(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.
All that presumes Demers is not ready to play. He was skating this morning before the scrimmages began. I did see him put his injured hand on the stick but mostly not. I would guess he won’t be ready for the first game but he doesn’t look far away. As for Burns, each day that goes by without him being seen on the ice makes that situation seem bleaker.
I thought it might be useful to see who was on the penalty killing units for the scrimmage. For team teal, I saw a unit with Couture, Havlat, Stuart and Murray, and another with Desjardins, Braun, Burish and I thought I saw a 14 but that’s not possible since no one was wearing that number. For team white, I saw Galiardi, Handzus, Boyle and.. oh dear. It looks like I listed Galiardi twice. The other unit had Tennyson, Thornton, Wingels and Petrecki. Basically, I did a lousy job observing that.
The top forward lines were as advertised: Thornton, Pavelski and Marleau, Couture, Clowe and Havlat. There are still so many question marks on the two lower lines that I didn’t mark down who was where. The players competing for those spots are not exactly like quantities.
Seeing Sheppard against McCarthy in a faceoff seemed symbolic, but they are not that alike. Really these players are all competing against themselves and the team’s perceived needs.
Todd McLellan explained those needs:
There will be extra bodies here. We won’t be carrying 20 players. We’ll have some ingredients that might not be involved on a certain night that we can draw from on the next night. Sometimes that’s dictated by your opponent, what they chose to play and how they chose to play their team. If it’s going to be a little more of a rugged night, then there’s guys that draw that straw. On a speed night there may be somebody else involved. So we would like to keep as many different ingredients around as possible and then make those decisions on a nightly basis.
But you also look for some continuity among players. Right now, Burish and Desjardins have been the two on that line. We’d like to see them find… chemistry with each other and then add pieces in as we go.
McLellan was asked if anyone stood out, in a good way or a bad way. The only player he mentioned there was Bracken Kearns, saying the coaches felt he had played very well today. When pressed about who might be a lock and who was clearly out, he declined to say.
Yesterday the whereabouts of Brandon Mashinter became a subject of some interest on my Twitter feed. After reading that he had been called up, and after he missed a couple of games with folks thinking that he was going to SJ, it seemed very odd that he was not on the camp roster, and certainly was nowhere to be seen on the ice. He is very large, it was unlikely that he could be easily misplaced.
Today I asked Wayne Thomas (SJ goalie coach and also Worcester GM) where Mashinter was. I was told that he is in Worcester, he had cleared waivers. He had been held out of games in case of callup but had not been called up. So I thought that was that.
I became confused again when I saw this about an hour before the Worcester game today:
@210Darryl: “New game involving the #WorSharks…. #WhereInTheWorldIsBrandonMashinter”
Mashinter did turn up on the ice, but he did not play and was listed as a healthy scratch. Worcester used 10 rookies today, why not use every regular available? This game is very confusing.
Of course he was traded to New York. I guess THAT is that. Best of luck to him. He was obviously a favorite among Sharks fans east and west.