A Fan of the Game

Sports Talk, Straight Talk

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 75

Quite the golf clap game for the Sharks as they finally managed to end their six-game losing streak and defeat the Minnesota Wild 4-1. That streak lasted an eternity.

It wasn’t the typical, early season type victory, but it works. Coach Todd McLellan said he wanted his team to win a 2-1 game before a 5-4 one. He pretty much got his wish. Finally some defensive stability along with solid goaltending brought the Sharks to the promiseland.

Neither team recorded 20 shots. Clearly the entire focus was defense and taking offensive opportunities when you have them. Dan Boyle and the rest of the defensemen didn’t pinch nearly as much as usual allowing them to focus on what they make their money for. The only d-man to put a shot on net was Rob Blake.

Nice jersey, Cam...FOR ME TO POOP ON! (From SJSHARKS.com)

Blake recorded three assists, blocked two shots and most importantly did not spend any time in the penalty box. See guys? The keys to success are really simple.

Another shocking statistic was the Sharks had only nine hits. That might be a season low. No time for bodies flying around when you’re playing like cow manure. They focused on their game, and it worked.

McLellan spread the big three over three lines tonight. I actually liked some of the line combinations.

Clowe-Thornton-Mitchell

Malhotra-Marleau-Pavelski

Heatley-Couture-Setoguchi

Of course those changed throughout, but the concept is a good one. Put the stars with hard workers and let the Mitchell’s and Malhotra’s of the world rub off on you.

Torrey Mitchell scored his second goal of the season tonight too! One of my favorite Sharks, it never gets tiring seeing him be successful. The kid deserves it with all he’s been through.

Obviously, this game is a transition game and could mean nothing. The next game is against a Dallas team who obliterated the Sharks a week ago. It’s at home and a tough retaliation is in order. Hopefully, McLellan sticks with the defensive mindset moving forward — at least until San Jose is fully back on its feet.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 9  MIN 15; Niclas Wallin and Mitchell had two.

Scott Nichol didn’t play tonight as he is hurt again with an upper body injury.

The Stars come to the Shark Tank, Thursday.

–Ray

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March 24, 2010 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 57

Quite the special game for both teams, but the Sharks were too much for the Minnesota Wild and won 5-2. Special was the name of the game, as in special teams. Out of the seven goals, six were from the man advantage.

Poor nsblues/BHD won’t be too happy about this one.

Whenever a team goes 4-for-7 on the power play, chances are the end result will be a win. That’s what the Sharks did. For at least one night, no one can mention how bad the power play is at home. It was stellar. Jason Demers was the quarterback, replacing the still-injured Dan Boyle, and did a marvelous job. He scored two goals on his only two shots.

Demers amassed 21:48 of ice time, playing in all three situations — even strength, power play and penalty kill. This kid will be something special. Boyle was his favorite player and inspiration to be an offensive defenseman. I can’t imagine how cool it is to end up playing with your favorite player and learn from him. Now Demers just needs some defensive improvement to become that all-around defenseman players can count on.

Back to the game: the Wild scored first showing the Sharks they were here to play. After Demers’ first tally, the Wild struck again right at the end of the first period to make it 2-1. Perhaps the hangover from the Chicago loss was getting to them, but that was cured during intermission. Goalie Evgeni Nabokov stepped his game up tremendously and made key save after key save.

Get off me, Kim. I'm a man! I'm 40! (From SJSHARKS.com)

I was reading Sharks beat writer David Pollak’s blog earlier, and a few people were questioning why Nabokov keeps starting. Well, my little grasshoppers, if you had followed the Sharks intently at all, you would know coach Todd McLellan is doing this to prevent what happened last year. McLellan gave Nabby much more rest and it didn’t work at all. This time around, he’s letting Nabby keep playing. McLellan has stated this a couple times.

I don’t see fatigue being much a factor anyway with goalies. They may be on the ice all 60 minutes, but how much are they really playing? An offensive forecheck for 30 seconds where Nabby has to watch the puck. Make one save and the puck is going the other way. He isn’t exerting that much energy during games, at least not continuously. People are looking into this way too much.

Anyway, Demers’ second goal followed by Joe Pavelski’s wicked wrister put the Sharks on top for good. Pavs’ wrister makes even the toughest men become screaming, little girls.

Speaking of little girls, Joe Thornton continued his horrendous play tonight with seven giveaways. At some point, McLellan must address this — whether reduced ice time or a complete line demotion. Thornton just isn’t trying. I think the Sharks would be better off strapping skates on a two-by-four.

Patrick Marleau finished things off with two goals in the third (one may or may not be credited to Dany Heatley). I wonder when serious contract talks start or if they already have. Patty is San Jose. Sign him for the rest of his life. Just, please, keep the “C” far, far away.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 21  MIN 18; Scott Nichol led with eight.

Detroit meanders their way into town on Tuesday. Godspeed.

–Ray

January 31, 2010 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 7

Quite the turnaround performance from the Sharks tonight as they took care of the Minnesota Wild, 4-2. Things looked bleak for San Jose early, and I was worried we wouldn’t be able to string two wins in a row.

Throughout the first period, the Sharks looked sluggish and uninterested in playing tonight. The Wild dominated the neutral zone and had the 1-0 lead going into the second period.

The light switched flipped on (as did the refs whistles), and the Sharks scored three in the second. Early on in the second stanza, San Jose kept taking penalties — at one point killing off a 5 on 3 until a Wild player took a penalty. There were 16 minutes of penalties in the second period (10 on SJ, 6 on MIN). The Wild took a 2-0 lead on a fluke deflection off Dan Boyle’s skate. The puck flew over goalie Evgeni Nabokov’s head and into the net.

After that play, the Sharks started swimming. I was thinking it would be a good time for a fight, being down 2-0 and not looking good. Jody Shelley came on the ice, and his line gave a strong forecheck that led to Jed Ortmeyer’s first goal as a Shark. Congratulations to Jed.

Patrick Marleau, with some newfound, rocket-skates, hit a slapshot off Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom. A nice rebound lay on the ice, and Patty flipped it over Backstrom and in for a goal.

The penalties started to catch up with the Wild, though. The Sharks power play got on the board when Dany Heatley fired a one-timer cannon into the net — his accuracy is unbelievable.

Much to the Wild’s shock, the third period opened with another Marleau goal — just nine seconds in. Seriously, Patty should have lost his captaincy a long time ago if we’d known he would play like this. He might challenge Heater for most goals.

Jed Ortmeyer celebrates his first goal as a Shark (From SJSHARKS.com)

Jed Ortmeyer celebrates his first goal as a Shark (From SJSHARKS.com)

One of the most important aspects of this game was Nabby’s goaltending. It was outstanding. Absolutely phenomenal — his best game of the season. After the two goals, he stoned everyone — and these just weren’t weak shots from the point. These were point-blank opportunities with a plethora of juicy rebounds. I honestly have no clue how nothing went in.

Well, that’s not true. Every player on the Sharks was giving 110% effort, no question. Ryane Clowe, in particular, dove to prevent a wide-open net. Marc-Edouard Vlasic dove to block pucks; Jason Demers was diving to prevent shots; Benn Ferriero consistently skated hard to the net. It was spectacular to see such effort from the Sharks.

Other Notes

Jamie McGinn stayed in the lineup tonight, even after Brad Staubitz served his suspension last game. McGinn made a bonecrushing hit on a Wild player behind Backstrom. Good to see him giving his all as well.

This is the second time the Sharks scored four straight goals in the young season. That shows how potent this offense is when it’s on. I hope they take note and recognize they have even more potential.

I hope Nabby takes this game’s performance, sticks it in a bottle, and unleashes it every game. This is the Nabby we remember; this is the Nabby that we love. Let this not be a Douglas-Murray-hat-trick type of once-in-a-lifetime deal.

Devin Setoguchi racked up five hits, which led the team — nice to see Gooch doing something different/more than what he’s asked.

Rob Blake blocked five shots, which led the team — nice to see Blakey doing something he’s supposed to do, and excelling at it.

Who’s Got Next?

The Sharks play Phoenix, Monday. It’s their last home game before taking off on a six-game east coast road trip. It’s crucial to win this game and not sleep on the Coyotes. Phoenix always plays the Sharks hard, so getting the effort going shouldn’t be a problem. But if I’ve seen anything this season so far, it’s the Sharks like to play the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde card. Please don’t.

–Ray

October 11, 2009 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WTHWWT – Week 10 (Ray)

We’re keeping this short.

Minnesota 28 Green Bay 27

Blow up the run defense. They couldn’t stop John Madden in a wheelchair.

Tennessee 21 Chicago 14

The Titans are the worst team in football.

Miami 21 Seattle 19

Seattle should fold. Nobody cares about that team.

New England 20 Buffalo 10

Learn how to beat the Patriots if you want to win the AFC East.

Indianapolis 24 Pittsburgh 20

Who cares who won? Lose/lose situation.

New York Giants 36 Philadelphia 31

Man, I did really bad this week.

No comment.

No comment.

November 9, 2008 Posted by | Football | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NFL Week 10 Picks!

