April 30th, 2010, 9:45 am
Guess that fish stew from the taco cart was a bad idea
With Marleau being literally a last-minute scratch (he participated in the pre-game skate), it looks as if the ghost of Ed Belfour had made a comeback, despite our masterful exorcism. I’ll pass on a bit of a rumor, because it’s harmless- we heard it was food poisoning. That’s from only one source, but it does jive with the official report: that it’s an “illness” and not an “injury”.
The Wings played almost exactly as expected. Dazzling puckhandling, good defensive movement, great speed. And luckily for us, mediocre goaltending. The Sharks lost the even strength battle 3-2, but won the special teams battle 2-0, and that was enough to win game 1. I wouldn’t bank on that plan for future games. Good parts of the game had Doug and I biting our nails, wringing our hands, and puckering our… well, you get it. It was nerve wracking.
All of this will make for a great series. A series that I desperately want to enjoy, but will have extreme difficulty doing so. This is great hockey, people. Two great teams battling it out, with quite different styles. The Sharks crash and bang, go deep in the corners, Big Joe or Clowe extract it, blast from the point and sit in Howard’s lap. Detroit will have five guys on the ice at all times that can dangle, with behind the back passes, one-handed dekes, and open ice being created out of thin air. It would be so great to watch if I didn’t have an ulcer.
Marleau will hopefully avoid all Sizzlers, Red Lobsters, and the Hometown Buffet, and the Sharks will get their 44 goal scorer back for game two. One thing I mentioned to Doug as we were walking back, is the Wings have the capacity to lay a big turd in a game now and again. The Wings were up in the series 3-2, at home, and just forgot how to play in game six. They were down 5-1 in the third before a late goal made it a slightly more respectable 5-2. The Sharks’ worst game of the playoffs so far was the 6-5 shootout in game two vs the Avs, which they won. We certainly can’t count on a lapse from Detroit, but it makes me feel a little better that it’s possible.
In other news, Doug and I have entered into a wager with WingsFanInSharksLand, who happens to be a friend of ours, and despite his obvious character flaw, is actually a really good guy. I don’t want to give away the stakes, but let’s just say either way the series turns out, it will provide some entertainment for you all.
April 21st, 2010, 10:07 am
Last night, the prominent emotion I felt after Pavs scored was relief, and not elation. The Sharks are seemingly back on track for the moment, tying the series, again putting up more scoring chances than the opposition, but this time they won. I got the idea for today’s post by reading this, and to a lesser extent, tweeting this last night. Marleau, for some reason, looks largely disinterested in this series, and outside of a couple of speedy drives to the net, has seemingly avoided the Flying Body Show that this series has been so far. The difference in his play from Seto’s, for instance, could not be more stark. Seto is hitting everything that moves, grinding it out, and Marleau is trying the shifty thing, neither taking nor issuing hits. But judging a guy on how he ‘looks’ is awfully subjective, and prone to bias. How can we judge their effectiveness?
One way is Corsi number. This is a number that Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda talked about on the telecast many times, though they call it “shots directed at net”. That is, shots + missed shots + blocked shots. Corsi is merely that, but you also subtract the opponent’s number from yours. At that point, you have something kind of a like a shot +/-. The events are much more common than goals, so you have a much larger sample size and thus less variation. Corsi (or Hardwick, which is the same as Corsi but doesn’t include blocked shots) can also be calculated for each individual player. Here are the season numbers for San Jose. I believe this is normalized for ice time, otherwise we wouldn’t have fractional numbers. But as we can see, we have Boyle #1, and Marleau #2 (I don’t count Ferriero really). Thanks to timeonice.com, let’s look at playoff numbers through four games (not normalized for ice time).
First thing to notice is that all of these numbers are positive, which is really remarkable. That’s just another way of saying the Sharks have vastly out-chanced and out-shot the Avs in the series. Also, we can see Marleau is currently 5th among forwards, and behind Kent Huskins, who was barely positive in the regular season. Thornton and Heatley did not have good games 1 or 4 (and Heatley even missed game 3), and that accounts for their low numbers. As one would expect, the numbers for the top line are all more or less in line for each of the games- low single digits for games 1 and 2, around 10 for game 3, and back down for game four. The main reason why Marleau is above the other two is because of game 4, where he was +8, where Thornton was +1 and Heatley -1. So my observation that Marleau was doing particularly bad was almost completely backwards. Still, all in all, this chart confirms with hard numbers what we already thought- the top line is not performing. Not even close. If we can get those guys rolling, we can expect the Sharks to roll better too.
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 12th, 2010, 8:53 am
Hey Jerky! Don’t leave the game early!
I love this series of commercials. And this one, linked by Puck Daddy today, is particularly poignant for Sharks fans. Sure, it was a pretty wretched game until about 3 minutes into the third. But don’t try to beat the traffic. You would have missed an unbelievable flurry of goals, the likes of which I’ve never seen before. Like this one:
This prompted perhaps the latest goalie change I’ve ever witnessed, with only 5:20 left in the game. It was so late (and perhaps unnoticed, because Ellis is #35, Rinne #39), that it wasn’t even announced to the crowd. My astute section neighbor noticed it. Didn’t help much, because Rinne faced two shots, one of them a goal by Marleau. Thanks for stopping by Rinne.
With both Pavs and Heatley on the ice bidding for the hat trick with the goalie pulled late in the game, who scored the empty netter? Jay Leach, from 130 feet, his first NHL goal. A perfect ending to one of the weirdest, craziest Sharks games ever.
Oh yeah. Boys, try and show up a little earlier next time.
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.
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 27th, 2009, 4:44 pm
Beating the Ducks isn’t quite as sweet as it used to be, now that they are at the bottom of the Pacific, and third worst in the West. But given I think the last two wins against Chicago and Dallas were more of the lucky variety, I will certainly digest last night’s win with relish (ok, pun intended). The Sharks beat Jiggy early and often, and staked themselves to a 5-0 lead before they took their foot off of the gas a bit. It would have been nice to have a 5 goal lead going into the third; I admit a trace of doubt crept in when the Ducks scored a goal late in the second- that’s the kind of thing teams can build on.
One reason I thought the Sharks would press for another goal is Marleau had two already. Lots of times I’ve seen a team make utterly ridiculous plays trying to get a guy a hat trick. But last night, I can’t remember a decent hat trick chance. This despite Ryan Getzlaf cutting himself with his own skate and leaving the game. I guess they all try and pitch in when Pronger is gone.
Now that the ship has been officially righted, winning four in a row, the Sharks face this week arguably the toughest opponent in the NHL right now- the Washington Capitals. This after a Monday night game against the resident pain in the ass Phoenix Coyotes. Doug is back in town, so we will be attending and reporting on all the great games in the next seven days, complete with bonus material – a report on the Stockton Thunder game Tuesday night against Bakersfield. I expect some good old fashioned minor league hockey, with die hard fans, cheap tickets, and some knuckle chucking.
Also tune in tonight to ChompTalk on KDOW 1220AM (or stream it) at 9pm- Chetan and I will be talking to the radio voice of the Sharks, Dan Rusanowsky.
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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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June 19th, 2008, 7:19 pm
Just going on the record on a few things that I think will go down at the draft tomorrow.
1) The Sharks will finally trade Patrick Marleau, getting a useful player and a first round pick in the process. Vancouver, Atlanta, St. Louis and Columbus are all suspects. Could we get Bieksa and the 10th pick for Marleau? Hmmm….
2) Whoever lands Marleau might be forced to take out Doug Wilson’s trash in the process. See what DW did to Toronto last year. They wanted Toskala, you have to take Mr. DUI – Mark Bell as well. McLaren might be attached to any Marleau deal that gets done.
3) Spezza gets traded tomorrow for a high draft pick. Ottawa is looking to get rid of their two malcontents, Spezza and Emery, and start over fresh.
4) Jokinen is also finally traded tomorrow, maybe to Columbus for the 6th pick in the draft, which Florida will use to make a bizarre, unexpected selection.
We’ll see how these predictions hold up for posterity.
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