A Fan of the Game

Sports Talk, Straight Talk

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 4

Quite the dominating performance by the Sharks tonight in a 4-1 win at Anaheim. The Sharks absolutely eviscerated the Ducks on their home ice, spoiling the party for Ducks fans. San Jose won in every aspect of the game — a refreshing experience compared to the horrid Colorado game.

Benn Ferriero scored his first NHL goal to get the game started. What did he do? Went to the front of the net! He found the puck right in front of the crease and buried it behind Jonas Hiller, who got the nod ahead of J.S. Giguere. It was fulfilling to see the Sharks dismantle Hiller, after the debacle that was the 2009 playoffs. Jason Demers and Frazer McLaren picked up assists on Ferriero’s goal, which was their first points of their career.

Patrick Marleau continued his excellence by blocking a Ryan Whitney shot on an Anaheim power play, and beating out Whitney for the puck, leading to a shorthanded breakaway. Patty went forehand-backhand to beat Hiller. Perhaps the ‘C’ on jerseys is an extra 20 lbs, because Patty is playing 20 lbs. lighter. I’m looking forward to him having a career year.

Good news Sharks fans! Dany Heatley showed up tonight and the chemistry with Devin Setoguchi and Joe Thornton was on. Coming out of the penalty box, he found Jumbo Joe, who also went forehand-backhand on Hiller — looks like we found a weakness in ol’ Jonas, ‘eh?’

The same sort of play happened next period with Heatley along the boards passing to the slot finding Setoguchi who shot a rocket into the twine. Good to see things picking up for the trifecta.

Benn Ferriero celebrates his first NHL goal (From SJSHARKS.com)

Benn Ferriero celebrates his first NHL goal (From SJSHARKS.com)

Other Observations

It was definitely a scrappy affair as the teams combined for 80 penalty minutes. That’s what I’m talking about! There were only two legitimate fights (which weren’t very good) but a cornucopia of scrums after the whistle. I liked seeing that though, shows the Sharks aren’t taking exception to any kind of Corey Perry-esque activity. Douglas Murray did get a game misconduct for being third-man-in. Murray went to an Ivy League school; I thought he was supposed to be smart.

The third and fourth lines for San Jose looked amazing and completely gelled. They were always fighting for loose pucks and winning for the most part. I think last year, those lines fought but didn’t succeed enough. I guess when coach Todd McClellan said they now had more grit, he was right. A lot more determination out of guys like Manny Malhotra and Scott Nichol tonight — both who were involved in fights and altercations.

Improvements

Marleau was 1-8 in the faceoff circle; that needs to improve.

The Sharks were 1-7 on the power play. They didn’t keep a constant forecheck enough and looked sloppy entering the zone. McClellan is supposed to be the power play guru, so hopefully that’s fixed by the next game at Los Angeles.

Overall, I was elated to see us disembowel Anaheim and hear their fans immersed in a deafening silence. Here’s to Anaheim not making the playoffs.

–Ray

October 4, 2009 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 3

The Sharks take on the Ducks tonight at Anaheim and it should be a bruising contest. In an interesting roster move, The Sharks sent Jamie McGinn down to Worcester and brought up Frazer McLaren, who is known as a tough guy. After all the things I’ve heard from coaches about playing their own game and not worrying about the other team, this throws it for a loop.

Frazer McLaren giving a Canuck the business

Frazer McLaren giving a Canuck "the business"

So much for playing a speedy, offensive affair as the Sharks are known to do; they plan on adapting to Anaheim’s slower, hit-filled game. I guess it’s worth a shot considering our fast style didn’t work in the playoffs last year. But alas, it’s only one player. We’ll see the effects at 10 p.m. eastern.

Things to look for

1. Saku Koivu’s debut for Anaheim

2. Will Marleau-Pavelski-Clowe line continue their first game performance?

3. Any chemistry from Thornton or Heatley?

4. Who starts in goal for Anaheim? Giguere or Hiller?

5. Nabokov

Slow Starts

Last years division winners in the Western Conference (Detroit, Vancouver, San Jose) are off to a combined 0-5 start. Detroit was swept by St. Louis, while Vancouver dropped a game in Calgary and was shutout by upstart Colorado today.

St. Louis will be dangerous — so long as Keith Tkachuk and Paul Kariya stay healthy. They already have four goals combined in two games; however, one of them will get injured this year — it never fails.

Detroit’s backup Jimmy Howard played in the second game and looked, to put it lightly, sub-par. He allowed to goals in 13 seconds. I really don’t think he will ever be ready for the NHL; he’s a full-time AHLer.

October 3, 2009 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment