January 13th, 2011, 7:23 am
It’s not like me to use a lot of puns in post titles, but it’s early in the morning, and I’m at San Jose airport waiting for a flight. Instead of paying $8 for a cup of water, I decided to use the free wifi and do something productive.
The Sharks, through 44 games, are 21-18-5, with 47 points. Last year at this point, they were 28-9-7 (63). That’s quite the dropoff. Instead of going into the myriad reasons why this is so (Mark Purdy’s got a pretty decent theory) I want to compare with some other teams in recent history to see where they might end up at the end of the year.
One is the Philadelphia Flyers. At this time last year, the veteran Flyers were 22-19-3 (47 points). They had changed their coach a month before, in early December 2009, and promptly went on a 2-8 tear. They righted the ship a bit after that, going 6-2 before getting to the 44-game mark. Of course, we know how the season ends up. They won on the last day of the season against the Rangers to squeak into the playoffs, and had a historic series against Boston en route to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost to the Hawks in six games.
The other is the 2010 St. Louis Blues. This team of young upstarts that made the playoffs in 09-10 skid the first half of 2010, going 18-19-7 (44) in their first 44 games. Despite decent years from youngsters Perron, Oshie, and Backes, their best player the year before, Brad Boyes, fell off the table, going from 33 goals to 14. They stayed inconsistent the rest of the year, and finished five points out of the postseason.
So will the Sharks turn it around a la Flyers (perhaps with a new coach, as some fans are already calling for), or struggle with mediocrity the rest of the year, as the Blues did? I certainly think the Sharks have much more in common with last years’ Flyers than the Blues. This isn’t a young team trying to find its footing- it’s a veteran team, like Philly, that just couldn’t find a clear path the first half of the year. That’s not much consolation for Sharks fans at this point, nor is it any sort of guarantee San Jose will get their heads out of their asses and get this thing going the right direction. But it’s interesting to know the full gambit of options is still available to the Sharks, using only last year as a guide- postseason success is still attainable, but so is crushing disappointment.
December 15th, 2010, 7:52 am
This week there are four games to discuss, and while the Sharks could be on a slight upswing, the Dudes’ individual takes on it differ. In addition to the ups and downs of the Sharks week, there’s lots of other news to discuss, including the return of Evgeny Nabokov to stateside. Mike and Doug try and guess where he’ll end up, and take some other questions from listeners.
Podcast: Play in new window
December 8th, 2010, 8:13 pm
Sharks well on their way to another disappointing loss, and they wake up again. I think I need a mood stabilizer. I shut off the TV a couple of times in anger during the game, then the Sharks roar back, get a couple of decent calls, have the clock expire literally hundredths of a second before the puck goes in, and then show up Bobrovsky in overtime. Two fantastic moves by Clowe and Couture, both going to their “bread and butter”- deke to the backhand. Clowe goes for the roof, Couture the five hole.
Again I’m impressed by the Sharks mettle. And again I’m disappointed they have to get their butts kicked for a while before they figure out what to do. On a road trip, against a Stanley Cup finalist, I’ll give them a little more latitude. But I still feel the same way about tomorrow as I did about tonight- the Sharks could get murdered, we just have to wait and see.
Don’t forget to listen to the podcast.
July 19th, 2010, 1:02 pm
So Kovy signs, and not with the Kings, as Doug and I both thought. Financial details not yet disclosed, but I heard a rumor it’s a 17-year deal, which if true, is ludicrous. That would mean he’s under contract until he’s 44, which will be right when Chris Chelios is staging another comeback. Don’t miss the behindthenet take on this, and click other links in that post for background.
Also, Simon Gagne is traded from the Eastern Conference winning Flyers to the Lightning. They needed to clear cap space so bad they trade a top-6 forward for Matt Walker and a 4th round pick. And that cap room they freed isn’t really enough to get the goaltender they said they needed on many occasions. Also they’re paying Michael Leighton $1.6M now, so whoops!
Just found this on the internets a few days ago (I know, I’m late), but it’s funny, and it fits:
Sweet Lou on the left, Dean Lombardi on the right
May 17th, 2010, 8:29 am
After the Sharks lose game 1, they aren’t quite as down as you might expect. They got 45 shots on Antti Niemi, which would normally be good enough for the win. Mike and Doug think that, like the Colorado series, if they keep getting lots of scoring chances, they will win. But the NHL isn’t only about the Sharks, the Dudes break down the epic collapse of Boston in round 2 vs. Philly, and talk about how the honeymoon may be over for the Cinderella Montreal Canadians, losing 6-0 in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Dudes also talk about the teams that lost in the second round, and what changes they might make.
Podcast: Play in new window
April 29th, 2010, 11:01 am
Game 1 at the Tank tonight. The city of San Jose doesn’t take kindly to people arriving late to an early 6pm start, so I hope the Red Wings plan it better than their Tuesday night arrival. Here’s the Dudes thoughts on the four conference semis. Chime in with your predictions as well.
Montreal (8) vs. Pittsburgh (4)
Doug: The buck has to stop somewhere and it would be mission impossible for the Canadiens to knock off both the Eastern Conference titans, right? Pittsburgh has the experience, talent and heart to overcome a little Jacques Martin mojo. Penguins in five.
Mike: Pittsburgh got a huge gift in the 6-8 seeds winning, and them not going to the Stanley Cup Finals for the third straight year would be a choke job on their part. Pens in six, and it only goes that long because Josh Gorges PWNS.
Philadelphia (7) vs. Boston (6)
Doug: This series might have more grinding than a weekend with Wilt Chamberlin. It has the potential to be the most entertaining, if you like old school, blood and teeth cocktail hockey. I’ll be watching and as usual, Chris Pronger will still be standing at the end. Flyers in seven.
Mike: Marc Savard is back, and this emotional high will last until he skates through the middle with his head down (or up) and Pronger sticks him in the nuts. Then cross-checks him in the head. Then stomps on him. Flyers in six.
Vancouver (3) vs. Chicago (2)
Doug: The dislike between these two teams is delicious. The Hawks were criticized in Round 1 for not playing with much heart, but they showed me a lot at the end of Game 5 when they refused to go down. I would love to pick Vancouver, but when have they ever made the Conf. Finals? Not since their Stanley Cup run in 1994 behind Bure and Linden. Hawks in six.
Mike: It’s disappointing to see Doug abandon his prescient observation that Chicago’s goaltending is a ticking time bomb. I now take the reins of that bandwagon. Canucks in seven. Steve Bernier has 27 points in the series.
San Jose (1) vs. Detroit (5)
Doug: The path to glory has been determined and the Sharks are going to have to earn it. If ever there was a year for our boys to oust the mighty Wings, this is their best chance. We have the talent, depth and a goalie who knows he could be looking for a new team if he doesn’t make this happen. Daniel-san kicks Mr. Miyagi in the nuts. Sharks in six.
Mike: Past DOH guests Craig Custance (DOH 94) and Mark Purdy (DOH 88 and 51) have written about this series already. It appears that both have picked the Wings to win, so now I’m questioning my decision to link to the them. No matter. As Custance said, this could change the reputation of the entire franchise. This is the best team the Sharks have ever had in the playoffs, and you can’t say that for the Wings. Sharks in seven.
Tags: Boston Bruins
, Chicago Blackhawks
, Chris Pronger
, Detroit Red Wings
, Josh Gorges
, Montreal Canadians
, Philadelphia Flyers
, Pittsburgh Penguins
, San Jose Sharks
, Steve Bernier
, Vancouver Canucks
December 9th, 2009, 8:59 am
In this episode, Mike and Doug talk about the various happenings around the NHL, and only a cursory look to the Sharks. That’s because last Sunday the dudes talked themselves hoarse on the radio about the Sharks (episode to follow). This time, it’s all about the Flyers troubles, long term contracts, and Ovechkin’s knee, as well as Brendan Witt v. Yukon.
Podcast: Play in new window
November 20th, 2009, 9:34 am
One of the most anticipated match-ups of the year for me, the Philadelphia Flyers are in town (7pm start, not 7:30). This will be Chris Pronger’s (booo!) first visit to the Tank since he was traded to the Flyers in the offseason. As has been well-documented on the podcast, both Doug and I have put money down on the Flyers to win the Stanley Cup this year. For those who might be sneering at us right now- c’mon, we got 12-1! That’s just a solid bet.
The Flyers have been built to strike fear in the hearts of their opponents. In addition to the aforementioned Pronger (booo!) the Flyers have Dan Carcillo, Riley Cote, Ian Laperriere (who we thought would be a good fit for the Sharks) and Scott Hartnell to provide some rough stuff. Although I’m not sure throwing your glove at somebody counts as “rough stuff”. Despite that impressive list of pugilists, it’s Mike Richards who has more penalty minutes than all of the above save Laperriere, and it’s Richards that put David Booth to sleep with one of the most crushing (and controversial) hits of the year. I’ll leave that debate for another day.
It also bears mentioning where Philly sits now versus where they sat on October 25, the day that Thomas Greiss got his first start, and led the Sharks to an impressive 4-1 win at the Wachovia Center. At that time, the Flyers were 5-2-1, good but not fearsome. Now, they are at 12-5-1, and have won 8 of their last 9 games. Some of those games weren’t against exactly the cream of the NHL crop (Tampa, Ottawa, Carolina), but the last two wins have been the most impressive- at home versus the Devils (handing New Jersey their first road loss of the season) and two nights ago against the Kings, our old pal Brian Boucher weathering the storm.
Tonight we will have Nabby between the pipes facing a mostly healthy Flyers squad, minus the ever-shelved Simon Gagne. Like the Sharks, there aren’t a lot of weaknesses to the Flyers. They do commit a ton of penalties; they have four more minor penalties than the Sharks in five fewer games. Can’t say I’m surprised by that, but they do have the 8th-best penalty kill in the league, plenty good enough to allow for some extra goonery. They also sport the best power play at the moment, which means the Sharks, who are 16th in the league in PIMs/game (Philly is 25th) need to stay the hell out of the box.
Interestingly enough, the fourth line may be the difference for the Sharks. If Ferriero, Couture, and McLaren McGinn are recalled as expected, this could be a real speed mismatch, going up against Blair Betts and Riley Cote. Can’t wait for this game. And no, I won’t be wearing the Carle jersey. I do like Fear the Fin’s prediction for the game though: “Sharks win 17-1. Goals by Heatley, McGinn, Clowe, and a whole bunch of others. Matt Carle’s league-leading +/- drops like a stone. ” Won’t be betting on that outcome, but a good call nonetheless.