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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and if you want to read previous blogs please check out http://ianblogssharks.blogspot.ca
What are your thoughts on tonight's game?