April 30th, 2012, 8:39 pm
After more than a week to reflect, Mike and Doug don’t have the raw emotion anymore, but the initial reaction still stands. The Dudes talk about the coaching staff, T-Mac, the inevitable Patrick Marleau bashing, and other changes that might take place.
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March 9th, 2012, 9:25 am
That’s last night’s game, and soon, the title will describe the season. The Sharks cough up another 3rd period lead, decide not to try in an overtime power play, and then cap it by putting Tommy Wingels as the third shooter in the shootout, a guy who has literally never participated in the shootout in his career. I know we were looking for desperation, but to me that means urgency and fire, not grasping at straws.
But I’m going to try and not let my extreme frustration leak over too much into this post, and talk about something that is becoming increasingly obvious- the rift between Doug Wilson and Todd McLellan. Exhibit A is T.J. Galiardi. Only on the Sharks for two weeks now, Galairdi has been scratched once, and played only 2:30 against St. Louis. His average ice time in the other two games was about 11:40, which is far below his average with the Avalanche before he was traded. And Galiardi was, by many reports, on the outs with Joe Sacco in Colorado. So the Avs want to get him out of town, and then trade him to a team that plays him even less than he played before? There’s a disconnect here.
Exhibit B is the penalty kill. DW goes out and gets three guys who can play the kill, because, frankly, the kill has sucked for much of the year. As of this writing, it’s 28th. So we get Daniel Winnik (averaging 2:51 this season on the kill) Dominic Moore (1:50) , and Galiardi (1:06). So who are the big killers last night? Pavelski (1:41), Couture (1:35), and Marleau (1:31). The three PK specialists we got are dwarfed in SH ice time by Andrew Desjardins (1:35). Only Moore played a full shift (0:41), with Winnik, probably the best PKer of the three, playing just 0:14. What is wrong with this picture? Play the #2, #3, and #4 scorer the most on the PK, make the new defensive forwards ride the pine, even when you’ve averaged only 1.9 goals per game over the last 10? It just makes no sense to me.
If the Sharks manage to squeak into the playoffs, all bets are off. But if April brings a Marleau-Roenick tee time, either T-Mac or DW will be gone, and possibly both.
October 16th, 2011, 10:29 am
Todd McLellan has mentioned in the press several times that the Sharks had to play a serious game of catch-up last year in the second half. Lolling around at 12th in the West in early January, they had to rip off a massive hot streak in order to secure their 2nd seed playoff position. After all of that emphasis, it seems the Sharks decent start has been held to two periods. After 40 minutes at home versus Phoenix, the Sharks were up 6-1, and just dominating the Coyotes. Since then, the Sharks have been outscored 7-2, and dropped the last two games against teams we think will miss the postseason. Both the Ducks game and the Blues game seemed to have the same symptoms- sloppy passing, not a lot of physicality, and giving the opposition too much space, especially on the power play.
This is just an observation from a guy in the stands, but last night there seemed to be a lot of 5 and 6-foot attempted passes underneath Blue skates and sticks. Many of those passes didn’t work out. A lot of tricky and slick attempts went nowhere, and even turned into scoring chances the other way. Now I go and read the game recap, and T-Mac agrees:
“We weren’t prepared to play a grind-it-out game,” McLellan said. “We wanted to play this fancy puck possession stuff against a team that wanted to grind it out.” Later, he added: “We choose to be the Globetrotters in the first seven or eight minutes of the game, and it doesn’t work that way.”
Lots of east and west, not enough north and south. We clearly got the shot differential, but Greiss did not have a Quality Start, while Brian Elliot was close to having a Goalie Steal.
On the good side, it’s nice to see the fourth line playing quite a bit (Winchester 9:54, Andrew Murray 10:17, Andrew Desjardins 9:54), and the third line, especially Torrey Mitchell, has been good as well. Mitchell had another point last night, and giving him two more points on the season than Joe Thornton (0). Joe especially was a big offender in the Globetrotter department. While he did make several passes that had me scratching my head, wondering how he got that through, he also had several that had me scratching my head, wondering what the hell he was thinking. I guess it’s a fine line. Overall it almost seems as though the Sharks think they have such a talent surplus over the other team that they can not commit as much to the unpleasant parts of the game, like getting hit, forechecking aggressively, and doggedly working the boards and corners. As the Blues and Ducks have both proven the last 48 hours, it just doesn’t work that way in the NHL. Kent Huskins will hurt you with a laser wrist shot.
May 26th, 2010, 8:55 pm
Mike and Doug continue the discussion they began on ChompTalk last Sunday, speaking of the Sharks demise at the hands (wings?) of the Hawks, and Philadelphia’s chances to triumph in the finals. But most importantly, the Dudes start the important due diligence of examining each of the actors that may not be back next year, starting with Doug Wilson, Todd McLellan, Patrick Marleau, and Evgeni Nabokov
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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.
November 13th, 2009, 10:52 am
*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?