(Originally published at Kukla’s Korner)
Sunday morning, Sharks Ice
I spent Saturday feeling like a rat in a kitchen, and I don’t mean an “ooh goody I found a bag of oatmeal next to this big wheel of cheese” happy rat. For the record, no one tried to stomp me, it was just a state of mind I get into when I’m in new situations. That level of crazy has subsided, partly because there is nothing scheduled that might involve me falling into a situation that is so insanely foreign to me that I start chewing on the walls. Another part of it is: they let me back in. I guess I didn’t break anything.
I’m sorry I don’t have a decent report from yesterday. I actually wrote a lot about that but it all boiled down to a drawn-out scream of “what am I doing here?” and had nothing to do with the Sharks. You can’t choose which part of the lake they throw you into, and you can’t learn to swim any faster for being thrown in the deep end. First time in the water, not drowning is a win.
Today it is almost like normal me being at practice, except that I don’t absolutely have to sit on the cold benches by the rink. I probably will go out there anyway, because not being able to hear the skating gives me the jitters. I ventured into the building without a coat. It’s like running around naked.
Still no Vlasic. I’m not going to panic about that. Besides, it could mean more attention for Braun. Wait, no, looks like Petrecki is getting time with Burns in the warm-up. Ok. That’s fine too.
Apparently it’s a full house. The last wristband was given out by 9am. That is fairly awesome. I see some folks being turned away later in the morning, asking for a promise from the security guy, an absolute safe arrival time for tomorrow so that they don’t get turned away again. Assurances that Mondays are less crowded than weekends are not enough. They really want a specific arrival time.
Last night I was chatting with an in-law from Pittsburgh and he asserted with complete confidence that nobody in the Bay Area cares about hockey.
Harumph. Eastern snob. Like we don’t know how to do snob. I can do snob too. I’m from San Francisco.
The guys are taking the ice. I can tell with my back turned to the rink because the crowd lets go a cheer.
So, with Havlat out and the teams giving only a vague sense of future line combinations, Ferriero steps in to the presumptive #2 line with Couture and Clowe. Though the line is hardly indicative of how the Sharks will look come Game 1, 2011, this strikes me as emblematic for Ferriero: reliable enough to be put into fairly high level slots but always susceptible to being bumped all the way out, only to show that he has outgrown the AHL. He is sort of a tweener. I can imagine that’s frustrating position and he might find more security with another team. I don’t want him gone, I am greedy and I want everyone to stay, but that just doesn’t happen.
Possibly more indicative of things to come was a paring of Colin White and Jason Demers. All signs point to that as a likely match. It makes sense, if the team is cultivating Demers’ offensive skills. White is insurance against the common defensive liabilities offensive d-men are prone to, at the same time he frees Demers to develop that offense.
It seemed like Demers and Pickles were good together but I can see how the team might like to have a veteran shut down guy paired with a budding blue line shooter.
I guess that also means that Vlasic is slated to develop in the other direction, if he is paired with Burns. On the other hand, Burns has more experience than Demers, he might be more responsible defensively, so Vlasic may not have to be purely DD, there may be a little room for him to cultivate some offense even as the DD in his DD-OD pair.
For the scrimmage at least, Burns is with Vandermeer. I can’t find Petrecki now.
I’m happy to see McGinn with Mitchell and Zus. That would be a great spot for him if he can hold onto it. I like that line, it looks like a varied and splendid thing: physical and fast with veteran supervision. Can they score? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s only September.
I look up from my typing to see some media folks watching the football game on the tv. I know, I know, sports writers write about sports… but still. More bloody ball games. Blech!
I am not thrilled to see McCarthy with Mash and MacIntyre, because all together like that they make me think “Woo.” Knowing there just isn’t room enough for all of them in SJ bugs me.
For some, being sent to Worcester is more meaningful than for others. Some have used up their Worcester shuttle tickets, some must stay here or be gone all year or risk being stol.. I mean claimed by some other team. I hate that.
Yes, better to go play there than to not play, better to be claimed by another team than to not play in the NHL.
I hate it.
The goalies look a lot better in the scrimmage than in the drills. The Saturday drills had me worried. I know this is to be expected when they are playing with a team instead of alone against everyone. The scoreless game still makes me feel better.
The 3M line sticks together, while other 3rd and 4th lines morph during the game.
I start to panic because I can’t find Braun, can’t tell who he is paired with. I find him, with Irwin. I have no idea what that means aside from I need to be less emotional about the team. Adrenaline will catch up to me.
How do fans decide who to root for in a game like this? Aside from cheering for Pavs I mean. Teal and white everywhere, on and off the ice. Answer: cheer for anyone who shoots, and then cheer for the goalie making the save, but only after an appropriate “aaawwww…” sound for the failure to score. In short, cheer for everyone, and everything. I think I like this kind of game.