Here are a bunch of one-timers, a Baker's Dozen to be exact, to get the week started.
- If the standings don't say it loud enough then just ask the Winnipeg Jets this question, "So how's life in the Western Conference?".
- How can you not love Brent Burns ... looks like a caveman for a couple of months and then shaves his head and beard for charity and raises over $23,000.
- The emotion Dan Boyle showed after scoring the PP goal against Phoenix pretty much summed up how hard it was dealing with an injury that ultimately could have been a lot worse. Great to see you back Boyler!
- Justin Braun is leading the Sharks in the one non-scoring statistic that says a lot - TOI or Time On Ice. Braun's value is shown in his averaging 22:03 TOI per game, almost a minute and half more than Vlasic who is 2nd on the team with 20:37.
- Speaking of Braun and Vlasic, they are tied atop the NHL for plus/minus at a very impressive +12.
- Logan Couture is 2nd for forwards in the NHL in blocked shots with 18. It's an impressive stat because blocking shots is not fun and you are paying the price for your team, and that's what Logan Couture is all about.
- Drew wrote about it in his last blog but I wanted to comment on what an amazing coaching staff the Sharks have. They are smart, work so hard it's ridiculous and are all good people ... and they have fun at what they are doing. Awesome stuff! Here's the link to Drew's last blog.
- People say Joe Pavelski isn't a 3rd line center. I say "Yes he is"! If you have the best 3rd line center in the NHL what does that say about your depth?
- After the game vs Buffalo on Tuesday night the Sharks next five games are against Western Canadian teams. Vancouver comes to SAP Center on Thursday and they are a motivated team that is playing well right now. Then the Sharks hit the road for a five game, nine day road trip that starts in Winnipeg before heading to Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton. Lots of double anthems coming up!
- The two teams with a better 5-5 F/A than the Sharks are Anaheim at 1.91 and Colorado at 1.87. The Sharks currently sit 3rd in the NHL tied with Minnesota with a 1.83 5-5 F/A.
- Are you asking yourself what the heck is 5-5 F/A? If not, go to next bullet point. If yes, then I am happy to help. 5-5 F/A is a team's average for scoring goals For in even-strength 5-5 situations versus having goals scored Against. If a team has scored 20 goals for 5-5 and has given up 20 goals against 5-5 then their ratio would be 1.00. So the higher the ratio, the better it is. The Sharks have scored 33 goals 5-5 this year and given up 18. So 33 divided by 18 is 1.83. Voila! This is an important stat because if teams are good 5-5 then they don't have to rely as much on special teams to win games.
- Three of the top four players in TOI for forwards in the NHL are on the same line and the Sharks will see them this Thursday at SAP Center. Ryan Kesler leads the way averaging 22:57 a game while Henrik Sedin is 2nd at 22:47. Third is Sidney Crosby at 22:37 followed by Daniel Sedin at 22:25. The top three forwards in regards to TOI for the Sharks are (where they are in TOI for forwards in the NHL): 1. Marleau 20:05 (30th) 2. Couture 19:38 (41st) 3. Pavelski 19:29 (44th).
- I am saving the best for last. This past Saturday my partner, the great Dan Rusanowsky, was inducted into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame. What an honor and accomplishment for Ruzzie who is a total pro and just a great person whose loyalty to the San Jose Sharks is nothing short of amazing. I am in my 9th year working with my fellow St. Lawrence University alum and I am proud to have worked with him for all these years. The longest anyone worked with Dan prior to my arrival was 4 years because often they left for a TV analyst position. Well I couldn't be happier and am honored to working with a Hall of Famer! Now I just want to hear Ruzzie make his greatest call of all ... "Sharks win The Stanley Cup!"
I think it's important to note that all 4 of those teams made the playoffs last year:
Boston - went to the Cup Finals losing to Chicago in 6 games Detroit - Lost in the 2nd round to eventual Cup Champs Chicago in 7 games Ottawa - Lost to Pittsburgh in the 2nd round Montreal - Lost to Ottawa in the 1st round
Goals For: 8
Goals Against: 4
Players injured, not playing: Boyle, Burns, Torres, Burrish, Havlat
Discipline and patience - those are two of the characteristics the Sharks showed in a defensive gem as the Sharks shut out the Red Wings at Joe Louis and won the game in the shootout.
Spectacular - the save Neimi made on Bertuzzi to secure the win.
Stifling - The Sharks did that to the Bruins out-shooting them 39-17 only to get a taste of their own 'stifling' medicine by Tukka Rask who stole the game for the hometown Bruins.
Buzzer beater - we see it in basketball all the time but not very often in hockey. Unfortunately for the Sharks, who were the last team in the NHL without a regulation loss, the Bruins scored with 0.8 seconds left to win the game 2-1.
Suffocating - that's what the Sharks did to Montreal's offense as the visiting Sharks shut out the Habs 2-0 on Hockey Night In Canada.
Chien chaud - the hot dogs in Montreal are terrific. If I've said it once I've said it a million times, it's all about the bun and they toast the buns there.
Gumption - what the Sharks showed as they played about 20 hours after an emotional win in Montreal to defeat the Senators 5-2.
Perseverance - Alex Stalock getting his 1st NHL start at the age of 26 after overcoming a career threatening injury.
I don't think elaboration is needed in my blog, or extensive explanation, or reasoning. It's way to simple for that.
Guys, stop hitting each other from behind and stop hitting each other in the head. No one wants to see someone lay on the ice unconscious for over 2 minutes, especially knowing that person has family and friends watching the game.
3 stretchers in 1 week means we are getting closer to someone getting paralyzed, having a career ending injury of God forbid, dying.
Do you really want to live with the guilt of being that player, you know, the one who will forever be known as the player who paralyzed another player or ended someone's career, or the worst scenario of all, the God forbid scenario?
I know the game is played on the edge ... I was there! But at some point, it's not worth it! It's a game, a sport and you make a lot of money.
Be smarter guys, if not for each other, for all the family members and friends out there that care for you.
A Breakdown of Tomas Hertl's First Career Goal
I think the most fan friendly change this year is playing a home and away with every team in the other conference. The Sharks first Eastern Conference foe this year is the New York Rangers on Tuesday, Oct. 8 at the SAP Center.
Now that the Sharks play every team in the East twice this year, what should we expect from the Eastern Conference in the 2013-14 season?
Four of the Original 6 teams reside in the Atlantic Division and it’s possible all of them make the playoffs – they all did last year however Detroit was in the West.
Boston, Detroit, Ottawa and Toronto should all make the playoffs, barring significant injuries although that didn’t stop Ottawa last year.
Montreal and Tampa Bay are my tweeners meaning if they get on a roll could make a push to make the playoffs or just miss out.
I don’t see how Florida and Buffalo can make the playoffs this year. Florida is intriguing and could be a tweener if they get great goaltending.
The two worst days, lockouts not included, of the year in hockey (NHL) have been yesterday and today. That's because it's finalize the roster day, which means you have to let the last cuts know they didn't make the team.
I will put it very bluntly from someone who has been there: It's not fun being so close to the NHL and getting cut! It happened to me my first three years in pro hockey, and the sting got worse every year because I was that much closer.
And, I sat across from good people, their eyes told me it wasn't a fun day for them either. This is the human side, and very compelling side, of sports.
So to all the guys who came that close, awesome job in camp. Good luck and keep working for that dream.
The photo below is a snapshot of my hockey journey, starting at St. Lawrence University in 1985 before retiring in 1999 after 10 years of pro hockey. In the snapshot is 3 consecutive years of getting cut during training camp for the Quebec Nordiques (now I'm aging myself by mentioning Quebec City ... I hope the beautiful city gets a team in the NHL someday.)
Jamie Baker (@Bakes_Jamie13)
It's time for hockey fans on the east coast to recognize how good Marc-Edouard Vlasic is. My two cents has him making Team Canada to represent the storied hockey nation at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Vlasic defied the odds at his first pro training camp by making the Sharks team even though he was more or less penciled in to play one more year of Junior. From the moment Vlasic played in the NHL it was obvious he had tremendous defensive skills, from anticipation to footwork and of course his great stick which he uses so well.
We have watched Vlasic grow as a player and become more assertive as he has gotten stronger and gained more experience. He is someone who makes tough plays look easy because of his tremendous positioning and cherishes playing against the top players from other teams.
It's hard to believe that Pickles is only 26 and has already played 519 regular season NHL games and 79 NHL playoff games. The fact is the best is yet to come as he is just now reaching his prime. It will be fun to watch him continue to impact games and help the Sharks pursue the coveted Stanley Cup.
Vlasic has become a quiet leader and an integral part of the puzzle in San Jose. Above is a video from a couple of seasons ago where Vlasic shuts down the Avalanche forward Matt Duchene with his tremendous skating, stick and defensive positioning. He makes it look so simple!!!
Pickles, good luck with your tryouts for Team Canada, my ballot is for you to make the team this year.
The schedule is out which gets the juices flowing in anticipation for the 2013-14 NHL season. Whenever the schedule is released it means it's time to circle the calendar for specific games, home-stands and road trips.
Here are ones that I have circled and look forward to.
* Two of the first four games are against the John Tortorella coached Vancouver Canucks, the team the Sharks swept in the first round in the 2013 playoffs. You can add some intrigue in the Sharks 3rd game when the NY Rangers come to town, coached by ex-Canuck coach Alain Vignault.
* Oct 21 the Sharks play in Detroit for the only time this year now that the Red Wings are in the Eastern Conference. From there the Sharks head to Boston, Montreal (on Saturday = Hockey Night in Canada), Ottawa before finishing up the first lengthy road trip in LA who knocked out the Sharks in a classic seven game series this past spring. If you can swing it, the Boston, Montreal and Ottawa games would make for one memorable hockey road trip.
* Nov 10 to 15 is a classic western road trip as the Sharks play Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton before finishing the five game road trip in the windy city, home of the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions.
* Nov 21 Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and company play in San Jose followed by the return of ex-Shark fan favorite Ryane Clowe on Nov 23 as the Devils play their only game at SAP Center.
* Speaking of ex-Sharks, on December 10 the legendary Evgeni Nabokov and the NY Islanders will be playing at SAP Center.
It was 6 years ago to the day, on July 1, 2007 that Joe Thornton signed his first 3-year extension with the San Jose Sharks. Joe could have waited a year to test the free agency market but instead took a deal that paid him fair market value but also left money on the table for the Sharks to sign other key players like Patrick Marleau and Dan Boyle to long term deals.
That’s Joe Thornton; he’ll try and do what he can to make his team better. He has the rare combination of size, skill, hockey sense and toughness that make him such a complete hockey player. It’s easy to take for granted how good Joe really is, especially his on-ice vision and passing ability. He makes plays every game that most players in the NHL can’t make, and it’s usually setting someone up for a great scoring chance.
Joe’s stats and individual accomplishments including winning the Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP are well documented, but there are other factors that show Joe’s team first mentality and why he has been such a huge part of the San Jose Sharks organization since being traded on Nov 30, 2005.