Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly! - Feb 28th. 2015



Now it's time for the post that is listening to My Own Worst Enemy by Lit on repeat.  It's your IanBlogsSharks official post game wrap up. It is also the officially unofficial post game blog for anywhere else it ends up.  It's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!  Sharks lost in the sharkiest of shark ways and your pal Ian is going to tell you how he saw it.

The Good: During the game I felt so good I thought this was going to be the biggest part of the blog and I was going to tell you all how the Sharks made a move to get into the playoff race again.  It was a good start though the first period had us wondering where these Sharks were all year.  They came out of the gate shooting and Wingels got himself a goal while Neimi made some good saves all in all there was positive feelings about this team.  There was some other good things about this game too, Sharks were great in the faceoff circle winning 33 draws, they blocked more shots and they had 12 takeaways. Power play got an important goal as well.  The much maligned Patrick Marleau got a nice goal and I thought had a pretty good game.

The Bad: Sharks got themselves into some penalty trouble some of which was bad calls, some of it is serious look in the mirror material.  The problem with this though is they gave up 2 goals to the 25th ranked power play in the league.  The Penalty Kill was a high point for this team for parts of this season and has become this teams absolute undoing (along with undisciplined play to begin with).

The Ugly: The Sharks had only 2 shots for 3/4 of the 3rd period an basically gave the game away on a silver platter, Neimi was really good for long stretches of the game but came up empty when we needed him most.  His rebound control is terrible at the worst possible times.  Karlsson may have had his worst game in Teal, I think that his little run of luck is all but up and it's time to re-tool the top lines. Oh and stop me if you heard this one before... the Sharks had 18 giveaways.

Final Thoughts: The what, the why and the how don't matter anymore... all that matters is the 2 points and getting them when it matters and the Sharks have failed to do that.  Not winning a home game in an entire month when most of your games are at home is unacceptable especially when your claim to fame is having one of the toughest NHL arenas to play in. There is no more excuses now, bad calls, bad hair, it doesn't matter they have to find ways to win and find them damn soon.  What do they do now? I honestly don't know... start Stalock?  Nothing says they will fare any better. Shuffle the lines... again.  If I'm Doug Wilson I'm working my phones and I'm selling anything that's not bolted down (by NMCs) or vital to the future of this team and hoping for a better tomorrow.

Remember if you have a question you would like me to answer in the Breaking It Down blog please e-mail me at ian.blogs.sharks@gmail.com, unless you ask I will not post who asked the question so don't worry about how stupid you think the question may be because to me there is no such thing.


If you want to read previous blogs please check out http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca

Breaking It Down! - Feb 28th. 2015



On February 28th. the Sharks will host The Ottawa Senators and your pal Ian is going to be Breaking It Down!  This is your official game preview blog of IanBlogsSharks.blogspot.ca as well as the officially unofficial game preview post for anywhere else it finds itself posted. Its purpose is to give you some quick numbers and my opinions on not only our Sharks but their opponent of the night.

Know Your Team - The San Jose Sharks

Current Record (W-L-OTL): 30-24-8, 68 Points and 5th in the Pacific Division
Last 10 Games: 3-6-1
Power Play: 20.6% (6th.)
Penalty Kill: 80.4% (21st.)
Current Streak: Lost 2
Notes: The only division the Sharks have a winning record against is the Central Division.

Know Your Enemy - The Ottawa Senators

Current Record: (W-L-OTL): 26-23-10, 62 Points and 6th in the Atlantic Division
Last 10 Games: 6-3-1
Power Play: 16.6% (25th.)
Penalty Kill: 83.0% (10th.)
Current Streak: Won 4
Notes: The Senators are the only non-playoff team in the east with a positive score differential at +6

Ian Breaks Down The Ottawa Senators:  For all the Shark fans who whine bitch and moan about the regime of Hasso Plattner I give you Eugine Melnyk a guy who has admittedly fallen on hard times because of other business ventures has a TV deal worth an estimated 400 M regional TV deal with TSN has raised average ticket prices an estimated 46% over the past 2 years and yet is by all accounts an internal cap team.  Yes Shark fans it could always be worse although the drop in the Canadian Dollar has only made these financial problems worse and that cannot be discounted.  On the Ice however there is promise of a brighter future if they can find the pieces they need and the money to pay them.  Outstanding offensive defenseman Eric Karlsson has managed 45 points this campaign and has even managed to get slightly on the right side of =/- with a +2.  The problem of course is that he tied for that point total with Bobby Ryan.  Goals have not come easy for the Senators as they have come by committee, only Mike Hoffman has found the 20 goal plateau scoring 21 thus far.  It will be interesting to see if any other members of the team can find it as the next closest scorers have only scored 15 goals.  The lack of production has been the Senators downfall this year as they can't score their way out of problems the defense overall hasn't been terrible and goaltender Craig Anderson has a very decent 13-11-7 record with a 2.37 GAA and an impressive .927 SV% unfortunately for the Senators he is nursing a hand injury.  Also the Senators may have held on to the wrong prospect in Robin Lehner but in a small sample size Andrew Hammond has shown promise and could very easily get the start tonight which never ends well when the Sharks face a rookie anything.

Ian Breaks Down The Sharks: Cue the record breaking and horse beating gifs because these blogs are probably going to get pretty redundant was we head through the stretch run of the regular season but the Sharks need a win here. The sharks need wins and they need help from other teams if they are going to make it to the first round that's all there is at this point. This as good an opportunity as any to get back into the win column as they face a team who although has played very well of late are not a playoff team and have a smaller chance to make it to the dance than the Sharks.  A win tonight isn't enough though it has to be the start of a good run, a run that we probably have not seen this year and a run that I'm not confident is in them but yet I sit here hoping beyond hope that I'm wrong as much as I'm a prideful guy I have never wanted to be wrong more in my entire life.   I watched the abbreviated version of the Detroit game on game centre and there is a lot of good to take from that game before it all went to hell at the end.  The other major point of curiosity is not what we the fans think about our chances which seems to be pretty even between the doubters and those who still think we have a chance but what does Doug Wilson think?  The answer to that question will be answered by 3 PM EST (Noon Pacific) on Monday when the trade deadline is officially upon us.  Does Doug Wilson sell?  Does he try to make a move like the Panthers who are no more guaranteed to be in than we are or does he stand pat?  I have a hard time with the idea that he does nothing at all but it could happen.  I'd like to see a selling of assets but a buy at least says to me he has a direction.

My Prediction: Sharks put 75 shots on goal but because goalie is rookie he gets a shutout, because Sharks, LOL!

Remember if you have a question you would like me to answer in the Breaking It Down blog please e-mail me at ian.blogs.sharks@gmail.com, unless you ask I will not post who asked the question so don't worry about how stupid you think the question may be because to me there is no such thing.

If you want to read previous blogs please check out http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca


What are your thoughts on this upcoming game?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hot Take Alert - Feb 25th. 2015



This special hot take alert is my review of sorts of the road to the stadium series.  I'm going to try doing this as a video as well to maybe do some video blogs which if are liked or successful could lead to Good, Bad and Ugly blogs being done as a quick video when I'm already up past my bedtime.  So if you take the time to watch I love your feedback and I do have thickish skin but there is no reason to be a super dick.. I'm aware that I may have a face for Radio.

I want to start this by saying as much as it's easy to draw some conclusions about the stadium series game but the one thing that is super important to remember is we don't know what was left on the cutting room floor, we got the month in the lives of 2 teams that got crammed into 4 hours. Is there stuff we didn't see, absolutely.  I'm also going to talk about the LA Kings like an adult and I know that upsets people too. 

Where was Patrick Marleau or Logan Couture? We got to peak in the lives of a few players I was honestly Shocked that we didn't see very much from Marleau at all considering what he has meant to this franchise throughout his career. Also for a guy who many people pegged last year to be the new face of the Franchise we didn't see a whole hell of a lot Logan Couture either both contributing some interview sound bites. 

