2006 Bay-to-Breakers marathon

2006 san francisco bay to breakers marathon

2006 san francisco bay to breakers marathon

Photo gallery from the 2006 SF Bay-to-Breakers marathon this morning. Final Sharkspage time: 3:04:57.


Hockey Notes - May 19th

San Jose Sharks

Thursday front pages: Edmonton Sun, Edmonton Journal, San Jose Mercury News.

From Edmonton Oiler center Shawn Horcoff, who scored the game winning goal in the triple overtime 6-3 Edmonton win in game 3, and scored the second goal in the 2-0 shutout win in game 6 to clinch a Conference Final berth:

It feels great. It is satisfying that we were down 2 and we came back to win 4 straight against this team. It says a lot about our character, but at the same time, there is a lot more work to be done, and we are excited about the opportunity. - Shawn Horcoff

Out with a wimper, S.J. powerless against Oilers, Sharks have nothing in elimination loss - Ross McKeon for the SF Chronicle.

When they needed their best effort of the series, a timely power-play goal, a key save, a huge face-off win, a big hit, anything at all to keep their Stanley Cup playoff hopes alive, the Sharks had nothing.

And nothing is what they produced Wednesday night.

Power-play woes, Oilers conspire against San Jose EDMONTON DELIVERS KO BLOW TO SHARKS WITH GAME 6 SHUTOUT - Victor Chi for the San Jose Mercury News.

Haunted once again by their failures on the power play, the Sharks exited the playoffs with a big fat zero Wednesday. The Edmonton Oilers completed their comeback in this series by muzzling the Sharks 2-0 in Game 6 to advance to the Western Conference finals. After winning the first two games of the series, the Sharks lost four in a row for the first time since November.

San Jose Sharks

- Notes from game 6:

Halfway through the first period Michael Peca won a faceoff, gained position on Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan by shoving him to the ice with an elbow along the boards, broke in to the right of Vesa Toskala, and roofed a puck high over his glove to open the scoring for Edmonton. Todd Harvey makes a diving play to dump the puck into the Sharks zone in the third period. Horcoff checks Matt Carle off the puck, Smyth ties up a backchecking Ekman before Harvey pastes him along the glass. Harvey moves to the front of the crease, Smyth dishes the puck to Harvey, Harvey feeds Horcoff, and Horcoff flips the puck over a prone Toskala. Score is 2-0 Oilers. Dwayne Roloson makes 24 saves on 24 shots for a 2-0 shutout win. San Jose is 0-8 on the power play Wednesday, and 2-35 for the series. Edmonton dominated game 6 from the faceoff circle 45-28, and dominated the series 196-129.

- Ouch.

- End of the season player reviews from Mike Chen:

Joe Thornton: It's hard to argue with winning the Art Ross, being one of your team's top penalty killers, and sparking the Richard winner. Even though Joe didn't put up the points in the playoffs, he had a great first round by drawing a ton of penalties and creating a lot of plays. His point totals against Edmonton were roughly the same, but his play had been diminished as Chris Pronger did what the Predators couldn't. Regular Season: A+. Playoffs: B-.

Jonathon Cheechoo: We knew Cheech was good, but Rocket Richard good? Cheech turned into a combination of Brett Hull and John LeClair -- disappearing into shooting positions and firing away one-timers like Hull and mucking around the crease for goals like LeClair. However, passing lanes were taken away from him in the playoffs, and if you can't get the puck to him, he can't shoot. Regular Season: A-. Playoffs: C-.

Patrick Marleau: Before the Thornton trade, Marleau was the only consistent player on the Sharks. Sandwiched between rookies and journeymen (hello and goodbye Niko Dimitrakos and Grant Stevenson) for the entire season, Marleau started finding some chemistry with Milan Michalek in January and the pair really clicked when Steve Bernier returned. Against Edmonton, their line was smoking until Michalek's injury knocked things out of whack. Regular Season: A. Playoffs: B...

A short list for the entire season would have to include, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, Jonathan Cheechoo, Vesa Toskala, and Milan Michalek for his stretch run and playoff play. The best player for the San Jose Sharks during the playoffs was captain Patrick Marleau.

- In another huge blow for the San Jose Sharks franchise, television color analyst Drew Remenda announced that he was leaving the broadcast booth to return home to his family in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Remenda currently co-hosts a radio talk show in Saskatoon weeknights on 650AM CKOM. Rumors were swirling around Remenda possibly joining Hockey Night in Canada, TSN, the Edmonton Oilers or Calgary Flames, even OLN. In an article by David Pollak for the Mercury News, Remenda stated that nothing is finalized and he will only accept a position that allows him to spend a majority of time with his family.

No one in the Sharks front office, on the Sharks roster, or in the Sharks broadcast booth has done more for promoting the San Jose Sharks in the Bay Area than Drew Remenda. He broke down the game for those who follow the sport, and made it accessible for the new fans watching for the first time. The highlight of his broadcast career came during several segments for the pre-game television show "Shark Byte". A camera equipped Remenda took several devastating hip checks from Kyle McLaren, tried to go toe-to-toe UFC style with San Jose enforcer Scott Parker, and geared up to take goaltender lessons from Vesa Toskala and shots from the rest of the Sharks.

A Stanley Cup final appearance this year would have cemented the Sharks on a crowded Bay Area sports stage, especially to members of the local media whose coverage of hockey can at best be described as mixed. Remenda was one of the few year in and year out spreading his enthusiasm for the Sharks on television, on radio, and at the local rink. His loss will have a huge impact on the Sharks.

- Note from the Drew Remenda sports show yesterday, Jonathan Cheechoo was not 100% healthy for the series. With a hand injury, and lingering effects from his head being checked into the glass, Cheechoo did not miss a game in the playoffs.

- Taking a look at the new Google Trends feature, first used by the 70-year young Ranger Pundit, it offers an interesting perspective on who is searching for the San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers on Google (broken down by city).

San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara lead the searches for both teams. Stockton, Oakland, and Sacramento also round up the top 10. All outside of the South Bay Area, with Oakland in the East Bay, and Stockton and Sacramento in the Central Valley. Calgary is the leading location for Edmonton Oiler searches on Google, and the only Canadian city to rank in the top 10. Take note of the population disparity between Canadian and American cities, and that many Canadians may use Canada-specific search engines more than Google.

Interesting results.

- 4 and Out: Sharks Waste Golden Opportunity - NY Times.

- Letters to the Edmonton Sun:

To all Edmonton Oilers fans who were in attendance at Game 6 versus the San Jose Sharks: thank you for showing the world that hockey fans are fans to be very proud of. To drown out the singing of an anthem with cheers sends a true strong message to the San Jose "fans," especially the ones who booed our anthem. I am not a fan of the Oilers in particular, but I must say I am truly proud of their accomplishments as well as proud of their fan base. A job well done to all.

Trevor Montgomery

- Colby Cosh pens an unusual profile of Edmonton Oilers goaltender Dwayne Roloson, and posts a photo slideshow of pre-game rallys prior to Wednesday's 2-0 Oiler win. Edmonton looked like the streets of Paris when I stumbled upon the 100th anniversay of the Tour de France in 2003. It was the first TDF to start inside the city in 20 some years, and no street, cafe, or shop even made an attempt to hide the fact that they wanted to watch the time trial. Colby Cosh's recap from game 5 is as succient as it is dead on, "Brief tale of the tape: Oilers score one, Sharks score one. Oilers score two, Sharks score two. Oilers score three, Sharks curl up and die."

- Photos of an Edmonton game-watching party, and the post-game celebration Wednesday night from Covered in Oil. More photos here, here, and here. Video of the celebrations on Whyte Ave after winning the series, but a few got a little out of control. More video of fans hanging from powerlines [?] here.

- The San Jose Sharks ECHL affiliate, the Fresno Falcons, face eliminaton by the Alaska Aces in game 6 of the ECHL Conference Finals tonight at Sullivan Arena in Alaska. Alaska leads the series 3 games to 2. A video feed of the game should be available from B2 Networks 15 minutes prior to the 8PM gametime.

- Falcons need a victory, Coach stresses 'fun' as Fresno faces elimination in Game 6 tonight - Fresno Bee.

- Aces' defenseman greets newest fan. IT'S A BOY: Aidan joins McCambridge family on Wednesday - Anchorage Daily News.

- Sweden eliminated Team USA from the 2006 IIHF World Championships in Lativa 6-0. Finland will face the Czech Republic, and Canada will face Olympic champion Sweden in the semifinals on Saturday. The Bronze, and Gold medal games will be held on Sunday.

- From the Japanese Shark fan contingent, Koyunoka posts photos of World Championship trophies. Which one would you want to carve your name into? Koyunoka forgot one entry: World Cup of Hockey trophy - Walmart.

- A few fan emails.

Keep up the excellent work covering the Sharks. I tried hard to belt out my loudest 'O Canada' ever from our section 113 seats and was glad to hear that others did too. I hope for a game 7 and second chance for season ticket holders and fans to make the shark tank a giant concert of voices for both 'O Canada' and the 'Star Spangled Banner'...
- J.E., Santa Clara (charter season ticket holder for San Jose sharks)

Jon, great website.....its got all the links I would ever need for hockey!!! Beautiful just beautiful. I'm as surprised as you are that Edmonton pulled that series out of the hat....now it looks like I'll have to cheer for the oil.
Darren - Calgary

I would like to thank the fans of the Edmonton Oilers for cheering the Star Spangled Banner. I am an Oiler fan now.
C.L. - Alameda

Sharks suck. Go Oilers!!!
Mark - Edmonton

Thanks for the kind words. Only a handful of SJ bashing after the incident in game 5. The Edmonton Oiler fans certainly displayed class in game 6. Only 1 comment on the national anthem made the Sharkspage mini-messageboard, 4 games before Wednesday night.

- Please support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society auction raising money to invest in blood cancer research and patient services. A recent auction raised money with several San Jose Shark related auctions on EBAY. Visit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society offical website for more information.

[Update] Tonight on OLN: Game 1, Edmonton Oilers at Anaheim Mighty Ducks 6PM.

[Update2] Report: Los Angeles Kings target Marc Crawford - TSN.

[Update3] After sweeping the East 4-0, and finishing 1-3 in the West during the first round of the playoffs, in the second round only Anaheim followed the script. Ottawa, New Jersey, and San Jose all lost. Currently 6-12 for .500, here are the conference final predictions:


Eastern Conference

(2) Carolina v. (4) Buffalo
Series key: Carolina's depth down the middle with Staal, Brind'Amour, and Weight vs 10 players who had 15 goals or more for the Buffalo Sabres during the regular season. Also a battle between two solid rookie goaltenders in the playoffs, Cam Ward (CAR, 8-2, 1.77GAA-t2nd, .930SV%-t2nd), Ryan Miller (BUF, 8-3, 2.25GAA-6th, .921SV%-t6th).
Prediction: Buffalo in 7.

Western Conference

(6) Anaheim v. (8) Edmonton
Series key: Biggest key will be the energy level of the Edmonton Oilers. The six game playoff series against San Jose was a physical battle, including a triple overtime win in game 3 that sparked a 4-game Oiler winning streak. Can Edmonton recover from winning the series on Wednesday, or will Anaheim be able to wear them down and pull the mat out from under Canada? The Oil will also have to find an answer for Anaheim goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov (ANH, 6-1, 0.87GAA-1st, .967%-1st), who is on fire. Ask Colorado.
Prediction: Anaheim in 7.


Interview with Carolina Hurricanes Director of Media Relations Mike Sundheim

Carolina Hurricanes Director of Media Relations Mike Sundheim answered a few questions about Carolina's 3 hockey blogs, the upcoming Carolina-Buffalo series, the play of rookie goaltender Cam Ward, and on OLN's first year of NHL coverage.

[Q] How long have your blogs been online?

[A] We put them up earlier this year. We were looking at what other teams have done, particularly Dallas with The Razor's Edge.

[Q] What has been the general response to the Carolina Hurricanes blogs?

[A] There has been a ton of positive response. People enjoy being able to directly hear from the people involved with the team. The only negative response would be those who just ask us to update our blogs more often. Obviously, we are pretty busy during the hockey season. We do as much as we can.

[Q] Do you think it has been good for you, detailing all the media coverage the Carolina Hurricanes have received during the playoffs on your blog?

[A] Yes, I think it is really good. It shows what the players have to deal with on a daily basis. Not in a negative sense, but the demands on their time, and beyond just being on the ice. It also helps the fans because they like to read everything there is to know about the Hurricanes.

[Q] What are your thoughts on the Hurricanes at this point, and on the upcoming Carolina-Buffalo series?

[A] We are certainly excited to reach this point, and have an opportunity to play a team like Buffalo. I think (Carolina GM) Jim Rutherford did a great job putting this team together, a good blend of young players and veteran guys position the Hurricanes well.

[Q] Have you had a chance to take a look at the blog Ron Francis is doing for WRAL, what do you think of his blog?

[A] Yes, I sure have. I think it's great to have someone like Ron, who still lives in the area, to be a part of hockey in the triangle. I think it is a good outlet for him, and it is something our fans enjoy hearing from a Hall of Fame type player.

[Q] What are your thoughts on the play of goaltender Cam Ward?

[A] I think we have known for some time Cam was going to be a special player. He is getting to prove that on as big a stage as you could probably get right now. He was a first round pick, part of the future of our team. A cornerstone of our team going forward. It is exciting to see him be able to emerge during the playoffs.

[Q] Was the plan to work him into the lineup slowly, or trial by fire?

[A] Early in the season, Martin Gerber got hurt. Cam was extremely successful during that period. When he went in, he was the man, the #1 guy. Cam got a little dinged up and took a back seat while Martin took over and ran with it, had an incredible season. Cam never really had a chance to get back in there and play on a regular basis. This has been his chance to do that and play consistently. He has handled that as well as anyone could have possibly imagined.

[Q] What are your thoughts of OLN's first year broadcasting the NHL?

[A] I think they have done a good job. Obviously this is their first season, so there are going to be some growing pains. As we have gone along, I think that their coverage has definitely improved. I enjoy working with all the people at OLN.

[Q] Are there going to be any special guests or coverage during the Carolina-Buffalo series?

[A] For sure. Every game they cover they line up interviews and do a piece on the team. So it has been fun that we have reached the point that we are getting national coverage like that.

[Q] Last question, you mentioned in your blog about the triangle. What does that stand for?

[A] The triangle is where the Carolina Hurricanes are based. The Raleigh/Durham, Chapel Hill area, the research triangle.

Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions about the Carolina Hurricanes. You can read Mike Sundheim's blog, The Guy Behind the Guy, at caneshockey.com. TGBTG recently published an update on the Don Cherry-Mike Commodore playoff wager, detailed a large number of recent player appearances and national media coverage, and discussed clinching a Conference Final berth in front of close to 19,000 fans on home ice.

Carolina faces Buffalo in game 1 Saturday at 2PM on NBC.

Personal Faith leads to 'Great Ride' for Hurricanes players - Caneshockey.com.

As the Stanley Cup Final field continues to narrow, playoff beards, lucky shirts, and a number of unique and meticulous routines have given NHL players the inner confidence they believe will lead to on-ice success.

Superstition extends to almost every athletic competition on the planet. Baseball hall-of-famer Wade Boggs ate chicken before every game of his 18-year career, while Michael Jordan never took to the NBA hardwood without his lucky UNC shorts underneath his uniform.

But for a number of players, superstition is superseded by faith in a higher power, something greater than the game itself.

The Raleigh/Durham News-Observer also has a postseason hockey blog, Lord Stanley's Blog. Maintained by N&O sports writers Luke DeCock and J.P. Giglio, the blog follows the Carolina Hurricanes throughout the playoffs. The NewsObserver also has features on defenseman Glen Wesley's quest to win a Stanley Cup, a photo gallery of Carolina Hurricanes fans, and an article on the availabilty of playoff tickets.

The Carolina portion of the hockey blogosphere is a well populated one. Casonblog is Carolina blog that is worth a trip through the archives. In his latest post, Casonblog details how blogs and messageboards have affected the news cycle. RedandblackHockey is another good source for Canes analysis and information. David Lee covers hockey with a local Carolina flavor, and was also part of a 4-person Blogger Roundtable held by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation earlier this year. Acid Queen is a one hockey blog you want to stay on the good side of.

[Note] A little different from the Carolina triangle, the Red Triangle is the California Pacific feeding grounds for the Great White Shark. The Red Triangle stretches from Stinson Beach in the North Bay, to the Farallon Islands out past the Golden Gate Bridge, to the Monterey Bay in the south.

[Update] Conference finals breakdown: Hurricanes vs. Sabres - Scott Burnside for ESPN.

In theory, the Sabres, the highest-scoring team in the postseason, represent the more disciplined of the two defensively and their shot-blocking has been a major story of this playoff season. But the Hurricanes can play lock-down hockey, too, as witnessed by the fact that in eight of their last nine playoff games, they have allowed two goals or less.

Throw in the battle of two rookie goalies, who are looking more like Conn Smythe Trophy winners than wet-behind-the-ears kids, and you've got the potential for a whale of a series...

Prediction: Carolina in seven.

[Update2] When things get hairy, Canes call for Commodore - NHL.com.

[Update3] More Carolina sports/hockey blogs: 850AM The Buzz, Stormbringer, and the Carolina Hurricanes in Polish.

[Update4] Fans follow the Canes from around the globe - News and Observer.

For those Carolina Hurricanes fans planning a visit to the Polish mining town of Ruda Slaska, there's someone you should meet.

He's Rafal Szlaga, perhaps the most unlikely member of Caniac Nation. Szlaga, a 21-year-old economics student, is responsible for what has to be the Canes' first blog written in Polish.

"I love Canes!" Szlaga declared in an e-mail message this week. "I listening every match to the NHL radio.com." Szlaga is proof that the Caniac clan is now a true melting pot, stretching from eastern Europe to Canada to the Arizona desert.


Four Keys for Game 6

San Jose Sharks captain Patrick Marleau

Four keys for the San Jose Sharks in game 6 tonight:


1. Production from Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo on the power play. In the last 3 Edmonton Oiler wins, Patrick Marleau has a goal and 2 assists [-2], Joe Thornton has a goal and 3 assists [even], and Jonathan Cheechoo has 2 goals and 2 assists [+1]. In those three losses, only Patrick Marleau has a point on the power play (primary assist on Christian Ehrhoff's 2nd period PP goal Sunday).

2. Faceoffs. The Edmonton Oilers lead San Jose 151-101 in faceoffs during the 3-game winning streak, including several key third period draws. Team FO% leaders during the playoffs: SJ, Mark Smith 58% [38-27, 15th, 10GP], Joe Thornton 42% [110-149, 74th, 10GP], Patrick Marleau 40% [59-90, 84th ,10GP]. EDM, Shawn Horcoff 55% [143-116, 23rd, 11GP], Jarret Stoll 55% [111-92, 28th, 11GP], Michael Peca 51% [93-88, 45th, 11GP]. Sharks center Marcel Goc won 13 of 18 for 72% in Game 5.

3. Get the puck deep. In the 6-3 loss during game 5 at San Jose, the Sharks repeatedly failed to get the puck deep in Edmonton's zone. Dump the puck in, hammer the defenseman trying to play it, and make the Oilers skate the entire 200 feet to create offense. The Sharks set the tone with physical play in the first two games, but Oilers have answered that and then some in the last three.

4. Manage the officials. Dwayne Roloson averages more equipment breaks, and argues more calls with the referees than the entire Sharks team combined. Several "gritty" Edmonton forwards are also taking advantage of tight officiating to manufacture penalties. Uncontested up until this point, San Jose needs to fight back. If it is preordained that refs are going to determine a game, make them call it in your favor.

[Update] This game is not on OLN, NBC, or streamed online at Comcast in the South Bay Area. On my local cable provider, this game is not even on the regular Fox Sports Bay Area channel in lieu of a SF Giants vs Houston Astros game. Game Six is on the Fox overflow channel FSN Plus, which will only be available on digital cable after this season.


More on the booing of Canadian National Anthem prior to Game 5 in San Jose

In a response to the coverage the booing of 'O Canada' in San Jose received, here are photos and a video from Game 5: photo gallery | video.

The photos are from the pregame warmup and the game, and the video was filmed just prior to the singing of the national anthem. The video shows normally enthusiastic Sharks fans, although any comparison to the crushing cheers at Rexall Place is misguided. Edmonton simply has the loudest fans in the league.

Media coverage: Booing of Canadian anthem creates controversy - San Jose Mercury News, Booing adds to Oilers fire - Detroit Free Press, SJ Mayor Disappointed Over Booing Of Canada Anthem - CBS 5, Show some class! - Edmonton Sun, Sandra Sperounes Plugged In blog for the Edmonton Journal.

Shame on Booing Fans - Edmonton Sun.

Oilers superfan Ron Erickson, who was at the game, estimated there were about "200 knuckleheads" that joined in the chorus of boos for the first quarter of the anthem.

After that, many more Shark fans - apparently disgusted by the boos - began cheering and singing along.

"I was angry at first. I was happier when the cheering and the singing took over at the end," Erickson told the Sun.

A statement on the "Anthem Incident" from the San Jose Sharks:

Sharks Comment On Anthem Incident May 15, 2006

The San Jose Sharks organization does not condone the booing of any nation's National Anthem under any circumstances. We were very surprised by the actions of a few fans prior to Game 5 on Sunday. Sharks fans have always been very respectful and there is no history of this type of behavior.

A series of events unfolded during Game 4 in Edmonton that undoubtedly helped lead to the reaction in San Jose Sunday night. During the performance of The Star Spangled Banner prior to Game 4 in Edmonton (aired live and in its entirety by FSN Bay Area), the in-house video board showed a picture of San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton, to which some Edmonton fans began to boo.

Compounding the situation, due to technical difficulties with the in-house microphone feed that night that supplied the anthem singer’s voice, the FSN Bay Area broadcast was forced to use the "effects" microphones, which are the microphones placed throughout the arena to capture game sound.

The timing of the booing, coinciding with the audio feed capturing in-arena sound, led Sharks fans watching on FSN Bay Area to hear Edmonton fans booing the U.S. National Anthem. Over the course of the Sharks 15-year history, Sharks fans have shown themselves to be among the most passionate and respectful fans in the game of hockey. We are proud of that support.

Many of our players and employees are Canadian. We were impressed by other fans in attendance who took it upon themselves to sing Oh Canada and our anthem in a show of support for both teams. We look forward to an exciting Game 6 back in Edmonton.

The Mayor of San Jose, Ron Gonzales, released a statement: Mayor Expresses Disappointment in Sharks Fans Disrespect to Canada Anthem.

One of the great benefits of sports is when a community comes together in a common purpose and cheers their team in a spirit of good sportsmanship. I’m delighted that the San Jose Sharks have given the people of our community another reason to cheer this year with a successful season and their pursuit of the Stanley Cup in the NHL playoffs.

This is why I must express my deep disappointment in the actions of some fans at yesterday’s game in San José between the Sharks and the Edmonton Oilers when they booed during the playing of Canada’s National Anthem.

This showed a lack of respect to our Canadian neighbors, to the players of both teams, and to our own residents. It certainly does not reflect the values of the people of San Jose, who represent the diversity of many cultures and heritages that have strengthened and enriched our entire community, and have made our city a model for others. I sincerely hope that this occurrence of bad behavior by a small number of fans is an aberration caused by misplaced enthusiasm and an ignorance of the expected courtesy that we should extend to all teams and players in every stadium, ballpark and arena.

I encourage and expect that all San Jose fans to stay positive, cheer good play and good sportsmanship, and show their respect for both our home team and the competition. Regardless of the outcome of the playoffs, we should all be able to walk away with pride and not be embarrassed by the actions of a few.

There is more from this weblog on the incident here, and my interview with Ron Gonzales during the 2004 San Jose playoff run is here.

The bottom line is that a few dozen fans, to the lower right of the video, started booing the Canadian national anthem. Around 200 total fans joined in, before tailing off. A few thousand fans sang the anthem over them at the end.

There is one positive. After it happened, it was only a matter of time before this could have been blown out of proportion and all matter of things said about the fans in SJ. San Jose fans who recently cheered the finale of Luc Robitaille's career, fans described earlier in the series by the Edmonton Journal as [San Jose hockey fans are, like, nice], and fans who when confronted by the painfully polite Calgary fans in the 2004 playoffs, almost had trouble rooting against them. Almost.

Normally when there is a mistake, a violent play, a scandal, a ratings plunge, etc, the media uses it as an indictment of the fans and the sport. In this case, that did not happen.

The ball is in Edmonton's court. There have been similar incidents, during EDM-DAL playoff games, in Montreal, in Buffalo, during the World Junior Championships, and even earlier in the series at Rexall Place according to a few fans from Edmonton. Here is to hoping that someone grabs the mic prior to the 'Star Spangled Banner' on Wednesday night, that they encourage the fans to sing the anthem en masse, and show the rest of the NHL that they have the loudest building, and the classiest fans in the league.

[Related] Photo gallery from game 5 - Sharkspage.

[Update] Forward Nolan's arbitration hearing gets underway in New York - SLAM.

[Update2] Bay Area hockey fans find way to OLN - InsideBayArea.com.

Last week, Game 2 of the Sharks-Oilers could be seen only on OLN in the Bay Area on Monday, and it drew a 2.1 rating. On Wednesday, Game 3 (the triple-overtime game) was also an OLN exclusive, and the rating improved to 3.0...

For Friday night, FSN Bay Area is in a holding pattern: the Giants-A's game (7 p.m.) and a potential Sharks-Oilers Game 7 (6 p.m.) are a potential conflict. If Barry Bonds is still looking for a historic homer, FSN will carry the baseball game and FSN+ will have the hockey.

"Playoff hockey trumps regular-season baseball, but historical accomplishments trump playoff hockey," Ted Griggs, FSN vice president, programming operations, explained.

Link from Kukla's Korner. You can email a question to Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda from FSNBA here, and email a question to the OLN broadcast crew here.

[Update3] O, Sharks fans, Don't boo the anthem of 12 of the team's players - Mercury News Editorial.

We can't imagine what the boo birds in the Shark Tank hoped to accomplish during the singing of the Canadian national anthem at the start of the Sharks-Edmonton playoff game on Sunday.

Could they have forgotten that the Sharks' Patrick Marleau was born in Saskatchewan or season savior Joe Thornton hails from London, Ontario? That Mark Smith comes from Edmonton, and Jonathan Cheechoo from godforsaken Moose Factory, Ontario?...

The rudeness was an aberration, we assume. Some news reports say the jeers were orchestrated in advance by a loudmouth minority who were upset over the rumor that "The Star Spangled Banner" had been dissed in Game 4 in Edmonton.

Purdy: Absurd anthem furor steals spotlight from Sharks playoff series - Mark Purdy.


Edmonton scores 4 goals on 11 shots in third period to win 6-3

San Jose Sharks vs Edmonton Oilers game 5 playoffs

Sharks vs Oilers Dwayne Roloson playoffs

San Jose Stanley Cup playoffs Vesa Toskala

Photo gallery from game 5.

The Edmonton Oilers won their third straight game of this Western Conference Semifinal series with a tight defense, opportunistic scoring, and a crush of Edmonton power plays served up the officals in the third period. Fernando Pisani opened the scoring in the first period, after the Sharks failed to clear a dumped puck out of their zone. Jaroslav Spacek unleashed a point shot that was just tipped past Toskala by Pisani.

In the second, Scott Thornton converted a wrist shot through traffic to even the score at 1-1. Ryan Smyth scored the first of 4 special teams goals for Edmonton, to give the Oilers a 2-1 lead heading into the third period.

The third period was a disaster for the San Jose Sharks. Down 2-1 with 20 minutes to play, San Jose surrendered a short-handed goal to Shawn Horcoff in 12 seconds.

The Sharks responded with a power play goal by Christian Ehrhoff, and a clutch goal by right wing Jonathan Cheechoo after two blocked shots by Edmonton. Shawn Horcoff and Fernando Pisani broke in on Sharks defenseman Josh Gorges, and Horcoff was able to set up Pisani for another goal to make the score 4-3 Edmonton.

At this point, the game left the hands of the players on the ice. San Jose was unable to mount a comeback as the officials called 5 straight penalties on the Sharks in the last 10 minutes of the game. Many were of the marginal or non-existent variety. Jarret Stoll was able to convert a 5-on-4 power play, and Ryan Smyth was able to convert a 5-on-3 power play to give the Oilers a 6-3 win. Edmonton has a 3-2 lead over San Jose in the best-of-7 series as both teams head back to Rexall Place Wednesday for game six.

Blame Canada, Sharks fans boo O Canada prior to start of Game 5 - Sports Illustrated.

San Jose Sharks fans loudly booed the Canadian national anthem Sunday night before Game 5 of their team's second-round playoff series with the Edmonton Oilers.

The vociferous booing started from the opening notes of singer Annmarie Martin's rendition of O Canada. While other fans attempted to drown it out by singing along, the boos were audible until the final notes.

Not correct. There were several hundred fans booing very loudly at the start of the Canadian national anthem last night. The booing died down as the rest of those in attendance started to sing the anthem over them. The lyrics were displayed on the electronic messageboards around the concourse to help fans along.

10 of the San Jose Sharks on the ice last night were born in Canada, as were 14 of the Edmonton Oilers.

Several derisive quotes by the Edmonton media were projected onto the ice during the pregame ceremonies [to very loud booing]. Earlier in the series, Scott McKeen of the Edmonton Journal penned a column 28 Reasons to hate San Jose, which did not go over well in the South Bay.

I would like to apologize to the Edmonton fans at the game and to the Canadians watching for the actions of a classless few at HP Pavilion. Another local blogger, Chuq Von Rospach, was also embarassed.

Laurie and I want to personally apologize to the country of Canada for the behavior of San Jose fans tonight; it was chump, it was uncalled for, and we thought we were better fans than that. Laurie and I are both embarrassed that we were there to see that happen.

More from Kukla's Korner.

Sharks lose game 5; Series gets really "interesting" - Teal Sunglasses.

[Update] Sharks sinking fast - SF Chronicle.

Scoring six times on their first 14 shots, the Oilers cruised to a 6-3 victory in Game 5 to take a 3-2 lead and put themselves in position to close out the frustrated Sharks in Edmonton on Wednesday when the best-of-seven resumes with Game 6.

"What we did tonight was basically beat ourselves," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "We had the puck for stretches of time, pressure, but we beat ourselves in the end"...

"The guys who didn't play well tonight, and there's a half dozen of them or so, have to look themselves in the mirror and come ready to play in the next game to make up for the fundamental blunders we made tonight," Wilson said.

[Update2] Victor Chi of the San Jose Mercury News reports that misfires and goofs have placed the Sharks on the brink of playoff elimination. Tim Kawakami turns his razor sharp gaze towards goaltender Vesa Toskala and writes that he did not come up with the big saves the team needed on Sunday night. The Mercury News also published a multimedia photo gallery from game 5, a Mark Purdy article on an improbable 7 game series, David Pollak's column on Edmonton's success with plan B, and more on the booing of the Canadian national anthem: Canadian anthem booed; players upset.

Oilers center Shawn Horcoff said: "I find it obviously disrespectful, but it's not the first time that's happened in a rink. I mean, their two best players are Canadian. They're booing their own team. But, I think, toward the end of it, they cheered. So I think there were some people in the crowd who thought it was disrespectful and tried to change it around a little bit."

Other Canadian Sharks took a diplomatic approach.

"I'm Canadian; they're just booing the team, not the anthem," Patrick Marleau said. "That's how I took it."

There were many new hockey fans who believed that booing the anthem was the same as booing Edmonton, which was a mistake. And there were many fans who realized this and tried to counter the boos by singing over them.


More photos on OLN

San Jose Sharks Edmonton Oilers fans

More photos of Edmonton and San Jose Sharks fans from this blog were posted on OLN Friday and Saturday. Submit your photos and questions and you could win an OLN prize pack.

Related: Photo on OLN. Photo in the Montreal Gazette.


Tickets for Game 5 on sale at Ticketmaster.com at 10AM

Classic San Jose Sharks tickets

A limited number of tickets for game 5 against Edmonton will be available on Ticketmaster at 10AM. Game 5 is at HP Pavilion on Sunday, May 14th at 7PM. The ticketmaster San Jose Sharks event page is here.

Tickets are also available at the HP Pavilion box office, select Rite Aid and Warehouse locations, Tower Records, and Ritmo Latino stores. For Ticketmaster phone orders call 408-998-TIXS or 415-421-TIXS. The box office phone number is 408-999-5757.

Visit the Sharkspage ticket section for more options, links and seating information.

[Update] Added a photo of classic Sharks tickets above. The first ticket is from the opening season at the HP Pavilion in San Jose during 1993-94, the second ticket is from season #1 at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, the third ticket from 2000 displayed one of the Sharks greatest moments, the fourth ticket features former Shark and current Mighty Duck Jeff Freisen.

[Update2] Deadspin previews Madden 2007. It looks impressive. NHL 2007 will be better.


Interview with Nashville Predators color analyst Terry Crisp

In his 8th season with Nashville, Terry Crisp has provided color commentary for the Predators, and worked as an analyst for TSN and Fox Sports.

He was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning from 1992-97 [391 games], coached the Calgary Flames to a Stanley Cup in his second of three seasons, and is one of only 14 people to win the Stanley Cup as a player [PHI 74, 75] and as a head coach [CAL 89].

Terry Crisp answered questions about the San Jose Sharks vs Nashville Predators playoff series, how the Predators are going to build for next season, about playoff officiating, and on the postseason play of goaltender Chris Mason.

[Q] Nashville had a strong regular season, earned a 4 seed and home-ice advantage in the playoffs, what strengths are the Predators going build on for next season?

[A] Probably the strength you build on is having Tomas Vokoun healthy. Tomas Vokoun is one of the top three goaltenders in the NHL. There's your starting point right there. Then there's Paul Kariya. Steve Sullivan. Martin Erat. Shea Weber. Scottie Upshall. Ryan Suter. Those are all building blocks. Those are all guys that, coming back next year, are going to make a solid, solid hockey club for us.

Then you have a youngster like defenseman Kevin Klein in the minors that you want to take a look at. Winger Alexander Radulov in the minors that you want to bring in. And you've got to look at some of the guys, realistically, that didn't get the job done. That's another side of the coin that you definitely look at.

We pride ourselves on speed. That's all well and good, but I heard these coaches say, "You know what? If I could have a big speedy guy and a little speedy guy, I'm going to take the big speedy guy." And I think we have to look at the fact that in the playoffs, if you're going to go deep into the playoffs, you've got to have Clydesdales. The little quarterhorses are fine; they get you to a sprint. But if you're going to win it--and I look back over the years when teams I've played on or coached have won--you've got to have those big Clydesdales that can just keep pounding the opposition the whole time.

[Q] There were key moments in game 2, in game 3, and in game 4, where the Predators controlled play against the San Jose Sharks, but they could not sustain the momentum over an entire 60 minutes. What do you believe the turning points were in the Nashville-Sharks playoff series?

[A] We took penalty after penalty, and the referees called penalty after penalty on us. Five-on-threes killed us. Probably one of our bread-and-butter things all year long was our penalty kill. We were a strong penalty kill team. We prided ourselves on it, and we didn't get it done in the playoffs.

I'm going to give San Jose full marks because they adjusted. Every time we did something, they adjusted, and moved their team around. But it's like our coaches said, they were a team that could improvise. They could create on their power play. They were good at that. That was one of the big differences in the series--how creative their power play was.

And I've got to give their penalty killers full marks too. They read us and did their homework on us. They went out and realized after that first game what they had to do to stop us and did it.

[Q] There was a lot of talk about injures to the Nashville Predators, but Chris Mason provided solid goaltending, and Steve Sullivan and Marek Zidlicky both came back to play in the series. What do you think about each of their performances, and how much were they playing through pain to try to help the Predators advance?

[A] Mason came in, but he came in as the No. 1 goalie. Vokoun was out. For Chris Mason, that's what he's been preparing for. There was nothing new for Chris Mason to have to come in. This is what they had him here for. I think Chris Mason did a good job. You can't lay any blame on Mason. Zidlicky tried to get back earlier, but he couldn't do it. It would have been nice to have had him--we didn't have him.

Sullivan, he's a warrior. I know he came back early just simply because he wanted to play in the playoffs. You could tell by the way he played that he was not anywhere near 100 percent. But being the player that he is, he wanted to try to come back and help us and do what he could do.

Having said all of that, I don't consider injuries a crutch, because we had a lot of healthy guys who in my mind didn't get the job done. They didn't come up to the mark in the playoffs when they were needed.

[Q] It is hard to be objective in such a heated postseason environment, but people from all sides have been critical of officiating. They have a difficult job in calling a tight game to allow the ice to open up for offense, but it seems that some players have taken advantage of this to draw penalties. What are your thoughts on officiating in the entire playoffs so far, and what suggestions would you make about it? One I had was to allow the Toronto office to call in on penalties for a brief window of time in addition to calling in for goals.

[A] I'm the last guy you should ask about officiating because I've been the guy beating the drums all year that I didn't like it. I liked a lot of our rule changes and I like the way the game evolved, the way the game got better in a lot of areas. I just think they took too much out of the officials' hands, not letting them decide from their own makeup.

When I played, you knew what the makeup of an official was. He had control of the game and it was him calling it. I think now there's too many ticky-tacky penalties. They keep saying they're going to call them. I can't argue with it. I think in the playoffs, you can hear fans all around the league saying they wish that the referees would allow the players to play a little more "playoff-type hockey." And I do too.

If they're going to stay with it, call diving. Just call plain diving. Not unsportsmanlike. Not anything else. Put it in the book as diving. Believe me, every referee and every player and every fan knows when a guy dives. Don't give the other guy the ticky-tack little lay-on. Don't give him a penalty. Get the guy for diving. I guarantee you you'll see a lot less guys butterflying around the ice.

[Q] What did the Predators and Nashville fans learn about the Sharks? What are other teams going to need to do to get past San Jose in the playoffs?

[A] I think opponents are going to have to match San Jose stride for stride with the depth that San Jose has. The Sharks are not a one-horse team. They've got good goaltending with Nabokov and Toskala. We've seen that. They've got a defense corps that I think is very underrated. They play a good solid style of game. They've got toughness back there. They've got quickness. They've got guys that can shoot the puck. So I like their defense corps immensely.

And their forwards--suddenly they had guys that coaches wish would step up like this. Everybody's been waiting for Marleau to come out of his cocoon. Well suddenly Patrick Marleau came out of his cocoon. Everybody knew what Joe Thornton was doing. Everybody knew what Jonathan Cheechoo was doing. But suddenly, Scott Thornton became a force to be reckoned with on the ice. The youngster Bernier suddenly came out of nowhere and was flying around. Mark Smith. All names you didn't hear of--they're not household names--they suddenly stepped up their game immensely.

So what that gave San Jose was, they were a very, very good team that now emerged into a good solid playoff team simply because these guys picked up the pace, picked up their game and gave them all kinds of depth. I keep saying, in the playoffs, you need depth.

Thanks to Terry Crisp for taking the time to answer a few questions, and to Predators Internet Development Manager Doug Brumley for making this possible.

The Nashville Predators introduced two blogs after a website re-design at the start of the 2005-06 season. One blog posts news and notes from the Predators front office, and the second offers commentary by Terry Crisp. A third was maintained during the World Junior Championships by the Nashville hockey operations manager who was in attendance.

[Update] I asked Los Angeles Kings Director of Communications Jeff Moeller about blogs and efforts to draw fans back after the NHL lockout. Moeller noted that he was unaware of a video segment Jeremy Roenick filmed for letsgokings.com, but that the Los Angeles Kings did air a WWAD [What Would Avery Do] graphic on the jumbotron at the Staples Center that was made popular on that website.

Moeller also mentioned that Season ticket prices were reduced by 5 percent, that ticket prices for individual games were frozen, $10 season tickets were expanded from 500 to 1,000, and that Luc Robitaille signed jerseys were given to all Kings season ticket accounts.

[Update2] Anaheim "Pond" Hockey - Hockeydirt.com.

In a rare stroke of good fortune, I found myself in "the OC" on Friday. On a longshot I went to the Mighty Duck's website to see if there were any tickets available for their round two opener against Colorado. Hallelujah! $150 later me & a buddy had our hands on decent 3rd level seats at the "Pond."

Excited by the prospect of watching Sakic, Blake, Selanne & the Niedermayers, and forewarned about the horrific LA traffic, we gave ourselves tons of time and arrived at the Arrowhead Pond at about 5:30 - an hour and a half before puck drop.

[Update3] Tonight on OLN: Game 4: Senators at Sabres 4PM, Game 4: Mighty Ducks at Avalanche 7PM. Next Wednesday streamed for free on Comcast.net: Game 6: San Jose at Edmonton 6PM (if necessary).

Oilers win game 3 in triple overtime, Longest game in San Jose Sharks history

Edmonton center Shawn Horcoff netted the game winner 2 minutes and 24 seconds into the third overtime Wednesday night to end the longest game in San Jose Sharks history [102:24]. The OLN highlight video shows Ryan Smith reversing the puck behind the net, eluding Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan, and setting up Horcoff for the game winning goal. The Oilers earn a 3-2 win, and draw within one game of the Sharks for the series lead.

The SF Chronicle's Ross McKeon has a reaction from San Jose Sharks head coach Ron Wilson:

"It took them six periods to beat us," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "We'll bounce back, we've been a resilient team. We'll make some adjustments to our game."

Edmonton, which outshot San Jose 58-34, narrowed the Sharks' lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series to two games to one. Game 4 is Friday night here and a Game 5 is now guaranteed for Sunday in San Jose.

The San Jose Mercury News devoted 4 pages to the Stanley Cup playoffs on Thursday. Victor Chi reports that the Oilers put an end to any talk of a series sweep, Mark Purdy opined that Edmonton's Rexall Place was as advertised; loud and inhospitable, an article by the Edmonton Journal's John MacKinnon notes that the young Sharks blueline is making a splash, and Victor Chi rounds up the news and notes reporting that Alyn McCauley replaced Milan Michalek on the second line for game 3, and the Merc also posted a multimedia photo gallery from game 3.

In the Edmonton Sun, Sharks head coach Ron Wilson compares the media climate in California for the Sharks and the Ducks to what the Canadian teams have to face every day, and does not like what he sees. Mistakes are hyper-analyzed, and players may hesitate to make certain plays if they can expect a crush of media criticism afterwards.

The Edmonton Sun also has features on The strife of Ryan [Smyth], keeping the Monty Python theme going from game 2, a profile on Sharks right wing Jonathan Cheechoo, Terry Jones notes that the Oilers need to Keep it Going, and a recap of the 3-2 overtime win.

The Edmonton Journal recaps the triple overtime win, steals this blog's thunder and labels game 4 a battle of attrition, reports that watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs can improve your language skills [I still need to learn how to speak Canadian], posts a photo gallery of fans outside of game 3 [Edmonton fans were harder to find in SJ], and Vicky Hall reports that the Oilers sense the pandemonium gripping Edmonton.

From Edmontonoilers.com: A front page video highlight of the triple OT win in game 3, a photo gallery from each game in the series by photographer Andy Devlin, several audio post-game interviews from Oilers players, and post-game recap that notes Pronger's assist was his first point of the series.

Stats from Game 3:

Shots: EDM 53, SJ 34. Missed Shots: EDM 34, SJ 19. Blocked Shots: EDM 18, SJ 26. Hits: EDM 38, SJ 17. Faceoff Win %: EDM 61%, SJ 39%. Time on Ice: EDM Pronger 46:54, Spacek 46:30, Staios 40:00; SJ Hannan 44:30, Preissing 38:06, Gorges 37:47, J.Thornton 37:01. Saves: Roloson 32, Toskala 54.

Number of goaltender interference penalties: EDM 0, SJ 2*. * - Figure does not include Patrick Marleau's non-interference penalty on Jarret Stoll in the 2nd.

An email interview with Nashville Predators color analyst Terry Crisp is coming soon.

[Update] Fans turn wild at Riga Arena while Canada routs host Latvia 11-0 - Edmonton Journal.

Canada knew the Latvian fans were going to be a factor in a game being billed locally as one of the biggest in the country's history. But no one expected this.

The lovable Latvians turned hostile at the IIHF world hockey championship Thursday, twice delaying the game during Canada's easy 11-0 win over the host team.

American referee Rick Looker called 16 minor penalties against Latvia - including eight in the first 18 minutes - and the 10,000-plus screaming fans at Arena Riga responded by littering the playing surface with coins, noise makers and even a shoe and cellphone.

Scroll down the right side of this webpage for the 2006 IIHF World Championship section with links to the official site, local papers, and Canadian and USA national teams.


Hockey Notes - May 10th

Edmonton Journal Playoff Cover

- The cover of Tuesday's Edmonton Sun featured two cover articles and photos on the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 loss to San Jose in game two of the Western Conference Semifinals.

The first article by Joanne Ireland, Not enough in the Tank - Oilers outshot on second straight night; Sharks' Joe Thornton ends playoff drought with game-winning goal, discussed the physical play from both sides in game 2, Dwayne Roloson's 36 save performance, and how the Edmonton Oilers need to take advantage of home ice to get some life in the series.

The second article by Sandra Sperounes, Fans battle Stanley Cup bray-offs - Stats back up San Jose's claim as challengers to Edmonton's dynasty of din, covers the battle between Edmonton and San Jose over who has the loudest building.

- Sharkspage video of the Shark head dropping for the first home playoff game against Nashville is available here. TSN published an article on NHL pre-game presentations a few days later, NHL goes all-out with pre-game galas. Shark fans added their contributions to the mix here and here. Edmonton fans celebrate on Whyte Ave after downing the Red Wings in 6 here.

- Edmonton Journal reporter Sandra Sperounes made the flight down to San Jose for the first two games. She wrote about the road trip on her blog, Plugged In.

Wandered around today, looking for Oilers fans. Couldn’t find any -- so I had to change the focus of my story for Sunday's Journal. Ended up looking for Sharks fans. They're not as easy to find either.

I don't doubt that San Jose residents are excited about the playoffs — the games are sold out — but they're not just not as loud and proud as Oilers fans are on a day-to-day basis.

San Jose, by the way, is a gorgeous city. I don't think I want to leave. Neither do the Bounce boys. Beautiful weather. Great transit service. Neat architecture. Palm trees. Multicultural. Clean. Doesn't make me think of hockey. The eBay campus is just down the street from my hotel.

- The cover of the Edmonton Sun on Wednesday featured a full page photo of a female Oiler fan holding a knife to a Shark jersey. The title: Fish or Cut Bait. Much more on the Edmonton Sun sports page.

- Archival photograph of a 1907 Kenora Ontario Hockey Game. Thanks to VCOE for the link. More historical hockey photos are available from hockeylegend.com.

- Mountain View represents for Joe Thornton on John Buccigross's ESPN mailbag:


You have it terribly wrong about Joe Thornton being a nonfactor in the first round. Marleau may have scored all of the goals, but Thornton was dominant everywhere on the ice. Even though he wasn't scoring, his line was still controlling the play in the offensive zone. I think he drew four penalties in one game just with his play around the net. That's just the beginning. Add faceoffs and penalty killing to the mix, and you couldn't be more wrong.

It's the same reason that he won't win the Hart Trophy. Nobody in the East actually watches him play. They just see 0 G, 3 A, and they think "nonfactor."

T.J. Paulsen
Mountain View, Calif.

[John Buccigross] I think there is more in Joe Thornton's tank. I think he can pick it up one more gear. He has to because everyone else is. The Stanley Cup playoffs are about heart and soul. Therefore, one can become a better player than they actually are through sheer will. I think there is a little more game inside Joe Thornton.

A win, is a win, is a win. If the Sharks advance, it makes no difference if Joe Thornton plays in goal. Sharks head coach Ron Wilson has repeatedly stressed Joe Thornton's contributions on defense, faceoffs, and Thornton and Cheechoo's ability to use puck possession to suck time off the clock.

The one player harder to knock off the puck than Jonathan Cheechoo? Joe Thornton. Goals will come, as his first did in Monday's 2-1 win over Edmonton. Don't get stuck on exclusively waiting for Thornton to score a hat trick, and in the process let physical and entertaining games pass you by.

- On the heels of the staid "My Stanley Cup" and "My NHL" marketing campaigns, the new beingstanley.com featurettes are a different, more irreverent approach. The ad was created by AMP.

- Something to prove, MVP candidate Thornton needs to shine in playoffs - Sports Illustrated's Allan Muir.

See comment above.

- Quotes from Joffery Lupul in video interview with Farhan Lalji on TSN. Lupul scored 4 goals to dismantle the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 in overtime in game 3, earning the Anaheim Mighty Ducks a 3-0 series lead.

[Q] So much talk about Teemu Selanne coming into this series, but you may have become the Avalanche assasin with 4 goals. Have you ever had a game like this before?

[A] Not since Juniors I dont think. It was a pretty good feeling. Every time I touched the puck tonight something good happened. Hopefully it keeps going.

[Q] 6 shots, 4 goals. Goals 2 and 3 were goal scorer goals, top corner. You might have gotten a little fortunate on the overtime goal...

[A] Yeah, the overtime goal I got lucky, I was shooting it five hole. I dont know if it caught the defenseman's stick or his foot, but sometimes you get those breaks.

- One man's ballot for NHL Trophies - NHL.com's Ice Age.

- Buy the Oilers now! 5 out of 9 insidehockey.com writers support Edmonton in the Western Conference Semifinals.

- Sharks take commanding lead in series - TSN.

- The Road to the Cup runs through Cali - Fox Sports.

The San Jose Sharks will face the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the Western Conference final, starting in about two weeks, after the Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche are eliminated from the Stanley Cup tournament.

San Jose will need no more than six games to pump the Oilers dry, while the best-of-seven Ducks-Avalanche series could go the distance.

Whether having two California-based teams competing for the right to play for hockey's Holy Grail will make Hollywood stars accept the free tickets the NHL is offering them remains to be seen.

But in all honesty, an all-California conference final is a dream come true for the NHL because it will focus the spotlight on the sport in markets where hockey is still fighting for mainstream acceptance.

Get ready for the all-California conference final.

Just an FYI, this blog has posted photos [and interviews/reports] from all 6 Californian ACHA Division 2 teams [SJSU, Stanford, CAL, USC, Long Beach, USC, UCLA], all 5 California ECHL teams [Stockton, Fresno, Bakersfield, Long Beach, San Diego], and 2 out of 3 of the Californian NHL teams [San Jose, Los Angeles]. If I can get access to an Anaheim game, it will make it a clean sweep for all 14 teams in the top 3 levels of Californian hockey in a single season. So while the blog says Sharkspage, there is more than enough claim for this site to be described as a Californian hockey blog.

More notes, links, photos, and college/ECHL/NHL interviews related to this will be posted in the future.

- New blog: Battleofcalifornia.blogspot.com.

- OLN and Yahoo! Pair Up for Online Sports Content - Broadcastingcable.com.

OLN and Yahoo! have created an agreement to provide Yahoo! Sports (http://sports.yahoo.com) with exclusive video of the network’s sports events. "Video content has become a core part of the online sports experience and we’re excited to add OLN programming to our growing sports presence on the Web," said David Katz, Head of Sports and Entertainment for Yahoo!.

The package begins with talent recaps and coverage (some live) of NHL games, plus footage and updates of the Tour de France, the Giro D’Italia, the Dakar Rally, the Professional Bull Riders, the Davis Cup, the Boston Marathon, AMA Motocross and the Arena Football League. Additional programming will be available via Yahoo! Sports weekly SportStream Webcast show.

The article also notes that OLN content and NHL highlights will be available from Yahoo this year. In 2007, Yahoo will stream 3 live NHL games per week throughout the regular season and the early playoff rounds. Link from Kukla's Korner.

- Today's game not available in some areas, OLN is not carried on all cable systems - Morning Buzz.

Ordinarily, it would seem the last thing the NHL should want is for its most important and highest-rated games to be the most difficult to find on TV. But the post-lockout NHL should want this even less: games that can't be found on TV at all.

Yet that's the situation for many South Bay residents who tried but failed to find Game 2 of the Sharks-Edmonton Oilers series Monday night, and will endure the same fruitless search again for Game 3 tonight. They're just discovering that they don't have the cable channel OLN, which holds exclusive rights to those games.

After tonight, the series reverts to Fox Sports Net, but that temporary reprieve ends for good if the Sharks advance. In the conference finals, one game is slated for NBC and the rest will be on OLN exclusively; in the Stanley Cup finals, Games 1 and 2 will be on OLN before the series shifts to NBC.

I have received a handful of emails from fans witout access to OLN in the Bay Area. Quick solution, air the games online for free at Comcast.net. I emailed the suggestion to the NHL and to Comcast.net sports editor Vito Forlenza.

For 3+ years ESPN2 was not available on my local cable package, while friends and family in cities directly to the west and south had ESPN2 on basic cable. Ironing out all the issues with moving to a new channel will take time, but you can't argue with the product they are putting on the air. Ginormous amounts of hockey. Add a few of the right people along the way who can bring innovative ideas to OLN's broadcast, and the ratings will follow along with channel recognition.

- No answers for playoff failure - Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News.

[Q] I think I have at least a whimsical answer to the Stars plight. As many of us have learned this year from watching "My Name Is Earl," it's all about karma – and right now the Stars have bad karma. Really bad. They have had bad karma for a long time.

So, something has to be done to right any wrong that has been committed in the past before the Stars can achieve greatness again.

After considerable thought, I believe it comes down to the offending skate of Brett Hull on the morning of June 20, 1999. What else can it be? Although I believe that his was a good goal, and the Stars Cup win was legit, the circumstantial evidence to the contrary is mounting – daily. So, the obvious fix is that the Buffalo Sabres must win the Stanley Cup in order to exorcise the Stars playoff curse. Consequently, all Stars fans must become devoted fans of the Sabres and embrace them as the first step in our "Quest For a Future Cup."

Go Stars and, even more important, LET’S GO BUFF-A-LO!

J. P.

[MIKE HEIKA] Hey, J.P., best e-mail of the week. If the Sabres win, maybe we can have coach Lindy Ruff bring the Cup down and give him a key to the city.

The photo does not lie. Thanks to Puck Update for the link.

- New Sharks "fan blog" from CBS-5's Ken Misener. It is the goalie factory Ken.

- Toskala's goal work is brilliant -- and he's hardly even trying - Ray Ratto of the SF Chronicle.

Ray Ratto's goaltending analysis is brilliant, and he's hardly even trying. Sorry, too hard to resist. The truth is, one of Toskala's strengths has been his patience in net, and that is the single biggest characteristic you can compare between Toskala and Kiprusoff. More is available from these scouting reports I did in December for San Jose goaltenders Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala, and Atlanta Thrashers goaltender Michael Garnett. Might have to update that postseason comment on Toskala after his 12-1 performance in the last 13 games.

- Flashfire's livejournal Sharks vs Flames photo gallery. Very nice photos.

- According to my brother, two radio guys from Edmonton were planning to throw a potroast, or a porterhouse roast on the ice during the Canadian anthem prior to game 2. Not sure if they were successful.

- Brendan Shanahan and Sidney Crosby scored in Team Canada's 2-1 win over Team USA in the 2006 World Championships on Tuesday. Phil Kessel scored for the Americans. Canada faces the host Latvians in the Qualifying round Thursday, USA faces Finland on Friday. More is available from the official 2006 IIHF World Championship website.

- Eric McErlain at Offwing posts a link to a video of an Alexander Ovechkin hit on Chris Chelios.

- After defeating the Bakersfield Condors in 7 games, the Fresno Falcons are tied 1-1 with the Alaska Aces in the Western Conference finals. Game 3 is Friday at the Savemart Center in Fresno.

- Falcons split for home, Alaska evens ECHL series; teams now head to Fresno - Fresno Bee.

