Sunday, December 31, 2006

12/30 PHOENIX 3,000,000 , sharks 0

Well, at least I got a free chalupa.

(Space left intentionally blank because my momma once told me, if you don't have anything nice to say, erase it from your blog. For those wondering, the 'Yotes didn't get 3,000,000 , but with all that damn howling, 8 goals sure felt like it.)

Sharks finish off the road trip and 2006 tonight in Big D when they take on the Stars (5:00 pst). The New Years Eve game is a tradition for the Stars, who are 6-1-2 all time, with their only loss coming last season.

Go Sharks (CHALUPA!)

Since the 'Yotes have never scored 8 goals before, they went a little overboard on the size of their chalupa for the giveaway.

Sharks fathers, probably not too pleased.

Friday, December 29, 2006

12/28 phoenix 3, SHARKS 2

Whether the black jerseys truly make a difference, they definitely don't seem to help at all. The Sharks dropped BT loss number 5 on the season last night to the Phoenix Coyotes. The 'Yotes, holders of the 28th best record in the NHL (out of 30 teams), came into town and skated with the Sharks for a full 60 minutes, something the Teal couldn't quite do.

The first two periods were pretty close knit, Phoenix jumping out to a 2-0 lead before a pair of bang-'em-home garbage goals tied the Sharks at 2 after 2 periods. Curtis Joseph, master Shark killer, stood tall in the 3rd, stopping all 12 shots in classic CuJo fashion. (For those of you unaware, Curtis Joseph has mastered facing the Sharks. He has a record of something like 35-8-2* unofficial statistics. Classic CuJo fashion is making saves that he has no business making, aka super incredible saves.) Freakin Yanic Perrault, another Shark killer, took a big bite out of the Sharks and the Tank with a goal with just :41 seconds left to play in the 3rd.

Black Thursday, for those still unaware, is the "catchy name" for the Sharks Thursday evening promotion in which they lose in insane fashion while wearing their "stylish" all black alternate jerseys. They have now played 7 games in these jerseys, and are 2-5 while wearing them. They scored 10 goals in their first two games, the ones they won, and have scored 7 goals in the last 5 games, the games they lost. Just when you think you've seen the worst these babies can dish out, freakin "Manic" Yanic Perrault goes and scores a goal with :41 seconds left for one of the worst teams in the NHL.

Luckily(?) for the Sharks, they get another shot at these 'Yotes when they travel to the desert for a rematch (6:00 pst). The Sharks will look to avoid their first 3 game losing streak all season. CuJo should be in net again, and the Sharks will hopefully be ready for them, wearing their traditional road whites.

Go Sharks (have those black jerseys burned yet?)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

12/26 anaheim 4, SHARKS 3

Freakin Ducks. Crazy bounces, soft wrap-around goals, and an amazing defense that allowed 5 shots in the final 23 minutes of play lead to a round 3 victory for the SoCal Quackers last night. In a game that saw both Jean-Sebastian Giguere and Francois Beauchemin go down with injuries, the Ducks were still able to prevail. With Ilya Bryzgalov already out, rookie Michael Wall saw 23 minutes of action, and only had to face 5 shots, vutlturing his second win of the season.

Funny how homerism works. Sharks win, and everything is roses. Sharks lose, even if it's in the same exact fashion as they previously won, and everything sucks. But, that is the way of the fan. A win makes your day, or night as it were, and a loss just makes you yearn for that next game even more.

Looking at this game and trying to draw all the positives possible, there are a couple good things. First, for not putting much pressure on the net in the third, the Sharks did pretty well. They had three goals on an elite goaltender in J.S. Giguere, they had a goal on the powerplay and two more on delayed penalties with the extra attacker. The defense, without Kyle McLaren again, played pretty well making only a few mistakes. And, most important, even though they gave up the first goal, they continued to play hard and come back (until the third period that is), even scoring a pair in the first.

The Sharks final home game of 2006 will take place tomorrow night, in those stupid black practice jerseys. The Sharks look to avoid a 5th consecutive loss on Black Thursday when they take on the Phoenix Coyotes. Also on the line is a winning record at home for the month of December. As it stands, the Sharks are 4-4 at home this month, and have had + .500 records each of the first two months of the season.

Go Sharks (go Sharks [twice for double emphasis])

Sunday, December 24, 2006

12/23 SHARKS 4, calgary 1

And four it was made. Remember that little stat thing about rebounding from a Black Thursday? Well, that stat was kept in the world of usefulness again last night as the Sharks rebounded from their ugly Black Thursday loss to a good ole fashioned teal Saturday win. This win was cemented by the fact that the goals were scored by some of the harder working guys who rarely get their names written on the scoresheet. The helicopter line (all three guys are centers, no wings), Curtis Brown, Marcel Goc, and Mark Smith each had a goal, Scott Hannan added an empty netter (for his first goal of the year, what a way for the first of the year, eh?), and Evgeni Nabokov made 21 saves for his 4th consecutive victory.

Saturday marked the broadcast return of Drew Remenda, former Sharks color analyst. Remenda, a long time staple of the Sharks broadcast team, now is a color analyst for CBC (Canadian Beer Canada?) and their long running Saturday night hockey program, Hockey Night in Canada. Drew got a standing ovation during the second intermission, very well deserved if you ask me. As it was an impromptu celebration, I wasn't in the seating area when it happened, as I was hanging out with a good buddy of mine, Woody (I'm sure he has a first name, but his last name has wood in it, so Woody fits perfectly). Woody is a former high school roller hockey teammate of mine, and a friend for 5 years.

Also during the second intermission was the traditional Danny Miller Out-of-Town Scoreboard Rundown. All was pretty irrelevant until the announcing of the Ducks score (Coyotes 2, Ducks 0). It was at this point that the arena, already pretty stoked from the Sharks 2 goal second period comeback, started to get loud. Probably the loudest I've ever heard during an intermission.

The Sharks have two games left on this homestand, with the next game coming on the 26th against the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks come back to the Tank fresh off their 4-3 loss at the hands of the Sharks in one of the most exciting games in the history of the world (7:30 pst).

Tomorrow is this little holiday called Christmas. I'm not sure if it'll ever catch on, as only a few people in the States celebrate it, but if you are one of the few recognizing tomorrow as this Christmas thing, Merry Christmas to you. And to those of you who don't recognize Christmas, Happy Monday. Regardless, have a safe and happy day where everything is closed except for movie theaters and Chinese restaurants.

Go Sharks (go being able to go to the mall again in a couple days)

Friday, December 22, 2006

12/21 dallas 3, SHARKS 0

Superstitions may be more nit picky belief than fact, but there really is no better excuse for what happened last night than the color of their jerseys. For the sixth time this season, the Sharks wore their all-black alternate (3rd) jerseys, worn for every Thursday night home game. And for the fourth consecutive time this season, the Sharks lost in their all-black alternate (3rd) jerseys. For whatever reason, jersey color or not, the Sharks failed to show up for a divisional match-up with the Stars in a game that left the players and coaches scratching their heads, and the fans booing their throats raw (wasn't much else to cheer for).

Marty Turco had to do little more than just show up, as he only had to make 20 saves, on very few spectacular scoring chances. Vesa Toskala struggled for the Sharks, allowing 3 goals on 26 shots, losing for the third time in his last four starts. Jeff Halpern, Jussi Jokinen, and Brendan Morrow each scored for the Stars, who were without Mike Modano, a notorious Shark killer.

On a night when there was more fight in the stands, it was a shame that there was none on the ice (at least until the moron chickened out). A guy (apparently a Stars fan) decided to stand up during a key Sharks power play late in the second period. Now, in the Tank, this sort of action is usually met with a few "down in front" style calls, but this guy decided to stand up in 209. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the insides of the Tank, section 209 is a section behind the goal that the Sharks shoot twice on, notorious for the "You Suck" chants heard several times throughout the game, and just generally a loud and rowdy bunch who are never afraid to be vocal. Anyway, to cut a long story short, this guy stands up in the middle of play, the 209ers and some 208ers start hassling him to sit down, and things escalate to where he decides it's a good idea to turn around and address those that are hassling him with, among other things, everyone's favorite finger. Another guy calls him out to go downstairs and fight, stand-up guy wimps out, and eventually the purple coats (well dressed ushers, with ties) escort him and his buddies out of the building, to a standing ovation from sections all around the 209 area.

Thursday nights at the Tank this season have been dubbed "Black Thursday" because of the color of jersey worn by the Sharks, but it would be just as fitting if it was used to describe the Sharks play. They are 2-4 in the black this season, winning by scores of 5-4 in OT (10/5 vs the St. Louis Blues) on opening night, and two weeks later when they tied a franchise record with power play goals in a game with 5 (10/ 19 vs the Detroit Red Wings). The four consecutive losses (11/2 vs the New York Rangers, 12/7 vs the Colorado Avalanche, 12/14 vs the Los Angeles Kings, and 12/21 vs the Dallas Stars) have seen the Sharks go up against teams that are slumping (Colorado) , playing the second night of back-to-backs (New York, Dallas), playing a rookie goaltender (Los Angeles), missing a few key players (New York, Los Angeles, Dallas) or just generally overmatched, at least on paper (New York, Colorado, Los Angeles, Dallas). The Sharks scored 5 goals in each of their first 2 Black Thursdays, and have scored 5 goals in their last four games combined, and have been outscored by a score of 20-15 on Black Thursday to date. Popular because of the, well, I'm not sure why they're popular, but I am pretty sure they are falling out of favor with almost everyone because of the recent failures while they are being worn (not the best advertisement).

The bright spot for the Sharks lies in the fact that every Black Thursday loss has been followed by a Saturday night win in teal. Number four of that trend is in their sights tomorrow night as the Calgary Flames come to town for a Canadian National Broadcast of "Hockey Night in Canada", San Jose edition (7:00 pst). Along with the HNiC crew is the return of former Sharks assistant coach and TV Color analyst Drew Remenda, who left at the end of last season.

Go Sharks (go burn the black jerseys)

Monday, December 18, 2006


Sports are great, as they are a suspension of reality. Drama, suspense, excitement, jubilation, all wrapped up into one unpredictable ball of fun. However, sometimes, as fans and sometimes as athletes, we like to think that we have a say in the way some stuff works, just by how we put on our clothes, or what we eat before a game, or how smelly our socks are. Superstitions are a great part of sports, as they take something so ridiculous, and tack a meaning, a justification for why we, as fans or athletes, do what we do, for the good of our team.

I have below a basic list of superstitions, both my own, and others I have seen or heard about. As there is no hockey until Thursday, I invite you all to add some of your own superstitions.


The Playoff Beard- When the playoffs begin, hair (facial hair) is left to grow until the team is eliminated from the playoffs. The hair is left to grow because any luck in the hair is lost once it is shaved off, which always makes for great Stanley Cup pictures, with grizzly lumberjacks holding the greatest trophy in all of sports.


7 Packets - This season, I have gotten into a ritual at Sharks games at the Tank, getting to the arena 60 minutes prior, getting a beer (regardless of thirst) and heading to my seat. Hunger is left to be satiated until the first intermission, when I go down to get popcorn chicken and a large Mountain Dew Code Red (again, regardless if I want either of them, I have to get 'em, 'cause they keep winning). The weird quirk is the condiment portion of this superstition. I make sure to get 7 packets of ranch dressing, despite only using 3-5 of those packets. If it works, and it has 11 times this year, then ya gotta stick with it.

Right to Left- A common ritual/superstition is the right to left. As a goaltender, I made sure to do everything right to left: Socks, skates, pant legs, leg pads, sleeves of my sweater, blocker and then catching glove. Once on the rink, I tap the right post once, then the left post, then the crossbar twice.

Aside from hockey, I have played tennis for most of my life, including two years at the community college level. My first win this year came after I had two Gatorades, one lime Rain, one orange Rain. I took a sip of the orange, and then proceeded to drink the lime one, finishing the orange one afterwards. Doesn't make any sense, but if ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

The last superstition/ritual I had came after my team scored. I would make sure to thank the hockey gods, and symbolize the score of the game by tapping my stick outside the crease the amount of goals we had, and the amount of goals the other team had inside the crease. This didn't necessarily result in a win every time, but it was something I did nonetheless.

I have more, but I would like to open the floor up to my faithful few. Please leave your superstitions in the comment section and I will edit them into my post.

Go Sharks (go crazy stuff that makes no sense)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

12/16 SHARKS 4, anaheim 3

Speaking on behalf of Sharks fans everywhere, that's more like it. The second installment of the increasingly entertaining Sharks/Ducks rivalry produced a much more exciting contest than the previous meeting between the teams (and not just because the Ducks beat the living snot out of the Sharks 5-0). In a match-up that very well could be a playoff preview, the Sharks showed that they aren't as far off from Anaheim as the analysts think. Despite facing a 2-0 deficit midway through the second, the Sharks did what no team had done to the Ducks yet this year; come back after being behind following the first 20 minutes of play.

Evgeni Nabokov backstopped the victory by making 30 saves, enough for his 10th of the season. Patrick Marleau scored his team-leading 15th goal, and added an assist in a game that saw the Sharks win with a full team effort. Mark Smith (first game back from IR), Jonathan Cheechoo (11th goal of the year), and Joe Thornton (with help from Scott Niedermayer's leg) also added goals.

It may only be December, but the Tank was playoff loud last night, an atmosphere that definitely enhanced an already intense game. From 209's "you suck" chants to the infamous "Pron-ger" chants that filled the building, electricity was in the air all night long.

As I sit here, still with a partially raw throat, I feel great pride in seeing that the way I conduct myself in opposing buildings isn't for naught. Sitting on the other side of my father was a pair of Duck fans, who were decked out in Duck garb, sitting with a pair of Sharks fans. For each of the first two goals, the Duck fan (only the man, as the woman was much milder in her celebration, for whatever reason) clapped for a few seconds following the goal. However, as the game grew more intense, he did as well. From shaking his head from side to side following the goal that tied the game at 2 to hiding his head fully in his hands after the Sharks tied the game at 3, he was in to it. But, as he proved when the Ducks took that 3-2 lead, he may have been a bit too into it.

When Dustin Penner scored and gave the Ducks the edge, he stood up and screamed in excitement. Now, doing that once is permissible, at least in my book. I do the same thing following a Sharks goal on the road, coupled with about ten seconds of clapping and then sitting; that's my post goal celebration routine. But when you turn around to the opposing fans behind you, and just generally scream in excitement ("woo-ooo" style, like the WWE wrestler Ric "The Nature Boy" Flair) 6 times, you paint a very large target on your back. So large, in fact, that when the home team ties the game 31 seconds later, and then scores the eventual game winner with just a couple minutes left, you have several groups of people focusing all their excitement upon you, and you alone. I am in no way attempting to teach etiquette to anyone who attends a game with their team in an opposing building, but all I can say is, what goes around, comes around. And, when it comes down to it, teasing and taunting 17,000 people wearing different colored shirts than you is probably not a good idea.

The Sharks and their fans have a few days to unwind and recover from the emotional roller coaster that was last night. Off until Thursday, the Sharks will have plenty of time to prepare for the third head of the triple-headed monster that sits in the Pacific Division, the Dallas Stars (7:30 PST game time). Fresh from a 1-0 defeat in the Hangar (American Airlines Center) at the beginning of the month, the Sharks will be eager to face a Marty Turco who made the Sharks look like the most snake-bitten team in the world, making a few of the League's best saves this season. Another big game, it'll be important for the Sharks to come out with as much jump as last night's contest.

Again, a reminder that tomorrow, Monday, I will be posting a list of my superstitions, mainly sports related, but with a few general ones thrown in. As a bit of an exploration into the world of interactivity, I hope that you, my loyal lot, will chime in with some of your superstitions, whether they be futile or successful, common or not, or even legal (old-timey animal sacrifice anyone? [hopefully no one]).

Go Sharks (go tea and honey, curing sore screaming throats since whenever tea and honey were invented)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Seat change for 12/16

If you are looking for me tonight for the Ducks game, I am not sitting in my normal seats. I have moved for an evening, into the infamous 209. Wearing my white Cheechoo sweater tonight, I'm in row 17, seats 9 and 10 with my dad. Guess who's gonna have no voice tomorrow? :D

Friday, December 15, 2006

12/14 los angeles 4, SHARKS 2

I would have posted earlier today but I was too busy buying my Barry Brust jersey (obvious sarcasm that must not be obvious, 'cause here I am explaining myself). The rookie, playing in just his second NHL game, had only a few minutes to prepare for what turned out to be 60 solid minutes for the struggling Los Angeles Kings against the Teal, making 34 saves for his first career win. Fellow rookie Anze Kopitar notched a pair of goals and Mike Cammalleri and Derek Armstrong also scored for the Kings, who avenged their loss at the hands of the Sharks on Tuesday at Staples.

In the Sharks defense, they made Brust and the Kings look pretty good by coming out flat. Possibly looking past the Kings, as they did control the game on Tuesday, the Sharks and the fans couldn't help but eye that big time match-up with "those friggin' Ducks" coming up Saturday night in the Tank. Going scoreless on 18 shots through the first two periods of play, the Sharks finally broke through the wall known as Brust ( the Bar [pronounced b-air] -lin Wall anyone?) for two goals on 18 shots in the final frame. Christian Ehrhoff got the Sharks on the board with a power play marker at 9:59, and Mike Grier moved the Sharks a bit closer when he scored with just less than 4 minutes left, but as it turned out, it wasn't enough.

On a happier note, I feel that I did my duty as a fan of hockey last night when I introduced my friend Jamie to the wonderful world of hockey. Living in the area, she had never attended a hockey game in her life, but, despite the poor outcome, she enjoyed her first game, and is planning to go back (Jamie, if this isn't true, please don't tell me, because I like making up stuff and believing it. Besides, you would be letting all these fine readers [readers = 3 people not including my mom, dad, and grandma :D ] down, and pissing people off over the internet is not cool).

Not quite as nationally touted as the first match-up, Saturday brings the Ducks to town for "The Rematch". The first one didn't go so hot (if you ask anyone in teal, which, of course, is the only opinion that matters :D ), but, with the poor ice, the nerves, and the unlucky bounces worthy places to take blame, it's a brand new game, and it's in the Tank. It's Saturday night hockey in one of the loudest buildings in the NHL. It's the battle of the Pacific, it's the playoffs in December, it's Sharks/Ducks hockey. Be there (or at least follow along on TV or the radio or the Internet or carrier pigeon).

Go Sharks (go fulfill your duty as a hockey fan and bring a friend to a game)

On a side note, I was on KFOG this morning, as the talk of superstitions came up, spawning a whole segment devoted to the topic. After the Sharks play tomorrow night, and the subsequent recap post on Sunday, I will be posting some superstitions of mine, and invite all who read to comment on it by submitting their own. Again, that post will be Monday, so start compiling some of your favorite, and least favorite superstitions.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

12/12 sharks 3, LOS ANGELES 1

Joe Pavelski: his name, synonymous with greatness. Well, maybe not quite yet, but 7 goals in 10 career NHL games ain't too shabby. Pavelski added goals number 6 and 7 last night and Steve Bernier recorded his 10th of the year as the Sharks continued their recent dominance of their Southern California rivals with a 3-1 victory over the Kings in L.A. on Tuesday. Evgeni Nabokov made 36 saves for his 9th win of the year. Nabokov has allowed four goals in his last 5 games.

The Kings out-shot the Sharks by a large margin for much of the game, holding a 32-16 margin after two periods. A lackluster 3rd period effort by the Kings saw only five shots, but a Lubomir Visnovsky shot that bounced off both Mike Grier and Matt Carle found its way past Evgeni Nabokov for the only Los Angeles goal of the night.

Having attended three games at Staples this year, I'm enjoying the ease with which I can find my way around the arena. I have been able to get the same seat to all four games in L.A., I've had the ability to make friends with the season ticket holders who sit in the row in front of me (309 row 1 seats 1-4). My supreme social skills have seen me attend three games, talk at length with the people in front of me, and not ask for their names once.

But, in the great spirit of hockey, whether it be playing or watching, friends are a great portion of the game. On this evening, I was able to make friends with Jim, a Sharks STH (Season Ticket Holder, or Super Taco Hotdog, whichever you care to believe) and proud member of 209 (he's the "Go" in the "Go, Sharks" chant heard during the start of the power play). Jim is friends with a Kings STH and attends each Sharks game in L.A. with his buddy.

I also met up with my friend Josh, a guy I've known for years from playing tennis at the local JCC for about 8 years or so. He just happened to be in town with his family and thought it wise to catch the Sharks, who happened to be in town this evening. Good call, Josh, good call.

These two teams meet up again on Thursday in the Northern half of the state at 7:30 PST. The Sharks have won 15 of the last 18 against the Kings, hopefully the teal-clad crazies see #16 tomorrow.

Go Sharks (BEAT LA) (go Jess, having two parenthetical statements, with the second one being a bit of a cop-out)

Staples, lit up green, just like the colors of the Kings, or something.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

12/11 SHARKS 4, phoenix 0

When the Sharks played the Coyotes the first time, a blowout was expected. Even though it took them until the second time around, it was nice to see the Sharks play up to expectations. Joe Pavelski scored his 5th goal in nine career NHL games, and both Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau had 3 assists a piece as the Sharks finally stuck it to CuJo big time. Steve Bernier, Curtis Brown, and Milan Michalek also scored for the Sharks.

Curtis Joseph, a man who seemingly is older than dirt, and apparently plays only better than that when facing the Teal, has about 800 career victories (not terribly true) against the Sharks, and, if my memory serves me correctly (which I'm pretty sure that it doesn't), he hadn't allowed four goals in every game combined against the Sharks (also not very true). The Sharks put up 34 shots against the man who provided the name for Stephen King's killer dog (bad attempt at humor, poking at Joseph's age again), 22 of those in the first period. If CuJo hadn't allowed four goals playing behind the depleted Phoenix defense, he would have been the number one star of this game. Thankfully, for all Shark fans, he did allow four goals, and Vesa Toskala made 23 saves for his 14th win, and 3rd of the shutout variety.

Whether it's because of their poor record or their poor history, the Phoenix Coyotes had a very small contingent in the Arena on this night, which was too bad for all the drunken "Sharks fans" who would have spent the evening heckling them. When in Phoenix, it's clear the fan support is there, but, possibly due to the fact that it was a Monday, I saw but one 'Yote jersey last night.

The Sharks take a brief break from their home stand to visit a SoCal rival when they finish this back-to-back on Tuesday with a 7:30 meeting with the Los Angeles Kings. This is the 4th meeting between the teams, 3rd meeting at Staples, with the Sharks holding the season edge 2 games to 1. With the Sharks seemingly on the way up, and the Kings continuing their slide to the basement, this is another game that the Sharks have won, on paper that is. However, as Sharks fans know all too well, an inferior opponent is often met with a Sharks inferior effort. Here's to a strong showing that would bring a three-game winning streak back to the Tank on Thursday.

Go Sharks (go effort)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

12/9 SHARKS 3, nashville 1

When the Sharks came home from their successful road trip, fans expected a continued dominance on the ice coupled with the advantage of 17,496 teal-clad screaming crazies. What they saw on Thursday was far from it, and, despite the score last night, the 3-1 win was far from dominant as well. Despite the close battle however, the Sharks emerged 3-1 victors over the Central Division-leading Nashville Predators, behind two goals from 2005/06 Rocket Richard winner Jonathan Cheechoo.

Nashville, despite missing a few regulars, still presented themselves as a formidable opponent last night. Evgeni Nabokov had to work for his 8th win of the year by stopping 20 shots, including a couple of breakaways. Jonathan Cheechoo recorded goals number 9 and 10, both from Joe Thornton, the latter goal on the power play. Thornton, who also recorded an assist on Curtis Brown's first period goal, has now recorded a point on every Sharks goal in the past two games.

Nashville, being one of the more eastern-based teams in the Western Conference, had very little support in the building this evening (before you think different, the Predators have a lot of fan support in Nnnn-ahhhshhh-veeeel), but as it turned out, didn't make much of a difference, as there was very little for Pred fans to cheer for anyway.

The win gave the Sharks their 10th home win of the season, far away, but on the way to break their record for home wins in a season that stands at 25.

If I may, at the permission of my loyal readers, my soapbox has been sitting here under my bed for almost two full months, and I'd like to break it out for a quick second here:
A great trend seen in the Arena this year is the constant sellouts. Unfortunately, the building has seen a lot of newer, less experienced hockey patrons, commonly referred to as "first-time fans". Now, don't get me wrong here, as I love seeing new fans come into the building and get sucked into the great action that is Sharks hockey, but when there is a 213-wide game of musical chairs in the first few minutes of the game, fans who know how to wait for the whistle are greatly appreciated. Swap out those multiple Sharkaritas for a jumbo dog and soda, turn that suit and tie into a Milan Michalek jersey, and turn that cell phone hand into a foam finger, and those yuppies are ready for some puck. [/soapbox rant]

Monday sees the Desert Dogs roll into town. The first Phoenix visit of the year sees a pair of Sharks making their return to the Tank, one for the first time. Former Captain Owen Nolan and former Assistant Captain Mike Ricci make their way back into the building that once saw both men in teal at the same time for the better part of a decade.

Go Sharks (go waiting for the whistle)

Friday, December 08, 2006

12/7 colorado 5, SHARKS 2

The Sharks returned home from a pretty successful road trip ready to triumph over the lackluster Colorado Avalanche, losers of two straight. Well, the fans were ready to triumph, anyway. The players, however, seemed a little unprepared. The Jekyll/Hyde Sharks were in their Hyde form tonight, as a 30-minute effort was not enough to stymie the always potent Joe Sakic and the previously unknown Brett Clark. Both Colorado players (what is the singular of Avalanche?) registered a pair of goals and an assist, as Jose Theodore played a relatively strong game in net, stopping 28 of 30 shots faced, including all 13 in a pretty active third period for the Sharks.

Jonathan Cheechoo recorded his first point since returning from the IR four games ago. Midway through the first period, he took a pass from Joe Thornton and slapped it past Theodore, knotting the score at 1.

There were plenty of Avalanche fans in attendance last night. Not as many as most 'Lanche-Sharks game, but enough to be a nuisance every time the blue and maroon (great color name to be proud of) scored.

As I say every time I return home from a road trip, I make sure to mention how nice it is to watch a game at the Tank as a Sharks fan, and this game was no different, despite the outcome of the contest. The wide concourses, the familiar food stands, and the great sight lines from the peaks of 213 (not sarcasm, it really is an awesome place to watch a game, come visit me up there any time. Section 213, row 16, seats 1-2).

It was very nice to see such great support for last night's Toys for Tots drive. If you are going tomorrow, don't feel left out of the giving, as tomorrow is still the season to bring toys to the arena for Toys for Tots. The game is against the not-so-cute and fluffy Paul Kariya and the Nashville Predators (game time 7:30 PST).

Go Sharks (go stuff the Predators)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

12/4 DALLAS 1, sharks 0

Despite its common use, the scoreboard told two separate tales last night. The shots read 25-13 in the Sharks favor. If the game was based on that alone, then I could be talking about the Sharks sixth consecutive victory, and a perfect 4-0 road trip through cold weather and hostile buildings. Instead, the goal count read the lowest it could read, 1-0 in the Stars favor.

It's true what they say about Texas, that everything is bigger. Unfortunately for the Sharks, on this night, Marty Turco was one of those things. Just as the Sharks have done a couple of nights before, more shots doesn't always equal more goals, and when you face a goaltender who comes up huge like Turco did, then it doesn't necessarily matter how many shots you take.

Turco made 25 saves for his third career shutout of the Teal and Mike Modano recorded his 495th career goal in a game that saw very little offense, and very little of anything else really. Turco made a few big saves on shots that, had they been taken on a different net minder, or even been taken on a different night, may well have otherwise gone in.

The other giant on this night, and always giant for that matter, is the monster that sits right off the highway in downtown Dallas that goes by the name of the American Airlines Center. The largest building in the history of the universe, American Airlines, outside and in, looks like a high-scale mansion.

Upon entering the AA Center, one might say, as did I, "Where the hell am I? This can't be right." with the faux marble floors, high ceilings, wall-mounted sconces, hidden walkways. But right it was, as the sexily placed AA logos and the occasional Stars or Mavericks (basketball) logo reassured me that I was in the right place.

The concourses are pretty narrow, and they look more like hallways in a trendy hotel than they do walkways to a sporting arena. Decorated fancily, it is quite easy to get lost in this monstrous building.

The concessions are pretty basic. Downstairs has vastly larger options than upstairs, as Pizza Hut and Subway are the resident chain concession stands.

The seating area is quite large, as the AA Center holds 20,000, when everybody decides to show up (no more than 12 or 13,000 on this night). However, as high as the seats go, the rafters and ceiling go much higher, making the building look that much more massive from the outside. The lower level is obviously tailored for basketball, as the corners are rotated rectangularly, rather than the bend or curves found in most other arenas.

On this night, as I hope there will be for other Sharks/Stars contests, there was plenty of teal in the stands, cheering for the Teal on the ice. One of these was a friend of the blog, Josh, a reader and former Bay Area resident still cheering for the Sharks out of the Dallas area. Even though they are young, his kids are already becoming fans of the Fin. Josh is in charge of the North Texas-based Sharks fan club, aptly named DFW Sharks. Visit the MySpace for DFW Sharks at

The Sharks return home for a 3-game stand that begins Thursday when the Colorado Avalanche roll into town for a 7:30 contest. Nashville comes in on Saturday, and the Phoenix Coyotes stroll in on Monday, the first night of a back-to-back that sees the Sharks in L.A. on Tuesday, ending a stretch of 4 games in 6 days.

Go Sharks (go see a hockey game at the reasonably-sized Shark Tank)

The Sharks skate out of a Shark, the Stars skate out of a ____ (what do you think?)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

12/2 sharks 3, DETROIT 2

THREE, twenty-five and one. A horrible record, yes, but try telling that to the Sharks. A game that looked to be a Sharks loss after 40 minutes swung quickly and sharply in the Sharks' favor in the span of just a few minutes, much to the dismay of 20,066 (maybe somewhere more accurately around 20,000 or 19,995, but close enough) supporters of the Winged Wheel present at the always tough Joe Louis Arena.

Mark Bell finally got off the schneid, scoring the game-tying goal with just three and a half minutes left in the third period. Bell, tallying his fifth of the year, and first goal since a 4-3 loss in Nashville on October 26th (15 games), scored on a rebound of his own shot. Just a couple of minutes later, Junior Joe (you saw it here first, Jumbo Joe [Thornton] and Junior Joe [Pavelski]), exiting the zone after the Wings took possession, swung right back around and took a great pass from Milan Michalek and beat rookie starter Joey MacDonald, saving the Sharks from overtime, robbing a point from the Wings, and stretching the Sharks' win streak to 5 games.

Facing a tired Detroit team, the Sharks were able to take advantage, as Vesa Toskala needed to make just 17 saves for his 13th win of the year. Toskala is now 3rd on the NHL wins leader list, tied with 4 others: Atlanta's Kari Lehtonen, Buffalo's Ryan Miller, Carolina's Cam Ward, and Roberto Luongo in Vancouver.

Last night was the first time of the year (hopefully not the last) that I was faced with a problem. In a city and a building where the Sharks were not tops, celebrating a crazy victory like this one is hard to do, unless one enjoys the taste of one's own blood. Fearing the prospect of a 20,066-1 fight (guess who wins that one), walking quickly and quietly was the order of the evening once the final horn sounded. For the most part, I was pretty much ignored, as people were smart enough to realize that I had little to do with the outcome of the game, and were also smart enough to realize that it was just a game. However, I did experience a couple of memorable encounters, both non-violent.

After walking down the back entrance stairs, there was an bottleneck right where groups board their tour buses following events. There was a man standing there with his wife, heavy coats on, greeting people in a very friendly manner as they squeezed by and continued their migration towards the COBO parking garage and convention center area. Upon my passing by him, however, his friendly demeanor quickly vanished as he did a once-over of my garb, and I was met with a not-so-friendly comment. (Comment has been edited for the squeamish and the children, both groups of which I am a member.) Guy: "Oh no you don't {kind sir}, I know you're not wearing a {very stylish} Sharks shirt. Everybody, this {young, upstanding gentleman} is wearing a {quite snazzy} Sharks shirt." (For those without the imagination, insert the phrase that so crudely means, "lover of one's female parent".)

Now, rather than being dumb and caring about this statement, I had no real choice but to laugh and grin very widely at this. Choosing not to react, I was able to hear the reaction of several Wing fans around me, who had a very similar reaction. A few "oh wows", a few " oh my goshes", and just a few wordless chuckles. A woman walking next to me, concealing her Sharks jersey in the cold of the Detroit night, turned to me and said, "Don't worry, I'm wearing an {amazingly beautiful} Sharks shirt too". To which I replied, " there's nothing to be upset about, he's absolutely correct. I am wearing an {endlessly spectacular} Sharks shirt."

A couple of others made comments, both to me and to their friends about me, about my footwear of choice on this evening (my signature Adidas flip-flops). One very toasted gentleman, telegraphing what he was going to do to his just-as-smashed buddies, came up to me, and proceeded to remind me where I was ("Detroit, some even call it Detroit Rock City"), where I was from ("we're not in California, we don't wear sandals out here, it gets cold here"), and where one of the Sharks is from ("Joe Thornton is from Canada, he's a good ole' Canadian boy. He helped you guys win tonight. It's ok, you can be happy you guys won, but just don't forget who helped you. Joe Thornton, Canadian boy.") [Side note, "Good ole' Canadian boy" Joe Thornton was held off the score sheet last night, so Mr. Drunkman loses that argument]. One last remark about my footwear ("guy must have walked here from California") and back to my hotel I was. Other than the small cascade of good-natured "boo's" I received while walking up the aisle at the end of the second intermission, the fans were very respectful of my Sharks shirt.

The Sharks look to complete a four game road sweep tomorrow when they take on the division rival Dallas Stars down in Big D at 6:00 PST. Having already won in tough buildings (Minnesota was 9-1-1 going into Wednesday's game, Detroit was 7-1-3 before last night), the Sharks look to hand the Stars what would be only their third home loss this season (9-2 at home).

Go Sharks (go buy a {super swanky} Sharks shirt)

It's Yzerman... er, Yzerlego.

Rally Al the octopus.