13 and 14 year old amateur players who can do this skill better. Think Derek Boogaard’s hockey sense for example.
- 30: Significantly below average (minus minus), isn’t beer league quality but it’s nowhere near the NHL level. Think Georges Laraque’s puck skills or Hall Gill’s skating.
- 40: Below NHL average (minus), this skill isn’t completely out of the league but it’s still a good notch below. Examples are Marc Andre Fleury’s rebound control or Jack Johnson’s hockey sense.
- 50: NHL average, think Marco Sturm’s puck skills, Justin William’s shot.
- 60: Above NHL average (plus), this is an all-star level skill. Examples are Jonathan Toews’ skating, Mike Richard’s physical game, David Booth’s shot.
- 70: Significantly above average (plus plus), this skill is one of the best in the game and is in an elite class. This is a grade rarely given out. Steve Stamkos’ shot, Chris Prongers’, physical game, Nicklas Lidstrom’s hockey sense, and Alex Ovechkin’s skating are examples.
- 80: Generational talent, an extremely rare grade to be given out for any skill. Examples of what an 80 grade is include Bobby Orr’s skating, Al MacInnis’ shot, Wayne Gretzky’s hockey sense.
This could be fun. Read the article for an example of a rating for a current NHL player, and how one might rate prospects and players. Also, Corey is now involved in a website called premiumscouting.com, which is currently doing team reports, and hopefully will soon have scouting reports (and ratings) for individual prospects.
Even though I’m not a scout, and have no history of rating players, and no training in doing so, I DO have a blog! That means I can speak with authority on damn near anything! I’m going to try and rate Joe Thornton, and maybe that’ll start an argument in the comments.
- Skating – 45. Joe can get around just fine, but won’t win any speed or agility contests. He doesn’t pivot on a dime or get around anybody due to his skating, more his body.
- Puck Skills – 65. I’m only going 65 here because although his passing is maybe the best of his generation, his puck handling isn’t. He’s able to protect the puck well, but I wonder if that’s hockey sense and physicality rather than puck skills.
- Shot – 40. Joe can shoot? Accuracy is probably about league average.
- Physical Game – 60. While Joe doesn’t level too many hits, he’s extremely difficult to knock off the puck, and has an incredible reach that he can use on either the forehand or backhand side.
- Hockey Sense – 60. Excellent at finding the open man and knowing where his teammates are. Couple that with his passing skills, and you get highlight reel clips fairly often. What doesn’t make Sportscenter are his turnovers, sometimes in particularly devastating areas of the ice. Those happen too often for his hockey sense to be considered ‘elite’ in my view.
Remember I have my dispassionate hockey hat on. What do you think? Too harsh? Too lenient?
July 21st, 2010, 7:51 am
The Dudes were all set to talk about the Kovalchuk contract, but then the NHL goes and rejects it. Mike and Doug try and figure out why that happened when the Hossa and Keith deals sailed through, and the interesting story of Simon Gagne. There’s a good listener email about Big Joe, and Doug pulls out another crazy trade.
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May 5th, 2010, 8:24 am
My playoff beard is better than Mike's! And Doug's, but that goes without saying.
If you asked me the chances of the Sharks taking a 3-0 lead on the Red Wings in this series, I would have put the chances of that well south of 5%. The Wings are healthy, seasoned, and contain some of the best talent the league has to offer. But for some reason, the ultimate chokers, the San Jose Sharks, have managed to come from behind in every single game and win. I feel like I’m delirious. Who put this lovely mixture of crank, LSD, and OxyContin into my breakfast cereal? It’s FAN-tastic.
Last night was a come-from-behind to trump all others, because the Sharks were down by two goals this time, and in the third period to boot. If you go back to our conference semis preview where Doug and I were trying to convince each other the Sharks could win, one of the things I said was “Jimmy Howard can be beat.” If I were to pick one major problem with the Wings game, it would be that. Yeah, there’s been some low turnovers by the Wings that have led to extended cycles and scoring chances. But that Logan Couture goal last night, while heads-up and tricky, should not have gone in the net. We’ve seen Nabby give up that goal before, and rightly excoriated him. Howard, while certainly not the only reason why the Wings are in a unbelievable 3-0 hole, is not exactly baling water as fast as the others.
I do want to talk about the OT goal for a minute, because it does seem to illustrate two problems the Wings have had. One is Howard (series SV% = 0.886). It’s very surprising to me that he was that far out of position when Marleau received Joe’s All-World pass. And it was all-world: perfect timing, perfect speed for Marleau to shoot it on net, right on the tape. Just a thing of beauty, and every bit as good as that spin-around backhand pass to Marleau that has made all of those highlight reels. The second is the defense. Every defensemen knows that on a 2-on-1 you keep your stick in the passing lane. Brian Rafalski, for reasons unknown, seemed to be directing traffic, conducting a tiny invisible symphony, or maybe just trying to scratch an itch on his calf. The blade of his stick was nowhere near the lane to Marleau.
It also perfectly illustrates something good for the Sharks – JOE THORNTON IS SHOOTING. Sakes alive, what a wonderful world we live in! You think Rafalski would even consider taking the shooting lane if Joe hadn’t scored earlier, and hadn’t picked up his shot rate in the series? Joe averaged well under 2 shots per game in the regular season, and is over 3 shots per game in this series. Even though he was only credited for one shot last night, which happened to be the goal, his willingness to direct the puck at the net (he took 6 shots in game two, and missed 5) is yet another reason why the Sharks are winning.
Even with all of these good things, the Sharks are still not done. Not by a long shot. Let’s say they take a game off, lose game 4, come home, and Detroit wins a squeaker. That could easily happen, in which case my ass will be in full production of masonry products. In my head, I estimated the chances of the Sharks winning the series after game two a little better than 50%. Now, I put their chances at around 75-80%. It ain’t over folks. But the best thing about it is, we know the Sharks don’t think it’s over either.
New podcast will be posted tonight.
April 16th, 2010, 9:32 am
It’s my fault. I take full responsibility for what happened at the Tank of Wednesday night and I’m prepared to make amends.
It was my playoff beard – or lack their of. I’m not a morning person, and in my haze on Wednesday AM and deprived of all caffeine, I shaved the beginnings of my fighting facial follicles – and the Sharks lost. Rest assured that this has been corrected and because of my two day old beard, the Sharks will win four games in a row and right the wrongs and heckles from Sharks haters that we as loyal fans have been subjected to the last 48 hours.
A few other thoughts before I wander to the Tank tonight:
It didn’t make me feel much better this morning to see Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau both proclaim that tonight’s game is not considered a “must win” in their minds. Really guys? I guess we shouldn’t expect anything else from them, but I certainly hope they play with a different intensity than that quote. If not, we’ll all be pointing to those comments as the slogan for why this team fails in April.
I’m not sure what Todd McLellan doesn’t see in Jamie McGinn but he played the fewest minutes of any player on both teams in Game 1. Based on reports from practice yesterday, it appears that Ortmeyer will be in for Game 2. Does that mean we’ll see two guys glued to the pine in the 3rd period? I thought this roster was deeper than last years, but the lack of love for his 4th liners is a consistent theme from McLellan this time of year.
If the Sharks have any hope of advancing, they need to make a statement tonight. There have been lots of Game 1 upsets this week and as Bill Shakespeare once said, “One game does not a series maketh, Hamlet”, but another bomb on home ice won’t have this team feeling lots of love from their home fans as they leave the Tank and head to enemy territory.
Respect the Superstition. Grow Beard Grow.
March 29th, 2010, 11:10 am
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.
January 27th, 2010, 8:18 pm
Patrick Kane shows off what his Quenneville gave him on a classy limo ride in Vancouver with teammates.
It’s the night before the big game vs. the San Jose Sharks, and there’s no doubt the Chicago NudistHawks forward Patrick Kane will be out looking for a good time. In case you haven’t heard, there are some interesting pictures floating around of Kane living the Canadian high life with fellow forwards John Madden and Kris Versteeg on a road trip to Vancouver.
So, I thought it the neighborly thing to do to offer a few suggestions where Mr. Kane might be able to have a few Miller Lites and get his chest quickly manicured.
#3: HARRY’S HOFFBRAU
I'll get the Open Face Versteeg Sandwich please, hold the giblets.
The best place in the South Bay for a hearty helping of stuffed cabbage and a full service manzilian. Patrick Kane and friends are sure to be at home here as they tilt back a few ice cold brews, take in the honeys, and nibble on a giant turkey leg. Don’t drink and drive boys – make sure to call a cabbie, and this time bring the correct change, Mr. Kane.
"Am I a B cup?"
Although based on this photo, it looks like the Blackhawks players are fascinated with their own sweater puppies.
#1: MANLEY’S DONUT SHOP
Look Mom! No dignity!
At this San Jose landmark, Blackhawks center John Madden can flex his guns while getting the special “jelly filled” chest waxing. I didn’t realize it was required to have a shaved chest to play for an original six team? When will those freshly waxed photos of Bob Gainey emerge? I’m sure Georges Laraque is searching for them as I type.
Just for the record, NudistHawks. Keep your oddly shaved selves out of our locker room. We’ve got our own exhibitionist and he’s proud to be au naturale.
January 25th, 2010, 7:50 pm
This week is the Week of Secondary Scoring. I read these posts on Fear the Fin ten days ago, and they put into blog form what everyone was a little worried about – the fact that Heater and Patty were scoring all the goals. This week, all that changed.
My analysis is different from FTF because I included Joe Thornton, trying to make a distinction between top scorers, top lines, and balanced scoring. Partly because I think you can’t say Heatley and Marleau would be scoring at the same clip without Big Joe’s 67 54 assists this year. And also partly because if your top two scorers are on different lines (like Kopitar and Brown in L.A.), your scoring is more balanced than Detroit, Anaheim, and the Sharks, whose top three scorers are on the same line together. Keep in mind this is an inexact science, since many coaches shuffle lines fairly regularly. I got these lines from the most recent games these teams have played, thanks to timeonice.com. Here they are, in current conference standing order.
||Top Line Goals
||Total Goals For
||Top Heavy %
As expected, the Sharks are way out front, the top line scoring over 20 goals more than any other top line, and accounting for more than two out of every five goals scored.
But this past week, and admittedly it’s a small sample size, it’s wildly different. The top line, in the four games this week, scored 5 of the 22 goals scored, or 22.7%, lower than any other top line on this list. The Olympic Line (or the Burger Line, or the HTML line, whatever) will be staying together for the conceivable future, and teams have been targeting them all season to no avail. That’s not to say that they couldn’t suffer a letdown, maybe after the Olympics, or in the playoffs (again. Do I really have to type ‘again’ again?).
So which is better- having an unstoppable first line, or having four very even lines like Buffalo had on Saturday? Frankly, I want the superstars putting up superstar numbers. If the Sharks only have three guys that can score at all, it doesn’t matter how the lines are constituted, we’ll be in for another playoff disappointment. But the opportunities presented themselves, Boyle was out of the lineup, and the second and third lines stepped up. I’m very encouraged. If Patty, Jumbo, and Heater decide to put up six goals between them per game and freeze everyone else out, I’ll find a way to live with it.