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

April 17, 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

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 2

Quite the disgraceful performance from the Sharks against the Colorado Avalanche tonight, losing 5-2.

The team looked lost on defense — constant positioning errors by both young players and veterans leading to numerous weak side goals. No communication on offense or defense. Goaltending was absolutely atrocious. Nabokov needs to get his act together very quickly. There was a phrase I heard from Tony Kornheiser saying something like “once is an anomaly, two is a trend, three is a problem.” Nabby has two games to make drastic changes, or the trade rumors will start, as if they hadn’t already.

There were two bright spots I saw. Patrick Marleau looked magnificent in his new C-less sweater netting San Jose’s only two goals. Defenseman Jason Demers was the best d-man of the night for the Sharks. He looked confident moving the puck and with his decision-making with the exception of the goal against he was on the ice for.

Jason Demers handles the puck

Jason Demers handles the puck. (From SJSHARKS.COM)

Other than that, it was disgusting to watch. As I said in Vol. 1, the Avs came out in the first five minutes with a fury and scored first. The Sharks answered in the sixth minute though, cooling off the Sakic emotions. From then on, it was all about effort. The youngsters for the Avs wanted to prove something to themselves, their teammates, and the fans. They were successful.

I wouldn’t say the Sharks didn’t put forth a good effort, but they just weren’t good. The Sharks put 40 shots on goal — something they always do under head coach Todd McClellan; however, the shots are not well-selected. Most are just random slapshots from the point hoping for a deflection. Ryane Clowe is the only legitimate player who will get in front of the net and try for deflections. That strategy needs to be tweaked to find better passing lanes before randomly drilling the puck to the crease. I think most players are shooting just to shoot (because that’s what Todd wants), but if the shot selection isn’t there, you give confidence to the goalie. Avs goalie Craig Anderson is not that good; that’s just the truth. But with every weak shot, he starts believing he is Luongo.

Jody Shelley got into a fight with David Koci and lost. I’m one of the few Shelley supporters; he is a good guy, and chooses fights at the right time. I can’t support him forever, so long as he keeps getting beat. Another loss and I might just call for his head too. We have Frazer McLaren and Brad Staubitz, who are more than capable of beating the hell out of the other team.

As you read in the first volume, I defended the selection of Rob Blake as captain. But Blake came out and took a double minor at the end of the first, forcing the Sharks to start the second on the defensive for the first four minutes. You can’t do that. I’m sure he knows that, so it will be interesting to see what he says in the postgame quotes.

One thing is for sure: the Sharks better get their act together in a hurry because the Ducks are next on the schedule. And it’s in Anaheim on Saturday.

–Ray

October 2, 2009 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment