A Fan of the Game

Sports Talk, Straight Talk

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 69

Quite the reversal game for the Sharks as they lost to the Florida Panthers 3-2 in overtime. The gameplay was completely flipped from last game against Nashville.

In the last three games, San Jose trailed going into the third, but each time they came back to win. That was an NHL record. Coach Todd McLellan was all but pleased with the effort of the Sharks though. It’s been tough to find a full 60-minute effort this season.

The Sharks got the message — for the first 20 minutes — and kept pressure on the Panthers throughout the first frame. Things were looking really good; the Sharks scored two goals and held the Panthers off the scoresheet after one.

All downhill from there.

Florida turned the heat up for the remainder of the game, and with Tomas Vokoun making stops at key times, the Panthers were able to tie the game up in the third at 2-2. It seems the Sharks forgot what it was like to have a lead so late in the game.

The Sharks actually attempted to score in overtime, coming as a shock to me. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to find the back of the net. A shot from the point doomed San Jose, and they leave HP Pavilion with one point.

It’s like McLellan is a one-period coach. He sure can get the guys ready to play and spark them for one period, but after that, it’s disgusting. That’s not on the coach though. He can turn the key to the ignition, but the players have to step on the gas and keep the pedal down.

I’m just glad this string of crappy play is happening now and not at the very end of the season. That occurred last year and we all know what went down in the playoffs.

Fight!

Brad Staubitz finally decided to appear, in his first scrap since Jody Shelley was traded. He took on Nick Tarnasky, and it was an uneventful affair. The two swung each other in circles before falling to the ice.

Manny Malhotra took it upon himself to defend Joe Pavelski in the third period. Jason Garrison slammed Pavs’ head into the boards, which sent Malhotra off. The two tussled, but it also was dull. Malhotra received an instigator and 10-minute misconduct for it.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 32  FLA 36; Scott Nichol and Dany Heatley both had six.

No photos were posted for the game. Odd.

The Sharks travel to Anaheim tomorrow to take on the Ducks.

–Ray

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March 14, 2010 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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

The Sharks Report II

I feel as though I need to write something after the Sharks’ 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers. Watching the game, a concern of mine just grew, and that would be our defense.

Ryane Clowe attempts to get the puck past Panther goaltender, Tomas Vokoun

Ryane Clowe attempts to get the puck past Panther goaltender, Tomas Vokoun

The first report was mainly focused on the offense and how much they have improved. But with that improvement, the Sharks are forgetting what has made them successful the last 3 years — their defense. The defenseman are now playing so far into the offensive zone that they are forgetting their first responsibilities. This has led to so many breakaways, its making my head spin. Nabokov is definitely not the best goalie when it comes to facing breakaways and 2-on-1s.

Nabby has let in 14 goals the last 3 times, when usually that number would be around 4 or 5. Scary.

The Sharks had 50 shots on goal and still lost! This just shows that you can have 100 shots on goal and the other teams gets 4 or 5 breakaways and coverts, you will lose. I do give Vokoun credit, he played well.

I mentioned in the last post that Clowe should be the Sharks’ version of Tomas Holmstrom. Well, he is doing that more often, but Cheechoo seems to be taking over that role. Every game, it looks like he is less scared of planting himself in front of the net, which is great to see. The D feeds the shots from the point and Cheechoo and Clowe get the garbage goals. They still count as 1. “Weak” or not.

Alexei Semenov played awful last night. One play he slapped the puck back between his legs which went right to a Panther, and that led to a pass and goal. Douglas Murray needs to get healthy and get back there. Semenov doesn’t cut it. At least cut his ice time. Vlasic needs more. He is our best defensive defenseman. Hopefully, the Sharks can limit Tampa’s goals tonight to 2 or less, and show a better defensive mold than what they have put on the ice the last couple games.

– Ray

October 25, 2008 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Sharks Report I

6-1.

That is the Sharks record thus far, going into tonight’s matchup against the Florida Panthers. The Sharks are in the midst of their East Coast swing and the spotlight will be on Dan Boyle and Brad Lukowich when they head back to Tampa Bay for a game against the Lightning. The Sharks are coming off a thrilling 7-6 victory over the Flyers, via shootout.

Sharks forward Devin Setoguchi scores on Flyer goalie Antero Nittymaki, as captain Mike Richards looks on

Sharks forward Devin Setoguchi scores on Flyer goalie Antero Nittymaki, as captain Mike Richards looks on

The 2008-09 Sharks look extremely formidable. Under new coach Todd McClellan, I can clearly see the difference in style of play, and it is paying huge dividends. Gone are the old Ron Wilson days of dump and chase and don’t shoot unless you see the whole net (exaggeration). All the players are working hard for every puck and through every scrum. I’ll highlight some stats the Sharks have put up this year, good and bad:

34.9 Shots per Game (2nd in NHL) 244 Total Shots (2nd in NHL)

This is one of my favorite stats to see. Last year was so irritating seeing our total shots only end up in the teens. Because of that we hardly scored 3+ goals, even with all of our talent. McClellan has come in and implemented an excellent, and quite obvious strategy that everyone should use. More shots = more goals. Simple as that. The defense has been instrumental in this statistic. Rob Blake and Dan Boyle on the point for the powerplay has been fun to watch. Blake’s shot is a fantastic addition to the PP. Ehrhoff is no longer the lone powerful D-man shot.

169 Total Hits (4th in NHL)

This stat tells me the Sharks are constantly forechecking and keeping up the pressure, and they are actually using their size to their advantage!! Something they wouldn’t do under Ron Wilson.

Faceoff Percentage 56.4% (1st in NHL) Marleau 63.4% (3rd in NHL)

Great stat right here. If you are going to have a consistent forecheck, you must be able to win faceoffs in the offensive zone. San Jose is doing it, and doing it well. This also shows that Marleau is being the player he should be. Being the captain, and helping his teammates get the puck and put it in the net. On that note:

Marleau: Points 8, Goals 4, Assists 4

The captain is doing his job. No slump here. With the media constantly on Patty’s case, it is great to see him rebound from a sub-par year to being on fire. Now, those stats only put him in the lower half of the top 20, but there is a reason for that. The Sharks are getting scoring from everywhere. Every player who has played for the Sharks this year has a shot on goal, even Alexei Semenov. That is amazing stuff. Marleau has 26 shots, as do Rob Blake and Devin Setoguchi. More shots = more goals. Philosophy holds.

No Shark is in the top 30 of total ice time per game

McClellan is rolling all four lines, and not changing lines very much. Last year, Wilson would change lines, oh I don’t know, about 60 times a game until they scored. That is ridiculous. McClellan is preaching patience, and although that is hard to learn, the Sharks are responding. Everyone is staying fresh and ready to go when their name is called. This will bode well for games in March and April, when you need to bring it even more every night.

Power Play 16.2% (16th in NHL) Penalty Kill 79.3% (19th in NHL) 8th in NHL – Power Play Opportunities

Here is the Sharks’ problem. Special teams is not helping them, and letting other teams get back into games. Being in the bottom half of both special teams stats is troubling for a fan to see. The thing I would suggest here is to get more screening going. They have gotten better at it, but still seem a little hesitant on the power play. Make Ryane Clowe watch a 24-hour video on Tomas Holmstrom. He is the guy that needs to pull up a chair in front of the goalie. Joe Thornton should stay there and then you need another dangler/shooter. Cheechoo or Pavelski would be a good addition there. As for the backline, Boyle and Blake should stay. If there continues to be problems, switch it up and try Ehrhoff or Vlasic (to allow no more shorthanded goals).

73 Giveaways 41 Takeaways

This is a tricky stat. I think the giveaways stem from a lot of time in the offensive zone, so there is more of a chance to turn the puck over. Still, protect the puck better and don’t make dumb passes to the middle when no one is there. Cut down that number 73, it does not look good, and another reason why Jeff Carter score 2 SHG on the Sharks on back-to-back nights.

It really is great to see the Sharks show some actual character. When their opponent scores they don’t give up anymore, and when they get ahead by 2, they don’t relax. I cannot tell you how many times I saw that last year. Keep up that pressure, and don’t blow leads. I think McClellan is doing an excellent job so far with the Sharks’ 6-1 record. Continue to progress, evolve, and gel into the best hockey team possible. First thing’s first. Take care of Florida tonight.

– Ray

October 24, 2008 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NFL Week 8 Picks!

Last Week’s Results:
Nathan: 9-5 (67-35)
Ray: 12-2 (59-43)

Games Nathan Ray
OAK @ BAL RAVENS RAVENS
ARI @ CAR PANTHERS PANTHERS
ATL @ PHI EAGLES EAGLES
KC @ NYJ JETS JETS
SD @ NO SAINTS CHARGERS
STL @ NE RAMS PATS
TB @ DAL BUCS COWBOYS
WAS @ DET SKINS SKINS
BUF @ MIA
CLE @ JAX JAGS JAGS
CIN @ HOU BENGALS
NYG @ PIT STEELERS GIANTS
SEA @ SF
IND @ TEN TITANS COLTS

October 24, 2008 Posted by | Football | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment