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Posts Tagged ‘Evgeni Nabokov’

Sharks get their bite back

Posted by davefowkes on 04/22/2009

Great win for the Sharks last night. It was a must win game and the team came out and won the game. Not the typical result for a Sharks playoff team.

I said before the game (not in this blog) that for the Sharks to climb back in the series they would need two power play goals per game. Patrick Marleau’s game winner was the second power play goal in three tries. So much for the 0-for-12 in the first two games.

The Sharks brought energy from start to finish, Dan Boyle played his butt off, and most importantly the Sharks showed the urgency that lacked in the first two games.

The only downside to the game was that Evgeni Nabokov was not as sharp as needed, but he did get better as the game went along, making some great saves after the third goal he allowed.

Now the Sharks trail 2-1 in the best of seven series. If they continue to play like they did last night, I think the Sharks have a great chance of coming back to win. But if they revert to the style of play they had at the Shark Tank the first two games, then last night will just turn into a small glimmer of hope.

I will stick with my original prediction, if the Sharks play their best, they will win the series. But there is no margin for error against the Ducks!

OTHER NOTES:  Great to see Torey Mitchell back in the lineup. I thought it was a huge gamble by Todd McLellan to put him into the lineup in such a desperate game, but I thought it paid off. His minutes were down, but when he was on the ice you could see his speed take over and he created a couple of turnovers. Not too bad for a guy playing his first game of the season after recovering from a broken leg.

— The addition of Mitcherll really allowed McLellan to use four lines on a very quick tempo. Shifts were short, fast and sweet. At times it led to confusion, but mostly it meant the Sharks on the ice had fresher legs than the Ducks. It will be interesting to see how Anaheim reacts to that.

–Dan Boyle could do no wrong last night. Two goals and an assist are obvious but his play on defense was outstanding and his quarterbacking the puck on the offensive charge was a difference maker. Anyone remember….um…what’s his name?….that guy from Chicago the Sharks traded for last year….um….Soupy?  Boyle proved his worth last night!

–The star of the night goes to Todd Marchant’s wife. She delivered a baby boy on Monday, was relaesed from the hospital on Tuesday morning, and was at the game last night! Now that is playoff urgency! Talk about grit! Props to her!

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Sharks Drop Game One

Posted by davefowkes on 04/16/2009

(San Jose, CA) The Sharks skated hard, played physical, were solid on defense and got shots on goals, but despite all that they could not get the puck in the net. The Anaheim Ducks take game one of the first round playoff series with a 2-0 win over the Sharks quickly ending the Sharks home ice advantage.

Rookie Jonas Hiller made 35 saves and the Sharks went 0-6 on the power play as their offensive woes continue. The Sharks out shot the Ducks 35-17, but could not get that decisive goal that they needed.

Scott Niedermayaer scored on the power play and Ryan Getzlaf added a late goal in the third period to provide the offense for the night.

There power play was better than ours, that is what it comes down too,” Joe Thornton said. “We stressed that before the series started. Whoever has the better special teams will probably win the series. They got one and we did not, and that was the difference.”

Evgeni Nabokov did not need to work too hard in stopping 15 shots but finally midway through the third period he gave up a power play goal that would prove to be the winner.

“We felt like we had the majority of play, but that is just hockey,”Thornton said of the team’s efforts. “We just have to keep going to the net and getting shots and hopefully some of them will go in for us.”

What it lacked in shots it made up for in hits. 35 hits were registered between the two teams in what was a very physical, defensive period. Douglas Murray really pushed a few Ducks around with some crowd pleasing hits. “It is the playoffs,” Murray said. “That is playoff hockey. You have to bring the intensity, everybody does. Those that don’t usually hit, hit and those that do play physical like myself have to be even more physical. It is playoff hockey.”

The game was so tight in the first period that there was one span of 7:50 without a shot on net.

In the second period, the Sharks best opportunity came as the puck slid across the goal crease. With Jeremy Roenick virtually pinning Hiller to one side of the net, the puck was there for the taking, but Marcel Goc fanned on his poke attempt through the defense, and the puck skidded out of danger for the Ducks. There were a couple of loose pucks on both sides of the ice where players would be left to think about what could have been?

Finally five minutes into the third period the Ducks would score. Jonathan Cheechoo took a tripping penalty which would set up the Ducks power play. Niedermayer scored on a slap shot from the face off circle through traffic. It was the type of game where it felt like the team that scored first would probably win. Niedermayer’s goal would prove to be the game winner.

The Sharks could not mount much pressure despite getting two more power play opportunities in the third period. “We finished third overall (on the power play this season) but tonight we were out of psync and we did not convert on our chances,” Dan Boyle said. “The power play let us down tonight.”

The Ducks put the game away when Ryan Getlaf took a turnover and beat Nabokov between two defenders on a great wrist shot.

The Sharks need to find a way to generate offense in this series, something that they have struggled to do the last couple of months of the season. Since the all-star break, the Sharks are the third worst team in scoring on 5-on-5 play, the other two teams did not make the playoffs.

In general the Sharks players seemed up about the way they played, they just know the must find a way to convert on opportunities, especially on the power play.

Game 2 is Sunday night at 7pm in San Jose.

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Will the real Sharks show up?

Posted by davefowkes on 04/15/2009

We have waited 7 months for the regular season to end and let the real season begin! Playoff hockey is here! Now the question becomes, which San Jose Shark team will show up?

The Sharks won the president’s trophy and home ice advantage throughout the playoffs on their body of work. That body looked great a couple of months ago. But of late it has not looked so hot. The Sharks stumbled through February and March with injuries and as players came back it appeared the Sharks got better. However the Sharks ended their season against the 13th, 14th and 15th best teams in the Western Conference and they went 1-2 with that lone win being a 1-0 shootout win at home over Colorado. Not exactly an awe inspiring finish.

Now they square up with the Anaheim Ducks. I think it is safe to say that if both teams play their best, the Sharks will win the series easy. The question is can the Sharks play their best game?

Let’s face it, the team has not had a real meaningful game since December. Can a veteran team like the Sharks just flip the switch now that it is playoff time? They will need to, they can not afford to take any shifts, periods or games off. It is cliche to say, but the Sharks must play 60-minutes of hockey!

It sounds easy, but that is something the Sharks have really been struggling with. If they play their game the whole 60-minutes I have no doubt they will win. But if they get comfortable or take their collective foot of the gas pedal, the Ducks will win.

The Ducks are known for taking penalties. They have had to kill 85 more power plays then they have had this year. So special teams will likely be the deciding measure for this season. The Sharks lost 5-3 in Los Angeles Saturday to end the season, but the fact that the three goals all came on the power play should not be forgotten.

In the end I think this series will be more about how the Sharks play then how the Ducks do. The Sharks could win in 5 or lose in 6. Will Thornton, Marleau, Nabokov and others take their game to a new level?

Officially I will say Sharks win round one in six games. But I am far from confident with that prediction.

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Sharks clinch west in loss

Posted by davefowkes on 04/09/2009

The good news is the Sharks are the best in the west, the bad news was the 4-1 loss they suffered at the hands of the Phoenix Coyotes. Al Montoya was outstanding in shutting down the Sharks making 40 saves on the night. Peter Mueller had a goal and an assist.

Travis Moen scored the Sharks only goal and Evgeni Nabokov made just 13 saves on the night. The Sharks out shot Phoenix 41-17 on the evening. The Sharks really dominated in the third period but Montoya was the star turning just about everything away.

”In my opinion we didn’t start playing until it was 3-0,” Coach Todd McLellan said. “At this time of the year there’s no chance of winning if you make that decision before the game. To wait and see and put your toes in the water to see how cold it is and if you want to jump in or not, it’s disappointing this time of the year. Will has to take precedent over skill… not sure that was the case today.”

Despite the loss the Sharks ended up clinching the top spot in the Western Conference. Detroit lost to Nashville in a shootout just before the Sharks game started and that clinched the top spot for San Jose. However with Boston beating Montreal, the President’s trophy is still up for grabs. The trophy was at the Arena just in case, but it was not needed tonight.

It looked like it might be early, when the Sharks were out shooting Phoenix 5-1 to open the game. But the Coyotes got on the board on their second shot of the game. The first goal was a bang bang play that surprised everybody. Right out of a faceoff to the left of Nabokov, Scottie Upshell got the puck and whipped a quick shot through traffic that Nabokov never saw.

Near the end of the first period the Coyotes would score again thanks to a 5-on-3 power play. After killing off nearly a minute of the two man advantage, Ed Jovanowski got an open luck straight in front of Nabokov and the wrist shot beat Nabokov for the 2-0 lead.

Phoenix made it 3-0 when Milan Michalek’s brother, Zbynek, beat Nabokov from 13-feet with a wrist shot.

The game got physical in the latter half of the second period with a couple of fights breaking out. The first one involved Travis Moen, but the crowd really got excited when little Devin Setoguchi landed some good punches in his fight with Martin Hanzal.

The Sharks finally got on the scoreboard on their 33rd shot of the evening. Moen, fighting for space in front of the net, jammed the puck between Montoya’s pads.

The Sharks certainly had plenty of opportunity for more as they were granted four power play opportunities during the third period. But the special teams unit was cold tonight going 0/6 with a man advantage.

After the last power play failed, the Coyotes put the game away for good. Peter Mueller scored on a 2-on-1 break to make it 4-1 and send the crowd packing on fan appreciation night.

The Sharks did have some good news tonight with the return of Ryan Clowe and Patrick Marleau to the lineup. “I thought Clowe was very good today,” McLellan said. “Out of all injured players that came back I think he’s been, after game one, the sharpest. I thought he made an impact on the game. Patty (Marleau) skated. I’m not too sure their line got a lot done especially in this game we expect more from them. It’s going to take a little time.”

The Sharks last game of the regular season is Saturday in Los Angeles.

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Sharks Get Healthy, Then Get Win

Posted by davefowkes on 04/07/2009

The San Jose Sharks needed a shootout to get their only goal of the game, but that was enough for a 1-0 win over Colorado and two more points in the standings as San Jose march toward the President’s Cup.

 

Joe Pavelski scored a goal in the shootout which proved to be the only goal of the game and Evgeni Nabokov stood tall in net knocking away all three Avalanche attempts to preserve his shutout. Nabokov stopped 20 saves in the game to earn his 41st victory of the year.

 

The two points are important ones for the Sharks who watched Boston lose to Ottawa to start the evening. With the win in hand, the Sharks now has a 5-point lead over Boston and a 6 point lead over Detroit in the race for the President’s Cup and home ice advantage throughout the playoffs. The Sharks and Red Wings still have two games left while Boston has three.

 

The Sharks also got good news on the ice as they prepare for their playoff run. Mike Grier and Claude Lemieux both returned from the injured reserve to see ice time for the first time in months. Both showed rust, but the Sharks are just happy to see them on the ice with a few games to shake off the rust. Patrick Marleau did not suit up but there is hope for his return on Thursday.

 

The game started off very slow. It is not that either team played particularly badly, it is just that neither team could get a shot on net. Even 2-1 breaks ended with missed passes or off line shots. Colorado held just a 3-2 shot advantage after the first period.

 

“I don’t think we played that well,” Coach McLellan said. “They did a very good job in defending us, getting above us, making it difficult to enter their zone. We didn’t handle it well early in the game. In the second period after we discussed it a little bit, we got going. We can play a lot better and we expect more from each other.”

 

The second period heated up some with San Jose getting 16 shots on net. But at no point could they get one past Peter Budaj who made 30 saves on the night.

 

The Avalanche seemed to control the puck in the third period but Nabokov was excellent make three point blank saves during the period and single handedly saving the game for the Sharks. Colorado would end up taking penalties, one near the end of regulation and one in overtime to give the Sharks a 4-3 advantage for 3 of the 5 overtime minutes. But the Sharks could not score.

 

Finally in the shootout, Pavelski got the puck past Budaj on his stick side. Nabokov shelled Colorado’s three shots while Budaj turned away the final two attempts from San Jose. 1-0 is your final score!

 

“As a team we talk about control… and we ARE in control,” McLellan said of his teams ability to wrap up home ice on Thursday. “It’s where we want to be. But that doesn’t means, the opposition we play against or the other teams we are battling with are just going to roll over and play dead. We don’t expect that. We have to take care of our own business and we look forward to that opportunity on Thursday.”

 

The Sharks wrap up the home season on Thursday night when they host the Phoenix Coyotes.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sharks Clinch Playoff Spot

Posted by davefowkes on 03/16/2009

In the old days, the headline alone would be cause for celebration. But with this latest edition of the San Jose Sharks, it just makes official what we already knew. The Sharks are playoff bound! Now it is just a matter of when, where, seeding, etc.

The big news from the Sharks 1-0 shutout of the Ducks was the win itself and now a two game win streak. The Sharks are back!

Okay, so maybe that statement is a bit strong. The Sharks still have a few holes in the lineup due to injury. They are still struggling on offense scoring two goals in two games, and they failed to tally a power play goal during that same stretch. But the Sharks have a two game win streak!

After a very cold stretch where they gave away the best record in the West to Detroit, the Sharks are doing the little things to win again. They are starting to win the 5-on-5 battles. They are playing solid defense now. They are competing for the full game rather than just dominating for 20 minutes or so. And of course they are getting stellar goaltending again!

It can not go unnoticed that this dramatic shift occurred when a fresh and rested Evgeni Nabokov returned to net for the Sharks. He has been brilliant the first two games limiting an underrated LA Kings team to one goal and just one goal in an 8 round shootout, and then responding the next night with his 6th shutout of the year. Nabby is back!

And with him, so are the Sharks. It was not pretty. It was not their best. But it sends the Sharks back on the winning track with an opportunity to gain some confidence and taste some of the glory they had at the beginning of the year. Improvement is still needed, but they found a place from which they can start to build!

With the playoffs a month away, now is the time for the Sharks to get on a roll, find some good health, get some confidence, and heat up heading into the playoffs! This weekend was a good start.

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Sharks Vs Wild

Posted by davefowkes on 03/05/2009

Big game for the Sharks tonight. Losers of two straight, they are looking to right the ship before heading out on the road. Brian Boucher is in net for Evgeni Nabokov who is out  because he “tweaked” something. The new Sharks Travis Moen and Kent Huskins will wait until Saturday for their Sharks debut. This is the Sharks first game not atop the Western Conference in a long time. They were past by Detroit last night. They need the win tonight to reclaim the most points in the Conference.

The Wild come into the game on a four game losing streak and stand in 11th place in the Western Conference. The Sharks lost to the Stars on Tuesday against a team that had lost 5 straight games. It is also yet another return to the Tank for Owen Nolan. Always fun to see the former team Captain here.

Tonight is a must win for San Jose. The key: STAY OUT OF THE PENALTY BOX!!!

Joe Pavelski is in the lineup tonight. No word yet from the NHL whether they will rescind the game-misconduct penalty Pavelski got in the alledged head-butting incident against the Stars.

FIRST PERIOD:

Great first period. That is just what the Sharks needed. They came out strong, skated fast, and played the role of the aggresor. But they stayed in control of the tempo and their emotions. I had to beat the same drum, but the lack of penalties in this first period can not go unnoticed. Both goals were beautiful and they are the type of goals the Sharks used to get. Joe Pavelski charged the net and Ryan Clowe passed the puck from the corner just in front of the goalie for Pavelski to knock into the net. Pavelski was covered by two Wild and still got his stick on the puck. Ryan Clowe’s goal was nice play in the offensive zone and a pretty shot from the slot that just flat out beat Niklas Backstrom.

The Wild ended up peppering Boucher to get 11 shots before they really did not have any good scoring chances. Good hustle from the Sharks drew a penalty late in the first so the Sharks will have 1:46 of a power play when the second period opens. An excellent start for the Sharks tonight! Let’s hope they can keep it up!

2ND PERIOD:

I was going to type what a great period, but two goals by Minnesota soured that. Ugly end to the period. Both goals went in above Boucher’s shoulder. Good shots by Minnesota, just heavy shots through lots of traffic. It looked so good earlier on a beautiful put back by Joe Pavelski. That was his 20th goal of the year, a career best. The Sharks still have not gone to the penalty box, so at least there is that. I still think the Sharks win this they need to tighten it up again.

3RD PERIOD:

What can you say? That is just one of the all time bad goals to give up. It was not even a shot really. But the puck was shot in from center ice by Marek Zidlicky and Boucher got lazy and did not get down on both knees, the puck took a weird bounce right through his legs for the game tying goal. Horrible! He knows it, the players know it, the coaches know it. Not much you can do about it. The Sharks were out hustled in that period by the Wild. It looked like they would get away with it and the win until Boucher’s mistake. Now, we go to OT. The Sharks get at least a point to tie Detroit for the Western Conference lead. But it has to feel bittersweet right now if they can’t get that second point here.

FINAL:

Terrible loss. A good goal by Minnesota with 13 seconds left to complete the comeback. Horrible! First time the Sharks have blown a three goal lead at home since 1996. Not much else you can say. That is just a terrible loss by a hockey team that is supposed to be one of the best in the league! They certainly are not playing like it now!  Yuck!

PS. The Sharks held a team meeting after the game. Nobody was in a good mood afterwards that is for sure! Let’s hope they carry that anger and frustration with them to Vancouver.

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Sharks Injuries Mount

Posted by davefowkes on 03/05/2009

First it was Jeremy Roenick and Mike Grier, and now it is Evgeni Nabokov! David Pollack of the Mercury News is reporting that Nabokov “tweaked” something this week and will again be out of action tonight when the Sharks host the Minnesota Wild. Somehow I can’t say this surprises me. I thought it was a bit fishy that Boucher got a third straight start for San Jose on Tuesday when the returned home and eventually lost to Dallas 4-1. In true hockey tradition, no details about the injury have been leaked or more importantly how long Nabokov will be out. Fortunately for the Sharks, they have a very competent back up in Brian Boucher to carry the load for as long as needed. Thomas Greiss has been called up from Worcester to back up Boucher.

In other Sharks news:  Jamie McGinn has been summoned from Worcester. Newly acquired Travis Moen and Kent Huskins will be in San Jose this evening but neither will debut with the team until Saturday night in Vancouver.

Big game for San Jose tonight. They don’t want to drop two games at home. They have not been playing well. They are talking a good game about taking fewer penalties and playing smarter, but tonight they need to turn the talk into action! The must stay out of the box!!!

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Sharks Vs Stars – Live Blog From The Tank

Posted by davefowkes on 03/03/2009

The Sharks return home from a 4 game road trip to play the Dallas Stars tonight. The Sharks went 2-2 on the road trip including a 1-0 win in Dallas to open the trip. The Sharks enter the night tied with Boston for the NHL lead in points and three points better than Detroit. But the Sharks have injury issue. Mike Grier (knee) and Jeremy Roenick (shoulder) are out indefinitely. Brian Boucher will make his third start in a row for Evgeni Nabokov who is out recovering from the flu (or so it is being reported). Claude Lemieux joins them on the bench as a healthy scratch.The last time the Sharks were home between those long road trips, they swept the three game homestand.

Dallas has really struggled. They are coming off a 1-5 homestand. It is the first time they have lost five straight home games since 1978. With 65 points the Stars are now in 11th place in the western conference but that is only 2 points less than 7th place. It is shapping up to be a wild stretch run for those final playoffs spots in the west.

As they experiments continue, I will be back in this blog space with constant updates through the game. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments if you are watching at home:

First Period:

14:40: Welcome back to the big leagues Brad Staubitz! An eventful start for the rookie just called up as an injury replacement. On his first shift with the 4th line, Staubitz drew a holding penalty. Sharks did a nice job killing the penalty giving up two shots. Stars had a couple of nice looks but could not find the net. After the penalty was over Staubitz came out and got in a fight with Krystofer Barch. We gave Staubitz the win but not by much.

13:25: Stars strike first. James Neal had an open net on a rebound from a shot from Brian Sutherby. Boucher did a great job trying to stop it but the defensive breakdown in front of him left too many Stars to cover it all. Stars are up 1-0. It is the 4th straight game the Sharks have allowed the first goal to their opponent.

10:53: That is the way you respond! The Stars take a penalty, the Sharks cash in! Just when we were complaining about how the Sharks would not take a shot, they put together a great play. A nice pass from Setoguchi to Ehrhoff on the side who took the shot that Thornton deflected right in front of the net. Tough to tell whether Ehrhoff was actually shooting or passing to Thornton. Very timely though. Stars game to play. They are out shooting the Sharks 8-3.

5:27: It is getting ugly for the Sharks now. They would really be a much better team if they did not take all these penalties. 4-minute penalties to each side and now Plihal goes to the box for holding. Another kill for the Sharks now.

8: WOW! The rivalry is heating up. Joe Pavelski has just been tossed with a 5-minute “attempt to injure” penalty and a game misconduct.  Daryl Sydor got a two minute penalty so in the second period the Stars will have a 3-minute power play. Pavelski has been in the midst of a few scrums and has really turned up the heat on this game.

End of 1st: The Stars are clearly the desperate team. The Sharks looked good in the first shift of the game. Since then it has been just about all Dallas except for the tying goal. The Stars have more jump and have been more aggressive causing the Sharks to skate on their heels and take penalties. It is clear the team that has lost 5 straight is playing for their playoff lives and the Sharks well, they already have their playoff reservations. The Stars are out shooting San Jose 13-5 and the last two shots for the Sharks came in the final couple of minutes. They’ll need better effort and a few more shots in the next two periods.

2nd Period:

We are still trying to figure out what Pavelski did to get tossed. It looked like the every day punching that always goes on. It should have been a 2-minute roughing or maybe a double minor on the roughing. The game misconduct is a bad call unless something happened that we did not see.

Sharks had a great opportunity when Marleau redirected a shot through is legs, but Turco made a diving stop!

17:33: From bad to worse. Already down a man for three minutes, Rob Blake takes a cross check. This is 5-3 for two full minutes. Huge time in this game!

13:55: Killing a 5-3 for a full two minutes is tough. It looked good for a bit and the crowd was into it, but that was a great pass from Ribeiro to Mike Modano who was dead on with the one-timer. All you can do is tip your cap to them on that play.  Still, only being down 2-1 at this point the Sharks should feel lucky. And just like that the Stars take a penalty. Hopefully the Sharks can get this one back. And maybe THEY CAN STAY OUT OF THE BOX!!!!

5:41: Sharks are still lucky to be down only one. They are taking stupid penalties and basically just not playing well. Give the Stars credit for not fighting back at some of the Sharks who are sniping at them. The referees though appear to be calling this pretty one sided against the Sharks. Some of these calls may be by the book, but calls that only get made once a month or so. The call on Shelly? Very questionable. That said, the last couple of minutes the Sharks have been throwing their bodies around legally! So maybe the wake up call has finally been heard?

End of two: Shots were 9-9 that period. A nice comeback in energy for the Sharks the final 7 minutes or so of that period. They are picking it up a bit. That said, the first half of the period was so lopsided, I am still saying San Jose is lucky to be down just one goal. Without Pavelski, Todd McLellan has Thornton center between Ryan Clowe and Milan Michalek and Marleau centering between Jonathan Cheechoo and Setoguchi. The Sharks are on the power play for the first 36 seconds of the 3rd period. A goal would of course be great, but just keeping up the effort and energy and staying out of the penalty box should be enough for them to climb back into this.

The Red Wings beat the Blues 5-0 cutting the Sharks lead in the Western Conference to just one point at the moment.

Third Period:

13:28: That should do it. Sharks looked good the first minute and a half of this period but then went flat. The game as a whole went a bit flat. But then Dallas turned up the heat in the offensive zone and used tremendous pressure to create a backhanded shot for Brian Sutherby for the 3-1 lead. Man things got quiet in here! Normally I would say the Sharks can score two goals in 13 minutes, but I have not seen anything tonight to make me think this is the game they can do it.

10:45: Sharks are unraveling? Setoguchi turns it over, nice pass from Modano, great shot by Neal! 4-1. Sharks go on the power play but this one definitely feels over to me!

END OF GAME: That was clearly not the Sharks best effort. Very disappointing to have them come back from the road trip and play like this. Give the Stars credit, they are a desperate team and they played like it. The Sharks will need that type of effort in the playoffs. We may see some more games like this in the next couple of weeks. The Sharks need to get back to shooting the puck more and staying out of the penalty box. The cheap penalties are just killing them and the momentum. 4-1 final. Worst home loss of the year. (not that there have been many)

At some point tonight I will post the audio from the locker room for anyone interested in raw audio.

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Sharks Without Grier, Roenick at least a month

Posted by davefowkes on 03/03/2009

Big news from Sharks camp today. Mike Grier and Jeremy Roenick are out 4-6 weeks with undisclosed injuries. Brad Staubitz and Lukas Kaspar have been called up to take their roster spots and could skate tonight when the Sharks host the Dallas Stars. There are reports that Mike Grier had his knee scoped, and that Roenick mike be struggling with another shoulder injury. And all this comes one day before the NHL trade deadline! Let the fun begin!

The other news before tonight’s game, David Pollack of the Mercury is reporting Brian Boucher will start his third straight game in goal as Evgeni Nabokov will continue to sit recovering from what “ails him.” It was reported the Nabokov missed Saturday’s game in Montreal because of the flu bug.

So what does all this mean? The Sharks were hoping to get some healthy time together heading toward the playoffs. Instead, that great depth San Jose had has not been severely compromised. 24-hours ago I would have been surprised if the Sharks made any trade deadline deals. But now, if Grier and Roenick are both out until the playoffs, I am thinking the Sharks will bring in someone else. With all due respect to Staubitz and Kaspar, they have not showed much this year in their limited opportunities and appear to be 1-2 years away from being true contributors.

It is hardly desperation time for the Sharks who are tied with Boston for the NHL lead in points, three points better than Detroit, but watching the injuries mount up now is not good.

It will be interesting to see how the club reacts tonight as they return from a 2-2 road trip that saw them open up with a 1-0 win in Dallas. The stars have been struggling and you know will be bringing their all tonight.

But it will be more interesting to see what GM Doug Wilson does in the next 24 hours before that trade deadline arrives!

UPDATED 2:25pm: GM Doug Wilson says both players are expected back for the playoffs so therefore these injuries will not effect his trade deadline philosophy. David Pollack of the Mercury News has posted more on what the injuries are and Wilson’s comments. If both are due back for the playoffs I agree there will be no huge trade but I still think we see the Sharks make one trade to help bolster the roster for the next month. It may not be a block buster deal but I expect somebody new in the lineup by the end of the week!

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Sharks Stumble In Hockeytown

Posted by davefowkes on 02/25/2009

That was not quite how we drew it up on this road trip. Lose to Dallas or Ottawa maybe, but Sharks fans wanted that win in Detroit! It was not meant to be. The Sharks did not bring their A game and Detroit played very well across the board letting them defend their home ice with a 4-1 win over the Sharks. The home team in this series goes undefeated in four games this year!

The story for San Jose really were penalties. The Sharks excel when they play on the power play. But instead, they had 9 penalties and spent too much time in the box. Detroit had 8 penalties but for the Sharks they just could not get it going.

Tonight Detroit was just the better team across the board. Better on offense, defense and Conklin out played Nabokov tonight. The better team won the game! It started early when Clearly smashed Thornton into the glass. Thornton would spend a few shifts in the locker room before returning late in the first period. But that one hit, illegal as it was, set the tone for the Red Wings. The Sharks tried to play physical but in the end the Wings just forced them into taking penalties.

It is not to say the Sharks played badly, they did out shoot Detroit 35-33, but tonight Detroit was just the better team on the ice. No excuses, just reality.

The Wings cut the Sharks lead in the Western Conference to 3 points tonight. It seems clear to me that what is best for the NHL is a sharks/Wings rematch in the Conference Finals because I still believe these two teams that faced off tonight are the best in the NHL. It will be a great playoff series if it happens!

Until then, we shake our head in disappointment and move on to Ottawa tomorrow. It is just another regular season game as we set our sights toward the playoffs! Hopefully the Sharks recover with a win tomorrow. Given the home ice advantage in this series, the real fight down the stretch run will be to keep the number one seed! The loss tonight drops the Sharks to 4-26-1-2 all time in the regular season at Joe Louis Arena!

Home ice in the playoffs would seem to be important!

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Sharks Hit The Road

Posted by davefowkes on 02/23/2009

This should be a fun road trip for the Sharks this week. Four games in six nights against very legitimate talent. It all starts tonight in Dallas. Then it is the big showdown in Detroit on Wednesday. Then they wrap things up with a trip to Canada for Ottawa on Thursday and Montreal on Saturday.

This would be a grueling trip for most teams but for the Sharks, we hold them to a whole new standard. For years we would look at this trip as a make or break for San Jose. Can they win a game or two? Now, based on the first half plus of the season we expect the Sharks to win every game home or away.

Let’s look at the last “brutal” road trip. I would argue the Sharks did not play very well. Evgeni Nabokov certainly was not right the last couple of games. The goals against on the team was certainly up. But despite the negatives, the Sharks ended up 1-1-3. They got half of the possible points available to them. They had a huge win in Boston, thrashing the team in the NHL with the most points. Maybe the results were not what we hoped but it is not like it was horrible. In past years that would have been a very good road trip, but this year? eh!

The Sharks are playing now on a whole new level compared to anything Sharks fans have ever known. And it is a lot of fun. Will we be disappointed if they come back from this trip 1-1-2? Probably. But isn’t that a likely outcome based on the destinations, travel and short duration of the trip?

But this is the best team in the West, and we expect our Sharks to do better. Even on the road we want to see the Sharks pull the big win against arch-rival Detroit and maybe pull off a 3-1. What is scary is that the Sharks are a good enough team to pull it off! Which is why if they do come home 1-1-2 again, we will be disappointed!

It has been a great regular season in San Jose so far! Let’s hope that leads to greatness in the playoffs!!!

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