Saturday, March 05, 2011

3/3/11 SHARKS 3, detroit 1

Man it's good to beat the Red Wings. Detroit is one of the few teams that gets both Sharks players and fans riled up for every contest, regardless of anything else going on (standings, time of year, injuries, floods).

For the players, Detroit is always towards the top of the standings, as they have been for the last bajillion years (except when they sucked and that's why nobody went to the games [cause they still don't go, but there's no real reason why]), so its easy for the players to get up for a challenge like that.

For the fans, Wings fans seemingly come out of the woodwork for games in which their team plays the Sharks, mainly because so many transplants live here (because who would want to live in Detroit when you could live in California?). Wings fans, in my experiences, are one of the least enjoyable fan bases to come into contact with, because they're not knowledgeable, not reasonable, and not sober. This game proved no different, as I saw at least three sets of Detroit fans escorted out of the building by the superheroes in purple coats (they're not blue, you won't convince me otherwise) because they had ever so slightly too much to drink.

To the game itself, the Sharks looked, well, good. They played 60 minutes, which is all you can ask from your hockey team, unless of course the game goes to overtime, in which preferably they play all of those minutes too. Dany Heatley looked good in particular, deciding to making Thursday his one of the next few games in which he's actually going to play hard. Two goals and a buncha great backchecks later, and he's the f***ing all-star that he claimed to be a couple summers ago. Antti Niemi looked good in his second start since signing a four year extension.

Sure, you could say that the Wings were tired after dropping an overtime contest in Anaheim the night before. Sure, you could say that Jimmy Howard, the Red Wings starting goaltender, wouldn't have shot the puck into his own net by bouncing it off of Patrick Marleau, a skill shot that Joey MacDonald managed to accomplish. But I say, SCOREBOARD.

At the end of the day, the Sharks took three of four from Detroit this year, including both games at Joe Louis, and now have won eight of the last ten games they've played against the Winged Wheel (dating back to the playoffs last year). Not too shabby for a team that usually has a mystique that the Sharks cannot crack.

Another big ole nemesis of the Sharks are in town tonight in the form of the Dallas Stars (boo). Dallas has had an up and down year, and fortunately for Sharks fans, the last couple months have been down. The Stars (boo) have fallen out of the division lead, and slipped all the way to 8th. They were believed to be dumping Brad Richards at the deadline, but much to many people's surprise, he was retained. They did move James Neal and Matt Niskanen to Pittsburgh for Alex GeeGoliGoshski, a move that signifies a team that is aiming for the playoffs. Depending on how things shake out, this could be a preview of a first round matchup in those aforementioned playoffs.



Thursday, March 03, 2011


So it's been about 16 months since I last posted, and I decided that it was way too long. To all who come to this hockey place, welcome. Please, stay a while, and tip your waitstaff.

I've decided to start blogging about the Sharks again because I enjoy them, and I enjoy talking. Talking about the Sharks to myself is what interested me in this blog in the first place, and to the three of you that will read this, hopefully that will re-interest you in this blog as well.

My goal is to keep a current Sharks related hockey blog for any and all that care to read, with some NHL talk in between. As well, I still have all the old posts around, so if you enjoyed what I wrote in the past, the pictures that I took, or if you've never seen this blog before and want to see what I accomplished in the past, please, have a look around.

The Sharks are still mired in their quest to not be labeled as overachievers, and for the first half of this year, it appeared they had finally solved how to avoid that label; by not achieving much of anything. Even the possibility of missing the playoffs altogether seemed likely all the way up through the new year.

To the enjoyment of Sharks fans everywhere, the boys in teal have figured out how to play strong defensive hockey, led by Joe Thornton, and it has done them quite well. They're not the offensive dynamo that has had analysts as frustrated as the fans have been at their anything-but-the-cup playoff journeys have been, but they are putting up victories in a much more solid fashion.

My timing has come with a bit of purpose as well, as tonight the Sharks face their oldest playoff related nemesis, the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit comes off an overtime loss last night in Anaheim, where a Bobby Ryan penalty shot in OT send the Wings away with just a single point.



Saturday, October 03, 2009

10/3/09 Sharks @ Ducks 7p

So, put simply, Thursday sucked. Evgeni Nabokov looked rusty, the offense looked off-kilter, and the defense looked, well, I don't know how it looked, because most of the game I couldn't really see it.

Colorado, full of energy from their 5 day Joe Sakic slurpathon (might be a slight exaggeration), hit the ice and hit the scoreboard and hit the back of the net and hit a lot of stuff, winning 5-2. #3 pick in last summers draft Matt Duchene didn't have a goal, but looked flashy for the Avalanche.

Dany Heatley had a couple nice chances, and another one that was Teemu Selanne-esque (you know what I'm talking about), but hey, it was his first game as a Shark, the stick was a little tight in his hands, no worries. Mutinied Captain turned poop-deck swabber, Patrick Marleau potted both goals for the Teal, who are now really really really bad in season openers, and unspeakably horrible in road season openers.

Tonight is a new night, however, still in an energized building (after the third inning and before the, I mean after the first period and before the third), but this one comes with more hostility. The Ducks hate the Sharks, the Sharks hate the Ducks, the fans hate each other, and the Kings are fine with it. So is the Battle of California. Expect a better effort tonight, because frankly, it can't get too much worse than what we saw (or didn't see, for you DirecTV customers) on Thursday.

GO SHARKS (I'll be in attendance for this one, 443 row A Teal Odgers jersey so a win would be sexyamazing)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Opening Night Sharks @ Avalanche

After a summer of waiting that began way too early AGAIN, the day is finally here. The San Jose Sharks, revamped over the off-season, begin their journey that can't possibly end more disappointing than last year...can it?

For us SF Giants fans, today is poetic. The Giants were officially eliminated from playoff contention last night, effectively ending their season, and today the Sharks begin theirs, with a whole 82+ games to determine their own destiny. Well that all starts tonight, in a building that has seen a couple Sharks seasons end, the Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche aren't the same team of those days, as they come into the season with the third worst record last year. However, this year is a new year, with a clean slate to speak of, which also goes for the Sharks, despite winning the least important trophy in the NHL last year.

Basically, tonight begins another opportunity for the Teal to have a strong October, November, December, January, February, and March not end in a weak April and May.

Sharks @ Avalanche at 7 pacific time, on Versus, unless you have DirecTV, or are driving to Los Angeles so that you can go to the Sharks game on Saturday in Anaheim (like I'm doing, maybe I'll catch you there).

GO SHARKS (it begins here, and hopefully doesn't end until a long time from now)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Catching up

Ok, so its been about 7 months, a gap that won't be kept up following this post.

Quick hits:
- The Teal won the Obama Trophy and were McCained in the opening round of the playoffs by that Disney team in the outskirts of LA.
- Changes were promised by then GM Doug Wilson (still GM, but was thought he might go).
- Despite countless rumors, absolutely nothing happening at the draft and during the free agency period (sorry Scott Nichol and Jed Ortmeyer).
- A couple weeks ago, ole Dougie decided to awake from his summer hibernation (something Canadians do) and make a call up to Vancouver, shipping away Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich for a couple of minor league schlubs in Patrick White and Daniel Rahimi. A lot of folks weren't fans of Ehrhoff, at least they won't be able to hate his replacement, who will struggle to crack the AHL lineup. A total salary dump, it was a precursor to this...
- ESPN reported a three team trade involving the Sharks, Senators, and Kings, sending Patrick Marleau to LA, Alexander Frolov and Jarret Stoll to Ottawa, and Heatley to SJ. It was quickly destroyed by all three GMs. Suck it John Buccigross.
- The next day, Heatley and a 5th rounder to SJ for Jonathan Cheechoo and Milan Michalek with a 2nd rounder tacked on.

Basically, the Sharks drastically improved their top 2 lines, with Heatley, a pure shooter, playing with Joe Thornton, a pure passer, full time. Marleau can roll on the second line, not too shabby.

The bottom six is looking a little hairy, with some mix of Jamie McGinn, Torrey Mitchell (might be hurt), Brad Staubitz, Scott Nichol, Jed Ortmeyer, Manny Malhotra (just signed to try out), and Dan Hinote. Definitely not as much scoring around, but defense/physicality looks to be up.

The defense lost its fastest blueliner in Ehrhoff and a grinder in Lukowich, and will need to replace both with guys who will win their spots in training camp. Boyle, Blake, Vlasic, Murray are the solid 4, with young stud Nick Petrecki, Kent Huskins, Mike Moore, and Derek Joslin looking to take those last two spaces.

Evgeni Nabokov returns in net, probably with Thomas Greiss backing him up. How much longer Nabby has the starting position remains to be seen, as his contract is up after this season and the Sharks young possible replacements need to prove themselves.

Last night was the Teal and White game, hopefully with no glaring grammatical embarrassments (Who's side are you on?), the Sharks open the preseason schedule tonight against the Kings in Ontario (Ontario, CA doesn't fully explain things, so let's go with Ontario, California).

GO SHARKS (HOCKEY IS BACK and so is the blog)

Friday, February 13, 2009

2/9/09-2/13/09 sharks 5-2 and Boston

First, the city.

Many of you may know this, but Boston is a great sports town. Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, and while I was here, college hockey as well. There's a ton of history in this town, a lot of it devoted to those teams, the rest of it devoted to this country. While here, I took trips to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox (1912), Union Oyster House, the oldest and first restaurant in America (1826), Bell in Hand Tavern, the first bar in America (1790) and the Old Massachusetts State House, the site of the reading of the Declaration of Independence and the Boston Massacre.

I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on Friend Street, right next door to the TD BankNorth Garden. A nice, new-ish hotel tucked in the block, my cab driver actually missed it on our first pass, and when he saw he had passed the address, he reversed about half a block to get me to the front door. There are a bunch of bars in Boston, by the Garden is no exception. While here, I stopped in at a few, most notably Boston Beer Works (brewer of a lot of beers, including the very tasty Chamomile Green and the Bunker Hill Blue-beery Ale, with actual Maine blueberries in it, also be sure to order the fried pickles) and my favorite stop of the trip, The Four's.

As I found out at the end of the trip, The Four's has been voted the #1 sports bar in America, and certainly doesn't disappoint. I visited this fine establishment on Monday night, where I watched the end of the 57th Beanpot, won by Boston University by a score of 5-2. I visited again Tuesday night after the Sharks game, where I was met with joking hostility by some of the guests, who were very kind. I was also there on Wednesday night to watch the Sharks take on the Penguins, when the manager was kind enough to put the Sharks game on 3 tvs for myself, another family of Sharks fans, and a group of Sharks fans from Southern Ontario. Great place with tons of history on the walls, dishes named for players, and tasty food too. Get the buffalo chicken nachos, they're tremendous.

Onto the game. At first glance, the TD BankNorth Garden is a huge gigantic building. Well, at second and third glance and every subsequent glance its still huge and gigantic, too. Once inside though, it becomes apparent why the building is so big. What you can't see from the outside of the Garden is that the bottom floor serves as a train station for Boston, with multiple Amtrak tracks taking people all over the northeast. To get to the Garden, one must go in the doors of the ground floor, and then go up, up, up.

Three stories up is the loge, or lower level seating area for the Garden. The concourse is kinda wide, with food on the inside spotted around the concourse. The seating area is much smaller than you are led to believe by looking at the exterior, only 17,565 can sit to watch a hockey game. The lower level is a checker board pattern of alternating black and gold seat backs, upstairs is just gold. A ton of banners hang from the rafters, half devoted to the Celtics, half to the Bruins.

The game itself was a tale of three periods, the first going to the Bruins, with two goals from who many believe is the second coming of Cam Neely, young Milan Lucic. The Sharks tallied once in the first, a Rob Blake shot that ricocheted off of Dennis Wideman's skate and past goalie Tim Thomas.