Last Week’s Results:
Nathan: 8-6 (82-48)
Ray: 6-8 (74-56)

Games Nathan Ray
DEN @ CLE BROWNS BRONCOS
STL @ NYJ JETS JETS
JAX @ DET LIONS JAGS
GB @ MIN PACK PACK
BAL @ HOU RAVENS RAVENS
NO @ ATL SAINTS FALCONS
TEN @ CHI TITANS BEARS
SEA @ MIA DOLPHINS SEAHAWKS
BUF @ NE PATS BILLS
CAR @ OAK PANTHERS PANTHERS
IND @ PIT STEELERS STEELERS
KC @ SD CHARGERS CHARGERS
NYG @ PHI GIANTS EAGLES
SF @ ARI CARDS CARDS

November 8, 2008 Posted by | Football | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NFL Week 9 Picks!

Don’t forget to set your clocks back..

Last Week’s Results:
Nathan: 7-7 (74-42)
Ray: 9-5 (68-48)

Games Nathan Ray
NYJ @ BUF
DET @ CHI BEARS BEARS
JAX @ CIN JAGS JAGS
BAL @ CLE RAVENS BROWNS
TB @ KC BUCS CHIEFS
HOU @ MIN VIKINGS VIKINGS
ARI @ STL RAMS CARDS
GB @ TEN PACK PACK
MIA @ DEN DOLPHINS BRONCOS
DAL @ NYG GIANTS GIANTS
ATL @ OAK FALCONS RAIDERS
PHI @ SEA EAGLES EAGLES
NE @ IND PATS COLTS
PIT @ WAS SKINS SKINS

November 2, 2008 Posted by | Football | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WTHWWT- Week 8 (Nathan)

Me thinking the Cowgirls would lose.

Me thinking the Cowgirls would lose.

So, I’m seriously questioning what the hell I was thinking.

1. Picking and starting the 49ers’ players for my fantasy team? Fail

2. Thinking a team from Pennsylvania would actually do something to make me happy? Epic Fail

3. Thinking Dallas would lose again? Failtacular


New England Patriots 23 vs. St. Louis Rams 16
– Just when times were getting good for the Rams, the NFL declined the contract of Jim Haslett, stating that it was an illegal contract due to the agreement on Haslett winning 6 games, and then the Rams had to travel to New England, which is never a good thing (just ask Peyton Manning).  The Patriots won another game without Tom Brady and without a dominant rushing performance by anyone. Matt Cassel had two interceptions, and yet still led his team to a victory. Maybe he is that good… Maybe!

Dallas Cowgirls 13 vs. Tampa Bay Bucs 9 – So I pick Dallas and they lose. I pick against them and I lose. Brad Johnson led his team to victory and the Buccaneers just couldn’t get anything going. Maybe next week I won’t pick the Cowgirl game.

Reactions from Cowgirls players were positive after the W

Reactions from Cowgirls players were positive after the W

Miami Dolphins 25 vs. Buffalo Bills 16 – Chad Pennington threw for over 300 yards and the Dolphins withstood the offense of the Buffalo Bills, and survived to win. The Bills, maybe looking overlooking these next few games due to the easy schedule, just could not get any rushing going, and Trent Edwards is not proven enough yet to lead his team by just throwing the ball. Congrats Dick Jauron getting a contract extension. Well Deserved!

Cleveland Browns 23 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 17 – HEY LOOK THE BROWNS WON A GAME!!! I guess the state of Ohio has something to cheer about after The Ohio State Buckeyes lost and watched their National Championship chances implode right in front of their eyes! Congrats Joe Pa and Romeo Crennel.

Houston Texans 35 vs Cincinnati Bungals 6 – HELLO BENGALS… ARE YOU THERE? Its time you show up to give your opponents a game. You just let the Houston Texans walk all over you. I think its time for a change somewhere on the sidelines. When will y’all get sick of losing? Hopefully, its soon.

She isnt very happy with losing to Houston.

She isn't very happy with losing to Houston.

New York Giants 21 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers 14 – Who thought a long snapper would decide the game? Well, the Steelers lost their long snapper due to injury, and his replacement took the word “long” literally and hiked the ball over the punters head and that led to a safety which tied the game. Then Eli Manning led his team to their first and only TD of the game and the Giants D stopped Big Ben and the Steelers offense to clinch the game. This is the beginning of a very tough road for the Giants.. Thanks, Steelers. You let me down again!

Seattle Seahawks 34 vs. San Francisco 49ers 13 – A new coach, a new attitude, the same result. Another L in the loss column for the 49ers. Seattle, depleted by injuries, dominated from the beginning and never looked back. Hopefully Mike Holmgren goes out strong in his final games as head coach for the ‘Hawks.

P.S.: This was written before Ray!!! Nathan Wins!!!

-Nathan

October 27, 2008 Posted by | Football | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment