A Fan of the Game

Sports Talk, Straight Talk

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 54

Quite the justice game for the Sharks as they took down the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 tonight. The win puts the Sharks 5-0 against the Ducks this season.

Say what you want about regular season games and getting vengeance against teams who ousted you in the playoffs, but this feels awesome. If the Ducks did make it to the playoffs and the Sharks faced them again, these five wins mean nothing, but I’m living in the moment. Cross that bridge when or if they get there. Right now, we beat the Ducks at their best so enjoy it.

First thing that must be addressed was the awful feed of the game on NHL GameCenter. I think the feed is up to the broadcasters and Anaheim did a poor job with their cameras. The game looked like it was being viewed through a smog filter. On top of that it was blurry and you have the boring Ducks announce team. A recipe for a non-fun viewing experience. Nevertheless, I and other Sharks fans endured.

The Sharks had to endure this game without Dan Boyle’s services because of an upper body injury. From the reports I’ve read, he’ll miss the big inter-conference showdown with Buffalo on Saturday, too. He should be back next week.

Being on this hot streak recently, the Ducks tried to send a message with a couple fights and keeping things intense. It backfired.

Ryane Clowe and George Parros had a dance four minutes in. It was a welcome change from seeing Jody Shelley always fight Parros. Clowe beat down Ron Jeremy, Jr., and it started off the game fantastically.

Brad Staubitz and Nick Boynton tangoed six minutes later. Haymaker after haymaker ensued, but Bitz got the best of Boynton putting the Sharks in control of the momentum.

Take seat, duckling. I make Swedish bonesaw--errr, meatballs-- for you. (From SJSHARKS.com)

The Ducks were charged with a four minute high-sticking penalty, and it took 3:55 for the Sharks to convert. Better late than never, of course. Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored off a wrist shot near the blue line.

Anaheim started to build their own momentum, but it was crushed when Rob Blake found the twine. He was set up by an absolutely beautiful pass from Joe Thornton.

As you probably already guessed, goalie Evgeni Nabokov allowed his trademark one goal. Again. The Sharks held on to win.

Penalty Destroyers

No extra-man goals for the Ducks. The Sharks’ penalty kill unit stopped all five chances.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 24  ANA 22; Jody Shelley led with four.

As I eluded to earlier, the Sabres continue their road trip by playing San Jose on Saturday.

–Ray

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

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 40

Quite the Duck: It’s what’s for dinner game for the Sharks as the stomped Anaheim 5-2. The victory makes the Sharks 4-0 against their most-hated rival and continues to help eliminate thoughts of last year’s playoff matchup.

The Sharks received all the breaks and all the deflections. Nothing worked for the Ducks. They needed their goals from Sharks mistakes.

San Jose now rides a four-game winning streak with two of the four coming against Anaheim.

Jed Ortmeyer stayed on the second line tonight with Ryane Clowe and Joe Pavelski. Ortmeyer is really working his tail off and while he may not score goals, his battling pays off in turnovers and scoring chances. With the move up, it required someone to move down and Devin Setoguchi had the short straw. Coach Todd McClellan demoted him to fourth-line duty. McClellan finally realized you can’t waste time putting a player up on the top line just to jump start them. It’s up to the player to make things happen.

Seto will turn it around at some point, of course. He has been playing well with a power-froward style, hitting and bashing people.

Patrick Marleau scored his 24th and 25th goals of the season tonight. Both were garbage goals, but like everyone says, a garbage goal is worth the same as a fancy goal.

Hey Marchant, does this breakaway make my butt look smaller? (From SJSHARKS.com)

One of Patty’s goals came on the power-play — an area of concern over the last 11 games prior to tonight. In those 11 games, the Sharks were 4-for-43 (9.3%). That changed tonight; the Sharks capitalized on both man-advantage opportunities to improve that statistic to 6-for-45 (13.3%) the last 12 games.

Dany Heatley notched his 23rd goal of the season after being sandwiched between two Ducks. His first shot hit one defender in the face, ended up back on Heater’s stick, and he didn’t miss the second time. I’ve seen and heard a few people criticize him for his work ethic, but that must all be from blind people. I’ve never seen him take a shift off or lazily attack a puck. He wants the puck and does everything he can to get it on his stick.

Clowe and Jamie McGinn were the other goal-scorers.

This was the best game the Sharks have played in a long time. Any questions about responding to no practice for three days were answered in the first 10 minutes. The mental game was there; the physical game was there. Here’s to hoping that continues on this last stretch before the Olympics.

Fight Night at the Tank

Three fights took place. I’ll break this down into judges’ scorecards.

Frazer McLaren vs. George Parros.  29-28, 29-28, 29-28 McLaren.

Scott Nichol vs. Kyle Chipchura. 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 Nichol.

Jed Ortmeyer vs. Matt Beleskey. 30-27, 30-27, 30-27 Beleskey.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 23  ANA 38; Douglas Murray led with seven.

Despite the domination, the Sharks were once again outshot by an opponent. This time the shot totals were 32-25 for the Ducks.

The Coyotes come to town on Monday.

–Ray

December 27, 2009 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inside the Shark Cage, Vol. 27

Quite the methodical win for the Sharks as they defeated the Anaheim Ducks 3-2. The Sharks are two-for-two against Anaheim this season, and while this game wasn’t as dominating as the first, the result was the same: a win. Also remember this is the second time San Jose beat Anaheim at Anaheim.

It was KISS night in Anaheim. I can’t think of a stupider promotion. I was forcefed two makeup artists during the Ducks broadcast. I will say the makeup was more fun to look at than listening to the commentators.

There wasn’t anything flashy about this game; it was all hard work and determination. Both teams made mistakes — of course a few Sharks giveaways in their own zone stick out to me. But I’ve come to expect that, unfortunately, from the Sharks.

Douglas Murray was bad tonight. Don’t let the +1 rating fool you. He had so many giveaways and positioning errors — one of them led directly to a goal ten seconds later. He also took a penalty late in the second period, and the Ducks converted 11 seconds later. Dan Boyle was just a step behind tonight and couldn’t cover for Murray’s mistakes.

Frazer McLaren and George Parros get busy. (From SJSHARKS.com)

Things were frisky early with a quick fight out of the gates: Frazer McLaren vs. George Parros. Frazer won the first half of the fight, and Parros won the second half. Draw. Good to see Frazer making an impact with such a minute amount of ice time.

It looked to be another boring, close game after a scoreless first period. But the red lights were tiring out from four goals in the second. Ryane Clowe got on the board with a shot from the point. It’s his second straight goal from the point. Not the place you usually see him scoring from, but hey, whatever works.

Dany Heatley scored to keep his title of goal-scoring leader (18). It came off a Joe Thornton shot and rebound. I don’t think Anaheim was expecting Joe to shoot after his passes last game. That’s probably why the play worked.

But Anaheim hung in there, leaving the second period tied at 2-2.

The third period resembled the first, and I started getting deja vu; the game looked a lot like the playoff series between these two from last year. The difference? The Sharks were the ones who willed a goal out of themselves. Heater played passer and found Thornton coming up the side. Jumbo pocketed the puck perfectly to the far side to put the Sharks up for good.

People questioned coach Todd McClellan’s move to keep Evgeni Nabokov in goal for back-to-back games. He didn’t look as sharp as he usually does, but he was competent enough to earn the W. He’ll get a long rest because the Sharks won’t play again until Wednesday.

Other Notes

Hit-O-Meter: SJ 20  ANA 19; Scott Nichol (4) and Joe Thornton (3) led the team.

Every Sharks player who was on the ice for an Anaheim goal redeemed themselves; No Shark had a negative +/-.

The Sharks battle the Blackhawks, Wednesday at HP Pavilion.

–Ray

November 22, 2009 Posted by | Hockey | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment