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Randy's Ramblings - 12/12/2011

Monday, 12.12.2011 / 2:58 PM
By Randy Hahn - Sharks Broadcaster / The Daily Chomp
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The Daily Chomp
Randy\'s Ramblings - 12\/12\/2011



Sharks head coach Todd McLellan has a theory shared by several wise hockey men I’ve met over the years. He believes that when a team is about to go into a slump it tends to win games it probably doesn’t deserve to. Conversely, when that same team is about to end a slump it tends to lose a game it probably deserves to win.

The Sharks current state of affairs has them in a slide where they’ve lost four of their last six. A telltale sign that a downturn was coming may have been their 1-0 win over Chicago on Nov. 23. Antti Niemi stole that game with 34 saves but there were plenty of signs that the Sharks weren’t playing their best.

Fast forward to Sunday night in Chicago. The Sharks lost 3-2 in overtime to Marian Hossa and the Blackhawks. But in defeat the Sharks played some of their best hockey since their five-game road winning streak in October. The power play didn’t score but it again looked like a dangerous weapon. The penalty killing was excellent. Most importantly there was energy, physicality and commitment to the system throughout the lineup. Perhaps it’s a sign that much better things are ahead for the team.

Respect for Bettman

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has his detractors, but I for one think the man has done a very good job in a number of critical areas. Bettman’s recent proposal to realign into four new conferences has been very well received.

Business revenues at the league level have never been higher. The NHL has aggressively embraced technology and is considered one of the leaders in providing its fans with rich, informative and entertaining content online. The Winter Classic has become appointment viewing for the hardcore and casual fan alike. The HBO 24/7 series, leading up to the Winter Classic is bound to again be a critical and ratings hit when its second incarnation debuts later this week.

While the Phoenix Coyotes future is still undetermined, Bettman facilitated the Atlanta to Winnipeg franchise shift with very little fallout. When the NHL cast its cable TV lot with VERSUS over ESPN several years ago, many hammered the Commish. Granted, he got lucky when VERSUS’ parent company Comcast purchased NBC Universal, but all of the sudden the League’s television future looks very bright and Bettman deserves some credit for that. Not to mention that for the first time in the history of the League, every Stanley Cup playoff game will be available to a US national audience on either cable or over the air television. These are all important transformations for the National Hockey League. They’ve all occurred on Mr. Bettman’s watch.

The Scottsdale Coyotes?

Speaking of the Phoenix Coyotes situation, here’s a thought/question: I understand the reluctance of the NHL to leave the Valley of the Sun. Phoenix is a terrific market. Population wise it ranks 6th in the nation. That makes it a great TV market too. It’s also a strong professional sports area with the MLB, NBA and NFL enjoying success.

For as long as I’ve been going to Coyotes games in Glendale, the consensus seems to be that the reason the hockey team can’t attract enough fans is that the arena is in the wrong location. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone say, “If they would have built the rink in Scottsdale, the Coyotes would pack the place every night.”

Legal entanglements probably have the Coyotes franchise stuck with the arena in Glendale as long as the team stays in the Phoenix area. But how about moving the Coyotes to another market, finding investors to construct a new arena in Scottsdale, and either award them an expansion franchise in the future or move some other troubled team there. I keep hearing how great Scottsdale would be for the NHL but I don’t hear anybody talking about how to get an arena built there.

Must-See TV

Three programs that are always on my Comcast DVR “must record” list:
  1. How to Make It in America, HBO – If you liked Entourage, this is for you.
  2. NHL on the Fly Final, NHL Network – Kathryn Tappen, wife of former Sharks defenseman Jay Leach is doing a great job as the new primary host.
  3. 60 Minutes, CBS – You have to love old school investigative journalism, even post Mike Wallace.

Randy’s Favorite Teams

There are two new teams that I’ve become a fan of this year. One of them is the Dallas Ice Jets 16AAA Academy hockey team in Grapevine, Texas. That’s where my 16-year-old son Michael is chasing his dream. Michael is a forward playing for Head Coach Butch Kaebel, a former pro who has established a terrific program for up and coming players who strive to make it to the US college level and beyond.

The Ice Jets are part of the High Performance Hockey League based in the Chicago/Detroit area. Other teams include some of the elites in the country like Little Caesars, Honeybaked and Compuware of Detroit along with Chicago Mission, Team Illinois and Shattuck St. Mary’s.

And you’ll find a St. John’s Red Storm license plate frame on my Durango. That’s because my 19-year-old son Randall is a freshman at St. Johns University in Queens, New York. Randall doesn’t play basketball but at St. John’s they’re all huge Red Storm fans. I’ve been converted too!

Voices of Winter

Finally, I want to give a shout out to our own broadcasting crew. The announcers, producers, directors, technicians, camera operators and all the “people in the TV truck” chipped in to sponsor a family of eight at the Sharks recent Holiday Assist Party.

Several of us had the opportunity to have dinner with our assigned family and present them with gifts. Our particular family was an amazing group. Mom, Dad, three boys and three girls are originally from El Salvador. They’ve lived in the Bay Area for the last three years.

Their joy and gratitude upon receiving their presents (including bicycles and scooters) was truly touching. Thanks to all of my colleagues for helping make the holidays special for one family. Also thanks to Bicycles of Pleasanton and CyclePro’s of Pleasanton for their generous donations!
 

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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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