Just going to hit on a few quick points before launching into some essays below.
First, the Sharks needed this win and it was great to see them get it. Having already beat the Ducks twice this season, it would have been a massive embarrassment to continue the 5 game losing streak against them. Not to mention losing another game on home ice. That would have made for a long 4 days between games for both fans and players if that had happened.
I believe I coined the term "Boozalf" last night. Use it with zeal.
I didn't get to watch all of the first, but I was listening to it. The Sharks didn't start out strong, but the definitely picked up by the second half of the 1st period. I'm a little mixed on this because Anaheim played in Vancouver the night before, and you'd think the Sharks, knowing this, would come out strong against them, but it didn't quite happen that way.
By the second, however, the Sharks were dictating the play. The Ducks started to throw their bodies around, trying to out muscle the Sharks because it was becoming obvious that they couldn't out hustle them. Unlike in years past, however, the Sharks kept control of the game, and their emotions for the large part, to take a 2 goal lead.
Perry and Murray had a few run ins. Some more heated and out of hand than others. You may be a goalie seeking missile, Corey Perry, but Douglas Murray eats men like you for breakfast.
Anaheim came back to absolutely dominate the beginning of the third. It was painful to watch as all the energy and zest the Sharks had in the 2nd fell to the ice and stayed there as Boozalf scored an early goal on Nabby. It was a helluva shot too.
The Sharks spent most of the first 3 minutes of the third stuck in their own zone. They looked terrible. It was absolutely ridiculous.
That's been one of the problems the Sharks have had all season. They can't reliably clear the puck out of their zone, and it's lead to some nasty consequences. Forget the fancy passing and pretty looking plays, just get the puck the hell out of your zone, and try to do it while avoiding icing. The Sharks burned their timeout after being stuck on the ice for way to long because they're efforts to clear the zone, and clear it well, were less than successful. Icing, icing, icing, icing, and oh look, icing. Ugh.
At some point the Sharks realized that this would be a stupid way to lose a game, and they put their collective feet back down on the gas, and once again started controlling the play. After that, what had been a surprising 2-1 game quickly became a 4-1 beauty.
Have to give major props to Jiggy. He kept the Sharks scoreless in the first and did everything he could to keep his boys in the game after the went down by two. He played out of his mind. Thankfully for us, so did Nabby. Giguere looked really good though and I spent the better part of the first wondering if this was going to be another one of those games where the opposing goaltender throws up his force field and gives us absolutely nothing but amazing saves all night.
Friends, Romans, countrymen, click read more below to read more. You will be glad that you did.
There were a few interesting points brought up in the game thread over at Fear the Fin last night that I wanted to expand on a bit. Let me see if I can find the links to those areas so you guys can have a better idea of what was said.
It seems that I can't link directly to a specific comment over on the FTF boards. I'll keep poking around to see if there's a way but until then, this is the link to the open game thread. It's long, but it's the best I can do right now.)
There's been a lot of debate about Seto being placed on the first line. The HTMLine was cooking and demoting Heatley broke up that chemistry. It's not that he can't score down on the second line with JoePa and Clowe, or that he was complaining about being on the second line, it's just that until last night, Seto was useless up on line 1.
I'm of the opinion that a player has to earn their spots. If you're playing well enough to be on the first line, guess what, you may get some time with them. Todd's done that before, which makes me inclined to believe he's of the same mind, at least partially.
I understand the idea behind bumping Seto up to line one. You want to motivate him, get him going after being injured and then being less than stellar since his comeback. What disturbs me though, is the idea that he has to be on the first line to play well. Rusanowsky and the guest co host on the radio last night (former Shark who's name I really don't remember. Sorry) discussed how Seto has a tendency to preform better when one the top line than he does when on lines 3 or 4. He's less motivated and plays with less passion on lines 3 and 4.
Honestly, if you've made it this far and you can't find a way to properly motivate yourself no matter what line your on, I'd just as soon bench you because that's a poor attitude and a poor work ethic. Laziness was the dig against him in the scouting reports, and according to the discussion last night, DW drafting him raised more than a few eyebrows because of it. The Sharks don't like lazy players. Sharks fans don't either. We will call out players who aren't preforming. We expect a lot out of our team, and if you aren't perceived as pulling your fair share, you're not going to make any friends amongst fans.
Seto's first year in the league was a back and forth between the AHL and NHL as the organization tried to get more production and improvement in skill out of him. It worked, and he worked his ass off to stay up here full time last year, which was great. But now it's like he's settled and feels he's too important to lose his place. That's a dangerous mind set to have. The Sharks have a lot of kids down in Woostah who've been up with the big club this season, who are outworking Seto, and may well play him out of the roster at some point. If that happens, as I believe Ang6666 said last night, he only has himself to blame.
There were also a few comparisons to Cheechoo. That Seto is like Cheech 2.0 but he doesn't work nearly as hard or as reliably as Cheech did. No matter what, Cheechoo worked his ass off every night he played. We sadly can't say the same for Seto.
This lead to a short conversation about Heatley. When he was traded here we were told that he had a poor work ethic, was full of drama, and was going to be a huge nuisance in the locker room. I didn't want him here, based off everything I knew about him so far. Skill aside, he seemed like he might be a bit too much of an drama dude in a locker room that is somewhat famously without drama. Since he's arrival, he's shown himself to be anything but what he was billed as. He plays well, he's not whining about being on line 2, he's working hard on the ice (when he isn't globetrotting) and is honestly happy to be here, as far as I can tell. All I ask in cases like this is that the player in question work hard (check) play well (check) and doesn't act obviously douchey (check). He won me over, I have to say. I allowed him the opportunity to do so, though. Despite having been burned before (Guerin and Campbell), I still do my best to let the player prove to me that he deserves to be here and was worth the cost. Heatley has shown that he is and was.
I won't get too into the Corey Perry conversation, but there was some discussion about whether or not he was Pronger 2.0, the douchey-er model. It's an interesting read.