My defensive corps! They do nothing!
Let's just address the large bloated, and likely somewhat smelly rotting whale carcass in the room; I am REALLY sick and tired of seeing people bitch about goalies.
Three games in and people are all ready to trade Niemi and Nitty for two bags a pucks and a slurpee. We'll ignore, of course, how all these arguments/complaints/rans/raves/personal expressions of outrage are EERILY similar to the ones that used to be attached to Nabby's name. We'll forget that "Nabby should've had that," has been supplanted by "Nabby would've had that." We'll also forget that, as Mina said tonight, "Nabby goes to Russia and suddenly everyone forgets he couldn't shut his damn legs." (she means his 5 hole, people) Because clearly, clearly, Niemi and Nitty are terrible, and in no way shape or form are subject to the abilities and performance of the team in front of them on a nightly basis. Nay, they can quite clearly win the entire game themselves, and since they're not, well, we should get rid of them.
Seriously, it vexes me beyond words to see this. It's like everyone turned in to freakin Edzo when Nabby left for Russia. What. The. Hell. People.
Yes, your goaltender is, somewhat literally, your last line of defense. Puck gets past him, odds are, it's not going to be good. In front of him lies a defense that is supposed to defend. Beyond them lie the forwards who are supposed to collapse back and help their guy keep the puck out of the damn net. Let's take the first Thrashers goal of the night as an example:
After it went in, the guys behind us were already shoving Niemi under that bus that used to drive through Nabby's 5 hole, but it wasn't his fault. The play started when Patty made a HUGE mistake and gave the puck to someone not in teal. They took it, sped up the ice with it, all while Dan Boyle and some other guy for the Thrasher sped off with them. It was at this point that Boyle lost his man. That guy the scored. Do you see what the problem was there? Do you see how it was two OTHER GUYS not named Niemi that allowed that goal? Niemi didn't have a chance on that one. He wasn't happy about it. I'm pretty sure he was swearing in Finish after it went in, but it wasn't his fault. If your forward turns the puck over and that's followed by an epic defensive lapse, guess what? That puck is pretty much always going to end up in your net.
Either start spreading the blame around to those who really deserve it, or shut up about it. Your argument is flawed and I WILL continue to call ALL of you out every time you do it.
Now then, after a rather successful, if not somewhat sloppy first period, the Sharks kinda fell apart completely. The reason they lost the game was they played terribly. Man, did Dan Boyle ever have a bad night! Patty did too. Actually, I'm pretty certain nearly everyone had a bad night. Passes were sloppy, things weren't connecting, they spent waaaaaayyyy to much time in their own zone, really, just kinda a bad game over all. The immediate inclination is to blame the long week off, and while I am sure it was a factor, I think the onus is on the Sharks as a team to refocus themselves and get back into the game. They weren't able to do that and it cost them.
Atlanta, on the other hand, looked much improved over last year. Apparently becoming "Blackhawks East" was a good decision for their hockey club. The skated well, passed well, and seemed far more confident and aggressive on the ice than they have been in the past. (admittedly we don't see them very often out here but that was not the same Atlanta Thrashers team you saw last year.) Look for them to become quite the pest in the East this year.
I was really displeased to see some many people take off with four minutes. Ok, look, it was kind of a stinker, I know (I was there), but it's the home opener! Even if it wasn't, man, you paid for those tickets, you might as well stay the whole game. You're not just a fan when they're winning. You gotta be in it for the long haul. We've sat through 7-2 losses and still managed to have a good time. (really, with a loss that bad, how can you not? You have to make your own fun, and we did) Don't leave early. Only Dodgers fans leave early.
(emergencies are of course always an acceptable reason to leave any even prematurely. This includes non life threatening, but still really un-enjoyable, common illnesses.)
But seriously refs, it's a trip OR a dive, it's not both.
Twitter went down, as did the internet, right as scattered concentrations of murmurings told Mina and I the Giants game had ended. Randomly bits and pieces of the crowd started cheering, and it wasn't for the guys on the ice. When they showed the final score on the big screen, the place erupted. All the players looked up to see what was being shown because the reaction was that crazy. Maybe the Sharks just didn't want to ruin the Giants mojo. You never know.
That one dude totally looked like Aubrey Huff. He was all kinda of soaking up the cheers that were meant for the Giants, but being directed at him. He was wearing a Giants jersey and got shown on the big screen. He loved it. You could tell.
Heater got his 300th career goal. Loving it!
So he might not thave the "bish please" flare Nabby had when making stops by Niemi made some great ones tonight. Yes, he has a tendency to be out of position, but I'm thinking that's how he plays. He's kinda like "Turco light." Hopefully he's just as funny.*
Next game is on Tuesday at 7:30. Hurricanes will be in town. Be there or be somewhere with cable and or radio coverage!
*random Marty Turco mic'd up at the All Star Game reference