Mother's Day has passed and I hope you had a chance to wish your Mom a very Happy Day and show her how much she means to you. Like you I have an awesome Mom. It is amazing to me how much mothers all over the world sacrifice for their beloved.
I believe, (like you) my Mom, (Jean) is the best. First off she is a great Hockey Mom. This was illustrated on my last visit to Vancouver. My Mom and my brother live in Canada's most scenic city.
As we were making plans to visit between Game 1 and 2, we thought maybe we could go out for dinner to one of her favourite restaurants.
My Mom said, "No, you and your brother pick up some food on the way over and we will watch the playoffs. There's three games on tonight."
How awesome is that?
I had two great women as role models in my life. My Mom and her Mom. My Grandmother, ("Ma") lived with us in Saskatoon. She was the world to me. I was the "Baby" of the family and she watched over her "Baby".
I was living in Calgary in 1989 and I went to work for Dave King and Canada's National Team Program. My life was starting to progress and I was beginning a career in hockey. I didn't know what I wanted to do in the game but working for Dave King was a great place to start.
My father had divorced my Mom. It was just Ma and her alone in Saskatoon and Ma was starting to develop Alzheimer's.
Eventually it became too much to make a living and look after Ma. On a visit home Mom broke the news to me that she had made the very very difficult decision to put Ma in a home. She would be safe and well cared for.
I didn't like the idea of my Grandmother having to leave our house, so I immediately volunteered a different plan.
"I'll quit my job, come home and help take care of Ma." I will work nights and take care of her during the day until you get home."
As I told you the woman was the world to me. However my Mom's response was the best piece of advice I ever received and another example of a Mother's love and sacrifice.
"You're Grandmother wouldn't want that for you and neither do I. You gotta chase your dreams son. You can never give up on that. You have to run it down. The best thing you can do for your Grandma and me is to chase your dreams."
I owe many people for my career. Dave King who was a mentor to me since I was his 12 year old stick boy in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
George Kingston the first coach of the Sharks gave me a huge opportunity that has lasted more than 20 years in the NHL.
Kevin Constantine, Dean Lombardi and Doug Wilson who let me stay in the organization.
Ted Griggs from Comcast for spotting whatever talent I may have had for TV and of course the great Malcolm Bordelon for always having my back.
But to my Mom I owe the most.
It would have been simple for my Mom to say yes to my offer. It would have made her life easier.
However sacrificing for someone else isn't easy. Putting their needs ahead of your own isn't easy. Being a Mom isn't easy. But my Mom sure made it look that way.
Thanks Mom, thanks for everything. Thanks for guiding me to my dream.
Dan Boyle when asked about the Sharks next opponent said "It doesn't matter to me who we play but I do know they are going to be a good hockey team."
He's right, the Sharks are in a pick your poison waiting game to determine if they play the defending Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings who just disposed of the very good St. Louis Blues by winning 4 straight games to win the series 4-2. Or the Sharks get the Chicago Blackhawks who won the President's trophy with the most points in the regular season and were the only team with a winning percentage over .800 (.802).
Interestingly, the 3 best home teams in the regular season were:
Los Angeles 19-4-1
San Jose 17-2-5
Keys to the Series
My RAM Trucks 3 Keys to the Vancouver series were:
2. Don't be the first to blink
3. Special Teams
Goaltending will always be a key to a series because it's that important in hockey. Niemi bested his Vancouver counterparts and the Sharks skaters did the rest both on the special teams and winning the mental battle.
I've had time to start thinking about the RAM Trucks Keys to the next series and here is a double dose, one set of keys for each potential tough matchup.
Goaltending Niemi won the Stanley Cup as the goaltender for the Blackhawks back in 2010. As a Vezina candidate he is having his best season as a pro and I'm pretty sure his motivation level would be high to beat his former team. Chicago has a goaltending tandem that has been tremendous, so far, this season.
2. Win the Battle of the Prime Real Estate
In this case prime real estate is net front presence. The Blackhawks can spread the ice but they also have a blue collar work ethic and attack the net as well as any team in the NHL, starting with Captain Jonathan Toews. The Sharks don't need to control the entire ice surface but they will need to be better in front of both nets where over 90% of goals are scored.
3. Transition Game
Chicago has a tremendous transition game because they have such good overall team speed, and that includes both defense to offense and offense to defense. Beat them at that game, or minimize their transition game and your chances of winning the series go up.
Tight checking. Low scoring. Always someone in your face. No time or space. That's LA hockey and it's frustrating to play against and tests your moxie and patience. The Sharks have to be prepared for 60 minutes plus every night with air-tight defense first hockey that requires incredible focus and concentration.
2. Every battle counts ... a lot!
This is LA's bread and butter - they wear you down by winning battles which wears you down mentally. The Sharks match up well in this category but it will take an enormous toll every shift, every period, every game.
3. Confidence thru goaltending
When your goalie exudes confidence it reverberates throughout the lineup because the players know the last line of defense is the goalie and he has you covered if you make a mistake. Niemi vs Quick is an enticing matchup because they are the goalies who have won 2 of the last 3 Stanley Cups and they are both on top of their game right now.
Bring it On
So the Sharks get to test themselves against a team that beat them in the Conference Finals in 2010 and won all 3 games this year, albeit the last game was Feb 22 and the Sharks are a different team now.
Or the Sharks get to play divisional and state rival, who are also the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
As Boyle said, the Sharks are going to be playing a good hockey team next round and I guarantee Sharks and hockey fans are in store for some amazing hockey.
EXCLUSIVE SHARKS RADIO COVERAGE CAN SYNCH WITH TV
With all television coverage going national with NBC Sports Network and NBC from this point forward, many people in Northern California will look to San Jose Sharks Radio Network coverage for a local broadcast.
Fans will be able to tune in to flagship station KFOX at 98.5 or 102.1 FM for every minute of action. In communities ranging from Eureka to Fresno, the multi-station San Jose Sharks Radio Network will also be there for you. You can find an affiliate station and local schedule in your area by going to www.sjsharksradio.net.
With all television going to NBC and NBC Sports Network from here on in, many fans have found that they’d like to tune in to the radio for the local broadcast and watch games at the same time, as they do in the regular season when games are exclusively national. However, with the digital and satellite delivery platforms that each medium has, there is usually a delay between what you hear on the radio and what you see on television.
Well, there is a way to synch up what you hear on the radio and what you see on TV. Many of our listeners have done so during the season, but with the Conference Semi-Finals about to start, more people will want to know just how to do so.
Let us count the ways:
- If you are listening to the game on a regular radio, it is likely that you’ll hear what happens on the ice before you see it on TV. There are several methods of delaying the radio, including a product available at www.sportsyncradio.com or www.fansyncradio.com. Another way is through freeware from http://www.daansystems.com/radiodelay/.
- If you are listening to the internet stream or on a mobile device using sjsharks.com, kfox.com, the KFOX app, or an app such as TuneIn Radio, and putting it over your stereo speakers, the internet stream is normally about 30 seconds behind the action you see on TV. Using your DVR, you can pause the live TV until it synchs up with the radio.
- A very informative piece was posted some time ago by Fear the Fin and it goes over many additional options with links on the subject. Click here to read it. A second update was posted here.
We really appreciate the fact that our loyal listeners on KFOX 98.5/102.1 FM and our Sharks Radio Network station list tune in each and every game, and we welcome all of the additional listeners who tune in while watching the national telecast. Thanks for being there with us!
Between Game 3 and Game 4 I saw what I think is dedication to a dream personified.
It was at practice. The players had finished their skate or dry land training and the various interviews.
Some were leaving and some were enjoying lunch.
The ink stained scribes and digital media types had finished interrogating Todd McLellan and had scurried upstairs to post their stories.
Everything was winding down and it's a time to tell stories, listen to jokes or just head out and get on with your day.
Which is exactly what I decided to do. Usually I will skedaddle out the back door but I had parked my car at the side of the rink and decided to take a shortcut past the ice surface.
Then I saw it. Braken Kearns all by himself working on his skating. He was performing techniques designed to improve and perfect his edge control.
The drills are tedious and take a full load of concentration and muscle control. It is not a common site to see a professional hockey player performing those drills. Especially during the playoffs and when that player is 31 years old.
But then I thought about it.
Here Braken is. A good hour after everybody had left the ice surface trying to get better.
Trying to gain the edge, (both literally and figuratively). Never giving up on the dream.
I found that inspiring and very cool and it makes me cheer for him that much more.
Well that was FUN!
What a night at HP Pavilion as the Sharks carried a lead into the 3rd period, then found themselves trailing after 2 Vancouver goals before tying it up late in the 3rd and then winning the game in overtime. If that scenario sounds familiar it is because that's what happened in game 2. This time it was Patrick Marleau as the hero that sent the Sharks fans into a frenzy.
The Sharks are now 19-2-5 this season at HP Pavilion and based on some of the tweets after the game by Logan Couture and Brent Burns I would say the Sharks players are picking up and using the energy from their great fans.
@logancouture "Just want to give a huge shout out to the fans. You guys were our energy in the third and in OT. See you in Round 2. Stay Loud!"
@Burnzie88 "Tank was Great tonight .. Lots of legs And energy from you guys. #chompersigns"
@Burnzie88 "Thanks for everyone at tonight's game .. Tank was shaking!! #unbelievable #bestfans"
Sharks fans, thank you for being so awesome.
While the San Jose Sharks have held a 3-games-to-0 lead in a best-of-seven series a total of four times, tonight’s Game Four is the first time that the team has the opportunity to close out a series at home. If they capture the series, it’ll be the first time that they have ever have a clean sweep in a playoff round.
An April 28, 2004 in Denver, San Jose put Evgeni Nabokov in goal against David Aebischer of the Avalanche. Both goaltenders duked it out to a scoreless tie after 60 minutes, with Nabokov stopping 30 shots and Aebischer making 26 saves. In overtime, Joe Sakic notched the game winner at 5:15, ending a 178:14 span of shutout hockey for Nabokov. The Sharks would eventually win that series, 4 games to 2.
On May 6, 2010, the Sharks traveled to Joe Louis Arena with a 3-0 series lead. In that game, Johan “The Mule” Franzen was the big story, as he scored 4 goals in a 7-1 Red Wings win that would be Detroit’s last hurrah in the series. The Sharks took Game 5 back at HP Pavilion, 2-1, with Patrick Marleau scoring the series winning goal.
On May 6, 2011, exactly one year later, the Sharks were back at the Joe for another chance at a sweep. Detroit jumped out to a 3-0 lead (2 goals by Nicklas Lidstrom), but the Sharks evened the score, 3-3, when Logan Couture, Dan Boyle, and Dany Heatley scored for San Jose.
That game ended with just 1:27 to play in the third when Darren Helm scored the game winner for the Red Wings, and it took the Sharks the full seven games to earn a victory, with Game Seven’s win coming at HP Pavilion in a classic game won by the Sharks, 3-2. Oh, by the way, Patrick Marleau had the series winning goal.
What does this history have to do with this season’s Game Four scenario against Vancouver? Not a lot. However, it does tell us that just showing up for Game Four guarantees nothing but the best effort from the team that is down, 0-3. The Sharks expect nothing less, they’re prepared, and they’re excited about the opportunity. Most importantly, they’re at home.
See you on the radio!
I, (like you) love the playoffs. The first round may be the best sports theatre you will ever see.
Some postseason highlights so far:
First and foremost -- Logan Couture takes a cheap shot from the Vancouver Canucks captain in Game 3. Roughly twenty seconds Logan snipes a beauty wrister past Cory Schneider for his second goal of the game. The best part of the goal was the Couture "Cele". The arm swing, the emotion and catching the gaze of Henrik coming out of the box was beautiful!
Raffi Torres and Brent Burns in overtime of Game 2. Never have two guys with more tattoos scored a bigger goal for the Sharks.
Lets jump to the Eastern Conference:
Douglas Murray scored! Enough said. Except he did it against a good friend and former teammate Evgeni Nabokov.
However the most compelling bit of human drama is coming out of the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens.
In Game 1 a good Saskatoon boy, Eric Gryba, absolutely destroys Lars Eller with a gigantic hit. Eller is hurt, Gryba is suspended for two and the Senators head coach after the game infuriates anybody with any Montreal allegiance with his comments.
The Senators Coach basically blames the Montreal Canadiens Raphael Diaz for the devastating hit because of his bad pass to Lars Eller.
What really upset the Montreal faithful including their head coach, Michel Therrien, was Paul MacLean referring to Diaz as simply "Number 61."
Brandon Prust from the Canadiens publicly called MacLean "a bug-eyed fat walrus".
MacLean responded with his usual humour.
"Well ... 'Bug-Eyed?' I've never been called that before. That's a new one," said MacLean. "Walrus? That's too easy. But I will tell you one thing I'm not fat. I might be husky but I'm not fat. So, I took offense to that."
Then in Game 3 it was a Kook Show. 236 minutes in penalties and the Senators won 6-1. But, with 17 seconds remaining in the game, Paul MacLean called a time out.
The Canadiens were livid. The usually very level-headed Josh Gorges verbally attacked the Sen's coach. If you have been around hockey or can read lips in the slightest you know Josh was definitely rated "M" for Mature.
Michel Therrien called it "classless".
Probably the Montreal head coach is right, but right now Paul MacLean has the Canadiens thinking about him instead of the games.
... I love it all.
The intensity, the nastiness, the theatre, the emotion and human drama. Never mind my birthday or Thanksgiving or Christmas.
The NHL playoffs? It's the most wonderful time of the year.
The Sharks are off to a great start in these playoffs. A win tonight in game 3 against Vancouver would put them in a 3-0 series lead. But there’s a long way to go and just like in the regular season there are going to be lots of ups and downs. At this time of the year it’s always good to revisit Bob Errey’s 16 tips to Stanley Cup playoff success.
Bob Errey, who is now a TV commentator for Pittsburgh, was a Stanley Cup winner with the Penguins as a player and was also captain of the Sharks in 1994 when they were matched up against the mighty Detroit Red Wings in the first round. Errey decided to write down his 16 points for playoff success.
1. It takes 16 WINS to win the Stanley Cup
2. 4 Wins per series
3. Never dwell on the past (good, bad, win, lose)
4. Never take anything for granted
5. One shift is as important as 20
9. Throw statistics out the window
11. Play bigger
12. Never retaliate
13. Get pucks out, get pucks in
14. Never out of a game (ie. high sticking major = 5 minute PP)
15. Have fun
16. Heart is more important than skill
My thoughts on game 2 ...
Well that was fun!
Who woulda thunk it!
So Brent Burns the forward sets up Raffi Torres for the OT goal. The same Raffi Torres who was on teams that derailed the Sharks chances in years past of getting to and winning the Stanley Cup. He played for the Oilers when they lost in game 7 of the Cup Finals to Carolina and beat the Sharks 4 games to 2 in the second round. He also was on Vancouver when they lost in game 7 of the Cup Finals to Boston after knocking out the Sharks in the Western Conference Finals. Ya, that Raffi Torres!
And now he is a Shark and trying to get back to the Cup Finals for a 3rd time and help the Sharks get there for the first time. You gotta love sports eh!!!
Dan Boyle attempted a pass from the corner in the defensive zone to Joe Pavelski who was in the slot area. The pass was just off and landed right on Ryan Kesler's stick who had time to tee it up and boy did he ever ... firing a bullet past Niemi to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead at the time.
On Marleau's game tying goal in the last minute there were two assists - yup, Boyle and Pavelski.
Weeble's wabble but they don't fall down
Justin Braun is clearly not a weeble because he took a few monster hits to make plays but kept getting up. Brauner's fall but they don't stay down!!!
How good was Nemo, especially in the 2nd period and OT ... I think awesome is an appropriate choice of words.
Tommy Wingels continues to play gritty hockey as he led the team with 8 hits and also added 5 shots.
Need I say more?
Love the city but that doesn't mean I want to go back
Vancouver is beautiful, especially at this time of year and the people in the city are great. I love going to that city but my preference is to not return for awhile.
Game 3 Reminder
Don't forget it starts at 7pm on Sunday and I don't have to tell you to be loud but let's really welcome our Northern neighbors with the loudest building in the NHL.
Often, the conventional wisdom is that the odd numbered games of series are the most important, and in general, it does hold true that Games 1, 3, 5, and 7 hold the greatest opportunity to seize control or change momentum of a series. But, in many cases, it is Game 2 that is the most pivotal.
In 1979, the New York Rangers took a 4-1 victory from the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. It appeared that the Rangers were going to end Montreal’s reign of three straight Stanley Cup championships, and that all odds were in their favor to cruise to victory. But, a funny thing happened on the way to the start of Game 2 that changed everything.
Canadiens coach Scotty Bowman had pulled his starting goaltender, Ken Dryden, in favor of Bunny Larocque in Game 1 when the contest needed a momentum shift. Larocque was slated to start in Game 2 as well.
But like Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom this past week, Larocque was injured in warm-ups, and so Bowman’s original plan to go with him had to yield back to the original plan of going with Dryden. The result? Montreal won 6-2, then 4-1, then 4-3 in OT, then 4-1. The Canadiens won their fourth straight Stanley Cup, and the Rangers visions of sugar plums were dashed from their heads.
Last season, the Sharks also won Game 1 in St. Louis. Down 1-0 in Game 2, they lost a faceoff in the offensive zone, about 190 feet away from their net. The Blues were able to work the puck up the ice and take advantage of key slips in the attention to detail needed for victory. T.J. Oshie put forth a brilliant effort on the right wing boards, and David Backes found the puck on his stick for a huge goal to give the Blues a 2-0 lead.
Coach Ken Hitchcock and the Blues had their game plan rewarded at a critical tipping point of the series. They won that Game Two, 3-0, and took the series with wins of 4-3, 2-1, and 3-1.
The scores were tight, but the tipping point was also in Game Two, not necessarily because of the fact that St. Louis won the game, but because of what they proved to themselves about the mettle of their team in that particular playoff series.
This year, against Vancouver, the Sharks did a terrific job in Game One. They need to remain focused on each and every important detail of winning, so that Game Two can be a pivotal strike in their favor. No detail is too small to be focused on in this one.
Of course, the second win in a series is more difficult than the first. Vancouver is going to be ready. They’re talented and well-prepared.
It’s going to be a great game. See you on the radio!