A Fan of the Game

Sports Talk, Straight Talk

ITSC, Game 2 vs. Avalanche

WOW!

They finally smarted up and came to play — well, all except two players.

Everything was against the Sharks tonight; it’s like the Sharks are banned from winning and banned from getting in breaks in the playoffs.

Countless times, I hear dings from Sharks shots going off the posts, pucks fumbling away from Sharks players, pucks bouncing right toward opponents, bogus penalties on the Sharks when they aren’t called against opponents, the list continues….

But somehow, these men picked up their lunch pail and went to work. I’ve never seen a harder working Sharks game ever. Constant battles along the boards, players moving their feet and winning 50/50 battles.

There’s no doubt the Sharks deserved this win.

It took overtime to do it, though. 6-5! That’s right, 6-5!

The two reasons why it wasn’t 5-1 or 6-1? Douglas Murray and Evgeni Nabokov. It’s quite possible they played some of their worst hockey in their lives.

They single-handedly were the cause of four goals. Murray blew coverage twice giving Nabby no chance to stop shots. Then on two others Nabby had brain farts and couldn’t make simple stops.

San Jose annihilated Colorado in every aspect of the game besides those plays. The Sharks are too big and on this night, too determined.

I haven’t even mentioned how bad the referees were. There were so many holding, hooking and interference penalties on the Sharks that went uncalled. But then of course when Rob Blake lowers the boom on a precious Av, it’s a penalty.

Ovvverrr Nine Thousssaaannndddddddd!!!! (From SJSHARKS.com)

In the overtime, the exact same play Rob Blake did happened to Ryane Clowe; an Av came in a decked him into the boards, and it was a clear interference call. Nope, not called.

Luckily, the refs smarted up for one play when Adam Foote bolted Jed Ortmeyer into the net, which was called a penalty.

Devin Setoguchi cashed in on that power play by deflecting a shot and sending the Sharks to Colorado with a 1-1 series tie.

Fantastic work by every forward. I can’t state that enough. I’d like to single out Scott Nichol. That man has some engine in his body. I think he was the reason the rest of the Sharks worked as hard as they did. And guess what? Nichol was rewarded with a goal in the game.

Craig Anderson is not that great. A random thought, but I need to say it. Guarantee he will go back to being a nobody, average goalie next year. One-hit wonder.

One can only hope the Sharks can bottle this energy up and unleash it again in Colorado. This could be an organization-changer.

You know those NHL commercials where they show old highlights in reverse saying “What if so and so didn’t happen?

There could be one in 10 years showing Setoguchi’s overtime goal.

Hard work needs to be rewarded, and thankfully it was tonight.

–Ray

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April 17, 2010 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 65

Quite the Olympic hangover for the Sharks as they lost to the New Jersey Devils 4-3. San Jose showed the national audience about three minutes of competence, which was surrounded by 57 minutes of Latvian play.

I don’t even know who I was watching for the first 48 minutes of the game — really. Obviously going from the Olympics to the NHL regular season is a ginormous step down in pressure, but wow. I had hope that the Olympics would be like ankle weights; take them off and absolutely fly. Nope. Thank you, come again.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan was like “W-T-F, man?!” Poor sell-out crowd. They waited two weeks after that Buffalo loss just to see another clunker.

The second period is when things really fell apart. Evgeni Nabokov was seeing Canada jerseys again (come on now, the Devils jersey do resemble them) and let in three soft goals. Bad, bad, bad. One goal dropped behind him, and while Nabby did his trademark “peek behind,” he couldn’t spot the puck.

Devils goal number two was a slapshot from the point that went in cleanly. No excuse for that. I don’t remember anyone being in front of Nabby directly.

Devils goal number three was a wrister from the point by fellow Russian Ilya Kovalchuk. Again, stoppable. Again, unaccetpable.

Douglas Murray shows us what to do once you've "grabbed the Devil by the horns" (From SJSHARKS.com)

Third period rolls around and Patrick Marleau tried being Captain Canada when he ignored Doulgas Murray’s pleas to defend Travis Zajac. Patty tried to steal the puck away from another Devil — fail. Wrister in the net from Zajac.

