Saturday, January 17, 2015

Breaking It Down! - Jan 17th. 2015

On Saturday January 17th. the Sharks will play host to the Calgary Flames and your pal is Ian is going to be Breaking It Down for you!!  This is your semi-regular unofficial game preview post that gives you some quick numbers that you could get anywhere else with my opinions and a few minor tweaks.

Know Your Team - The San Jose Sharks

Current Record (W-L-OTL): 24-16-5, 53 Points and 3rd in the Pacific Division
Last 10 Games: 5-5-0
Power Play: 20.7% (8th.)
Penalty Kill: 81.6% (14th.)
Current Streak: 2 game winning streak.
Notes: Sharks are tied for 2nd place in the division losing out to Vancouver on a games played tie breaker as the Canucks have 2 games in hand.

Know Your Enemy - The Calgary Flames

Current Record: (W-L-OTL): 23-18-3, 49 Points and 5th in the Pacific Division
Last 10 Games: 6-3-1
Power Play: 17.6% (19th.)
Penalty Kill: 76.2% (26th.)
Current Streak: 2 game winning streak
Notes: The flames currently sit 1 point outside the 2nd and final wild card spot in the west trailing the Los Angeles Kings.

Thoughts and Stuff:

In my opinion the Calgary flames are this year's little engine that could.  While they are among a group of 4 surprise teams this year but I think of those aside from the Winnipeg that Calgary may be the most shocking.  In the summer not knowing what we know now if you asked a lot of people if they would rather be the Flames or the Oilers most people would have probably answered the Oilers and why not.  The Oilers despite their woes have the cupboard full of what at least appears to be grade A young talent from their absolute futility as a team while the Flames would settle for not being bad enough to be in last place but not good enough to make the playoffs for many years leading to mid round draft picks.  Ask that question today though and I think the answer would be much different. The flames also had to pay the price for moving kids for one that push, and one last push and one last push.  Now this isn't a team that is completely devoid of talent either Johnny "Hockey" Gaudreau has put together a nice 13 G, 20 A and +10 so far this season while taking 0 penalty minutes, Mark Giordano should be a Norris candidate with his 11 G, 26 A and +18 so far this season with 29 PIMS.  Sean Monahan is going to be a pretty big deal as well.  With Kari Ramo on the IR and although Hiller is playing much better than his record may imply it will be rookie Joni Ortio who will start his 3rd career NHL game as well as 3rd consecutive start for the flames after winning his first 2 with a 0.50 (GAA meaning he's averaging 1/2 a goal a game) and a .984 save percentage (98.4 shots on goal have ended in a save).  Now while the flames definitely have some talent this team gets by on their hard work, the term blue collar team was invented for teams like the Calgary Flames.

The San Jose Sharks had a few players finally find their way on the score sheet, with Marleau and Nieto who have come under heavy criticism amongst Sharks faithful scoring goals against the Toronto Maple Leafs.  I said in the post game GBU that aside from turnovers there was a lot to like about that Sharks effort and I agree.  My concern with this game is coming out with that same intensity.  These are a very important two points in the standings as the Flames while off the pace a little can take advantage of another run of November hockey from the Sharks.  The Sharks are going to have to get an early flurry of shots against Ortio get to him early and hope you can rattle the rookie a bit.  Expect another Niemi start as I have not read anything that would lead me to believe otherwise and frankly as it should be pretty crystal clear by this point that Niemi is the starter on this team and important games like this you start your starting goaltender.  The sharks keep winning so I don't expect any change in line combinations either unless Desi is going to draw back into the lineup which will necessitate some changes because I don't think Desi has done anything to warrant sitting when he is ready to go.

My Prediction: One teams 2 game winning streak must end and I think it will be the Flames.  Although for all the talk of trap games for the Toronto game, this one actually makes me more nervous.  The Sharks seem to have an issue with rookies, how many times have we watched a player get their first goal against the Sharks?  A rookie goaltender... yep this could be trouble.

Finally I got a question! The question is in the leafs GDT (Game Day Thread) you said that writing GBU (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly) is 100x easier than writing Breaking It Down. Why?

Cool question, thank you! The reason that it is harder to do this piece than the post game GBU is that this one simply takes more work.  I have to track down a lot of numbers for this blog as well as ideally know things about our opponent which sometimes requires some research because I don't care or hear about lets say the Columbus Blue Jackets as I do say the Edmonton Oilers.  So a lot more preparation goes into these posts because I try to use them as a this is what I think about the sharks post but also do like to try to give you as much information about our opponent as possible  The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is simply watch game and within 20 minutes of the game write post about said game.  Now this isn't always easy as sometimes the sharks are awesome and I feel like a total douche bag filling out the Bad and Ugly.  Also sometimes the Sharks play November hockey and I feel like I'm just adding to the overwhelming sea of negativity already on the board and worry about alienating some of my readers.

Again awesome question.  If you have a question  you would like answered please send it to

Also if you would like to read previous blogs you can find them at

What are your thoughts on tonight's game?  Is the new know your team and know your enemy better now or before?

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