NHL draft cybercast live from Ottawa, Sharks trade up to pick RW Devin Setoguchi 8th overall

Devin Setoguchi San Jose Sharks 1st round draft pick

The NHL draft will be streamed online live from Ottawa at 9AM [PT] on NHL.com.

The San Jose Sharks moved up to the #8 overall pick, trading their 12th, 49th, and 207th picks to the Atlanta Thrashers. The Sharks selected RW Devin Setoguchi [5-11, 186pds] from the Saskatoon Blades. Setoguchi scored 33 goals, 31 assists, 64 points last season for the Sakskatoon Blades [WHL].

San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson commented on the selection "We identify the guys we want, and we go get them".

Sharks Trade Up For Setoguchi - SJsharks.com.

Devin Setoguchi

Sharkspage 1st round draft wire:

1. SIDNEY CROSBY [C] Pittsburgh Penguins
2. BOBBY RYAN [RW] Anaheim Mighty Ducks
3. JACK JOHNSON [D] Carolina Hurricanes
4. BENOIT POULIOT [LW] Minnesota Wild
5. CAREY PRICE [G] Montreal Canadiens
6. GILBERT BRULE [C] Vancouver Canucks
7. JACK SKILLE [RW] Chicago Blackhawks
8. DEVIN SETOGUCHI [RW] San Jose Sharks (ATL)
9. BRIAN LEE [D] Ottawa Senators
10. LUC BOURDON [D] Vancouver Canucks
11. ANZE KOPITAR [C] Los Angeles Kings
12. MARC STAAL [D] New York Rangers (SJ)
13. MAREK ZAGRAPAN [C] Buffalo Sabres
14. SASHA POKULOK [D] Washington Capitals
15. RYAN O'MARRA [C] New York Islanders
16. ALEX BOURRET [RW] Atlanta Thrashers (NYR)
17. MARTIN HANZAL [C] Phoenix Coyotes
18. RYAN PARENT [D] Nashville Predators
19. JAKUB KINDL [D] Detroit Red Wings
20. KENNDAL MCARDLE [LW] Florida Panthers (PHI)
21. TUUKKA RASK [G] Toronto Maple Leafs
22. MATT LASHOFF [D] Boston Bruins
23. NICKLAS BERGFORS [W] New Jersey Devils
24. T.J. OSHIE [C] St Louis Blues
25. ANDREW COGLIANO [C] Edmonton Oilers
26. MATT PELECH [D] Calgary Flames
27. JOE FINLEY [D] Washington Capitals (COL)
28. MATT NISKANEN [D] Dallas Stars
29. STEVE DOWNIE [RW] Philadelphia Flyers (FLA)
30. VLADIMIR MIHALIK [D] Tampa Bay Lightning

San Jose Sharks draft selections:

1st - Devin Setoguchi, RW, 8th overall
2nd - Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D, 35th overall
4th - Alex Stalock, G, 112th overall
5th - Taylor Dakers , G, 140th overall
5th - Derek Joslin, D, 149th overall
5th - P.J. Fenton, F, 162th overall
6th - William Colbert, D, 183rd overall
7th - Tony Luchia, LW, 193rd overall

Sharks draft day transactions [SJsharks.com]:

San Jose acquired Atlanta's 1st round pick (8th overall) in exchange for their 1st round (12th overall), 2nd round (49th overall) and 7th round pick (207th overall), San Jose acquired a 5th round pick (162nd) this year and a 4th round pick in 2006 from Tampa Bay in exchange for the third round pick (73rd overall) this year, Sharks trade 5th rounder (141st overall) to Anaheim for a 6th rounder (193rd overall) and a 7th rounder in 2006.

Interesting fact: At the 2005 CHL/NHL Top Prospects skills competition in Vancouver, Devin Setoguchi recorded the fastest shot of all the competitors [96.4 mph]. Former Sharks defenseman Sean Heins recorded the fastest ever slapshot during a 1999 UHL allstar competition [106 mph] according to NHLPA.com. Another former Sharks defenseman, Al "the Planet" Iafrate, recorded the fastest ever slapshot in an NHL skills competition [105.2 mph].

[Update] The TSN announcer said Tuukka Rask is the latest goaltender to come out of the goaltending factory that is Finland? Sorry, but the goaltending factory is in San Jose. Goaltenders still on the table: North America | Europe. Both of those links are PDF files.

[Update2] Sign up for the free race director real-time SJ Grand Prix promotion, log-in with the name and password in the confirmation email, and you will have access to stunning in-car camera feeds from the Champ Car qualifying sessions today. Word from the track is that the second pedestrian bridge is now up [this caused a delay yesterday], the light rail tracks have been re-surfaced, and the chicane surrounding it has been widened.

The Wave Magazine is sponsoring a car for the Trans-Am series, and they have the definitive party listing for the weekend's festivities.

[Update3] The ECHL Stockton Thunder launched a new website over the weekend. More on Stockton next week. Stockton Thunder set to open inaugural season against in-state rival Fresno Falcons - Stocktonthunder.com.

Breaking News, NHLcbanews.com is no more

NHLcbanews.com is no more. It now points to NHL.com. Other blogs might say that with a Goodenow resignation, there is no longer a need for the website. Their words, not mine.


San Jose Grand Prix update

San Jose Grand Prix

SJ Champ Car

Toyota Atlantic

Vespa Girls

The Champ Car, Toyota Atlantic, and Trans-Am practice started after a few minor delays today at the 2005 Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose. Photos, links and updates will be posted in a few hours.

Initial thoughts: Only a handful of drivers took the light rail tracks at full speed. The Trans-Am's got a little more of a bounce, but later the Toyota-Atlantic and Champ cars created a loud double boom as they hit the tracks and then landed. Attendance was estimated at 40,000 for the first day, the stands at Almaden have a great view of turn 11, the start/finish line, and the light rail tracks, 3 of the most contentious parts of the course.

NBC11.com aired most of their evening broadcast from trackside. There was a mention of streaming the race online Sunday. More on that later. Historic stock cars entering the track now. Dale Earnhardt's old black #3 is taking practice laps.

Sebastien Bourdais leads Friday practice, qualifying takes place on Saturday - Champcarworldseries.com.

San José Milestone for Newman/Haas, 375th event for Newman/Haas Racing - Racing One.

Champ Car working with Intel to provide free access to race director application for Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose - Champcarworldseries.com.

[Update] Here is a small gallery of SJ Grand Prix photos from the first day of practice and qualifying.

[Update2] A party down the street at the Fairmont opens the weekend with the B-52's, Paul Newman in the audience, and an auction for the Canary Fund cancer research. The Fairmont looks nice, but the Hilton and the Crowne Plaza are the most lively options inside the cordon. There is a race exhibition at the convention center accessible from the Hilton, and the patio at the Plaza is one of the few non/semi obstructed views of the road course.

[Update3] Scanner frequencies for individual drivers, pit crews, and general race control. If these specific frequencies do not work, try auto-scan. Paul Tracy compared the SJ Grand Prix track to skiing moguls.

[Update4] Top 3 Champ Car practice times from Friday:

1. Sebastien Bourdais - 52.615 (99.074MPH)
2. Oriel Servia - 52.655 (98.999MPH)
3. Timo Glock - 52.835 (98.662MPH)

[Update5] My brother, Chris Swenson, Director of Software Industry Analysis at NPD, was recently quoted in a News.com article about Macromedia Flash: Flash 8 poised to take on Web video.


10 Qualifying offers sent, 3 prospects signed

- According to SJsharks.com, 2003 draft picks Steve Bernier, Joshua Hennessy & Patrick Ehelechner were all to contracts by the 2PM deadline today. If they were not signed, the three would have re-entered the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

The NHL rookie tournament will also take place a week before training camp [Sep 12th]. This year Anaheim, Los Angeles, Phoenix will each bring their top prospects to San Jose for the rotating tournament.

- An interesting stat from Ross McKeon in today's SF Chronicle: no team in the Pacific Division has ever won the Stanley Cup.

- David Pollak in the SJ Mercury News reports that San Jose will not be hiring a "capologist", and that negotiations have begun with Mike Rathje's agent Art Breeze.

San Jose has 11 players under contract for $13.5 million. Wilson has sent qualifying offers to retain 10 others from the 2003-04 roster.

- Breeze popped up on the Sharkspage radar during a Rathje holdout in November of 2001. After a "marathon" negotiating session, Rathje ended his extended holdout and signed a 4-year 8.25$ million deal.

San Jose Sharks 2004-05 season preview

Here is my season preview prior to the 2004-05 non-season. Over the weekend I will detail how the situation has changed for the Sharks this year, recap the draft, and discuss a few free agent options. [Wireless access at the San Jose Grand Prix permitting.]

San Jose Sharks season preview

[Originally posted 08/31/04] Shark Roster News: Vincent Damphousse signed with the Colorado Avalanche. Mike Ricci signed with Phoenix. Curtis Brown signed with the Chicago Blackhawks. Free agent defenseman Jason Marshall signed with the New York Rangers. Free agent forward Todd Harvey, and restricted free agent forward Wayne Primeau are now the only unsigned San Jose players.

My lines for next year are:

1st line: Sturm - Marleau - Cheechoo
2nd line: Ekman - McCauley - Korolyuk
3rd line: Thornton - Goc - Zalesak - Michalek
4th line: Primeau - Smith - Parker - Dimitrakos

Jonathan Cheechoo should start on the first line. Thornton and Ricci struggled last year, but they made an extraordinary effort to get the puck to Jonathan Cheechoo, who scored from almost every area on the ice. Marleau and Sturm will create scoring chances with their speed, and Cheechoo will lead the team in goals as a result.

Ekman, McCauley, and Korolyuk will try to build on an impressive year. McCauley was injured in the postseason, and Korolyuk was mixed and matched to try to spark other lines. Nils Ekman did make an effort to raise his game defensively. The World Cup will wipe the slate clean and give him another chance to display his talent.

San Jose has been able to rely on a solid third line for a number of years. With the departure of Ricci, the line will bring something different to the ice. Sharks 2003 1st round pick Milan Michalek was injured 2 games into the season, but he wowed fans with his stick-handling and passing ability in the pre-season. He re-injured his knee during a short stint with the Cleveland Barons, but a lot of eyes will be on him to see how well he recoverd.

Sharks coach Ron Wilson referred to Marcel Goc as his closer in the playoffs. Goc had a game winning goal and an assist in under 10 minutes of total ice time in two playoff games. Not a bad way to start your NHL career.

Miroslav Zalesak has had a brief look in San Jose on more than one occasion. Last year he led the AHL in scoring for most of the year, until prospect Brad Boyes was traded. Zalesak ended up tied for third with 35 goals and 40 assists in 72 games. He is gifted with the puck and a smooth skater, but my people in Cleveland and Slovakia tell me he needs to work more on his defense to play in the NHL full-time. Zalesak will have to clear waivers before he can be sent down to the Cleveland Barons again, so he should expect a long look with the Sharks next season. If there is a season of course.

When it comes to the fourth line, I always think about the Darryl Sutter line of Matteau-Sutter-Stern. They were not the largest, the fastest, or the youngest players in the league, but they were more than capable of shutting down an opposing teams top players. They played hard, but more importantly, they played simple. No end to end rushes, no cross-ice, rink-wide passes. 9 times out of 10 they would bounce the puck off the glass to get the puck out of the zone. But they got the job done.

Wayne Primeau is still negotiating with the Sharks mgmt, but San Jose will try to sign this key player for their fourth line. I expected a lot from Wayne Primeau and Chris Brown [now with Chicago] in the playoffs. I had both slotted in the role of defensive forward who could add some energy. To be honest, both underwhelmed. Primeau has size [6,4 - 230], and is one of the fastest players on the team. He deserves another year to see where he fits with the club. And unlike other coaches in the league, San Jose coach Ron Wilson gives ice time based on performance. Sign him for a year and give him the Korolyuk treatment.

Scott Parker had an injured wrist/hand for a large part of the season, but GM Doug Wilson made it clear there will be no intimidation of this team at any time. Any liberties taken on the ice should be answered by Parker. Mark Smith is an example of how deep the San Jose roster is. Three players who should start on an NHL roster did not start in San Jose last year [Smith, Zalesak, Fahey]. Fahey and Smith were effective in a reserve role. Smith's size is an issue [5,10 - 200], but pairing him with Primeau should work well.

Niko Dimitrakos season preview

Niko Dimitrakos provided the most exciting moment of the 2004 playoffs for San Jose with his game-winning OT goal against St Louis. Dimitrakos has flashes of excellent play both on offense and defense, and has very soft hands with the puck, but he needs to show more consistency.

I can not really go into the specific defensive pairings because I do not remember them, and they were juggled fairly regularly. Here is how they rank on the Sharkspage depth chart with their 2003-04 NHL regular season statistics:

[1] Hannan - 82GP, 6G, 15A, 21PTS, +10, 48PIMs
[2] Rathje (FA) - 80GP, 2G, 17A, 19PTS, +18, 46PIMs
[3] McLaren - 64GP, 2G, 22A, 24PTS, +10, 60PIMs
[4] Stuart - 77GP, 9G, 30A, 39PTS, +9, 34PIMs
[5] Preissing - 69GP, 2G, 17A, 19 PTS, +8, 12PIMs
[6] Ehrhoff - 41GP, 1G, 11A, 12PTS, +4, 14PIMs
[7] Davison - 55GP, 0G, 3A, 3PTS, -3, 92PIMs
[8] Fahey - 15GP, 0G, 2A, 2PTS, -2, 18PIMs

In goal for the San Jose Sharks during the regular season:

Evgeni Nabokov [31-19-8, 2.21 GAA, .921 SV%, 59 GP]
Vesa Toskala [12-8-4, 2.06 GAA, .930 SV%, 28 GP]

While most San Jose Sharks previews will trumpet the regular season turnaround, the real story last year was in goal. The Sharks started with three legitimate #1 goaltenders: Evgeni Nabokov, Miikka Kiprusoff, and Vesa Toskala. When Nabokov held out and missed training camp and the start of the 2002-2003 season, Kiprusoff [5-12-0, 3.25 GAA, 22GP] struggled as the #1 goalie behind a weak defense.

How did Nabokov respond after a disappointing 2002-2003? 4 losses and 4 ties to start the season. Like the previous start under Kiprusoff, this year's slow start was largely a reflection of the team in front of him. For the entire month of October, and the first half of November, the Sharks let teams come from behind, or win late to notch a horrible 3-7-8 record.

Nabokov injured his groin late in November only to see Vesa Toskala come in and go 5-2-1 in his absence. Evgeni returned to his role as a #1 goaltender, and backstopped one of the biggest turnaround seasons in the NHL. The Sharks were able to take a lot of chances up front because Nabokov would bail them out more often than not if they made a mistake.

Toskala played well in spot duty the rest of the season, notably against difficult teams such as Vancouver [1-1 (overtime loss)] , St Louis [1-1 (overtime loss)], Detroit [L], Colorado [W], and Dallas [L] among others.

In the playoffs, Evgeni Nabokov started all 17 games for the San Jose Sharks. He had 10 wins and 7 losses, with a .935 SV% and a 1.71 GAA. The team played well in front of Evgeni, and when they struggled to score he locked it down and gave them a chance to win. Getting past the Colorado Avalanche in the second round was a turning point for the franchise.

Nabokov and Toskala are only the tip of the goalie iceberg. The goaltending factory in San Jose has a track record of success at the NHL level, and it is percolating down through the other levels of the organization.

My prediction for next season? A top 4 finish in the Western Conference, another appearance in the Western Conference finals, another Pacific division banner [not so fast Phoenix], and the first 40+ goal scorer in San Jose since Nolan [if the season starts on time].

If there is no NHL season? I predict I will attend a few San Jose State Spartans hockey games.

Well, at least that final prediction came true.

NHLPA head Bob Goodenow resigns, Ted Saskin named new Executive Director

A press release from the NHLPA:


TORONTO (JULY 28, 2005): Robert W. Goodenow today advised the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) that he would step down as its Executive Director and General Counsel. This decision followed discussions between Goodenow and members of the Executive Committee about the organization's future.

"With the conclusion of the negotiations and the ratification of the new agreement, the parties concur that this is an appropriate action for the future," said Goodenow. "I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve the Players over the past 15 years and to have had the support of a tremendous staff at the NHLPA. I wish the Players every success under the new CBA."

Today, the NHLPA named Ted Saskin, its Senior Director of Business Affairs and Licensing, to succeed Mr. Goodenow as Executive Director and General Counsel. "I have enjoyed working closely with Bob for the Players over the last 15 years. I know how dedicated Bob has been to the Players. I plan to continue to serve them by building on the strong base that Bob created at the NHLPA."

Trevor Linden, the President of the NHLPA, said "Every NHL Player has benefited enormously from Bob's leadership and dedication. He has been a tireless advocate for the Players and he dramatically improved the Players' situation in every respect. Bob built the NHLPA into a first class organization and we are all very grateful to him. Ted has worked closely with Bob every step of the way and has done an excellent job for the Players in our recently concluded CBA negotiations. We have every confidence that he will be able to lead our Association well in the years to come. "

According to Offwing, there is a press conference at 3:00 p.m. U.S. EDT. No word yet on if it will be streamed online live.

[Update] You can listen to the press conference live on FAN590 TORONTO.

test new template

Test. Trying to squash a bug with the way Mozilla displays the first post of this CSS template. Send me an email if you have a fix. Works fine in IE.

There is a bug in Blogger that adds a [br clear:both] at the end of each post. This was done when Blogger added image functionality to their service. Blogger Buzz has a layout solution. Go to Blogger>Settings>Formatting>Enable float alignment and select No.

That should fix any problems you have with a float stretching to fit the size of a sidebar.


Shark Notes - draft preview edition

- Coming up in the next two posts; recycling the Sharks season preview from the season that never was, and a second post on what has changed from 2004-05 to 2005-06. A third article catching up on last minute maneuverings will be posted on opening day.

San Jose Sharks lockout

- The San Jose Sharks have posted an apology of sorts on a splash screen of their home page:

Your loyalty was tested.
Your patience was tested.

We hated to put you through it.

But we've ironed out our differences,
For the good of the game.

Because in the end,
We all love hockey.

And we share the goal of bringing
The Stanley Cup to San Jose.

This was also a full page ad taken out in today's San Jose Mercury News sports section.

- Also from SJsharks.com, San Jose GM Doug Wilson is working on qualifying offers and the draft. Contracts need to be offered to prospects Steve Bernier, Josh Hennessy, and Patrick Ehelechner.

The Sharks have 10 picks in the 7 round 2005 draft, one in each round plus Calgary's 2nd [35th], and 2 compensatory picks from losing free agents Mike Ricci and Vincent Damphousse. San Jose would also receive compensatory picks if they were unable to sign their 2003 first round draft picks.

- Sharks Primeau is suddenly free, Forward not thrilled by unrestricted status - SF Chronicle.

Wayne Primeau was as surprised as anyone to find out the NHL's new collective bargaining agreement suddenly made him an unrestricted free agent.

Under the old agreement, the forward would have waited two years until his 31st birthday to gain that status. But the chance at freedom came early for Primeau when the CBA decided that players with eight years of experience would become free agents, regardless of age.

The next few weeks look for a lot of players, teams and agents dealing with a similar confusion. Wayne Primeau made $900,000 in his last season with the San Jose Sharks.

- The NHL released the 2005-06 NHL schedule today. October 5th the season starts with the San Jose Sharks playing the Nashville Predators in Nashville. The Sharks regular season ends April 17th at home against the Los Angeles Kings.

- NHL releases final ranking of prospects for 2005 Entry Draft, Crosby, Kopitar, Price Top-Rated In Respective Categories - NHL.com Futures.

- Minding the nets with this year's NHL draft class - Red Line Report. The Finnish goaltending prospect to look out for in this draft? Tuukka Rask from Ilves of the SM-Liiga.

- Central Scouting, final rankings - McKeens Hockey.

1 CROSBY, SIDNEY QMJHL RIMO. 08-07-87 5' 11" 193 C L
2 POULIOT, BENOIT OHL SUDB. 09-29-86 6' 3" 179 LW L
3 RYAN, BOBBY OHL O.S. 03-17-87 6' 1" 213 RW R
4 JOHNSON, JACK USA U.S.U.18. 01-13-87 6' 1" 201 D L
5 BRULE, GILBERT WHL VAN. 01-01-87 5' 10" 175 C R
6 BOURDON, LUC QMJHL V.D.O. 02-16-87 6' 2.5" 199 D L
7 MCARDLE, KENNDAL WHL M.J. 01-04-87 5' 11" 190 LW L
8 PARENT, RYAN OHL GUEL. 03-17-87 6' 2" 183 D L
9 STAAL, MARC OHL SUDB. 01-13-87 6' 3.5" 196 D L
10 SETOGUCHI, DEVIN WHL SASK. 01-01-87 5' 11.5" 186 RW R

- The International Hockey Scouting Service varies a bit with their top 10 draft projections.

- Sharkspage draft projections? No idea. Look for the initial focus to be on forwards with size and speed. San Jose is deep in goal and on the blueline, but they need to pick the best offensive prospect available for the first 2-3 rounds of the draft. Either that or more Finnish goaltenders.

- In the Crease has a great post on newspaper coverage the day after the lockout ended, Front page tells all. The Interactive Museum of News at Newseum.org is a very helpful resource for scanning newspaper coverage in other markets and countries.

- TSN's 2005-06 team tracker details San Jose's current salary cap position.

- 2003-2004 San Jose Sharks player salaries from USA Today.

- US Media sticking it to the NHL, Consensus is hockey is a lost cause - Ottawa Sun.

When the news broke on Wednesday that the league and its players' association had reached a tentative agreement, it was easy to assume what the reaction in Canada would be. Watching the story emerge across the border -- where the majority of teams and significant income emanate from --was a different matter.

This post, A look at the local Bay Area coverage of the NHL, generated more comments and emailed links than anything on this blog for the last year.

- Sharks broadcasters glad to have their identity back - Contra Costa Times.

Logitech Ice fourth rink

- By multiple request, a stitched panorama photo of the new fourth rink at the Logitech Ice Center. I will take a better picture with a wide angle lens in the future, this one was taken and stitched together quickly in Photoshop.

- An NHL fan quoted by the LA Times:

I haven't seen or heard where the NHL owners are offering the fans a 24% rollback in ticket prices. - Lois Shoemaker [Simi Valley]


Sunday sports notes

Born to Fight

Born to Fight

- The Born-to-Fight kickboxing Saturday night in San Jose showcased 14 Muay Thai and San Shou amateur fights, and tryouts for the 2005 USA San Shou World Team during the day.

Held in blazing temperatures, 98 according to my car, the event was punctuated by Andrew Valladarez's IKF title bout with Ray Ho. After several throws going back and forth, Valladarez landed a jump kick that covered half the ring and floored Ho. Andrew then pressed and scored another knockdown, after which his opponent did not answer the bell for the next round.

From CungLe.com:

The BORN TO FIGHT V evening Superfights brought out 14 exciting bouts among top Muay Thai and San Shou amatuers. The UsH team did exceptionally well with six wins and three losses. Kenny Woo, Sam Spengler, and Duncan Duffin won the coveted BTF trophy. Van Do and Andrew Valladarez won IKF USA San Shou titles. And Elaina Maxwell successfully defended her IKF USA San Shou title. Also at the event was the USA San Shou team trials where UsH fighters Van Do, Elaina Maxwell, Andrew Valladarez, Duncan Duffin, and Jose Palacios make the prestigious USA Team for the 2005 San Shou World competition in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Fight Night at the Tank

Fight Night at the Tank

- A Super Bantamweight fight between Fernando Beltran Jr. and Felix Flores Moreno was the main event for Thursday's Fight Night at the Tank. Beltran began early, landing punches with more accuracy and volume than Moreno could muster. After being out on his feet to end the fifth, Moreno improved steadily for the rest of the fight. The eighth round was his first sustained attack from start to finish, but he was too far behind on the cards for it to make a difference. Fernando Beltran Jr. [26-1-1, 17 KO's] won a unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring the bout heavily in his favor [97-91, 98-91 and 97-92].

Local Gilroy fighter Kelsey Jeffries [33-8, 2 KO’s] earned a win in a lopsided bout against Leona Brown, San Jose's Rene Auguaristi [2-0] earned his second victory against Mauricio Grajeda, Said Zavaleta [10-0-1, 6 KO's] defeated Roberto Valenzuela, and Mike Hull [1-0, 1 KO] knocked out Sean Duggan in both fighters debut effort.

Contender champion Sergio Mora, promoter Lou Duva, Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward, Robert Guerrero, NABF Featherweight Champion Robert Guerro, and Darrell from the Real World [now boxing in Oakland], were all in attendance.

From millerlitefightnight.com:

Before a capacity crowd of 3367, Fernando Beltran Jr. 26-1-1(17), of Culican, Mexico, earned a hard fought unanimous decision over Miami, Florida's Felix Flores Moreno, 13-4-1(9), over the ten round distance of a Super Bantamweight bout. Also, local women's IFBA Featherweight Champion Kelsey Jeffries of Gilroy, California, took tough Leona Brown of New York to school over six rounds distance to notch another win on her ledger.

Beltran tanks Moreno - Seconds Out

Local boxers steal the show at HP Pavilion - SJ Mercury News

- The "Bloodlines" fight card to be held at the San Jose Civic Center Saturday Night was cancelled. An event promoted by Manny Cota, Cesar Chavez Jr, Hector Camacho Jr, and local favorite Super Featherweight Jose Perez Jr were all scheduled to appear. Although the official reason given for the cancellation was that Freddy Castro sprained his ankle getting off a plane, there were rumors that one of the fighters was demanding a large appearance fee.

- The Bank of the West Classic kicks off this week at Taube Stadium in Palo Alto. Defending Wimbledon champion Venus Williams will be the #2 seed, Lindsay Davenport will be the #1 seed, with Patty Schnyder and Kim Clijsters filling out the top 4. Even though my shoulder is gone, I will try to improve on my 108MPH serve from last year's BOTW speed gun.

Here is a little more background on Taube Stadium, home to several dozen NCAA Mens and Womens tennis championships. According to the SF Chronicle, 2-time NCAA womens singles champion Amber Liu might compete in the Bank of the West Classic.

- The Taylor Woodrow Grand Prix of San Jose begins in earnest on Friday, with the final Champ Car race to be held on Sunday. Click here for a full schedule of events. The final grandstands are being put up around the streets of San Jose this week.

- MLS CONFIDENTIAL: Mexican purchase of Quakes nearly complete - Soccer America Magazine.

Sources at Anschutz Entertainment Group and reports in the Houston press confirm that the long-negotiated purchase of the San Jose Earthquakes by Grupo Televisa, the Mexican conglomerate that counts Mexican team Club America among its holdings, has been finalized contingent upon the decision on where the team will play.

The surprise, though, is not that the deal has been completed, nor that the Quakes will play in Houston next season. Until, and if, a suitable stadium is built in Houston, the MLS team will play in the Astrodome, which sits next to the massive Reliant Stadium where the Houston Texans play and has been little utilized since the Astros, which had played there since 1964, moved to Minute Maid Park in 2000.

Bring Mexican players to play in San Jose, or go away Club America.

- Lance Armstrong wins his 7th Tour de France yesterday, and now Tour Legends Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain say that he might not be the greatest cyclist ever? Yes, that was the lede from the BBC. Show me a rider who can come back from cancer to win 7 straight Tours and I will agree with them.

For a great review of the 2005 Tour de France in photos, visit Graham Watson. Lance gives the appropriate #7 hand signal after the Corbeil-Essonnes to Paris Champs-Elysees [144.5km] 21st stage.


NHL to stream press conference live, draft lottery to follow, Pittsburgh Penguins land Sidney Crosby

NHL ratification press conference

The press conference following the NHL vote on the CBA agreement will be streamed live on NHL.com at 12PM [PT], with the draft lottery airing at 1PM [PT]. It looks like the cybercast will be taken from the live TSN feed again.

A press release from the NHL:

NHL TO SHOW 2005 DRAFT DRAWING RESULTS LIVE, Fans Worldwide Will See Who Gets A Shot At Sidney Crosby

NEW YORK (July 21, 2005)—The much-anticipated results of the Draft Lottery that will determine the Order of Selection for the 2005 Entry Draft will be televised live on Friday, July 22 at 4 p.m., (ET). The Lottery will decide which NHL club will receive the first overall selection and the opportunity to select mega prospect Sidney Crosby at next week’s Draft.

TSN, the League’s Canadian cable partner, will produce and televise the special half-hour show. RDS, the NHL’s exclusive French-language partner, and the NHL Network also will telecast the draft drawing to the rest of Canada. In the U.S., ESPN News will carry national coverage and regional sports networks Altitude (Denver), Comcast Sports Net (Chicago, Mid-Atlantic and Philadelphia) and Madison Square Garden (New York) will telecast in their respective viewing areas. For cyber fans around the world, the drama will unfold live on NHL.com, AOL.com, and MSN.com.

Following the NHL Board of Governors meeting in New York to ratify the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Commissioner Gary Bettman will reveal the order of selection one team at a time, from the 30th spot to the first, as the entire hockey world waits to see which club gets a shot at the teen-age phenomenon at the 2005 Entry Draft in Ottawa July 30.

This marks the first time in the history of the NHL’s Entry Draft that each club will have a chance to select first overall. Crosby, from Cole Harbor, Nova Scotia, has rewritten the record books in the Quebec Major Junior League as a member of the Rimouski Oceanic, and is considered one of the most highly regarded NHL prospects ever.

Two questions I would like answered: Where is the NHL at in finding a new television station to broadcast games in the U.S.? Where is the NHL at in streaming complete games online, will it be available this season?

NHL draft lottery won't be televised in all of U.S. - ESPN.

Hockey's Place on American Television. - The Ice Block. David Singer has a very detailed post on where the NHL will end up this season, with SpikeTV, Comcast [OLN], TNT, and even re-upping with ESPN as the main options. He also talks about Comcast possibly wanting to set up its own sports channel and take a shot at the NFL, in addition to the NHL. It is an interesting read, but time is short.

All access NHL games on HBO?

[Update] Game On. The NHL Board of Govenors voted in favor of the CBA agreement, the 2005-06 NHL season will happen. Comments from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman:

Today, our Board of Governors gave its unanimous approval to a Collective Bargaining Agreement that signals a new era for our League -- an era of economic stability for our franchises, an era of heightened competitive balance for our players, an era of unparalleled excitement and entertainment for our fans.

[Update2] The NHL press conference is airing live on Fox Sports Bay Area, and they will air the draft lottery at 1PM. FSBA will televise 70 of San Jose's games during the 2005-06 season. The San Jose Sharks also recently announced a multi-year extention with 98.5 K-FOX (KUFX-FM), the Sharks radio flagship since 2000-01.

If you are so inclined, contact FSBA and tell them you appreciated the full NHL press conference coverage, in addition to the draft lottery.

[Update3] From Jes Golbez, a link to small draft simulation program created by "Pecafan". It already has the weighted lottery variables entered in, and you can highlight a team to spotlight the result. The Los Angeles Kings won the Crosby lottery in my single test, the Sharks earned the 7th overall selection.

pittsburgh penguins entry draft sidney crosby lottery

[Updates4] 48 balls in the hopper, which team selects first in the 2005-06 NHL entry draft.... They are counting down in reverse order all 30 teams. Tampa Bay, defending Stanley Cup champions, pick last. Florida is the only non-playoff team I saw towards the bottom, picking 29th.

The New York Rangers pick 16th, followed by the Islanders at 15th. So much for the rigged draft rumors. The San Jose Sharks pick 12th, just missing out on the top 10. TSN is making sure to get close-ups of the dejected 29 non-Crosby selecting GM's. Los Angeles picks 11th, blowing my draft simulation pick.

Anaheim vs Pittsburgh for the top two draft selections. The Anaheim Mighty Ducks would open the first season under new ownership, and with new GM Brian Burke, with a monster draft selection. According to LA Times, the Ducks were lagging 4,000 behind the Los Angeles Kings in season ticket sales. I have a feeling Sidney Crosby might even those numbers out a bit. What would Sidney Crosby mean to the Pittsburgh Penguins? Already covered that here. It would mean nothing less than staying in Pittsburgh.

Crosby is Pittsburgh Penguins bound. The Penguins GM assured TSN that he would select Crosby, and that he would not be entertaining any offers. He also said Mario Lemieux's birthday is coming up Oct. 5th, and he hopes they are on the ice by then.

[Update5] Full list of the 2005-06 NHL entry draft selection order, from NHL.com.

[Update6] Penguins win Sidney Crosby sweepstakes - TSN.

Penguins win draft drawing, obtain first pick for 2005 entry draft - Pittsburghpenguins.com.

[Update7] NHL CBA faq - NHL.com.


Will enhanced revenue sharing be part of the new CBA?

Yes. The League has committed to enhanced revenue sharing in an amount that is necessary to allow all Clubs the ability to afford competitive payrolls within the payroll range.

What Clubs will be eligible for revenue-sharing subsidies?

All Clubs that: (1) are ranked in the bottom half (bottom 15) in League revenues, and (2) operate in markets with a Demographic Market Area of 2.5 million or fewer TV households.


NHLPA press conference will be streamed live at 1PM on NHL.com

NHLPA ratification press conference

NHL.com will stream the NHLPA press conference live from Toronto at 1PM today. According to TSN, the NHLPA members have voted to accept the CBA deal tentatively agreed to by both sides last week. Voting began at 7AM [PT] this morning.

NHL.com will also stream tomorrow's NHL news conference from New York at 12PM [PT] and the Entry Draft Lottery at 1 PM [PT].

[Update] The NHLPA ratified the CBA agreement. According to Bob Goodenow it was 87 or 88% in favor, with 500+ votes cast.

[Update2] Nearly 90% of NHL players approve labor deal - ESPN.

[Update3] From SJsharks.com, a statement by NHLPA head Bob Goodenow:

After two days of thorough discussion and analysis, the players voted in favor of ratifying the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. We expect the owners will ratify the agreement tomorrow as well. Once the ratification process is complete, the focus of everyone can turn to the 2005-06 season.

[Update4] James Mirtle, a blogger and editor for the Globe & Mail, posts from the NHLPA player meetings today in Toronto. He tracks through the player reaction in reports filed by many of the journalists in attendance: Scott Burnside from ESPN, Ken Campbell from the Toronto Star, Mike Traikos from the National Post, and an AP wire report.

[Update5] Owen Nolan diagnosed with cartilage problem - TSN.

Photos from the Miller Lite Fight Night weigh-in

sharks fans

sharks fans

The photos above are the Miller Lite Girls, and promoter Lou Duva from the Fight Night weigh-in that took place Wednesday night.

Thursday night Fernando "Wary" Beltran Jr. (25-1-1, 17 KO’s) faces off against Idelfonso Martinez (13-5, 10 KO’s) for the NABO Super Bantamweight Title. Local fighters Kelsey Jeffries (32-8, 2 KO’s) of Gilroy, Renee Aguaristi (1-0, 1 KO) of San Jose, and Mike Hull (0-0) of Morgan Hill are also on the card.

Saturday July 23rd "Bloodlines" will be held at the San Jose Event Center. Local Featherweight Jose Perez Jr, Julio Ceasar Chavez Jr, and Hector Camacho Jr, are slated to appear on the fight card. Reports are varying day to day about this fight, but more information will be available shortly.

From a press release:

Jose Perez Jr: "Bloodlines."

Fremont, CA: It has be confirmed that "The Punisher" Jose Perez Jr the former 5 time National Amateur Champion will start off his summer with the biggest fight of his professional career.

The fight is scheduled for July 23 at the San Jose State Events Center, San Jose, CA, Jose will be Fighting along with Julio Caesar Chavez Jr. and Hector Camacho jr. (This bout has recently been confirmed and will be Jose's first of three scheduled bouts this summer)

Jose had this to say about his upcoming fight, "I am very excited to be on the same card as Chavez Jr. and Camacho Jr. I feel like I'm getting somewhere in this sport by fighting along side two great fighters who are well known. It's sort of cool that they got all the Jr.'s on the same card."

Jose will be fighting his toughest opponent to date, Salvador Cardenas 5-3 with 5 KO's from Culiacán, SI, Mexico. This will be The Punisher’s first appearance since he was featured on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" where he won impressively with a four round decision over Abraham Verdugo.

Note: Emanuel Steward Trainer and Manager (founder of the "Kronk" boxing gym, Detroit city) who was at Jose’s last fight on May 13, 2005 had these great words to say about “The Punisher”

"In my opinion I feel Jose is at the top of his class (being the 2004 Olympians) I mean the likes of Andre Ward, Vicente Escobedo all of them, Jose even though he did not go to the Olympics, to me he is still the top prospect from that class. He looked sharp during the fight, He did what a lot of beginning boxers don't do and that is to take their time, stay relaxed and focused, getting the job done without making lots of mistakes, he will only get better with time!" said Emanuel Steward.

A week after filing a throwaway report on the NHL, Tim Kawakami reports on one of the biggest fights scheduled to come to San Jose. August 18th the Best Damn Sports Show will feature the "Night of Olympians" fight card from the HP Pavilion. 2004 gold medalist Andre Ward, gold medalist British heavyweight Audley Harrison, Devin Vargas, middleweight bronze medalist Andre Dirrell, and Ron Siler are expected to appear.

Boxing's big night - SJ Mercury News.

Arco Arena boxing to feature two female heavyweights - Sacramento Bee.

Hopkins files appeal, asks Nevada commission to review fight - SJ Mercury News.

[Update] Byrnes Boys road trip makes it to Washington - Denver Post.


Where the NHL finds itself, a cartoon

sharks fans

This is where the NHL now finds itself with many in the mainstream media, and casual sports fans. The Cox & Forkum cartoon above, used here with permission, ran in the Detroit News and the National Post.

[Update] Here was my earlier attempt at an editorial cartoon, The NHL and NHLPA walk into a bar. Notice the finely crafted lettering on the name tags. My cartoon skills could use a little work, but anyone interested in taking a shot at this should visit blambot.

[Update2] Non-hockey related: The Always-On technology conference is underway at Stanford this week [streamed online for free], the BlogHer conference is scheduled for July 30th in Santa Clara. Hockey-related: The Rick Heinz hockey and goaltending summer camp is underway at Logitech Ice in San Jose. Sports-related: List of upcoming south bay sporting events coming tomorrow.

Crosby Roundtable

Ben Wright from The Net Files, asks Eric McErlain, James Mirtle, Jes Golbez, and myself to discuss where Sidney Crosby lands in the upcoming draft. Which teams selecting him would be best for the league, and which teams would be the worst.

For a quick look at why so many NHL teams are jockeying over the first pick in the 2005 draft, visit TSN's The Crosby Show. The 17 year old phenom scored 62 goals, and 102 assists in 62 games played for Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL last year. Sidney added another 18 goals in the playoffs. Gatorade and Reebok already signed him to large multi-year marketing deals before even being drafted. His future is bright.

Top 3 Crosby destinations:

1. NY Rangers/NJ Devils
2. Toronto Maple Leafs
3. Pittsburgh Penguins

Simple rationale for the first two selections. Put Crosby in the top US and Canadian media markets and let his performance on the ice speak for itself. He has already demonstrated his ability to deal with the media attention with class and respect.

Why Pittsburgh? One glance at hockeydb.com provides any number of reasons: Jaromir Jagr, Alexei Kovalev, Martin Straka, Jan Hrdina, Robert Lang, Ron Francis... the Pittsburgh Penguins have been hemorrhaging talent at unprecedented levels for years. Crosby would fill the stands, help the team into the playoffs, and make the possibility of a new arena much more plausible.

Worst 3 Crosby destinations:


Anywhere Crosby lands will be a boon for the league. The large media markets like Toronto, New York or Philadelphia will give him more exposure, and the game will benefit. If he ends up in a non-tradional hockey market like Florida, Phoenix or Nashville, it will only create more interest in areas without a large hockey following. To use a non-traditional hockey cliche, it is a win-win for the NHL and any franchise that selects him.

[Update] The Crosby revolution will be televised, in Canada. After initial reports that the NHL would hold a closed non-televised draft lottery, the NHL appears to have changed its mind and allowed TSN to broadcast the mini-event.

[Update2] From NHL.com, the lottery will be streamed online:

See the Draft lottery

NHL.com will provide live streaming video of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft lottery live this Friday beginning at 4 p.m. ET. Check back for further details.

There is a concerted effort by many fans to get ESPN/ESPN2 to air the lottery, but after they backed out of a contract to broadcast the sport, do not get your hopes up. Scrabble? Yes. NHL on ESPN? No. "The Sports Leader" indeed.


Memorial service information for Greg Gund

A note from the San Jose Sharks on the memorial service for Greg Gund:

Greg Gund, son of George Gund III, San Jose Sharks original owner and a current minority owner, recently passed away in a plane crash in Costa Rica.

"We are very saddened to hear the news of Greg's accident in Costa Rica," said Sharks President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Jamison. "Many here in the organization knew Greg very well and his sudden passing was a shock to everyone. Our thoughts and prayers are with George and the entire Gund family during this difficult time."

A memorial service celebrating Greg Gund's life will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 23, 2005. The location is:

Grace Cathedral
1100 California Street
San Francisco, CA.

A reception will follow at 3:00 p.m. at the following location:

San Francisco Film Centre
Palm Room
39 Keyes Avenue
The Presidio
San Francisco, CA

Memorial Donations may be made to:

Costa Rica Red Cross
Calle 14 Avenida 8
Apartado 1025
1000, San Jose, Costa Rica

Surfrider Foundation
PO Box 6010
San Clemente, CA 92674-6010

The Nature Conservancy (for Costa Rica)
Attn: Treasury
4245 N Fairfax Drive Suite 100
Arlington, VA 22203

A small contribution to the Surfrider foundation will be made with funds fans have donated to this website.


Former Sharks owner George Gund's son dies in a plane crash off the coast of Costa Rica

The AP reports that Greg Gund, son of former Sharks co-owner George Gund, died in a plane crash off the coast of Costa Rica. George Gund said that it looks like there were no survivors. Five other people were believed to have been on the flight.

George Gund, former owner of the National Hockey League team, told The Associated Press that he held out little hope that his son had survived.

"That's the feeling I have," Gund said in a telephone call placed to a listed number in Nantucket, Mass. He declined further comment.

George Gund owned the San Jose Sharks from their inception in 1990, until he sold a majority share of the franchise to a group of investors in 2002.

This archived page from CostaRicaPilot.com on google appears to have a few more details on Greg Gund's love of Costa Rica. According to the Mercury News, Greg Gund worked for the Sharks as a building services coordinator as late as 2001-02.

My condolences go out to his family.

[Update] Son of former Sharks owner reported dead in Costa Rica plane crash, Greg Gund also worked for the hockey team - SJ Mercury News.


Details of the lockout affect on Ducks and Kings season ticket sales

Two figures at the end of this Los Angeles Times article give a good picture of the affect the lockout has had on the NHL in California.

The Anaheim Mighty Ducks, recently purchased by the Samueli family from Disney, lost 28% of their season ticket purchases compared to the 2003-04 NHL season. From 8,000 season-ticket holders, to approximately 6,200 according to the LA Times.

The Los Angeles Kings lost about 9% of their season ticket purchases compared to the 2003-04 NHL season. A drop from 12,000 season ticket holders, to approximately 10,920.

Arrowhead Pond holds 17,174 fans, the Staples Center 18,500, the HP Pavilion in San Jose 17,496.

[Note] I am going to pass along the question about season ticket purchases and retention to the San Jose Sharks front office on Monday. You can purhase and find more information about San Jose Sharks season and individual tickets here.

[Update] Fans will be slower to forgive than in other instances - Monterey Herald.

[Update2] National Hockey League ticket plans - Globe and Mail.

SAN JOSE SHARKS: An average reduction of 10 per cent throughout the arena will be applied. the last increase was in 2002. An interest rate of 7 per cent being paid to subscribers who have paid-up accounts.

Actually the 10% reduction for 2005-06 was reportedly only for season ticket purchases. Single ticket prices were raised for 2003-04, but season ticket prices were not. So call the last season only a partial increase. To my knowledge, ticket prices for the Sharks have only had 1 season other than 2003-04 where ticket prices did not increase. If anyone has more information, send it here.

[Update3] Sharks fans must take leap of faith on tickets - David Pollak.

The Sharks dropped the price of 2005-06 season tickets an average of 10 percent. Smart move. But fans have to decide whether to renew by July 15, and it's possible the NHL won't be able to guarantee by then that there will be games to watch in October.

There will be games in October, and there will be fans. The question is how many fans will show up, and whether or not there will be a national television contract by then.

U.S. InLine National HockeyTeam Falls To Sweden 6-5 in a semifinal OT shootout loss

The USA national inline hockey team lost to Sweden in the semifinals of the 2005 IIHF InLine Hockey World Championships in Finland. Sweden won 6-5 in an overtime shootout to move to the gold medal game.

After defeating Slovenia 5-1, Slovakia 8-3, and Germany 6-2 in the preliminary round, USA dropped the hammer on Austria 12-2 in the quarterfinals.

A press release from USAhockey.com:

U.S. Falls, 6-5, To Sweden In Shootout, Team USA To Play Czech Republic For Bronze Medal

KUOPIO, Finland -- The 2005 USA Hockey InLine National Team (4-1-0) suffered its first loss at the 2005 International Ice Hockey Federation InLine Hockey World Championship today. The U.S. fell, 6-5, in a shootout versus Sweden in the semifinal round. Team USA will now face the Czech Republic in the bronze-medal game on Saturday, July 16, at 2:20 p.m. local time (7:20 a.m. EDT).

"I'm very proud of the effort shown by our team today," said U.S. Head Coach Dan Brennan (Colorado Springs, Colo.). "Overall, we outplayed Sweden but we just couldn't finish on some key scoring opportunities toward the end of the game and in overtime."

Sweden opened the scoring on a power play goal at 1:34 of the first quarter. Team USA struck back when Jason Deskins (Warren, Mich.) snuck the puck past Sweden's Peter Hermansson on a power play at 5:54 off assists from Jeff Giuliano (Nashau, N.H.) and Geno Parrish (Bloomington, Minn.) to end the quarter tied at 1-1.

Chris Popescu (Sterling Heights, Mich.) scored off assists from Derek Kern (Smithtown, N.Y.) and Chris Peterson (Sterling Heights, Mich.), just over a minute into the second stanza to take a 2-1 lead. Sweden then used a power play opportunity, tying the game at 2-2, but Giuliano took a pass from Ernie Hartlieb (Sterling Heights, Mich.) and lit the lamp at 7:30, giving the U.S. a 3-2 advantage. Team USA fell behind when Sweden scored three unanswered goals in less than three minutes to take a 5-3 lead at the half.

Deskins scored his second goal of the game, a power-play tally at 3:48 of the third quarter and Kern found the back of the net at 5:00 to tie the game, at 5-5. U.S. goaltender Jeff Reynaert (Sterling Heights, Mich.) denied all of Sweden's 13 shots on goal during the third quarter.

No goals were scored in the fourth quarter, sending the game into overtime. After a scoreless extra period, the game moved to a shootout with five skaters taking shots for each team. Team USA's Brad Parsons (Kingston, Mass.) scored in the shootout, but Sweden notched two goals to seal the victory 6-5.

"It was a tough way to lose, but both teams played great and worked hard. Reynaert was unbelievable today," said Team USA captain Hartlieb. "Last year we won in the shootout against Sweden, so I guess this was their year. We're just looking forward to bringing home the bronze medal tomorrow."

U.S. goaltender Reynaert stopped 37-of-43 shots. Sweden's Hermansson made 30 saves in net to earn the win.

Notes: Reynaert was named U.S. player of the game ... Games in the IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship consist of four, 12-minute quarters ... Medal games will be played on July 16.


USA 1 2 2 0 0 0 -- 5
SWE 1 4 0 0 0 1 -- 6

First Quarter -- Scoring: 1, SWE, Bergman (Ostlund, Weinstock), 1:34 (pp); 2, USA, Deskins (Giuliano, Parrish), 5:54 (pp). Penalties: USA, Giuliano (hooking), :58; SWE, Thelander (hooking), 5:26; SWE, Wessner (slashing), 7:43.

Second Quarter -- Scoring: 3, USA, Popescu (Kern, Peterson), 1:21; 4, SWE, Wessner (Svensson, Wallin), 5: 03 (pp); 5, USA, Giuliano (Hartlieb), 7:30; 6, SWE, Ostlund (Bergman), 9:09; 7, SWE, Wallin (Svensson), 11:14; 8, SWE, Ostlund (unassisted), 11:57. Penalties: USA, Popescu (tripping), 3:38.

Third Quarter -- Scoring: 9, USA, Deskins (Hartlieb), 3:48 (pp); 10, USA, Kern (Peterson), 5:00. Penalties: SWE, Wessner (roughing), 3:36; SWE, Thelander (slashing), 10:15.

Fourth Quarter -- Scoring: None. Penalties: USA, Peterson (holding), 5:43; USA, Peterson (slashing), 7:54.

Overtime Period - Scoring: None. Penalties: USA, Peterson (high sticking), :04; SWE, Ostlund (high sticking), :04.

Shootout: SWE, Matejic; USA, Parsons (goal); SWE, Svensson; USA, Popescu; SWE, Ostlund (goal); USA, Deskins; SWE, Luukkonen (goal); USA, Hartlieb; SWE, Wallin; USA, Parrish.

Goaltenders: USA, Reynaert (43 shots, 37 saves). SWE, Hermansson (35 shots, 30 saves).

For more on the 2005 USA Hockey InLine Cup Set for Las Vegas click here, for more on USA inline hockey, click here.

[Update] Team USA wins a bronze medal with a 6-0 shutout win over the Czech Republic.

U.S. Shuts Out Czech Republic, 6-0, At IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship

KUOPIO, Finland -- The 2005 USA Hockey InLine National Team (5-1-0) claimed the bronze medal at the 2005 International Ice Hockey Federation InLine Hockey World Championship with a 6-0 shut out victory over the Czech Republic here today.

"It was good to win the bronze medal today even though the goal was to come here and win the gold," said U.S. Head Coach Dan Brennan (Colorado Springs, Colo.). "I think overall our team had a great tournament."

Ernie Hartlieb (Sterling Heights, Mich.) led the U.S. offensive attack with one goal and two assists. Jason Deskins (Warren, Mich.), Chris Peterson (Clinton Township, Mich.) and Ben Frank (Ontario, Canada) each added two points in the win.

After a scoreless first half, Team USA registered four unanswered goals in the third quarter. Brad Parsons (Kingston, Mass.) tallied the first goal of the game off an assist from Bill Sweatt (Elburn, Ill.) at 1:58. Chris Popescu (Sterling Heights, Mich.) found the back of the net 44 seconds later to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead. After a Czech Republic timeout, Deskins and Derek Kern (Smithtown, N.Y.) each notched a goal less than two minutes apart giving Team USA a 4-0 advantage heading into the final stanza.

Deskins scored his second goal of the game off a feed from Hartlieb 7:00 into the fourth quarter and Hartlieb tallied the final goal of the game at 10:23 to give the U.S. the 6-0 victory.

U.S. goaltender Jeff Reynaert (Sterling Heights, Mich.) stopped all 28 shots on goal in the shut out. Czech Republic's Petr Zurek made 29 saves.

Notes: Deskins was named U.S. player of the game ... Popescu and Hartlieb each finished the tournament with 13 points ... In the ten-year history of the event, the United States has earned gold medals in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2004; silver medals in 1998 and 2001; and bronze medals at the 2000, 2003 and 2005 tournaments.

Congratulations Team USA!


An Open Letter to Sharks fans, from Greg Jamison

San Jose Sharks President and CEO Greg Jamison posted an open letter to Sharks fans yesterday.

Dear Sharks Fans:

On behalf of the entire Sharks organization, it gives me great pleasure to report that the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Player’s Association have reached a tentative deal on a new collective bargaining agreement.

While the deal is still subject to ratification by the NHL’s Board of Governors and the NHLPA’s membership, we believe the that the two parties have taken a huge step in the right direction in an effort to create a true partnership between the players and the 30 NHL teams.

The response thus far from our fans and partners has been overwhelming and we know that you are as excited as we are the get the greatest game in the world back on the ice. With an up-and-coming team, following a Pacific Division Championship and an appearance in the Western Conference Finals, we are very anxious to resume our quest to bring the Stanley Cup to the Silicon Valley.

We will keep you up to date on the ratification process as it moves forward and we thank you for your continued support.

This truly is Sharks territory.

Best regards,

Greg Jamison
President and CEO
San Jose Sharks

If there is a similar statement/reaction from any San Jose Sharks players after ratification, it will be posted here as well.

[Update] Stars fan Brian Shields responds to the possible end of the NHL lockout at thebayareaistalking.com for KRON-4. I found that website after a report on the shocking anarchist violence in SF last week.

Brian acknowledges the rivalry between former Shark Bryan Marchment and the Dallas Stars. All I can say is that I saw/heard Derian Hatcher doing one-legged jump ropes outside the locker room before a playoff game, and I doubt there is another NHL defenseman in the game capable of striking more fear into an opponent.

He passed along my comments about Radnich to Radnich, great. But I will stand by any comments I have made, as I am sure Gary would stand behind any of his. My open letter to Gary Radnich.

Dear Gary,

Before you comment on the lack of popularity of the NHL compared to the MLB, NFL, or NBA, I would politely suggest that is not the point. The point is NHL fans should be able to follow the sport without constant ridicule, which was in full view yesterday.

Of course this is a non-traditional hockey market, how often does the Guadalupe River freeze over? There is no way the NHL will be as popular here as it is in Michigan and New Jersey where my family is from. Youth ice, street and roller hockey are part of the Bay Area sports scene without question. There were thousands of fans watching the SJSU/Stanford/Berkeley/Davis club hockey teams play last year, many for the Stanford-Cal "Big Freeze" games, and for SJSU's run to the National Tournament in Michigan.

I saw a few thousand attend ECHL playoff and regular season games in Fresno and Long Beach. One game where Scott Gomez returned days after fracturing his hip to be on the bench with his teammates for a playoff series. More than half of the season ticket holders showed up to watch San Jose's AHL affiliate play at HP Pavilion last fall. There were hundreds of fans who showed up in Anaheim to watch 3 days of the prospect tournament between San Jose, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Anaheim. The locales could not have been more kind.

Fans from as far away as Finland, Sweden, France, Eastern Russia, Korea and Japan were kind enough to email me notes about hockey being played in their countries last year while the NHL was locked out.

What is my point? In each of those cases, I met fans who liked the sport every bit as much as a Raiders, Niners, or a Giants fan following their home team. How often do those fans have to listen to criticism about their SPORT, not just the specific team they are following. Baseball came close this year, but it was only one year. Imagine replaying that scandal every year at the start of the season and at the start of the playoffs.

Having Drew Remenda or Kevin Constantine as a guest for 5 minutes does not make up for bashing the sport as long as you have been on the air. Do what you need to do when it comes to entertaining your listeners or viewers, cover the sports that give you the best ratings. But when it comes to playoff time next year, instead of jumping on the bandwagon, pass it off to a reporter that doesn't have to fake it. A win-win situation for you and hockey fans.

- PJ

This probably would have made a better call in to your show, than a blog post.

[Update2] Mike Chen has a few comments about NHL television opportuniteis with SpikeTV or ESPN/ESPN2. Neither seem particularly attractive for the league. It will be interesting to see if online NHL broadcasts are ready to go by the start of the season.

Although I would not give ESPN quite the praise that Mike Chen gave them. Name one day were you could tune in and be sure there was going to be a game on. You can't. The games were used as filler whenever they had open space on the schedule.

The NHL should take baseball's lead, and go one step furthur. Pick a night, make it Online Hockey Night in America, and finish with a 30-minute wrap up show. Building a bigger fan base will take time, but at least fans will know when to tune in.

[Update3] ESPN Sportsnation is polling fans for the 50 greatest Californian teams, Californian sports moments, or Californian athletes. The Los Angeles Sparks made the list, the Sacramento Monarchs are an option, do the San Jose Sharks play in Nevada?


A look at the local Bay Area coverage of the NHL

sharks fans

After the end of the 301 day NHL lockout, how would you guess the local Bay Area media would greet the news? With a calm, dispassionate "just the facts" delivery? Enthusiasm? Fear of having to cover a 0-0 Sharks Minnesota Wild tie?

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News starts off today's tour, with a headline that aptly describes his column: So, now what?

I swear, from some of the responses I get from hockey traditionalists, you'd think they were cloistered monks, protecting an icy religion from the entertainment-addicted infidels.

They don't want to the sport be too popular, if popular means disrupting their odd, low-scoring product and especially if it means encouraging NBA-style individualism. No, never that! If you ask them why hockey needs to be played so turgidly, they'll excommunicate you forever, and I've been excommunicated slightly more than 1,000 times (a record, I hope).

They've created a cult, basically. But sporting cults get lousy TV ratings and are prone to selfish acts of desperation, such as lockouts and absurd over-expansion.

I do not really have a response to that. Although I still think it is kind of funny that after criticizing Julio Cesar Chavez, Chavez challenged Kawakami to a round of sparring in the ring, and Kawakami declined.

But I digress, I think it is a selfish act of desperation to call out hockey fans as being members of a cult because you do not like to cover the sport. And at least be original with your criticism. Glenn Dickey owns that characterization [last paragraph].

Hockey is a cult, not a sport.

Back to Kawakami. Paraphrasing Triumph the Insult Comic Dog; but wait, there's more!

We've seen how many of those there are: About 18,500 per hockey city, which is enough to rock a building but not enough to generate a TV audience to beat "Family Guy" reruns.

Come on Tim, you are not even trying. Regurgitating the patented Gary Radnich comment "There are no more Sharks fans that those that fit inside the tank", and using it for all 30 NHL teams does not make it your own.

Next up on our tour of Bay Area media reaction to the end of the NHL lockout, Mark Purdy, also of the San Jose Mercury News. More prone to stir up a controversy than an actual attempt at analysis, Purdy's ruminations today were mildly amusing.

Sharks unlikely to be handcuffed by agreement - San Jose Mercury News.

Oh, I have no doubt that come October, the hard-core members of the tribe will be there. Hockey fans are as dementedly loyal as the "Star Wars" people who line up dressed as Darth Vader. Your friendly neighborhood Sharks are rolling back ticket prices 10 percent, to entice stragglers to return.

But in order to thrive, hockey needs more than the Darth Vader geeks. Hockey needs the entire Storm Trooper army. Hockey needs to broaden its appeal. The bottom line is, when the product cranks up again, the product had better be good. That's what brings customers through the doors.

Star Wars geeks? Well, guilty as charged.

Now, on to the real Bay Area hockey Cassandra, Ray Ratto. Holding the dubious distinction of spreading doom on ESPN.com as well as the San Francisco Chronicle, Ray seems rather upset that there will in fact be NHL games this year. Ratto delivers a magnificent lede.

Now deal with it - ESPN.

Now comes the fun part -- listening to people who can "fix" hockey.

Actually, the fun part is watching a Ray Ratto column degenerate from coverage of a hockey game, to a food concessions conspiracy. Ray does not really melt down on ESPN, instead he just takes the "fire Bettman, fire Goodenow line". How controversial. Next he will claim that the last names are too hard to spell. Ratto also posted a column in the SF Chronicle:

Game on -- NHL, players make a deal Sharks' big challenge: Win back the fan base - SF Chronic.

Yes, after only a year and change, the Great Hockey Lockout, also known as "You're Kidding, Right?" is all but at an end. The two sides, The Owners and The Roadkill, have apparently come to an accommodation in which The Owners get everything they want short of making the players work for free.

So win back the fans, and fire Bettman and Goodenow? Where is the relentless fan bashing Ratto is known for?

This post was almost all in jest, except for my comments about Ratto and Radnich. But honestly, are there editors at these papers? I could get more insightful, more reasoned, or more inflammatory NHL commentary from Koko the talking gorilla.

On the flip side, there are a number of informative and insightful columnists regularly covering the Sharks. But today it was time to roll out the hacks.

[Update] In keeping with the spirit of the local media taking shots at the NHL and NHL fans, I thought I should mention that there was nearly 400 search requests yesterday where people followed "hockey's desperate housewives" or a similar term to reach this website. I tried to count how many visitors came searching for news of the CBA agreement and compare that to the housewives phenomenon, but it was not even close. Housewives in a landslide. Usually, 90% of the searches are from google. Yesterday, Yahoo was coming on strong.

[Update2] Berkeley forward Sean Haq has his own website. I urge all hockey cult members to visit it post haste.

[Update3] I asked the SJ Mercury's Sharks beat writer David Pollak, about many of the statements his fellow scribes made above. He answered today in an online forum where he took a number of questions about the CBA agreement.

[Q] Kawakami calls Sharks fans a cult with not more than 18500 in the Bay Area. Purdy calls hockey fans Star Wars geeks. Radnich has said that hockey is not worth his time, and only has 17.500 fans in the Bay Area anyways. Dickey also called Sharks fans a cult. What are your thoughts on those statements? A second question if you have time. What did you do during the lockout when there was no NHL to cover?

[A] PJ, Oh man, you want me to rag on my colleagues? For what it's worth, Purdy counts himself as a fan of the sport so don't get too worked up about the Star Wars imagery; Kawakami, well, he's admittedly a basketball guy, though he at least gets the idea of hockey's appeal and only wishes the league ran things more intelligently.

I've talked with Radnich about this -- he thinks it's a bad rap and points to many past times he's had hockey guests from Kevin Constantine to Drew Remenda; that said, Radnich also doesn't see hockey having the wide audience appeal he needs when compared with football or baseball.

Dickey? Dickey? Nope, won't come to his defense. The problem is that anybody who takes the stand that there are only 18,000 hockey fans in the Bay Area can point to the miserable TV ratings for support. We both know the game doesn't translate well on tube and that's an imperfect measuring stick; we both know the same 18,000 people don't show up every night. But it's hard to argue that hockey is carrying it's weight when compared with the Big Three.

What hockey has going for it, however, is the fact that it's fans are more passionate than those of the other sports. And there's something to be said for the media's need to deal with that intensity better than it usually has in the past.

What did I do during the lockout? Well, covering the business side of sports in general meant covering the NHL. Beyond that I kept busy doing stories on everything from a Japanese baseball team touring California to the politics behind the Nationals landing in Washington. And, as you know, PJ, the fine club hockey program at San Jose State.

I actually believe "Star Wars geek" is a compliment.

But I think you need to take anything from Radnich in context, the context with which he has covered the sport the last 15 years. No one, either in print, on television, or over the radio has been consistently more negative about the sport than Radnich. And I do not even have a problem with that. Bash the sport all you want, I will accept it is nowhere close to the big 3, although I will not really take him seriously until he puts some facts behind his opinion. Instead of claiming there is not one more hockey fan in San Jose outside of what fits inside the tank, average out the tv/radio/attendance figures and use that number.

I understand he exaggerates for effect, but he has also consistently bashed the fans. That is where I think his entertaining antagonism changes into clueless bloviating. And for full disclosure, I lasted about 35 seconds on one of his call-in shows many years ago. I guess my sarcasm did not play well on the radio.

And about the fact that hockey fans are more passionate than other fans, I would have to agree. Comments by Radnich, Dickey and others over the years only stoke it furthur.

Thanks for the response, and good luck covering the sport this season. It is easy to bash reporters, but try to get an interview or write a coherent column about a game, and you realize how difficult it is.

[Update4] I was wrong about each team having an equal 1-in-30 chance at winning the top position in the NHL draft lottery. In fact, it will be a weighted lottery. Each team starts with 3 balls and loses 1 ball each playoff appearance [last 3 years], and 1 ball for each first-overall draft pick [last 3 years]. Each team is required to have at least 1 ball in the hopper. San Jose will have 1 ball, a 2.04% shot at Sidney Crosby.

NHL to set the sweepstakes for wonderkid Crosby - New York Daily News.


NHL and NHLPA agree to CBA deal, both sides awaiting ratification

According to TSN, the deal is in the bag. Now it awaits ratification from the NHLPA, and the NHL Board of Governors. Both are meeting next week, the NHLPA Tuesday, and the NHL BOG Thursday.

NHL, NHLPA reach tentative deal - TSN.

And now for the words everyone has been waiting to hear: The deal is done!

The NHL and NHL Players' Association have finally reached an agreement (pending ratification) on a new six-year collective bargaining agreement that - if approved by the NHL board of governors next Thursday and the rank and file membership of the NHLPA next Tuesday - will officially end the stalemate sometime next week.

The agreement, a complex document reportedly numbering more than 600 pages, came after the two sides staged marathon negotiating sessions for nine consecutive days. Since the 2004-05 NHL season was officially cancelled on Feb. 16, the league and union have met on 82 occasions, leading to an agreement that will revamp the way the entire professional hockey industry conducts its business.

TSN, ESPN and Sportsnet noted a few of the elements of the deal [keep in mind these are initial reports]:

  • Hard salary cap of $39 million [US]
  • Salary floor of $21 million [US]
  • Total player costs not to exceed 54% of revenue
  • Hockey-related revenues appear to have agreed to somewhat
  • 24% rollback on any existing contract
  • Phased in unrestricted free agency by 27
  • Rollback and restrictions on entry level salaries
  • New salary arbitration system
  • Improved player pensions
  • Revenue sharing [5%]
  • 6 year term [through 2010-2011] with option
  • Player out-clause after 4 years
  • Maximum salary 20% of team cap [$7.4 million]
  • Minimum salary [$450,000]
  • Maximum rookie salary [$850,000]
  • Allstar game in non-Olympic years
The draft will take place in Ottawa July 30th, instead of in NYC August 6th. All 30 teams will have an equal shot at Sidney Crosby, with a lottery to take place with the announcment of a new CBA.

[Update] Statment from NHLcbanews.com, also up on NHLPA.com:

NHL, NHLPA reach agreement in principle on new CBA NEW YORK/TORONTO (July 13, 2005) - The National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association have reached an agreement in principle on the terms of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Details of the new Agreement will not be made available publicly pending the formal ratification process by the NHLPA Members and the NHL Board of Governors.

It is anticipated that the ratification process will be completed next week, at which time the parties will be prepared to discuss the details of the Agreement and plans for next season. No further comment will be made until then.

[Update] Done Deal: NHL, players agree to new CBA - The Hockey News. "The 301-day NHL lockout is over."

[Update2] 'Agreement in principle', Tentative deal for NHL, players - SLAM.

Teams will come back looking vastly different as well. Mass player movement is expected with a high number of free agents on the market as well as several high-paid players expected to get bought out so teams can fit under the cap.

[Update3] After labor deal, attention turns to 2005 NHL draft: NHL teams should be forward-thinking at draft time - Red Line Report.

[Update4] Let the games begin - Sportsnet.

Sportsnet has learned that the NHL and NHLPA have signed off on a new six-year collective bargaining agreement, with a player out-clause after four years. The new CBA still requires ratification from both sides.

Thanks to Mike Chen for the pointer. Offwing also has a good round up of blogger reaction to the CBA deal.

Just an FYI for the NHL, there have been 37 searches by 10AM this morning leading to this blog for the CBA deal agreed to today. There have been 142 searches so far for "hockey's desperate housewives" including a few different spelling variations. I guess it is a result of this post. Draw whatever conclusions you need to based on that.

[Update5] Jim Kelley is back on ESPN. Long time no see. Winners and losers in the NHL agreement - ESPN. He has two major parts of the CBA heavily in favor of the owners, none heavily in favor of the NHLPA, and 3 that are a wash. 2-0-3 split-decision win for the NHL.

[Update6] Implications of a new deal for the San Jose Sharks: The New Deal - San Jose Mercury News. The article details how the Sharks will fit into a salary cap system [well], how the Sharks will be positioned for the draft [1-30 shot at top pick], and what the phased reduction of the free agency age to 27 will mean for the organization [it depends on how quickly the age is reduced from 31 to 27].

[Update7] More CBA details from the Globe and Mail:

— Two-way salary arbitration. Both players and owners can select to go to arbitration, whereas only players had those rights in the previous deal. This will allow owners to downgrade underperforming players.

— The ability for teams to buy players out of their contracts at two thirds of their value. This is meant to help teams fit under the cap but the clubs won't be able to re-sign those players.

[Update8] OntheWings has a selection of quotes reacting to the deal.

"I'm estatic. And I'm estatic because I don't give a sh*t what the deal is. I'm just happy we're going to get the game back on the ice" - Jeremy Roenick

JR sounding like his usual diplomatic self. Have to give him style points, and bonus points for consistency though. I would not want to be lined up against him his first shift back on the ice.


Lockout over Wednesday afternoon?

Just to antagonize a few readers, I thought I would post the latest lockout is over rumor from Stan Fischler of the MSG Network:

"We may be working right through Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning to get this thing done," one of the chief negotiators tells me. "If things go well, it could be wrapped up sometime on Wednesday afternoon."

Fischler also reports that Jarome Iginla stepped up at a Calgary golf tournament and apologized to fans and employees and businesses hurt by the lockout.

"I think everybody involved with this is sorry it took a year. All the people who this took jobs from, or had bars or restaurants ... it goes right down the line how it affected people in different cities. There's no question we're sorry. Hopefully we work together as a group and down the road learn from it and be better next time."

You can read more of Iginla's comments at OntheWings.

Jarome Iginla is a member of the newly created competition committee, who in conjunction with NHL GM's will provide feedback to the league on the state of the game. NHLPA President Trevor Linden, Brendan Shanahan, Rob Blake, former player Mike Gartner, GMs Bob Gainey [Montreal], Kevin Lowe [Edmonton], David Poile [Nashville], and Don Waddell [Atlanta], and Ed Snider are also members.

Fischler said that no one in the NHLPA should have to apologize, and he is right. But there have also been statements that players just want to play and forget about the year of labor strife. I am as optimistic as they come, but that is the wrong approach for two reasons.

One, there are a large number of diehard fans that took the loss of a year personally. Many will forget about the lockout and move on, but others are going to want some sort of statement about why this happened, why was it necessary, and what is to keep it from happening again next time?

Two, there is an even larger number of casual fans who have lost touch with the game. What might have been an occasional outing is now replaced with something else. A recent study said that only 56% of Americans even knew the NHL was locked out. There are 24 NHL franchises in the US. If the players move on, and are as polite, as quiet, and as ignored by the mainstream media as before, the league is going to take a big hit in its first year back. Some say the revenues will drop from $2.1 to $1.8 billion, not going to happen. It will be much worse.

So do the players, coaches, owners, mascots, and television truck operators need to apologize? No. But they do need to sell the game. That is no longer the sole job of the ticket office or the marketing department. It should be the secondary effort of everyone involved with an organization, the NHL, and the NHLPA.

Ilitch family takes out full page ad to apologize to fans, Wings allegedly hire Anaheim coach Mike Babcock

jr sharks camp

Mike and Marian Ilitch took out a full page ad in today's Detroit Free Press. Here is the full text of the ad as reported by Matt Schwartz of Letsgowings.com:

Dear Fans,

As you know, this year has been a turbulent one for the Detroit Red Wings, the National Hockey League, our dedicated fans and the many businesses who count on the game of hockey to earn a living. We want you to know how extremely sorry we are that your Red Wings have not played hockey this season.

The Red Wings have a long history in the Detroit are dating back to 1926, and our wonderful fans have enthusiastically supported the team throught the many decades. Our family has always been avid hockey fans. We bought the team in 1982 because we love hockey and we are passionate about Detroit. We knew it would take a little time to rebuild the team into a Stanley Cup contender, and we truly appreciate our fans that stood by us as we accomplished that feat. It is disappointing for all of us that the Red Wings were unable to make a run for their eleventh Stanley Cup this past year.

The decision by the League to cancel the season until a new CBA was agreed upon was an extremely difficult one, but necessary for the long-term success of the NHL. As an Original Six member of the NHL and firm believer that a healthy league will be best for all involved, especially the fans, we support the decision that was made. We know how disappointing this necessary action was and we share in your frustration.

It is not by chance that Detroit is known as Hockeytown. It is you, the fans, that have made Detroit and its hockey team the envy of all cities where hockey is played. We appreciate your continued support of the Red Wings and our partners in downtown Detroit. It is our sincere hope that we will see you at Joe Louis Arena in the fall. Thank you for standing by us as we work to solidify the game of hockey for many years to come.


Mike and Marian Ilitch

[Update] Letsgowings also notes a report from Mojo Radio 640AM of Toronto that the Red Wings have singed former/current Anaheim head coach Mike Babcock. The Red Wings denied that the decision has been made in tomorrow's Detroit News.

"The report is inaccurate," said John Hahn, the Wings' senior director of communications. "We have not signed or come to terms with Mike Babcock or any coach."

TSN has also filed a report that Babcock was headed to Detroit.

Sources in Detroit suggest Babcock has agreed to terms with the Red Wings on a new multi-year contract, but that no formal announcement is expected until some time next week.

[Update2] The new Los Angeles Kings GM Brian Burke has asked permission from the San Jose Sharks to speak with assistant coach Tim Hunter about the Kings head coach position.

From the Los Angeles Times, who have been on a monster roll of late:

Burke is believed to have asked permission from the San Jose Sharks to speak with assistant Tim Hunter. Vancouver assistant Mike Johnson is also expected to be on Burke's short list.

"I kicked into the search after Mike requested the week; I saw no reason to lose a week," Burke said. "We're putting together a short list and have requested permission to speak to a couple candidates."

Martin DesRosiers has an excellent question and answer session with Tim Hunter posted on Hockeyfights.com. Highly recommended.

[Note] Links to the Toronto Sun and Letsgowings.com have been added to the right.

Hockey Notes - Rules are meant to be broken edition

- Breaking news from the Toronto Sun [email from Roger].

20 Teams in the Playoffs, NHL orders another round of playoffs - Toronto Sun.

IT'S LIKELY four more teams and an extra round will be included in the playoffs when the National Hockey League resumes play, the Toronto Sun has learned. According to sources, the NHL is considering adding two more teams from each conference and a best-of-three preliminary round added to the four best-of-seven rounds that exist now. It is expected NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will reveal the details when he announces that the owners have ended their lockout, something that could happen later this week.

Revenue from NHL playoff rounds is almost pure profit for the home teams. Capping salaries, and adding another round of playoffs will give a big boost to the bottom line. It is hard to imagine adding another 7 game playoff series to the current playoff structure, after 82 regular season games, and a brief pre-season.

- The NHL has downplayed reports of radical changes to the game, according to TSN today. NHL director of hockey operations Colin Campbell says that the changes need to be ratified before they are adopted, by the players and the NHL Board of Govenors.

- Several bloggers commented last week on the proposed NHL rules, as detailed in a televised report by TSN's Bob McKenzie. A second TSN report has more details of NHL rules changes, after the league sent out a memo requesting feedback on each of the proposed items.

Offwing is 9-3 in favor of many of the proposed rules changes.

Al Strachan, author of the 20 team playoff column above, also wrote in favor of a 3 point for a regular win system. Tom Benjamin of Canucks Corner and Jes Golbez have mixed feelings. Instead of just commenting on the proposed change, Jes offers a breakdown for how a "3 points for a win, 2 points for an OT win, and 1 point for an OT loss" would have affected the 2003-04 NHL standings.

Tom Benjamin also gives a big thumbs down to the rules changes based on the institution of a shootout to eliminate tie games in the NHL. James Mirtle, an editor with The Globe and Mail, is somewhat pleased with the proposed changes.

Reaction to several of the changes was positive from the Minnesota Wild's Marian Gaborik, assistant GM Tom Lynn, GM Doug Risebrough, and Colin Campbell, courtesy of Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

- News update on the NHL and NHLPA labor talks:

Negotiators from the league and the players' association met for the eighth straight day Monday, marking the 10th consecutive week that talks have been held. The latest round of discussions wrapped up around 9:30 p.m. and more talks were scheduled for Tuesday.

- While briefly watching figure skating on ESPN2, not sure why that happened, there was a report on the state of Russian hockey after the fall of the Soviet Union. A few of the interesting details: the winter gold medal count for ice hockey dropped to 0 after the fall, while figure skating remained strong; out of 1224 NHL players during the last season, only 102 were Russian; state funding for youth ice hockey has dropped dramatically in all but the richest of areas; Slava Fetisov is the new Russian Minister of Sport.

- After missing this Open, Sharks coach Ron Wilson eyes Senior Open - SF Chronicle.

- Movie of hockey in New Jersey, 1898.

- From the latest San Jose Sharks rink report email newsletter: Logitech Ice at San Jose secures 2007 USA Hockey girls/womens National Championship Tournament.

Logitech Ice at San Jose, the official practice facility of the San Jose Sharks, has added yet another page to its sparkling resume. USA Hockey recently announced that Logitech Ice will serve as the host facility for the 2007 USA Hockey Girl's and Women's National Championship Tournament. USA Hockey's Girl's 12, 14, 16 and 19 and under divisions, along with the Women's Senior A, B and C divisions, will travel to the Capital of Silicon Valley to battle for national supremacy in late March and early April 2007.

The newletter also details the opening of the new fourth rink at Logitech Ice, complete with a windowed restaurant overlooking the ice surface.

This summer, Logitech Ice will open its fourth ice sheet, adding 33,000 square feet and bringing the entire facility to over 170,000 square feet, making it the largest public skating facility West of the Mississippi. Already one of the top public ice hockey facilities in the Nation, the facility is currently in the midst of a remodel that includes adding the fourth rink, as well as a full-service restaurant and bar that will allow guests to view three of the four ice sheets. The restaurant, which is scheduled to be completed this September, will seat roughly 550 patrons and have 12 plasma televisions, pool tables, games, a fireplace and plenty of sports memorabilia.

I stopped by Logitech last week and took a look at the new fourth sheet of ice. The lighting is much better than the other 3, and the glass and ice surface are much improved according to a few of the hockey players in the jr Sharks training camp.

jr sharks camp

Unfortunately, the number of seats is actually less than the North Rink, the one where most of the college club hockey games covered here were played. There is a lot of unused space on 3 sides of the new rink. When it is complete, they should consider putting bleachers in every possible area.

- One more item from the newsletter, details on the current whereabouts of Sharks radio play-by-play broadcaster Dan Rusanowsky, televison play-by-play man Randy Hahn, and television color commentator and part time hockey enforcer Drew Remenda. Rusanowsky can be heard giving "Dan's Diamond Notes" every Wednesday at 9:10AM on 98.5FM, Hahn can be seen on CBS's "Evening Magazine", and Remenda can be heard on "The Drew Remenda Sports Show" Monday-Friday, 5-7 PM [PT], available online at ckom.com.

- Hockey game developers face challenges - SLAM.

- The USA National Mens Inline Hockey Team topped Slovakia yesterday, 8-3. Team USA Improves To 2-0 At IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship in Finland. The US team faces Germany today in the final preliminary game. More on the Inline Championships here. USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

- Got a press release from online broacaster Media Zone, asking me to watch Club America take on Atlante, Monterrey and Groclin Grodisk.

In recent years, with nine League titles, three Cup titles, three Super Cup titles, five CONCACAF Champions Cup titles, and 2two Interamerican Cup titles, Club America has become one of the most popular and successful professional soccer teams in the La Primera División de México (Mexican First Division) and is the current league champion.

Yes, and rumors are also floating around that Club America is close to buying the San Jose Earthquakes MLS club. After which they will be moved to Houston, San Antonio, or a similar locale. So excuse me if I do not want to pay $39.95 to watch 3 Club America games. Earthquakes vs the MetroStars this Saturday night is a much better option.

- Earthquakes seem set to leave San Jose for Houston - Soccer Times.

Quakes' future home? - SJ Mercury News.

Professional sports may soon return to the Astrodome - ABC13.com.

- Boooooooooooooooooooooo!

- There will be a big post tomorrow about the rumored NHL CBA details, player reaction, local reaction, and of course, my informed and insightful commentary. Back in 2 and 2.

[Update] A press release from USAhockey.com:

Team USA Downs Germany, 6-2, To Remain Undefeated

U.S. National Team Moves Into First Place At IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship

KUOPIO, Finland -- The 2005 USA Hockey InLine National Team finished preliminary-round competition today with a 6-2 win over Germany and with its 3-0-0 record secured the top spot in Group A at the 2005 International Ice Hockey Federation InLine Hockey World Championship.

Team USA will next face the winner of tomorrow's (July 13) qualification-round game between Austria and Brazil in its first playoff contest on Thursday, July 14, at 4:00 p.m. local time (9:00 a.m. EDT).

"We keep getting better offensively and creating more offensive chances with each game," said U.S. Head Coach Dan Brennan (Colorado Springs, Colo.). "We played well against a very good German team today."

After a scoreless first quarter, Team USA scored two quick goals when forward Chris Popescu (Sterling Heights, Mich.) tallied a power-play goal off an assist from Chris Peterson (Clinton Township, Mich.) at 1:21, and Bill Sweatt (Elburn, Ill.) found the back of the net 35 seconds later with an assist from his brother, Lee Sweatt (Elburn, Ill.) at 1:56 to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead.

Germany got on board with a goal from Patrick Reimer 37 seconds into the third quarter to cut the U.S. lead, 2-1, but Team USA re-gained its two-goal advantage heading into the fourth quarter thanks to defenseman Ernie Hartlieb's (Sterling Heights, Mich.) goal at 9:18.

Popescu registered his second goal of the game 27 seconds into the final stanza with an assist from Geno Parrish (Bloomington, Minn.). Germany then scored on a power-play at 7: 21, but Peterson struck back less than a minute later giving the U.S. a 5-2 lead. Jason Deskins (Warren, Mich.) notched the final goal of the game, a power-play marker, at 11:00 to secure the 6-2 victory.

U.S. goaltender Jeff Reynaert (Sterling Heights, Mich.) stopped 31-of-33 shots on goal while Germany's Jochen Vollmer faced 21 shots on goal.

Notes: Chris Popescu was named U.S. player of the game ... Games in the IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship consist of four, 15-minutes quarters ... At the conclusion of the qualification round tomorrow (July 13), the teams will be re-seeded to form the A-Pool and B-Pool World Championships ... Semifinal and relegation rounds for both pools are scheduled for July 15, and medal games will be played on July 16.


USA inline hockey team downs Slovenia 5-1 in the 2005 IIHF InLine Hockey World Championships in Finland

A press release from USAhockey.com:

KUOPIO, Finland -- The 2005 USA Hockey InLine National Team opened preliminary-round competition at the 2005 International Ice Hockey Federation InLine Hockey World Championship with a 5-1 victory against Slovenia here Sunday afternoon.

"Slovenia played a very defensive box which forced us to shoot from outside," said U.S. Head Coach Dan Brennan (Colorado Springs, Colo.). "We're excited about our win and happy to get the first game under our belt."

Forward Chris Popescu (Sterling Heights, Mich.), who had two goals and an assist in the game, opened the scoring on a power-play goal at 6:29 of the first quarter with an assist from Troy Milam (Lake Orion, Mich.) to give Team USA a 1-0 lead going into the second quarter. Chris Peterson (Clinton Township, Mich.) registered his first goal of the tournament at 5:26 of the second quarter to extend Team USA's lead to 2-0.

Slovenia posted its first goal at 3:41 of the third quarter, but Team USA fired back when Popescu tallied his second goal of the game with assists from Peterson and Geno Parrish (Bloomington, Minn.) at 8:49 to give the U.S. a 3-1 advantage after three quarters.

The U.S. scored the only two goals of the fourth quarter. First, Derek Kern (Smithtown, N.Y.) found the back of the net off an assist from Jason Deskins (Warren, Mich.) at 2:27 before Deskins set up Ernie Hartlieb's (Sterling Heights, Mich.) power-play tally at 8:53 to account for the 5-1 final.

U.S. goaltender Jeff Reynaert (Sterling Heights, Mich.) stopped 27-of-28 shots on goal while Slovenia's Ales Petrovcic and Ales Sila faced a combined 22 shots on goal.

Defending gold medallists Team USA will next face Slovakia on Monday (July 11), at 6:00 p.m. local time (11:00 a.m. EDT).

Notes: Games in the IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship consist of four, 15-minutes quarters. The preliminary round of the 16-team tournament will continue through Saturday (July 16). At the conclusion of the qualification round, which will take place July 13, the teams will be re-seeded to form the A-Pool and B-Pool World Championships. Semifinal and relegation rounds for both pools are scheduled for July 15, and medal games will be played on July 16.

A box score from the game:

First Quarter -- Scoring: 1, USA, Popescu (Milam), 6:29 (pp). Penalties: SLO, Zerdin (hooking), 1:24; SLO, Trobec (high sticking), 5:44; SLO, Nabergoj (hooking), 7: 21; USA, B. Sweatt (tripping), 9:07.

Second Quarter -- Scoring: 2, USA, Peterson (Popescu), 5:26. Penalties: SLO, Vnuk (hooking), :44; USA, Parrish (hooking), 2:31; USA, Kern (tripping), 9:44.

Third Quarter -- Scoring: 3, SLO, Vnuk (Kos), 3:41; 4, USA, Popescu (Peterson, Parrish), 8:49. Penalties: None.

Fourth Quarter -- Scoring: 5, USA, Kern (Deskins), 2:27; USA, Hartlieb (Deskins), 8:53 (pp). Penalties: SLO, Vedlin (hooking), 8:03; SLO, Vedlin (hooking), 10:35; USA, Deskins (hooking), 11:31.

Goaltenders: USA, Reynaert (28 shots, 27 saves). SLO, Petrovcic (19 shots, 16 saves; Sila at start of fourth (3 shots, 1 save).

And a schedule of upcoming games:

July 10 Slovenia 1, USA 5
July 11 USA vs. Slovakia
July 12 USA vs. Germany
July 13 Qualification Round
July 14 Playoffs, First Round
July 15 Semifinal and Relegation Rounds
July 16 Bronze and Gold-Medal games

For more on the 2005 USA Hockey InLine Cup Set for Las Vegas click here, for more on USA inline hockey, click here.


Kings forward Sean Avery apologies to fans, angry at Goodenow, Legace also upset, Sharkspage upset, U.S. Forces in Korea via for the Kimchi Pot

LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke got an emotional phone call from Los Angeles Kings forward Sean Avery. He gave his thoughts on the lockout that canceled a season, what he felt a CBA settlement would mean for the players, his thoughts on Bob Goodenow, and finished with a string of apologies to the fans.

We burned a year for nothing. We didn't win anything. We didn't prove anything. We didn't get anything. We wasted an entire season... We lost a whole season for nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Avery racked up 261 penalty minutes, 53 minor penalties, 15 major penalties, 4 game misconduct penalties, 9 goals, and 19 assists in 76 games played for the Kings in 2003-04. He was also my fantasy hockey idol.

The saddest thing that happened to me during the lockout was the two or three times that fans asked me what was going on. I wished I could have apologized to them then. I apologize to them now.

Sean finished with some words for hockey fans, where he referenced a skate he had with a youth hockey team:

We owe the fans everything, we need to get them back, we need to cross our fingers that they will come back... I'm skating around with these kids and thinking, I should be at Staples Center and they should be watching me. Can you please tell all the fans that we're sorry? We're really, really sorry.

Done. About 1000 fans visited this site yesterday, 4500 last week, 13 months after the last NHL game. I need to start a poll on if the fans here want an apology from players, owners, Goodenow or Bettman. And also if Buffalo Sabres fans still want one after the Brett Hull no-goal in 1999.

Sean Avery also had harsh words for NHLPA Executive Director & General Counsel Robert W. Goodenow.

I am furious at Bob. Bob brainwashed players like me... To be honest with you, most of us didn't know what was going on. Guys had no control over the situation. Guys were out there giving interviews and we didn't know the real story. Bob embarrassed a lot of guys.

There is no need for him to apologize to me, but there are many fans that do need to hear an apology from players and owners. More importantly, the key to a successful NHL season after the lockout will be the popularity among casual fans. And in non-traditional markets, that will be a tough sell.

[Update] It has been widely reported by the MSM, and it has made the blog rounds, but Manny Legace went off on the NHLPA last week. Thanks to On the Wings for the link, and the extended run of good hockey posts.

Back to Detroit Redwings backup goaltender Manny Legace:

The whole thing is a farce. We basically sat out for nothing, wasted a lot of money for nothing. It makes no sense to me...I wish we would have offered this deal last summer. Maybe (owners) would have been more generous. Maybe negotiations could have taken only two weeks, like the NBA (which recently signed a new collective bargaining agreement). They (union leaders) ticked off all the owners and (the owners) went out to screw the players. They had the right intention. They made everyone buy into what they told us. Now it seems like they're giving up everything just to start the season on time...If we're going to give up all this now, why wasn't the union smart enough to get a deal done sooner, instead of saying, 'Screw you,' (to the owners) the whole time? I lost $1.3 million. What was the purpose? We hurt businesses downtown, we hurt fans, we hurt everybody - for nothing. I feel bad for those people. I could understand if we were still sticking to a cause. What reason did we sit out for? It doesn't make sense...It's not just him (Goodenow), it's the whole (executive) committee.

The 5 player executive committee consists of: Trevor Linden, Trent Klatt, Bob Boughner, Arturs Irbe and Vincent Damphousse. It seems like a deal that does not overtly favor the players will be claimed as a total disaster for the NHLPA. Not so. To be quite honest, it was a disaster for both sides. It would be nice to talk to Damphousse and Irbe personally, because of the secretive nature of the negotiations, we have no idea of exactly what happened. It would be in the NHLPA's best interests to get their message out, and a message to the fans, as quickly as possible.

[Update2] Since this post has turned into a dump of all the links I did not get around to posting earlier, take a look at this article in the Dallas News [registration required]: Jury still out on NHL's value: For-sale signs go up, but lockout doesn't mean economy is down.

Hicks, who had the Stars for sale two years ago, then took the team off the market, said he's going to survey the new landscape before he makes a decision on selling. He is semi-retired, so it might make sense to keep the team and enjoy the ownership role more. Then again, if the right offer comes, he'll listen.

But what is the right offer? Forbes lists the Stars franchise value at $259 million, fourth highest in the league. Would anyone bid that much on an NHL team? That's the big question. If one of the top seven teams – those with values over $200 million – sells, then maybe we'll find out if the lockout did damage or if the new NHL is more valuable than ever.

A third team in transition is the Pittsburgh Penguins, and they don't really fall into the same category as the other two. Mario Lemieux inherited the Penguins after a bankruptcy hearing because he was owed more money than any other creditor. Now, Lemieux wants some help, and he's lining up investors...

However, those who do buy in might be wise to think of the NHL more as a hobby than a moneymaker. Because, while owners like Disney and Laurie bought the houses and rented them out in hopes of a profit, they have taught the new era of NHL owners that it might be smarter to buy with the idea of enjoying the property while you're there.

Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks told the Dallas News that the economics of the league were fine.

2 teams sold, 2 possibly on the block, 2 bankrupt in the last few years, 1 entire NHL season and postseason missed, 1 lost television contract, 1 television contract with no upfront money, ticket prices reduced, advertisers fleeing... oh yes, the economics of the league are perfect, for bankruptcy lawyers.

[Update3] Exhibit A that I get the best email: USFK GIs, civilians to play in Kimchi Pot hockey tourney - European and Pacific Stars and Stripes.

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea - Two servicemembers and three Department of Defense civilians will play for the Glaciers Geckos as they defend their title in the third annual Kimchi Pot, a hockey tournament scheduled for the July Fourth weekend at Anyang Sports Complex south of Seoul.

A belated Happy Fourth of July! goes out to the troops, and a Happy Sixth of July too!. Thanks to W for the link to the story above.

[Update4/Rant] Avery and Legace should not be the only ones allowed to post angry missives on this blog. As much as I would like to, I can not split the blame for this lockout 50/50. I give it 55/45 to the NHLPA, which will probably be viewed by some as pro-Bettman. Would that be 10% pro-Bettman? But let me go back in the Sharkspage time machine to recap a few highlights from the NHLPA that helped me arrive at that breakdown:

NHLPA Executive Director & General Counsel Bob Goodenow Jan 31st, 2003 to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "We won't be agreeing to a salary cap." It was that interview that started it all for me. NHLPA president Trevor Linden to Jim Kelley June 15th, 2004: "we're not going to talk about a hard-cap system, and that's what we keep getting shown to us." Where are you Jim? NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin on the $42.5 million salary cap offer, courtesy of the aptly titled NHL Gong Show: "I can't imagine any offer being worse than the one on the table today." How about 42.5 million Canadian, is that worse?



End of the dark and blurry hockey photos?

nikon d70

Wanted to write about the proposed NHL rules changes reported by TSN's Bob McKenzie, and link to a couple NHL draft previews, but I picked up this Nikon 70-200 lens instead. Probably the best lens Nikon makes for hockey. More on this later.

A few NHL and development links have been added to the right if you are interested.


2005 Tour de France - stage 1

tour de france paris

The 92nd Tour de France began yesterday, with 6-time consecutive winner [1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004] Lance Armstrong finishing second in the opening time trial. American David Zabriskie finished 2 seconds ahead of Armstrong to take first in the 11.8 mile stage.

OLN, the Outdoor Life Network, is scheduled to air wall-to-wall Tour coverage for the next 3 weeks. ProTour has a complete list of media features on the Tour de France, a list of weblog entries from the event, and a list of rider diaries being kept online.

But my favorite part of the Tour for the last 20 years has been watching the French countryside in the background.


Keep an eye on cycling photographer extraordinaire Graham Watson. Remember that his subjects are often moving upwards of 30 MPH. BBC Cycling also has images, audio and video from the Tour daily.

After a visit to Lance Armstrong's website, it looks like Thepaceline.com is going to be a one-stop shop for tour coverage this year.

[Update] Here is a map of the stage I attended in the first photo. It was sheer luck that I walked out of the hotel and the 100th anniversary of the Tour started two blocks from the front door. I ended up walking more than half the stage from the Place de la Concorde to the finish at the Parc du Champ de Mars.


Test Flickr post #2

Originally uploaded by Wendy Barron.

Flickr looks like it is set up perfect now, although a future re-design of this website will allow for a bigger photo to be published. Scroll down to see my first post about mobile hockey photoblogging.

This photo from Wendy Barron shows the red carpet lined by young hockey players when Queen Elizabeth II went to a Vancouver Canucks game last season. Or was that 2 seasons ago, or one season and one non-season ago? Sign the CBA already.

I am putting in a request for a photo of Madison Square Garden from my brother in NYC.

Mike Rathje named in dog-on-dog mauling lawsuit

11-year San Jose Shark defenseman Mike Rathje was named in a dog mauling lawsuit that stemmed from the death of a puppy in San Jose. It appears that Rathje's dog Max, a 95 pound American bulldog, escaped from his backyard and attacked and killed a smaller puppy.

On a side note, David Pollak of the Mercury News also reports that Mike Rathje and his family moved a few months after the attack. This is one day after I heard a rumor that Toronto might be interested in the 6,5 240pd defenseman. Rathje, co-owner of San Jose's Tres Gringos Baja Cantina, is an unrestricted free agent.

Losing Rathje would be a setback for the Sharks organization.

Sharkspage mobile hockey photoblogging

hhof I am testing a service offered by the mobile photo website flickr.com. The photo of the Hockey Hall of Fame to the left comes from flickr user durkdogg. This blog post was made with Flickr, not Blogger.

Flickr allows anyone with a cellphone camera to email a photo to a specific address, which will then automatically be posted on a blog. I have set up this website so regular contributors from other cities, Canada or abroad can add a cellphone photo from a hockey game they are attending. The free version of Flickr only allows 20mb of bandwidth a month, so I would limit photos to 1 per user a month. If it worked out well, I am sure this upgrading to the pro version of Flickr would not be a problem.

I am going to contact a few friends in Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Japan and ask them to give it a try when hockey season rolls around again.

For a slideshow of San Jose Sharks photos from Flickr, click here.


NHL Photographers also keeping busy during the NHL lockout

NHL photographer Shelly Castellano shot Hockey's Desperate Housewives for The Hockey News. The cover can also be seen here.

Tampa Bay team photographer Scott Audette released his first book, Winning Ways - The Making of a Championship Heart, on the Lightning's run to a Stanley Cup in 2004.

Even more impressive than the playoff and Calder Cup photo galleries, the AHL Philadelphia Phantoms were honored with a cup-hoisting ATV ride around Veterans Stadium by the Phillie Fanatic himself.

Stanley, meet Sandy.

Sports Illustrated Stanley Cup covers from 1966 to 2001.

Lots of classic hockey photos at Beehive hockey.

[Update] A gallery of University of Kentucky hockey photo schedules. San Jose State anyone?

[Update2] Hockey Housewives now featured on ESPN. Many of the wives enjoyed more time with their husbands, but they want their players back on the ice.