A new respect for TMac.  I have always thought that TMac was a good coach but sometimes his lack of intensity on the bench could match the team's lack of intensity.  After watching this show I have a new respect for TMac and think that he is a great coach, my personal feelings on this team at this point is that the problems are more in the player personnel.

Pavelski for Captain!  When the shit hit the fan it seemed like Pavelski was the guy to try and rally the troops, I thought that when the C was removed from Thornton that Pavelski should have been the guy to get it and nothing changed my mind on that.  Also from what we were shown I was shocked how quiet Jumbo and Marleau were, to a man it seems like the guys still say this is Jumbo's team but it was strange. 

No Mike Richards Saga: I was shocked that this didn't get any air time at all I thought it would be an interesting topic to cover although Its obviously not the feel good story of the century for the Kings.

Things that I noticed different between the teams... I don't know if it's because the Kings were on the road so much of the series but was anyone else surprised how much closer the Kings appeared than the Sharks.  It seemed like every episode that the Kings were out doing shit in large groups and the Sharks were at home, or in their room with their roommate, aside from some in flight hi-jinx the Sharks  players seemed perfectly happy to just be by themselves.  I don't think this is a unique thing to the Sharks but I can't help but wonder if aside from depth which the Kings seem to have in spades is this what separates the teams.

Handshake-Gate:  I'm not going to re-open this one too wide I hope but this may be the most overblown thing in the history of well... ever.  I understand why people want the Handshake but to me even in the playoffs the handshake line is almost as fake as the original 6.  A lot of media types that used to play the game often talk about how much they hated it.  It's a good lesson for the kids though and it is tradition but I'd be more up in arms if this was the playoffs than a glorified regular season game and I'll leave it at that.

Overall I really enjoyed the series despite the game outcome it was cool to peek into the world of the Sharks and it was really balanced as far as air time and coverage.  A quick


What are your thoughts of the series what did you find interesting either from the show or in its omission?


Thanks for the read/watch!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - Feb 21st. 2015 - Stadium Series



Now it's time for the post that few are around to read and even fewer are going to want read tomorrow after they look at their account balances.  It's your officially unofficial, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!  Sharks lost in an uneven effort at Levis Stadium and your pal Ian is going to tell you how he saw it.

The Good:  I thought overall the game went off well enough I don't think the ice looked overly bad at any point in the game, the puck moved around mostly like one would expect it too at an NHL game.  The Sharks put together their most consistent effort in the 2nd period now they didn't score but they put a ton of pucks on the net I thought they hit well and carried a momentum from the last five minutes from the 1st period. The Penalty Kill was good enough keeping the Kings power play off the board.  Although off to a slow start the sharks did best the Kings in the faceoff circle winning many important draws.

The Bad: Power play is all dried up again.  I shudder to think offensively at least where we would be without Brent Burns because he seems to always find the back of the net when the Sharks are sucking sand.  I didn't care for the lineup tonight, I'd have much rather a Tierney or Goodrow in over Scott the Sharks have been better when the bottom six can get things going I thought Scott was more of an anchor on his line mates than a help although I acknowledge the sweet pass he made.  The effort was inconsistent at best, more details in the ugly and the Sharks turned over the puck 18 times.

The Ugly: The Sharks missed the first 15 minutes of the 1st period, the Kings had won seven straight face offs before the Sharks had won their first it is frankly amazing that the score was tied coming out of that 1st period.  A lot of credit has to go to Antti Niemi, and I fought with myself a lot over if I was going to put Nemo as bad or ugly and I decided Ugly.  I'm so sick of the soft ass goals.  Yes a defensive breakdown led to the goal but it's not like the puck was 10 feet away... the shot was taken from 25 feet away with no traffic that is a save an NHL goalie should make every damn time.  Oh and if you are going to reply with "I'd like to see you make that save" I'm not the guy collecting millions of dollars to do it so it's irrelevant if I can make it or not. I have a defended Nemo a ton this year but right now I'm nearing the end of my rope with him and no I don't like Stalock any better than I did a week ago.

Final Thoughts: First I was surprised how well received my Breaking It Down preview post was received today and appreciate all the reads and feedback I honestly didn't know how it was going to be judged and I'm glad that it was overall good.  Second I hope for all you guys that actually went to the game that despite the outcome you feel like you got your monies worth. From TV it's kind of neat-ish but it's really just another game. Finally the Sharks gave up a very important 2 points and I'm starting to feel a genuine sap of my optimism that this is even a playoff team now, I know the standings are close and there are a lot of games left to play but with these uneven effort games I can't even begin to put my finger on what the problem with this team is and have no idea how you fix it.  I'm honestly almost to the point where if they traded Niemi tomorrow I don't know if I raise a fuss like I would have 5 hours ago.  It's such a frustrating time to be a fan, I'm not going anywhere obviously but I'm not going to sit here drinking my teal cool-aid telling you how awesome everything is right now.

Remember if you have a question you would like me to answer in the Breaking It Down blog please e-mail me at ian.blogs.sharks@gmail.com, unless you ask I will not post who asked the question so don't worry about how stupid you think the question may be because to me there is no such thing.


If you want to read previous blogs please check out http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca

Breaking It Down! - Feb 21st. 2015 - Stadium Series!!


I'm hoping everyone does not mind but I'm going to toss the usual format out the window for this Breaking it Down post because frankly if there is one team we should probably know almost as good as our own it's the LA Kings.  Here is what you do need to know going into this game, the Sharks are in the final wild card playoff seed with 68 points in 60 games played, the LA Kings are in outside the playoff seeds with 66 points in 57 games.  A Kings regulation win would leapfrog them back in front of The Sharks in the standings based on the first tie breaker (fewer numbers of games played) .  A Sharks win or overtime loss would leave them the Sharks ahead of the Kings in the standings.  Our Sharks have won their last game and have gone a very mediocre 3-5-3 in their last 10 and the Kings are on an impressive 6 game winning streak going 7-3-0 in their last 10 to say this is the tale of 2 teams going in opposite directions would be an understatement.

Before I really get into things I want to say that this is something that I wish I could have been able to attend it's awesome that the NHL put a second outdoor game in California as when these things first started I thought it was going to be a Chicago, Pittsburgh and Washington circle jerk that you would be lucky to get invited too. Nothing I say going forward is trying to diminish how cool the spectacle will be or how awesome it probably is for those in attendance.  So now that I have you all wondering how Ian the Grinch is going to steal the stadium series game, I guess I'll get down to business.  The one thing we all need to remember is that when you take the venue and extra coverage and all the other layers off this game it is only really one thing, a very important 2 points in a very tight playoff race, and on that level it is no less important than if it were to be played at SAP Center or Staples Center. There are going to be a lot of people in the media and even on our little Facebook group that are going to try and build all kinds of false narratives around this game and I'm going to try and knock them down before they start in my usual Grinch fashion bellow.  

1) A Sharks win gives us redemption for last year's playoffs embarrassment. 
False: It's a glorified regular season game, while it's always nice to beat the Kings, true redemption can only be found in the playoffs.

2) If the Sharks lose this game it's because they can't win the big game. 
False: It's a regular season game and in reality no more important on any level besides maybe some bragging rights its 2 points in a tight playoff race, for perspective the Kings got shutout in the Stadium Series game and they were so broken up that they just went on to win the Stanley Cup.

3) A loss would show that the Sharks can't beat the Kings when it matters.
Mostly False: The Sharks need all the points they can get right now and I'd argue that all the points "matter" so right now they are losing to a lot of teams "when it matters", the Kings are not special.

4) A Sharks win would be a good momentum builder.
Mostly True: A sharks win in front of that huge crowed should be an awesome momentum builder and if they start rolling through teams we might be able to look back and say man that Stadium Series game got them amped up.  They could also lose their next game because that's basically what they have done a lot since their last "big wins" throughout the season.

5) This is a must win for the Sharks.
True: It is a must win but not because it's the stadium series game, but because everyone has made better use of the game they have played already and have games in hand on the Sharks.

So if weather your watching at home or especially if you're lucky enough to be at the game enjoy this once in a life time experience, enjoy the spectacle of it, enjoy the moment and hopefully enjoy a Sharks win because lord knows we need one.  Most importantly though leave the false narratives at home don't make this game bigger than it is for the wrong reasons and it will probably be an enjoyable experience regardless of the outcome.

Remember if you have a question you would like me to answer in the Breaking It Down blog please e-mail me at ian.blogs.sharks@gmail.com, unless you ask I will not post who asked the question so don't worry about how stupid you think the question may be because to me there is no such thing.

If you want to read previous blogs please check out http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca


What are your thoughts on this upcoming game?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly! - Feb 19th. 2015



Now it's time for the post that remembers the Alamo.  It's your officially unofficial, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!  Sharks got a much needed win in Dallas and your pal Ian is going to tell you how he saw it.

The Good: WE WON A GAME!!!! Even though I know we beat the Coyotes all of what 3 games ago with the changes in the playoff picture with all the teams around of having games in hand and passing the Sharks in points it had felt like forever since we had won a game. When I first saw the lines for today's game I thought well that is a messed up 4th line but apparently I'm a moron because it was the line that actually scored on a goalie with 2 goals be Desjardins and an assist from Hertl on Vlasic's goal.  I thought Niemi played a much needed solid game.  Sure the Stars almost got back into the game but they were also allowed to put 15 shots on goal of which Niemi stopped 14 on the way to a 37 save night.  The sharks Defense looked good blocking 24 shots.  The Sharks only gave up 5 giveaways, lately that's been a period for them.

The Bad: Special teams continue to try and defy physics by sucking and blowing at the same time.  The power play looked like a disjointed mess for the most part and the penalty kill allowed yet another goal.

The Ugly: The Sharks really played with fire after scoring their 3rd goal.  Dallas was all over them putting a ton of shots on the net, once the 3rd period hit they only had 2 shots on goal before getting the empty netters.  Against a better team this effort would have buried them.

Final Thoughts: Sorry for the brief blog tonight guys my mind is honestly elsewhere.  The Sharks got a much needed 2 points to try and keep pace in the playoff push but a Vancouver win tonight did them no favours.  The Sharks are probably going to need some help to get into the playoffs but they have a lot of work to do as well to get themselves in.  They probably won't control their destiny through the stretch drive but they can certainly take themselves out of the race... more games like tonight and that won't happen.

I'm hoping to do my Stadium series preview tomorrow and will review the whole road to the stadium series after its final episode airs next week so look out for that.

Mail Bag:

Question:
Ian what is the ROW column mean in the standings?

Answer: 
ROW stands for Regulation and Overtime Wins and is exactly what it sounds like, the accumulation of all non-shootout wins. 

The ROW statistic is used at the 2nd tie breaker for regular season standings.  When determining seeding/ranking at the end of the year when games played are equal it is the first tie breaker.  If Team A (ROW43) is tied for points with Team B (ROW 40) they will first look at the ROW column to break the tie the team with the higher ROW number will be seeded higher. (In this case Team A would be seeded higher)

Remember if you have a question you would like me to answer in the Breaking It Down blog please e-mail me at ian.blogs.sharks@gmail.com, unless you ask I will not post who asked the question so don't worry about how stupid you think the question may be because to me there is no such thing.


If you want to read previous blogs please check out http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca

Breaking It Down! - Feb 19th. 2015



On February 18th.  the Sharks will visit The Dallas Stars and your pal Ian is going to be Breaking It Down!  This is your semi regular officially unofficial game preview post that gives you some quick numbers and my opinions on not only our Sharks but their opponent of the night.

Know Your Team - The San Jose Sharks

Current Record (W-L-OTL): 29-22-8, 66 Points and 5th in the Pacific Division
Last 10 Games: 3-5-2
Power Play: 21.1% (7th.)
Penalty Kill: 80.4% (20th.)
Current Streak: 2 game losing streak
Notes: The Sharks are 9-4-1 against the central division this year, It's arguably the best division in hockey.

Know Your Enemy - The Dallas Stars

Current Record: (W-L-OTL): 27-22-8, 62 Points and 6th in the Central Division
Last 10 Games: 6-3-1
Power Play: 17.5% (21st.)
Penalty Kill: 79.8% (21st.)
Current Streak: Won their last game.
Notes: Sticking with the same theme the Stars a scary 10-2-1 vs. Pacific Division teams.

Ian Breaks Down The Stars:  The Stars are a team I expected so much more from when the season opened, I thought the acquisition of Spezza and Ales Hemsky would give them maybe one of the best 1-2 punches in the league but the problem with Dallas has always been that they have a mediocre at best defense and while the injured Seguin and Benn continue to score a ton of points, Spezza has had an OK season while Hemsky has had one to forget.  Back to the defense they have some nice pieces but really lack an elite top pairing guy, Alex Gologoski can put the puck in the net, former Shark Demers can when he wants too and Trevor Daley is a good but again don't rank anywhere near the elite in the NHL.  To me this is the game you start Alex Stalock instead of Nashville.  Losing Seguin makes their most recent push look very much like too little too late but with how tight the western race is you probably shouldn't stick a fork in them yet but of all the teams in the race this is your big money long shot. Kari Lehtonen never really lived up to his draft position but is still a serviceable goaltender who despite a rough start is a big part of the reason that the Stars were able to start a late season push even though most people left them for dead.  His career record against the Sharks is 5-7-3, 3.30 GAA and .908 SV%.

Ian Breaks Down The Sharks: The Sharks are in a world of trouble and it's their own doing.  Everyone they are competing with for playoff spots in the Pacific has at least a game in hand if not more, the suddenly surging Minnesota Wild are a point behind them with 2 games in hand.  Of course if the Sharks can fight their way back into the top 3 the Wild can get as many points as they want and it won't affect the Sharks but the central division could potentially steal both of the wild card seeds.  As of now the Sharks sit outside the playoffs as hated rivals the LA Kings moved into the last playoff seed and show no signs of slowing down.  To say shit just got real is an understatement.  Now lets not get too down on the team just because they are outside looking on based on a tie breaker they are going to need help from other teams but most importantly they have to start helping themselves which means that winning 3 out of 10 is unacceptable, sure they gained 2 loser points a long the way but which helps, but getting another 8 points in 10 games is a sure way to be watching the playoffs instead of being in the playoffs.  I thought the Sharks really threw some gasoline on the Niemi trade rumors by not having him play last game they now will hit those rumors with a fire hose somewhat with a start tonight. Niemi has a career record of 9-4-5, 2.28 GAA and .920 SV% vs. the Stars.

My Prediction:  The Sharks in their excitement to play the outdoor game forget they even have a game in Dallas tonight and lose by forfeit as they tailgate outside Levis Stadium.

Mail Bag:

I got a great question (as always) but the answer would have made this a huge read but if you missed it you can find it here: http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca/2015/02/q-feb-18th-2015.html

Remember if you have a question you would like me to answer in the Breaking It Down blog please e-mail me at ian.blogs.sharks@gmail.com, unless you ask I will not post who asked the question so don't worry about how stupid you think the question may be because to me there is no such thing.

If you want to read previous blogs please check out http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca


What are your thoughts on this upcoming game?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Q&A! - Feb 18th. 2015



Q&A is a new blog by yours truly that is going to act as a mail bag of sorts that is going to be made up of questions that I have been asked or things that I notice on the blog that people are saying lots of things about but not knowing the answer.  If you have something you would like me to write about please send it to ian.blogs.sharks@gmail.com. 

Today's Question Usually I rephrase the question but this time I'm just going to leave it as is....

