Wednesday, April 30, 2008
That's right, Bucketheads, we've gone from relying on our superb goaltending and A-list superstars to praying that random statistical quirks somehow play out. I might believe in Divine Intervention, but I don't know about arbitrary superstition... Maybe it's time to look into voodoo:
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
I suppose I should give Dallas some credit. They came to San Jose and played 2 perfect road games. The Stars played over 120 minutes of consistent hockey, demonstrated stand out goaltending, and capitalized on special teams. Oh, they're also boring the piss out of me, which I'm sure is exactly their goal.
The Sharks are the only team in history to wilt in the face of both adversity and tedium.
Maybe this is exactly what the team needs, though. It took dire straights in Round 1 to push San Jose to the next level. The Sharks are well-reputed as the best road team in the league (Dallas was 4th in the regular season, not too shabby). And from a rough count, the Sharks are 18-10 in back-to-back games in the regular season.
It's time for the big guns to take over a game. No Shark has taken the team on their shoulders and said "there's no f-ing way we're losing this game". Joe Pavelski and Jeremy Roenick and their ilk can't be responsible for the success of this squad. Patrick Marleau (-3), Joe Thornton (1 PT), Evgeni Nabokov (.837 SV%) and Brian Campbell (2 PTS) - it's time to step up. It's time to say there's no f-ing way we're losing this series.
Friday, April 25, 2008
- I don't ever remember being scared of Dallas in the regular season. Sure, we split the season series, but you can throw out the last game because it was completely meaningless. The game before that was a 3-2 OT Sharks win on March 27th. Before that? January 17th. Despite facing these guys 8 times during the regular season, we've had 1 meaningful match-up in the last 3 months. And you might have noticed, the Sharks got pretty good between 1/17 and now.
- Anaheim did a fantastic job of crapping all over themselves versus Dallas. 118 penalty minutes in 6 games? San Jose took 52 in 7. Anaheim averaged just 2.17 goals/game, while Giguere posted a 3.19 GAA and .898 SV%. Those are horrible stats. Just, just horrible. San Jose will not roll over and dump in the bed like these fellas.
- The best case for Dallas is the special teams disparity from last round, but those numbers are ridiculous. Dallas converted 26.3% of their playoff-high 38 opportunities. San Jose allowed 6 goals on Calgary's 22 opportunities, for an atrocious 72.7% kill percentage. I'm sorry, there's no f'ing way these things happen again. There's no way Dallas gets 38 power plays again. There's no way the league's best penalty kill gets brutalized that badly again.
The Dallas Stars are going through their game-day preparations at HP Pavilion, when out of nowhere, Brian Marchment sneaks up behind Mike Modano and yells, "WATCH OUT FOR YOUR KNEE, MIKE!!!" Modano then jumps 5 feet in the air and gets all pissed off; Marchment just laughs his ass off and goes back to his office. This happens at least 3-4 times during the course of the day.
Every time Brian Marchment injures a Stars player, an angel gets his wings.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
ESPN posted their annual, very entertaining ranking of fan satisfaction amongst the 122 franchises in professional sports. The franchises are ranked in categories of bang-for-your-buck, fan relations, ownership, affordability, stadium, players, coaches, and titles. Your San Jose Sharks are... *queue drumroll*
27th out of 122! 78th percentile! Not bad.
Let's dive inside the numbers:
- Overall, the Sharks are in the top 25 for bang-for-your buck (wins per cost of attending a game), and ownership. I think we all can agree with that.
- Our lowest ranking is coaching, 68 of 122, which is a little surprising given Wilson's resume. Then again, when you're on the hot seat for over half the season...
- San Jose ranks 8th amongst NHL teams. The Ducks get first (5th overall), with top 10 rankings in 4 different categories. Boo. Last? The Toronto Maple Leafs, with an overall ranking of 121 of 122! Burn! Dead last in affordability, second to last in titles, and third to last in bang-for-your-buck. Yikes!
- Out of Bay Area teams, the Sharks are second, just a few paces behind the Warriors (20th overall). After that, it's free fall into the abyss: A's (85th), Niners (102nd), Giants (104th), and Raiders (117th).
- I compared the average ranking for teams from the top 5 U.S. metropolitan areas as well as the Bay Area. The Bay came in 4th overall. Dallas came in 1st (44.3 average), then LA/Anaheim (56.3), Philadelphia (73.3), the Bay Area (75.8), New York (80.7), and finally Chicago (83.8).
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
"Can a building vibrate right off its foundation? Shake loose from its moorings from pure excitement?
HP Pavilion nearly did Tuesday night. In the first Game 7 ever played in San Jose, the building was a quaking, jangling bundle of nerves and emotion. By the end, it was rocking in an explosion of joy,"
-Ann Killion, San Jose Mercury News
"...our beloved Los Tiburones gave their howling home horde the best offensive period in HP Pavilion playoff history."
-Mark Purdy, San Jose Mercury News
"...an arena fan base that makes every game sound like U2's opening night in Dublin."
-John Buccigross, ESPN.comAnd yes, even the AP:
"Evgeni Nabokov made 19 saves for second-seeded San Jose in front of a deafening crowd at the first Game 7 in Shark Tank history."
-Greg Beacham, AP Sports
I love watching the San Jose Sharks because I can lose my mind and scream my lungs out with 17,456 of my best friends. Last night was the most fun I've ever had at a Sharks game, and I suspect that might be the case for a few of you Bucketheads.
Monday, April 21, 2008
This is why the Sharks played 82 games.
This is why the Sharks registered points in 20 straight contests.
This is why the Sharks won the most competitive division in hockey.
So they could play Game 7 at the loudest arena in sports - the Shark Tank.
Do a shot before the game. Punch a Calgary fan in the neck. Walk through those glass doors and up those fake marble stairs knowing tonight will not be the last time you see the 07/08 Sharks. Turn on your TV and set the DVR because you're going to want to remember the night of April 22nd, 2008.
Whatever it takes, San Jose, do whatever it takes to GET LOUD!!!
Get loud because you've been going to Sharks games your whole life but never one like this. Get loud because you couldn't get tickets but you want your neighbors, and your neighbors' neighbors, to know you're a Sharks fan.
More than anything, show hockey fans around the world, show the San Jose Sharks, show yourselves that San Jose has the loudest, most passionate fans in hockey. We've always wanted that title.
Tomorrow night we earn it.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Tuesday morning, April 15th - A miracle arrives...
Tuesday night, April 15th - The Sharks get miracle goals from Cheechoo and Thornton to even the series at 2-2.
Thursday night, April 17th - San Jose overcomes a satanic pact between Calgary and NHL officiating to take a 3-2 series lead.
Mere coincidence the Papal visit and the Sharks series turnaround happened at the same time? Think matters of sport are of no interest to His Holiness?
Hat tip to Kenny for inspiring this post. Without his help, I would have never found a picture of a Pope holding a hockey stick, and for that I am forever indebted. Read his thougts at Ken's Thougts.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
(The look on Wilson's face right after the goal is CLASSIC)
Ryan also talks about the other media outlet covering these past few games:
You want to see homerish distortion, tune in to Versus (which is really just the Canadian feed) for any series pitting a U.S. team against one of their own.
He is not kidding. Game 3 on Versus HD was actually CBC's Hockey Night in Canada. I hated missing Randy & Drew, but c'mon, this was the only broadcast in High Def.
It bothered me that, after the Sharks rushed out to their 3 goal lead, the CBC crew immediately started figuring out how the Flames could mount a comeback. I managed to shut my ears when the announcers proclaimed over and over that Sarich's headhunting was a perfectly clean play. It was over for me, though, when Calgary finally got on the scoreboard at 3-1 and the announcers yelled at the top of their lungs "THE FLAMES ARE BACK IN THE GAME!!!" I flipped over to CSN's standard definition broadcast - my eyes a little worse off but with my sanity intact.
Anyone else quit on the Versus HD broadcast?
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
WOW. Only 6 "buzzer beaters" in tie games in playoff history? That's incredible.
Note: 5 minutes of half-assed research couldn't dig up any news articles confirming that number. Welcome to the Chum Bucket - home of stuff I overheard while hitting the snooze button.
Actually, leaving as quickly as possible might be pretty sound advice for that one Sharks fan sitting in the front row of last night's game.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Out of nowhere, a puck slides into the room and a mysterious hologram of Patrick Marleau appears out of it.
