(Originally published at Kukla’s Korner, January 20, 2013)
Where are the Sharks? Of course they are in Calgary, about to play a game.
But where do they stand now, with camp all wrapped up? It might have something to do with where they have been. I asked several players over the course of the week about the pros and cons of playing overseas during the lockout. There seems to be a consensus from observers, myself included, that those who did play are in a better position to start, even if those who did not play might be better off in a couple of months. Fitness wasn’t exactly what I was asking about, and I got several interesting answers that addressed the mental aspect of playing overseas.
Earlier in the week, I had asked Jason Demers and Justin Braun about how they made the transition to the Finnish game, a somewhat different question from making the adjustment back. Here’s what I asked other players later in the week, and what they told me. (more…)
(Originally published at Kukla’s Korner, January 18, 2013)
The names of the players on the mostly final Sharks roster are out there by now. By association, the names of the players who were sent back down are also known to Sharks fans: John McCarthy, Bracken Kearns, Matt Pelech, and Matt Tennyson. The Worcester Sharks are playing right now. Listen in here.
Yesterday a Worcester player was sent down to the ECHL: Sacha Guimond. He had been called up from the Bulls, but due to a recent trade involving the Bulls captain Justin Bowers and the rights to Guimond, the young defenseman won’t be coming back to San Francisco. Instead he’s going to play with the Gwinnett Gladiators, to hone his skills and await another shot at the AHL. Because he was originally a Bulls prospect and not a Sharks prospect, he could in theory be called up by any team. He was in Worcester on a PTO. (more…)
(Originally published at Kukla’s Korner, January 16, 2013)
I was in a city named Read. There was a festival going on, something like a Dickens or Renaissance Fair. The city had winding cobbled streets on steep hills. I kept bumping into people from my Twitter feed. Jewel Staite was singing an operetta on an open air stage. A Dickensian play was being performed in an amphitheater, the cast mostly Sharks prospects. There were silver beer steins in every hand. I realized I was in costume too, everyone was. We were literally players on a very big stage. “As in: All the world’s a…?” I thought. That cliche overload might be what woke me up.
I think this means that I am ready for hockey season to start. The immersion process has begun.
The Sharks scrimmaged today, no drills. Irwin cemented his place as the front runner for a spot on the blue line by being paired again with Dan Boyle. As far as I could tell, Petrecki and Tennyson were paired, making Pelech the odd man out. Braun was with Murray again, and Vlasic with Stuart. (more…)
(Originally published at Kukla’s Korner, January 15, 2013)
Can Sharks fans expect anything different from the mostly same Sharks as last season? This is a question many have asked now, but to my mind it misses an important point. This season is not last season, it would not be last season even if it were not an insanely compressed season. This is now, that was then. Even old habits do not manifest themselves in exactly the same way as they did yesterday. The team is going into the unknown, without much time to prepare. If I don’t know where I’m going or what will happen there, I will always grab the old horse, the one I’ve known for years.
That old horse is right out in the field, I still throw a saddle on him whenever I have to ride without notice. He is a fractious beast, headstrong and not terribly well-mannered, but I know him. I know a lot, he knows a lot, together I trust us to cope with whatever the unknown throws at us. I cannot imagine why anyone would chose differently. (more…)
(Originally published at Kukla’s Korner, January 13, 2013)
Are the Sharks ready? Is anyone?
I had to decide not to go to training camp today since I had plans to go with friends to a Bulls game. It takes us months to find a date that works for all of us, so I don’t have regrets there. But I am cranky that the Sharks couldn’t skate early enough for me to do both. It irked me that Flyers and Red Wings had volunteered to do physicals yesterday, and as far as I know Sharks didn’t. My crankiness is no doubt amplified by eager impatience for this season to get going.
Dan Boyle explained that this eagerness is shared by the players. They can’t truly know if they are ready either: (more…)
(Originally published at Kukla’s Korner, January 12, 2013)
Two Sharks defensemen went to play in Finland during the lockout. Oddly, they both returned with hand injuries and probably won’t be available to start the shortened season. The only thing that would make it more odd would be if it was the same hand. It isn’t. Jason Demers has a soft removable cast on his right hand, Justin Braun has a cast with a port hole for ultrasound therapy on his left.
Jason Demers played 30 games with Karpat Oulu, and then some more games with Canada’s team in the Spengler Cup tournament. His team won that, which made me think I need to work on how I ask questions. When I commented that Switzerland was a nice way to wind up his time in Europe, he left out that whole winning thing:
To have Christmas and New Years with my family was icing on the cake for that trip. (more…)
The San Francisco Bulls won 4-2 yesterday in Stockton, ending a weekend binge for Bay Area pro hockey fans. It was the third game in three days, the second victory in a row for the first year San Francisco team. Stockton lost two of the three, but it was arguably a victory for both franchises. In an age where sports fans can go online to watch games played anywhere in the world at all hours of the day, a surprising number of fans showed up to watch local teams play a live hockey game.
Last weekend’s trio of games was more significant than a chance to cement a Bay Area rivalry. Last weekend the NHL came back from the lockout. Every single NHL team played. Saturday and Sunday, noon to night, NHL games could be seen on tv from all over the US and Canada. Would the minor league fans stay home to watch? It doesn’t look like they did, despite record viewing numbers posted by NBC for NHL games. (more…)