- Tonight on OLN: Game 3, Hurricanes at Devils [4PM], Game 3, Sharks at Oilers [7PM]. Tonight streamed online for free on Comcast.net: Game 3, Ottawa at Buffalo [4PM].

- Matt Cauthon recently started a blog called Toronto Truthiness. Matt wrote a 4 part series on Toronto Maple Leafs GM John Ferguson Jr, and his efforts to build a playoff calibre team. Part 1 discussed free agents and contracts, part 2 examined trades, part 3 evaluated the development system, and the conclusion is available here.

- Thanks to the new advertisers supporting this site. Please support the Clarion Hotel, the Comfort Inn, and the Hampton Inn, all located in the San Jose area. To advertise your website or business on Sharkspage, contact us here.

[Update] Scott McKeen of the Edmonton Journal posts 28 Reasons to hate San Jose. The list does not get far past broccoli farms and Dionne Warwick.

[Update2] I previewed games 3 and 4 of the Sharks-Edmonton series on NHL2K6, who are apparantely readers of Sharkspage with a top San Jose line of Sturm-Marleau-Cheechoo. The result of game 3 was a 2-1 Sharks win, with Cheechoo and Horcoff scoring goals, and Alyn McCauley netting the game winner. Edmonton was 0-8 on breakaways, and failed to convert on 2 penalty shots. In the rubber match for game 4, San Jose eeked out a 6-5 win in a barn burner with Patrick Marleau scoring 4 goals for the Sharks. Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff netted 2 for Edmonton.

[Update3] Player Poll: Which is the loudest playoffs arena? - The Hockey News via ESPN.

Edmonton: "I don't want to say it, but I'd go with Edmonton, when I was in Chicago. Chicago is still the loudest, but I guess I can't say there because that's who I played for. It was awesome." -- Bryan Marchment [CAL]

San Jose: "It gets pretty rowdy in there." -- Curtis Brown [CHI]

Edmonton: "I remember Edmonton being really loud [in 1998]." -- Joe Sakic

San Jose -- Kris Draper [DET]
San Jose -- Bryce Salvador [STL]
San Jose -- Eric Weinrich [VAN]

Montreal [either the Bell Centre or Montreal Forum] finished first with 5 votes, Calgary and SJ tied for second with 4. Recommended next question: What type of stick do you use, and how many times has it shattered when you are killing a 5-on-3 power play?


Sharks survive 5-on-1 penalty kill, down Oilers 2-1

San Jose Sharks Edmonton Oilers Stanley Cup playoffs

Photo gallery of fans at the game.

The pivotal moment of game 2 was a 5-on-3 penalty kill in the second period by the San Jose Sharks, and the ensuing goal to tie the game at 1-1 by Sergei Samsonov.

A play-by-play recap of what happened:

Up 1-0 on a first period goal by defenseman Tom Preissing, Sharks rookie forward Patrick Rissmiller took an interference penalty at 6:59 of the second period. Edmonton was 21.4% on the power play during the playoffs, 5th in the NHL. San Jose was 81.1% on the penalty kill, 10th in the NHL.

Chris Pronger dumps the puck in on the right side. While Hannan and Stoll battle for position, Sharks rookie defenseman Josh Gorges clubbed Fernando Pisani to the ice. Gorges was called for boarding with 6:40 left in the second period. Edmonton would have a 5-on-3 power play for 1:41. OLN announcer notes that San Jose was the 3rd least penalized team in the regular season.

Edmonton skates the puck into the Sharks zone, and Pronger and Stoll exchange passes at the point. Pronger sends the puck down the right side. Center Mark Smith, and defenseman Kyle McLaren and Scott Hannan are killing the 5-on-3 for the San Jose Sharks. A point shot is stopped by Vesa Toskala. The rebound is picked up by Pisani and skated behind the net by Ales Hemsky.

Kyle McLaren gets control of the puck along the boards but is unable to clear it out of the zone. Pronger keeps the puck in and sends it to the left point. 4 passes around the perimeter before Stoll fires a point shot off Vesa Toskala's chest. The puck is gloved down by Fernando Pisani. Scott Hannan breaks his stick checking the puck off of Pisani. McLaren clears the puck to the point on his backhand, and Pisani challenges him hard and McLaren falls backwards to the ice. No penalty called.

Pronger skips the point man and passes to Ales Hemsky on the left side. Hemsky crashes the net down low. Mark Smith breaks his stick over Pisani in the middle of a slot trying to take him out of the play. The puck is forced behind the net by a stickless Hannan. Stoll fires a shot from the point high and wide, and the puck rebounds directly to Hemsky who fires a shot from the left of the crease. Hannan blocks the shot with his upper body.

Pisani wrists a shot from the left side of the slot. A hard rebound circles around the boards to the right point. Pronger passes to Jarret Stoll who fires a slapshot from the blueline. Rebound directly to Pisani again who tries to pass across the crease to a wide open Ryan Smyth. The puck hops over Smyth's stick. Chris Pronger gathers the rebound and passes to Stoll for another point shot. Wide left. Puck around the boards to Pronger, who tries to force a pass by Kyle McLaren, the lone Shark penalty killer who still has his stick. Blocked.

Pronger gets his own rebound and passes to Stoll out at the point. Stoll fires another wrist shot that is blocked by Hannan, who dropped to his knees to make the play. Hannan gets to his feet and dives to glove the puck out of the zone. The 5-on-3 Edmonton power play is over, but there is still 19 seconds left on the Gorges boarding minor.

Edmonton gains the zone, and fire a slapshot from the point on Toskala. Shawn Horcoff and Ryan Smyth crowd Toskala in front of the net. Smyth is checked hard by Preissing, and falls on top of Toskala. No penalty called. After a scramble in front of the net, the puck filters out to the top of the crease and Sergei Samsonov ties the game at 1-1 just as the penalty expires.

Kukla's Korner posted a link to video of the 5-on-3 penalty kill.

Sharks head coach Ron Wilson colorfully described the 5-on-3 for the San Jose Mercury News.

"That was the Black Knight from Monty Python," Wilson said. "Body parts were falling off. No sticks. That was unbelievable effort."

Joe Thornton scored his first goal of the playoffs on the power play at 17:29 of the second period. The eventual game winner was assisted by Jonathan Cheechoo and Patrick Marleau.

Game 2 also featured two of the biggest hits to date in the series. Milan Michalek passed the puck to Patrick Marleau at center ice in the second period. While his head was turned to the left, 6-foot 210 pound Oiler left wing Raffi Torres came from the right and planted his shoulder into the head of Michalek. Michalek stayed on the ice motionless for several minutes.

Edmonton was down a goal, and stinging from criticism that they were outplayed physically in game 1. This was a message by the Oilers to the Sharks, and a hit by Torres meant to fire up his team. Milan Michalek suffered a very serious knee injury 2 games into his first NHL season in 2003-04. After a short return with the Sharks AHL affiliate Cleveland Barons, the knee was re-injured. Michalek missed the rest of the season.

If Torres went low on Michalek, the game would have devolved into Fight Club at HP Pavilion very quickly. Milan regrouped, returned to the ice, and finished with an assist, 5 shots on goal, +1, and 13:09 minutes of total ice time.

Sharks defenseman Kyle McLaren hip checked 6-foot-3, 245 pound right wing Georges Laraque near the end of the second period. The check hit Laraque hard, but he did not drop to the ice. Laraque skated directly to the bench where OLN showed the Edmonton enforcer visibly in pain.

[Update] Sharks Notebook, When the sticks break, schtick takes over - SF Chronicle.

It was almost comical. Already down two men, Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan broke his stick, then teammate (and the lone penalty-killing forward) Mark Smith broke his.

For a good 40 seconds, the two got into passing lanes, blocked shots and scrambled as best they could before Hannan gloved a loose puck out of the zone to enable Hannan, Smith and defenseman Kyle McLaren to finally exit the ice after successfully killing all 1:42 of the second-period Edmonton 5-on-3.

[Update2] More from Tom Benjamin at Canuck's Corner:

There was a very strange few minutes in last night's San Jose-Edmonton game when new NHL technology ran into the new NHL standards of enforcement. A bogus penalty set the Sharks down two men for nearly a full two minutes. The Oilers controlled the faceoff, and not one but two San Jose players shattered their composite sticks.

I guess the situation was so unusual the Oilers did not know what to do because they proceeded to pass the puck around the perimeter while San Jose checkers waved their arms. Every Edmonton fan surely had time to think "Why doesn't somebody wake up and take the puck to the net? It isn't that hard to step around a guy without a stick, is it?" Every San Jose fan had time to think, "What's going to happen when an Oiler wakes up and takes the puck to the net?" Finally, Scott Hannan had time to think "What on earth am I going to do when an Oiler wakes up and tries to take the puck past me to the net?" Hannan managed to figure it out. When an Oiler finally tried to make a move on him, he dove at the puck and swatted it down the ice with his glove.

[Update3] If this was a Monty Python moment, was Chris Pronger the black knight?

Interview with San Jose Business Journal's Andrew F. Hamm

The last few weeks this blog has been trying to poll local media about the San Jose Sharks playoff run. Andrew F. Hamm is a reporter for the San Jose Business Journal covering defense, sports management, and transportation issues among others.

[Q] How long have you been writing for the San Jose Business Journal?

[A] I've worked for the Business Journal since Oct. 2000.

[Q] What are your thoughts on the Sharks regular season, Joe Thornton winning the Art Ross, Cheechoo winning the Rocket Richard trophy? How would you judge the local media interest?

[A] The team has a unique chance to move up the list of sports teams Bay Area fans care about. Right now, among the pros, the Sharks are a distant last. They probably don't even pass Stanford's basketball teams (men and women) or Berkeley's football team.

[Q] How would you rank the Joe Thornton trade for the Bay Area?

[A] Minimal so far, simply because no one knows who he is. A Hart trophy and a Stanley Cup final could change that. Anything less and he is Teemu Selenne.

[Q] What are your thoughts on the first round series with Nashville? And on Detroit and Dallas exiting in the first round? What is your Stanley Cup prediction?

[A] The win was frightenly easy for the Sharks. They could very well go all the way. My original prediction was Red Wings vs. Devils (so much for that.) My revised one is Devils vs. Sharks (tell me why it won't happen).

[Q] Finally, How much support do you see for the Sharks from fans downtown? How much do you see from the SJ Business Journal offices?

[A] On non-day games? I see none and none.

You can read more from Andrew F. Hamm at the San Jose Business Journal on software-defined radio cellphones, the problems finding corporate sponsors in Silicon Valley, and on the gaming industry's focus on audio. An archive and RSS feed of his columns is available here.

A Devils vs the Sharks Stanley Cup Final will not happen because the goaltending of Martin Brodeur is not enough to get Devils past the Carolina Hurricanes. Carolina and Buffalo had the playoff momentum going into the second round, but I picked Ottawa and New Jersey based on pedigree, Martin Brodeur, Patrick Elias, Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley, and Jason Spezza. Never pick against the mo.

[Update] Former Hurricane Ron Francis is blogging about Carolina's quest for the Cup this postseason.

The Canes outshot the Devils in the last 2 periods and overtime 30-9. They owned the face off circle 40-23. Yes it was lucky to score a goal 17 seconds after NJ went up 2-1, but I felt they had really taken over the game in the 3rd priod and deserved to win the game. Defensively, the Canes did a good job of keeping the Devils smaller forwards on the perimeter, and not giving them a lot of real good quality chances. Offensively, they did a good job of causing confusion for the Devils buy using their speed to pressure and by using the area behind the NJ net to their advantage.


San Jose Sharks open series with a 2-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Sun

The San Jose Sharks [#5] began the second round series with the Edmonton Oilers [#8] Sunday as the top seed left in the Western Conference. The favorites have been a target for upsets this year, and the Oilers were looking to ride their Detroit-toppling momentum into a fast start at HP Pavilion.

Instead of Chris Pronger setting the tempo for game 1, it was San Jose right wing Jonathan Cheechoo who checked Pronger to the ice on the first shift of the game. The fans "serenaded" Chris Pronger repeatedly with a "Prong-errrr, Prong-errrr" throughout the first period. Jaroslav Spacek connected for Edmonton on the power play to open the scoring 2:33 into the first period.

Patrick Marleau found the smallest of open spaces in between 3 Edmonton Oilers, and slapped home a goal to tie the game at 1-1. After a scramble in front of the crease in the second period, Patrick Marleau retrived a rebound and backhanded it to defenseman Christian Ehrhoff who one-timed a shot past Dwayne Roloson to make the score 2-1. Dwayne Roloson made 28 saves on 30 shots in a losing effort. Vesa Toskala made 15 saves on only 16 total shots to earn his fifth win of the postseason. Toskala said in a postgame interview on OLN: "I think defense starts from the offensive zone, and our forechecking was great". Villie Nieminen lead both teams with 15 total hits in the game. San Jose as a team lead with 44 hits to Edmonton's 25.

James Mirtle had a few interesting comments on the Edmonton-San Jose series, and a quote from the Globe and Mail's Allan Maki who is reporting from San Jose.

Edmonton managed just two shots on goal in the second period — which maybe shouldn't be a surprise as this San Jose defence allowed just 26.6 shots per game during the regular season, 3rd best in the league. (The Oilers were No. 1, but have slipped to dead last in the postseason — although overtime certainly skews that stat in the playoffs).

The Oilers did a nice job ensuring Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo's 23 minutes on the ice were rather ineffective ones, but Patrick Marleau was fantastic. That one-two punch was exactly the reason general manager Doug Wilson wanted a player like Thorton so badly (well, that and common sense).

Colby Cosh's updated playoff odds have the San Jose Sharks at 57% to make the Conference Finals, 31.3% to make the Stanley Cup Finals, and 12.5% to win a Stanley Cup Championship. Edmonton's odds shake out to 43.0%, 26.6%, and 13.2% respectively. Carolina leads the NHL with a 26.2% chance of winning a Stanley Cup Championship, and apparently the Colorado Avalanche only has a 0.5% chance of winning it all. Keep fighting Colorado.

More from Cosh on the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs here.

Three out-of-town opinions on the San Jose Sharks:

From NHL.com blogger Risto Pakarien:

"I actually predicted in October that Hasek's groin wouldn't hold and the Senators would acquire Toskala from the Sharks -- and that he'd be this year's Kiprusoff. Here's hoping Toskala will be the hot goalie this spring".

From Moose Factory hockey blogger James Gunner:

"Moose Factory is proud of [Jonathan Cheechoo]. Our little native reserve even went to the expense of making the NHL center ice package part of the regular cable package (Sharks games only of course) so that the entire village won't miss any games".

From an unidentified Cambridge native at the BYU vs Cal NCAA Rubgy National Championships:

"I want Joe Thornton to win a Stanley Cup with the San Jose Sharks. Every game he wins is one day closer to the end of the Jeremy Jacobs regime".

More from TSN's Bob McKenzie:

Every time Thornton had the puck, he made something happen. People get fooled into looking at Thornton's playoff record. Some keep talking about how he's not scoring a lot of goals but when you watch the game, every time he is on the ice, he's a factor.

When Thornton has the puck, he slows things down, brings people to him and creates scoring opportunities. Game One was a great game for Joe Thornton. And it wasn't a bad game for Chris Pronger either. They're going to see a lot of each other in this series and what a great one-on-one battle this is going to be.

The Oilogosphere is gaining steam. Be very careful when viewing a few of those links, some NSFW. And NSFW in a very different way than the red-mile situation from Calgary last postseason. More Oil blog vs Shark blog info from the Edmonton Journal here.

Yahoo has the best playoff bracket online. It is easy to categorize each series by date and score, and find links to video highlights for each matchup. Well done Yahoo. Someone from Yahoo needs to contact me so I can buy Yahoo t-shirts for the winners of the 40-blogger Yahoo Fantasy Hockey League. More on this soon.

Tonight on OLN: Devils vs Hurricanes game 2 [7:30PM ET], Oilers vs Sharks game 2 [10:30PM ET]. Feel free to plug a blog here and there OLN. Tonight streamed online for free on Comcast: Buffalo vs Ottawa game 2. Buffalo vs Ottawa game 3 will air on Wednesday, and Sharks vs Oilers game 6 next Wednesday if neccessary. Next game on FSNBA: Sharks vs Oilers game 4 Friday, May 12, 5:00PM. Next game on NBC: Carolina vs New Jersey game 4, Saturday May 14th [3PM ET].

More soon, blogger server uptime permitting.

Denmark falls to Team USA 3-0 at IIHF World Championship in Latvia

Team Danmark IIHF World Championship

The puck dropped Friday, May 5th on the 2006 IIHF World Championships in Latvia. The preliminary round will feature round robin play from May 5-10th, followed by the Qualifying round May 11-16th and Relegation round May 12-15th. The Quarterfinals, Semis, and Finals will be held from May17-21st.

IHWC power rankings designates Sweden, Russia, and Canada as the top three sides for the tournament. An article by Andrew Podnieks notes that penalties are dominating the World Championships as much as they are the Stanley Cup playoffs. In a question and answer session, Team USA goalie Craig Anderson notes that defense and a mistake-free game will be key for Team USA's game against Canada Tuesday at Skonto Arena. The game will audiocast live on Tuesday from USAhockey.com at 1:15PM ET. Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron lead the World Championship scoring race with 6 points each. Eurohockey.net has a special World Championships news section.

Let the Party Begin - The Baltic Times. Latvia will be without goaltender Arturs Irbe, who is out with a knee injury. Neatkariga Rita Avize, Diena, and Latvijas Avize, are local Latvian papers covering the World Championships. The Latvian Hockey Federation is also covering the WC, make sure to stop by their photo gallery.

Playing on the American roster: Forwards Marty Reasoner, Richard Park, Dustin Brown, Mark Cullen, and Phil Kessel. Defenseman Joe Corvo, Ryan Suter and Hal Gil. Goaltenders Craig Anderson and Jason Bacashihua. Playing on the Canadian roster: Forwards Mike Cammalleri, Brendan Shanahan, Scott Hartnell, Mike Richards, Kyle Calder, Brad Boyes, Patrice Bergeron, and Sidney Crosby. Defenseman Dan Hamhuis, Brad Stuart, and Stephane Robidas. Goaltenders Marc Denis and Alex Auld. Antero Niitymaki is suiting up for Finland, David Aebischer for Switzerland, Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, and Evgeni Malking for Russia.

The United States defeated Norway 3-1 Friday with Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown scoring a hat trick. On Sunday, Team USA shut out Denmark 3-0 with goaltender Craig Anderson making 19 saves on all 19 shots he faced for the win.

A press release from USAhockey.com on the 3-0 win over Denmark:

United States Collects 3-0 Win Over Denmark At IIHF World Championship, Craig Anderson Earns Shutout With 19 Saves

RIGA, Latvia - Behind a shutout performance from netminder Craig Anderson (Park Ridge, Ill./Chicago Blackhawks), the U.S. Men's National Team earned a 3-0 victory over Denmark today at Arena Skonto in the 70th annual International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship. Team USA improved to 2-0 in the event.

"We're happy to get the win," said U.S. Head Coach Mike Eaves (Madison, Wis.). "Like Friday, I thought we got stronger as the game wore on. We're continuing to come together as a team and that's important."

After a scoreless first period, Team USA opened up a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes.

Defenseman Andrew Alberts (Minneapolis, Minn./Boston Bruins/Boston College) put the United States on the board just 33 seconds into the second stanza when he when he came out of the penalty box, went in alone and backhanded a shot past Denmark netminder Peter Hirsch. Dustin Brown (Ithaca, N.Y./L.A. Kings), who scored three times in Team USA's 3-1 win over Norway on Friday (May 5), was credited with the lone assist on the play. Yan Stastny (Quebec City, Quebec/Providence Bruins/University of Notre Dame) made it 2-0 at 6:32 when he put home the rebound of a Ryan Suter (Madison, Wis./Nashville Predators/University of Wisconsin) shot from the point while on his knees in the circle to the left of Hirsch. Ryan Kesler (Livonia, Mich./Vancouver Canucks/The Ohio State University) also drew an assist on the play.

Captain Richard Park (Seoul, South Korea/Vancouver Canucks) finished the scoring at 12:52 of the third period. Andy Hilbert (Lansing, Mich./Pittsburgh Penguins/University of Michigan) started the play by intercepting a Denmark clearing attempt. He quickly fed Park who fired a one-timer home from the low right circle.

Anderson improved to 2-0 in the World Championship with 19 saves in the U.S. net, while Hirsch had 31 stops for Denmark.

Team USA's next action comes Tuesday (May 9) when it takes on Canada in the final preliminary-round game for both teams. Opening faceoff is set for 1:15 p.m. EDT and the game can be heard live on usahockey.com.

Photos and notes from Denmark vs Team USA from the Danmark Ishockey Federation.

[Update] IIHF World Ranking - how it works and what to expect after Riga 2006 - IIHF.

[Update2] Hockey Canada's 2006 World Championship website. Their prediction for USA vs Canada on Tuesday: "Canada should win its third straight game because it has more talent and depth than their North American rivals".


Sharks vs Oilers - Playoff Preview

Shark head

A mini-preview of the Edmonton Oilers vs San Jose Western Conference semifinal playoff series. This was originally written Friday, but server problems with Blogger prevented it from being posted until this morning.

Initial thoughts on the series:

San Jose - San Jose is going to return to the script for the second round against Edmonton. Thornton-Cheechoo-Ekman provided the bulk of the regular season offense, but it has been the line of Patrick Marleau [6-2, 220 pounds], Milan Michalek [6-2, 225 pounds], and Steve Bernier [6-2, 230 pounds] who are getting it done in the playoffs. In the last 4 games of the WCQF, Marleau scored 7 goals, Bernier notched a goal, and 2 assists, Michalek scored a goal and an assist.

The Sharks have also relied on a strong performance from fourth liners Mark Smith and Patrick Rissmiller. Defenseman Scott Hannan and Kyle McLaren are going to log considerable minutes against Edmonton's top forwards, and Christan Ehrhoff and Tom Preissing have proven to be an offensive threat from the blue line. Vesa Toskala will lock it down against the Oilers by covering most of the net down low, forcing the shooter to make the first move, and using his excellent speed and agility to smother quality scoring chances. San Jose needs to improve on faceoffs, and needs more contributions on both sides of the ice from the third line.

Edmonton - The play of 2000 Norris and Hart trophy winner Chris Pronger [2G, 5A, 6GP, +4, vs Detroit] will be critical to this series for the Edmonton Oilers. While he will not be able to shut down both Marleau and Thornton, Pronger will allow Edmonton the opportunity to set the tempo for each game. Will Edmonton play conservatively, pound San Jose along the boards, and look to capitalize on turnovers and power plays? Or will Edmonton play a run-and-gun offensive style capitalizing on their team speed and quick transition. In either scenario, Pronger will be a key factor.

This Oiler roster was retooled significantly during the second half of the season. Prior to the trade deadline, two of the most talented offensive-defensman in the NHL were added to the blueline in Jaroslav Spacek and Dick Tarnstrom. Sergei Samsonov arrived at the deadline via Boston to provide another offensive threat on the left wing. The offense-by-committee can depend on occasional goals from forwards Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, Jarret Stoll, Ryan Smyth, Raffi Torres, and Fernando Pisani, but consistent goal production will be hard to come by.

Fans at the HP Pavilion got the first look at Edmonton's deadline acquisition of goaltender Dwayne Roloson in a 5-2 win on March 9th. At that point in the season, the Sharks trailed 8th placed Edmonton by 7 points. Roloson had a rough start for Edmonton, losing 6 of his first 8 games [1OTL, 2SOL]. He rebounded, allowing 2 goals or less in 8 of the last 9 games in the regular season. The 36-year old goaltender compensates for his lack of speed with excellent positional play and by anticipating where he needs to be.

Outcome - Earlier in the season when asked how he would prepare for a specific opponent, Sharks head coach Ron Wilson said "I don't care. They are going to have to prepare for us." San Jose is going to roll Cheechoo-Thornton and the MBB line with an air of confidence that they can not be stopped. The Sharks have to focus on staying out of the penalty box, and putting forth a solid 60 minute effort each night. Edmonton will have to get on the board early, and apply constant pressure on offense.

If the Oilers build a lead and let the penalties stack up for S.J., they could edge the Sharks in a seven game series. On the other hand, if both coaches roll 4 lines and let the players fly on the ice, this could be the most entertaining series in the playoffs for sheer speed and offensive ability. More likely, phantom slashes and trips will result in a parade to the penalty box and a lack of 5-on-5 play.

San Jose Sharks [5] over Edmonton Oilers [8] in 6.

Sharks not sure what to expect, Oilers altered style to dismiss Red Wings - SJ Mercury News.

Wearing down Pronger key point of Sharks' plan - SF Chronicle.

Three times in this decade San Jose met Pronger and his former team -- St. Louis -- in the playoffs. Two times the Sharks frustrated the 6-foot-6, 230-pound rearguard, goaded him into penalties and pushed him off his game, and beat the Blues to advance.

The one time Pronger stood his ground and stayed focused on the task at hand, the Sharks fell to St. Louis.

More on Pronger from the 2004 playoffs here, and the 2006 playoffs here.

Edmonton Sun: San Jose loves hockey, Welcome mat out in San Jose, San Jose cops not looking forward to tonight.

Edmonton Journal: Pronger ready for unforgiving Sharks fans, San Jose gets quietly pumped for playoffs. It's a lower-grade hockey fever, San Jose hockey fans are, like, nice. Alberta-style animosity lacking in this series, The Journal's Sperounes on her way to San Jose.

Highlights from the Sharks-Nashville series from this blog:

San Jose vs Edmonton - By the Numbers - The Hockey News.

First Round Results

Goals For: SJ 17 (3.4/game), EDM 19 (3.2).
Goals Against: SJ 10 (2.0/game), EDM 16 (2.8).
Shots For/Against: SJ 34.2/27.4, EDM 26/39.7.
Power Play: SJ 9/37 (24.3%), EDM 8/37 (21.6%).
Penalty Kill: SJ 6/32 (81.3%), EDM 8/40 (80.0%).

NHL Quarter Final Playoff Predictions: Western Conference - Sports Matters. Interesting group blog with 4 different contributors making predictions, in addition to an NHL2K6 playoff simulationn, and a note that this is the first time two teams from California have advanced to the Western Conference semi-finals.

James Mirtle links to Globe and Mail columnist Al Maki's Sharks-Oilers preview. The Battle of Alberta asks itself the question, "Can the Stoll Line go Toe to Toe with Marleau's Line?". And the answer is no. Oilfans.com notes that a new hero may have to emerge for Edmonton. Still no word yet from bluemile.com. TheFeeder.com has a very thorough playoff section, well worth a look. Chuqui picks San Jose in 6 over Edmonton, posts grades for each ref, and opines "better offense, better goaltending".

Marleau develops into star for Sharks, San Jose center blossoms this season with 86 points - MSNBC.

"It doesn't work to just concentrate on one player on this team, because we've got a lot of guys who can do it," Thornton said. "Patty is so big, and he just creates so much space out there. He's been playing great all series. He has a hot hand right now, and we've just got to keep feeding him."

Oilers are head of the class, Grading the playoff impact of trade-deadline deals - Sports Illustrated.

Stopping Thornton: Mission impossible? - Sportsnet.ca.

Stopping NHL scoring leader Joe Thornton is mission impossible, says San Jose Sharks coach Ron Wilson.

"I don't know how you stop him legally," Wilson said prior to the Sharks opening the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.

"How do you stop a guy who has control of the puck? How do you take the puck from him legally, how do you pin him to the boards? The answer is you can't. You take penalties. You have to grab him, hook him or trip him."

California, Rest In Peace - MC79.

[Update] Hockey for dummies - San Jose Mercury News.

Please, watch your step. And no pushing. There's plenty of room on the Sharks' Zamboni. As the local pucksters continue their run into the Stanley Cup playoffs' second round, teal has become the Bay Area's favorite color -- at least temporarily. But you might be feeling a tad self-conscious because you normally don't pay much attention to hockey. Judging from the team's small regular-season TV ratings, that describes most local fans.

We're here to help.

Welcome to our Hockey for Dummies primer. After reading this, you'll be able to impress your friends with your knowledge of all things Sharks, and also understand the difference between a hat trick and a Gordie Howe hat trick.

For some reason, I do not think this article was picked up over the wire from Edmonton.

[Update2] Edmonton Oilers at San Jose Sharks - NHL.com.

Hardly anyone thought the Edmonton Oilers would knock off the NHL's winningest team, and even fewer could have figured the No. 5 San Jose Sharks to be the highest seed remaining after the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

In a wide-open West that's missing its top four-regular teams, the Sharks take on the eighth-seeded Oilers in the opener of an unlikely semifinal series at HP Pavilion.

The unprecedented elimination of the first four seeds in the West has left the Sharks with home-ice advantage throughout the conference playoffs - and perhaps as the team to beat. San Jose has won 12 of its last 14 games, cruising to a 4-1 opening-series win over fourth-seeded Nashville in the opening round.

Conference Call Transcripts - Jonathan Cheechoo and Chris Pronger

David Keon of the NHL hosted a media conference call with San Jose Sharks right wing Jonathan Cheechoo, and Edmonton Oilers defenseman Chris Pronger.

DAVID KEON: Welcome to today's call. This afternoon we are featuring the teams in the Western Conference Semifinals, and our first guest is San Jose Sharks forward Jonathan Cheechoo. The Maurice Richard Trophy winner is the National Hockey League's leading goal-scorer this season. Jonathan tallied two goals and two assists as the Sharks defeated Nashville 4-1 in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. San Jose opens Round 2 on Sunday at home against the Edmonton Oilers at 8 p.m. eastern time on CBC and OLN. Thanks to Jonathan for taking the time today to join us and answer your questions.

We'll open it up for questions now.

Q. Jonathan, a lot of people, when they think about the San Jose Sharks this year, they think about the tremendous season that you and Joe Thornton had. You look at the playoff scoring, you see Patrick Marleau out in front with the scoring. Makes your team a lot tougher when you have two scoring lines. What is your impression?

JONATHAN CHEECHOO: Yeah, definitely it's harder to key on one person when you have two lines going. Patty's line has been playing really well. The two rookies he's playing with, Milan Michalek and Steve Bernier, have really played well. It helps that they're so big. They're good along the boards. They have a lot of speed on that line.

It's a tough match-up. If they want to try to key on our line or Patty's line, they've got to face a second line coming at 'em, I think it makes things tougher on the other team.

Q. You were Western Conference finalists two seasons ago. You got off to a bit of a weak start this year, made the trade. Was it just the trade that turned the team around or were there other factors?

JONATHAN CHEECHOO: I think it was just a matter of everybody getting a little bit of a wakeup call probably from the trade, too. Joe came in and has helped out immensely. He's played really well for us. Had an MVP-type season. What more can you ask for?

But for everybody else that was here before, I think we knew how well we could play because of what we did the year before. It was basically the same team, just maybe a few new faces jumped in there. You know, it was more of a wakeup call for us. Everybody just started to play well. We had the common goal of making the playoffs. We were working towards it. We were ab le to attain that. We knew it would take right down to the last minute. It was nice when we finally got it.

Q. Can you give me an overview of how you feel playing the Oilers?

JONATHAN CHEECHOO: Didn't really matter to us who we play. If we meet a hot team, we're going to have to meet them eventually. I think playing the Oilers, it's going to be probably a pretty tough series. They're a pretty physical team. We have some pretty physical players on our team, as well. It should be a good battle. We match up well in terms of the fact that we both had to battle for a playoff spot coming in. We've been playing kind of playoff hockey for the last little while. Everybody kind of matures a little quicker like a lot of the younger players that are inserted into the lineup. I think it should be a good series.

Q. With that in mind, when you look at the way the top four seeds fell in the Western Conference, you might have to have a long career before we see that again. The top four in the east advancing, the top four in the west not advancing. Do you feel it was a matter with the Sharks, it's not so much where you finish, but how you finish?

JONATHAN CHEECHOO: Yeah. We came in kind of on a roll. We'd been playing well for the last two or three months. It's something where we came in with a lot of confidence. Maybe some of the other teams were already assured a spot, were kind of taking it easy sort of. Maybe that's part of the reason why.

Q. The officiating standard in the first round was definitely one whereby power-plays were a big factor. How much did you enjoy the way the games were called?

JONATHAN CHEECHOO: Well, it's good that they're being consistent. I think that's the main thing. That's the thing everybody who plays the sport wants, is consistency out of the refs. They said they were going to stick to their guns. They did. I think that's good. It adds a lot more power-plays, gives you a lot more scoring, but at the same time if you play the game hard and use your speed, everybody's going to draw penalties. You're going to get the same amount of power-play chances. It's something where I think the power play now has become a very big part of the game. It's something that is going to need work from everybody.

Q. Joe was a Hart Trophy finalist, announced today. Could you explain, as a guy receiving all these passes, what makes him such a good play-maker in your mind. JONATHAN CHEECHOO: Joe, I don't know, I can't really describe how he makes some of those passes because they seem to come out of nowhere, like he squeezes them through the tightest spaces where only a puck can fit. There's not a lot of guys that can do that.

I think also a big part of his game is working the boards. He's so big and so strong, it's hard to contain him down low. A lot of times he draws a double-team which opens up one of his teammates. That's where he shows his talent. He's really good at finding the open teammate.

DAVID KEON: Thank you, Jonathan, for your time today.


DAVID KEON: We have Edmonton Oilers defenseman Chris Pronger. Chris led the Oilers in scoring with two goals and five assists for seven points in the first-round victory over Detroit Red Wings. He also led the NHL in average ice time per game with 33 minutes and 34 seconds. The Oilers open up the second round of the playoffs in San Jose on Sunday at 8 p.m. eastern time on CBC and OLN. We'll take questions for Chris Pronger now.

Q. It may be a good thing for the fans it (series) starts Sunday. Do you think the party in Edmonton will be over by then?

CHRIS PRONGER: I sure hope so. It certainly is in our locker room now. We've had a couple days to obviously enjoy our victory and now that we know who we're playing, we're able to start preparing and focusing on San Jose and how we're going to be able to try to beat them.

Q. How can you put into words the elevation of play by Edmonton in the first round versus down the stretch where you did have some trouble posting victories to clinch the final playoff spot? Once the playoffs started, you seem to have not looked back.

CHRIS PRONGER: Well, I think that's the biggest thing, is once we were able to get in, as you said, we didn't exactly light the world on fire the last 15 games or so, we were pretty up and down, played some great games and some not-so-great games. I think that's been kind of been something that we've been trying to work on and struggled with at times during the course of the season, is our consistency and bringing the same effort each and every night, following the same game plan. Obviously, in that first round, we were able to really focus on just sticking to the game plan no matter what the score, whether we were up 2-Nothing or down 2-Nothing. I think that's one of the reasons why we were successful. Obviously, we're going to need to do that and even take it a step higher as we try to continue to move on in these playoffs.

Q. As you size up this opponent versus Detroit in Round 1, what do you see as the big differences between the Sharks and the Wings?

CHRIS PRONGER: I think obviously the first thing is they're going to play a lot more physical and they're going to pressure the puck a lot more. Detroit is used to having the puck and is a puck-possession team. Certainly you always want to play with the puck.

But I think San Jose is a little bit better at getting in the forecheck, playing a physical style of game, and obviously creating turnovers. That's something that we've got to be sure we're aware of and focus on stopping.

Q. Chris, I'm looking at the stats page here. The player who leads the National Hockey League in the playoffs with total ice time per game average is Chris Pronger, 33.34 minutes per game. Can you keep this up?

CHRIS PRONGER: Absolutely. I feel really good. I was telling somebody going into the playoffs that this is the best I've ever felt at this time of year going into the playoffs. My legs feel good and fresh. It's kind of funny, with all the travel, with the Olympics, having a broken foot, all that, I don't know why, but I just feel real good right now.

Q. How about the rest of the defense? I'm noticing that Jaroslav Spacek is playing, Steve Staios. There's a dropoff to Bergeron and Tarnstrom. I'm wondering, is that already going primarily with the four defensemen with Tarnstrom for power-plays?

CHRIS PRONGER: I think that third unit probably gets about 10 minutes a game. The 33 and a half minutes gets a little inflated with two double overtime games. Certainly they're going to need to be involved as we continue to go along. Playing 30 minutes a game, I've been used -- when you get kind of used to doing it, kind of enjoy being on the ice all the time, it's something that you train all summer and throughout the course of the season to make sure you're in top condition to be able to play those types of minutes. I've done it all year long. Your body kind of adjusts and you get used to playing that many minutes. You know how to handle yourself on the ice because of that.

DAVID KEON: Thanks very much, Chris, for your time today. Good luck in the next round.

CHRIS PRONGER: Thanks, man. Appreciate it.

[Update] Oilers riding playoff momentum - CBC.

But Edmonton's mix of physical play and young legs was the difference in the series with the aging Red Wings, the first playoff series the Oilers have won in eight seasons...

"We're trying to win the Stanley Cup now, we're not just trying to make the playoffs anymore," Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe told Hockey Night in Canada.

[Update2] The Pronger Perspective - SJ Mercury blog.


Berkeley wins Men's 2006 NCAA Rugby National Championship, Stanford takes Women's title

Cal vs BYU NCAA Rugby national championship

Finals Day 2: Berkeley held off a late BYU comeback to win the 2006 NCAA Division 1 Men's Rugby title 29-26. It was Cal's 22nd national title in 27 years of play according the SF Chronicle. The U.S. Coast Guard Academy defeated Northern Colorado 17-12 to win the Men's NCAA Division 2 Rugby title. The Stanford women's team earned back-to-back National Division 1 Rugby titles with a 15-12 win over Penn State. Santa Cruz defeated Plymouth State 22-10 to win the Women's NCAA Division 2 Rugby title.

Semi-finals Day 1: The University of California advanced past Utah, and BYU defeated Penn St 52-3 in the Men's Division 1 Rugby semifinals held at Stanford on Friday. Cal will face BYU for the National Championship on Saturday. The final will be rebroadcast on College Sports TV on May 14th at 3PM.

More information on the Men's and Women's National Championships is available at usarugby.org. This June, Santa Clara University will host the USA, Ireland, and New Zealand national rugby teams as part of the Churchill Cup.

Photo gallery from Day 2 here. Photo gallery from Day 1 here.

[Update] BYU has an edge from across the Pacific - SF Chronicle.

Jonathan Cheechoo on the cover of The Hockey News

The Hockey News

San Jose Shark right wing Jonathan Cheechoo is on the cover of the May 2nd issue of The Hockey News. The article is titled "Out of the Blue, Presto, surprising Jonathan Cheechoo and Cristobal Huet blast onto NHL scene". A digital copy of the issue is available for $3.99 on Zinio.


Second round predictions, broadcast schedules for OLN, NBC, and FSNBA

After sweeping the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals 4-0, the Western Conference resulted in a disappointing 1-3 mark. Current record: 5-8.

The second round will be tight in the East, with dueling seven game series between Ottawa-Buffalo and Carolina-NJ. San Jose is going to bring the pain to Edmonton in 6, and Anaheim will edge past Colorado in 7.

A full playoff bracket is available from Yahoo Sports. A full Sharks-Edmonton preview will be posted tonight after a local martial arts tournament and bonus rugby coverage.

Second round predictions:

Eastern Conference:

Ottawa Senators [1] over Buffalo Sabres [4] in 7
Carolina [2] over New Jersey Devils [3] in 7

Western Conference:

San Jose Sharks [5] over Edmonton Oilers [8] in 6
Anaheim Ducks [6] over Colorado Avalanche [7]in 7

First round predictions are here.

[Update] NBC's national television broadcast schedule was released this week for the Stanley Cup semi-finals. Details from Kukla's Korner:

New Jersey Devils @ Carolina Hurricanes (Game 1)
Commentators: Chris Cuthbert, Peter McNab, Cammi Granato
Site: Entertainment & Sports Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

Colorado Avalanche @ Anaheim Mighty Ducks (Game 2)
Commentators: Mike Emrick, John Davidson, Pierre McGuire
Site: Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, California

Carolina Hurricane @ New Jersey Devils (Game 4)
Commentators: TBA
Site: Continental Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Colorado Avalanche @ Anaheim Mighty Ducks (Game 5 if necessary)
Commentators: TBA Site: Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, California
All games available in HD

[Update2] OLN's complete television schedule for the second round is here.

Tonight on OLN: Game 1 - Sabres vs. Senators, and Game 1 - Avalanche vs. Mighty Ducks. Streamed for free online Monday at Comcast.net: Buffalo Sabres vs. Ottawa.

OLN Announces NHL Playoffs Semifinal Schedule - Hockeyfights.com.

[Update3] A local television broadcast schedule was released this week for the Sharks-Oilers series:

1, Sunday, May 7, 5:00PM, HPPV, FSNBA-HD, KFOX
2, Monday, May 8, 7:30PM, HPPV, OLN, KFOX
3, Wednesday, May 10, 7:00PM, Rexall Place, OLN, KFOX
4, Friday, May 12, 5:00PM, Rexall Place, FSNBA, KFOX
5*, Sunday, May 14, 7:00PM, HPPV, FSNBA-HD, KFOX
6*, Wednesday, May 17, TBA, Rexall Place, FSNBA, KFOX
7*, Friday, May 19, TBA, HPPV, FSNBA, KFOX

*If necessary


Mighty Ducks top Flames 3-0 in Game 7, Anaheim will face Colorado, Sharks vs Edmonton in second round

Miikka Kiprusoff

Miikka Kiprusoff and the Northwest champion Calgary Flames ran into a buzzsaw on Wednesday night. Instead of a tight defensive and physical performance from the Darryl Sutter coached Flames, it was Anaheim's Scott Niedermayer shutting down Jarome Iginla, and Ilya Bryzgalov smothering all of the 22 shots he faced that were the storylines of Anaheim's 3-0 win in Game 7.

Teemu Selanne scored on a quick right wrist shot from the left wing 5:12 into the second period. The opening goal was Teemu's 6th point of the series [3G, 3A]. Ruslan Salei scored a second goal with less than a minute left in the period. Kiprusoff came out to challenge the shooter in traffic and was screened by several bodies. Unable to play a puck that he did not see, the shot sailed into an open net.

Frustration set in for the Flames and a sea of red-clad Calgary fans in the third period, as the clock ticked down and the scoring chances dwindled. Jeff Friesen sealed the win with an empty net goal to make it 3-0. Anaheim advanced in 7 games and will face the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Semifinals. The San Jose Sharks will meet the Edmonton Oilers. The four top seeds in the West were eliminated in the first round: Detroit [1], Dallas [2], Calgary [3], and Nashville [4].

Head coach of the Calgary Flames Darryl Sutter on game 7, from CalgaryFlames.com:

"When you've coached a long time and you know your against a good team, or a team that's similar in some of the things that you do, you know there's pivotal moments or pivotal times during a game where you can see how it's going to go and those big guys on their team, they were able to use eight of them in every game.

"Those wingers wore us out, you could see it in the second period down low we couldn't handle them and really it ended up being the difference. I think if we could have scored the first goal then you could have played the way they played after they scored the first goal."

From Anaheim Mighty Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle:

"I don't like to classify beating anybody, when you play a 7th game, our focus and our preparation for it seemed like we had more energy tonight. We knew that the first 10 minutes would be critical. For us to get through that first period was monumental for us. Not allowing them to dictate the style of play, and they had us on the run for stretches in the first period, we did a pretty good job in keeping things to the outside. Our guys worked extremely hard and they seemed to be pretty focused on the task at hand."

GAME 7 Pregame Photo Gallery - Mightyducks.com.

Photos of the Week Apr24 - May1 - NHL.com.

After losing the first game in the series 2-1, Anaheim goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov supplanted J.S. Giguere and stopped 43 of 44 shots in game 6 and 7. With huge black leg pads, "Bryz" looked like a giant black-and-white isosceles triangle. He was very mobile laterally for a big goalie [6-3, 198], and took away most of the net when he set up square to the shooter.

More from Bryzgalov here, here and here. Ilya Bryzgalov represented Team Russia in the World Cup, World Championships, and in the 2006 Torino Olympics.

Shutout was team effort Bryzgalov's job was aided by the Ducks' strong performance - Orange Counter Register.

Someone mentioned to Ilya Bryzgalov that half of the eight remaining goaltenders in the Stanley Cup playoffs are rookies.

"I noticed there were a lot of good ones in the minor leagues last year," Bryzgalov said. "I think the NHL is going to be in very good shape with its goalies."

Confident Group Plays Close to a Perfect Game - Los Angeles Times.

James Mirtle recaps the Anaheim-Calgary game seven with a quote from Flames defenseman Robyn Regehr, a resurgent Teemu Selanne, and information from the Globe and Mail's own Al Maki and Eric Duhatschek. Eric McErlain of Offwing posts video of a turning point from game 6, when defenseman Francois Beauchemin took down Flames captain Jarome Iginla very convincingly, and notes that the exit of most of the larger market teams could be trouble for ratings. The Battle of Alberta is in a twisted contortion of elation and dejection after Edmonton advances and Calgary fell. Almost how Bruins fans felt after Ray Bourque raised the cup with the Colorado Avalanche.

John McGourty contributes an informative playoff blog post for NHL.com, unfortunately there is no permanent way to point to his blog without linking to individual entries. McGourty covers the demise of the Calgary Flames in game 7, and analyzes why the top four seeds fell in the Western Conference. The Hockey News Playoff Buzz believes that Calgary did not put up much of a fight, that 5 goals in five game 7's make Jeff Friesen "senior Clutch", and that Joffrey Lupul took two horrible high sticking penalties at inopportune moments last night against Anaheim. Sports Illustrated released their Cup Blog 2006.

An Edmonton-Sharks preview and second round predictions will be posted tomorrow.

[Update] A08 posted this Evgeni Malkin highlight reel on youtube. It contains clips of his play with Magnitogorsk Metallurg of the Russian Super League, and Team Russia in international competition. Malkin was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins #2 overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

Recent reports note that Metallurg Magnitogorsk may demand a hefty transfer fee in the millions to transfer Malkin to the NHL.

Image of the Day, from the Toronto Maple Leafs

street hockey toronto maple leafs

There is always a hockey atmosphere in Toronto.

The city shut down Yonge Street, one of the busiest streets in Canada, to hold the Esso Street Hockey Jamboree. Fans young and old hit the pavement along with Wendel Clark, Mike Pelyk, and Jack Valliquette to watch and play in the 6th annual pickup street hockey tournament.

More from MapleLeafs.com:

"We shut down Yonge Street to celebrate the game of hockey in the city Toronto," said Jason Schawbe of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. "People love the aspect that it's grassroots, it's not about who wins and who loses, it's about families having fun together, kids having fun, being active and fortunately today we have a bright sunny day so it’s a lot of fun."

[Update] Quinn praises Leafs, Toronto - CBC.

[Update2] The Fischler Report, Analyzing the NHL's TV equation - Stan Fischler.


Edmonton remains calm in the face of a huge first round upset over Detroit

There is no playoff buzz in Edmonton after scoring four goals in the third period to defeat the top seeded Detroit Red Wings 4-3. The Edmonton Oilers advance to the Western Conference Semifinals in 6 games.

No buzz here, here, or here either.

The official Edmonton Oilers website also displays strong feelings of ambivalence towards Ales Hemsky's game winning goal with 1:06 left in the 3rd, some of which do not border on the negative. Excellent use of video on the home site.

OILERS ADVANCE!! - EdmontonOilers.com.

The Detroit Red Wings opened up a two goal lead on the Oilers with goals by Henrik Zetterberg, and a power play goal by Robert Lang on a give-and-go down low with Steve Yzerman.

Fernando Pisani began the Oiler comeback in third period hammering home a rebound with three Detroit Red Wings between him and the net. Pisani's second straight goal came after a cross-ice pass at the blueline by Jason Smith. Pisani skated in to the left of Manny Legace as Raffi Torres drove into the middle of the crease. Legace kicked his right leg out after biting on the deke, and Pisani tucked the puck past his left side. Game tied 2-2, fans at the Rexall Place erupted.

Detroit battled back halfway through the third period. After killing a penalty, Detroit's checking line camped in front of Dwayne Roloson. A bonus deflection set up Johan Frazen with the puck on his stick and a wide open net. 3-2 Red Wings with 10 minutes left. Crowd silenced.

Controversy ensued on a third period power play goal by Ales Hemsky to tie the game at 3-3 with less than 4 minutes to play in the third period. From Bob McKenzie of TSN:

Down 3-2 to Detroit with just four minutes left in the third period, Oilers forward Sergei Samsonov shot the puck towards the Red Wings net and the first question was whether centre Shawn Horcoff knocked it down with a high stick. It didn't matter because the referee wasn't even looking for that. What the officials were looking for was whether the puck was knocked into the net with a forward kicking motion.

There was a distinct kicking motion, but the question mark around the tying goal was whether the puck came off the foot of Oilers forward Ales Hemsky. As a result, they had to go with referee Mick McGeough’s call that it was, in fact, a goal.

The power play goal counted, and Ales Hemsky connected again with a minute and 6 seconds left to score the game winner for Edmonton. Hemsky deked around two players as he entered the Detroit zone before he was checked off the puck by 2 Red Wings. The puck dribbled to Sergei Samsonov, who found Hemsky skating without the puck to the left of the crease. Samsonov drills a pass to Hemsky who has his back to the goaltender, Hemsky roofs the puck over Legace and the fans explode. Hemsky was the lone Oiler between 4 Detroit Red Wings and Manny Legace deep in the offensive zone.

The Oilers win 4-3 and eliminate the Detroit Red Wings in 6 games. Amazing game.

Another bitter playoff ouster for Wings might have been Yzerman's last - Michigan Live.

Yzerman, who turns 41 one week from today, has hinted that this would be his final season and said again on Monday that he knows what he wants to do. If this were his last game, Yzerman said it was fun to be a part of it, despite the outcome.

"To come in the building the way it was, it was just really exciting," Yzerman said. "The more times you're in these situations the more you enjoy it, so I don't know that I'm ever not going to want to play the game. I really, really enjoy it. But again, without going too much into it, I'll make a decision pretty soon."

Impeached, Presidents' Trophy winner suffers unfathomable playoff failure - Detroit News.

A Red Wings Generation Takes a Mighty Fall - Jamie Fitzpatrick.

The Detroit blogs are not taking it well. The cover photo on LetsgoWings is a black-and-white picture of the end of an era. Christy Hammond at Behind the Jersey breaks down the good, bad, and ugly individual Detroit performances from game 6. Abel-to-Yzerman's blog appears to have melted from the protestations of all the Red Wings faithful. The Oilogosphere is in the house.

On the Wings on the controversial 3rd period Edmonton goal:

The Oilers scored at very controversial goal at 16:07, with Hemsky kicking the puck in the net following what should've been a high-stick on Horcoff. On the play, Horcoff had his stick above his head and redirected a point shot at Legace. Mike Leggo and Mick McGeough blew the call, as it was pretty obvious Horcoff tipped the puck with a high-stick. McGeough was the closest on the play. Legace attempted to cover the rebound off the Horcoff re-direct, but couldn't get his glove on it.

Hemsky picked up the rebound and was seen in the replay kicking it in, with Lidstrom pushing him in the back. McGeough called it a goal on the spot, and the play went under review to Toronto. It was ruled a goal. Since they couldn't review the Horcoff high-stick, they could only review whether Hemsky kicked it in. It appeared obvious to everyone that he did, so the only reason I can see that they ruled it a goal was that Lidstrom was pushing him and could've contributed to the kicking motion. A bit much to go on to give the Oilers a 3-3 tie. But then again, the NHL would love to see the Battle of Alberta with Edmonton versus Calgary next round.

Final word goes to the Battle of Alberta. And that word is: Calgary lost?

Anaheim Mighty Ducks

[Update] Ducks nip Flames to force deciding Game 7 - ESPN.

Anaheim defenseman Scott Niedermayer scored the go-ahead goal on a brilliant play after Ilya Bryzgalov had kept the Mighty Ducks in the game.

Niedermayer's power-play goal with 5:37 remaining lifted Anaheim to a 2-1 victory Monday night over the Calgary Flames and forced Game 7 in their Western Conference playoffs.

That is the only decent photo I have taken from Anaheim, so it will have to do for the remainder of the playoffs.

[Update2] NHL's fine on NBC, but nobody cares. Still some wrinkles to be ironed out - Toronto Star.

Here they are trying their best to sell hockey to Americans, putting on a pretty good show, spending some dollars, giving the NHL more air time than it has received in years and having little to show for it.

Well, that's not completely true. Last weekend, NBC's playoff games did manage to outdraw the seniors' golf tour and they also put the national cheer and dance competition in its place, though barely.

Hockey got a 1.1 rating, while the cheerleaders did only 0.8. Next conquest: arena football.

After getting mildly annoyed by this, I kept checking this Media Life column trying to run the numbers, and they did not add up. They were two different columns. Unfortunately, there are far more than two to chose from.

For the week ending April 23rd, the NHL on NBC finished 8th in the ratings with a Sunday Edmonton/Detroit or Sharks/Nashville broadcast drawing 2,169,000 estimated viewers. A Saturday Rangers/Devils or Dallas/Colorado broadcast finished 12th with 1,625,000 estimated viewers.

Not bad, behind NASCAR, NBA and golf, but it would take major massaging to spin that into an abject failure. For OLN in its first season, I believe you have to look at the presentation as much as the ratings. But that is asking the impossible, find one column bashing the NHL without mentioning ratings. There are none. It takes time to build an audience on a new channel, and OLN is moving in the right direction.

Related articles here: Where the Devils Won't Get Their Due - NY Times, and here: Power Play: Hockey Tries to Woo Celebs - Wall Street Journal.

[Update3] Tonight on OLN: Buffalo Sabres at Philadelphia Flyers 4PM. Tonight's live streaming game for free on Comcast.net: Carolina Hurricanes at Montreal Canadiens 4PM. Both playoff matchups are game 6's.


Raj Mathai of KNTV 11 interviews Joe Thornton

Shortly after the Sharks 2-1 game 5 win over Nashville to clinch the Western Conference Quarterfinal series, Raj Mathai of KNTV-11 interviewed San Jose center Joe Thornton.

[Q] You finish up the series in five games. Did you think it would be not easy, but happen in 5 games?

[JT] It was a tough series. Every game was a one goal game. We just have so much confidence in this locker room, so much confidence in each other. It was a good series we played...

[Q] Tell us about Patrick Marleau, the team captain?

[JT] He just played awesome. He had the hot stick. Every chance we had we would give it to him because he was scoring on everything. He had a big series, and we are going to ride him a long way in these playoffs...

[Q] What is one thing you like about Bay Area fans, Shark fans, compared to the fans in Boston?

[JT] They are both super loud. They both know a lot about hockey. Some people have said that San Jose is not a hockey town, but I disagree with that. I love the fans here. They are very knowledgeable, and they are great fans. This is a hockey town now.

KNTV-11 added a special Sharks section to their website with post-game interviews, news, and highlights. A link has been added under San Jose Sharks to the right. Sports anchor Raj Mathai is a two-time regional Emmy award winner, and hosts the top-rated local sports highlight show Sports Sunday.

[Update] On to Round 2 Toskala delivers another big game as Sharks finish off Predators - SF Chronicle.

They were better on special teams. They were better 5-on-5. They had the better goaltender in the series. And their best players were really their best players.

For all those reasons, the Sharks won a Stanley Cup first-round playoff series in five games for the second straight postseason, raising the expectations that the franchise just might have big things up its sleeves in the coming weeks.

[Update2] Sharks finish off the Predators and take a step forward in the Stanley Cup playoffs; Ever focused, Sharks contend that this is 'just the beginning' - San Jose Mercury News.

[Update3] Sharks eliminate Preds from playoffs - Nashvillepredators.com. At the end of the article are links to game highlights, and the post-game press conference from Predators head coach Barry Trotz.