Friday's Baker's Dozen - 1/20/2012
Time for my weekly Baker’s Dozen.
- Hidden behind the two big trades with Minnesota this past summer were the acquisitions of Michal Handzus and Brad Winchester. Both have added tremendous depth to the Sharks roster, are built for the long grind of the playoffs because of their size and both have chipped in offensively.
Handzus is a pro, especially the way he prepares for practices and games. In his four years in Los Angeles, he missed only one regular season game. Handzus, who has played 886 career NHL games, has chipped in 17 points this year, is plus-2 and has tremendous hockey sense. He's fun to do an iso-cam on, where you just watch one player for a shift, because he's never out of position.
- Brad Winchester has chipped in six goals this year and also provides tremendous leadership. All season long he has sat down with his linemates the day after each game and broken down video. Brett Heimlich is a video coach for the Sharks and he puts together all of the shifts of the Sharks fourth line and gives it to Winchester.
Brad then sits down -- most of the year it's been with Andrew Desjardins and Andrew Murray -- and they go over things like forechecks (i.e. first man in forcing to one side), D-zone responsibilities (i.e. switches) and any other positional or situational event that happened during the previous game.
- At 32 years old, Patty Marleau hasn't slowed down and his importance and value to the team can be seen in how he fares when the Sharks win or lose:
In 26 wins: 14 goals, 17 assists for 31 points, +17
In 18 losses: 3 goals, 2 assists for 5 points, -7
- This is the fourth season for Jay Woodcroft as one of the assistant coaches. His presence in working with the centers has been tremendous as he makes working on faceoffs important every single day. The stats speak for themselves:
2011-12: 53.4% - Currently 2nd in NHL
2010-11: 53.7% - 2nd in NHL
2009-10: 55.6% - 1st in NHL
2008-09: 53.8% - 2nd in NHL
2007-08: 51.2% - 8th in NHL
2006-07: 51.1% - 11th in NHL
2005-06: 48.4% - 25th in NHL
- Todd McLellan's take on his team's recent 4-3 loss to Chicago: “Their (Chicago’s) big boys had the puck the whole night. They’re a tough enough group to playing against when you’re managing the puck properly, but when you’re turning it over as many times as we did.”
- It finally happened… Someone got hurt, accidently of course, in warm-up while not wearing a helmet. Oilers forward Taylor Hall has a nasty -- no, like a really nasty -- cut on his face after he slipped on a puck and a teammate’s skate opened a cut on his forehead that required 30 stitches to close.
The biggest concern I had as a player was shots off the crossbar that deflect, head high, into the corner where guys are turning. Either way, I wore a helmet because I had enough trouble staying in the lineup and couldn’t afford a freak injury.
- Tomorrow the Sharks and Canucks square off for the final time this regular season. Here are some Vancouver tendencies to watch for as the Sharks try to even up this season series.:
- Quote of the week is courtesy of Red Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock: “You can't win without checking. It's impossible. It doesn't work like that. You can't outscore your mistakes. You've got to be diligent without the puck if you're to have success.”
- Fun watching Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson -- who will be one of this year’s captains at the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa -- play last night as he has quietly had a great career. A brief look back at his many accomplishments:
• Won the Calder as NHL Rookie of the Year… back in 1996
• Played his 1,099th game last night, tied for 3rd all-time games played by a European-Born player all with one team
• Four-time Olympian for Team Sweden (Gold Medalist in 2006)
• 12th year as Captain of the Ottawa Senators (longest tenure as captain in NHL)
- Penguins center Sidney Crosby, since scoring the Golden Goal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, has played 69 regular season games and 13 playoff games for a total of 82 games.
In those 82 games, he has 49 goals, 79 assists, 128 points and is a plus-41. He has now missed more games than he has played since scoring that goal; 78 regular season games and 7 playoff games for a total of 85 games.
- We hear the terms depth and secondary scoring all the time and the importance can’t be lost considering six of the top eight teams in the West (and 18 of 30 teams League-wide) do not have a 20-goal scorer.
- This Sunday the Sharks will be in Edmonton. I doubt I'll be alone when I head a local establishment close to the hotel to watch some football.
- My pre-game skate story isn’t as gruesome as Taylor Hall’s but it was embarrassing. It was around my 10th game in the NHL and I was playing for the Quebec Nordiques. We had a home game at Le Colisee against Brett Hull and the St. Louis Blues. The previous game I had taken a slapshot in the foot and the trainers attached a plastic covering for the side of my skate – not quite like the ones we see today.
Problem was, when I did a tight turn to my left the plastic touched the ice. So in my first loop in warm-up, I was getting a good jump going. And as I was turning between our blueline and the redline I fell and spun out of control while on my knees. Good fresh ice means good sliding ice.
I must have spun around six or seven times while Blues players jumped out of my way, until I finally stopped inside the faceoff circle in their end. I’m sure the Blues were like “Who is that Baker guy, and why is he in the NHL?”