Monthly Archives: January 2012

Mid Season Break… where are we at?

Well, my sense here at the All Star break is that the Sharks are a good team, but that they are struggling to break through or be consistent against the strongest competition.

Several players have been performing consistently well and at a high level. My first half MVP is Marc-Edouard Vlasic. He’s been really consistent and has been matched up against the top lines consistently. I thought he did an especially good job against Alex Ovechkin. Other’s who’ve played consistently well are Couture, Pavelski, Jamie McGinn, Douglas Murray, Brad Winchester, and at least in contrast to last year, ‘the fourth line’.

So, who’s missing from that list? Right, Thornton, Niemi, Boyle, Marleau, and Brett Burns. It’s not that they haven’t played well, its just that they haven’t played well consistently. Nobody has a stronger slap shot than Burns, but it doesn’t seem to lead to a lot of goals. My sense is that what we’re missing is that one guy who can sit in front of the goalie and get tips or mess with him so that more goals can go in… If Dustin Byfuglien comes available we should grab him… (or anyone else who can skate and is 6-5 and 265 or so… I don’t think hockey players come in that size very often).

Injury problems? I’m not sure if we’re having a rough season or if this is just normal, but with Murray, Havlat, Clowe, Boyle, and Burns all missing games, I’m thinking that it has been and will continue to be a concern.

More later…

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Well, that didn’t take long…

Let’s see… a post a day for… 3 whole days! I blame having to work and then ‘having’ to watch the Sharks finally beat the Ducks this year.

A couple of pretty typical for the year games, 3-1 over the Ducks, and 2-1 over the Blue Jackets. Always good to win the back to back nights games.

Observations and Random Thoughts:

Brett Burns has a hell of a slap shot, but it doesn’t seem to be going in the net that much – it’ll be interesting to see how things go if he starts to find the net.

Joe Thornthon has been skating better lately, but he still needs to stop with the dumb no-look backwards passes that turn in to turn overs. And… the funniest point of the evening – I think it was in the 3rd period, Sharks on the power play and Joe had the puck with quite a bit of space. ┬áJust about the whole end of stadium called out in unison ‘Shoot’! I’m hoping that with this nifty goal tonight and the shot – big rebound – goal by Pavs from last night that Joe is beginning to get more agressive. I know for sure that he’s looked faster and more effective these last few games.

Ryane Clowe, Logan Couture, Brad Winchester, the fourth line in general, and both goalies (with Greiss getting the start tonight and doing a nice job), and the resurrected penalty kill are all looking good. Winchester has played on all 4 lines at different times this season and seems to be flexible enough to make that work. His snap shot goal against the Ducks is the kind of quick strike that we’ve been missing this year.

The Sharks are now 7-1-2 in their last 10, and still have played 3 or so less games then all the other teams… I would say they play a flashy game but they really seem to be playing consistently – the PK lately, for example has moved from ‘downright embarassing’ to ‘looking pretty solid’.

That’s it for now…

Up Tomorrow: An interview with the Shark’s chief nemesis this year, the Goal Post…

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Why the BCS sucks

This one is simple… Wisconson/Oregon – great game, lots of scoring, exciting finish… Oklahoma St./Stanford – great game, lots of scoring, exciting finish… (and I can’t help but feel sorry for that Stanford kicker). Is there any chance that Dull Bowl 2 will be a better game?

In other ‘bowl week’ news, other than the Baylor/Washington game, was there any other bowl game that was exciting? Is it a coincidence that a PAC 12 team featured in each of these high scoring games? Can anyone in the PAC 12 play defense?

Also, Sharks beat the Canucks in a shoot out – Niemi continues to be great in shoot outs. So now, the Sharks aren’t 0 for Vancouver. Ducks up next, can they get off the schnied with the Ducks?

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Welcome to the New Year…

Since today is all about college football (which I truly don’t get… I know there’s a gentlemen’s agreement between the NFL and NCAA to leave Sunday open for pro ball, but these games are supposed to be played on New Years’ Day). I’m looking forward to two games this year – Stanford vs. Oklahoma State and Oregon vs. Wisconson – I think OSU will beat Stanford, but regardless, the winner will have the ‘we didn’t get a chance’ argument wrapped up solid for this year. That said, all of today’s games have a long way to go to outdo the amazing Washington / Baylor game. There’s something to be said for leaving your defense at home during bowl season.

Other Seasonal Thoughts:

  • New Years’ resolution #1: eat less, exercise more (this one is approaching the lifetime achievement award for unrealized resolutions)
  • New Years’ resolution #2: get on top and stay on top of the household chores. As Bob Knox used to say: owning a home is God’s way of making sure you never have too much time or too much money. I want to take better care of the old abode.

Finally, a quick look at the NFL post season:

  • My Steelers are in the playoffs but I don’t see them getting past the Ravens or Patriots. They’re just too beat up.
  • Denver backed in with a loss yesterday but I think they deserve to be there as they seem to know how to play defense. The Raiders just couldn’t make a stop all day and if you can’t make a stop when your season is at stake you should have to stay home.
  • Same thing goes for the Cowboys. They just couldn’t make a stop when it mattered. Does it always come down to offensive and defensive line play?
  • And then how about Matt Flynn? He’s definitely got the ‘Matt Cassel’ effect going, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens with him in the off season. Plus, he’s part of the ‘rename all NFL QB’s Matt’ movement (there was a Grantland.com article on this, but I can’t find it to link it here, but in summary, there are 8 QBs named Matt (Cassel, Flynn, Hasselbeck, Shaub, Leinart, Ryan, Stafford, Moore), and possibly no other QBs who share the same first name… If someone want to compute the odds of that happening I’ll post it here.
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Out with the old, in with the new…

It’s been a busy year and posts here have been few but, inspired by a few weeks off, I’ve decided to try posting something each day in the coming year. Starting tonight to get a bit of a head start. Hopefully I’ll get some brownie points or something for doing this.

The first 1/3 or so of the Sharks season is in the bag and the sharks are at the top of the Pacific division, but they haven’t looked consistently good (or bad). Their early 5-1 road stretch followed by a 4-1-1 home stand put them in a good position early, but December wasn’t as impressive with a 4 game losing streak although they recovered to win 5 straight after that.

My personal choice for MVP so far is Marc-Edouard Vlasic. He’s +14 and just playing a remarkably consistent game. It’ll be interesting to see what McClellan does with his defensive pairings with Murray coming back from his hand injury. Vlasic has been paired with Dan Boyle and that pairiing has worked well in spite of Boyle being slowed by his foot injury. However, I’m excited by the prospect of Vlasic and Burns being reunited, that may be the best way to maximize Burns’ value.

Offensively, Pavelski and Couture are both scoring regularly and with 6 players having scored 7 or more goals the Sharks are getting the balanced scoring that seems to be their trademark.

Pleasant Surprises:

  • Jamie McGinn – 8 goals, contributing on the 3rd or even 2nd lines, he seems to have really arrived this year.
  • Jim Vandemeer – although he’s been out injured he was contributing both as a defenseman and as a fourth liner.
  • The 4th line – it seems to me they’ve just been really effective. Last year it seemed the 4th line was just non existant at times. This year they’ve been contributing regularly and rarely putting the sharks in the hole.

Needs Improvement: (nice way of saying ‘Hey dude, You Suck’)

  • Joe Thornton – yes he leads the team in points but he also seems to be leading the team in bonehead plays (turnovers in the defensive zone top this list). Also, Joe, please occasionally shoot when you have an open look, I think all your opponents have you figured as a pass-only guy now. You never know what might happen.
  • Jason Demers – Seems to have played better lately, but had a rough patch in late November / early December.
  • The Penalty Kill – again, seems better the last few games but really struggled early and again during their recent 4 game losing streak. At least the gap pass for the easy weak side goal has been shut down.

Well, that’s it for now – more tomorrow.

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