A Fan of the Game

Sports Talk, Straight Talk

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 68

Quite the Jack-in-the-Box game for the Sharks as they exploded in the third period and beat the Nashville Predators 8-5. Yes, there really were 13 goals scored tonight.

It was great watching Nashville practice for 40 minutes; we were all treated to an inter-squad scrimmage. Oh wait, hold on. My sources are telling me the Sharks were actually on the ice for those first 40 minutes. Who knew?

Nashville outshot the Sharks 15-0 in the first 14 minutes of play and outscored 1-0. This crappy play needs to stop. We’ll obviously get to the outstanding third period in a minute, but zoinks this was bad. Preds goalie Dan Ellis vacationed in Cancun, Mexico for a majority of that first frame.

Lo and behold Dany Heatley scored on the Sharks’ first shot of the game.

That didn’t do much for momentum, however, as the Sharks continued popping out rotten eggs like Jon and Kate, in the second period. Nashville increased their lead to 4-2 heading into the final period.

With the music finally exhausted, the weasel popped and jack thrust himself into the world. A six-goal period propelled San Jose to victory. I wonder what coach Todd McLellan said to the guys. Cap that stuff in a bottle and save it for the playoffs, buddy.

Joe Pavelski became a one-man demolition sqaud with four points in twenty minutes (two goals, two assists). Heatley scored his second, Manny Malhotra, Patrick Marleau and Jay Leach tallied goals as well.

It’s the Sharks’ 22nd come-from-behind win, which is now first in the NHL.

Torrey Mitchell received additional playing time, playing alongside Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau at different points in the game. He earned an assist tonight.

I really couldn’t believe that third period. I was chomping at the bit to rip the team for their sorry performances the last seven games or so. They need to finish this homestand off with another win before heading out on a six-game road trip. A winning streak is in the future for this team. I think this is the victory that will spark it.

Nichol/Superman returned to whip his old team again (From SJSHARKS.com)

Who’s Your Nabby?

So I read this article the other day from a Sharks fan about how Nabby’s increased playing time is hurting the Sharks in the playoffs. The horse is not dead yet apparently. The article came complete with pretty-colored line graphs! Oh how I love the visuals. Unfortunately, the stats presented are meaningless. I absolutely love stats, but I know how much they can be manipulated to make any argument. I’ll now try to show stats that cover both sides of the argument, but ultimately I do have a distinct opinion on the matter.

People need to shut their mouths about Nabby’s starts. Seriously. Shut. Up. I love how people will contend Nabby’s play goes down in the playoffs? Really now? Here’s some stats you might want to consider:

In the regular season Nabby has averaged a .913 save percentage and a 2.37 goals against average. Not great, not bad either.

In the playoffs, Nabby has averaged a .915 save percentage and a 2.23 GAA. WHAT?!! Ray, you mean Nabby has better numbers in the playoffs than the regular season? Blasphemy!

Yes, my friends, he does play better in the playoffs. At least, that’s what stats say. Now the eye test is different. Goalies must be able to elevate their play in the postseason or their teams will be doomed. If the Sharks want to win the Stanley Cup, Nabby must elevate his game higher than what he’s been doing. No question.

I just want to rid the world of these ridiculous “Nabby plays too much,” hollow arguments. I’ve seen a few people suggest we let Nabby go and sign goalies like Martin Biron or Dan Ellis. Some of these Sharks “fans” need to check their drinking water. Let’s get rid of a perennial Vezina candidate in favor of Dan flipping Ellis.

I should probably mention that this whole ‘letting Nabby go’ thing is because the Sharks have no cap space to resign all of their free agents this offseason. Nabby commands  a big contract (5.375 mil this year), and Marleau, Pavelski and potentially Blake need to be resigned. Nabby’s contract runs out after this season too, and someone is going to be left out.

San Jose should never have been in this position in the first place. They overpay players like Ryane Clowe (3.625 mil a year) and went out and got Heatley (7.5 mil a year). Trades must happen, regardless if the Sharks win the Cup this year or not. They’re stuck between Douglas Murray and a hard place.

I don’t think letting Nabby go is the right decision. Finding a great goalie is so difficult (just ask Philly), and I’m not ready to rely on Thomas Greiss full time. There are a couple interesting prospects in the system in Alex Stalock and Tyson Sexsmith, but there a long way away from being NHL-ready.

I suggest Thornton or Heatley be traded. Keep Marleau. Thornton will always produce points, but his lack of emotion destroys the team in the playoffs. Heatley is undeniably an elite sniper, but Marleau is better than him defensively and in lighting the lamp (this year).

I’d love to keep this team together, but this money situation sucks. But I’ve digressed.

Here’s an intriguing slew of stats to consider about goalie GAA in the playoffs:

Goalie A: 1.98

Goalie B: 2.09

Goalie C: 2.23

Goalie D: 2.30

Goalie E: 2.45

Obviously, you know which goalie Nabby is (C). The others? A is Brodeur, B is Osgood, D is Roy and E is Fleury. Nabby finds himself in the middle of four Cup winners. I think he’s done just fine; he needs more offensive support to win these games (along with the aforementioned elevation of play).

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 26  NSH 25; Niclas Wallin and Brad Staubitz led with four.

Florida visits the tank on Saturday.

–Ray

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March 12, 2010 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 20

Quite the amazing performance by the Sharks in their dominant 5-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. My hatred for the Penguins may only be matched by my hatred for the Detroit Red Wings, and to see the Penguins demolished was beyond gratifying.

