Westbound Flight

No idea why I decided I wanted to take a bunch of photos through the window as I flew home Wednesday. But I did. Apart from the shots of the coast lines, I have pretty much no idea what I took photos of. I think I got several of Colorado. Those would be the ones with snow on the mountain tops. Otherwise, it’s just a glimpse of how impressive it is that we fly across this big continent so easily. (more…)

Sharks Bested By Bruins in Boston

(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)

BOSTON– Tuesday, the San Jose Sharks fell to the Boston Bruins 5-3 at TD Garden. In many ways, the game was uncharacteristic for both teams. While it was a predictably close game, the score did not reflect a game between two defensively exceptional teams. After the game, Joe Thornton said:

The game went back and forth, back and forth. We thought we had it, we had a good chance on the four minute power play. In the end we just didn’t bury it. Tough game to lose.

The shot count was a little high on both sides (34-33), and five goals were scored in the first two periods. It is the third time Tuukka Rask has bested the Sharks, and the Bruins have yet to lose to San Jose with Rask in net.
(more…)

Sharks: So Far, So Good

(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)

Joe Thornton scored his 1,200th point into an empty net against the New Jersey Devils Saturday. It was a hope killer for the Devils, putting the game just out of reach with just over a minute remaining. The win improved the Sharks’ record against teams on opening night 2014-15, to 2-1.  They don’t have any more opening nights to spoil this season, and they saved their own with a win. All in all, the young season is going pretty well for the Sharks, with just one loss in five games. (more…)

Sharks Shut Out Jets in Home Opener

(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)

SAN JOSE- One shut out is not like another. Where the Sharks played a fairly solid game on Wednesday, their shut out of the Winnipeg Jets Saturday was not so shiny. Al Stalock showed that he absolutely deserves to be in contention as the starter, but the rest of the team went off the rails after the first 20-30 minutes of the game. The final score was 3-0, but the Sharks’ power play went 0-8. (more…)

Sharks Sound Ready For Season To Start

(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)

“Meeting at 12:30.”

It was a small thing, a nothing really, another day at Sharks training camp. It was just a reminder repeated by several players to other players, responded to with a nod or some affirmative phrase.

As players came off the ice, sat down, went away again, they were tagged with this message: “meeting at 12:30.” It was a perfectly normal thing, open, direct, unguarded. It did not sound urgent, just matter of fact. Everyone wanted to make sure everyone would be at the meeting.

Maybe I have never paid close enough attention, but it sounded new to me. Not the words, just the way they sounded, spoken by so many players. I probably only heard it four or five times, but that sounded like a lot. It sounded like many people talking, taking an interest, taking responsibility for each other.

Later that same morning, head coach Todd McLellan was asked if he has sensed any change in the room from seasons past. He answered:

I think they’ve got together and talked about a lot of things, which is a real positive, especially for the group as a whole. That can only help but move them forward.

Was this camp any different from prior camps? Was there any peculiar tension, with the reassignment of the captaincy? Was this camp different in any way?

No one would say it was really different, or any more different than any camp has been.  There is always something buzzing around, trying to distract from the work people are doing.

If it isn’t the captaincy or trades or lack thereof, it might be something truly disruptive. The KHL has a team in the Ukraine. Their arena was damaged last season, all their playoff games were played on the road. As distractions go, that is probably pretty trivial in cases of armed conflict. That did not happen during training camp, I believe it was late in the season. I only mention it to put things in perspective.

The 2014 preseason is over. The Sharks played as long as they could, finishing in overtime in their last game. Their preseason results were not spectacular, but they seem to have found what they need to start the season.

With Tyler Kennedy and Raffi Torres unavailable due to injury, the team will need to rely on some of these new faces. It looks like those faces will belong to one or more of Barclay Goodrow, Chris Tierney, and Eriah Hayes.

On defense, there is no specific gap per se, but the team can use a boost there, someone more than an eighth defenseman. Can Mirco Mueller do it? Did Saturday’s game in Anaheim expose some holes in his game? Should the Sharks go back to someone with a little more mileage?

The preseason is such a deceptive spectacle. Half the players are auditioning, half are rehearsing for opening night. The only thing to take away from the games is who got to play and who did not. Mueller and Goodrow and Tierney got to play a lot.

Which means either they are staying or the coaches just wanted a better look at them. We will know which in the next couple of days.

In other Northern California hockey news, the Stockton Thunder are up for sale. Apparently there is no mad rush to get the deal done. According to the Sharks’ Chief Operating Officer John Tortora, the Sharks are paying attention to that:

We’re paying attention to what goes on from a hockey standpoint. It’s no secret that the NHL clubs who are based on the West Coast, particularly the three California clubs, are looking to move our minor league Eastern-based teams to the West Coast. We’re working with the AHL to figure that out. Nothing’s been set in stone yet.

One of the things NHL teams have to figure out is where to put the AHL teams. Many locations are being considered by the Sharks.

Sharks Win Preseason Game in Arizona

(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)

Friday night, the San Jose Sharks won a contentious preseason game against the Arizona Coyotes. Prospects Barclay Goodrow, Chris Tierney, Eriah Hayes and Mirco Mueller all played well, suggesting that any of them could end up starting the season in San Jose.

Goals from Matt Nieto, Tye McGinn and Tommy Wingels gave the Sharks their third win of the preseason. Alex Stalock was in goal and made 23 saves on 24 shots. Rob Klinkhammer scored for the Coyotes, and Mike Smith made 31 saves on 33 shots faced. (more…)

Sharks Defeat Ducks 3-1 in 4th Preseason Game

(Originally published at Sports Radio Service)

SAN JOSE– Saturday, the San Jose Sharks defeated the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 in their fourth preseason outing. The game featured a preposterous number of penalties from the Ducks and yet another good showing from the line of Barclay Goodrow, Chris Tierney an Nikolay Goldobin. They earned all three stars. Two of the goals were Goodrow’s.  Goldobin picked up assists on both of those, and Tierney had an assist on one. The third Sharks goal was Logan Couture’s, while the lone Ducks goal was scored by Matt Beleskey. (more…)

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