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

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Sunday, April 13, 2008



(Sleek, feel free to insert a cartoon here)

Best I could muster on short notice. --Sleek

I always feel a little wary about taking a really fast multiple-goal lead. It gives way more than enough time for a team to pull it together. That's what happened tonight, but it still doesn't excuse anyone from tonight's Sharks meltdown against Calgary.

I see three big issues here:

1) Joe Thornton isn't doing anything other than making stupid passes. I understand that he's being pressured like no one's business, but damn it, he knows how to control the boards. That's his freakin' game. That's what's so aggravating about this.

2) Brian Campbell was brought in as a #1 defenseman. He played like a #1 defenseman for the rest of the regular season. So far, he hasn't just looked mediocre, he's probably been the worst Sharks blueliner aside from Kyle McLaren. They really, really need Christian Ehrhoff and his speed back.

3) Milan Michalek hasn't used his speed to back off any of the defensemen. Patrick Marleau's done this very effectively so far, so you know that it will work. Michalek can't keep trying to play his game on the boards because that's NOT his game. He's gotta take the puck through the neutral zone, back the defensemen off, and create more space for Joe Thornton to thread the puck through.

The good news? They're only down 2-1. You split in Calgary and then it's a 3-game series. It's not going to be pretty, but the series is far from over. The Marleau line's been great, the Mike Grier/Patrick Rissmiller/Torrey Mitchell line has done what it should be doing; it really comes down to Joe Thornton and the defense.

Big Joe, Soupy, the focus is on you. Since they're living together, maybe someone's poisoned their water or something. Someone's gotta lace it with Red Bull or something.

[Update] Game 3 Notes Calgary vs San Jose, Sarich's elbow to head of Patrick Marleau earns Flames a decisive power play - Sharkspage.


Mr. Plank said...

(Sleek, feel free to insert a cartoon here)

I think the universal choke symbol will do just fine.

Anonymous said...

Here's one thought: match Calgary on the physical game. Wasn't the point of Shelley's acquisition to make sure that the opposition doesn't take shots at the Sharks' stars like the Flames did to Marleau tonight? Or give physical confidence to the team as a whole? What happened to Shelley making the team "feel three inches taller and 10 pounds heavier"?

After San Jose's three goals, Calgary pretty much dominated on the physical play for most of the night. The best response the Sharks had for the hits on Marleau was Shelley mouthing off to Iginla - not exactly inspiring to say the least. I know this team wants to avoid being banged up or come off as goons, but sooner or later they have to (smartly) hit back when they're getting hit.

Anonymous said...

Where did the momentum and defense go? That was simply pathetic.

Mr. Plank said...

Looking back on it, it's not that we played extremely poorly, there just wasn't the will to win. Defensively there were some errors, but it's not as if we were giving up massive amounts of 2 on 1 chances (off the top of my head I can only remember two odd-man breakouts from the Flames).

They also caught some breaks. A goal off Iggy's knee, Vlasic's stick knocking the puck in etc.

Putting this into perspective, it really wasn't that bad of a game.

But one you would expect from a Stanley Cup Champion.

No, nay, no freakin way.

Jeff J said...

"Brian Campbell was brought in as a #1 defenseman.

Odd choice, seeing as he wasn't even a #1/2 defenseman for a team that missed the playoffs in the weaker conference.

Spade-in-victorhell said...

hey sharks lets make our vacation reservations...hows maui sound?

maybe theyll get a pickup street hockey game going...don't worry though no hitting will be allowed..we know how much u hate that..



p.s. my favorite play of the night was campell doing his overdone spin-a-rama and him getting the puck taken away...I was rolling laughing

Earl Sleek said...

I'll draw a better picture for this series a bit later, but for now I couldn't shake the image of Sharkboy and Lavagirl as a symbolic representation of this whole series.

That's Sleek for you; always trying to find the cultural connection that nobody's seeing.

Earl Sleek said...

So, I wonder: What will this do to the odd tradition of hanging a toilet seat in the Sharks' locker room?

Mike in OC said...

Man there are some great seris going on. The Boston / Habs game was great, as was the Ranger / Devil game. This 2008 playoff race is getting really exciting, hopefully my Ducks will get a chance to experience it at some point.

Don't worry San Jose fans, if my Ducks get eliminated I will be pulling for you guys to keep the cup in Cali. (Hope thats not the kiss of death right there)

Mike in OC said...

I should add that the game was great, but the Versus feed got so bad it was not watchable.

Too bad.

Anonymous said...

That was the kind of game that makes me question my being a fan of a) the Sharks and b) the NHL.

The former because, Jesus, you had the game in control, and then imploded. Again.

The latter because, well, I'm not sure I really want to cheer on a game where an apparently workable strategy is to repeatably elbow the other team's best player in the head. And you can do that because Marleau did not go into spasms or was obviously concussed. That's what I call hockey!

Mortimer Peacock said...

The whole Sharks-Flames series is shaping up to be one of the best and craziest I've ever seen. Couldn't agree more with your points about Thornton, Campbell, and Michalek. If you're ever interested in reading a pro-Sharks perspective from an Atlanta Thrashers blog (don't laugh now), do have a look at the Blueland Chronicle at http://bluelandchronicle.blogspot.com/

Keep up the good work, overlook the shamelessness of my plug, etc. etc.

Dave said...

Ian: You guys should check out the hit on YouTube a dozen or so times. It looks to me (and to the NHL and to the refs and to most people in general) that the elbow didn't make contact. What is rather clear is that Marleau had his head down and put himself into a vulnerable position.

That hit was clean, though it was violent. But you know what? That *IS* hockey.

Full credit to Marleau for getting right back up and continuing to be the best Shark on the ice after that. If I were you, I'd be far more concerned about the lacking play of most of the Sharks than what you perceived to be a bad play, since Marleau is fine anyway I'm not sure why you're fixated on something everyone says was a clean hit (except Wilson).

PJ Swenson said...

Sorry dave, the only reason it looked clean was because two of the main cameras were behind Sarich.

Look at the HNIC video on CBC, not just the MacLean and Hrudey breakdown, and they show an on-ice replay where you can clearly see his elbow hit Marleau's face, forcing him into the boards. I tried to get a screen cap of that but it came out too blurry. Like one of my photos.

I have no problem with physical play, fights or checks, I have more of a problem with the way the Sharks defense crumbled, but if you are going to make a huge stand on hits to the head the last ___ number of years, then you have to call that penalty. Or else the rest of the histrionics from the league over hits to the head was just hot air.

Mike in OC said...

Maybe we can get TSN to edit the video and re-submit it for review to Colin to issue a suspension.

Oh wait, Calgary is a canadian team, and it was not Pronger that threw the elbow....oh well, it was just a thought.

PJ Swenson said...

Anti-California bias.

Rick said...

Let's just say for the sake of the argument that the hit was in fact dirty. And let's say that Sarich and/or Phaneuf get suspended. So what?

If the league is only pretending to do something about headshots, as you say, then why on earth are the Sharks relying on their lies?

It's not like Marleau was lost for the game, and even if he was, the rest of the team completely quit (except Nabby). They acted like a bunch of pussies.

The problem with this game wasn't the alleged dirty hit on Marleau--it was the lack of one on Phaneuf, Iginla, or Tanguay.

If you guys would have figured that out in game 1 when you still could have afforded to lose one, no one else in the league would have messed with you, but now you've opened the floodgates.

Even if you beat Calgary this round, the rest of the teams you face are going to make runs at players.

Team Teal should be wearing pink.

Too bad too--because I was really pulling for you bums once I realized that my Ducks are phoning it in to get to their tee times this summer.

Earl Sleek said...

Oh wait, Calgary is a canadian team, and it was not Pronger that threw the elbow.

Anti-California bias.

I don't even know if I'd say that geography is the deciding factor here. Basically, Sarich is not Pronger, otherwise there would be a lot more investigation, I'd think.

Anti-Pronger bias, more likely.

Anonymous said...

Ditto what PJ said. Dave, the fact that Marleau escaped injury *should* have no bearing on whether his receiving 2 elbows to the face were called penalties. Patty's head wasn't down, as you claim, and Wilson isn't the only person who thought Sarich's elbow was up high.

And Rick, I don't know, knocking a couple of teeth out of Iginla's face with a stick or taking a Pronger run at Tanguay or Phaneuf in game 1 would just be putting my team on the dishing side of a shitty play that I don't think belongs in hockey. I have no problem with physical hockey. I do have a problem when the game plan is to intentionally injure a player with high hits. A war of dirty play attrition isn't the answer. The answer is simple: enforce the damn rules so it doesn't turn into rollerball.

Like I also said, I'm frustrated and pissed about how this team just can't control it's own destiny against a determined opponent. They let the Flames take control of the series last night. Game 4 is a must win, and (yet another) test of whether they have what it takes to bounce back from a bad game. Your move, Ron Wilson (oh, and your job rides on it).

PJ Swenson said...

You are cracking on me for not being upset the Sharks did not respond with an in-kind action on Calgary?

Well first of all, I suggest you google Ryan Garner and Hockey Buzz in his column on retaliation on Anaheim the last meeting of the regular season (re: the hit on Cheechoo).

Two, not only am I angry about it, I am f****** pissed. I am not going to write anything furthur because it would get ugly. Lets see what happens in game 4.

PJ Swenson said...

And when I mean Google the Hockey Buzz article, also take a look at the negative reaction to it.

PJ Swenson said...

I always thought an inherent anti-Pronger bias was the sign of a knowledgeable hockey fan?

Mike in OC said...

it is becoming more and more so, that's for sure.

Dave said...

Just don't see it.

No single camera angle shows this to be a dirty hit. Show me one single video that shows an elbow.

The universal reaction outside of California was this was a clean hit. It was a clean hit. It was a devastating hit, but it was a clean one.

You're very much welcome to your opinion, but you must acknowledge you're in the minority here. The referees, the NHL, the national/international media all agree.

You can also assert this is "anti-California" or "anti-Pronger" bias, but that's far from the mark too. Here in Canada, the overwhelming perception is American-bias by the NHL -- eg, Bettman (being American) trying to raise the profile of the sport to Americans. As such, many Canadians believe Bettman's bias is towards American teams as it is his wet dream to have American teams win the cup -- since it follows his gameplan of moving the teams from Canada to the "bigger American market.

If there is bias here on behalf of the referees and the NHL, it ain't towards Canada.

The most rational thing to do here -- with clear video evidence showing a clean hit and no evidence to the contrary -- is to concede it was a clean hit. You're welcome to disagree with it, but you must be aware of what that looks like to outsiders.

You guys can't play the victimized card here. It was a hard-fought game, and the hard-nosed team won that battle. I'm not sure why this is surprising to you, surely you've seen the Sharks in the post-season before?

Earl Sleek said...

Dave, I should be clearer on my position. I thought the hit was clean and fine, and haven't really watched any replays to confirm or deny that.

I only say "anti-Pronger" as a bit of a joke. If Pronger had thrown the hit, I'm sure TSN would have been up all night trying to find a video to villify him, like they did for StompGate. Since it's not Pronger though, even if it were a dirty hit they probably wouldn't bother.

Your argument is with the Sharks guys--I'm pretty indifferent.

Mike in OC said...

Come on, there's got to be some way to suspend Pronger for that. Heck they can use the same tape from StompGate and edit it into this new footage.

I am just making jokes Dave, I am indifferent about that dirty hit as well.

Spade-in-victorhell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PJ Swenson said...

There's your video.

And if I have to make this a 24 hour anti Cory Sarich blog, so be it. And I will take Canada down with him.

Dave said...

The disconcerting thing for me is that up until game 3, I felt strongly that it was a simple equation for San Jose... they're the better team so they just need to at least match Calgary's focus and intensity and they'll be fine.

Unfortunately, I now question that given the very well described poor D play (and defensive zone clearing) of Campbell and others and (also well-described) inability of Thornton, Cheechoo and Michalek to deal with the Flames bum-rushing Joe whenever he gets the puck on the side boards.

Yup, I'm worried.