Hey Ian, I just wanted to say I love your blog! Just bumped into it through the Facebook page as I was reading your post-game review of the Sharks VS Preds game.

 I wanted to ask you about your thoughts on having Niemi on the table for the March trade deadline. You don't have to necessarily post this on your Q&A but I would love to hear some opinion on this! From some comments I've read off the FB group, I can see you're pro for keeping Niemi for the rest of the season in terms of it being a more suitable solution rather than tossing him out and having Stalock as a starter. Also, I wanted to know how you felt about other possible trades? Maybe Mike Green for example from the Caps as a boost to our d-line, and if we could even add on a defensemen, how that would come to play with exchanges from our own or losing a couple of draft picks? 

The Answer:

First thanks for the reads and thank you for the question even though I may be a bit snarky on the board at times it's never personal and I genuinely appreciate everyone that takes the time to read my blog even if it's to tell me its shit. 

Now for the question itself.  When I answer this question in other threads you have to have an idea of what we think the Sharks mindset is.  Now the only person who knows where all the bodies are buried in this case is Doug Wilson, a guy like me can only listen to what the man says and speculate my own conclusions.  A lot of people will tell you Doug Wilson laid it all out in the summer and we are only hearing what we want, the issue to me is Doug Wilson said a lot of things that frankly contradicted himself but the one thing that we seemed to hear more than anything else was that this team continues to get younger and it's supposed to be a playoff team while we inject younger talent.   Going by that statement I don't see how this team is a playoff team without Niemi, the Sharks are in tough to make it even continuing on as they are as all their rivals have games in hand and the Sharks losing more than they are winning.  So that is where that opinion comes from.

To play devil's advocate lets decide that Doug Wilson decides that he wants to sink the ship now, if that became the official case than my feelings would change based on that information.  If he wants to torpedo the team (too little too late in my opinion.) Than for sure you want to try and get something of value for Niemi and any other UFA but I still don't move them just to move them I want forward looking deals and picks.  Again though I like to keep my speculation grounded in some sort of reality based on  what we know, the NHL isn't NHL 15.

To answer the last part of your question the problem with a lot of guys that get named off like Mike Green in particular is that they are all UFA's at the end of the year meaning that San Jose can move assets to the Capitals to get him and he could not sign with us in the offseason meaning we lost all those assets for nothing even worse he could resign with the Capitals in the offseason a move like this could set the re-*enter buzz word here* back a year maybe two.  If I'm making deals especially for a big ticket guy I want to know that they are going to be here next year and beyond.  A good example of a player that I might look into is Ryan O'Reilly for example who has one year left on his ticket next year the cap hit isn't terrible and you have him for another year.

Last thing I'll say as an aside is that I'm not a huge fan letting Niemi go at this point at all if you can get him around for another few years at a decent amount of money that is the right play, our goalie pipeline sucks in my opinion as I'm not high on Groesnick or Stalock and especially not keen on the combination of the two being our rotation in San Jose the underlying numbers and age don't point to NHL success as starters which means that if I'm Doug Wilson I'm looking for a top flight goaltending prospect either by trade, Malcom Subban is a name that gets brought up that i'd at least roll the dice on or by draft this fall.... I'll write draft stuff closer to draft time so stay tuned.
I hope this answers your question, if you have any further fire away.  All comments are of course welcome.


If you want to read previous blogs please check out http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - Feb 17th. 2005



Now it's time for the post that gets undressed faster than the Sharks defense. It's your officially unofficial, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly! Sharks get stoned by Pekka Rinne allow 5 unanswered goals and your pal Ian is going to tell you how he saw it.
The Good: Take a screenshot of this because The Good and Matt Irwin will probably never be together again but you have to hand it to the kid he was great today, finished with a goal and even in the +/- battle. I have liked the way Irwin has played a lot lately the problem is that I don't know if this is Matt Irwin or the one that we want to drown in a box full of kittens is the real one. Personally I try to get something for him or just get rid of him but give the man his due it had a good game. The sharks did have a ton of shots and good opportunities.... and that kids is the good.
The Bad: I don't put this all at Stalocks feet, but I feel like I post this every time he starts, finishing games with a .856 SV% is unacceptable.... that's it. Sure they all were not his fault but a couple were... and before you get on me about Nemo this and that, I have called out Nemo plenty. Save your breath. I just don't understand the reason Stalock was starting tonight instead of a Segin-less Dallas Stars. Special teams took another night off the PK allowed a goal and our PP didn't score it had its chances tough.
The Ugly: The old adage is your best players have to be your best players, and tonight our best players were not, bemoan +/- all you want but it's not Hannan and Irwin that are minuses in this game, its Marc Edouard Vlasic (-3!), Logan Couture, Justin Braun, Melkar Karlsson and Matt Nieto (-2) and Brendan Dillon, Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton (-1). This team now has a -5 goal differential meaning that this year it has allowed 5 more goals than it has scored. This is a sad state of affairs people.
Final Thoughts: I can go on and whine all night but there is enough of that already. This team needs to get their shit together and fast the road is going to run out and I don't know at this point if their journey gets them off the streets of the regular season and on to the high-way that is the playoffs. I wish I had answers but I don't know what I could offer more at this point that would be something we don't already know.
Remember if you have a question you would like me to answer in the Breaking It Down blog please e-mail me at ian.blogs.sharks@gmail.com, unless you ask I will not post who asked the question so don't worry about how stupid you think the question may be because to me there is no such thing.
If you want to read previous blogs please check outhttp://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca

Breaking It Down! - Feb 17th. 2015



On February 17th. the Sharks will visit The Nashville Predators and your pal Ian is going to be Breaking It Down!  This is your semi regular officially unofficial game preview post that gives you some quick numbers and my opinions on not only our Sharks but their opponent of the night.

Know Your Team - The San Jose Sharks

Current Record (W-L-OTL): 29-21-8, 66 Points and 4th in the Pacific Division
Last 10 Games: 4-4-2
Power Play: 21.4% (7th.)
Penalty Kill: 80.8% (17th.)
Current Streak: Lost one
Notes: The suddenly surging Kings are only 2 points behind San Jose for the last remaining western conference wild card and have 2 games in hand.

Know Your Enemy - The Nashville Predators

Current Record: (W-L-OTL): 38-12-6, 82 Points and 1st in the Central Division, and the entire NHL.
Last 10 Games: 7-2-1
Power Play: 17.8% (18th.)
Penalty Kill: 81.3% (14th.)
Current Streak: 5 game winning streak
Notes: Nashville is the 6th best 5 on 5 goal scoring team in the league and score most of their goals in the 2nd period.

Ian Breaks Down The Predators:  In the offseason when we were all speculating about if TMac was safe or not a name that I would bring up in these conversations was Peter Laviolette, now keep in mind this was before the Sharks sat on their hands all summer but I always wondered if the sharks loaded up one more time and got a coach like Laviolette who gets fast results and diminishing returns could lead the Sharks to the promise land.  That being said I like TMac mostly but these are fun rabbit holes to go down in the doldrums of the off season.  To call Nashville a surprise would be an understatement.  This is a team that many talking heads has finishing out of the playoffs all together and yet here they are. Nashville made a lot of off season moves and although in the off season they looked like the bridesmaid instead of the bride I think you can argue now that they did well enough.  Rumors had them inquiring about San Jose's Joe Thornton before making some other moves like getting James Neal.  The big story this year is the breakout season of probably Calder winner Filip Forsberg who has 19 G, 31 A and is a +22. They have this Shea Weber guy on the blue line who is pretty good at hockey, he is of course helping mentor Seth Jones who is only going to get better.  The main reason that Nashville is where they are though is the reassurance of a healthy Pekka Rinne who will start tonight for Nashville who in my opinion is in the top 3 goalies in the league and has earned a record of (33-7-2, 1.97 GAA and .931 SV%) Forget the Vesina, Rinne should be in serious contention for the Hart.  In his career Rinne has been a stone cold Shark killer, while his 7-4-4 record may not impress you the 1.94 GAA and obscenely good .943 SV% should.

Ian Breaks Down The Sharks: As I pointed out in the previous GBU, the Sharks did a lot of the things we have been asking them to do for quite a few games against the Sharks with the obvious exception being win the game. The Sharks are obviously looking to build on that effort despite some roster movement and a ton of rumors swirling around the club.  First the roster moves, Justin Braun returns to the lineup tonight which means that Tennyson has been sent back down to the AHL.  I appreciate this is because Tennyson is the only guy that is waiver safe but I can't help but be a little annoyed by this because I feel that he has had a real break out year and this means that Hannan will probably be in the line up every night with Mueller and Irwin rotating in and out of the lineup.  I am however excited that Braun is returning.  Now to the rumors which is in about 100 posts now with my own 2 cents all over many of them so I will try not to get too long winded here. Last night rumors surfaced that the Sharks are shopping starting goalie Antti Niemi who is set to become a UFA this spring.

Now before I go further please acknowledge that what I am about to say is rampant speculation so if that's not your thing this is where you get off...  Still with me?  Ok! 

Further adding fuel to the fire is the Sharks decision to start Alex Stalock (5-6-1, 2.68 GAA, .903 SV%) against the league's top team tonight now there are a lot of ways you can take this it could be as simple as Nemo gets a night off after the Sharks racked up a few losses.  However it is not uncommon for a player who has a deal in the works to not play in a game, obviously they are going to dress Niemi and sit him on the bench but I wonder if Stalock stays in net if the score goes really high in the predators favour.  This is a real curious move by the Sharks, at this point in the season it's pretty clear that Niemi is the starter so the idea of going with a guy who has a losing record and a piss poor save percentage against the league's best team is either the greatest troll job ever or where there is smoke their might be fire.   I think trading Niemi depending of course on the return is waving the white flag on the season, even if they increase their blue line I don't trust Stalock to be the guy that gets us in.  Once we are probably getting smashed either way but if you were going to torpedo the season at the end why not do it sooner in such a deep draft when we are in the middle of a re-*enter buzzword here*.

My Prediction: Nothing in Sharksland makes very much sense to me right now, I don't know why we are going with Stalock in this game and this has all the signs of the Sharks being taken to the woodshed, which of course means we are going to blow them out and Stalock will be our new savior because our memories are so, so short.

Remember if you have a question you would like me to answer in the Breaking It Down blog please e-mail me at ian.blogs.sharks@gmail.com, unless you ask I will not post who asked the question so don't worry about how stupid you think the question may be because to me there is no such thing.

If you want to read previous blogs please check out http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca


What are your thoughts on this upcoming game?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Q&A! - Feb 16th. 2015



Q&A is a new blog by yours truly that is going to act as a mail bag of sorts that is going to be made up of questions that I have been asked or things that I notice on the blog that people are saying lots of things about but not knowing the answer.  If you have something you would like me to write about please send it to ian.blogs.sharks@gmail.com. 

I have recently got a few questions in my PM's about Junior hockey in Canada so I decided to put together this piece to give everyone a quick rundown of the Canadian Hockey League, for those already familiar with the CHL you will learn nothing new here but for those that don't I thought this would be a nice for those who are interested.

What is the Canadian Hockey League (CHL)? 

The CHL is actually an umbrella organization that unites and represents 3 regional hockey leagues that combine for 60 teams, 52 located in Canada and 8 teams in the USA.  These leagues are the Western Hockey League, The Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.  The CHL was founded in 1975. Players in this league generally range from 16-20 years of age but a team can only carry 3 players who are 20 and 4 that are 16.  A 15 year old may play if they have exceptional status... more on that later. 

The Western Hockey League (WHL) is a 22 team league made up of teams from the provinces  of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia as well as a division of 5 teams located in the USA from the states Washington and Oregon.  The league was founded in 1966.

The Ontario Hockey League (OHL) is a 20 team league made up from teams in the province of Ontario as well as 2 teams from the state of Michigan and 1 in Pennsylvania.  The league was originally founded  in 1933.

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) usually simply referred to as "The Q". is the smallest of the 3 leagues with 18 teams from the Provinces of Quebec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.  There are no teams from the USA in the Q.

The leagues for the most part run individually handling things like supplemental discipline, as well as some flexibility with rules for off-ice situations.  They all have a regular season that concludes with best of 7 playoffs and crown their own champions.  They also have a series of events that encompass players from all 3 member leagues.

Annual CHL Events

The CHL Import Draft: All CHL teams as of this writing are allowed to carry to "import players", American players are not considered imports as the distinction is reserved for those players from Europe and Russia.  These players are selected in a separate draft from the standard draft which are done individually by the three member leagues. 

The Subway Super Series: This is an exhibition tournament that is usually held in November that spans 6 games in 6 randomly selected cities that pits a group of selected Russian players known as the Russian Selects against an all star team from each league for 2 games (2 games vs. Team QMJHL, 2 vs. Team OHL and 2 vs. Team WHL).  The points accumulated by the regional league teams are added together as team CHL and the team with the most points at the end of the super series is declared the winner, so far team CHL has won the most series since its inception in 2003.

CHL Top Prospects Game: 40 of the top undrafted prospects play in a game that is usually a lot of fun to watch, it's what everyone wishes the NHL All Star game was as there are a lot of scouts usually in attendance.  The game is coached by Don Cherry and Bobby Orr and other former players and coaches often act as assistant coaches.

The Master Card Memorial Cup:  This is the grand finale of the CHL season that pits the champion teams from each of the three leagues and a host city against each other in a round robin followed by followed by a single elimination playoff format similar to international hockey tournaments.  Aside from the Stanley Cup Playoffs or an Olympic year with NHL players this is a big must watch for me. The host city is decided in a rotation between the three leagues, the 2015 Memorial Cup will be hosted by the Quebec Ramparts of the QMJHL and the 2016 Memorial Cup will be hosted by Red Deer returning to an OHL city in 2017.

To host the memorial cup there are a few factors that come into play one is that your team actually has to be good and considered a contender within your league, because of the other qualifications it has become a point of much debate.  You need a state of the art facility because its big money tournament now.  You also need a solid organizing committee and community support.

Other quick facts

Unlike the NHL, the CHL cannot refuse to send a player to the IIHF U20 Tournament (The World Junior Tournament)

The CHL has a rule where kids that are considered exceptional talent can play in the CHL at the age of 15, players who have had this distinction have only come from the OHL thus far and the short list includes John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid and Sean Day.  At least check a 15 year old had to wear a full cage.  While all CHLers must wear visors.

If a players rights are owned by a CHL team and are drafted by an NHL team the player can only play in the NHL or be sent back to the CHL.  They cannot be assigned overseas, to the ECHL or the AHL with the latter only being an option for a quick conditioning stint. 

If a player plays a game in any of the 3 CHL Leagues they are no longer eligible to play in the NCAA because they are considered a professional.

54% of all NHLers come from the CHL, 24% from the NCAA while the remaining players come from the various European Leagues.

I hope this post was interesting as a non-sharks piece.  If you would like to check some stuff out on your own here are some links.

The Main CHL Website:   http://www.chl.ca/
The WHL Website:           http://www.whl.ca/
The OHL Website:            http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/
The QMJHL Website:       http://theqmjhl.ca/
Buzzing The Net:              http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/jrhockey-buzzing-the-net/
(A Yahoo Sports Blog)

If I fucked something else or if you have questions fire away in the comments!

If you want to read previous blogs please check out http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca


Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly! - Feb 15th. 2015



Now it's time for the post that ran away from home because it just can't do anything right there.  It's your officially unofficial, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!  Sharks lost to the Lightning and your pal Ian is going to tell you how he saw it.

The Good: Despite the final score there was a lot of good to take away from this game in my opinion, for starters this was a pretty good effort for most of the game I thought that the only time the Sharks gave the Lightning anything was after the 4th goal where the game was all but lost.  The Sharks out shot, out hit, dominated the faceoff dot, got a power play goal, the penalty kill came through, you can do down the list of critiques from the last few games aside from win the game and the Sharks did them all. Logan Couture and Brent Burns put the pucks in the net and Vlasic didn't show a ton of rust from his recent absence despite finishing the game with a -2.

The Bad: I didn't think Niemi has a bad game overall but that last goal was soft as baby shit, worse it really kicked the win out of the sails of a team that was playing some great hockey.  Nemo has to have that shot and its inexcusable.  The rest of them while savable where not the kinds of goals that makes you lay this game solely at his feet. If you don't want to give Niemi his due blame you can shift your focus to Dillon who's bonehead play led to the empty netter.

The Ugly: 23 Giveaways and only 7 blocked shots, the Sharks were sloppy on the defensive side of the puck and didn't do enough to try and atone for their errors. The Irwin Tennyson pair was the only defenseman to finish even or better with the rest of the D-Corps sitting in the minus with a -2 and -3 for Scott Hannan.  Yes Vlasic back makes this team better and this game shouldn't have you saying see Vlasic is back but the team still sucks... if you think that your an idiot that said if you think this is a cup winning D-Corps you are equally delusional.  The Sharks add to their losing record at home.

Final Thoughts: I'm not really upset about this game, the Sharks could have won it and I think they could beat Tampa in a 7 game series but you don't always win the games you deserve to and for 3/4 of the game I thought the Sharks were the better team while Bishop was simply better than Niemi. It's frustrating that for a building that is so hard to play in the sharks have strung together a losing record at SAP Center which is ok if their road record was significantly better... it's not.  The points are important and while I'm not super frustrated with the team it's hard not to look back at this point and look at points that the Sharks have pissed away and wish you had a couple in the bank so you can lose a game that you deserved to win unfortunately the Sharks are at the point that they shouldn't lose points for any reason, justified or not.  Its only going to get harder as they travel to Nashville next.

Remember if you have a question you would like me to answer in the Breaking It Down blog please e-mail me at ian.blogs.sharks@gmail.com, unless you ask I will not post who asked the question so don't worry about how stupid you think the question may be because to me there is no such thing.


If you want to read previous blogs please check out http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Breaking It Down! - Feb 14th. 2015

On February 15th.  the Sharks will host The Tampa Bay Lightning and your pal Ian is going to be Breaking It Down!  This is your semi regular officially unofficial game preview post that gives you some quick numbers and my opinions on not only our Sharks but their opponent of the night.

*All stats accurate as of 2/14/2015 6pm EST.*

Know Your Team - The San Jose Sharks

Current Record (W-L-OTL): 29-20-8, 65 Points and 2nd in the Pacific Division
Last 10 Games: 5-3-2
Power Play: 21.2% (7th.)
Penalty Kill: 80.6% (17th.)
Current Streak: Won their last game
Notes: I can't remember the last season where the Sharks had a losing record at home, but they do right now

Know Your Enemy - The Tampa Bay Lightning

Current Record: (W-L-OTL): 34-17-6, 74 Points and 2nd in the Atlantic Division
Last 10 Games: 5-3-2
Power Play: 17.4% (21st.)
Penalty Kill: 79.7% (23rd.)
Current Streak: Lost their last game.
Notes: The Lightning are 7-3-0 vs. pacific division teams.

Ian Breaks Down The Lightning:   The Lightning have had themselves one hell of a year so far tied for 1st in the Eastern Conference with the Montreal Canadiens who hold the tie breaker. They have dominated much of this year going and impressive 25-7-2 against members of their own conference with most of their wins coming at the expense of division rivals.  They have also broken the trend of the best Eastern Conference teams getting dominated by West teams.  This is honestly a team that can be very fun to watch and one that I would like to watch more often if I had the time to do so.  There isn't really anywhere that I find this team to be overly weak you have an offensive corps lead by probably the best pure goal scorer in the game in Steven Stamkos, the vastly underrated Victor Hedman on Defense and a top 5 goalie in the league in Ben Bishop and that the tip of the ice berg. The surprising thing about this team is the special teams futility both categories in the bottom third of the league. That said the Sharks will need to lock down their discipline and not tempt fate with a scorer like Stamkos on the ice. While Stamkos may get most of the spot light the one should not overlook the offence of guys like Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and even Ryan Callahan has on pace for a 20 goal season. Anton Stralman has been an offensive weapon from the blue line as well.  In goal, sharks legend Evgeni Nabokov was made expendable and placed on waivers because of the promising play of Andrei Vasilevskiy who has gone 4-1-1 with a 2.00 GAA and a .932 SV%, however I expect the Sharks will see Ben Bishop who will be looking for his first victory against the Sharks with a 0-2-1 record with a 3.62 GAA and .904 SV% vs. team teal.  Don't let those numbers fool you though he is 27-10-3 with a 2.47 GAA and .910 SV% on the season.

Ian Breaks Down The Sharks: The Sharks are coming off a big win, but I'd argue their second good game in a row because I liked their effort against the capitols for the most part.  What I don't like is their early game efforts and spotting the lightning even a goal off the hop in this one could be a recipe for disaster.  Sharks faithful are hoping that this will be the game we see the return of defensive rock Marc Edouard Vlasic or early season partner Justin Braun which would return the Sharks to respectability on a very thin blue line.  In Vlasic's absence the Sharks have gone 1-3 with the defence looking down right brutal on many occasions.  Even if neither return for this game I think the sharks can find success if the remaining defence plays more physically aggressive which has been an element that has really lacked from their game.  The defenceman who I have noticed the most is probably Tennyson in that four game stand.  Joe Pavelski is coming off a hat trick night that saw Thornton get 3 assists and they will continue to need help from their top 6 forward as well as their bottom six if this game is going to go in their favour.  A team effort that last for a 60 minute hockey game. 
  
My Prediction: Vlasic and Braun literally parachute into the arena as reinforcements and its enough to turn the tide as the sharks pick up a much needed home victory.

Remember if you have a question you would like me to answer in the Breaking It Down blog please e-mail me at ian.blogs.sharks@gmail.com and if you want to read previous blogs please check out http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca


What are your thoughts on tonight's game?

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly! - Feb 14th. 2015



Now it's time for the post that had a hallucination in the desert to determine the meaning of its own existence.  It's your officially unofficial, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!  Sharks snap a three game losing skid and your pal Ian is going to tell you how he saw it.

The Good: Joe Pavelski, who has always been my choice to replace Thornton to wear the C (Even though Jumbo shouldn't have lost it in the first place) showed everyone why tonight.  Pavs is one of the guys that in my opinions is always in the mix and someone I rarely center out for having a bad game.  Was all over the pace tonight logging almost 20 minutes of ice time and getting 3 goals on 5 shots. Although Niemi didn't look great on the first goal he allowed the Sharks to get back into the game making 32 saves and finishing with a .941 SV%. The Power Play came back to life after a few game absence which was much needed. All in all it was a good rebound to a bad start of a game that had us all saying "here we go again".  Scott Hannan was more impactful in less minutes getting an assist and finishing as a +2.  300 wins for TMac is a nice milestone.  Jumbo with 3 assists reminds everyone how dominant he can be when he's on.

The Bad: Sharks continue to make due with a slim D corps Mueller has played better games in his NHL career but played what has to be a career high 18:09 tonight up from about an average of 15 minutes in the previous games that he has played.  The Penalty Kill continues to be an area of concern allowing yet another goal if the sharks can't get the penalty kill under control they may have to try paying off the refs/taking less stupid penalties.  Tennyson had an off night as well in my opinion.

The Ugly:  The Sharks cannot start every game giving up soft goals in the first 5 minutes going forward.  A team like the Lightening (their next opponent) will bury them if you spot them an early goal.  While it's nice to see them finally pushing to win games as it progresses they should try doing themselves a favor once in a while and not make stuff so damn difficult.

Final Thoughts: This was an important win for the Sharks, with LA surging and having 2 games in hand as well as Vancouver who somehow still has 3 games in hand the Sharks need all the points they can get.  To me it's imperative that they finish in the divisional seeds (top 3) and not end up in the wild card where they risk playing one of the power houses in the pacific.  It's hard to get too high about anything the Sharks do at this moment so enjoy the win but don't look to far ahead because there is a lot of important games to be played.

What are your thoughts?


Remember if you have a question you would like me to answer in the Breaking It Down blog please e-mail me at ian.blogs.sharks@gmail.com and if you want to read previous blogs please check out http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Breaking It Down! - Jan 11th. 2015

On February 11th. the Sharks will host The Washington Capitals to wrap a quick 3 game home stand and your pal Ian is going to be Breaking It Down!  This is your semi regular officially unofficial game preview post that gives you some quick numbers and my opinions on not only our Sharks but their opponent of the night.

Know Your Team - The San Jose Sharks

Current Record (W-L-OTL): 28-20-7, 63 Points and 3rd in the Pacific Division
Last 10 Games: 4-4-2
Power Play: 20.6% (8th.)
Penalty Kill: 81.5% (16th.)
Current Streak: Lost last 2 games
Notes: Sharks have a losing record vs. The Eastern Conference with an 8-10-2 record.

Know Your Enemy - The Washington Capitals

Current Record: (W-L-OTL): 29-16-10, 66 Points and 4th in the Metropolitan Division
Last 10 Games: 4-4-2
Power Play: 23.1% (4th.)
Penalty Kill: 80.4% (19rd.)
Current Streak: Lost their last game
Notes: The Capitols have the second best win percentage in the league  (.833) when scoring first.

Ian Breaks Down The Capitals: How a year changes things, last year the Metro Division was the joke of the league being commonly referred to as the Meh-tro Division but this year thanks in part to a healthy John Taveras, A Rangers team basically picking up where they left off last year and an always good regular season Penguins team it has regained a little respect. Now granted the bottom of the pile isn't all that impressive either division in the east but it's no longer the point dispenser it was last year.  The capitols have winning record in their division picking up a 14-4-4 record. The goal scoring for the cap's is a little top heavy with Ovechkin and Backstrom who sadly has to live in his shadow doing most of the heavy lifting this year with contributions from Brouwer and  Johansson.  On the blue line when people think offence the first name that comes to their head is probably Mike Green but the answer to that question has been John Carlson who has helped make the blue line not only deep but dangerous on multiple pairings.  It should also come as no surprise with offensive weapons on the blue line with Alex Ovechkin up front that this is the 4th best power play in the NHL so the Sharks would be wise to play a disciplined game.  In the net tonight for the Capitals will be Braden Holtby who has a a 1-1-0 record with a 4.49 GAA and a .872 SV% in his career against the Sharks, but this is nothing to get too excited about because of the extremely small sample size.

Ian Breaks Down The Sharks:  The sharks are like a jet missing an engine, they are not in a full tailspin but it's not exactly a smooth flight right now either.  The Injury bug has definitely taken its toll on the Sharks who have not won in Vlasic's absence.  I'm not sure what lines the Sharks plan on rolling out tonight I assume other than a change in the bottom 6 we will probably see more of the same especially on defense.  I hope that Tennyson continues to eat into Hannans minutes.  Niemi will start tonight, in the previous meeting between these teams he allowed 5 goals... he has to be much better tonight if the Sharks are going to win some games.  I could go on about how the Sharks are in a tough spot and you could agree or disagree with me based on the amount of teal tint in your glasses but I'm going to dedicate some time to one of my favorite Sharks to ever don teal, Evgeni Nabokov.  While not all my feelings for Nabby are positive and I think the Sharks moved on at the right time but that said the press conference today got me right in the feels.  It was especially hard when he talked about not winning the cup.  I can't imagine what it would be like to stand there knowing that you would never compete for something you played 14 years for. Hopefully he gets into the organization in some form and wins the cup as an executive but I think that would be a small consolation for such a competator not winning it as a player.  I'm really happy that he was able to retire a Shark and as much as it would have pulled on the heart strings to see him between the pipes one last time I'm glad I don't have to eat paper on YouTube.

MAIL BAG

Q: Ian, how does a Canadian in Ontario become a Sharks fan?

A: Awesome question and one I get a lot, especially from people around me.  When I started to really care about hockey I was a Habs fan because my dad was a Habs fan and never really questioned it.  My dad would always tell me the stories of the glory days of the habs but I either wasn't alive or was too young to remember much.  So when the Sharks get announced as a new team coming into the league I think it's awesome because one teal jersey and a Shark bitting a hockey stick is pretty bad ass when you're 11 and I'd be able to see everything they did.  So I hopped on the bandwagon but still cheered for both teams.  I knew I was a Sharks fan for good when the Canadiens won their last Stanely Cup in 1993, I was happy that they won but it didn't excite me the same way the Baker goal against Detroit did.  Other things that helped my fandom was the fact I had one of those old monster satellite dishes so when I was up late enough I'd watch games but followed them mostly though morning highlights on TSN Sports Centre (than known as Sports Desk) in the morning before school.

My Prediction: Nabby has to relieve both Niemi and Stalock and does not allow any goals in a 11-4 Sharks loss.

Remember if you have a question you would like me to answer in the Breaking It Down blog please e-mail me at ian.blogs.sharks@gmail.com and if you want to read previous blogs please check out http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca


What are your thoughts on tonight's game?

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly! Feb 9th. 2015



Now it's time for the post that got rolled in the ally for 5 dollars and change.  It's your officially unofficial, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!  Sharks lost to the flames for the 4th time this year and your pal Ian is going to tell you how he saw it.  This rare weeknight post is brought to you by children that won't sleep.

The Good: The usual good stuff I thought Tennyson played another solid game and actually ate a decent amount of ice time finishing with 18:53 time on ice.   I thought the kids showed more jump than the vets again but also made a great deal of mistakes.  Other than a stupid penalty Burns also had a good effort with 5 shots on goal and ate up a team high 25:23.  I thought the ice time was split up against the D better with Hannan and Burns finishing tonight's game with a few less minutes each, this will be key if Vlasic is out for a while.  Although it didn't happen in the game Nabokov returning to what all signs are pointing to a retirement announcement on Wednesday is awesome, It's nice that he'll retire in teal.  Logan Couture had his chances recording 4 shots on goal.

The Bad: Mirco Mueller had a rough night and although I didn't really fault him for the first goal where he got handcuffed by bad forward coverage the second goal he was on the ice for and lost sight of the puck is inexcusable. Niemi didn't have much in the way of help but has also had better nights.  The PK is really suffering without Vlasic surrendering a goal however the penalty that Burns was serving at the time was flat out stupid and unnecessary the Sharks are relying on Burns to be the leader on the back end, he needs to act the part.

The Ugly: If you look at the stat sheet it looks like the game was a lot more close than it was the Sharks held the advantage in shots after the 2nd period. The rest of the box score looks pretty even except for the 18 giveaways 9 of which were in the first period.  The sharks are now one of the worst 1st period teams in the NHL which make it awfully hard to win games when you're fighting from behind to start. Marleau finished with 1 shot on goal, unacceptable.

Final Thoughts: Sorry for the short post but honestly there isn't a whole lot to take away from this game, it was bad.  The injuries to Vlasic cannot be overlooked especially with Braun also out of the line up the sharks D corps is greener than a golf course right now and are all being asked to do too much.  Half the veterans don't look engaged.  I'm really jacked about the road to the stadium series tomorrow to see how the room is with some of these losses I think it's going to be real telling about what may or may not be wrong with this team.

Remember if you have a question you would like me to answer in the Breaking It Down blog please e-mail me at ian.blogs.sharks@gmail.com and if you want to read previous blogs please check out http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca

Breaking It Down! - Feb 9th. 2015



On Feb 9th 2015 the Sharks will host The Calgary Flames and your pal Ian is going to be Breaking It Down!  This is your semi regular officially unofficial game preview post that gives you some quick numbers and my opinions on not only our Sharks but their opponent of the night.

Know Your Team - The San Jose Sharks

Current Record (W-L-OTL): 28-19-7, 63 Points and 2nd in the Pacific Division
Last 10 Games: 5-3-2
Power Play: 20.9% (8th.)
Penalty Kill: 81.9% (14th.)
Current Streak: Lost their last game
Notes: Evgeni Nabokov still holds the Sharks franchise goaltending records for games played, wins, shutouts and saves.

Know Your Enemy - The Calgary Flames

Current Record: (W-L-OTL): 29-21-3, 61 Points and 4th in the Pacific Division
Last 10 Games: 7-3-0
Power Play: 17.0% (23rd.)
Penalty Kill: 78.4% (25th.)
Current Streak: Lost Their Last Game
Notes: Calgary will win the season series as they have already taken 3 of the first 4 encounters with the Sharks.

Ian Breaks Down The Flames:  Of all the potential playoff opponents for the Sharks to play in the first round this one probably would worry me the most aside from drawing the Kings.  While I don't put a ton of stock in the season series when the playoff puck drops it is important to note that regardless of the outcome tonight in their final meeting of the series the flames already won the season series. There has been two differences between the two teams so far and that has been effort and quality of goaltending.  The flames have for the most part pushed the play and have gotten better goaltending including from rookie Ortio than the Sharks have gotten from Niemi or Stalock and the Flames have arguably outworked the Sharks on both nights.  Being the 3rd meeting between these teams in less than a month there isn't much more I can tell you about the flames that I have not wrote before.  Jonas Hiller will start for the flames, he is coming off a rough game against the Penguins.

Ian Breaks Down The Sharks: The Sharks continue to stumble through their post all star game stretch having just dropped a game to the lowly Carolina Hurricanes who in fairness have been on a decent run of late.  The Sharks are going to play another game without stud defenseman Marc Edouard Vlasic meaning another heavy minute night for Brent Burns who logged almost 27 minutes last game and as much as I hate the idea of it Scott Hannan.  I really hope this Vlasic thing is temporary.  Daniil Tarasov also added his name to the IR with at last I checked an undisclosed injury. It's not all bad news though as Tommy Wingels returns to the lineup and this is a player that in my opinion the Sharks have missed a ton.  DeMelo has been re-called from the Woo but I think he is going to be a healthy scratch and is in San Jose in case another defenceman goes down.  Hopefully the Sharks can get healthy as the playoffs approach.  In off-ice news the Sharks traded for franchise record holder Nabokov who most expect to announce his retirement on Wednesday as a member of the team.  This is a classy move by both organizations, I'm not sure who is picking up the tab cap hit wise for the remainder of the year but if it's the Sharks I think it further proves that DW has no big plans going into the trade deadline. Nabokov will carry a 1.55 Million dollar cap hit even if he retires on Wednesday because it was signed after Nabokov turned 35 years of age.

MAIL BAG:

Q: Ian, It seems like the Sharks have trouble against teams that slow down the tempo.  Is this part of why they lose to low ranked teams?  How can they fix this tendancy?

A: Great Question, The honest answer is I don't know for sure.  I will however speculate and we call all decide if I'm a moron in the comments. My best guess would be because teams that slow down the play don't really play into Todd Mclellans system.  The Sharks play an up tempo system that relies on being able to break out of our zone either by skating or with a good first pass but a lot of the lower tempo teams force you to try and skate it out of the zone and then  kill you with double coverage making our passes more dangerous and turnovers far more likely.  The drawback to these low tempo systems is they don't always breed a ton of offence aside from trying to take advantage of the turnovers.  You see crappy teams do this because frankly it's an easier system to play if you're not exactly loaded with talent.  How do you combat it?  Outworking your opponent exposing holes in coverage and making the most of your opportunities.  It might sound cliché but it's the best answer I got.  This is one of the few places where you never played the game at a high enough level comes into play because while I feel I can make good observations some of the finer points I may not quite have a great grasp on. 

I hope I didn't let you down and thanks for the question. 

My Prediction: Nabokov runs on the ice and hits Hiller with a steel chair while the ref is not looking and Joe Thornton pins him to win the world championship belt while the tank faithful goes out of their minds.

Remember if you have a question you would like me to answer in the Breaking It Down blog please e-mail me at ian.blogs.sharks@gmail.com I will never include your name unless specifically asked to do so and no question is "too dumb".

If you want to read previous blogs please check out http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca


What are your thoughts on tonight's game?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly! - Feb 7th. 2015



Now it's time for the post that called in sick with the flu.  It's your officially unofficial, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!  Sharks lost to the hurricanes because LOL Sharks, and your pal Ian is going to tell you how he saw it.

The Good: The kids had a good game and the bottom 6 in its current configuration continues to impress.  Hertl got 2 goals, and an assist. Tierny frankly made things happen with some good old fashioned hustle. Without the 3rd line the Sharks never get into this game at all.  I thought Mirco Mueller had another good game, he is so good with his stick and makes a lot of really nice little plays.  Does he need work?  Yes but he's got the foundation to be a quality D man, he just needs to use his body better.  The Sharks to deserve some credit for their 3rd period heroics but honestly I'm not going to hurt my hand patting them on the back.  I thought Irwin actually had another good game. Penalty Kill minus Vlasic only allowed 1 goal on 3 attempts... I'll take it.

The Bad: Well we lost so there is that.  Antti Niemi had a game to forget, the first goal was soft and while you cannot lay this down at his feet because he was the only Shark other than a few players to actually play the first period he just needs to be better.  I felt like the Hurricanes pushed the play for a great deal of the game causing the Sharks to chase them around and yet somehow got murdered in the hit count.  We knew missing Vlasic was going to be problematic with this group but the fact that Scott Hannan was trusted to eat up 22:24 seconds is scary.  Now in fairness Hannan had a good game, and frankly I've said may times that my beef is not so much with Hannan as it is how the Sharks use him.  Tonight was a good example of that although maybe no one else can play those kind of minutes yet making the veteran the right choice.... devil's advocate.  Also with the loss of Vlasic our transition game was bad because the forwards had to do too much of the heavy lifting trying to get out of the zone. 

The Ugly:  This was a dog shit effort for two periods, and at this point I have given up on the idea that they are going to put these kind of habits behind them.  I understand everyone, even the best teams in the league are going to look uninspired at times but no one seems to do it as frequently as the Sharks do.  It took a lot of game time before I feel like I heard Randy mention a lot of our Veteran players names and I noticed Joe Thornton a couple of times tonight at all.  I don't think I have ever put Joe Thornton in the Ugly ever but he was kinda shitty tonight.  I thought Couture's game got better as the game went on but he was a slow starter, didn't think Marleau or Pavelski were particularly good either.  I don't know I thought leaders were supposed to lead by example tonight the kids set the example and that isn't the recipie for long term success with or without Vlasic.  Brendon Dillon also had a game to forget.

Final Thoughts: What is really left to say that I have not wrote 100 times before this year.  The Sharks have to be better, the sharks have to play 60 minute games, the sharks have to stop losing to teams that could draft Connor McDavid.  I want to tell you the Sharks are better than this but well over the half way point of the season is it time we stop staying that since the evidence certainly does not support it at all?

Remember if you have a question you would like me to answer in the Breaking It Down blog please e-mail me at ian.blogs.sharks@gmail.com I will not post your name as the question asker if you don't want me too.  To read the answer to the last reader question check out this post: http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca/2015/02/this-special-hot-take-alert-is-to.html


If you want to read previous blogs please check out http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca