Friday's Baker's Dozen - 3/23/2012
Time for my weekly Baker’s Dozen.
- Sharks alternate captain Ryane Clowe, who had a three-point night against Anaheim on March 19, is someone to watch during the final stretch of the regular season and in the playoffs. Clowe is tough, mean, strong and has good hands and vision for a big guy. He makes others better just by his presence on the ice. This is his time of year!
- Hope you are enjoying the roller coaster ride. If it’s not keeping you interested, then you aren’t paying attention. Here is what the Sharks have done in just the last two weeks, going back to March 10:
LOSE @ PHX, WIN @ EDM, OT LOSS @ CGY, WIN VS NSH & DET, LOSE TO ANA & @ LAK, WIN VS BOS
- On Thursday night, the Sharks held a 1-0 lead against the Bruins after the first period, but it was only the 18th time this year San Jose has led after the 1st. Based on the stats below, let’s hope this trend continues. Here are the top and bottom teams in regards to having leads after the 1st period (NHL standings based on points percentage):
1. STL - 32 (2nd)
2. VAN - 31 (4th)
3. DET - 30 (6th)
4. PIT - 29 (3rd)
T5. PHI - 28 (5th)
T5. BUF - 28 (20th)
T25. EDM - 20 (29th)
T25. FLA - 20 (11th)
27. MIN - 19 (25th)
T28. TBL - 18 (23rd)
T28. SJS - 18 (16th)
30. CBJ - 15 (30th)
- Voila, and just like that the Pacific Division has become the most interesting division in hockey as two points separate four teams. The other divisions in the West are already decided, as St. Louis and Vancouver will hold the top two spots in the conference. In the East, each division has two teams vying for the top spot. Here are the remaining games against division rivals for each of the teams:
Sharks: 7 games (3H, 4A) - PHX, @ANA, @PHX, DAL, @DAL, @LAK, LAK
Coyotes: 3 games (2H, 1A) - @SJS, SJS, ANA
Stars: 2 games (1H, 1A) – SJS, @SJS
Kings: 2 games (1H, 1A) – SJS, @SJS
Ducks: 2 games (1H, 1A) – SJS, @PHX
- The "honest analysis goes with the territory" quote of the week goes to head coach Todd McLellan after San Jose's 5-3 loss to Anaheim on Monday night: "Disappointed is a really good word. The lack of energy and jump that we had as a team is baffling. When we’re supposed to be as desperate as we are, apparently, I can’t figure out why we didn’t have that jump. On some nights, if you don’t have it, you have to rely on your hockey sense and your brain to put you in a position to be successful, and we didn’t have that going either."
- If the NHL really was against the brawl at the drop of the puck between the Rangers and Devils this past week, then why was it on the front page on NHL.com the next day for anyone to watch? Curious as to what the hits were, and I don’t mean punches.
- Last night Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was at HP Pavilion and the fans got to see the player with the hardest shot ever recorded, when his slap shot was clocked at 108 miles per hour at this year’s NHL All-Star Weekend.
This weekend is the Sharks Fantasy Camp and Al Iafrate will be in town. Big Al had a cannon himself and BakesTakes13 a look at a video compilation of a few of his blasts.
- Twitter quote of the week goes to Ken Daneyko (@kendaneykoMSG): "Folks, its not a bad thing for coaches, players to have a feud, we’re not in business of winning the Nobel Peace Prize."
- Here is a statistical breakdown of how the Sharks have fared this year when it comes to special teams and their corresponding records (number of occurrences):
Score a PP goal......................20-10-7 (38)
Do not score a PP goal...........16-16-3 (36)
Allow a PP goal.......................14-16-4 (34)
Do not allow a PP goal............22-12-6 (40)
Win the special teams battle....17-4-3 (24)
Lose the special teams battle....7-12-0 (19)
Tie the special teams battle.....13-10-7 (30)
- UPDATE: NHL Suspends Blackhawks’ Keith for Five Games
Interesting week for Brendan Shanahan. First he suspends Phoenix captain Shane Doan for three games for his elbow to the head of Dallas All-Star Jamie Benn. Now Shanahan has to watch the video of Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin getting his shoulder up and hitting Chicago’s Duncan Keith in the head.
Later in the game Keith, went after Sedin in the neutral zone and tagged him with an elbow to the head which was clearly retaliatory for the previous hit. Bottom line, it doesn’t look good when top players are going after other top players leading to injuries and suspension at this crucial time of year.
- The referees are calling the games different and letting a lot more go during the play. Here is a look at the average power play opportunities, when you add both teams, per game in 20 game segments:
Games 1-20 … 6.95 power plays per game
Games 21-40 … 6.15 power plays per game
Games 41-60 … 5.70 power plays per game
Games 61-74 … 4.85 power plays per game
- Former Shark Ray Whitney, with 996 career points, is quickly closing in on 1,000. This is a far cry from a guy who was put on waivers by his hometown Edmonton Oilers before the Florida Panthers picked him up. Whits is all about compete, perseverance and doing what others didn’t think could be done. I hope ‘The Wizard’ gets the milestone this year and based on his current pace he should because he has points in six straight games with nine points in that span (2g, 7a).
- This upcoming week is very personal to me as it is the one-year anniversary for two life-changing events. March 25 is the one-year anniversary of my eloping with my new wife who is just an incredible person and someone I feel very fortunate to have met. Colleen and I got married on March 25 in Phoenix, where the Sharks played the next day. When the team flew home after the game on the 26th, we stayed in Arizona for a couple of days before coming back to San Jose the evening of the 28th.
The next day, on March 29, my mother Anne Baker passed away after a long battle with cancer. I miss her dearly but there is solace in knowing that while she never met my wife Colleen, she passed away knowing I was happy and had met a wonderful woman. Here is an excerpt of the eulogy I did for my mom that really characterized the type of person she was:
To have strength you need courage
To have courage you need to be resilient
To be resilient you need to trust
To trust you need to love