A Fan of the Game

Sports Talk, Straight Talk

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 57

Quite the special game for both teams, but the Sharks were too much for the Minnesota Wild and won 5-2. Special was the name of the game, as in special teams. Out of the seven goals, six were from the man advantage.

Poor nsblues/BHD won’t be too happy about this one.

Whenever a team goes 4-for-7 on the power play, chances are the end result will be a win. That’s what the Sharks did. For at least one night, no one can mention how bad the power play is at home. It was stellar. Jason Demers was the quarterback, replacing the still-injured Dan Boyle, and did a marvelous job. He scored two goals on his only two shots.

Demers amassed 21:48 of ice time, playing in all three situations — even strength, power play and penalty kill. This kid will be something special. Boyle was his favorite player and inspiration to be an offensive defenseman. I can’t imagine how cool it is to end up playing with your favorite player and learn from him. Now Demers just needs some defensive improvement to become that all-around defenseman players can count on.

Back to the game: the Wild scored first showing the Sharks they were here to play. After Demers’ first tally, the Wild struck again right at the end of the first period to make it 2-1. Perhaps the hangover from the Chicago loss was getting to them, but that was cured during intermission. Goalie Evgeni Nabokov stepped his game up tremendously and made key save after key save.

Get off me, Kim. I'm a man! I'm 40! (From SJSHARKS.com)

I was reading Sharks beat writer David Pollak’s blog earlier, and a few people were questioning why Nabokov keeps starting. Well, my little grasshoppers, if you had followed the Sharks intently at all, you would know coach Todd McLellan is doing this to prevent what happened last year. McLellan gave Nabby much more rest and it didn’t work at all. This time around, he’s letting Nabby keep playing. McLellan has stated this a couple times.

I don’t see fatigue being much a factor anyway with goalies. They may be on the ice all 60 minutes, but how much are they really playing? An offensive forecheck for 30 seconds where Nabby has to watch the puck. Make one save and the puck is going the other way. He isn’t exerting that much energy during games, at least not continuously. People are looking into this way too much.

Anyway, Demers’ second goal followed by Joe Pavelski’s wicked wrister put the Sharks on top for good. Pavs’ wrister makes even the toughest men become screaming, little girls.

Speaking of little girls, Joe Thornton continued his horrendous play tonight with seven giveaways. At some point, McLellan must address this — whether reduced ice time or a complete line demotion. Thornton just isn’t trying. I think the Sharks would be better off strapping skates on a two-by-four.

Patrick Marleau finished things off with two goals in the third (one may or may not be credited to Dany Heatley). I wonder when serious contract talks start or if they already have. Patty is San Jose. Sign him for the rest of his life. Just, please, keep the “C” far, far away.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 21  MIN 18; Scott Nichol led with eight.

Detroit meanders their way into town on Tuesday. Godspeed.

–Ray

January 31, 2010 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 16

Quite the statement game by the Sharks tonight in their 3-1 win over their Colorado Avalanche. The Avs are getting so much hype this month and it was awesome to see them beaten.

Avs goalie Craig Anderson tried to steal the show, especially in the first, but the Sharks would not relent. Even after a scoreless first period and a few spectacular saves, the Sharks didn’t give up.

There’s no one better that represents that mentality than Ryane Clowe. Clowey finally scored a goal — his first in 21 games — tonight late in the second period. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen someone so happy to score a regular season goal. Everyone could see all the weight jump off his shoulders. Right now, it looks like that shootout goal sparked something.

The third period was a complete team effort from the Sharks. Goalie Evgeni Nabokov was sharp, with the exception of a big rebound leading to a Matt Duchene goal. He made key stops at key times and kept the Sharks in it.

Dany Heatley scored on a tip-in goal and Jamie McGinn drilled a wrister past Anderson to put the game out of reach.

The Sharks hot power play was stymied, though. The Duchene goal was during a power play at all. So, if there’s anything to improve on, that would be it. Make sure the line changes are crisp and defensemen are in position.

Picture 6

Ryane Clowe celebrates his first goal of the season (From SJSHARKS.com)

I’d like to address the Avs. What a joke. Why people believe they will be something good this year is beyond me. It’s just one month. It’s a looooonnnggg season, and Avs fans are proclaiming playoffs. Sorry, but the Avs will miss the playoffs this year.

Anderson is a backup goalie at best, and is just experiencing a hot streak. Everything will settle down and the Avs will sink to the bottom of the Western Conference. The Sharks pulled no punches tonight and showed the Avs how to be the best. The Avs couldn’t respond. Enjoy your mediocrity Colorado. San Jose will send you a postcard from the playoffs.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 23  COL 13

Joe Thornton received a puck in the face that knocked his tooth out. He became quite angry the rest of the game and ended up leading the team (along with Jed Ortmeyer) in hits with four. If only the Sharks could get that angry Joe every game. It’s a great sight.

The Sharks hit the road again for three games against Carolina, Columbus and Detroit. Carolina is first and that game is Sunday.

–Ray

October 31, 2009 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment