A Fan of the Game

Sports Talk, Straight Talk

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 47

Quite the S.S.D.D. performance by the Sharks as they once again lose to the Detroit Red Wings, 4-1. There must have been some rule put in place after the lockout not allowing the Sharks to ever beat Detroit. If they do, they get fined.

What’s most annoying is the Wings always play their best against San Jose. The Sharks can never crush them because they always play their worst against Detroit. This completely sucks. I can’t stand Detroit. I really hope they miss the playoffs, but that won’t happen.

Their goalie Jimmy Howard has been hot lately and that continued as he made 31 saves. As much confidence as this may give Wings fans, Howard will ever be a number-one goalie. He is not that good. Just watch how quickly they switch to Chris Osgood in the playoffs.

For the first five minutes, the Sharks looked ready to blow out Detroit. They looked like a Michael Johnson racing Rosie O’Donnell. They cashed in midway through the first, then everything fell apart faster than Tiger Woods’ image. Mailing it in would be an understatement. Nobody shined through the complete dismay. Everyone played poorly.

Jason Demers was called up, but even he played terrible. One of his two dumb turnovers led to a breakaway goal. Turnovers plagued all Sharks though. Ryane Clowe’s big turnover led to a breakout resulting in another Detroit goal. For the second straight game, the Sharks recorded 20 giveaways. Two games is a trend, so if it happens next game, the Sharks are in deep trouble.

Oooooooo, rubbery. (From SJSHARKS.com)

But I want to go back to this mentality the Sharks have against the Red Wings. After all the playoff failures, so many fans, media, and even coaches told the players to mimic the Red Wings. I think it’s wore on them so much and with every game against Detroit, they put so much pressure on themselves to beat them. It backfires; they lose and feel like everything they’ve been taught failed.

The only way the Sharks are going to be successful is to find their own style, and they haven’t done that in coach Todd McLellan’s tenure. He brought over Detroit’s style of play and used it throughout his first year; get people in front of the net, put 40+ shots on net, out-skate people. It worked enough to earn a President’s trophy. After being bounced in the first round, McLellan realized this isn’t Detroit. These are different players.

So this year, he’s emphasized playing the gritty style of play, which I associate mostly with the Nashville Predators. Management even brought over two Predators, Scott Nichol and Jed Ortmeyer, to further bring the tough style to fruition. The jury won’t be out until playoff time, but I don’t like the how the Sharks always strive to be someone else. Ultimately it’s up to the players to decide who they want to be, but that’s not enough. The players must battle to achieve their goals, not wait for it to come to them.

As much as I hate to say it, this core of players doesn’t seem like they “want it.” They’re too relaxed and non-confrontational. I’m not talking about on the ice; I’m talking about their personalities. Hopefully I’m wrong.

Setoguchi Steamed

Seto got ticked at Dan Cleary for driving him into the net, and the two dropped the gloves. Seto was pumping him with fists before Cleary chickened out by throwing himself on top of Seto.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 24  DET 18; Nichol led with five.

The Sharks have lost two of three, and they will travel to Los Angeles on Monday.

–Ray

January 10, 2010 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 6

Quite the explosive performance for the Sharks tonight as San Jose defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets, 6-3. Dany Heatley had a hat trick in the home opener for the Sharks, making all the fans ecstatic. It is so nice to have a pure sniper on the team now. Sure, we had Jonathan Cheechoo and we still have Devin Setoguchi, but I always saw those players as needing a Joe Thornton. Heatley doesn’t need anyone but himself to score goals, and that’s what kind of player the Sharks have needed.

Heatley had 3 goals, 1 assist, finished +5 and had 2 PIMs — a good night for Heater, to say the least.

Heater’s first goal came on a hard-fought shift behind the goal line, then he scored on a wraparound. His next goal came from a Dan Boyle pass from the defensive zone all the way to the Jackets’ blue line. Heatley wristed it by Steve Mason. For the hat trick, Heatley was tripped in front of the net that led to a penalty shot. He calmly deposited it 5-hole, and the fans made it rain with hats.

Dany Heatley celebrates with Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi (From: SJSHARKS.com)

Dany Heatley celebrates with Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi (From: SJSHARKS.com)

Ryane Clowe

After the tongue-thrashing (or type-thrashing in this case) I gave Clowe last game, he came out and was on fire. He was hitting as many players as he could find (he led the team with 5 hits). His skating was fast and agile, and his shooting was spot-on. I could tell he wanted to prove last game was a fluke. There’s nothing I respect more than a guy getting pissed off at his performance, then come out next game and dominate. Clowe also had a fight tonight, which leads to…

Fights

Two fights tonight, both coming in the second period. First fight pitted Clowe vs. Michael Blunden. This was no contest. Clowe carried his emotion into his fists as he busted Blunden’s head wide open. Blunden bled profusely from his left temple.

The second fight involved Shark Frazer McLaren and Jacket tough guy Derek Dorsett. McLaren got his arm stuck inside his jersey and struggled the first half of the fight. Dorsett capitailzed with a couple left hooks, but McLaren finally got free of his jersey and proceeded to pound the living daylights out of Dorsett. I’m sure if Dorsett has some chips, he can dip them in his head because his brain is a nice mushy salsa now.

Defensemen

Two d-men got on the scoreboard tonight, goal-wise. Dan Boyle did his usual pinching, and shot a wicked wrister top-shelf past Mason. Boyle assisted twice as well.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic was the culprit allowing the Jackets first goal — another weak-side positioning error. He made up for it with a slapshot from the point through traffic. Good to see him make up for that mistake.

Demers struggling?

You can’t be perfect. It was Jason Demers’ worst night of the young season, against Columbus. His first passes out of the zone were being intercepted or blocked. His puck control was suspect — at one point, Rick Nash stole the puck in the Sharks’ defensive zone. I’m sure Jason will clean up those mistakes though.

Other notes

Brad Staubitz was suspended for one game due to making excessive physical contact on an icing play against the Los Angeles Kings. Jamie McGinn filled in for him. There wasn’t much to report for McGinn. He was fast as usual, but that’s it.

Columbus goalie Steve Mason was pulled after the Sharks’ fifth goal. At the time, he had allowed five goals on 20 shots.

Joe Thornton quietly picked up four assists — Joe being Joe.

–Ray

October 9, 2009 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment