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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

SJ/CAL: Game One Plus/Minus

The crowd around me at HP Pavilion was on suicide watch (especially the guy who knew every Sharks player but had no clue who either Dion Phaneuf or Jarome Iginla were; he also had a nice penchant for air guitar and air drums during play breaks and didn't seem to understand that you should CLEAR the puck during the PK. Dude, if you know who freakin' Craig Rivet is but you don't know the way penalty kills work, you've got some major issues) but I'm trying to keep a level head about things. This is the first real bad game that we've seen Brian Campbell have and it was like having a time warp with the good and awful Sharks teams taking turns controlling the bodies in teal.

The good:
-In terms of physical play, other than the first five minutes, the Sharks responded well.
-Evgeni Nabokov looked sharp.
-Patrick Marleau looked solid from start to finish.
-Ryane Clowe was where he should be -- in front of the net.
-The Sharks did manage to carry the play for a significant portion of the game, and if a few things bounced differently, it could have been a 4-3 Sharks win. It really did come down to the fact that the Sharks were absolute listless boneheads for the first five minutes; if you could have erased that, I would have been ok with how they generally played.
-While Miikka Kiprusoff made some outstanding saves, he seemed to be caught out of position quite a few times, which is kinda out of character for someone that's as positionally sound as he is.

The bad:
-Joe Thornton was pretty invisible for most of the night. Milan Michalek too.
-Brian Campbell. Soupy, you're allowed one awful game per postseason.
-Kyle McLaren. I think everyone's recognized that McLaren's been a step slow for more than a season now, but he was directly at fault for a number of Calgary scoring chances.
-Alexei Semenov. Sorry Alexei, but you're just not very good.
-Over-passing. When the Sharks get flustered, they try to be like the 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins with these stupid too-cute passes that always result in a turnover since they're not actually the 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins.

Also, I don't know if Mike Keenan got in the head of the refs, but the officiating was extremely loose on both sides. Sticks, slashes, crosschecks; I'm not sure why they made the calls they did for both teams and missed the 80 zillion other ones. Quick aside: I always thought it's really funny that "letting them play" means "letting them get away with cheating." Shouldn't "letting them play" mean "call the rules so they can play the way they're supposed to"?

The thing is, I'm sure we're going to get some blurbs about officiating tomorrow morning in the press. NHL playoff refs are usually overreactive before they reach some balanced level, so I have a feeling they'll be trying to call everything in sight tomorrow night, then it levels off into something that's a little more normal.

Well, we knew that the biggest thing the Sharks had to overcome was their own mental toughness. What better way to deal with adversity than to face it coming out of the gate? If the Sharks win tomorrow night, then this really might have been a nice wakeup call for guys who may have started to believe their own press.

Also, to the idiot Sharks fan sitting behind me heckling the Flames fan in a Rhett Warrener jersey by yelling "War-ren-ner? Who the hell is that? Is that your mom, buddy?" -- seriously, dude, Warrener's been in the league a long, long time and he's a solid veteran. You're the moron, and I give props to the Flames fan for biting his tongue the entire game.

10 comments:

KMS2 said...

I watched the Pens/Sens game and noticed the officiating was also a bit loose.

Also, the SJ/Cal game was a CBC broadcast on Versus and I thought it sucked. I may be stepping on some toes but I thought the play-by-play guy was incredibly boring and the quality of the feed was really bad.

Spade-in-victorhell said...

Mike i don't think you were critical enough of your sharks mang. Your defenese that everyone for some reason seems to jacks off about (except me appearently im the only one who thinks there overratted)had no passion and wasn't clearing people out..even big bad doug murray was coughing up pucks..and campell is finding out this isnt the eastern conference playoffs

only clowe seemed to show up and thortan at the end of the game

weak effort..sharks rely on there skill to overcome there lack of nuts...that might work during the regualr season..not sure about the playoffs..you need more clowes and less cheechoos

Mike Chen said...

Hey, I agree on the D (see three of my Bad list). Rivet, Murray, and Vlasic didn't have stellar games, but they weren't awful.

I thought Patty and Clowe were the only consistent Sharks out there. That's the thing, they looked like a mix of the bad Sharks and good Sharks, and it came in stretches.

I'm not a game-one panicker, for better or worse. The mistakes they made tonight were related to effort and stupidity, both of which can be corrected. It's time to find out what these guys are made of.

Spade-in-victorhell said...

exciting though mike fo sho..watching Joe T. pass is somthing else..I wish the ducks had someone even close to that passing ability...the ducks are the worse team in history with the puck behind the net

I more critical of the media and hockey pundits who gave the flames no chance..there obvious people who don't watch much western hockey i presume

the offense chances are there..the d needs to man up...

Mike in OC said...

If the Sharks win tomorrow night, then this really might have been a nice wakeup call for guys who may have started to believe their own press.

What do you mean IF they win, IF they fail to win I think it's over. I feel for you Mike, they played with no intensity at all. Iginla was more intense than the whole Sharks team. Ronny Wilson must be pretty nervous right now. Even if the Sharks get out of this seris, it looks like they are going to be pretty damn beat up.

What happens if they fail to get past round 2 this year? Hell they made the SCF with a team that did not even have a fraction of the talent this team has. I think it might be coaching... And I like Wilson but he seems like a good coach for getting a team to the playoffs for the first time, but not really for getting teams really deep in the playoffs.

Earl Sleek said...

NHL playoff refs are usually overreactive before they reach some balanced level, so I have a feeling they'll be trying to call everything in sight tomorrow night, then it levels off into something that's a little more normal.

I like this prediction; I totally think this is going to happen also.

Good old refereeing, more political now than ever before.

I may be stepping on some toes but I thought the play-by-play guy was incredibly boring and the quality of the feed was really bad.

KMS2, we're all about stepping on toes here. No worries.

Earl Sleek said...

Oh, and I'll add that Clowe was a monster out there last night. He's like a Travis Moen with talent.

Spade-in-victorhell said...

can we expect some moen clutch gaols this playoffs sleek?

Earl Sleek said...

I would hope so. Moen has shown us throughout the past year that he doesn't score non-clutch goals, so I think he's just been saving his Mojo.

I don't have huge expectations for any Pahlsson line-member output, though, which is what makes their postseason goals all the sweeter.

duncan said...

Take away his interference penalty, and Clowe was the best player on the ice last night for either team. Engaged physically and creating something more often than not.

As much as I liked the way the game was called last night — and I was surprised, because Sutherland is usually the first guy to blow the whistle — I also agree it's going to change, just not tonight. It'll take till the series gets to Calgary for the adjustment, which favours the Flames tonight. Because you'll get no argument here that the Sharks are far superior on special teams.