(Originally published at Kukla’s Korner, January 30, 2013)
Jason Demers is ready to play. He took slapshots Tuesday and Wednesday, and spent some extra time working with both Larry Robinson and Jim Johnson after Tuesday’s practice. Wednesday, he was practicing with a power play unit. That would argue for Demers being in sooner than later. My guess is that sooner would be even sooner if Boyle is still out Thursday. Today, Frazer McLaren was waived so the Sharks have made room for someone. That’s a one, not sometwo.
Brent Burns, just yesterday so glum, looked better today. He did more drills with the team, he was taking longer strides, making more turns and stops. He looks better than he did before camp. Suddenly, he looks not so far from good to go, but that would be sudden. It’s unreasonable to think one day would make such a difference. But back to back days skating, and skating harder the second day is great news. At least it indicates steady progress.
McLellan put some new lines to work this morning:
Defense pairs were: Demers-Irwin, Murray-Braun, Vlasic-Stuart. The top line was the same, with Marleau and the Joes still together. Gomez practiced with the second line of Couture and Clowe, while Havlat moved to the third with Handzus and Wingels. The fourth line then had Burish and Desjardins, with Galiardi and Sheppard taking turns in drills that wouldn’t accommodate four skaters.
The really big news today seems to be a consolidation in the Sharks ownership group. Kevin Compton and Stratton Sclavos, the two owners who spoke with the media last June, have sold their interest to Hasso Plattner. From the Sharks’ press release:
Plattner, a member of the Sharks ownership group since SSE purchased the team from original owner George Gund III in Feb. 2002, has been the organization’s majority owner since 2010.
Plattner will serve as the team’s representative on the NHL’s Board of Governors. Sharks Executive Vice President & General Manager Doug Wilson and Executive Vice President & General Counsel John Tortora will remain Alternate Governors…
Since the Sharks owners are not very well known by Sharks fans, I thought this biographical info might be good to repeat, also from the press release:
Plattner’s passions in life are centered around business, science and sport. In 1972, Plattner co-founded software giant SAP AG, the world’s largest business software company. Since retiring from the CEO position in May 2003, he has been Chairman of the Supervisory Board and Chief Software Advisor. In these roles, Plattner concentrates on defining the medium and long-term technology strategy of SAP. Plattner is also a leading private patron of education and research in science and technology. In 1998, he founded the Hasso Plattner Institute for Software Systems Engineering (HPI) at the University of Potsdam in Germany, and expanded the HPI with a “School of Design Thinking” in 2007. In 2005, Plattner established the “Hasso Plattner Institute of Design” at Stanford University and founded Hasso Plattner Ventures, which operates three venture capital funds to support start-up companies in the IT sector – two located in Germany and the other in South Africa. Plattner receivedhis Master’s Degree in Communications Engineering from the University of Karlsruhe. In 1990, the University of Saarbruecken awarded him an honorary doctorate and, in 1994, he was granted an honorary full professorship.
In addition to being a life-long hockey enthusiast, Plattner is a keen sailor and enjoys golf and tennis. Recently, he participated in the 5O5 World Championship, a race for high-performance two-person sailboats.
The timing is curious, it’s kind of exciting to have a more major majority shareholder, but to comment further on it is beyond me. Check out the Merc News for such..
Back to the ice: the Sharks have won six in a row now, which is enough to make you look for chicken carcasses and strange burn marks on the ground. They played games 1-5 well, but game 6? Last night, the Sharks were bested in most every part of the game, and still they came away with a win. I couldn’t believe the Sharks won that game.
Passes intercepted, pucks thrown blindly to just the wrong place, skaters tripping over ghosts, missed hits, fizzled shots, in short: the Sharks had their wires crossed. It didn’t help that they had a ref in the middle stages of rabies, but a more composed team would have shrugged that off, especially as their penalty kill held its ground.
So I don’t know what was up, where the Sharks’ heads were for the first 50 minutes of that game. There were still some good things to take away from two stolen points.
I’d begin with the usual suspect in a case of points pilfering: the goalie. Niemi had some help from posts and defensively sound defense, if it can be called that without helping offensively. Unlike the rest of the team, Niemi looked better than usual. He moved faster, not slower. He deserved that first star thrice over. He did a bang-up job and seeing him do that is good.
As totems often do when taken for granted, the posts turned on the Sharks. They still helped Niemi out, but punished the skaters and shooters, as if passing judgment on the Sharks’ game. So praise the posts, I say. It’s only weird if it doesn’t work, right? See how the posts rewarded Handzus in the shootout, for making them part of the team?
More important than totems, the Sharks killed all four penalties called against them. Two of those had to be killed without Marleau, and all of them had to be handled without their mojo. That is a very good thing.
Can’t put the near loss on Boyle, can’t put it on Petrecki. What an asphyxiating stinker of a game for a player’s NHL debut.
What had the Sharks so rattled? Were the Ducks that much of a surprise? Had the Sharks started to take the blessed bounce for granted? Have they all got the flu? Was the ownership adjustment unsettling or confusing?
I can’t guess. I know I was distracted by the Boyle news. There was that awful flu going around killing people, did he get that? Or is “flu” code for something more upsetting? In any case, he didn’t skate today either.