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POSTED ON Thursday, 05.16.2013 / 12:29 PM
By Jamie Baker - Sharks Broadcaster / Great White Bites

So what do the Sharks need to do to win game 2. I would say based on the quotes below play the same way they did in game 1 but with more edge, grit and desperation in the offensive zone.

Here are some telling quotes from the last few days.

Jarret Stoll - before the series discussing what the Kings need to do in this series

“There’s probably 5 or 6 guys on that team that we’ve got to neutralize, and we’ve got to shut down, get in their face, make it a very uncomfortable game for them. That’s what playoffs are all about – making it uncomfortable, taking away time and space, getting people out of their comfort zone and staying out of the box too.”

Stoll's quote is very telling and LA played that way in game 1 and were victorious. Now take a look at some of the quotes from the Sharks after game 1.

Head Coach Todd McLellan

“I spent six days reviewing the St. Louis series, and I heard a lot of the same stuff coming out of their mouths,” McLellan said. “We didn’t accomplish enough. There is a team that just played against them for six nights, and said they had a lot of chances and the goaltender made a number of saves. We can’t be that team again. We’ve got to find ways to score, and we’ve got to make it a lot harder on him.”

Logan Couture

“Guys weren’t committed to getting in front of him (Quick), so that needs to change. They check tight. You’ve got to beat their guy out of the corner to get to the net, and we weren’t able to do that.”

Dan Boyle

“Our effort was pretty good,” Boyle said. “But, it’s probably a broken record with what St. Louis went through. I read that they felt they possibly were the better team in the series, they just weren’t scoring enough goals. We’ve got to get a little hungrier and a little dirtier and a little meaner in front of their net.”

Joe Pavelski

“We feel we can play with them. After tonight, everyone in this room feels they are beatable. It's not going to be easy, obviously. They are the Stanley Cup champs, a team that has learned how to win."

Pavelski said it very well, the Sharks know they can beat the Kings but it won't be easy. I am going to re-visit my RAM Trucks 3 Keys to the Series because they were applicable in game 1, will be applicable tonight and throughout the series. This is as much a mental battle as it is a physical one.

1. Patience

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.

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POSTED ON Sunday, 05.12.2013 / 1:36 PM
By Jamie Baker - Sharks Broadcaster / Great White Bites

The Matchup


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
Chicago 18-3-3
San Jose 17-2-5

Keys to the Series

My RAM Trucks 3 Keys to the Vancouver series were:
1. Goaltending
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.

Chicago

1. Goaltending

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.

Los Angeles


1. Patience

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.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 05.08.2013 / 12:05 PM
By Jamie Baker - Sharks Broadcaster / Great White Bites

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.

STAY LOUD!!!

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POSTED ON Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 12:40 PM
By Jamie Baker - Sharks Broadcaster / Great White Bites

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!!!

Quick redemption
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!!!

#NiemiVezina
How good was Nemo, especially in the 2nd period and OT ... I think awesome is an appropriate choice of words.

Winging it
Tommy Wingels continues to play gritty hockey as he led the team with 8 hits and also added 5 shots.

Marleau-time
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.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 05.01.2013 / 1:02 PM
By Jamie Baker - Sharks Broadcaster / The Daily Chomp

This is an important playoff series for both teams/organizations because someone will be getting bounced from the first round two years in a row, which means not meeting the high expectations that are set in both dressing rooms. The statistics from the regular season and the matchups have all the makings of a long, tough series. So in the end, what will push one to team victory and send the other to the golf course?

3 Keys to the Series


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POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.30.2013 / 12:34 PM
By Jamie Baker - Sharks Broadcaster / Great White Bites

I don't think teams need a rallying point when trying to win the Stanley Cup. We've seen it in the past, Ray Bourque for instance, and it made for a wonderful story, but just winning the coveted trophy is a rallying point in itself because it's so hard to win.

The Sharks road to the Cup starts tomorrow night in Vancouver. Who knows what is going to happen because there are are so many good teams in the West. Someone from the West will be alive in 6 weeks and they will likely have the opportunity and challenge of beating the Pittsburgh Penguins.

As for the Sharks, the focus is solely on Vancouver right now. But I think it would be remiss not to bring up someone who has meant so much to this organization and won't be around for the first time ever to watch the playoffs. That person is George Gund III.

Mr. Gund passed away on January 15 of this year. His passion, vision, and fortitude was instrumental in bringing the Sharks to San Jose. But most of all it was his passion ... passion for hockey.

Winning the Stanley Cup takes passion and lots of it. I don't see it as a rallying cry, but as we embark on the 2013 playoffs I know the spirit of Mr. Gund is watching over this team and it would be very cool to...

"win it for George"

Enjoy the playoffs, there is nothing like it in sports.

Bakes

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POSTED ON Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 3:09 PM
By Jamie Baker - Sharks Broadcaster / Great White Bites

Day 99. Game 48. Hard to believe but the last day of the regular season is upon us.

What a grind for the players, coaches and trainers - 1 NHL game every 2.06 days. Throw in travel and that is a lot of hockey and an incredibly demanding schedule both mentally and physically.

A short demanding season has been volatile with wild swings for almost every team in the NHL. Here is a snapshot of the roller coaster the Sharks just endured:

The Start - January 20 to February 9

11 Games in 21 days

Overall 7-2-2 (5 ROW's)

Home 5-1-2 (3)

Away 2-1-0 (2)

The Grind - February 11 to March 25

20 Games, 15 of them on the road in 43 days

Overall 7-9-4 (4)

Home 3-0-2 (2)

Away 4-9-2 (2)

The Push - March 27 to April 27

17 Games in 32 days (game 17 tonight vs LA)

Overall 11-4-1 (8) does not include game vs LA

Home 9-1-1 (7)

Road 2-3-0 (1)


The Start and Push were enough to offset the Grind so the Sharks could participate in the next season, the PLAYOFFS!

Go Sharks

Bakes

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POSTED ON Thursday, 04.25.2013 / 6:27 PM
By Jamie Baker - Sharks Broadcaster / The Daily Chomp
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POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.23.2013 / 12:20 PM
By Jamie Baker - Sharks Broadcaster / Great White Bites

I remember how loud you were when we played the first ever playoff game at The Shark Tank.

I remember how loud you were when we played game 3 against Toronto, the first home game after defeating Detroit in game 7 and splitting the first 2 games in Toronto.

I remember how loud you were during the incredible 5-3 against vs Edmonton back in the 2005 playoffs.

I remember how you came back after this latest lockout.

I remember how loud you were just last week when the Sharks and Kings battled it out.

And I know how loud you will be come the 2013 NHL Playoffs.

Sharks fans, you are part of the memories for every player that has played for the Sharks or against them at HP Pavilion.

Today is your day; FAN APPRECIATION DAY.

Thank you for your loyalty and for being so loud ..... and awesome!!!

You're the Best

Bakes

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POSTED ON Friday, 04.19.2013 / 4:10 PM
By Jamie Baker - Sharks Broadcaster / The Daily Chomp
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SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 48 32 10 6 143 124 70
2 NSH 46 31 10 5 141 107 67
3 STL 46 29 13 4 148 111 62
4 CHI 48 30 16 2 151 112 62
5 WPG 49 26 15 8 138 122 60
6 SJS 48 25 17 6 131 132 56
7 VAN 46 26 17 3 124 118 55
8 CGY 48 26 19 3 140 126 55
9 LAK 48 21 15 12 133 129 54
10 COL 49 20 18 11 128 141 51
11 DAL 47 21 19 7 146 154 49
12 MIN 47 21 20 6 130 138 48
13 ARI 47 16 25 6 108 160 38
14 EDM 48 12 27 9 110 160 33

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 48 24 18 10 42
L. Couture 48 18 24 2 42
J. Thornton 44 10 27 0 37
B. Burns 48 11 24 -6 35
P. Marleau 48 9 24 -10 33
T. Wingels 47 11 14 -2 25
J. Braun 47 1 18 4 19
T. Hertl 48 8 9 -2 17
M. Vlasic 47 6 10 13 16
J. Sheppard 42 4 9 -2 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 19 11 5 .912 2.57
A. Stalock 5 5 1 .905 2.65
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