Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Now THAT felt good

There's nothing quite like smacking the Red Wings around -- except when you smack them around by scoring NINE unanswered goals and watch dejected Red Wings fans suffer from hecklers all around them. I know this is a blog about how evil the Ducks are and how awesome the Sharks are (oh, I guess the Kings are in there too -- just give them a season or two), but all California fans have to enjoy watching idiot Red Wing bandwagoners leave their seats early only to have entire sections chant "Go home Red Wings" at them.

Author's Note: I have nothing against Red Wing fans who are actually from Michigan or have some sort of family ties to Michigan. The term "idiot Red Wing Bandwagoners" is just for people who became fans circa, oh, the 1997 Stanley Cup victory.

Anyways, SIX power play goals has gotten the Sharks back on track. However, to me, it masked the team's deficiencies that were exploited in the first period -- namely, the thin defense. Poor Evgeni Nabokov; people at the arena (at least the unobservant drunk ones) were blaming him, not the defense, on the first two Detroit goals. Hey, when you got big red asses planted by you without any defense taking them out, I'm not going to blame you. Even the third goal, which was admitedly stoppable, still originated from a defensive lapse that led to a breakaway.

Author's Second Note: Sorry about focusing on the negative, but I'm just being honest!

Now, the mysterious highlights of the 8-0 disaster against Phoenix but my super-secret sources (the Mercury News recollection) told me that Nabby didn't get much defensive help for his three goals against in that game either. In other words, it was breakaways, tip-ins, or scrambles that went in prior to his yanking. So he's been yanked in two straight games even though his defense was busier dreaming about the new Robotech sequel instead of playing defense. Only difference is that they also let Toskala down against the Yotes, but the forwards went apeshit and bailed everyone out against Detroit.

Since losing to the Ducks 4-3 a few weeks back, I've gotten off the "keep both goalies" mindset and jumped on the "we need more defense" bandwagon. If the Sharks didn't have to contend with the Earl Sleek-powered mighty Ducks (pun intended!) in their division, I wouldn't be as gung-ho about it, but watching the Norris Trophy show makes me nervous about the Sharks' chances without a true #1 d-man. Yes, I have defense-envy.

This win against Detroit kicked ass for a number of reasons, but it still only hides the fact that Scott Hannan and Kyle McLaren are the only veteran Sharks defensemen. People will talk about Carolina's no-name defense winning the Stanley Cup, but at least they were a group of good vets (Kaberle, Ward, Hedican, Commodore, etc) who as a group mixed toughness with speed and some skill. Instead, the Sharks have three borderline NHLers (Murray, Gorges, Davison), three good kids who need more time to develop fully (Vlasic, Ehrhoff, Carle), and two above-average defensive defensemen.

When the Sharks forwards are firing on all cylinders, that can be covered up. If the forwards hit a dry spell, however, the boys in teal wind up getting manhandled in their own zone.

In my perfect world, the Sharks trade Nabokov for Wade Redden (and he heals up and becomes himself again); that ain't going to happen, but you can't thump Detroit 9-4 every night, so something has to eventually be done about getting a #1 defenseman.

But enough bitching for now -- GO HOME RED WINGS! And congratulations to Patrick Marleau for becoming the team's all-time points leader. The Captain is also a much nicer guy in person than former record holder Owen "Jerk" Nolan.


Earl Sleek said...

That was pretty frickin' amazing last night (I watched a late-late-night DVR version).

I wouldn't be that worried about Ehrhoff, he seems to me to be among the 'reliable' ones, but maybe I'm not watching enough.

Oh, and one tactical point? I'm not sure if I'm fond of using the term '9 unanswered goals' for the Detroit pounding, so much as '9 straight goals'. Brent Lebda provided a worthless answer at the end of the game, though it wasn't nearly enough. In my book, 'x unanswered goals' means there was no opposition goal following the x straight goals. But that's just nitpicking.

A great game to watch, even for one who has only secondary affiliation with the PP-loving Sharks.

p.s. I did get a kick out of McSorely's pre-game 'keys of the game', one of which was "Sharks must beat Detroit 5-on-5". Apparently not, Marty.

Anonymous said...

I was worried the Sharks had forgotten all they had discussed last week after they started out down 3. Apparently all they had forgotten to do however, was to wake up from their pre-game naps.

I was bummed about Nabby being pulled again after the defensive lapses, but can understand why Wilson did it to shake up the team.

While I am worried about our D, it's obvious they can play, but I'm not sure they can keep up the mental aspect of the game throughout the season, mostly due to their youth.

Finally, Congrats to Patty on his franchise records and to Josh Georges for his first NHL goal.

Anonymous said...

Nabby has a no-trade clause, and is getting paid more. I'd bet we'd get more value for Toskala. Also, wouldn't it be nice to have a take-back in the Preissing-Bell deal? Preissing right now: 4-16-20 +20.

Mike Chen said...

I'm just hoping Nabby waives his NTC to go to a pretty good team that needs goaltending solidified. That way the Sharks can absorb the cap hit of getting a #1. But that's just in my perfect world.

Anonymous said...

Would you sacrifice one of the good kids to get Brad Stuart back?

Anonymous said...

That game wasn't so enjoyable for everybody. Nor has the Red Wings west coast road trip gone so well either. It's been a rough few days for Wings fans...at least the Wings beat Anaheim on Yzerman's big night...