*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?