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POSTED ON Wednesday, 08.08.2012 / 1:59 PM
By Dan Rusanowsky - Sharks Broadcaster / The Daily Chomp


Back in the halcyon days of the NHL, which was when I was growing up for all of you who are under the age of 25, the team that was closest to my home was the New York Rangers. I listened to the radio calls of Marv Albert and Sal “Red Light” Messina and heard the names of players like Eddie Giacomin, Rod Gilbert, and Brad Park battling it out with the likes of Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, and Eddie Johnston, among others. It was my introduction to the National Hockey League.

I had some favorite players, and paid attention to their sweater numbers. Jean Ratelle wore #19, Rod Gilbert wore #7, Brad Park wore #2, Bobby Rousseau wore #22, and Pete Stemkowski (yes, that Pete Stemkowski) wore #21. Thus, when it came time for me to actually try to put on the equipment and learn how to play, I thought that I’d choose one of those numbers as my very own.

What I found out was that circumstances often threw a wrench into the works in my grand plans for a proper sweater number, and that was the case in all sports that I tried to play. In soccer, my number was 26 because that was the shirt that fit the best. In my one season playing lacrosse, I was assigned #46, and I learned to love it, because I was barely on the school team and proud just to be in the locker room.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 07.24.2012 / 8:00 AM
By Dan Rusanowsky - Sharks Broadcaster / The Daily Chomp

Over the course of their history, the San Jose Sharks have played in some pretty memorable games, but there are a few that always get lost in the shuffle for a variety of reasons. I thought that I’d take a skate down Memory Lane for a moment and recall one playoff game that deserves to be on the “most memorable” list.

May 6, 1994: The Explosion
We’ve all chronicled the Sharks’ victory over Detroit in the 1994 Western Conference Quarterfinals many times, and we’ll never forget Game Six of the next round against Toronto, when a post denied Johan Garpenlov’s chance to score a series winner in overtime. But in that Toronto series, Game Three provided an opportunity for a fan explosion that ranks among the greatest, and least discussed, moments in Sharks’ playoff history.

San Jose had defeated Detroit, but they won Game Seven on the road. Then, they split the first two games of their series against the Maple Leafs. When the Men in Teal hit the ice in San Jose on May 6, 1994, it was the first time that Sharks fans could gather at the building now known as HP Pavilion to celebrate together, and to show their appreciation for what their team had accomplished.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 07.10.2012 / 4:58 PM
By Dan Rusanowsky - Sharks Broadcaster / The Daily Chomp

One day after getting the attention of the hockey world when they brought Hall of Fame defenseman Larry Robinson into the fold as an associate coach, the San Jose Sharks made another exciting addition to their coaching staff on Tuesday.

Jim Johnson has joined the organization, and his addition brings another experienced hand into the coach’s office. You’ll likely see that he’s 49 years old, a 14-year NHL veteran, another former defenseman, and a man who has coached internationally for USA Hockey, for Lugano in Switzerland and with several NHL teams, including the Washington Capitals where he assisted Dale Hunter last season.

But I want to focus on the apropos age, 49. That intersects with my first thought upon hearing the name, Jim Johnson. Now that Jim is here, I’ll have to have him solve a little question that I have concerning him.

It was during one of the Cow Palace seasons. The Sharks were an exciting, new expansion team with more enthusiasm than wins and everyone was coming to Daly City to check out the Bay Area’s new sports arrival.

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POSTED ON Friday, 06.29.2012 / 12:05 PM
By Dan Rusanowsky - Sharks Broadcaster / The Daily Chomp
They came from different countries, and different ways of life, but they were blessed with the love of the game of hockey and the desire to be the very best. They weren’t playing for the Stanley Cup, or for the IIHF World Championship, but were instead competing for the joy of achievement and for the pride of their country. It could be said that they represented opposing ways of life.

Forty years ago, a team of legends from the USSR and another from Canada caused the hockey world to stop, stare, and shake its collective head in awe. There was nothing routine about it, from the fact that it was an eight-game series instead of a best-of-seven, to that it was played in September instead of May and June, and that it marked the first time that the Soviet and Canadian hockey cultures had ever collided at the very top level.

On Wednesday evening, some of the Russian legends came to Sharks Ice at San Jose to begin a commemorative tour of California with their former teammates, holding a clinic with some lucky young hockey players, and playing in an exhibition against a few former Sharks and Jr. Sharks coaches in a fundraiser for the Jr. Sharks Scholarship Fund.

The appearance of the Russians brought back all of the memories of that 1972 Summit Series, which was ironically called the “Friendship Series,” a name that was soon forgotten alongside the détente that inspired it. It was a series for the ages, and one that changed professional hockey forever.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 06.21.2012 / 5:03 PM
By Dan Rusanowsky - Sharks Broadcaster / The Daily Chomp

So, the Stanley Cup Champion has been decided, the Awards Show has just ended in Las Vegas, the draft and free agency are coming up, and baseball, soccer, and motor racing seasons are in full swing. What’s a hockey fan to do when he has a few minutes of free time from armchair GM’ing?

As they say in Quebec, “Mesdames et Messieurs, le calendrier est arrivé.”

It’s an annual rite of passage that has traditionally occurred in July. But on the second day of summer, the 2012-13 National Hockey League schedule has arrived, and all across the continent, fans, executives, players, coaches, and broadcasters are all in full analysis mode.

First things first: the season is scheduled to start on October 12th, which is nearly a week later than this past campaign. It begins with a quick foray into Southern California, but into Orange County and Duck Hockey. There are only eight games in October, which is a lower number than usual, but that includes a marquee Opening Night against the New York Rangers on October 15th at HP Pavilion. That’s very exciting.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 1:34 PM
By Dan Rusanowsky - Sharks Broadcaster / The Daily Chomp

When NHL clubs gather at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on June 22nd and 23rd, the future stars of the world’s fastest game will undoubtedly be selected in the NHL Entry Draft. While it is a time of great excitement for everyone involved, it is also a time when some of the most important work is done by each organization.

For families of prospective draftees, it is a time when many years of hard work and dedication are validated by being selected, whether it is in the first or seventh round. It is a time of reward for all of the hard work that the teams’ scouting staffs have placed into pounding the pavements of the hockey world to find the next great member of one’s organization.

It’s a fun time for fans, too, who pack the arena where the draft is located, have “draft parties” in their respective communities, and who handicap the results by doing a little armchair GM’ing of their own. There are often trades executed, which happen right before everyone’s eyes, and there are lots of wheeling and dealing moments to watch.

QUALITY OF DRAFTS

Normally, everyone wants to know whether the upcoming prospect pool is deep enough to call the draft a “good” or “deep” one. My view of it is that every draft is a good draft, and it is a fact that every draft produces outstanding NHL players.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 05.30.2012 / 12:00 PM
By Dan Rusanowsky - Sharks Broadcaster / The Daily Chomp


There are all sorts of storylines bouncing around the web, the printed page, and the airwaves as professional hockey’s marquee event gets underway on Wednesday at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. The teams have been set, the battle lines have been drawn, and all that is left is for the Stanley Cup Final series to get started between the Los Angeles Kings and the New Jersey Devils.

Both teams have been to the Stanley Cup Final before. The Kings are here for the second time in their 45 years of history, and the Devils are here for the fifth time in their 38 years of existence as an NHL team. The Devils have three Stanley Cup championships so far, and the Kings have yet to sip champagne instead of beer after the Final series concludes. Both teams are playing an aggressive, hard-skating, well-defended style of hockey with a level of consistency that is certainly envied in other cities.

There are ironies and interesting side stories in this series, as is the case every year. For instance, the last time that the Devils won the Stanley Cup in 2003, they also faced a team from California in the Anaheim Ducks, and it took them a full seven games to bring the trophy to the Garden State.

Anaheim’s leading scorer in that playoff run was Adam Oates, who has changed coasts to become a valued member of the New Jersey coaching staff. Oates, the Sir Stanley Matthews of hockey, took a page out of that great soccer player’s playbook by making others around him better throughout his 19 NHL seasons, and he’s doing the same thing today from his spot behind the bench.

New Jersey’s assistant coach Larry Robinson, one of the great defensemen of his era, is primarily known for his Stanley Cup winning years with the Montreal Canadiens, but his last three NHL seasons were spent with the Kings in Los Angeles. Robinson joined the Devils as assistant coach after his playing career ended, but became the Kings head coach for four seasons before rejoining New Jersey in 1999.

Robinson took over the head job late that season and promptly directed the Devils to the Stanley Cup in 2000 and a trip to the Final in 2001. Since then, he has been on and off the Devils coaching staff and has had an integral role in working with the Devils defense.

Peter DeBoer, the head coach of the Devils, must be really enjoying himself this season after a couple of tough years in Florida out of the playoffs. His Devils defeated the Panthers in the first round, then notched revenge for 1994 in defeating the Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final. On the ice, he’s coaching some familiar faces: David Clarkson of New Jersey and Mike Richards of Los Angeles were integral pieces of his 2003 Memorial Cup championship club in Kitchener.

On the other side of the ice, it certainly has been interesting to see the Dean Lombardi-Darryl Sutter partnership working well at the right time. The Kings and their fans have been through lots of agony since that 1993 trip to the Final against Montreal, missing the playoffs in 11 of 15 years from 1994 to 2009. They have a very dedicated fan base in Los Angeles, and they have had a tremendous run to this point.

The Lombardi-Sutter axis brings the Sharks into the mix, of course, because of the many years that each of them bled Teal. But in terms of the players themselves, the only Sharks connections are on the Devils side: right wing Steve Bernier has played in 22 playoff games wearing a San Jose uniform, and backup goaltender Johan Hedberg was a member of the Sharks Organization from 1999 to 2001.

Overall, I really like the way that both of these teams are playing. They have a combination of great goaltending, solid defensive team play, opportunistic scoring, and special teams that are working when it matters most.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 05.15.2012 / 4:15 PM
By Dan Rusanowsky - Sharks Broadcaster / The Daily Chomp

The NHL’s conference final round is underway, and in both the Western and Eastern regions, the series got off with a bang.

In both series, it is instructive to note the emphasis on (a) doing everything at full speed and (b) emphasizing the will factor over the to-be-expected skill.

The Rangers – Devils series is simply a classic Eastern Conference battle, with both teams possessing goaltenders (Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Brodeur) at the top of their respective games and two well-balanced teams in front of them. But for me, the play of Rangers defensemen Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi has been a real eye-opener.

Between them, the two blocked eight shots in Game One. Girardi got the all-important first goal. McDonagh’s skating ability rose to the top when he was able to catch Zach Parise on a breakaway and force Ilya Kovalchuk to a backhand chance on another break that made things easier for Lundqvist to stop the puck.

Of course, Lundqvist did enough of that on his own, especially with a rapid-fire, three-stop strategy (excuse my Formula One reference there) on Parise in the second period that had everybody at Madison Square Garden gawking.

In the Western Conference, Los Angeles has been acting like the team to beat. They fully outplayed the Phoenix Coyotes in Game One and that was not only accentuated by the 4-2 score but by Coyotes coach Dave Tippett’s analysis after the game. The Kings have been getting lots of great play from top guys like Dustin Brown, Jonathan Quick and Anze Kopitar but they are also really benefitting from the likes of Dwight King and Jordan Nolan, who are really making a difference by filling their assigned roles.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.25.2012 / 2:20 PM
By Dan Rusanowsky - Sharks Broadcaster / The Daily Chomp


It was all over, on a Saturday night in St. Louis, and it wasn’t in the script that the San Jose Sharks had written for themselves. They were shaking hands with the St. Louis Blues, after losing the Western Conference Quarterfinal round to the team that had nearly captured the Presidents’ Trophy during the regular season.

It was all over in a blink of an eye, a five-sentence paragraph that ended with an empty-net exclamation point from Andy McDonald, the speedy forward who was such a dominant thorn in the side of the San Jose Sharks for an entire playoff series. A second exclamation point was added by the subsequent explosion of the capacity crowd at Scottrade Center and so ended the San Jose’s quest for the 2012 Stanley Cup championship.

Without question, the early playoff exit brings back the memory of the spring of 2009 when San Jose was eliminated in the first round by the Anaheim Ducks in six games. Let’s not forget that after reevaluating that disappointment, the Sharks made two long runs to the Western Conference Final and were definitive Stanley Cup challengers.

After the too-quick ending this spring, the team will evaluate and will take a positive step forward again, with only the Stanley Cup on their minds. This condition is not unique to the Sharks. It is also happening in cities like Vancouver, Detroit, Chicago, and Pittsburgh, and depending on how Game Seven turns out in New York and in Boston, more cities could be added to the list.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.11.2012 / 4:15 PM
By Dan Rusanowsky - Sharks Broadcaster / The Daily Chomp


As the San Jose Sharks get set to begin their Stanley Cup playoff journey with Game One in St. Louis on Thursday, the National Hockey League is getting the best radio and television broadcast coverage in history.

Each and every San Jose Sharks Stanley Cup playoff game will be airing on Classic Rock KFOX 98.5/102.1 FM and the San Jose Sharks Radio Network affiliate stations nearest you. Jamie Baker and I have always appreciated your loyal listenership, and we look forward to bringing you every minute of every game that the Sharks play.

Because of the Sharks Radio Network affiliate station group, and now because of satellite and digital radio platforms, our radio audience has continued to find more listeners. In fact, because of SiriusXM and internet streaming radio, a larger and larger audience of hockey fans beyond the range of KFOX and the Sharks Radio Network has been able to listen to every minute of every Stanley Cup playoff game for years.

Well, this season, the television world is catching up to their radio brethren. Because of the NHL’s years of work with NBC and Versus, the League has been a major beneficiary of the merger between NBC Universal and Comcast, the owners of the League’s two television partners. With a new 10-year deal in place, fans across the United States will now have unprecedented television access to every Stanley Cup playoff game, nationwide.

A huge kudos has to go to Commissioner Gary Bettman and his lieutenants for the reward that they’re getting for years and years of hard work and loyalty. It’s going to expose hockey to millions of new initiates, but more importantly, it will bring hockey to loyal fans who have never had the opportunity, at least on television, to watch the games of their choice.

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SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 7 6 1 0 25 14 12
2 NSH 7 5 0 2 19 13 12
3 LAK 7 5 1 1 17 10 11
4 CGY 9 5 3 1 25 19 11
5 CHI 6 4 1 1 18 10 9
6 SJS 8 4 3 1 27 25 9
7 VAN 6 4 2 0 20 17 8
8 DAL 6 3 1 2 21 20 8
9 MIN 5 3 2 0 12 4 6
10 STL 6 2 3 1 13 13 5
11 ARI 6 2 3 1 16 24 5
12 EDM 7 2 4 1 17 29 5
13 WPG 6 2 4 0 11 16 4
14 COL 7 1 4 2 12 24 4

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
P. Marleau 8 4 6 -1 10
J. Pavelski 8 4 4 6 8
L. Couture 8 4 4 -2 8
J. Thornton 8 2 6 5 8
B. Burns 8 1 7 0 8
T. Wingels 8 3 2 -2 5
M. Irwin 6 2 1 -4 3
M. Nieto 8 1 2 3 3
J. Demers 7 0 3 -1 3
J. Braun 8 0 3 2 3
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Stalock 1 1 1 .933 2.27
A. Niemi 3 2 0 .903 3.16
Image Map