Oh, but wait. The Sharks transformed into a Zach Parise-Ryan Kesler hybrid at the 12-minute mark of the third period. You know — late-game heroics, energetic skating — the whole enchilada.

Devin Setoguchi struck twice in two minutes on Canada-reject Martin Brodeur (yes, I said it). Joe Pavelski buried a third goal a minute later, and the Shark Tank was a-rockin’.

Side note: Before that third goal, I actually saw Thornton skate the hardest I’ve seen in a long time for a loose puck. Those five seconds of brilliance were awesome.

But the Devils coach ruined all the fun with a timeout, and the Sharks couldn’t manage a fourth goal. They were just too stupid earlier in the game. Shame.

An unfortunate start to the homestretch, but at least the loss is to an Eastern Conference opponent. And Manny Malhotra was back tonight after missing some games before the break. Marc-Edouard Vlasic is still out, though. Lower-body injury is what they say.

No Calls

The Devils only took one penalty the whole game. Granted the Sharks did score on the power play, but you have to draw more penalties on a trap team like New Jersey. They’ll lull you to sleep, a la Phoenix.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 29  NJD 14; Niclas Wallin and Murray both had four.

Olympics thoughts: I don’t think there could have been a worse scenario than watching Crosby score that overtime goal. Now the Crosby worship will reach levels I could have never imagined. I cannot stand that guy. U-S-A, U-S-A!

The Canadiens come to town Thursday.

–Ray

March 3, 2010 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 58

Quite the activate-Edmonton-Oilers-mode game for the Sharks, and when they activate that notoriously awful mode, there’s only one team they could have faced — the Detroit Red Wings. Yep, you guessed it. Another Sharks loss to the Wings; this time the score was 4-2.

You know Sharks, why even bother playing this team? Why? Why do you even put your skates on or even wake up the morning of these games? You know you’re not going to try. You know you’re going to blow it. Just stay home. Bring up the Worcester Sharks to take your place, and let’s see what happens.

What’s the worst that could happen? A 10-0 loss maybe? That’s about as good as any other Sharks/Wings game has been for San Jose. It’s utterly ridiculous.

I was so ecstatic to see Sharks broadcaster Randy Hahn post a blog in which he stated it’s time for the Sharks to start gearing up for big games like this. Stop with the “it’s just another game” BS, because I got news for ya — it ain’t workin’!

Anyway, I guess Joe Thornton saw my video about him before tonight’s game because he played a lot better (only two giveaways). He scored the Sharks only two goals; both came in the first period on rebounds.

But then once again, the Wings scored four straight goals to win the game — just like they did in that 4-1 whooping earlier in the season.

I’ve run out of things to say about these Sharks/Wings games. What more can you say about this crap? I guess I’ll go the referee route for fun.

Ever notice the Wings struggle all year, but when the Wings play the Sharks, some switch turns on. The Wings get all the crucial calls and any Sharks power plays are negated. It’s truly inconceivable how bad refs are in these games. Tonight the Wings had double the power play time and took advantage of it. Two of their four markers came on the power play.

I believe I can fly...I believe I can suck incredibly (From SJSHARKS.com)

When the Sharks pulled their goalie at the end and received a power play, it was short-lived of course. God forbid San Jose EVER gets a chance to come back! Oh me Oh my! We refs can never let such a thing happen.

And they didn’t. Thornton got called for goalie interference. There goes that chance down the toilet. Thanks for playing Sharks.

So on top of not putting effort into games (maybe refs are the reason) and getting awful calls, the NHL should ban Sharks/Wings games. There truly is no point in them.

Let’s get to individuals now, and I’ll start with injuries. Dan Boyle missed yet another game, and it’s turning into one of those annoying “game-time decision” fiascos that always ends in a scratch. Do us a favor and put him on long-term injured reserve. There’s no point in playing him until after the Olympics. Let him rest. Let him play for his country. Move on.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic missed the game as well, which left a giant defensive hole on the Sharks blueline. So with two defensemen out, that means two had to be called up. Jason Demers and yes, my friends, our favorite little pinata — Derek Joslin.

Joslin lack of hockey intelligence is ground-breaking. Position error here — DET goal — position error there — DET goal. I looked up ole Derek on Facebook (you have to login to see), and he indeed has one. You can peruse his pictures, and you’ll find some interesting photographs. Two that stick out are him and his friends peeing on a building and the other is him and his friends peeing off a boat. Class act that Joslin. Urine-filled lakes coming to a city near you.

Half-Full

I think it’s been a few years since Detroit has won the season series against the Sharks. The one time the Sharks owned the series is when Detroit later knocked them out of the playoffs. Maybe it’s the reverse this time around? Hope so.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 26  DET 24; Scott Nichol led with seven.

Will some media member just go around asking every coach and player, “Why the hell can’t you beat the Red Wings? Seriously what is your malfunction?” But noooooo. Let’s be politically correct and boring. The fans want to know it, so ask it. Simple.

The Sharks now embark on a six-game road trip leading up to the Olympics. It starts Thursday when the Sharks go to St. Louis.

–Ray

February 3, 2010 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Execution Day “What the Hell Were We Thinking?!” (Week 2, Ray)

We’re going to change a few things in this edition. Because Nathan and I sucked at picking, we’re splitting up the games we both got wrong, so look out for that…

Why do I always pick the teams that lead the whole game, then blow it in the 4th quarter. I am not naming names, cough Minnesota, Chicago, Seattle cough. So just for that, I am not holding anything back, so let me just go ahead and call the first death row inmate to the gallows…

Indianapolis 18 Minnesota 15

Attention Minnesota fans! As much as I despise your team (with the exception of Adrian Peterson), please continue to boo Tavaris Jackson. He is completely and utterly worthless. He is never going to develop into anything. He is a poor man’s Vince Young/Rex Grossman, and in light of recent allegations of V.Y. pondering suicide, Jackson might want to retire before things get worse. The booing was great Minnesota. I have no clue where this blind faith in Jackson is coming from but it needs to stop. You have a better chance with AP as your QB than “run and flail” Jackson. Seriously, Jackson, why can’t you just manage the game, maybe complete one first down pass when your team needs it in the 4th quarter. Perhaps you should look into unretiring Daunte Culpepper. Maybe having purple and gold on will help him regain confidence. Anything but keeping Tavaris Jackson. I realize I am setting myself up for a jinx, and he will have a wonderful game next week, but it will only be illusion. He is a fraud, a failure, a flop. Like that F alliteration? I am sure Vikings fans would add another F bomb to that, though. Enjoy your failure Tavaris. Good Day Minnesota.

Carolina 20 Chicago 17

The Bears are like a girl next door whose father is a preacher – such a friggin’ tease! You surprise us all by hammering the Colts into the ground and then lay an egg at the chance of going 2-0. Now the cardiac Panthers are 2-0 instead of you. You beat the Panthers in every major category for the most part! You even blocked a punt. So why did you lose? Because you decided to committ 12 penalties costing you 86 yards, and you lost two fumbles. You could have been right with the Packers, but no. The defense did everything they could. I won’t blame them for the loss. I am going to look at the offense. Protect the ball! Two hands on the ball, always keep your head up. The offense needs to have at least one big play a game. Your longest play was 32 yards! Disgusting. You have got the running game for play action, over-the-top so use it next time. You cannot afford to blow anymore games or just blow period so get back on the saddle Chicago.

San Francisco 33 Seattle 30

Seattle, you’re done. Start thinking about 2009. If you are gonna struggle with San Fran and get blown out by Buffalo you do not have a chance in making the playoffs. Arizona looks too good to beat by you, and if St. Louis plays like the first part of the Giants game against you, they can beat you too. Kudos to your special teams for not showing up again, letting a punt get blocked. You probably would not fair well with your “12th man” on the field either. RB Julius Jones did his job. He ran very well. Probably your only high point. Hasselbeck looked bad in that game throwing two picks. You don’t have no more Shaun Alexander to fall back on now Matt. Better suck it up and put the team on your back or you could be looking at a top 5 draft pick. Wouldn’t that be something?

