Thursday, February 28, 2008

2/27/08 sharks 4, COLUMBUS 2

Figures. The one game on this trip I'm not at, and they bust out for goals.

Jonathan Cheechoo scored again, and the Sharks extended their win streak to three. Cheechoo's marker was his 5th in 6 games, and also extended his goal scoring streak to 4 games. Matt Carle, Joe Pavelski, and Jeremy Roenick also added goals for the Sharks, who got to the 4 goal marker for the first time in 8 games. New Shark Brian Campbell made his presence felt immediately, helping his new teammates on the PP, which went 2 for 5 on the night. The same PP which was 1 for 30 before Soupy made his way to San Jose (well, Columbus). Evgeni Nabokov made 17 saves in the winning effort, his 34th win of the year.

This night commemorated Brian Campbell's first as a Shark, current Shark Jody Shelley's return to Columbus, and, 1000 miles away, Steve Bernier's first game as a Buffalo Sabre. Campbell had an assist, a hit, and four shots on goal in 24:34 of ice time, looking like a perfect fit with defensive partner Douglas Murray. Jody Shelley had 11:28 of ice, 5 hits, a shot on goal, and a nice video tribute/standing ovation from the Jackets crowd midway through the 1st, but it was now former Shark Steve Bernier who had the big night. Bernier, who got to play in his new home, made an instant impact by scoring the first two goals of the game, adding an assist, and carrying a plus three in 15:44 of ice time. Now, it'd be easy to say, oh, Buffalo won the trade, but let's at least let them play two games before we scrutinize this deal so heavily (two games or maybe a full season would be better).

The Sharks enter the homestretch of their roadtrip as they continue westward. The final two games are of the back-to-back variety, the first of which coming tomorrow night as the Sharks head to Joe Louis Arena to face the Detroit Red Wings (4:30). The Wings are struggling mightily, losing their last 3, and 9 of their last 10. They have been hit by the injury bug, sidelining forward Daniel Cleary and defensemen Chris Chelios, Nicklas Lidstrom, Nicklas Kronwall and Brian Rafalski. The only real negative for the Sharks coming into this contest is that the Wings lead the season series 3-0, winning both games in San Jose (4-2 on 10/18 and 6-3 on 1/19) and taking the only contest in Detroit (5-1 on 10/26). This game is just two points, but a win over the Wings would go a long way towards establishing some confidence in the Team Teal lockerroom.

GO SHARKS (Flying to Detroit today, back to the road for a couple more)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

2/24/08 sharks 2, PITTSBURGH 1 SO

Well how about that. I got so used to that losing thing, they go and do that winning again. And in style too.

Jonathan Cheechoo recorded a goal in his third straight game, and the Teal shooters buried all three shots in the glorified skills competition Sunday at the Igloo. Cheechoo buried the game's first goal, the fourth time he's done that this road trip (he didn't score at all on Long Island), not only extending his goal scoring streak to three games, but giving him 4 in 5 games. In the shootout, Joe Pavelski, Cheechoo, and Jeremy Roenick all flipped wristers past goalie Ty Conklin, while Evgeni Nabokov made the only save, by stopping shooter Kris Letang. In regulation and overtime, Nabokov made 20 saves for his 33rd victory this year.

Now, its a bit broad when I say this, but the Igloo, also known as the Mellon Arena, is old. Really, really, really freakin' old. And unique, too. From the outside, the building looks like a miniaturized version of the Kingdome in Seattle, a basic round building that could be well described as a silvery pimple on the horizon.

Once inside Gate 3 entrance, which faces the downtown area, you have to make an immediate decision, going up the left or right escalators to your side of seats (only after I made the decision did I realize that the concourse connects up on the main level, so it doesn't matter which side you choose). The concourse is pretty small, and doesn't have signs, which is too bad, because this is the most complicated building I've been to so far (only the North East Division buildings have eluded me). The seating area is basically comprised of 5 levels, the ice lounge, the A/B/C level, the D level, the E Balcony level, and the F Balcony level (there's probably more, but I couldn't discover them). The balconies are just on the sides, and are stacked on top of one another, with the D section in the same slope as the C, B, and A sections, just in higher rows. The scoreboard, like the rest of the building, is ancient, but provides a nice old time hockey barn feel.

Another aspect of old time hockey, at least for current day, is the idea that old stuff is brittle, and breaks. Cut to the ice resurfacing after the pregame warmups. The first zamboni comes out to begin its set of passes over the ice, making it nice and smooth for the first 20 minutes of play. Well, that's what it was supposed to do, anyway. After making it across the blueline, the zamboni stopped just past center ice, no one paying much attention to it. After sitting there for a little while, the smokestack on the machine began to, well, smoke. A lot. After enough sitting, the zamboni finally began to move backwards, only to reveal a large red puddle of red (it was later determined that what was thought to be transmission fluid was in fact just hydrolic fluid, much cooler and much less destructive to the ice than the former). After a big groan and a 25 minute delay of spraying and squeegeeing the ice, the game finally got under way with out a hitch.

With the Atlantic Division behind them, the road travelers continue westward, far enough to be back in the Western Conference. After a couple more days off, the Sharks will invade Central Ohio for a clash with the Columbus Blue Jackets (4:00). The jackets have been up and down all year long, but remain a tough opponent because of their style and coach, Ken Hitchcock. Columbus, who remains in the hunt for their first trip to the playoffs, are winners in their last two games, just like the Sharks. The season series belongs to the Sharks currently, leading 2-1 (the Jackets won the game in Columbus 2-1 on 10/27, the Sharks won both in SJ, 3-2 on 1/5 and 2-1 in OT on 2/8).

As mentioned in my deadline post, the Sharks made a major deal today, trading Right Winger Steve Bernier to the Buffalo Sabres along with a 1st Round Pick for Defenseman Brian Campbell. Campbell is a puck moving defenseman, who will help the PP, mentor the younger D (Carle, Ehrhoff, Vlasic), and feed/clothe the homeless (or so I've heard). According to all reports, he should be in the lineup tomorrow night in Columbus, and I'll get pictures of my own on Friday and Saturday. In addition, the Sharks sent Defenseman/Left Winger Rob Davison to the Islanders for a 7th Round Pick, allowing Davison to finally get a shot at some ice time. The last move made today by the Teal brought a veteran backup goalie to the Sharks, as they signed Brian Boucher away from the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL. This move allows Thomas Greiss to get some seasoning in the AHL, where it'll be much more beneficial than opening the door in the big show.

GO SHARKS (Welcome to San Jose, sort of, Brian "Soupy" Campbell)

NOTE: All my pictures from the trip can be found here. Also are the pictures from the entire Odyssey last year, and the pictures from this coming weekend in Detroit/St. Louis will be there as well. Below this post is some of the leaky zamboni shots. Remember, this is not blood, because I did not faint while taking these photos. I am a wuss with blood.

The Igloo, in all it's silvery pimply goodness.

Really? The Penguins and Sharks are playing today? What a coincidence, maybe I should go.

A look on the E and F balconies to the left, with part of the D section and C under the overhang.

Same thing, but to the right.

Bleeding zamboni pictures


Goodbye Steve Bernier, we hardly knew ye, and ye love for thine poutine.

Hello Soupy Brian Campbell. Your name is soup, and my hometown.

More to come later, after the deadline passes at 12:00 Pacific.

Brian Campbell

Steve Bernier
2008 1st Round Pick

Saturday, February 23, 2008

2/21/08 sharks 3, PHILADELPHIA 1

Well, I've seen this game before. Sharks score, stop playing offense, opponent scores, then they run away with it late in the ga...

Wait, what happened? The Sharks scored first, gave up the tying goal late, and still won? Really?


Jonathan Cheechoo had a goal, his third in four games, Milan Michalek hit goal #20, and Douglas Murray tallied the first of many in his career, as the Teal finally got a W to hang on this road trip. Cheechoo scored just a few minutes in for the Sharks, who broke a 5 game losing streak. The Flyers tied it with 5 seconds left in the 2nd Period, the status quo on this trip. But Michalek and Murray scored 42 seconds apart in the 3rd, the streak, and the status quo, appeared to be broken. Thanks to 26 saves by Evgeni Nabokov and his league leading 33rd win, it was.

Philly is a town that loves: A) its history, B) its food (pizza, cheesesteaks, tastykakes), and C) its sports. All the professional teams play in the same area, known just as the Sports Complex. Among these are Citizens Bank Park (Baseball's Phillies), Lincoln Financial Field (Football's Eagles), Wachovia Spectrum (Former home of the Flyers, current home of the AHL's Phantoms), and the one I visited (Basketball's 76ers, Lacrosse's Wings, Arena Football's Soul, and of course, Hockey's Flyers).

The Center, despite being built in 1997, seems like a much newer building. The concourses are wide, plenty of food stands, two separate concourses for each level, and a massive seating area inside. The upper level seats have a weird lump on the bottom of them. Of course, I didn't find out until after the game that this lump was a locked box of binoculars, that could be rented for a buck. Figures.

With the streak broken, the Sharks, after a two day rest, will head to the other half of PA (that's the local slang for Pennsylvania, not Palo Alto) to face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday (12:00). The Pens are currently Sidney Crosby-less, but you'd never know if you didn't know. Since Crosby went down in mid January, Evgeni Malkin has had a point in every game but two, and is currently on a 10 game point streak, earning 24 points in those games. The Pens are on a 3 game win streak, and are 7-3 in their last 10, with a game Saturday afternoon against the Ottawa Senators. I consider success in Philly as eating as many cheesesteaks as possible. Success in hockey is scoring goals. In my 36 hours, I had four of the local delicacies, while the Sharks only scored three times. That means I win. Go me. Go Sharks.

GO SHARKS (For the record, Tony Luke's is by far the best.)

Flyer forever, Shark for now.

Pregame ceremony congratulating JR. Was nice.

The old busted, the Philadelphia Spectrum, set for demolition this year.

The new hotness, the Wachovia Center, set for a hockey, basketball, or lacrosse game probably tomorrow.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

2/20/08 NEW JERSEY 3, sharks 2


That's what we're at now. So glad I made this trip.

Thomas Greiss did all he could in net, Jonathan Cheechoo and Kyle McLaren added the offense, but it still wasn't good enough to pull the Teal off the skid. which at 5 games is their longest since they lost 10 straight in 2005. Greiss gave Evgeni Nabokov his second night off this year, unfortunately ending in the same result as the last time, making 17 saves in the losing effort.

For most of this year, the Sharks have been known as the road warriors, owning a mediocre record at HP, but a far superior mark when away from San Jose. Whatever the case, that strong visitor mentality has disappeared, if just momentarily, as the road losing streak is at 4 games. Kicked out by the SAP Open taking place currently at 525 W. Santa Clara, the Sharks have 5 more contests away from home to re-establish themselves as a good traveling team.Chance number 4 comes tonight, the 4th game in 5 nights for the Teal, and their last contest until Sunday, giving them ample rest time.

While last night's game wasn't great, at least the building was. The Prudential Center is exactly like it's nickname "The Rock" suggests, being a solid arena. The newest arena in the league, the Rock truly is a palace. Holding 17,625 when full, those that visit this building certainly have the opportunity for comfort. Those opting to splurge for club seats are treated with access to either of the concourse club lounges, aptly named "Fire" and "Ice". Free food and free sodas are always a good way to sell tickets, and lucky for my dad and I that the alcohol (fully stocked bar) cost just as much as always.

The Club level seats themselves are leather, an interesting luxury for hockey, and are branded with the familiar "NJ" logo. These seats, however, seem to be narrower than the red seats in the corner that I had the opportunity to try, making for a funny sight when two large fellows pile in next to each other. After McLaren brought the Sharks within one, I tried to stand up, but was impeded by the narrowness of the seats, and instead went more sideways, kept from going totally to the ground by the railing right next to me. I would again like to point out that the bar cost lots of money, clearing my name from being completely trashed at this point (I had one beer, and finished it by the 1st Intermission.

Tonight, the Sharks travel down the coast to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers (4:00 Pacific). The Flyers may be the one team in the NHL that's having a tougher time of things than the Sharks. Losers of 8 straight, Philly's depleted roster received some heartbreaking news yesterday, learning that top sniper Simon Gagne has been recommended to sit out the rest of this season with his concussion. On the shelf with Gagne are Steve Downie, Derian Hatcher, and Joffrey Lupul. Tonight's contest could be one that sees the winner emerge with a shootout victory, or more likely the win will come from a goaltender feeling pity for the opposing team's offense and turning around to deposit the puck into his own net.

Much like my train which is just pulling into Trenton, NJ right now before it continues to Philly, one of these teams will be pulling the brakes on their speeding losing streaks. Based on what I've heard about the Philly fans, I'm not sure which to hope for.

GO SHARKS (Just kidding, go Flyers, er Go Cheesesteaks, er, GO SHARKS)

This way to where, pray tell?

Prudential Center? Through these doors? Hooray.

Well that's handy, there's these cute little signs at the train station saying the Prudential Center is this way, and what do you know, there it is. Well done, signers.

Ooh, Devils logo on the floor in red light, scary.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

2/18/08 NEW YORK (LONG ISLAND) 3, sharks 2

I have no scoreboard picture, because they took the final score down at the whistle, here is a much less heartbreaking score on the scoreboard.

2 games, 2 entirely different ways to suck. Awesome.

Sunday it was giving up a 1 goal lead in the 1st Period, and now a 2 goal lead in the 3rd, oh what do the Sharks have in store for us now? Marcel Goc had a goal, Joe Thornton had a goal, Evgeni Nabokov had a facial laceration, and the Eye-lin-duhz fans went home happy, as the hometown squad came away victorious yesterday. Despite outplaying the Isles for the first 45 minutes, as soon as they got their first goal, you could kinda tell it was over. Nabokov made 18 saves, Griess made 1 save in his brief appearance late in the 2nd. The loss is the 2nd in two days for the Teal, and brings their streak now to 4 games in the L column.

MSG is the 2nd oldest arena in the NHL, and just behind in 3rd is the small concrete fortress on the Island. Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum is surrounded by a hotel, a road, some small office buildings, and a whole lotta nothing. Inside, it's much like the arenas of the 60's: one small, tight, cramped concourse, entry doors to get to the seating area, stairs up to the upper level and down to the lower level, and creaky old seats.

The fans at the Coliseum are just as knowledgable as those at MSG, and can get just as loud and boisterous. There are plenty of banners in the rafters, which are so low that they're practically in front of you in the upper level. The sightlines are incredible, with absolutely no reason to ever need to lean forward to see the play. Besides the schlep to get out there and the small concourse, there really isn't a whole lot bad to say about the building referred to as the Mausoleum (by Rangers and Devils fans), other than that it is really old.

From a old building that has seen lots of history to a new building with a lot of history looking to be replicated, the Sharks Wednesday will grace the brand spankin' new Prudential Center in Downtown Newark with their presence, when they take on the New Jersey Devils (4:00 pm). A closer to real time for a hockey game, the Sharks will face a strong Devils club that leads the Atlantic Division with 73 points. New Jersey has won 4 of their last 5, and 7 of their last 10 contests, including bringing a 2 game win streak to this contest. The last meeting between these teams was last year in San Jose, when Joe Thornton put one past Martin Brodeur and an empty netter was added in a 2-0 Sharks win. Similar results tomorrow would be nice, but at this point, I'll take an OTL over another empty-handed effort.

GO SHARKS (No more New York to lose to, beat New Jersey)

Shot of the arena from the seat

The many banners in the low hanging rafters

The very orange and blue concourse. How handy that an orange and blue team happens to play there

I'm glad they told me the Isles play here, cause I never would have guessed they'd play AT A HOCKEY ARENA

Sunday, February 17, 2008

2/17/08 NEW YORK 3, sharks 1

Arena was great. Fans were great. Game was poop.

In a game played today at 10 AM on the Left Coast, it was apparent that the road team in white with teal trim clearly forgot to put their clocks ahead to New York time. Jonathan Cheechoo poked a goal past Henrik Lundqvist just 3:31 into the game, giving the Sharks and the many Sharks fans in attendance a false sense of the effort to come. Evgeni Nabokov was strong in net, however, stopping 30 shots in the loss.

Today's game was at MSG, Madison Square Garden. Known by some locals as "The New Garden", MSG is touted as "The World's Most Famous Arena". Famous as it is, it's pretty cool too. Before the game, my family and I took a tour of the place, getting to see the suite level, the club bars, and then early entrance into the arena (non-gameday tours feature a look to the locker rooms and the theater, but both were occupied today). Anyways, some thoughts about the Garden.

* Its small. For 18k hockey seating, it's surprising the tinyness of this building. There aren't really levels, it's all one bowl with the 400's stacked on top. The concourses are pretty narrow and sorta plain, but where there is stuff, it's pretty cool.

* The atmosphere is great. Potvin sucks chants, Let's Go Rangers chants, they're all over it. And they're loud. To be here for an important game would be spine tingling.

* The ceiling is the ceiling. It's famous for a reason.

Tomorrow the Sharks hit New York #2, heading out to Lawnguylan to face the Eyelinduhz (11 AM Pacific). The Isles have won 3 in a row since dropping 7 straight, keeping them in the heart of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Lead by blink-of-an-eye Shark Bill Guerin, the Isles are good, but not when they're bad. In essence, they're two-faced, like the Sharks. Should be a good game between two good teams, or maybe not.

GO SHARKS (LETZ GO SHARXZZ [no way to New York that up I guess])

The entire roll of pictures can be seen here.

Not many people know, but the ceiling is really a giant venus fly trap.

Regardless of outcome, this is still really cool.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

2/14/08 edmonton 3, SHARKS 2

At least the quality of the picture is now higher. Really a sad indication of sorts when I'm reaching for silver linings each night.

The Sharks seemed to not care if they won their last home game for 3+ weeks, since they didn't put out much effort. It's a good thing they didn't care, because they weren't able to skate by with 10 minutes of strong effort this time around. Joe Pavelski whacked home a loose puck in the slot and Mike Grier converted on a beauty of a short-handed breakaway for the Sharks, who won't be back in San Jose until March 3rd when they host the Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge (Montreal Canadiens). Evgeni Nabokov stopped 18 shots in the loss.

This post is intentionally short because 1) I feel that when writing about the game, I should show the same energy and effort that they brought, and 2) Its early and I'm rushed for time because I'm leaving in an hour to fly to NYC. The first one makes me sound more angry, frustrated, and snarky, and less lazy than the second one, so I'll go with that.

The Sharks now embark on their season long eight game road trip, which will take them all the way to the East Coast and will work them back to the west. 8 cities, 15 nights, 4351 miles, and hopefully many wins. The trade deadline is Tuesday, February 26th at 3:00 Eastern, so if the Sharks get anyone on deadline day, they'll probably debut in Columbus on the 27th. Last year GM Doug Wilson gambled, trading for defenseman Craig Rivet and Right Winger Bill Guerin at the deadline, the former worked out nicely and will be in teal for the next few years, the latter is the Captain out on Long Island.

Tomorrow, the road trip begins, with an early matinee showing of Sharks hockey from Broadway as the Teal meet the Broadway Blueshirts (10:00 AM). The Rangers have been all over the map this year, since signing Chris Drury and Scott Gomez this summer, to a stretch where they could barely muster a goal in each game. 2-3 in their last 5, the Rangers sit in 4th place in a very tight Atlantic Division. While the Sharks get to rest and see the sights today, the Rangers will be entertaining their upstate rival Buffalo Sabres, hopefully the Sharks will be able to take advantage of a tired New York squad and pluck two points from The World's Most Famous Arena.

GO SHARKS (Hello cold, hello New York)

New camera time at the Odyssey, so playing around with my abilities. Here's a wide shot of the score, can you read it?

How about now?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

2/12/08 calgary 4, SHARKS 3 OT

Well, at least it wasn't Owen Nolan again.

Ok, so that's not very decent silver lining, because really, there isn't any. Jarome Iginla did it again in OT, and the Sharks dropped another game that they had won in the final minute of regulation. Sure, Marcel Goc had a pretty goal. Sure, Milan Michalek's goal and Patrick Rissmiller's goals were nice too, but they had the game won. They totally dominated the Flames all game long, outshooting them 43-18 throughout the course of the night. Evgeni Nabokov made some decent saves, only making 14 in all.

You notice my tone is a bit different while writing this one, and it's because this stings. Too many times we've seen the Sharks choke away a victory by ceasing to play offense towards the end of the game, opting to just sit back on D. Whether it's a saying someone else has or not, here it goes. "If you're not playing to win, you're playing to lose." So profound, if it's never been said before, I now trademark it as my own. Now, I'm not gonna get too ranty, because it is just one game, and there is another one tomorrow, but still, folks around here, and not just me, are starting to get unhappy. Teal Town is stirring, and not with anything happy.

The Sharks finish their homestand tomorrow with a game they really should win, when the Edmonton Oilers stumble into San Jose (7:30). Edmonton comes to San Jose winners in 3 of their last 5, but still toiling around the bottom of the Western Conference standings. With leading scorer Shawn Horcoff is out for the year, leading red-headed jerkface Raffi Torres is out for the year too, and leading big-giant-seemingly-overpaid-defenseman-with-a-shot-that-could-penetrate-a-tank Sheldon Souray out for an indefinite amount of time, the Oilers have thrived on their youth, just as they've done all year long. Get used to names like Gagner, Brodziak, and Cogliano, because they're good, and they're young, so they'll be around for a while. This is the last Sharks home game until they host the Montreal Canadiens on March 3rd, having to leave town for the SAP Open tennis tournament. That roadie, of course, is an 8 gamer, the longest of the year, and I'm proud to renew the Odyssey if just for this short time, hitting 7 of the 8 games (Sorry Columbus).

GO SHARKS (make this last home game a good one)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

2/9/08 SHARKS 4, nashville 3

It's been said already, but here it is again. Jonathan Cheechoo has returned.

The oft-unsteady winger recorded his first hat trick of the year, including potting the eventual game winner on the Power Play with just a couple minutes left in the contest. Cheech had a hand in every goal, setting up Milan Michalek midway through the 3rd. Michalek had a multi-point night himself, recording two assists to go with his goal, Joe Thornton had a ho-hum night, assisting on all three of Cheechoo's markers, giving him a league leading 50 helpers, and even Marc-Edouard Vlasic was invited to the multi-point party, recording a pair of assists. Evgeni Nabokov wasn't needed much, but made a couple big saves when he needed to, notching 10 saves in all, earning his league leading 31st victory.

The Teal sit 6 points back of division leading Dallas with 5 fewer games played, putting them at 4th in the Western Conference. Early in the year, a home game for the Sharks pretty much meant a loss for the Sharks, however, since the new year, the Teal are 8-4 at 525 W. Santa Clara, which isn't dominating, but is much better than it was midseason. The Sharks have two more home games before they are chased out of town by the Sybase/Siebel/SAP Open, the annual tennis tournament that takes place at the San Jose Arena/Compaq Center/ HP Pavilion, which will send them on an 8 game trip all the way out to the East Coast.

First things first though, as the Sharks play the second to last home game before that trip tomorrow night when they host the Calgary Flames (7:30). This will be the final matchup with the Flames this year, who lead the season series 2-1, winning each of the last two contests (3-2 in OT in San Jose on 1/3 and 5-4 in Calgary on 1/30), while the Sharks took the first meeting (4-1 in Calgary on 10/22). The Flames visit San Jose losers in 3 of their last 5 contests. Calgary sits in 7th in the West, but until the end of the season, the rankings will change as frequently as the day. Former Shark Owen Nolan had a hat trick when these teams last met, would be fine with me if that wasn't replicated tomorrow.

A couple of milestones to mention, Joe Thornton hit assist number 500, Ron Wilson got coaching win 500, and Jeremy Roenick suited up for career game 1300. Congrats boys.

GO SHARKS (Put out the Flames)

Hats, duh.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

2/8/08 SHARKS 2, columbus 1 OT

Last year, Joe Thornton famously said after late game heroics from Joe Pavelski, "We don't do overtime."Well, Joe, I guess it's time for a correction.

Jumbo, as he's affectionately known in the Sharks locker room, took matters into his own hands last night, potting the Power Play winner midway through Overtime. The play was set up beautifully with a great knockdown faceoff win by the Captain, Patrick Marleau, who tossed it back to Sandis Ozolinsh on the point. Ozolinsh dished it to Thornton, who put it back to the defenseman up top. Ozolinsh faked the shot, passed to Thornton, who walked it in, and wristed it past Jackets netminder Fredrik Norrena. Marcel Goc had the other goal for the Teal, a quick turnaround wrister on a broken play in the slot that made it's way past Norrena.

Very rarely can the guy who scores the OT winner not get the first star of the game, especially when the final score is only 2-1, but last night was not really Joe Thornton's night. That distinction belonged to the guy with the next number up from Joe. Plain and simple, if it wasn't for Evgeni Nabokov last night, the Sharks don't win, they lose 10-1. Nabby was incredible last night, stopping three breakaways and a penalty shot, making 31 saves.

After an emotional OT win, the best thing to do is get right back out there to do it again. Lucky for the Sharks, they get to do just that, when they host the Nashville Predators tonight (SPECIAL 7:00 PM START TIME). The Preds come to town fresh off a three game win streak, snapped at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night. The Teal lead the season series 2-0, winning a game in both SJ (3-0 on 10/20) and Nashville (5-2 on 12/29).

GO SHARKS (you don't have to do OT, but when you do, do it well)

Friday, February 08, 2008

2/6/08 colorado 3, SHARKS 1

Welcome back, ****** Jose Theodore. The returning Colorado netminder had a strong game in net, making 30 circusy saves for the win over the Sharks Wednesday night. Patrick Marleau scored a beauty on the Power Play, and Jonathan Cheechoo had a bunch of great chances, but Theodore held tough for the win. Evgeni Nabokov had 22 saves in the loss.

As this was written after the Columbus game, it does me no good to preview the Jackets now. They came into San Jose losing 4 of 5, and visited the Tank on the second night of a back-to-back that saw them play Thursday night in Phoenix. The season series was tied at 1 game a piece, with each side winning their home game (the Jackets won 2-1 in Columbus on 10/27, the Sharks won 3-2 in SJ on 1/7).

GO SHARKS (I have a good feeling about this one, don't tell me how I know, I just do)

Two Sharks fans proudly display their Divealanche t-shirts.

Monday, February 04, 2008

2/2/08 SHARKS 3, chicago 2 SO

Ok. Get this. Sharks win a game at home. Ok, that's fine, that happens. Sharks win a game in the shootout. Ok, that happens a bit too. But, here's the kicker, the Sharks win IN THE SHOOTOUT, AT HOME. Yeah. Say it with me.


Jonathan Cheechoo notched his 4th goal in 5 games, Marc-Edouard Vlasic got marker #1 of the year, and Evgeni Nabokov made 4 of 5 stops in the glorified skills competition, as the Sharks pulled out the 2 points in an afternoon matinee at the Tank. Cheech struck on the PP, which has been hot as of late for the Sharks, smacking home a beautiful cross crease pass from Joe Thornton. Pickles wristed home what looked to be the eventual game winner in the 3rd before the Hawks got it back less than 2 minutes later. In the shootout, Patrick Kane scored for the Hawks, and Joe Pavelski kept the Teal in it when he scored. JR then came up in the 5th round and wristed home the goal that put the Sharks ahead, leaving Nabby to shut the door for the 4th consecutive shooter. Nabokov had 19 saves in 65 minutes of play, earning his league leading 29th victory of the year

Chicago, still missing Jonathan Toews, should have been a pushover, but hung in tough, making for a pretty entertaining and physical contest. Jody Shelley made his debut in teal, starting on the left side of Joe Thornton and Jeremy Roenick for the opening faceoff, and took care of plenty of physicality. Shelley opened the game with a thunderous check in front of the Chicago bench, resulting in a scrum and a Douglas Murray fight just 17 seconds into the contest. Shelley recorded 4:55 of ice time, just enough for an enforcer. He'll be a bigger part when the Sharks face bigger fighting teams like the Blue Jackets and Ducks shortly.

With just 30 games left, every two points is an important 2 points. Lucky for the Sharks, or may be not, the Teal have 5 more home games before the traditional 2 week February roadie due to the tennis tournament. The Sharks sit in 2nd in the Pacific, 2 points back of the Stars, but with four games in hand, things aren't too bad. The Ducks loom just 4 points behind, however the Sharks have 4 games in hand on them too.

Game 1 of 5 comes Wednesday night when a familiar face by the name of Scott Hannan comes back to the Tank again (7:30). Hannan, a long time Shark, made his first return to San Jose with his new team in November. The Sharks lead the season series 2-1, winning that contest on 11/30 by a score of 3-2 before heading to Denver on 12/2 to do the same thing by the same 3-2 score. Colorado won the first contest of the season way back on 10/7 by a score of 6-2. The Avalanche are slipping in the standings right now, partially due to the strong injury bug that has hit the team. Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth, Paul Stastny, and Marek Svatos have all been injured for Colorado, who comes to SJ losers in 3 of their last 5 games. It was real nice to see the boys pull one out in the shootout on Saturday, but I'd be fine if they just won it in regulation. They got a chance to take advantage of a weak team in the Avalanche on Wednesday, which usually spells disaster. I hope I'm wrong.

GO SHARKS (Hey Scotty, you still made the wrong choice)