April 9th, 2012, 9:56 pm
The Sharks have made it into the playoff by winning their last four games, the two against the Kings in a wildly entertaining fashion. But now they face the Blues in the first round, without beating them all year.
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March 30th, 2012, 9:22 am
After three good wins, the Sharks manage to lose two critical road games to Anaheim and Phoenix, and they are back out of the playoff picture. We can go over what they did wrong, how Mike Smith is the second coming of Ken Dryden or whatever, but the fact is this: if the Sharks can’t beat Dallas and L.A. for the next four games, they don’t deserve to be in the playoffs anyway. Should they manage to limp in without winning those four games, they will almost certainly get crushed by whomever they face in the first round, playing either St. Louis or Vancouver with no home ice.
April 25th, 2011, 11:08 pm
The Dudes celebrate the gritty round 1 win against the Kings, with Joe Thornton putting in the game winner. Mike and Doug identify the series MVP, evaluate Niemi’s performance and prospects, and look forward to either Chicago or Detroit in round 2.
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April 23rd, 2011, 11:12 pm
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
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.
April 22nd, 2011, 1:59 pm
Great game last night. And it was made that much better by participating in a chat right here at DOH. I think we had about 15 people at the peak, which was really great. Just a fun way to watch an away game, I plan on joining for future games, and encourage you all do to the same. I just installed a differerent kind of chat, an IRC-based one, which I think will be more robust than the one we used last night. You can even get IRC clients for smartphones, or a standalone one that you install on your computer. I already tried an iPhone client, and it seems to work fine, so all those people who want to be at a bar and still participate in the chat, this will be a better solution.
Infrastructure stuff aside, it’s the 2nd line again that’s carrying the team. You know what? I don’t have a a problem with that. Doughty-Mitchell is as tough of a defensive pair as there is in hockey, and it’s nice the Sharks have an answer when those guys do their job. That’s not to excuse the Jumbo line, which really hasn’t been that great yet. Joe made a nice play to get his goal, but it was on a line change. It’s not like Joe, Seto, and Patty were cycling and creating chances for fifty seconds before Joe scored.
But really the most disappointing thing about the Sharks this postseason has been the utter lack of a 4th line. Mayers played only 5:10 last night, and was still -1, on a goal that was catalyzed by his turnover. Eager had only 3:18, but at least he wasn’t on the ice for that one- he must have just gotten off. I feel like Joe Montana when I say “turnovers can hurt you” (not the most trenchant thing ever said about sports), but the Sharks have really illustrated that in this series. I know icing is bad and all that, but wouldn’t you rather have a faceoff in your zone than a turnover at your own blue line? Especially for a team that is just killing it in the faceoff dot. Thornton was 6 for 7 against Stoll and 7 for 11 against Hanzus. That’s just flat-out domination.
Doug and I will be at the game tomorrow night, but feel free to jump on the chat again if you’re watching from home. I’d like to hear how it performs.
April 20th, 2011, 9:58 pm
The Dudes almost can’t believe the Sharks dug (Doug?) themselves out of a 0-4 hole. But here they are, up 2-1, and the Dudes try and figure out what has gone so right (and wrong) with the series. Does Niemi’s last two performances warrant a change? Who are the unsung heroes and goats so far? All that, and a recap of the other great 1st round series.
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April 19th, 2011, 10:38 am
What, more bullet points? Amazing!
- People don’t use the term ‘gird your loins’ enough.
- Nobody gets to panic one little bit unless and until the Sharks lose game 3.
- Even then, I seem to remember something about being down 2-1 against Colorado last year…
- Thornton has to make an impact tonight. Maybe he can fight Trevor Lewis on the opening drop.
- Another big idea- keep an eye on #8. Just sayin’.
- Doug will be participating in the chat tonight during the game, if you want to stop by.
- Go Sharks.
April 15th, 2011, 9:51 am
Here are some random points on game 1, thoughtfully posted in bullet form. So convenient, because then I don’t have to weave them into a coherent storyline.
- The Kings controlled well over half of the game, I thought the Sharks were a bit lucky to make it to overtime.
- I don’t believe in clutch players as a rule, but Joe Pavelski is making a damn compelling case otherwise.
- The Stoll hit on White was unfortunate and borderline dirty. My gut feeling is this gets 2 games in the regular season, but none in the playoffs. Cue Mike being wrong in 3…2…1…
- Thank God for Justin Braun.
- It’s a bit of a strange feeling, but I’m hoping Huskins gets healthy, because with Braun in, our #7 is Mike Moore.
- Demers should have gotten 2 for charging on that hit. For a second there I thought he was auditioning for Cirque de Soleil.
- Anybody else have visions of Craig Anderson when Quick came up huge in the 3rd?
- Doug’s wife sang the national anthem, and was great. I wanted to tweet that before the game, but cell phone reception at the Tank sucks, and I didn’t get permission in time.
- I highly recommend the Chicago-style hot dogs sold near section 119.
- I have a semifinal game of my own tomorrow night, but I have tickets to game 2. I’d appreciate advice on this moral quandary. I told myself I’d play if the Sharks won game 1, but that game was so good I don’t want to miss a minute of this series if I can help it.
- Is it just me or did Doughty get beat on the outside a few times?
- My beard looks like crap.
- I love the playoffs.
April 13th, 2011, 10:56 pm
The best part of the hockey year has begun, and the Dudes are on it. They recap the season, including their pre-season picks, and pick the first round of the playoffs. Of course the main event is the Sharks – Kings series, with Mike and Doug making their choices.
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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.