If you watch only one Sharks game this year make sure it’s Saturday night at 7:00pm on Comcast SportsNet. That’s when the Sharks face-off against the Kings in LA. The hockey world will be watching as final western seedings and potentially home ice will be up for grabs.
This will be the final game of the year for both clubs. Through 47 games, the Sharks and Kings have each earned 57 points. The Kings hold any tie-breaker with the Sharks. With so many overtime and shootout points in the mix, there are a number of potential conclusions to the playoff rush.
Darin Stephens--@SharksStats--is Comcast SportsNet’s statistical producer for their games and has crunched the numbers and has come up with every possibility that affects the Sharks.
It’s been a sprint of an NHL season so far. The lockout shortened schedule has presented challenges to all 30 teams in the league. By season’s end, a week from Saturday, the Sharks will have played 48 games in 98 days. There will have been 31 flights totaling 28,167 air miles. There are 52 days dedicated to play 24 games on the road.
On top of game day morning skates the Sharks have had 31 non-game day practices.
A normal regular season is comprised 82 games spread over roughly 184 days.
Since the starting bell rang on January 20, it’s felt like NHL clubs hit the ground running. With just under two weeks remaining the 10 playoff spots are still up for grabs. The first round matchups most likely won’t be clear until the last day of the season.
3 – NHL all-time record for 2-man down shorthanded goals (Mike Richards)
32 – Most active ‘Major League’ teams. 1974-75 NHL and WHA combined.
99 – 3 NHL players that wore 99…Rick Dudley, Wilf Paiement and that guy Gretzky.
28.22 – Average age of retirement from NHL.
51.79 – Age when Gordie Howe retired.
1230 – NHL games scheduled in a regular season.
27 – NHL all-time mark for overtime points by Sergei Fedorov.
720 – NHL games scheduled in this lockout-shortened season.
-19 – Worst +/- rating this season: Panthers’ Erik Gudbranson
2 – Number of times the Montreal Maroons won the Stanley Cup. They won in 1926 and 1935.
27:15 – Average of ice-time this season by Wilds’ Ryan Suter.
This week the NHL GMs got together to compare their notes and discuss the direction of the game. NHL-mandated visors was one of the key topics. Many players say they don’t feel comfortable with the shield or that their vision is impaired by the optics and the condensation of vapor on the shield. Every player in junior hockey wears the shield. US colleges go one step further demanding players wear full-face shields or full face cages. Expect this to be grandfathered into the league sooner rather than later.
Bravo to the NHL for their new realignment and schedule and playoff system. Fans should be thrilled with the fact that every NHL team will visit HP Pavilion every season. Players should be pleased with some travel reduction.
Travel is a fact of life for players in the NHL. But make no mistake NHL travel is nothing like vacation travel. Teams fly on charter jets, with AC power, internet, video and mounds of food. Upon landing in a enemy city there is a bus parked on the tarmac. Players walk down the plane steps straight to the bus. The bus takes the team to the front door of a not-too-shabby hotel. In the lobby room keys are laid out in alphabetical order. Next to the keys are fresh fruit, power/granola bars and sport drink. Something new this season…each player gets his own room. In the past it was only the goalies and well-seasoned veterans who got their own room. Part of the new CBA changed that.
The NHL’s return to the Bay Area with the San Jose Sharks in 1991 has been a huge success. Virtually every home game is sold out and the club is an annual contender. But the NHL was in Northern California nine up and (mostly) down seasons.
In the late spring of 1967 the NHL officially doubled its size from 6 teams to 12. Added to the Original Six were the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburg Penguins, St Louis Blues, Minnesota North Stars, Los Angeles Kings and Northern California’s Oakland Seals. The Seals’ home ice was the brand-new Oakland Coliseum Arena. Goaltender Charlie Hodge was the first Seal, claimed from Montreal in the first round of the expansion draft. The Seals, like the other new teams selected from unprotected players, aging stars, prospects, journeymen and career minor leaguers.
The Seals struggled on and off this ice in their first season. The club went 15-42-17 in ’67-68 and home attendance was a disappointing 4,890 per game. Their second season saw things looking up. The Seals improved to 29-36-11, good for 2nd place in the expansion-only Western Division. They faced-off with their California rival Kings in the first round of the 1968 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Kings prevailed in 7.
This and that…
Reports are out there that the NHL will announce a realignment plan very soon. We are hearing 4 conferences, 2 with 8 teams and 2 with 7 teams. This makes me think expanding by 2 teams is in the league’s future. It appears that the Sharks would be Pacific Conference along with Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Anaheim and Phoenix. The present Phoenix club could move to Seattle with little disruption.
It appears that Detroit and Columbus would go to the east while Winnipeg would move west. Best expansion sites (in my opinion) Seattle, Quebec, a 2nd Toronto team, Kansas City and Portland.
The NHL has never been afraid of shaking up the alignment. Remember the Patrick, Norris, Adams et al?
Well it was a bit late in coming, but Sunday will mark the start of the 2012-13 season for the San Jose Sharks.
Due to the work stoppage this year the NHL will play an abbreviated 48 games schedule vs only Western Conference foes. The Sharks will be playing 48 games in just 97 days. Every game will be a 4-point swing and teams must be ready to play after a very brief training camp. Any team that gets off to a slow start will have a devil of a time trying to climb the ladder to a top 8 playoff position. More than ever before the shootout format could very well determine who makes the post-season.
On the Sharks side, there could be some factors that they can use to their advantage. The club is virtually the same squad as last season with the addition of free agents defenseman Brad Stuart and gritty veteran forward Adam Burish. The Sharks had 12 players who played competitive hockey while the NHL was on ice. So far in this short training camp several young men from Worcester could make it difficult for coaches to get a final roster in place for this weekend.
With the news earlier this week that the ECHL’s San Francisco Bulls are coming to San Jose for a game on December 17, it seems like a good time to up our ECHL knowledge.
The 23-team ECHL (formerly known as the East Coast Hockey League, got its start in 1988 and is considered on the relative skill level as baseball’s Double A (AA), two rungs below major league.
Through the years the ECHL has 'graduated’ 490 players to the NHL. Presently 25 of 30 NHL teams have affiliation to an ECHL club. The Sharks affiliation is with the Bulls.
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A-Will Atlanta ever get another chance at an NHL franchise? Sorry to our friends down south, but the answer is no. The expansion Flames were there in the mid 70's but ended up in Calgary, then 2 decades later the expansion Thrashers vacated the ATL for Winnipeg. Maybe the key word here is expansion. The Atlanta fans never had a competitive team to cheer for.
B-Brooklyn is the new address for the New York Islanders. The Isles building in Uniondale has seen its best days. For long-time sports fans, it's great to see that teams (the Isles and the NBA Net) are moving back into the NYC borough.
C-Columbus may finally be on the right track. With the signing of John Davidson they've made quite a statement. JD was an NHL goaltender who made his way to the broadcast booth. He is regarded as one of the greatest Color men in the history of hockey broadcasting. A few years back Davidson accepted a job as President and GM of the Blues. Under his guidance St Louis has become a contender. It will be interesting how he does in Columbus.
D-Detroit's dynasty may be crumbling. After 2 decades of Cup contention the Red Wings could miss the playoffs. Battling a tough Central division and answering question at several positions may be crucial this coming season.
E-Energy! Unlike some of the other major league sports in North America, wins and losses are the residue of hard work. As the coaches like to say, "Will can beat skill almost every night."
F-Fans give their home team a real edge. Take for example the World Champion San Francisco Giants. In the post-series interviews many of the players thanked the fans for their support. Every team wants their building/stadium to be tough on the visitors. Loud like the Giants fans, San Jose may be the loudest in hockey.Read the rest of this blog entry >>
As the Director of Broadcasting I am often asked the question of how does a telecast get on the air? So consider this Hockey Broadcasting 101.
We work very closely with our television partner Comcast Sports Net California during the NHL season. First bit of work is to rent a state-of-the-art mobile production truck. These trucks are TV control rooms on wheels. Priced well over $2 million, these trucks work almost every day between our games and those of the A’s, Giants, Warriors, NCAA events and NFL.
For a 7:30 PM Sharks game, things get started around noon. The truck is parked and powered just outside HP Pavilion. Around 1:30 PM the freelance crew of approximately 20 arrives on site. The Bay Area sports production crews are among the very best in the country.
Next work is to unpack the truck and run camera, video and audio lines. Every building in the NHL has pre-installed cables in order to connect the truck to camera positions and announce positions. For a typical home game we sport five hard cameras in the bowl as well as a handheld, four robotic and two fixed/locked cameras.
Camera 1 is a ‘tight follow’ camera at center ice. Camera 1's job is to stay as tight as possible with the puck. This is a primary replay angle.
Camera 2 is our ‘game’ or primary game coverage camera. Camera 2's job is to cover the game action loose enough to include the puck and a number of players around it. This is the look that you see on-air 90% of the time.
Camera 3 is a high slash, or corner position. This camera shoots even wider than Camera 2. We call this the ‘telestrator look’ camera. This provides color commentator Drew Remenda with a wide angle for use with the Fingetworks telestrator as he draws circles, arrows and lines to teach the game. Also if all else fails, this angle shows ‘everything’. This camera is seldom taken live during action.