Friday, September 28, 2007

And so it begins...

Saturday morning (roughly 10 hours from now) begins the long and grueling road to the Silver. At 9 am PDT (5:00 pm London time) the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks kick off the 2007/08 NHL season in style, in front of 20,000 people at the brand spanking new o2 Arena in London, England. The game should be on Center Ice for those of you with it. For those of you without it, well, it's still on Center Ice, but you guys can't watch it. Sunday's game, at the same time, will be on Vs.

Unfortunately, with the beginning of a new season comes season predictions. Every year, hockey experts look at the teams, and after many many hours trying to figure out who goes where and who will win, they throw all the names into an empty Taco Bell cup and just pick them at random. Usually, the teams that are picked to win are the teamst that have the least success, and this year, it is apparently the Sharks turn.

4 of 7 Canadian Press writers, ESPN, Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Larry, the mascot at the local high school, and everyone's favorite talking mullet, Barry Melrose, picked the boys in teal to raise the Cup next June. A few times before we've seen this story, and unfortunately, every time that happens, the Sharks cannot live up to expectations, and the predictions go down as jinxes.

This year, there is no doubt that the Sharks have the talent to get the job done, but that has never really been the issue. Each of the past couple years eliminations have been difficult to swallow as each year the Sharks had a series lead, only to relinquish it to a squad that was better prepared mentally, and just a whole lot hungrier. With the bitter defeat at the hands of the Wings still fresh in their mouths, 07/08 is being seen as the Sharks year. Now they just gotta go realize their dream, and fulfill their destiny. And make Barry Melrose look like a jeanyuss (he's already on a two year winning streak).

GO SHARKS ('ello 'ockey)

The Sharks wrap up preseason tomorrow night when the Flames come to town (7:30pm). The teams played to a shootout last Tuesday in Calgary, with the Flames coming out on top. As both teams are playing their final preseason game, expect a lot of familiar faces ready and raring to go for the regular season.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

preseason 9/22 SHARKS 3, canucks 1

Another (preseason) game, another (preseason) win. Yes, just like last night, it is just preseason, but it is still nice to go down to the rink to see the boys put on a show, and a show they did put on. For the second night in a row, the Sharks mustered more than 30 shots, recording 37 tonight on Canucks regular season starter and goaltender extraordinaire Roberto Luongo, beating him 3 times.

Devin Setoguchi recorded another preseason marker, tipping a Christian Ehrhoff slapper past Luongo midway through the second period. Longtime NHLer Jeremy Roenick, who sits just 5 goals from 500 in his career, didn't get closer tonight due to preseason not counting, but did get his first of the preseason, slapping home a one-time pass from Tomas Plihal. Jonathan Cheechoo also connected on a one-timer, this one from Joe Pavelski. Dmitri Patzold made his second preseason start (gave up 5 goals last Tuesday in a 6-5 shootout loss in LA), this time just allowing 1 goal on 10 shots.

At hockey games, you'll hear several various catcalls. "Shoot the puck", "hit him" and "kick his ass" are among the most common heard, and on this night, the latter was heard quite often. Some may think that a preseason game has no energy, no emotion. To borrow from Lee Corso (college football TV personality), "not so fast my friend". Tonight's game was graced by 5 bouts (McIver v Marleau, Burrows v Rivet, Cowan v Clowe, Labrie v Murray, McIver v Davison), most of them entertaining and most of them even. However, as it is preseason, all that really matters is that no one gets hurt as a result, which no one did, but the fans were entertained, which matters to each and every person in attendance.

The Sharks now hit the road for their last two road games of the preseason. Tuesday they'll head to cowtown to the Saddledome to take on Miikka Kipprusoff and the Flames (6:00pm). Wednesday will send the Teal to the coast of Canada where they take on the Canucks again (7:00pm). With the preseason more than half over, regular season hockey creeps that much closer (21 days til opening night vs Boston). As long as the Sharks continue to play like this, October 13th will be a very welcome night.

Go Sharks (kick his ass)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Preseason 9/21 SHARKS 3, ducks 1

We winned. We beated the Ducks. We are the kings of the world.

Ok, maybe it was just preseason, but it's always nice to win, and it's ALWAYS nice to beat the Ducks. Nabby got his first preseason action, and looked pretty sharp, getting beat just once on 19 shots. Joe Pavelski picked up where he left off at the end of the season last year, recording a pair of goals, both on the powerplay. Rookie hopeful Devin Setoguchi added the other. Trivia answer Bobby Ryan had the lone goal for the Ducks, who dropped their second straight game to the Sharks (Ryan was picked second behind Sidney Crosby in the 2005 draft).

Preseason hockey games are not much unlike preseason football games. First and foremost, it's all about nobody getting hurt. The games don't mean anything, so it'd be in vain for anyone to go down with an injury. After that, it's making sure everything works. PP, PK, 5-3 PP, 5-3 PK, even strength, offense, defense, odd-man rushes, crashing the net, clearing the net, dumping and chasing, puck posession, passing, shooting, shot blocking, line changes, hits, etc.

Luckily for the Sharks, no one got hurt, and most of the above worked to perfection. Last season the Sharks were great on the powerplay, with much of that success stemming from their ability to draw penalties, much as they were tonight. 18 shots were produced on the powerplay, producing two goals in 18:50 of man and two man advantage time. The PK saw 9:34 of ice, and just one of eleven shots produced on the PP for the Ducks was converted into a goal.

Getting back to the arena is always nice, and tonight was no different. Walking around familiar territory, seeing familiar faces, saying hello to everyone, it was like the first day of school at Tank U.

The Sharks continue the preseason tomorrow night, when the Vancouver Canucks stroll into town (7:30 PDT). Plenty of seats should be available, no reason why you shouldn't be there if you can. It's fun, it's hockey, and it's hockey.

GO SHARKS (woo hockey)

The new scoreboard in all it's multilayered glory.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The wait is over...

Was it worth it?

The new uniforms were unveiled yesterday, and, just from reading opinions floating out there on the internets, people wish they would be veiled again so we wouldn't have to see them.

Personally, I don't like them. The colors aren't bad, the teal has become too green, and the orange just makes the jersey look gimmicky. The main logo and the shoulder logo look the same, making the gimmicky look even moreso (where is the shoulder fin?) I'm glad they went with a traditional striping style, but I can't help but think maybe with the newer, more modern logo (which I'm still not a fan of), that a more modern set of stripes would have been more appropriate here.

In the end, it is just a hockey jersey. Ugly or not (I would lean with the first one), it's not the end of the world. They want me to buy a jersey, they don't have to make it fancy or flashy or change the logos or colors or patterns or anything. I just want a jersey with a Stanley Cup Finals patch on it. When those become available, I'll be all over it.

GO SHARKS (the jersey of the future)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The San Jose Sharks are proud to sign...

Jeremy Roenick?!?

The 9 time all-star and many time media star Jeremy "Dancing King" Roenick is not retiring, as many had previously reported. Instead, he's lacing up the skates for one more go round at the silver, this time with the Sharks. This morning the Sharks announced the signing of JR, for 1 year, $500,000.

Now, yes, this signing came from left field, as another center, let alone a guy who was thought to be retiring, would be the last guy on people's minds to don the teal, but this contract could be a great deal. While Roenick sits just 5 goals from 500 in his career, he also is ringless, having only been to the Stanley Cup Finals once in his career, in 1992, with the Blackhawks, when Chicago was swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins four games to zero. That hunger, along with his many years of experience and leadership will be vital assets to the Sharks, as most of the squad are pretty young by NHL standards.

And, if he does happen to bust, then his contract, which is just $500K, will be easy enough to either buy out or swallow, a risk that seems worth the possible reward that opposes it.

Lastly, if he does bust out, then at least we have someone to entertain at the intermissions.

Welcome to Teal Town JR, may your year in teal be a great one for you and us, so that we all can float on that silver lining next June.

Go Sharks (Welcome Roenick)

Ahoy Captain!

And so, much to the dismay of one rumor mongering mongrel and all of his vulture like followers (of which, I am one), the Patrick Marleau (e2) saga has come to an end.

The Sharks were proud to announce over the weekend the contract extension of their captain, longest tenured Shark, and #2 in their still strong 1-2 punch down the middle. With one year left on his original deal, Marleau will make $6.3 million starting next year, making him a free agent in the summer of 2010. For those of you wishing for a sign and trade, three little letters might dash your hopes, NTC (No Trade Clause).

Go Sharks (oh captain, my captain [for the next three years])