Ehrhoff: (startled) Vhott ees dees?
Marleau hologram: Defenseman Ehrhoff, a couple of weeks ago you served the San Jose Sharks in the regular season. You could skate and pass, and somehow figured out how not to suck anymore. Now I beg you to help us in our struggle against the Calgary Flames. I regret that I am unable to present my request to you in person, because Cory Sarich made my face look like a Picasso splattered with spaghetti sauce. I'm afraid my one man mission to be the scoring, heart, and balls of this team during the postseason has failed. I have placed information vital to the survival of the Sharks on this puck. You must use this information to safely deliver San Jose to the second round. This is our most desperate hour. Help us, Christian Ehrhoff, you're our only hope.
The hologram disappears. Christian walks over to the puck, picks it up, and flips it over.
STOP BEING SUCH A BUNCH OF SCARED LITTLE BITCHES
Monday, April 14, 2008
Level VI: The Broken Axle
Definition: When the wheels come flying off in a big game, leading to a complete collapse down the stretch. ... This one works best for basketball, like Game 3 of the Celtics-Nets series in 2002, or Game 7 of the Blazers-Lakers series in 2000. ... You know when it's happening because (A) the home crowd pushes their team to another level, and (B) the team that's collapsing becomes afflicted with Deer-In-The-Headlitis. ... It's always fascinating to see how teams bounce back from The Broken Axle Game. ... By the way, nobody has been involved in more Broken Axle Games than Rick Adelman.
Best Example: I hate bringing golf into this, because it isn't a team sport, but remember the Masters tournament when Greg Norman blew the six-stroke lead to Nick Faldo, then ended up losing by, like, five strokes? That was the all-time Broken Axle moment. Plus, writing a "Levels of Losing" column and not mentioning Greg Norman would have been almost sacrilege.
(Simmons') Personal Memory: With 1:06 remaining in the Celts-Nets game in 2002, the Celts whittled it down to one and the Fleet Center roof was blowing off. So Byron Scott calls timeout and tries to pull the George Karl/Pat Riley routine; in other words, he stands about 10 feet away from the bench, his back turned, staring out to the court and hoping that his guys will talk things out and band together. Of course, the five Nets starters were sitting there, heads down, elbows on their knees -- and nobody said a word. In three decades of Celtics games, I've never seen a team look more demoralized. You couldn't have dug a ditch big enough for them.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
The Sharks let the playoff jitters get to them and clusterfucked their way to a 3-2 loss. The defense played like they just woke up from a long nap - lazy passes through the middle of the ice, Soupy's juggling of the puck that lead to Yelle's second goal. Did our 3rd and 4th lines even play last night? Iginla and Kiprusoff were absolute beasts. Oy.
Still, it's not all bad. I'm inclined to call Calgary's first 2 goals flukey. The Sharks showed stretches of domination during parts of the 2nd and the very end of the 3rd. Marleau was a man possessed; let's hope he's back to his old playoff form.
Now those jitters are gone, they've had less than 24 hours to let the loss get to them, so let's notch the series at 1-1 boys.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Bucketheads, games don't get more meaningful than during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Its every hockey fans' favorite time of year. My addiction to Sharks hockey truly began that fateful night in 1994 with an unbelievable game 7 upset of the Detroit Red Wings, and I suspect many of you have that same favorite Sharks memory. Its why I'm a fan.
Back to the present, the Sharks have had a rollercoaster season. From preseason prognosticator favorites to stumbling out of the gates to the hottest team in the NHL; From Cheechoo, Marleau, and Ron Wilson as pariahs to them becoming key players in the late season resurgence; From road warriors to a balanced and dangerous team regardless of the location; From Detroit's and Anaheim's punching bag to proving they can play with anyone.
After all that, San Jose has a lot to show for it - the second best record in the NHL and the hottest team in hockey (except for possibly Washington). Still, I'm filled with as much apprehension as excitement. The Sharks look more confident, more poised, and tougher than they have in years past, but that was during the regular season. I don't need to remind anyone of San Jose's recent postseason flame outs.
Flame out. Huh. I suppose it's only fitting we face the Calgary Flames in the first round. Shadows of past players (Kipper, Nolan, Smitty) and past failures (03-04 Conference Finals) abound. But I loved Doug Wilson's quote when asked about which team the Sharks would rather face in the 1st round: "It doesn't matter who we face. To win the Cup, we're going to have to beat the best teams in the league, period."
To win the Cup, San Jose will have to beat Calgary. And they will. Sharks in 6.
Friday, April 04, 2008
Bell's back in the news because of this
The first time I watched this I thought "That was the most blatant elbow I've ever seen". Honestly though, watching it again, it does look like he hit Alfredsson with his shoulder.
Still, the point remains that Mark Bell is a dumbass. Hey Mark, if you want to get away with a huge check, maybe you shouldn't wind up your elbow and swing it like a Louisville Slugger through the other guy's face. Just a thought.
Related: Probably my favorite post ever
A Nashville overtime loss and Calgary regulation loss creates an interesting scenario: tied in points, tied in wins, and tied in the head-to-head match-up, we proceed to the 4th tiebreaker, goal differential. Nashville has a +3 differential (229 goals scored - 226 goals allowed), amazingly/pathetically better than Calgary's -4 (222-226). I assumed that should this scenario occur, Calgary wouldn't make up a 7 goal difference during the course of a regulation loss.
For the curious, it looks like Calgary and Boston (currently -8) will be the only teams with negative goal differential to make the playoffs. Teams with positive differentials to NOT make the playoffs? Philadelphia (+10), Buffalo (+10), Vancouver (+4), and Chicago (+5). San Jose is 5th in the league at +31; Detroit's just a big show off with their +70.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
The San Jose SaberCats are rescheduling their April 12th game so as not to conflict with the likely Sharks playoff game that same day. The Sabercats will change their start time from the night to the afternoon, allowing the Sharks to play in the nightcap at 7:30.
Wait, no, that makes sense, so let’s do this instead:
“[The SaberCats will] move their start time against
that Saturday night from 7:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. - and that's the best-case scenario. Philadelphia
The worst case? One of those epic multiple-overtime games that define the thrill of the Stanley Cup playoffs. If that happens, the football game could start close to midnight and finish after the downtown bars close.”
Surely, this must be at the insistence of the San Jose Sharks.
Wait, no, the Sharks are getting shafted:
“Ken Arnold, the Sharks' senior director of communications, noted that the Sharks asked the SaberCats to play at noon so the Sharks would be at night.”
Uh… uh… well, ok, maybe one of the SaberCats has a doctor’s appointment? Promised to drive their mom to the airport? I mean, there’s got to be a legitimate reason for the steadfast refusal to switch time slots:
“[Phil Simon, SaberCats Director of Media Relations] said, "People were already coming to a night game. To completely change the time to earlier in the day would interfere with plans that these folks had already made."
You know what? You’re absolutely right, Phil. I imagine your reasoning went something like this:
“Never in the history of sports has a game ever had to be rescheduled. Never. Having our fans show up at 12 o’clock ON A SATURDAY would be a horrible, horrible inconvenience. Instead, they should show up at 8:45! Or 9:30. Or 11:30. Y’know, whenever that first game is over, because no one has any idea when that could be. Rather than inconvenience our fans by scheduling a firm start time on a Saturday afternoon, we’ll inconvenience them by scheduling a random start time in the middle of the night!”
Oh, also, that 8:45 start time is bullshit by the way. Let’s take a look at the example from the Merc:
“In 2004, a Sharks game started at noon, the deciding goal came less than two minutes into overtime, and the SaberCats kicked off at 8:37 p.m.”
Let’s say this overtime game’s length is roughly equivalent to that of a playoff (more ads). The SaberCats started their game almost 9 hours after the Sharks started their game. Applying that math, in the best case scenario of no playoff overtime periods, the SaberCats will kick off at 10:45 p.m. on Saturday. In the best case scenario!
SaberCat stupidity aside, this could have a huge impact on the Sharks. Players and coaches must rearrange their regular night game routine at the most critical time – Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The only justification I can imagine is the SaberCats trying to get their Pee Wee football team recognized as legitimate by not letting the real sports team do what they want. To do that, they’re pissing off every Sharks fan in the Bay Area and everyone in the Sharks organization. Which raises another question – the Sharks, SaberCats, and HP Pavilion are all owned by Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment. Why aren’t they stepping in and fixing this?