New England 19 New York Jets 10

The Jets blew a big, big chance here to gain an edge. It was Matt Cassel’s first start and they still could not get it done. The stats between the two teams were very similar, but come on Jets, at least put more than one good drive together. It also doesn’t help that new signee Jay Feely botched an easy field goal. I am sure fans were saying here we go again. I know I was. Brett Favre was definitely not the same person as last week. The telling stat for me is that besides the 3 drives that produced the 2 scores and the missed field goal, the maximum number of plays of a drive was 5. That is pitiful. No excuse for that in the NFL. This was the chance the NFL had to beat the Patriots. The first game with Cassel was the one. Now he will gain confidence off the win and so will the defense. The J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets! Choked! choked! choked!

Oakland 23 Kansas City 8

If you’re into opera or the Nutcracker Ballet, you probably thoroughly enjoyed this game. Zzzzzzz… Huh? I am not done with this game blog yet? Crap. Well, let me see here. The one and only Jamarcus Russell put on an aerial assault not matched since the ’99 Kurt Warner, throwing for 550 yards! What’s that? Drop the zero? 55 yards!? And the Raiders won? What is wrong with this world? Darren McFadden looked amazing after Justin Fargas’ injury, rushing for 164 yards. That is what Raider nation was looking for out of the rookie this year. You are going to need a lot more if Russell is going to fart around the QB position. RB Michael Bush also looked great rushing for 90 yards. I wished the Pack drafted Michael, I knew he would be good, even after that injury. Excuse me from digressing. I seem to be falling asleep looking at the stats on this game. The Chiefs had a triple threat at quarterback! Tyler Thigpen, Damon Huard, Marques Hagans (UVA, knew I smelt something wretched on the score sheet). They combined for 17/38 173 yds 1 TD 2 INT. My boy Brodie Croyle needs to heal quick, or Herm Edwards is going to lose his head, which he should anyway. He is a bad coach. Maybe a coordinator, but not head coach. I have no outlook on these two teams other than, I wish McFadden and Bush the best. They deserve nothing less. Get well soon Brodie.

Dallas 41 Philadelphia 37

I guess the NFL decided it was best for me to quadruple bust on teams that lose a lead in the 4th quarter. Welcome our newest member to that club: Philadelphia. This is just what we need – more ‘experts’ making Dallas into God and unbeatable. It sure seemed like that last year even when the Pats were 16-0 but I digress as usual. Maybe Nathan and I should make Half picks– pick who is leading at halftime, then who wins the game. That would really boost my winning percentage. I guess not, though, since things would even out with the final scores but it would help my morale, which is currently on life support with some of these teams. Time to put this week behind me and trek on to the next week, where Green Bay will defeat Dallas. That is right Jerry Jones. Bow down to Aaron “The Hitman” Rodgers.

Aaron Rodgers Hit List

Minnesota Vikings

Detroit Lions

Dallas Cowboys

-Ray

September 15, 2008 Posted by | Football | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brett Who!? “What the Hell Were We Thinking?!” (Week 2, Nathan)

Week 2 into the NFL season and the Packers are now 2-0. Aaron Rodgers has people in Green Bay, Wisconsin asking “Brett who!?” With no interceptions, 3 touchdowns, and a QB rating of 117.0, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are once again, on top of the NFC North.

Two games against the division and the Pack are unbeaten. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come in the very near future.

Let this game be an emphasis on my theory that the Lions are going nowhere with Matt Millen in charge. Off to another bad start are the Lions, and its only going to get harder as the season goes along. I think Merril Hoge said it best, “The Lions are a confused organization.” (Feel free to laugh out loud). For those Lions fan’s who have stayed true to their team, it’s not too late to hop on the car and take the family to Green Bay where its going to be another successful season.

New Orleans Saints vs. Washington Redskins– Congrats to Jim Zorn. With a late surge in the fourth quarter, the Washington Redskins came back and beat the New Orleans Saints. Jason Campbell had a pretty good game stats wise, and the ‘skins only had one turnover, compared to the Saints’ three.

Campbell had over 300 passing yards, and Clinton Portis ran for close to 100 yards. The Skins basically won the game because they held the ball for close to 10 more minutes than the Saints and held them scoreless in the fourth quarter.

Cincinnati Bungals vs Tennessee Titans – To anyone who asks: Yes, Kerry Collins can still lead a team to victory. With Vince Young “contemplating suicide,” Kerry Collins got the start for the Titans, who went into Cincinnati and completely dominated the lonely Bengals. Collins did not thrown an INT and threw a TD, while all Carson Palmer did was throw 2 INT’s. With the winds blowing up to 30 mph, the Titans’ Chris Johnson out-ran the ‘Bungals.’ It’s going to be a tough year for the Bungals, and possibly the last one for head coach Marvin Lewis.

Miami Dolphins vs Arizona Cardinals – A complete domination by the Arizona Cardinals. Kurt Warner and Matt Leinart both threw for a combined ZERO interceptions and Warner added 3 TD’s. Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin had a combined 12 receptions for 293 yards. All together, the Dolphins receivers had 179 yards receiving combined. If the Cardinals play every game like they did today, the Cardinals fans can finally have hope. The Cardinals are a young team, but have many players with the right intangibles that can lead the Cardinals to a successful season.

Chicago Bears vs Carolina Panthers – Another week and another Panthers come from behind victory. Last week, the Panthers devastated the Chargers with a last second TD and this week was no different. Jake Delhomme had a decent game, leading the Panthers to another fourth quarter TD drive and limited the interceptions he threw. Coming off a dreadful last season, the Panthers are 2-0, the only team to accomplish that in the NFC South. Both the Bears and the Chargers are good teams and the Panthers still came out and stuck to their game plan, and have been successful.

Atlanta Falcons vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Another QB controversy is starting up in Tampa Bay. With Jeff Garcia being on the verge of being traded or let go, Brian Griese stepped in and led the Bucs to a pretty dominant performance. It looks like Brian Griese is the guy the Bucs want at QB and this just means its the end of the road for Jeff Garcia.With the Bucs defense not allowing a TD, and Earnest Graham’s 68 yard TD run, the Bucs put the game away in the beginning of the fourth quarter. Matt Ryan, Buck Foston College, struggled in his second game as a starter, completing only 13 of 33 passes. The Falcons offense struggled through most of the game. This game is what most people thought the Falcons would look like throughout the season.

No one predicted that come week 2 of the season and Aaron Rodgers and Matt Cassel would be leading their teams to victories. The two headlines that will be talked about throughout the season will be the Patriots’ Cassel and whether or not Rodgers can handle the pressure that is being built up in Green Bay. So far, so good for the Packers, who have been victorious in both weeks, and for those fans who stuck up for Brett when he was traded, it looks like the Packers knew what they were doing. Hmm… Give it a few years and maybe Favre Blvd. and Rodgers Ave. will intersect somewhere.

– Nathan

September 15, 2008 Posted by | Football | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NFL Week 2 Picks!

Last Week’s Results:
Nathan: 12-4
Ray: 9-7

Games Nathan Ray
GB @ DET PACK PACK
NYG @ STL GIANTS GIANTS
NO @ WAS SAINTS SAINTS
BUF @ JAX BILLS BILLS
TEN @ CIN BENGALS TITANS
OAK @ KC
IND @ MIN
CHI @ CAR
ATL @ TB
SF @ SEA SEAHAWKS SEAHAWKS
SD @ DEN BRONCOS BRONCOS
MIA @ ARI CARDS
NE @ NYJ PATS JETS
PIT @ CLE STEELERS STEELERS
BAL @ HOU RAVENS RAVENS
PHI @ DAL COWBOYS EAGLES

September 12, 2008 Posted by | Football | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment