Future stars of the world’s fastest game are gathering at Sharks Ice at San Jose, including the selections that Doug Wilson, Tim Burke and the Sharks scouting staff made at the recent NHL Entry Draft. But now, we are in a period where unrestricted free agents are dominating the discussions, and that brings forth another question that is flooding the mind of the concerned hockey habitué today.
Who is the most important free agent signed by an NHL team so far this summer?
From the San Jose Sharks perspective, you have to start with the players who have departed. The team moved Michal Handzus, Ryane Clowe, and Douglas Murray at the trade deadline. Handzus played an important role on Chicago’s Stanley Cup championship team, and re-signed with the Blackhawks. Clowe had a positive, albeit injury-riddled time with the New York Rangers before signing a big deal with the New Jersey Devils. Murray was a solid presence on Pittsburgh’s run to the Eastern Conference Final, and while he remains a free agent, there has been a lot of discussion that the Penguins would like to bring him back for another kick at the can.
Other Sharks who became ex-Sharks include goaltender Thomas Greiss, a popular figure in the dressing room who signed a contract with the Coyotes; Frazer McLaren, who was claimed off waivers by Toronto earlier in the year and re-signed with the Maple Leafs; Dominic Moore, who returned to the NHL where it started in Manhattan with the Rangers after a long year away from the game; and Jon Matsumoto, who played this past year in Worcester of the AHL and returned to his starting point with a new contract in the Sunshine State, also known as F-L-A.
This year, the Sharks made a few trades at the deadline which sent Ryane Clowe to New York, Douglas Murray to Pittsburgh, and Michal Handzus to Chicago. Coming back to San Jose includes the 49th and 58th selections in this draft, along with a 111th overall pick from Chicago that originally belonged to the Sharks and was re-acquired.
It’s important to note that there is plenty of maneuverability for the Sharks in this draft. They might be able to move upward in the draft to gain position if a coveted player is available and a transaction is possible. For instance, in the 2007 draft year, the Sharks had traded goaltender Vesa Toskala and left wing Mark Bell to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Toronto’s first round selection (22nd overall), the 2007 2nd round pick, and a 2009 4th rounder. They would send the first and second round selections to St. Louis in exchange for the Blues first round pick, which was 9th overall.
With that 9th selection, the Sharks were successfully able to make Logan Couture a cornerstone of their organization. The Blues wound up drafting Lars Eller and Aaron Palushaj , both who became Montreal Canadiens in return for an excellent starting goaltender, Jaroslav Halak.
It’s do or die. Sink or swim. Win, and move on. Lose, and it’s all over.
There really is nothing quite like Game Seven of a Stanley Cup playoff series, and tonight, San Jose Sharks hockey skates into the amazing atmosphere and is eager to get things going against the Los Angeles Kings. There is tremendous history, hope, and heartbreak all rolled up into one night of electric shock therapy for everyone’s nervous system.
It is quite fitting that these two closely matched rivals will play this game, under these circumstances. This season, the Sharks and the Kings were two of the best home teams, and the home team has won every game of the series so far. There is absolutely no room to operate on the ice because of outstanding defensive coverage, and the goaltending from Antti Niemi and Jonathan Quick has been excellent.
The last time that the Sharks have been in a Game Seven, they had the home ice against the Detroit Red Wings. Winning the game on a goal by Patrick Marleau, San Jose advanced to the 2011 Western Conference Final against the Vancouver Canucks. It was the conclusion of perhaps the best playoff series of that particular year, including the Vancouver-Boston Final.
It’s been eleven years since the Sharks have played a Game Seven on the road. In 2002, they traveled to Denver to face off against the Avalanche, and had a golden opportunity to take the lead when Teemu Selanne began to wrap the puck around to beat Patrick Roy. Teemu’s skate got caught in a rut on the ice. He missed. Peter Forsberg scored the only goal.
Colorado won the game, 1-0, and perhaps the best series of that particular playoff season came to an end.
It’s the second Game Seven in an all-California Stanley Cup playoff series. On April 13, 1969, Game Seven was played at the Oakland Coliseum Arena between the Kings and the Oakland Seals. L.A. won that game, 5-3, and completed a series in which they won both Game Six at home and Game Seven on the road.
Tonight, the Sharks look to be the team that does the same thing. To date, road teams have captured two of the three Game Sevens played this post-season. Detroit won at Anaheim, and the Rangers won in Washington. On the other side of the coin, Boston took Game Seven at home against Toronto in overtime.
Oh, yes, there has been overtime in Sharks Game Seven history, too. On May 19, 1995, San Jose traveled to Calgary and on a goal by Ray Whitney at 21:54, advanced to the Western Conference Semi-Final with a 5-4 win against the Flames. In that series, the Sharks also captured both Game Six and Game Seven.
The Kings have not played in a Game Seven since 2002, when they lost, 4-0, on the road in Colorado. They have not hosted a Game Seven since 1989, when they defeated the Edmonton Oilers, 6-3, in a first-round series that was played before the Sharks were born.
L.A. is 3-4 lifetime in Game Seven, including a 2-1 home record. Their most recent Game Seven win was on May 29, 1993, when they won 5-4 at Toronto in a game that guaranteed their advancement to the Stanley Cup Final.
It is impossible to predict anything other than a terrific, closely contested hockey game that will conclude a classic series that has been perhaps the best of all that have been played to date this spring. At the end, as the players shake hands at center ice, we will all know whether there will be a new Stanley Cup champion this year, or whether the Cup champs will earn another opportunity to defend their crown.
May the best team win. It is all about the handshake at the end of the night, and both teams will give it their all to be on the right side of that handshake. It is going to be awesome. It’s what players dream to do, and what hockey is all about.
See you on the radio.
The San Jose Sharks have three options in their series with the Los Angeles Kings: (1.) Win Game 6 on Sunday, travel to Los Angeles, win Game 7 on Tuesday, and advance to the Western Conference Final; (2.) Win Game 6 on Sunday, travel to Los Angeles, lose Game 7 on Tuesday, and shake hands at center ice while the Kings advance; (3.) Lose Game 6 on Sunday, shake hands at center ice, and watch the Kings move on.
Inside the Sharks’ locker room, there is only one option to consider, and that’s option 1. The other two options cannot be allowed. However, that state of affairs depends totally on how the Sharks perform on Sunday.
This series has been heading in this direction since the drop of the first puck on May 14th at the Staples Center. In fact, Game 5 was the mirror image of Game 4 in so many different ways. Everything that the Sharks did to the Kings in Game 4, the Kings dished right back in Game 5.
The Sharks know what they have to do. Here is a brief rundown of the challenge from an historical perspective:
- Los Angeles has a 7-1 lifetime series record when leading a series, 3 games to 2. The one loss occurred in 1968, in the team’s very first playoff series against the Minnesota North Stars. Minnesota won Game 6 at home, in overtime, and traveled to Los Angeles and won Game 7 by a 9-4 score.
- The last time that the Kings had a 3-2 series lead, they eliminated the St. Louis Blues in Round 1 with a 2-1 victory at Staples Center. The last time that they were in this situation on the road, they traveled to New Jersey for Game 6 of last season’s Final. New Jersey won, 2-1, and forced a Game 7, which L.A. won, 6-1, to take the Stanley Cup.
- When they have a chance to clinch the series, the Kings have a lifetime record of 13-10.
- San Jose has a 1-8 lifetime series record when trailing a series, 3 games to 2. The one series win occurred in 1995, when the Sharks were shut out, 5-0, by Calgary in Game 5, and followed up with wins in Game 6 and 7.
- The last time that the Sharks were down 3-2 in a series, they traveled to Anaheim for Game 6 in that 2009 series, and lost, 4-1. The last time that they were in this situation at home, it was 2001, and they lost to St. Louis, 2-1.
- When facing elimination, the Sharks have a record of 9-15, including 3 wins in the second round. The last time that they faced elimination in the Western Conference Semi-Final, they beat Detroit, 3-2, in Game 7 of the 2011 series.
- San Jose’s record in home games when down 3-2 in a series is 1-3, with the win coming in that 1995 game vs. Calgary. Darryl Sutter was behind the bench for the Sharks in the other three games against Dallas (1998), Colorado (1999), and St. Louis (2001).
What do all of the above numbers mean, beyond some interesting historical perspective? Absolutely nothing, because the Kings are defending Stanley Cup champions, and the Sharks are a different hockey team this year. All I can say is that regardless of what time they drop the puck on Sunday, it’s going to be a fantastic hockey game. Tune in.
There was a 5-on-3 situation for the Kings in the final two minutes of Game 2, and Los Angeles converted on the power play to get the win in regulation. One of the man-advantage goals was the result of a “delay over glass” penalty. In Game 3, there was an early Dan Boyle power play goal made possible by the “delay over glass” call, and then, there was a 5-on-3 power play for the Sharks that actually carried into overtime, and produced the winning goal by Logan Couture.
Couture was the hero of the night. After getting blasted by a Jeff Carter check, he hobbled off the ice and was said to be under evaluation. Then, to a tremendous ovation, he returned to action, and sent the crowd into ecstatic celebration with his game-winner in OT.
In the previous game, Anze Kopitar, top center on the Kings, was their rallying point. After going into the dressing room with an injury, he returned to the ice, and it was the Staples Center crowd on their feet with a rousing cheer for their returning hero.
What a series this has been!
For the broadcasters, there’s a unique situation with the names. It gets very interesting when Justin Braun is defending Dustin Brown, for instance, or if Mike Richards and Brad Richardson are on the ice. In that second juxtaposition, it is interesting to note that the New York Rangers have a top player, Brad Richards, who fits into this maelstrom. Thankfully, he’s not on the roster for this series, but wouldn’t it be neat if somehow, somewhere, the Rangers could get a guy named Mike Richardson for their roster?
This is getting right up there with the notion of Miroslav Satan playing for the Devils, or Martin St. Louis playing for the Blues. Of course, Dwight King plays for the Kings.
We’re looking forward to Game 4 at HP Pavilion on Tuesday. See you on the radio!
The San Jose Sharks have run smack into the path of playoff adversity, and the circumstances by which it has arrived have been exceedingly uncomfortable for players, coaches, and the fan faithful.
There will be those who wish to abandon ship. There will be those who wish to crawl into the fetal position in a corner of a room, or who prefer to engage in an endless session of hand-wringing, assuming that the worst is here. There are no such characters inside the San Jose Sharks’ dressing room.
In a sense, Game 2 was a case of the hockey gods giving one back to the Kings, in a returned favor from an even more unlikely Sharks playoff comeback at the Staples Center just two short years earlier.
It was Tuesday, April 19, 2011, and it was another playoff game between the Sharks and the Kings. Los Angeles had just won the previous game in the series, 4-0, with Jonathan Quick picking up the shutout. Unlike this season, it was Game 3 of the best-of-seven playoff series, but it was also at the Staples Center, since L.A. didn’t have home ice advantage.
One game has been played in the Western Conference Semi-Final between the San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings, and I’m thinking about a Yogi Berra baseball quote when trying to characterize what this series is going to be like.
“Baseball is ninety percent mental,” Yogi once quipped. “The other half is physical.”
Well, this series between the Sharks and the Kings is also going to seem one with physical prominence. It’s one where the grinding along the boards and in front of the net will also be prominent, recalling a moment last night where five skaters hammered for the puck in the San Jose defensive zone for what seemed like an eternity before it finally popped out to a Sharks stick.
But as Yogi indicated about his sport, ninety percent of the Sharks challenge in this series is probably going to be right between the ears.
All in all, the Sharks did many good things in this game, especially considering the week off. Realistically, the one place where the rust mattered over the rest was in the emotional edge, which slowly returned as the game went on. As my broadcast partner Jamie Baker noted on the radio last night, “Every battle counts.” He’s correct.
There were a lot of interesting chess matches going on between the coaches. There were quick line changes early in the game. There was a stand-off near the end of an icing before a time out was finally called. But there were physical challenges, too.
Primarily, the Sharks have to maintain their patience and their composure. They’re going to have more situations in this series where they could be frustrated by the Stanley Cup champions. But make no mistake, now that one team has a victory, this series is on, and while the chess matches will continue, the desperation, the rivalry, and the emotional edge will escalate.
We look forward to bringing all the action to you on the radio. See you on Thursday.
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!
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!
It’s time for the greatest part of the season, the Stanley Cup playoffs, to begin for the San Jose Sharks. It is a time for excitement, joy, drama, hope, and heartbreak, with hopefully not too much heartbreak for all who will immerse themselves in the best sports challenge in the world.
It’s already happened in the games played yesterday. A starting goaltender, Niklas Backstrom, was injured in warm-ups for Minnesota, and a backup struggling with health problems, Josh Harding, stepped in and held the Wild all the way into overtime before dropping Game One in Chicago. In St. Louis, the two best players on the ice were involved in the game-winning play in OT: with the L.A. Kings on the power play, goaltender Jonathan Quick displayed a characteristic flaw by misplaying the puck, and Alex Steen used his quickness to get to it and knock it into the net for another game-winner in overtime in a Blues win.
The image of Quick slamming his mask-protected head against the ice in disappointment and self-loathing is one of those that we’ll remember from Day One of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, but be aware that there are many more amazing moments to come, and not just ones involving the goaltenders.
Let’s go over the series between the San Jose Sharks and the Vancouver Canucks, and promptly throw the statistics out the window. That’s Point Number 9 in former Sharks captain Bob Errey’s “16 Points for Playoff Success,” aptly selected because of Point Number 1: It takes 16 wins to win the Stanley Cup.