Where to start?

I was definitely wrong about Evgeni Nabokov. I don’t know what conditioning regiment this guy is on, but put the entire team on it. Three games in four nights and he comes out with a shutout. He stopped all 27 shots he faced. Wow. Can’t give him enough credit.

San Jose battled for every puck and came out with it most of the time. No one relaxed much — even after gaining a 4-0 advantage going into the third period.

Jamie McGinn scored the first goal from a bank-in off Marc-Andre Fleury’s left pad. You could feel something good was going to happen the whole night.

Joe Pavelski, yes, Joe Pavelski, finally came back to the lineup tonight after being out since the second game of the year. He didn’t disappoint. He put up two points (one goal, one assist) and didn’t have much rust. His assist really should have been a goal; the puck was headed in, but Dany Heatley slammed it home when the puck was about one inch from the goal line. Gotta love Heater!

Dan Boyle owned the ice tonight. It was his. No disputing that. He continuously carried the puck from the defensive zone all the way to the net for scoring chances. It looks like that broken thumb is fully healed, and he’s on a mission to contribute. One of those times coming down the ice, he deked a few Pens and snapped a shot past Fleury.  That was the end of Fleury, who was pulled right after. He allowed three goals on 14 shots.

Pittsburgh mailed it in during the third with some late hits and a few scrums. They became frustrated and tried taking it out on Sharks tough guys. Yea, not a good idea. Jay McKee made a run at Jody Shelley, who wasn’t really looking. The two dropped the gloves and Shelley ended up taking McKee down. Well, you think that would be the end for Shelley. He did his job, and can resume his role in the fourth line. Oh, contraire.

Eric Godard tried his hand at Shelley and Mr. Shelley handed Godard’s derriere to him on a bloodied, silver platter. Jersey jabs and right hooks galore from Shelley. Thank you! Come again!

Picture 10

After Joe Pavelski's original shot, Dany Heatley slams the puck home (From SJSHARKS.com)

Jordan Staal, much to Sharks fans’ amazement, took a few runs and delivered an elbow to Douglas Murray. Staal better watch himself in the parking lot. I may not be a big fan of Murray’s, but to deny his skills in fighting and toughness would be ignorant. Come on now Staal. You can’t bring your peach fuzz to a swedish meatball fight.

I got a little worried when the Sharks weren’t putting more goals in. They seemed to be a bit complacent for a stretch in the third, but it was those scrums that fired them back up. So, that would be the only criticism of the night.

I also saw Logan Couture on the penalty kill unit. Can’t say I’ve seen him on it before, but I like he’s getting more ice time. I read that he did move up a couple lines last game to play with Patrick Marleau and Manny Malhotra. Good to hear. (Malhotra, by the way, scored the fifth goal tonight on a shot through a bunch of traffic.)

Home Power Play

The Sharks ranked last in power play efficiency at home, somewhere around five percent. They netted two goals on the man advantage tonight. The entries and forecheck looked better tonight. Passes were sloppy, however, leading to Penguins clears and breakouts.

Injury Bug

NHL GameCenter Live used Pittsburgh’s feed and all the commentators would talk about is how injuries caused their recent play. Give me a break. Take a look at the Sharks who’ve been playing with five key players missing from their lineup, and they still managed to win six in a row. The Penguins just didn’t show effort tonight and looked awful. It won’t kill you to say that.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 19  PIT 25; Scott Nichol and Murray both led with three hits a piece.

Sidney Crosby now has just one point in four games against the Sharks. Isn’t that great? San Jose has his number, and the Penguins’ number for that matter.

San Jose lost the faceoff battle. They lead the league in faceoff percentage with 56.8, and for them to lose to 19th-ranked Pittsburgh is surprising.

The Sharks get two days off before facing Nashville on Tuesday. The Sharks will look to extend their point-streak to nine games.

–Ray

November 8, 2009 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Hate Pennsylvania

The whole state of Pennsylvania. It’s full of the luckiest teams in the world and most annoying players.

Waaaaaaaaa Im such a Big Baby!

The Steelers are THE worst team to ever win the Super Bowl and they’ve done it twice in the 2000s. No, it is not skill. They barely win games, either by refs or magical lucky comebacks. Of course, fans will say that’s why their good– “They win, it doesn’t matter how.” Well, I’m not a fan, so I can say what I want, as you can. Ben Roethlisberger is a terrible quarterback. Fact. I hope Troy Polamalu is out for the season after his injury tonight that way I don’t have to hear the constant media coverage of his hair and playmaking ability. Not to mention Troy went to USC, which is just as bad as Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania.

This speaks for itself

This speaks for itself

The Penguins are also THE worst team to win the Stanley Cup. Give me statistics all you want, but I will still say Marc-Andre Fleury is the worst goalie to win it. Sidney Crosby is just an overall buttwipe in all aspects of life. Now, NBC and the NHL will promote him even more after he won the Cup. The whole Penguins team is soft and are not deserving of such an amazing trophy.

The Eagles are so freaking annoying. I’m tired of them winning and McNabb. Fans will always call you jealous for saying that but whatever. Let’s have a new team in the playoffs. Like the Cardinals! More of them!

Just ban Pennsylvania from pro sports. Life would be amazing.

Hi everyzbodyz! I iz doNoVaN :) I go to de special skool hehe

"Hi everyzbodyz! I iz doNoVaN 🙂 I go to de special skool hehe

September 11, 2009 Posted by | Football, Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment