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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Measuring Stick #2: Detroit

The big story today seems to be the whole Todd McLellan vs. Mike Babcock sub-plot (I was going to do an Obi-Wan/Darth Vader Photoshop of the two with the "When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the master," line but I ran out of time) but that whole thing doesn't really mean that much to me. I mean, these guys are professionals and they knew that some day this was probably going to happen.

My bigger focus is on seeing how the Sharks compare as a whole to the Wings. Like it or not, the god damn Red Wings have been the measuring stick for the league since the mid-90s (give or take a few seasons), and the emphasis is even higher now that they're defending champs. Holding Sidney Crosby and company to just a handful of shots showed that the Sharks were ready to put forth a strong defensive effort against an elite opponent, but I got the sense that the Penguins were off their game on Tuesday. I doubt I'm the only one who thought that the whole game was pretty darn boring.

So, what to expect tonight? The Sharks certainly are playing their own version of the Wings attack style, but I see San Jose as more based on speed and the Wings based more on passing/possession. The idea isn't to necessarily outshine Detroit at their own game; instead, it's all about bringing the necessary effort to make the Sharks' own system the superior one.

A few more random notes:

-Joe Thornton's groin injury seems more obvious with each game. He simply doesn't use his legs or lower body to protect the puck the way that he normally does, and assuming he didn't just revert into a craptacular player over the off-season, I'm assuming this is the lingering effects of his injury. Since I'm not a doctor (and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn last night), I don't know if this is one of those injuries where you can't rest it, you just have to work through it. I'm doubting that, though, since it seems like any sort of leg/abdomen injury would heal better with resting rather than playing at elite-level competition. Plus the team is scoring by committee right now, and I'd rather have 100% Thornton later than 75% Thornton for the bulk of the season (since these things linger forever).

-For all you King fans...um...well, I see what you were complaining about with Rob Blake. Those first two games kinda seem like an abberation now, don't they?

-The Sharks power play started using a slightly different look with one guy in the crease and another guy in the high slot. The strategy here seems to have the low guy providing a screen while the high player looks to deflect a shot in. Jonathan Cheechoo had a few dandy deflections against the Penguins and it's nice to get some refreshing special teams strategy after the Ron Wilson days.


Earl Sleek said...

Watch out for the high tip from the Detroit forwards (particularly Datsyuk, and particularly on the power play). They scored that goal three times last night, and nearly got a fourth.

Hint to Nabokov: it's coming short-side. Don't overcommit.

Mr. Plank said...

I actually thought Joe looked a lot better against Pittsburgh. Alas, I was four beers deep when the puck dropped, so that could explain it. I also had a dream Blake scored tonight five hole from the point (there might have been a deflection).

So basically this comment is just useless observation. Oh well.

RudyKelly said...

Yeah, Rob Blake sucks. I warned you.

Mr. Plank said...

Yeah, Rob Blake sucks. I warned you.

Not entirely true. I have him on one of my fantasy teams, and he's good for about 4 PIM a game.

jamestobrien said...

Rob Blake lead my fantasy team in shots for a couple weeks - and I had Olli Jokinen, Zetterberg and Jason Blake on it as well. That's mind blowing.

Also, Richard Dryfuss officially murdered the Holiday Inn joke: http://chud.com/articles/articles/16827/1/DREYFUSS-WANTS-TO-PUNCH-OLIVER-STONE-TOO/Page1.html

If there is a God, or even just some hope in this crumbling world, let that be the last time I link to a clip of The View.

(Unless, of course, it's a live feed of Whoopi Goldberg falling into a black hole.)

Anonymous said...

Measured up again.

sfguy said...

You're not the only one, I didn't think the Penguins played all that great. It's possible the Sharks played really well and just took them out of their game. Only time will tell....

Steve said...

I made it to the game last night. There were soooooo many wings fans there. They even got their own chants going.

Sharks played great! Detroit did look pretty tired though.

Detroit managed to turn it on with 30 seconds left. That was the one time I saw their pure passing ability as a team, and they looked great. If only they could have done that for 60 minutes instead of 30 seconds.

Earl Sleek said...

Yeah, looks like a good win last night for the Sharkies, and a tough outing for the Kings.

I got home super-late last night, though. Ergo, no gameday post today, but Happy Halloween!

Unknown said...

Detroit managed to turn it on with 30 seconds left. That was the one time I saw their pure passing ability as a team, and they looked great. If only they could have done that for 60 minutes instead of 30 seconds.

They did have their goalie pulled so have to take that into account too. Not getting too high even though the Sharks beat the two Stanley Cup finalists.

After all, remember Florida... Hi...we lost to Florida. (in my best Wayne's World impersonation)