The second period was more of a toss up, as the Bruins began the period where they left off in the first. The game seemed to swing when the Sharks were able to kill 49 seconds of a two man advantage, and the rest of the other penalty as well. The Sharks still trailed 2-1 after 2, but the game was much closer after 40 minutes of play.

The third and final period of play was a great one for all of those who came to the arena in teal that night. Captain Patrick Marleau tied the game at 2 just a few minutes into the frame, Milan Michalek gave the Sharks a 3-2 lead just a couple minutes later, and Joe Thornton capped his return with a right-place-at-the-right-time goal, a deflection off his skate that completed a 3 goal in 6:16 span for the Sharks.

There were quite a few Sharks fans in the stands, and quite a few Thornton Bruins jerseys as well. He got a decent amount of boos every time he touched the puck, but at night's end he got the last laugh as the Sharks left with the two points.

The Sharks, and myself, will be in Buffalo tonight for a matchup with the Sabres (4:30 California time). Former Shark Craig Rivet wears the C for the Sabres, who are without leading goal scorer Thomas Vanek who is out with a broken jaw. These two teams met last year in San Jose, a 7-1 dismantling by the Sabres. I wouldn't mind seeing the road team do that again tonight.

GO SHARKS (Condolences to the families of everyone who was on Continental Airlines Flight #3407, a small plane that was to land in Buffalo late last night, but fatally crashed into a home just miles from the airport)


Sunday, February 08, 2009

2/7/09 COLUMBUS 3, sharks 2 (OT)

Its been a little while since we last spoke, I've been real busy with the Stealth and moving to SJSU and stuff, but I'm happy to say that I'm gonna get started blogging again. To the important part...

Dan LaCosta. Remember the name, fin fans, because, well, he's some young lucky schmuck who got to face the recently rolling downhill San Jose Sharks. After dropping down 2-0 after one, the Sharks scratched and clawed their way back to even, only to fall under in overtime to the Blue Jackets for the second time this year.

I didn't actually get to catch this one, as I was in San Francisco last night for the belated Chinese New Year parade, but lemme just say, wow, what a parade it was. Some hi-lites: A giant dragon that took somewhere close to 100 people to operate, a float with a swinging door that opened to reveal a cute little girl waving, only to have the door close every now and then, SF Mayor Gavin Newsom out of his parade vehicle walking around shaking hands, exchanging hugs, and performing marriages (one of those might not be right), and even a drum corps that stopped mid-march, rotated, and went half speed.

But back to the Sharks, their loss last night brings their losing streak to three, losing in all three possible ways (regulation, shootout, and overtime, respectively). Its the first three game losing streak all year, and it continues a sluggish patch for the Teal since the All-Star Break. The top line has just 6 points in 5 games since January 25th, Evgeni Nabokov has 2 shutouts, but 3 semi-sloppy games as well. The defense is still missing Brad Lukowich, but the play of Alexei Semenov (until last night) has been solid in his stead. JR is still out, Torrey Mitchell is still out, both look to be back by the end of the month hopefully.

Last night's Jackets game was the first of the annual Sharks February Mostly East Coast Road Trip (for the tennis tournament that takes place at HP), and it was just the tip of the frozen iceberg. Tuesday, the Sharks are in Boston to take on the East leading Bruins, Wednesday they take on the defending East champion Pittsburgh Penguins, Friday they're on the shores of Lake Freezeyfreeze in Buffalo to play the Sabres, and Sunday they match up for an afternoon affair in gloriously safe Newark with the New Jersey Devils.

For selfish reasons, hopefully the Sharks awake from their late January/beginning February slumber, as I will be in attendance for the matchups on Tuesday in Boston and Friday in Buffalo. That's right, the Odyssey is back in the saddle, (or the airplane as it were) for another couple games, this time in the beautiful weather of the NorthEast division. Unfortunately not all 5 cities are in a row, so I won't be able to do like last year, but I will be at a couple. If you will be there, feel free to contact me, I'd love to meet up with you for a beer or something while I'm over there.

I'll check in from frigid Boston tomorrow night, as I will do each night this week.