A Fan of the Game

Sports Talk, Straight Talk

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 73/74

Quite the flatline game for the Sharks are they show no signs of life and lose to the Edmonton Oilers, 5-0. This comes after a 4-3 loss to the Calgary Flames, so as if two losses weren’t bad enough, they were to Alberta.

It’s the sixth straight loss, and the loss helps propel the Phoenix Coyotes to first in the Pacific Division. You can say that as many times as you want, but I will never comprehend Phoenix at the top of the standings. They have no great players. It’s that stupid trap system.

I’ll go ahead and mention one thing from the Calgary game since I didn’t blog about it. Ryane Clowe decided to fight a “top player” in Jarome Iginla and it was a pretty even match. Other than that, nothing.

What makes the loss to Edmonton so mind-boggling is that it was to a goalie, Devan Dubnyk, who was 1-8-2 in the NHL, with a 3.96 GAA and .874 save percentage. The guy had a shutout until three minutes left in the game! Horrific.

Unlike in previous games where the Sharks played well for 10-20 minutes, this game had no effort to speak of. Despite Marc-Edouard Vlasic returning from injury after 17 games, and three fights, San Jose failed to come up with good play.

Zack! Don't punch me, bro! (From SJSHARKS.com)

The three fights were all Edmonton victories as well. Brad Staubitz, who has dropped off faster than Mount Roraima, Douglas Murray and Scott Nichol all got pounded. I’ve heard so much hype about Murray and his fighting, but Zack Stortini just annihilated him. Everyone can shut up about him now. He’s a bona fide pylon.

Nichol tried his best against Hilary Duff’s beau Mike Comrie, but ultimately got one-punch-KO’d. Staubitz is just a jester now.

There needs to be one of those movie moments where the coach does something drastic and outlandish to get the team to understand their predicament. Unfortunately, I don’t see it happening.

The Sharks will win again this season, but it’s looking like it will be all for not.

Unbelievable Nerve

The first goal of the game came when Joe Thornton turned it over into an Edmonton breakaway. Once the Edmonton guy had the puck, Thornton didn’t bother to chase him; he just peeked back and skated to the bench nonchalantly. Wow. That does it for me. I can’t wait to see him off the team. Worthless.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 30  EDM 19; Staubitz led with five.

Next game is Tuesday at Minnesota.

–Ray

March 22, 2010 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 51

Quite the taking-care-of-business game for the Sharks are the beat down the Edmonton Oilers 4-2. This was the best game the Sharks have played against the Oilers all season, and it was topped off with Devin Setoguchi finally returning to form.

Seto’s struggles didn’t have to do with his line, didn’t have to do with a curse; it was because of his…hair? Who would have thought that? Realizing his drought was becoming a bit ridiculous, he turned to his roommate Torrey Mitchell and Mitchell’s girlfriend to shave off his head. The struggles were cut away with every hair follicle to hit the floor. The bald Seto debuted tonight with two goals on eight shots.

Another catalyst may have worked in Seto’s favor: Manny Malhotra. Coach Todd McLellan decided to juggle the secondary lines because of the lack of scoring. Seto’s first goal came with Malhotra and Clowe; his second goal came with Pavelski and Malhotra.

Whatever the true reason for the sudden spark doesn’t matter. Let’s just hope it continues.

Hey Zack, how does it feel being on an awful team and being a goon? Double whammy. (From SJSHARKS.com)

Other goal-scorers were Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton — the more traditional players. It was Marleau’s 32nd and Thornton’s 13th. Marleau scored a career-high 38 goals last season, so he’s going to destroy that.

Thomas Greiss did indeed get the call after Evgeni Nabokov played four games in six nights. Greiss played solid, with a few of his trademark flailing saves outside the crease. Players covered for him though in those situations as they would collapse and all play goalie.

Not much criticism to give tonight. The Sharks did allow a shorthanded goal, but sometimes that happens. Edmonton is 0-5-1 against San Jose in their last six games. It’s always a great day when the Sharks beat the Oilers and to see the boys manhandle the Oilers was amazing.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 19  EDM 26; Scott Nichol led with six.

Malhotra was a perfect 12-0 in the faceoff circle, and the Sharks won the faceoff battle 70%-30%.

The Sharks took just one penalty tonight, and it looks like they figured out taking penalties hampers you immensely.

Another Northwest opponent awaits on Monday when the Calgary Flames visit the Shark Tank.

–Ray

January 17, 2010 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 44

Quite the facile game for the Sharks as they easily dispatched the Edmonton Oilers, 4-1. There was no doubt about the outcome tonight. The Sharks imposed their will on the wounded Oilers.

Three Sharks were back in the lineup for the first time in a long time: Brad Staubitz, Jody Shelley and Jay Leach. They replaced Manny Malhotra who is injured, Frazer McLaren and Jason Demers who were sent down. Demers was sent all the way down to the ECHL for some reason. I assume for money reasons and convenience since the ECHL affiliate is in California.

All three made a noticeable impact. Leach fought Steve Staios late in the game, but there’s nothing much to report though as it was a bear hug match. Shelley led the team with seven hits, and Staubitz had an assist.

Woohoo! This is too easy, guys! (From NHL.com)

Despite sloppy passes early, the Sharks struck first with Jamie McGinn and Douglas Murray four minutes apart. Both goals started off hard work and sheer will. I never grow tired of seeing battling like that.

San Jose tightened its grip with two more goals in the second period by Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau, proving that the top line can score along with the secondary lines.

Also in the second, Ryane Clowe destroyed Jason Strudwick in a fight with an enormous uppercut.

There’s not much else to say about this game; it’s just one of those easy games that great teams are supposed to win. The Sharks came out, did not look past their opponent, and put them away early.

Perhaps it’s a good tune-up/confidence-builder heading into a big showdown with Los Angeles on Monday.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 30  EDM 38; Shelley led the team with seven.

The Sharks have now won eight games in a row.

As I said, the Kings come to town on Monday. The Sharks are 1-1-1 against the Kings this season.

–Ray

January 3, 2010 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 29

Quite the come on Sharks performance in their 5-4 shootout win over the Edmonton Oilers. After the 7-2 debacle last game against Chicago, I expected a bit more effort tonight, but alas, this is San Jose. Effort is harder to come by than a 2012 convention at your local church.

Patrick Marleau scored a hat trick with Joe Thornton as the set-up man on all 3. And every goal of Patty’s looked similar. All involved Joe being at or behind the goal line and throwing the puck to Patty in front of the net. Easy pickings for Marleau, who also tallied an assist later for a four-point night.

Ryane Clowe was the other goal scorer. He and Joe Pavelski camped out in front of the net, and Clowe pocketed the rebound.

Not many Sharks showed up tonight, unfortunately. And since all my angry emotions are drained from the Chicago game, I won’t be going off on them as much.

Please tell me why you wouldn’t play as hard as you could after a crappy performance. Your manhood was tested and you come back tonight with another ball-less act. You’re making a joke of yourselves. This should have been a blowout. Edmonton is destined for the NHL cellar and you guys needed a shootout to beat them? Really now?

I’ve avoided the Todd McClellan criticism, but this goes on him. I still don’t know what he’s like in the locker room, but if he doesn’t yell, that needs to change. This was inexcusable.

Joe Pavelski fights for position (From SJSHARKS.com)

OK, I’m really tired of talking about defensive letdowns but tonight it was as blatant as ever. One Edmonton goal came when Dan Boyle tried to bring the puck into the Oilers’ zone and was pickpocketed. A breakaway later, the Oilers were on the board. Another time, Jason Demers attempted a stretch pass, which was promptly intercepted. An offensive breakout later, another Oiler goal.

I guess I should just accept these kinds of things because that’s what Boyle and Demers do — try to create offense — but it’s just so annoying seeing it EVERY SINGLE GAME.

Tell Me Why

Kent Huskins and Derek Joslin were on the ice in overtime for a 3 on 3 situation. For the love of all that is holy, give me one good reason why those two have any business being out there.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 16  EDM 22; Douglas Murray and Ryane Clowe led with 3 each.

Torrey Mitchell returned to the lineup for the first time this millenium; however, we didn’t get to see much from him. He accumulated 6:25 of ice time with one shot.

The Sharks play Vancouver on Sunday.

–Ray

November 28, 2009 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will They Repeat?

With 3 seconds left in the game, the puck sat on a member of the Penguins stick. It was just him and Chris Osgood, who had been dominant throughout the playoffs. The fans chanted 3, 2, and for a moment as the puck had gotten behind Osgood, and was trickling on the goal line, no one knew what was going on. Then, the final buzzer sounded, and the players jumped over the walls and the celebration had begun. The Cup was coming home to Detroit, home of Hockeytown. The Red Wings had won another Stanley Cup, and the celebration was just beginning.

Well now, some 3 months later, its time to start looking forward to another wonderful NHL season filled with many surprises, and at the end of the season, while Gary Bettman is being booed by many NHL fans, another group of guys will be named Stanley Cup Champions.

Believe it or not, there will be a number of teams that start out well but slowly fade off as the games go along. These guys are known as the Teasers because they simply “tease” their fans at the beginning of the season with hopes of being able to lift the Cup. The Nashville Predators and the Toronto Maple Leafs are two of the teams that are in rebuilding mode and even though their hopes are up at the beginning of the season, come trade deadline, they will be sellers instead of buyers. With the loss of key players, and many unproven players headed up to the NHL, its gonna be a tough season for both these teams.

The teams that have a decent chance at having a successful season, but with challenging schedules and tougher teams in their division, they may be looking in on the playoffs come April include Carolina and Colorado. Both teams have made some adjustments to their lineups from last season, and even though Carolina missed out barely on the playoffs, literally being eliminated on the last day, and Colorado made it to the second round before being swept by the future champs, both teams have quite an uphill battle to climp this season. Teams in both divisions have made vast changes to their lineup, and im not quite sure these two teams have done quite enough to match their opponents.

The shockers to look for in the 2008-2009 NHL season include the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks. Both teams made a vast-array of changes to their lineups and the organizations, and believe it or not, this could be the matchup to look forward to come next June’s Stanley Cup Finals. If both teams can avoid injuries and maintain good defense’s then these two teams will meet in June.

The San Jose Sharks, Detroit Redwings and New Jersey Devils are 3 teams that are sure to be in the playoffs once again. All three teams have tweaked their lineups, and with veteran goaltending tandems, and bluelines that have more than proven themselves, all three teams have a great chance at meeting the standards to qualify for the playoffs.

The teams that may be on the bubble and may have to wait til April to decide whether or not they are in the playoffs include the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, and the Dallas Stars. All four teams made the playoffs last season but with a very tough schedule (all teams playing each other) and division opponents only playing each other so many times, its gonna be tough for division opponents to beat up on each other like the last few seasons. I expect all four teams to be in the playoffs but don’t be surprised if they dont qualify to the end of the season, possibly the last week.

The spoilers this season include the Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens, and Minnesota Wild. These teams have lost key players and have been plagued by injuries over the last few seasons. Many of their players are not yet proven on this level, and with other teams vastly approving, its gonna be a tough season for these fellas.

“ARE YOU READY..I SAID ARE YOU READY FOR SOME NHL HOCKEY!!!!” Summer is officially over, and with less than 3 weeks until training camp, I surely know I am. I hope everyone is strapped in and ready for what going to be another amazing season of NHL hockey!

-Nathan

September 2, 2008 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment