A Fan of the Game

Sports Talk, Straight Talk

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 66

Quite the Price-is-wrong-B—- game for the Sharks as they beat the Montreal Canadiens, 3-2. If you can tell me where that quote is from, you get 200,000 points.

Montreal goalie Carey Price made it his mission to tick off the Sharks and their fans by flaunting every single save he made. It was sickening seeing him do Statue of Liberty after Statue of Liberty. I’m guessing Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov took notice because he did a few himself.

Last game against New Jersey, the Sharks could only muster 20 shots, and coach Todd McLellan worked on getting more shots and second chance opportunities in practice. It worked. The Sharks attempted 85 shots on goal — 40 hit the net, 26 were blocked and 19 were missed.

Montreal would score first in the first period and would take the lead again 2-1 in the second period.

In between that, Patrick Marleau scored the Sharks’ eighth shorthanded goal of the year off a beautiful deflection. Plenty of other Sharks chances ensued only to be denied by the post. Dan Boyle found iron on a penalty shot during the second frame as well.

Persistence paid off. Dany Heatley and Manny Malhotra put the Sharks ahead for good in the third period. Heatley was in a bit of a scoring drought, and it was good to see Torrey Mitchell assist on a goal (Malhotra’s).

Hey Brad, come take a whiff of this new scent I'm wearing: "Lousy Canadien" (From SJSHARKS.com)

One thing that needs to be mentioned is the absolutely cheap cross check by Maxim Lapierre on Scott Nichol in the third (Nichol never returned). I believe it was Ray Ferraro, the analyst for the game, call it complete garbage. Well put. Nice name by the way.

Unfortunately, no Sharks noticed immediately who did it and nobody ever fully paid Lapierre back. Maybe McLellan made a point to stay disciplined, but come on now. When something like that happens, somebody needs to send a message to that clown Lapierre. Punch him in the face. Lapierre was laughing on the bench! This is where I miss Jody Shelley.

New Paint Job

This is the third different helmet Nabby has had this year. I’m not sure if it’s permanent or not. He’s worn his regular skull/fishhead helmet, a black one and now a Neptune one. Not a big fan of the Neptune one. Something about a topless old man turns me off.

Staying the Same

I should mention the Sharks made no deadline deals, and that they were content with adding Niclas Wallin and trading Shelley. Obviously, they like their talent pool from Worcester, and I can’t say I blame them. During the playoffs, there’s usually one really young guy who breaks out for successful teams. Last year, Bobby Ryan of Anaheim comes to mind. I’m looking for Logan Couture, who’s been killing it in the AHL, to come up playoff time and contribute.

I was kind of hoping the Sharks would add Ray Whitney, former Shark, for scoring depth, but then one of the current players would have had to have gone.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 33  MTL 20; Nichol and Heatley led with five.

Saturday, the Sharks will battle Columbus — a team that shut them out right before the Olympic break.

–Ray

March 5, 2010 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 59

Quite the Jesus-Greiss-saves game for the Sharks as they defeated the St. Louis Blues, 4-2. Greiss was the man with the plan stopping 35 shots en route to the victory.

Greiss’ patented flailing was toned down tonight — perhaps a good sign — and he looked comfortable in net. That could be for Team Germany’s scouts looking to solidify their starting goaltender for the Olympics. Whatever it is, I hope it continues. Greiss will probably get one or two more starts these next five games to give Evgeni Nabokov extra rest.

The Blues weren’t joking around tonight. They were getting shots through, putting lots of traffic in front of the net, throwing their weight around and skating fast. Those things made it extra tough on the Sharks depleted defense who were once again without Dan Boyle and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

So much for Boyle ever being day-to-day. I remember the good ole days where he was only supposed to miss one game. What a sham!

As for the Sharks skaters tonight, they were OK. Patrick Marleau scored 21 seconds into the game after a feed from Joe Thornton.

Ryane Clowe increased the lead to two goals seven minutes later, and it was another early two-goal lead. The Blues rallied two minutes after Clowe’s goal. At that point, I’m thinking, “Here we go again. Just like last game against Detroit.” Those thoughts almost came to fruition several times. The Blues controlled the play and dominated for a good twenty minutes.

D.J., if you skate by me, prepare for urination. Just sayin'. (From SJSHARKS.com)

That brings us to halfway through the second period. The Blues were outshooting the Sharks 8-2 the first half of the second period. San Jose slowly started to get their feet under them. The legs started churning, the pucks started getting deep and whaddaya know? A goal comes about. Devin Setoguchi scored on the power play, swinging the momentum back to the Sharks.

Fortunately, the Sharks withstood a Blues comeback in the third. Scott Nichol sealed the deal with a slapshot.

I guess I should have kept the expectations a bit lower since this was the first game of a long road trip. The Blues have been a mosquito to the Sharks, so I’ll give them dap for swatting them.

Niclas Wallin

The Sharks rumor mill is churning with rumors of Niclas Wallin coming to San Jose within the next 24 hours. What the deal could be has varied. I’ve seen Wallin or a second round pick. I’ve seen Wallin for Jody Shelley and Derek Joslin. Apparently Carolina is gaga over Joslin. Maybe the Canes enjoy public urination and see Joslin as a centerpiece for that fetish. Who knows, but I hope the Sharks don’t give up too much. If they do, Ray Whitney better come over too.

Not Everyone is Like You

So I was visiting ChompBoard.com — a Sharks forum, and saw one of the members said:

“its the bull**** bandwagon fans that dont understand that this is a long ass season and losing 1 or 2 games a month doesn’t mean its the end of the friggin world.. it just shows that the team makes mistakes and there are still plenty of things the team needs to work on before the post season..”

Cool story, bro. Guess what? Not everyone thinks the way you do. I’m sorry, but I’m not just going to sit around and have no emotion for these regular season games. What’s the point in being a fan if you’re just going to go through the regular season indifferent to results? Who is the real bandwagon fan here when you’re waiting for April to roll around to really feel these panicky emotions? Ponder that.

I’m a sports fan; I’m a hockey fan; I’m a Sharks fan. If my team blows a game badly, I’m going to be uncomfortable with it. I want to see fixes as soon as possible. I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m impatient. Woe is me for being that way.

You can embrace your “it’s a long season” mentality. That’s fine. A lot of people do. But don’t go around ridiculing other people because they are a different type of person. It’s ridiculous. Yea, what I just said was probably hypocritical, but oh well. I’m on a roll.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 17  StL 27; Setoguchi and Joe Pavelski both led with three.

The Sharks travel to Nashville, Saturday, for a bout with the Predators.

–Ray

February 5, 2010 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 45

Quite the wtf game for the Sharks as they lost miserably to the Los Angeles Kings 6-2. Despite outshooting the Kings 47-20, the Sharks couldn’t solve LA goalie Jonathan Quick or make up for their defensive lapses.

Things looked good early for the Sharks. Torrey Mitchell was on the power play and working hard with Devin Setoguchi. The forecheck looked strong, but the Kings struck first when no one marked Michal Handzus, who scored on a wraparound.

Two LA power play goals would follow on similar defensive lapses. Nobody wanted to mark their man or take proper position. It looked like the beginning of the season all over again, as well as the first game against Los Angeles where the Sharks were destroyed.

In the second, the Sharks put their best shots on Quick but nothing would get past him. Quick is something like 3-0-1 against the Sharks now. They really don’t need another Pacific Division goalie giving them problems. Two more LA goals in the period made the score 5-0.

So coach Todd McClellan decided to pull Evgeni Nabokov and try Thomas Greiss in goal to start the third. Thirteen seconds later it was 6-0. Yikes. Credit Greiss, though; he didn’t allow another goal, and the Sharks put two goals on the board to avoid the shutout. (Douglas Murray and Patrick Marleau scored.)

Is this open enough for you guys to score? (From SJSHARKS.com)

We all know this next statement was coming so let’s get right to it. The Sharks were 7-0 with Jason Demers back in the lineup, and now they’re 1-1 since sending him down. What in the world has to happen for the Sharks coaches and management to realize they win games with Demers in the lineup. You are not getting different results by taking him out. You keep losing. For the love of all that is holy, call him up and keep him there. Get it through your thick skulls. Sheesh.

I’d also like to address what a bunch of terrible announcers LA has. The analyst took it upon himself to mock the “Beat LA” chant at the end of the game. Yea, you wouldn’t do that at the beginning of the game would you tough guy? Very professional of you. That’s why the only job you could get was on a terrible franchise’s broadcasting team. We’ll see where your team is come playoff time. Probably on the couches, but if by some divine intervention the Kings make the playoffs, enjoy your first-round exit.

No Fights

In a game like this, I would expect someone to step up and fight, but no one did. Instead of opening the second period with a message, you guys waited to the third to make a goalie change. That was your message? Come on. Jody Shelley and Brad Staubitz should have dropped the gloves. What’s wrong with you guys? Did the long layoff make you soft? That is what you are a Shark for; otherwise, demote yourselves to Worcester.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 19  LA 13; Three players had three hits each.

This ends the Sharks eight-game winning streak, and the three first-period goals ends a 10-game streak without allowing one.

The Sharks were No. 2 in penalty killing. They allowed three power play goals tonight.

The Sharks get a chance to rebound, Wednesday, against St. Louis.

–Ray

January 5, 2010 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 18

Quite the even matchup tonight for the Sharks against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but the Sharks came out with a 3-2 win in a shootout. The Sharks now ride a six-game winning streak.

It was an interesting game to watch; there were massive lulls at times, but then there was hoards of action. That all culminated into a fierce overtime session. Both goaltenders played spectacular tonight and should be proud of their performance.

Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason is the real deal. I saw no evidence of a sophomore slump. Columbus finally has a franchise goalie for Rick Nash and company, and that fanbase deserves it. The arena wasn’t completely full, but those fans are very dedicated to the team.

Things got started eight minutes in when Joe Thornton netted his fourth goal of the year, by banking the puck off Mason. Just prior to the play, Thornton somehow avoided a goalie interference call. He was pushed slightly by a Jacket player causing Joe to tumble over Mason. Thornton even exaggerated it a little bit. Surprising to see that not called.

Picture 8

Brad Staubitz tries to gain control of the puck (From SJSHARKS.com)

Columbus’ first goal, just a minute after Thornton’s, proved that the Sharks still have work to do on defense. Douglas Murray kept himself out of the play leaving Jason Chimera wide open for a tip in. At least this gives coach Todd McClellan to work with so the team doesn’t get complacent.

Dany Heatley and Jacket Rick Nash scored their 10th goals of the year in the second period to keep things knotted up.

This game sure was the opposite of the Carolina game. All of those non-scorers with goals against the Canes was unusual and now it was the stars who scored the goals. Once again, getting contribution from everywhere is huge. I remember last year, scoring was all up to the top two lines. Don’t have to worry about that anymore (for now).

The overtime, like I said, was an clinic by the goaltenders. There needs to be some serious ice on groins after tonight. Ouch. I don’t think men were ever meant to be that flexible.

Going into the shootout, I wasn’t feeling very good about the Sharks’ chances, but they proved me wrong. Dan Boyle put a wicked move on Mason and placed it top-shelf. Nabby got things done on the other side stopping all three Jacket shooters.

The Sharks are now 2-1 in shootouts; I’d like to know when the last time we were over .500 in shootouts was. Seems like…well…never.

Jared Boll

This guy was being a real thorn in the Sharks’ side. First, he forces Kent Huskins to fight with him; he puts Kent into the boards, then punches him, then finally drops his gloves. Kent had no choice but to drop them. That really irked me.

Luckily, Brad Staubitz took notice and instigated a fight with Boll. Payback’s a–well you know. Bitz handled him fairly easily although he took a few punches during the middle of the fight.

Perhaps the best moment involving Boll, was in Benn Ferriero hit him into the Jacket bench. Hilarious. This small, tiny player Ferriero runs right into Boll, who goes flying into his own bench. Epic win.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 22  CBJ 35

Rob Blake was injured during a Jacket power play. He stayed on the ice, but couldn’t do much. It was more like a 5 on 3, and the Jackets did end up scoring. He only ended up with 11 minutes of ice time. He did not play in the third period or overtime. Let’s hope he’s all right.

The Sharks take on Detroit tomorrow night. Since McClellan went with Nabby tonight, let’s see if he’ll call on Thomas Greiss tomorrow. That decision is going to be crucial.

–Ray

November 5, 2009 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WTHWWT – Week 4 (Nathan)

It’s time for change. Instead of starting out complaining about how often the teams I want to win actually lose, and vice versa, I’m going to start out on a decent note. After burying his infant child on Saturday afternoon in Texas, Matt Bryant, kicker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, converted 3 field goals and led his team to victory. Just being in the game was a victory for Bryant, but kicking his team to a victory was just a miracle. Any guy who can have that much courage and just be in the state of mind to do his job a day after burying a family member, especially one whose life was cut way to short, is remarkable. And even though he defeated my team, he still deserves some props. To all the Bryant family, sorry for the loss.. From Both of us who write these blogs, our hearts and prayers are with you.

And now time to write about my mistakes.

Green Bay 20 Tampay Bay 31 – Is it me or do the Packers always have a tough time playing in Tampa Bay? Aaron Rodgers and Brian Griese both threw three interceptions, but the key to the game was Rodgers self-proclaimed separated shoulder. Tests are being done today on his shoulder, but until the results come back, the Packers season is in limbo(Upgraded to shoulder sprain). Matt Flynn, who beat out Brian Brohm during the preseason, is their second string quarterback, and with his lack of experience, the Packers may be in trouble. The Packers play the young and upcoming Vickless (still funny) Falcons next week in Green Bay. Dealing with the loss of a family members, the Bucs played like they had a chip on their shoulder, and with the help of Matt Bryant and his son, who was watching the game from up above, the Bucs finished on top. The Packers are now on a 2 game losing streak heading into a week full of questions and concerns.

Arizona 35 vs New York Jets 56 – I guess Brett Favre’s ankle is fully healed, and not to mention his shoulder. Brett Favre tapped into the record books again yesterday by leading his team to 34 points in the second quarter. Brett Favre picked apart the Arizona Cardinals defense, who decided they were going to play a soft zone defense, for 6 touchdowns and close to 300 yards. Anyone who doubted his ability, owes Brett Favre and for goodness sakes Deanna as well, an apology. If the Jets allow Favre to play like he did this week, then they surely will be fighting the Bills for top spot in the AFC East. And as an avid supporter of Brett, I’m proud to still own my Favre 4 President 08 shirt!

Dallas 24 vs Washington 26 – Once again, TO has the chance to prove himself and what does he do… EPIC FAIL! Over one-third of the plays Dallas did on Sunday were directed towards TO and what did he do…not a damn thing. Its a shame that someone that cocky and ignorant can talk the talk but cannot walk the walk. Oh yea, not to mention, he was still upset because not all the plays went to him. What a punk! Oh yeah Redskins, Good Game. Way to show the NFC East that you are back in it… for now.

Philadelphia 20 vs. Chicago 24 – Wow! The Bears actually did something productive. They actually beat someone who is “good”. Yeas, the Eagles were without their RB but they still have Donovan McNabb and he’s good enough by himself to beat the Bears, on most nights. The NFC North is going to be a tough division this year, minus the Lions that is. The Bears, Packers, and Vikings all have a chance to win the division… Keep your eyes out on this division!!!

I think it’s the appropriate time to say a fond farewell to a great friend and horrible human being. In six years, this fellow did absolutely nothing for the NFL and it’s most definitely a good thing that he has been axed! Times can’t get any worse for the team that he drove right into the ground. Thanks Matt for all you have done, and lack thereof.

Matt Millen- Finally Gone!!!

Have a good week everyone…

– Nate

September 29, 2008 Posted by | Football | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WTHWWT – Week 4 (Ray)

Starting this week’s version, I want to say that I hope Aaron Rodgers is OK, and able to continue. I learned that Denver doesn’t know how to beat weak teams, and that my theory on the overrated Cowboys came true. Yet, the experts are completely shocked they lost? Unbelievable. Someone hold another Inquisition and execute all these dunces. They are polluting the airwaves more than the Paris Hilton sex tape. I also learned that Chicago must hate me, because every time I pick them to win or lose they do the opposite. I handed that game over to Nathan though. It’s exhausting writing about Chicago. I feel sorry for their beat writers. Scott Linehan is the first coach to get beheaded in the season. The Rams fired him this morning. Jim Haslett will take over as interim coach. Enjoy that crapshoot Jim. Anyway, let’s get on with it, shall we?

Kansas City 33 Denver 19

What the hell happened Broncos? You rolled over and laid a giant, moldy egg – the kind Fear Factor used to feed people. Beat the teams you are supposed to. At least my main man Eddie Royal did good with 9 catches and 104 yards (excluding his fumble). Jay Cutler did not look like himself. He threw 49 times; way too much in that offense. I realize that they were behind a lot of the time but, you must establish the run game a little bit. Set up play action. I sincerely hope, Kansas City fans don’t think you guys have it together now. You don’t. Your team is not going anywhere. This was a “Thank you for watching us even though we’re not good” gift. Don’t expect anymore of it. Herm Edwards needs to be fired and you know it. Where is Dick Vermeil? Maybe he can cry you guys into the playoffs. I kid. I like Vermeil. Anyways Denver, do not do this again. I thought you were the best team in the NFL before Sunday. So much for that…

New Orleans 31 San Francisco 17

I changed this pick Saturday night, along with a few others. This game was probably the hardest to figure out. San Francisco seems capable of winning but they are still somewhat confusing. The Saints are the same way. J.T. O’Sullivan was finally brought back to the planet in this game with a 59.6 QB rating. Frank Gore did OK but he needed his QB to help out. Drew Brees was the same guy he should be throwing 3 TD’s. I really don’t think this game helped out in telling me how good these teams are. I do know that whoever said J.T. O’Sullivan was going to be the next Kurt Warner “come out of nowhere” type player, they were sorely mistaken.

Tennessee 30 Minnesota 17

OK, Tennessee should not be 4-0 right now. They are really not very good. The defense does everything. The offense is just barely competent enough. Minnesota is the exact same way yet they are 1-3? It does not make sense to me. Both had running QBs that are now replaced by old veterans. The Vikings have the better RB in Peterson. It just doesn’t add up. I am not sold on the Titans and probably will never be this season. I may be in the minority, but I feel if they were to face a really good team, they would fold over faster than Ohio State in BCS championship games or against the SEC. Call me what you want, but the Titans are not good. They will make the playoffs, sure, but will make an early exit. I won’t even say anything else about Minnesota besides that they should trade AP to the Packers.

Tampa Bay 30 Green Bay 21

This was the first game where Aaron Rodgers didn’t play very well throwing 3 INT. I wanted to see how he would respond in the second half, which wasn’t very well. He did get injured, though, and for some reason Matt Flynn came in. Brian Brohm should be the second string, not Mr. One Time LSU Wonder. Also, one of my fears is coming true – Ryan Grant was a fluke last year. He just does not look the same this year. Running backs in this day and age are not doing well. There is not a consistent runner anymore. LT can’t even give us 100 yard games that much. The Packers put up an amazing 28 yards rushing for the game. Ouch. That stat speaks for itself. The GB defense did a good job of creating turnovers but the offense couldn’t help out. This game was really important because this was a loss to an average team. People expected the Packers to lose to Dallas but not to Tampa Bay. They need to regroup, hope Rodgers is healthy, come up with a new run strategy and take care of Atlanta next week by 21. Thoughts and prayers go out to Matt Bryant of the Bucs; playing Sunday after losing your child took a lot of heart.

Pittsburgh 23 Baltimore 20

Pittsburgh is not that good. Baltimore is by far the better team. Roethlisberger is garbage and will always be garbage. Flacco is the man. That is all I have to say about this game.

-Ray

Update: Aaron Rodgers has a shoulder sprain and should be able to start Sunday
Source: ESPN

September 29, 2008 Posted by | Football | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NFL Week 4 Picks!

Last Week’s Results:
Nathan: 11-5
Ray: 9-7

Games Nathan Ray
ATL @ CAR PANTHERS PANTHERS
CLE @ CIN BROWNS BROWNS
HOU @ JAX JAGS JAGS
DEN @ KC BRONCOS BRONCOS
SF @ NO SAINTS 49ERS
ARI @ NYJ CARDS JETS
GB @ TB PACK PACK
MIN @ TEN TITANS VIKINGS
SD @ OAK CHARGERS CHARGERS
BUF @ STL BILLS BILLS
WAS @ DAL COWBOYS SKINS
PHI @ CHI EAGLES EAGLES
BAL @ PIT STEELERS RAVENS

September 26, 2008 Posted by | Football | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment