Friday, June 20, 2008


Ok, so the graphic sucks, but it's ok, because the blog is sure to live up to the quality of the graphic, and none higher, and that's a promise!

So without further ado, LIVEBLOGGING DRAFTSTRAVAGANZA 2008.

3:22pm: I'm in my war room, better known as my couch. I got my computer, my clicker, my dog, and a soda. It's about 96 degrees outside today, perfect weather to be discussing hockey. The Sharks don't have a pick until the fourth round (#117, to be exact), so if the Sharks pick tonight, something big is gonna happen first.

3:36pm: I'm not the best with NHL drafts because the coverage is poor down here, but I'm learning this draft is pretty much Steven Stamkos and a bunch of defensemen (Doughty, Bogosian, Myers, and Schenn). It's kinda funny to think I'm gonna be watching an event with a bunch of kids who are significantly younger than me, however the pain is lessened when I laugh at their ridiculous amounts of acne.

3:55pm: Eugene Melnyk, owner of the Senators, is on the stage, touting Ottawa as the best hockey city in the world. I assume that's why they're hosting the Draft, and not the Stanley Cup Finals. Nice work, Eug. Give me Bettman to boo, please. Thanks. Oh and trot that spartan out again. That's the sign of a true hockey city.

4:02pm: I've made the switch to Versus, er, TSN South. Right away James Duthie tells me a three-way huskerdoo has taken place. Mike Cammalleri to Calgary, #12 pick to LA (from Anaheim), and the #17 (from Calgary) and #28 (from LA) to the Ducks. Bring on more trades.

4:14pm: Blah blah blah Stamkos blah blah blah. I hear booing in the background, which can only mean... da da da daaaaa, Gary Bettman. The commish begins with a classic line amidst the booing. "I love your passion". Bettman, you sir, are king. Nother trade to announce, Olli Jokinen is now a Phoenix Coyote for Keith Ballard, Nick Boynton, and the 49th overall pick.
FIRST PICK...Steven Stamkos. Shocker. Dean "Finnish lover" Lombardi and the LA Kings are on the clock.

4:27pm. TSN points out the Kings will make 9 picks before both the Sharks and Penguins get to pick. Mike Futa of the Kings says Kings fans will be happy cause they'll have 100 picks this weekend. Nice joke, Mike, but you only have 93.
KINGS PICK...Drew Doughty. Seems like a good pick, if you're a Kings fan. Atlanta is #3.

4:36pm. ATLANTA PICKS... Steve Bedrosian er, Zach Bogosian. Mentions in the interview with Duthie that he hates losing. Good thing he's going to Atlanta, they'll turn him around real quick. Another trade. Alex Tanguay to Montreal with #138 for the 25th pick and a 2nd rounder in 09. Tanguay has been a shade of his former self since leaving the Avs. Jarmo Kekalainen makes the announcement Alex Pietrangelo PICKED BY THE BLUES AT 4. Islanders up next.

5:01pm. Toronto trades up to #5, giving NYI the 7 pick, and some strange cocktail of two picks that Gary Bettman had entirely too much fun saying twice. LEAFS PICK...Luke Schenn, Ottawa fans boo. Welcome to the rivalry, kid. Columbus up next at 6.

5:08pm. Bettman makes a trade announcement, the 19th and the 67th to... not the Sharks. Thank god, I think I peed a bit there. Columbus sends that stuff to Philly for RJ Umberger and 118. JACKETS THEN PICK Nikita Filatov. Islanders up next, again.

5:18pm. Isles just don't want to pick, trading 7 to Nashville for 9 and 40. NASHVILLE PICKS... Colin Wilson. Phoenix up now.

5:24pm. Wayne up to make the pick, getting a standing o. COYOTES PICK... Mikkel Boedker. Gretz shouts out to the "nine-ten fans watching in Phoenix". Canadian fans everywhere miss the obvious sarcasm and scream for the Yotes to be moved because Gretz said "nine-ten fans". Islanders up next, maybe, finally.

5:30pm. Garth Snow announces that the ISLES PICK... JOSH BAILEY. Some dude I've never heard of, which is no big deal cause i don't know this stuff very well. Vancouver up next at 10.

5:37pm. VANCOUVER PICKS CODY HODGSON. Hodgson played at Brampton, owners of the coolest jerseys in the CHL. 100 minutes in, we've now seen 1/3 of the first round. Hooray. Blackhawks hold #11.

5:44pm. CHICAGO PICKS KYLE BEACH. Beach is a pissed off kind of hockey player. Beats people up, has a great shot, scores goals. Could be a Jarome Iginla, could be a Scott Parker (the Sheriff was indeed a first round selection of the Avalanche, heh.) Kings up next at 12, from the Cammalleri three way deal earlier.

5:52pm. LA trades 12 to Buffalo for 13 and a 3rd rounder next year. Buffalo is up now.

5:54pm. BUFFALO GETS TYLER MYERS. Myers is a giant defenseman, 6'7 to be exact. This guy can skate like Pierre McGuire can't believe. Kings up now again at 13.

5:58pm. COLTEN TEUBERT SELECTED BY LA. Rough n tough defenseman TSN tells me. Lovely. Carolina selects next at 14.

6:05pm. CAROLINA PICKS ZACH BOYCHUK. His sister is a built athlete apparently, maybe she'll get picked next round. Nashville sits at 15.

6:12pm. Nashville makes a trade that "the people in Ottawa are gonna like". Preds trade 15 to Ottawa for 18 and a 3rd rounder in 09. Senators to pick now. Chris Kelly of Ottawa extended for 4 more years. Daniel Alfredsson to make the pick for the Sens. OTTAWA PICKS...Erik "Killer" Karlsson of Sveeeeeden. Kid is 167 pounds, and won't be coming over this year. Hmm, drafing a guy who won't come over from Europe right away, sounds like the Dean Lombardi special. We're no halfway through the first round, and I've only been bored for most of it. Go me. Boston to pick at 16.

6:22pm. BRUINS SELECT JOE COLBOURNE. Apparently this guy is a Joe Thornton clone. Hmm, Joe Thornton in Boston, yeah... that'll work out well. Anaheim up at 17.

6:29pm. Brian Burke gets booed like mad, is "happy to be back in Ottawa". Not a Burke fan, but that was good. DUCKS PICK JAKE GARDINER. Bob McKenzie said speed like 83 times, so this kid is apparently a drug addict. He'll fit in perfectly in Orange County. Nashville up next at 18.

6:36pm. PREDS PICK CHET PICKARD. A goalie. That's it, got nothin for you. He stops pucks. Philly up next at 19.

6:41pm. FLYERS CHOOSE LUCA SBISA. Puck moving defenseman from Switzerland. Was good in the WHL. He's got a cool name, that's always a plus. Seeing that flying P reminds me, Tony Luke's, best cheesesteaks in Philly. Rangers choose 20th.

6:48pm. RANGERS PICK MICHAEL DEL ZOTTO. He has all the tools, but unfortunately no tool box to put them in. Sad story. New Jersey has 21.

6:53pm. NJ trades 21 to Washington for 23 and 54. Caps on zee clock.

6:55pm. CAPS SELECT ANTON GUSTAFSSON. Could be the second in his family to play for the Caps, has back problems though. As long as he doesn't sneeze (Sammy Sosa) or try to pick up a cracker (Brent Sopel) he should be ok. Oilers up next at 22.

7:03pm. EDMONTON PICKS JORDAN EBERLE. For some reason, I'm seeing Eberle hilites from when he was 8. They really scout 'em young now. This round needs to end soon, I'm running out of humor, if I had any to begin with. New Jersey at 23 is next.

7:15pm. Minnesota trades for 23 to New Jersey for 24 and a 3rd rounder in 09. MINNESOTA PICKS TYLER CUMA. Doug Wilson weeps, as this kid is from Ottawa of the OHL. NEW JERSEY PICKS MATTIAS TEDENBY, who is like 3 feet tall or something. Tedenby is the first player drafted to the NHL from the Lollipop Guild hockey club. Calgary up next at 25.

7:24pm. CALGARY PICKS GREG NEMISZ. Big guy, gonna be a goal scorer, Darryl Sutter kinda guy. James Duthie asks Sutter for insider info, Sutter says Duthie will get nothing and like it. Buffalo picks next with the Sharks pick at 26.

7:30pm. BUFFALO PICKS TYLER ENNIS. Ennis is tiny, 5'8. Speedy, one dimensional, goal scorer. Buffalo now has a huge guy (6'7) and a tiny guy (5'8). Man I want to see that picture. Philly next at 27.

7:35pm. Oh god, another trade. Mercifully let this end. Washington gets 27 for Eminger and 84.

7:38pm. CAPS SELECT JOHN "KILLER" CARLSON. Big bruising defenseman, he's big, and he's bruising, and he's a defenseman. I think the TSN panel said this about 20 times. Wheee. Ducks have 28.

7:40pm. Anaheim trades 28 to Phoenix for 35 and 39. Yotes up now.

7:45pm. PHOENIX SELECTS VIKTOR TIKHONOV. Los Gatos resident Tikhonov is a friend of mine, glad to see he'll be in the division. Congrats to him. Nice to see the whole family in Ottawa, can only hope for the best for him.

ATLANTA PICKS DAULTAN LEVEILLE. Guy with big potential, has never worked out before. Interesting. Last pick upcoming, owned by the Red Wings.

7:53pm. DETROIT PICKS TOM MCCOLLUM. Good American goalie, best glove hand in the draft, and he hugs his grandma.

And with that, the first round is over. 13 trades, 30 picks, and 83 beers consumed. Let's do this again next year, shall we? The draft continues tomorrow at 6:30 in the freaking morning Pacific time on the NHL Network. I won't be up for it, and probably won't miss anything.

Not sure what to make of Doug Wilson not getting a first rounder in what is considered a deep draft, not sure what his plans are from here on out. Lot of guys I would have liked to have seen in teal, obviously that won't happen, at least right away. Oh well. I'll recap the late rounds tomorrow as it is completed.

So ends NHL DRAFTSTRAVAGANZA 2008, thanks for tuning in to my blog. Tip your waitstaff, and watch out for Pierre McGuire.

GO SHARKS (good luck in Phoenix, Vik)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The draft, she's a comin'

Friday night is the first round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, held in Ottawa this year. Sharks fans know the draft as Doug Wilson season, when the SJ GM wheels n' deals more than a pizza delivery guy on SuperBowl Sunday. The future of the NHL will be present, however, it won't be known who that future for a few years when they actually become household names and we've all forgotten about their draft night.

As of now, the Sharks have absolutely ZERO first rounders, which means there is absolutely ZERO reason for Sharks fans to watch the first round on Friday night which means there absolutely ZERO else you should be doing besides checking out my exciting, amazing, from the seat of my pants commentary that I am proudly dubbing...

Jess's Friday Night NHL First Round Entry Draftstravaganza 2008.

Yes, I have no reason to watch the 2008 Entry Draft's first round, so that's exactly why I am, and why I'm liveblogging it to boot. So please, stop by, hang around, and enjoy the draft.

FYI: The draft coverage begins at 3 pacific on NHL Network, and the draft begins at 4 on Versus Friday afternoon. The rest of the Draft is Saturday. The Sharks first pick as of now isn't until the fourth round, but the Sharks have been rumored to be moving up, something that wouldn't really surprise any Sharks fan.



Thursday, June 12, 2008

And the new Sharks Head Coach is...


Yeah, that's pretty much how most Sharks fans feel right now, as the search is over for a new skipper, and the results yielded are just a tad anonymous in nature. Todd McLellan becomes the 7th Head Coach of the Sharks, and will be entering his first year as an NHL Head Coach. Little Mac (I'm coining the term now, please send royalties to me via email) won a Calder Cup as the Head Coach of the Houston Aeros, and most recently won the Stanley Cup with the Red Wings this year.

Word is he's a big time offensive X's and O's kind of guy and was in charge of the Wings PP, which should be just what the Sharks need. He's the right kind of coach to entice Brian Campbell back, and I imagine Matt Carle will see more time to blossom, with Kyle McLaren (Big Mac) probably on his way out, if not just making himself a permanent assgroove in one of the comfy chairs in the press box. Hopefully McLellan will be able to figure out how to make Joe potent as a goal scorer and as a passer.

The draft is next Saturday, and there is the possibility of a big trade rumored, centering around Captain Patrick Marleau, who has a no trade clause that kicks in on July 1st. We'll see soon enough how that works out. Til then, welcome to San Jose, Todd McLellan.


Monday, June 09, 2008

Oh Canada (or at least the closed-minded towards warm weather hockey cities part)

DISCLAIMER: I'm going to reference Canadians a bunch of times, and am not intending to lump every Canadian together. But to save myself and you from having to wade through explanations whom exactly I'm objecting to, I'm pointing it out now. If you are a Canadian and you don't feel negatively towards NHL hockey in warm American markets, welcome aboard.

So I was perusing an unofficial San Jose Sharks message board and general awesome internet meeting place, I was pointed in the direction of this piece.
This is an opinion piece that was touched on by Yahoo! Sports author Greg Wyshynski in his column below.

Basically, it's another piece of drivel from an ignorant Canadian who seems to believe that the NHL only belongs in Canada and nowhere else. Now, I have no problem with opinions, as the cliche goes, they're like . But as an American hockey fan who was born and pretty much raised on the game that I have read plenty of times I shouldn't be allowed to have, it irks me just a bit.

Over the past 20 years, the National Hockey League has seen its product extend to the warmer parts of North America, thanks to the advances in cooling technology. Since 1991, we've seen franchises pop up in hot weather cities like Anaheim, Atlanta, Dallas, Nashville, Phoenix, Raleigh, San Jose, Sunrise (Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area), and Tampa, with additional franchises in Columbus, Denver, Ottawa, and St. Paul.

Without getting too much into the major history, Canada lost a pair of NHL teams in the mid-90's despite being wildly popular in their communities. With the Canadian Dollar in lé toiletté (French) and no monetary parameters in place, some of the NHL teams north of the border had trouble keeping up with cities in the States that were booming. As a result, the NHL saw the relocations of franchises in Quebec City and Winnipeg to Denver and Phoenix, respectively.

Now, in that time, we've seen tremendous growth of youth hockey in each of those cities, and a general growth of the sport among the community. Just a couple years ago for the first time, a California youth team won the Silver Sticks tournament, a North American tournament held annually. Indoor hockey rinks in Texas have gone up something like 400%. Hockey has become a hot ticket in towns where ice doesn't usually exist anywhere but in a cocktail glass. But for some reason, this seems to be insufficient progress for "hockey-thirsty" Canadians.

In this line of thinking, having an NHL team is not so much a privilege as a right of passage, a pot of gold at the end of a vulcanized rubber rainbow. Cities in the north where ice is available outside in the winter (apparently water freezes and turns into ice, this is an unconfirmed rumor as of this post) are automatically more "qualified" to have a professional team. Just because hockey has been played by kids on a lake in December in a small town in Northern Saskatchewan, they somehow deserve a NHL team more than kids who have to play their hockey indoors, or someone who hasn't been blessed with the ability to see or play the game yet.

As a "Southern US" hockey fan, I'm tired of hearing that I, along with all of my latitudinally challenged US brethren, somehow don't deserve hockey. Because we don't sell out our building every night, we are somehow inferior. Because we don't swarm the team stickboy on the streets when he's just out for a cup of coffee, we are somehow inferior. Because we follow other sports in addition to hockey that are collectively more popular, we are somehow inferior.

Attendance is an issue that is brought up a lot and yes, there are southern cities that have trouble drawing crowds. However, there are plenty of northern cities that have attendance troubles as well, but they're always given a free pass for some extenuating circumstances. For example, the Chicago Blackhawks recently endured the passing of one "Dollar" Bill Wirtz, a shrewd and cheap businessman who ran his on-ice product into the ground, making them a poor hockey team and driving fans away. That's fine and valid, but why is that grounds for a free pass, when a team with Atlanta's history isn't? The Thrashers made the playoffs for the first time in their 9 year history last season, after posting some really bad seasons. They sold out their playoff games, and were really popular down the stretch. Yet, because the team is floundering in mediocrity again, which is keeping some fans away, they're somehow unfit to house a team altogether. Doesn't make sense to me.

I've lived my whole life in San Jose, and due to incredibly lucky timing, have gotten to grow up with an NHL team in my backyard (not literally, of course. After all, I live where it's warm). I played street hockey in high school parking lots from the age of 7 until I got a pair of roller blades, and then I played roller hockey on those same parking lots until high school, when I played on my school team. I've been a Sharks fan since the beginning, and have seen much more hockey than my feeble mind could ever recount. The day the Sharks win the Stanley Cup will be the greatest day of my life, save for my future wedding and birth of my children.

To any Canadian, or really any elitist hockey fan that believes that I, along with anyone else who lives in an area in which hockey has never been considered to be king, shouldn't have a hockey team, I invite you to leave a comment, because I would love to pick your brain. I really truly wish to understand why you feel the way you do towards southern hockey, why you don't think it should be there, and why you don't think it should have a chance to grow and flourish into what you have. We like hockey, you like hockey, why can't we like each other?

GO SHARKS (2008 NHL Entry Draft in just 10 days)