Alternative Facts

 Shark Head

Shark Head

Detroit is gonna make the playoffs for the 26th year straight.  The LA Kings added the last piece to the puzzle when they traded for Ben Bishop.  Mike Yeo will take the Blues where Hitchcock couldn’t.  Arizona could win the Cup next year.

Alternative facts, a termed coined by supporters of the Orange President are now part of our lives.  Depending on which side of the Internet you sit on can determine what you believe to be true.  Pretty darn sad isn’t it that well into the 21st Century you must check your sources and read more than just one point of view.  WTF happened to objective journalism?

You want straight up steamin piles of straight puck talk then this is your place! That whole first paragraph, while obviously a mixture of no way or just slightly above that is an illustration of teams brain trusts acting like they’re still in the mix.  For example, two weeks ago Boston fired their coach Claude Julien, because they were out of the playoffs.  You can’t fire 20 guys, so you fire the coach.  The team does better for a while, then usually returns to their level.

Montreal hired Claude Julien to coach Le Habs, because Michel Therrien was fired.  Le Habs were in first place when they axed him to leave!  Crazy stuff this 21st Century hockey management shit and I can’t pretend to understand.  As I ramble on stream of conscience, I have to point out that the Sharks are playing the Washington Capitals on Thursday and I have a ticket to see the Great 8.  So excited to see the best team in the East.

That is NOT alternative facts, they have 95 points with only 17 regulation losses.  The Caps have Braden Holtby, he of the sub 2.00 GAA. Make that 18. Ovechkin, Backstrom, Orpick, Kuznetzov were no match for the Sharks on Thursday night as the Sharks prevailed 4-2.  What an exciting game!  I was sitting in a row that literally had every seat filled with a red jersey wearing Caps fan.

They went home crying because San Jose played a complete game and Martin Jones outdueled his All Star counterpart to claim the victory.  Logan Couture was on fire, scoring 2 goals, Brent Burns had three points and was Norris-esque.  Joe Thornton actually scored a goal that wasn’t an empty netter and all the Sharks were better than their Caps counterparts.

BTW, the Sharks honored Joe Thornton for getting his 1000th assist against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday night.  After he scored his goal in the first period he added his 1000 and first assist to punctuate a fabulous night for Joe, his family and the La Familia Tiburones.

 

 

 

Feb. 25: Television debut for NHL in United States

Just had to post this, hey its my birthday.

Plus: Maurice Richard sets record with 45th goal of season; Henrik Lundqvist wins 30th game for seventh straight time

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

February 24th, 2017

THIS DATE IN HISTORY: Feb. 25

1940: The NHL comes to television in the United States.

The New York Rangers face the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden in the first hockey game televised in the U.S. The game airs on station W2XBS in New York, using one camera in a fixed position, and can be viewed on 300 television receivers in New York.

The viewers who tune in see the Rangers win 6-2 for their 14th consecutive home victory.

 

MORE MOMENTS

1945: Maurice Richard of the Canadiens sets an NHL record with his 45th goal of the season, breaking the mark of 44 set by Montreal’s Joe Malone in 1917-18, the NHL’s first season. It comes in the Canadiens’ 5-3 victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

 

1978: The Rangers break the Canadiens’ NHL-record unbeaten streak of 28 games (23-0-5) with a 6-3 win at the Forum. Six Rangers score against Ken Dryden, and rookie goalie Hardy Astrom makes 29 saves for his first NHL win. Astrom splits four decisions with the Rangers before playing two seasons with the Colorado Rockies, finishing with an NHL record of 17-44-12.

On the same night, forward Danny Gare scores three goals and has two assists, defenseman Jerry Korab scores two goals and three assists and the Buffalo Sabres defeat the Cleveland Barons 13-3 at Richfield Coliseum. The Sabres become the third team in NHL history to score 13 goals in a road game.

 

1990: Brett Hull of the St. Louis Blues scores his 59th goal of the season, breaking the family record of 58 set by his father, Bobby Hull. Brett also gets his 60th and 61st goals for his sixth NHL hat trick, but the Blues lose 6-5 to Montreal at the Forum. Defenseman Eric Desjardins scores the 15,000th goal in Canadiens history.

MONTREAL 1990's: Brett Hull #16 of the St. Louis Blues skates against the Montreal Canadiens in the 1990's at the Montreal Forum in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI via Getty Images)

 

1993: Cam Neely returns to the Boston Bruins lineup after missing 106 games during two seasons because of a knee injury. Neely scores a power-play goal 4:51 into the game, but the Minnesota North Stars rally for a 3-3 tie at Boston Garden

 

2012: Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers becomes the first goaltender in NHL history to have 30 or more wins in each of his first seven seasons. Lundqvist gets his 30th win of 2011-12 by making 18 saves in a 3-2 overtime victory against Buffalo at Madison Square Garden.

Mandatory Break Babble

San Jose, CA

Patrick Marleau honored for joining the 500 goals club at the Tank

Patrick Marleau honored for joining the 500 goals club at the Tank.

Hey good morning all, thank God its over.  The mandatory break for the Sharks, and the rain and carnage too!  A shoutout to all the men and women who worked their asses off in the Nor Cal storms to keep your roads, power, phones and homes safe during the 100 year flood.

Now to the hockey stuff and there’s a  lot to get to.  Say what you want about Patrick Marleau, all I know is he’s joined an exclusive club, The 500 Goal Club.  Add to that 65 goals and 131 total points in the playoffs and I would say he qualifies for the Hall of Fame.

The ceremony at the Tank was a bit cheesy and then the Sharks put up a stinker, losing to the Panthers 6-5.  To be fair, they did come back in the 3rd period on some Captain America (Joe Pavelski) goals, ultimately losing to Jaromir Jagr and his mates in OT.

Faceoff at the Tank on Patty Marleau's 500 night.

Faceoff at the Tank on Patty Marleau’s 500 night.

Since that night, the Sharks have retained their first place standing, but have lost some heartbreakers including Sunday night against Boston in OT when Brad Marchand scored on a beautiful breakaway beating Martin Jones 5 hole.  Actually, in the month of February they lost in OT to Arizona, Buffalo (particularly ugly after leading 4-1), Philly and then got smacked around in Boston losing 6-3.  All four teams currently OUT of the playoffs.

I digress, in other news there’s some great teams out there right now including the Caps, the Hawks, Minnesota and of course the Stanley Cup Champion Penguins.  When your team is on a break, watch other teams, get the whole smorgasbord, learn who to fear and who to call out as pretenders, Columbus, Anahymen, St Louis I’m talkin to youse.

Random observations from said perusal:  Connor McDavid is the real deal, leading the league in scoring with 69 points, Brent Burns in 3rd place at 64.  Washington Capitals are well balanced offensively, defensively and in goal, scary good.  Watching the Oilers vs Caps last night, thinkin that maybe the LA Queens are missing Justin William’s 19 goals and 35 points and are a worse team without him. In the West, Minnesota under C Bruce Boudreau are playing out of there minds, leading the Central with a +60 goal differential with the Hawks on their heels.

Patrick Kane’s hat trick against the Coyotes was nice to watch and as usual Chicago has an embarrassment of riches in the forward dept.  Sidney Crosby leading the league in goals, and G Matt Murray is repeating his domination from last year’s Cup win.  Toronto is in a playoff spot with all their amazingly skilled kids like Austin Matthews, Mitch Marner and a resurgent Nazim Kadri.  Is he Muslim?  I’ll sic the Hater in Chief on him.  Wait wait, he’s Canadian he’s safe.

Despicable.

Despicable.

Last quarter of the season left, 22 games to make their push, keep watching.  Its been another great season and we are trending towards an amazing playoff season.  Go Sharks!!

Sharkhead.

Sharkhead.

Stinky Sunday Stew

The Rock, New Jersey

 

Hey y’all Sharks in  free fall, lost 4 straight look who’s waitin, the low hanging fruit of a non playoff team, the New Jersey Devils.  The Sharks played Saturday morning in Philly, losing to the Flyers on a rare miscue by the presumptive Norris trophy winner Brent Burns.

Aaron Dell played his lil backup backside off to give San Jose a chance to win, but couldn’t survive the Wayne Train’s breakaway early in OT.  Goaltending wasn’t the problem on Saturday, this was:

Ref signals no goal after Patrick Marleau scores in the first period

Ref signals no goal after Patrick Marleau scores in the first period.

San Jose has been snakebit on several goals goals scored, only to be overturned after a coach’s challenge.  This latest was a weak call, prompting me to cry foul and swear at my TV set.  The worst ones are the offside challenges resulting in removing a goal from the scoreboard but that’s another column.

Pete DeBoer isn’t worried about the play of his team and was quoted after the game:

“We’ve lost three (of the past four) games in overtime or shootouts. Those are coin flips. I don’t feel we’re in a rut, no. — Sharks coach Peter DeBoer

Perhaps he’s putting a positive spin on extracting a point from a loss, but they left a point on the table up in Beefalo, up 4-1 in the third and gagging at the end losing in OT.  Two days later in B town they flat out stunk in a loss to the Bruins.

Today they play a Devils team currently sitting 16 points out of a play off spot in seventh place in they Metropolitan Division.  Will Los Tiburones play down to the caliber of their opponent?  Will Martin Jones regain the solid form he has displayed in his All Star season?  How about will they score some goals and give the fans a laugher or another squeaker?

It remains to be seen which team shows up, the first place one or their evil doppelganger, the Guppies.  Harsh?  Perhaps but its a big boy league and they’ll need their big boy pants today to come home with one win in four on the roadtrip.

Check out this goalie:

Bianca distracts the shooter.

Bianca distracts the shooter.

I hear she’s easy to score on.

 

Sharks Show Some Snarl, Smack Sens in Shootout

Capital of Canada

Brent Burns destroys Bobby Ryan with a hipcheck.

Brent Burns destroys Bobby Ryan with a hipcheck.

Last night the San Jose Sharks came up clutch in another thrilling game, winning in the shootout in the 4th round 4-3.  In a see saw battle against the Ottawads, the lead changed 6 times as the two teams showed no love for each other, combing for 71 PIMS including TWO game misconducts for the Sens.

In displaying little bitch behavior, Erik Karlson embarrassed himself in a scrum with Marc Eduard Vlasic, but it was F Mike Hoffman with the most heinous play in the 3rd period.  After Logan Couture finished his check on Hoffman, he went after Couture while his back was turned, cross checking him in the back of the head.  A defenseless Cooch went down and had to be helped to the dressing room. He would not return.

It was a yellow play, showcasing the ugly side of hockey, and the worst of it is that another crucial player for San Jose could be lost for some time.  I hope he gets 5 games from Garry Bettman and the Head of Payer Safety, Stephan Quintal.

The game was all sizzle in the second and third periods as the Sharks went up 2-1 on yet another sick highlight reel goal from Brent Burns.  Ottawa would tie it on a goal from Kyle Turris and then with 3:44 left Dion the Doof Phaneuf scored to salt away the game for the Sens.  Not so  fast, as the Sharks responded quickly, Tierney scoring on a beautiful feed from Burns at 17:32.

OT was a spirited affair with the teams trading multiple chances, both goalies playing outta their minds.  In the shootout, the Sharks wunderkind rookie Kevin LeBanc would fake Mike Condon out of his panties, tucking it five hole for the win.  I didn’t even go into detail about the apparent Sharks PP goal scored by Patrick Marleau. The call was overturned by the cursed Coaches challenge that the play was offsides.  I hate that challenge but that’s for another time.

Reilly Sleeping off a Big Day Watching Hockey,,zzz

Reilly Sleeping off a Big Day Watching Hockey,,zzz.

First Place baby!

 

 

NHL Injuries are Reaching Frightening Levels

Sharkland, CA

Bianca is concerned by the rash of injuries in today's NHL.

Bianca is concerned by the rash of injuries in today’s NHL.

Hey now, today’s column is gonna deal with what I feel is an under the radar situation in the worlds fastest game: a rash of injuries to stars and grinders alike.  As you can see from the photo, Bianca is concerned and rightly so because it seems like it is occurring nightly.

Let me toss out a few big names and see what youse think: Jonathan Toews and Corey Crawford from the Hawks, Johnny Hockey of the Calgary Flames, Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan of the Bolts, Tomas Hertl of the Sharks.  How about Jonathan Quick of the Kings and Patrick Sharp from the Dallas Stars?

I could go on with the names but I won’t, because I’d like to explore more deeply what the root cause might be for this disturbing trend.  It isn’t just one particular team or a particular injury. Almost every team has a star or significant player out for a long term severe injury and most have several players on long term IR.

I don’t see this reported in my extensive research of hockey publications today, I must be on the cutting edge of this trend.  Get it cutting?  Alexander Radulov of the Montreal Canadiens was injured in Friday’s Sharks/Habs game in San Jose by an errant stick in a scrum in front of the net. The blood was gushing from the cut above his eye and left a trail for about 50 feet until someone finally got him a towel.

Pre gusher

Pre gusher.

He is described as “day to day”, but his injury is fairly common amongst those players that go to the dirty areas of the crease and score the greasy goals.  However, dislocated shoulders, torn ACLs, hip surgery, broken legs and hands are the type of injuries I’m talking about.  In todays new NHL, those at the top want to see the game get faster.  They want to see more scoring, they want the millennials to be titillated, the video to be gorier, and ultimately make more money.

Those at the top are Gary Bettman and the owners.  They removed the redline from the game, they removed clutch and grab, they allow blue paint play.  All these changes have led to more speed, but unfortunately not more scoring.  The average amount of goals per game for both teams is 5.3.  Roughly, an average score of 3-2, which doesn’t exactly seem like a lot of goals to this guy.

It’s my contention that all these rule changes to increase scoring have led to more injuries, across the board.  The mainly north/south play is in direct contrast to the style from 10 years ago where there were 3 zones and the puck could only be moved one zone at a time.  Now a d man can pass from behind his own goal line to the front of the far blue line.

This allows for and encourages more speed,  though not necessarily a better game and definitely not more scoring.  I know I sound like an old fogey or maybe that I’m pining for the old NHL.  A small part of me is but the main point is this: players are getting hurt more often and the game is not better IMHO, and scoring is not the only good part of our beloved game.

Bianca wants to nurse them back to health.

Bianca wants to nurse them back to health.

 

OutWest We Play a Different Brand of Hockey

Silicon Shmillicon

 Shark Head

Shark Head

Happy Black Friday everyone, get outside and drink in the beauty of a day off and stay outta the mall!  nationalhockeylink.com is going to see John Tavares and his NY Islanders vs the resurgent, maddeningly inconsistent but wholly entertaining San Jose Sharks. My lovely daughter and I will be attending in our new seats in Section 126 and remain ever hopeful of a Stanley Cup championship.

A few days ago, I said I wanted to analyze the the OutWest teams and do a little compare and contrast with the Eastern conference teams.  As I mentioned in the previous column, the East is clicking along at a 57% winning percentage over the West, but what does that mean you ask?  Other than sounding like a Clinton popular vote victory over Trump, it is indicating a change in style and strategy away from the “heavy game” identity employed by teams like the LA Kings, St Louis Blues and to an extent San Jose.

The Pens won the Cup by out skating their opponents and when the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Sharks in the Cup final, it was the opinion of many in the proletariat that fans wanted more speed and skill, and less hitting and goonery.   Not so fast (pun intended), I for one prefer a lot of heavy checking and the occasional F ed up hit because I like the chaos created by the outrageousness of the hit and, its inspirational to the players on both benches.

That being said, the GMs of the league are drafting players formerly thought to be too small to succeed in the league.  Their brand of skill and speed translate into more excitement and ultimately more goals for. Johnny Hockey Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames and Mitch Marner of the Toronto Maple Leafs are two great examples of electrifying players having success in the “New NHL”. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers.  Folks are comparing him to Wayne
Gretzky, you mighta heard of him. The jury is still out on this sea change in the philosophy of building a team, and I think there is a little too much tweaking to the game we love. That is another column.

The Chicago Blackhawks are leading the Central Division and play a very up tempo game. They have a freakin All Star team. The St. Louis Blues have retooled, ridding themselves of their captain David Backes and changing their philosophy a bit by giving smaller faster players a larger role in their offense.  Minnesota Wild, under Bruce Boudreau are in 3rd place and have a more offensive minded style, veering away from the trapping boring game.

The surprise of the West to me is that the Edmonton Oilers are leading the Pacific Division.  A perennial last place team for the last 10 years, they’ve parlayed their consistently high draft choices and lottery pics into a very fast skill team and they have a legitimate goalie in Cam Talbot and that McDavid guy.  The Sharks are in second and the LA Kings round out the top three in the Pacific.

To return to my theme of East being a bit better than the West this year, nobody is lights out lighting it up in the West. Many teams are hanging around in mediocrity, as in around a .500 winning percentage.  Teams like Dallas and Nashville who went fairly deep in the playoffs last year are hanging on by a thread or currently out of a playoff spot.  20 games in at Thanksgiving, a traditional bench mark time for teams being in or out, these teams have a small mountain to climb to remain relevant to their fans and make the dance.  Update: as of tonight the East vs West head to head competition lead for the East has narrowed to 60-52.

Sharks celebration

Sharks celebration

 

 

 

 

Is Donald Trump A Hockey Fan?

Hey now hockey fans, now that you’ve considered that stupit question, what should we talk about?  I think it might be fun to talk about the Eastern Conference vs. the Western Conference.  Or OutWest as the East Coast Proletariat like to describe it.

For the last several years, the perception that the West is a better conference overall could be validated in head to head matchups, and up until last year it would be  true.  The 2016-17 season is shaping up differently, as the East has shown dominance over the West in the first 20 games.  For example, the Metro division has 5 teams with more than 20 points and the Atlantic 4 teams with 20 or more.

Contrasting that with the West, the Central has three teams with more than 20 and the Pacific three.  In head to head competition, the East has won 55 and the West 41 games respectively. That’s a whopping 57% to 43% winning percentage, although not exactly a mandate.

Montreal has the best record in hockey and its no wonder with fans like this:

She Habs got it all!

She Habs got it all!

The Rangers are leading the Metro and the league in goals for with a stunning 4.11 goals per game.  They’ve scored 74 goals in 18 games, the next closest is the Flyers with 62.  Caps are right there also and Pittsburgh continues to show why they won the Cup last year with their blend of speed, great goaltending and timely scoring from their MVP Sidney Crosby.  His hair is on fire.  OutWest analysis tonight

Teams hanging by a thread to a playoff spot

Teams hanging by a thread to a playoff spot

 

 

 

 

Road Warriors

Reilly Predicts a Sharks Victory in Game 6

Reilly Predicts a Sharks Victory in Tampa.

Tampa,FLA

Hey now, Happy Veterans weekend and down with the Donald.  As in I ain’t down with the new Hitler, er President elect.  Keep up the good work protesting and don’t tear down your town cause you ain’t down with the Donald.

Politics aside, lots of great  hockey games recently and coming up this weekend.  The red carnations are in the lapels of the coaches and as we reflect upon the sacrifices of men, women and their families to keep us free, we are distracted from worldly problems by this great game we love to watch.

San Jose rides into Tampa with a two game win streak and have scored seven straight unanswered goals.  Tuesday night in DC, the Sharks played their first complete game since they beat the LA Kings in their first game of the season and won going away, shutting out the powerful Caps 3-0.

The Sharks pinpoint passing and tenacious defense, coupled with stellar goaltending from Martin Jones completely shut down a powerful Washington squad.  Marc Eduard Vlasic and Brent Burns scored, and Joe Thornton added an ENG to salt away the contest.

From there it was on to Sunrise, Florida to take on the Panthers, a good young team still looking for consistency this season after playing very well last year, winning the Atlantic Division and barely losing to John Tavares and the New York Islanders.  Florida opened the scoring, getting 2 goals from former Shark Jason “Daddy” Demers in the first period. Brent Burns got one back at 16:18 of the first and in the second C Joe Pavelski scored after a sweet play by Joel Ward to steal the puck from Alex Petrovic, picking the top corner on former Shark James Reimer.

Pavelski fires the puck top corner on James Reimer

Pavelski fires the puck top corner on James Reimer

In the third, Chris Tierney won a face off, and although All Star D man Aaron Ekblad retrieved the puck, Wingels stole it and patiently waited out G Reimer for the game winner.  Logan Couture got off the Schneid, scoring an ENG with less than a minute to go.  On to Tampa to play Steven Stamkos and the Lightning.

I love to Dominate

I love to Dominate.

Monday Monster Mash

I love to Dominate

I love to Dominate

San Jose, CA                                                                                                   10/31/16

Happy Helloween y’all, about 10% of the season has been played and I thought I’d check in on everyone and do a little analysis of what I’ve seen so far.  First up East Coast and Conference: Pittsburgh leads the Metro by a hair over the Rump Rangers with the Ovechkins (Caps for those that don’t speaketh my lingoeth) one point behind.

In the Atlantic, the Habs are tearing it up in the early going, with no losses in regulation.  The rest of the usual suspects, Bolts, Panthers and the Bruins are 8-10 points behind Montreal.  The Dead Things and the Sens occupy the 2nd and 3rd slots but I expect that to change in the near future.

Out West, as the beautiful Kathryn Tappen likes to say,

10-31-kt

Things are ducky for Connor McDavid and the Oil (1st place at 7-2), while not so Ducky for Randy Carlisle’s Anahymen.  San Jose’s beloved Tiburones (Sp. for Sharks) and the Nucks round out the top three positions in the Pacific Division.  In the Big Bad Central, the Wild have the top spot with St Louis and the Hawks one and two points behind respectively.

Two very talented and speedy teams that are perennially in the playoffs, Smashville and the Dallas Stars are bringing up the rear.  Can’t see them staying on the bottom although the main reason I see for their current under performance is GOALTENDING!  The Pekker for Nashville and the two headed monsters of mediocrity, Anti Niemi and Kari Letemin er Lehtonen are not holding up their end of the bargain.

Gotta go hand out some candy but before I do, I wanna say, the LA Kings are in for some deep trouble with G Jonathan Quick out til the New Year or later.  In the ultra competitive Pacific Division, a team can’t afford to get off to a start like theirs (4-5) and think about making the playoffs.

 

The beautiful Kathryn Tappen sporting Kings colors

The beautiful Kathryn Tappen sporting Kings colors.

Hey Kings, perhaps you can get some luck from the queen of Hockey broadcasting?