Early start tonight! 7pm!! Randy and Drew, Jamie and Dan too! CSNCA and 98.5 KFOX have got you covered
Nemo will be back in the nets tonight for the Sharks as they take on the Calgary Flames. Last time these two teams faced each other the Sharks got a helluva shellacking, being shut out 4-0. That seems to be a theme anytime we face Calgary, one of the two teams inevitably embarrasses the hell out of the other. It's comforting in it's predictability, but annoying in it's tendency to not always go the Sharks way.
Tonight is the night the Sharks squash the Flames. Let's get out there and do it, boys!
We're going to do something crazy here and criticize last night's game. Sure, a win's and win and I am damn happy for it, but it wasn't exactly the Sharks most stellar outing. We think that deserves a little bit of attention.
Mina and I have seen a fair amount of games together, and we both came to the conclusion that if last night's game wasn't the worst game we have been to, it was solidly in our top three. The others being a terribly boring and slow Sharks v Columbus game that saw my husband and a friend nearly be driven insane by boredom (it was their first hockey game. Neither ever came back), and a game against Nashville where another friend literally fell asleep during the game. It was so bad, I think only the last 5 minutes of the game were worth watching. Last night's game was much like these in the sense that it was very slow, incredibly sloppy, and utterly absurd. The only thing it was missing was our friend falling asleep midway through.
Coming into last night's game the Shark shad 14 points, while the Islanders had 10. Despite this fact, it was very clear who the better team should have been and who was going to run the other one over and make them look like a peewee club. Sadly, the Sharks did this thing that they used to do a lot, but haven't done in awhile, which is to play down to the level of the team they are facing. I assume they do this to be polite, but they really don't need to be. This is about scoring more goals than the other guys, and if you have to embarrass them a little in the process, so be it. It's not like it never goes the other way for the Sharks. (and I can pretty much guarantee you the Flames don't feel bad about that game) The Sharks did a really good job of making the Islanders look good, which, for a club that was coming in on an 8 game losing streak, must have been nice. Still, if was frustrating for us, the fans, who had to sit there and watch 3 periods of guys falling down for no reason and consistently turning the puck over at the blue line or right in front of Niitty. There were so many icings in a row, I lost count. At one point, the crowd went nuts because Roloson (who is always annoyingly good against the Sharks, tossed the puck in the air and batted it down the ice with his stick AFTER making a save. That's how bad the play was. Roloson had enough time to do that and it got the crowd going. Dang, son. That ain't right.
This is not to say that the Sharks didn't get scoring chances, they did. Some really good ones early on too, but Roloson had his force field up and nothing was getting in behind him. The Sharks clearly were not playing up to par last night, and while they got the win, we weren't entirely certain they deserved it.
That goal they waved off was ridiculous. Incidental goalie contact and you wave the goal off. What-ever.
There were also a few icing calls that weren't actually icing. Mina and I begin wondering which rule book the refs had been reading.
I don't really bother me that the Isles scored the first goal, I pretty much saw that coming when the Sharks started letting their game fall apart. What bothers me is that the Sharks even gave them that chance.
Tavares got spun around by a Shark last night not named Murray. That was amazing.
A few times the Islanders just fell down. The Sharks did a few times as well. For once (plank) the ice did look terrible, despite it being cold enough to see one's breath inside the Tank last night.
We were both shocked that there was no news given on Husky Huskins last night after he took a puck off the ankle. The Sharks were clearly skating with only 5 Dmen, but apparently no one on tv covered that. (Working the Corners has an update on him here)
Another prime example of just how bad last night's game was; people were more interested in looking for the origin of the falling balloons that kept making there way to the ice rather than watch the game. Ouch.
After giggling over how Big Mike Cvik loomed over his fellow zebras last night, we came up with his "origin" story and why he seems to hate the Sharks so much. I hope to make that into story book form for you all this season. Good excuse to bust out my newly learned flash skills.
This is your super short gameday post. For those who haven't yet seen me bitch about it on Twitter, I strained the ligaments in my right, (read: drawing), arm and after 9 hours in the office today, even with prescription strength ibuprofen AND muscle relaxants, it's still pretty pissed off. Hence the short post.
Pound the ducks in the ground, sharks. I want roast duck for dinner.
Obviously, the big story here is still Thornton being out for the next two games. Thornton and his agent unsuccessfully attempted to appeal the decision, as the league upheld the original suspension. Perhaps the most telling line in that article is this, "When Joe asked the league, directly, what he could have done differently, they could not clearly explain."
Personally, I feel that if you can firmly state that a hit warrants a suspension of any length, you should be able to tell the player how to correct their behavior and avoid a similar situation the next time. That the League declined to do so is unsettling at best.
Still, there is a game to be played, and it should be quite the challenge for the Sharks, who have struggled offensively for the past few games. The Lightning are hot hot hot, and to come out on the winning side of the score sheet tonight would be a huge boon for the Sharks, as well as a huge confidence booster for the team. While it isn't panic time yet, the Sharks desperately need to get their game going consistently if they want to catch back up to LA and Dallas. (I believe the can).
Niitty has been tapped to start in net tonight against his old team. Hopefully he can show them a thing or two and make them wish they'd kept him along the way. With Joe out, Benn Ferriero has been called up from the WorSharks in an effort to fill in the gaps. I wouldn't be surprised to see Logan up with Patty and Heater on the first line tonight, as TMac has already messed with that combination and may feel more comfortable with it than shifting around his lines even more to try and find an offensive spark.
When I first heard about the hit I was driving home from work. I had missed the actual play, as it had occurred in transit from my desk to my car, but I was immediately struck by how against the call both Jamie and Dan were. Most would assume that was a result of your normally everyday homerism, but while Bakes has a tendency to be a little more homerish, both always point out when a call is good, even if it's one that hurts the Sharks. Rusanowsky is very even keeled, and that he was rather adamant in his opposition to Thornton receiving a misconduct, I was of the opinion that they were most likely right. Joe isn't a dirty player, hell he hasn't been suspended for anything since 2002, and he's not known for being a dirty hitter, so why the hell was he out for the night when the guy he hit was back on the ice the very next shift?
I decided I needed to wait and see the hit for myself before reaching final judgment. I ended up watching the post game wrap from Peggy Sue's where I did indeed see the hit. I didn't understand why that hit was worthy of a game misconduct, and I still don't. I don't understand why it was worthy of a 2 game suspension, either. The call on the ice was more than sufficient.
First of all, it's not a blindside hit. Yes, Perron is unaware of Joe's presence but that's largely because he's skating with his head down and turned through the neutral zone. Anytime you have your head down you are in danger of being hit, and hit hard. Regardless of whether you know a guy is coming out of the box or not, it's a bad idea.They don't call the type of pass he was trying to receive a "suicide pass" for nothing.
Secondly, after watching the video a few times, it seemed to me that contact with the head was largely the fault of Joe simply being a good 4-5 inches taller than Perron. He was not aiming for, nor did he intend to hit his head, he's just taller. He also has no way to know that in that split second, Perron's head will still be turned.I'm not even sure he knew it was turned to begin with.
I disagree with bakes assumption that Perron faked it, he was probably quite honestly shocked by the hit and needed a few seconds to collect himself. The potential for oversell by staying down and writhing some is debatable, especially when he gets up shortly there after under his own power, and is then back out without missing a shift. Now I am not saying a guy has to be seriously hurt for it to be a penalty, but with a league that seems to factor in injuries when looking at supplemental punishment, it almost seems like they just looked at the immediate aftermath and forgot that he said he was OK after the game and was just a little rattled by the hit.We've also been told/been under the impression that past behavior factors into these decisions, and this was Joe's first penalty of the year, and as I said earlier, his first suspension since 2002. Are they just really mad that he continues to insist on giving interviews shirtless?
Comparisons have been draw between this hit and Murray's on El Chupacabra, which was deemed worthy of the highlight reel. El Chupacabra never saw Murray coming, his head snapped back and he skated off woozily towards the bench after, but no call was made on the ice, or following a post game review of hit (if there even was one). Couple this 2 game suspension with Doan's 3 game one, and I feel less than comfortable about this decision.
On the surface, it looks a lot like the league is out to make an example of star players by suspending them for hits that include contact to the head, regardless of whether or not it is truly a blindside hit. Understandably, this has both fans and players confused. What is a punishable hit and what's not? Does the reaction of the player being run into factor it, and how much? What about size? Like Bakes points out, Murray can be boarded and nothing will be called because he's a brick wall on skates and very few players can actually knock him down. Should size be a factor? If so, how much? And can you really punish a guy for being big in a sport that allows direct physical contact?
What I want is consistency. The NHL wants to protect players, fine. By all means, take guys running at someone's head out of the game, but punish consistently. Examine all the factors surrounding the hit, see if it falls into your categories for suspensions, then move on from there. Don't just punish to make a point. You'll only confuse and annoy both fans and players, which is neither beneficial nor an effective distribution of justice.
Meanwhile, Carcillo does this and no one at NHL headquarters bats an eyelash in his general direction.
If you are going to punish players unilaterally for hits to the head, how the hell do you ignore that?
Do I agree with the suspension? No, not at all. The NHL would do well to sit down a better define legal hits, rather than appear to play a game of pin the penalty on the player every time someone gets checked into next Tuesday.
Right now the Blues are hot. They haven't had a season start that looked this good since they were sporting hose crazy saxophoned out watercolor jerseys. Yeah, those were slamming. The Sharks, on the other hand, while not off to a bad start persay, are decidedly less hot, and require a little more time in the oven before their blueline fully bakes and sets. The offense might be slightly underdone as well, getting shut out by a crazy good looking Backstrom and the Wild on Tuesday. It wasn't a bad game, but a loss always stinks.
It will be interesting to see who the Sharks go with in net. Even though he suffered the loss Tuesday, Niitty's hand is still hot right now, and I'd leave him in to see how he does. On the other hand, maybe you rotate Niemi in to see how he fares after sitting a few games out. (I mean, I wouldn't, but then again, I don't coach an NHL hockey team)