2006 Bay-to-Breakers marathon
2006 SAN FRANCISCO BAY-TO-BREAKERS MARATHON
DEVILS FAN REPRESENTS
Photo gallery from the 2006 SF Bay-to-Breakers marathon this morning. Final Sharkspage time: 3:04:57.
San Jose Sharks, NHL, Hockey and Local Sports Blog.
2006 SAN FRANCISCO BAY-TO-BREAKERS MARATHON
DEVILS FAN REPRESENTS
EDMONTON SUN THURSDAY FRONT PAGE
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
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.
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 BENCH DURING GAME 5 - SP FILE PHOTO
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.
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...
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.
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
(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.
(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.
[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.
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.
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.
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.
SAN JOSE SHARKS CAPTAIN #12 PATRICK MARLEAU - SP FILE PHOTO
SAN JOSE SHARKS
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
#9 MILAN MICHALEK AND #16 JARRET STOLL BATTLE FOR POSITION
#35 DWAYNE ROLOSON MADE 21 SAVES ON 24 SHOTS FOR THE WIN
#35 VESA TOSKALA PREPARES FOR GAME 5
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.
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.
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.
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."
CLASSIC SHARKS TICKETS - PHOTO SHARKSPAGE.COM
[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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
THE COVER OF TUESDAY'S EDMONTON JOURNAL
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.
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."
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.
[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.
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.
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.
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.
[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!
[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.
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]
SHARKS FAN BRIAN LEIER, OUTSIDE HP PAVILION FOR GAME 2
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.
"That was the Black Knight from Monty Python," Wilson said. "Body parts were falling off. No sticks. That was unbelievable effort."
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.
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.
[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.
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.
COVER OF THE EDMONTON SUN AFTER THE OILER'S 2-1 LOSS IN GAME 1
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).
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".
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.
TEAM DANMARK - ARCHIVE IIHC.COM PHOTO USED WITH PERMISSION
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.
HP PAVILION IN SAN JOSE - SP FILE PHOTO
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  over Edmonton Oilers  in 6.
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.
San Jose vs Edmonton - By the Numbers - The Hockey News.
- Nashville Predators vs San Jose Sharks playoff preview
- Liveblogging Game 2, Nashville vs San Jose Western Conference Quarterfinals
- Photo on OLN
- The Shark drops at home for the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs
- Nashville Predators stumble in game 3
- Marleau scores hat trick, Sharks edge Predators 5-4 in a dogfight
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%).
"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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
JONATHAN CHEECHOO: Thanks.
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.
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.
CAL BERKELEY, 2006 NCAA DIVISION 1 RUGBY CHAMPIONS
JONATHAN CHEECHOO HOCKEY NEWS COVER - MAY 2, 2006
Ottawa Senators  over Buffalo Sabres  in 7
Carolina  over New Jersey Devils  in 7
San Jose Sharks  over Edmonton Oilers  in 6
Anaheim Ducks  over Colorado Avalanche in 7
SATURDAY, MAY 6 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS ON NBC
New Jersey Devils @ Carolina Hurricanes (Game 1)
Commentators: Chris Cuthbert, Peter McNab, Cammi Granato
Site: Entertainment & Sports Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina
SUNDAY, MAY 7 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS ON NBC
Colorado Avalanche @ Anaheim Mighty Ducks (Game 2)
Commentators: Mike Emrick, John Davidson, Pierre McGuire
Site: Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, California
SATURDAY, MAY 13 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS ON NBC
Carolina Hurricane @ New Jersey Devils (Game 4)
Site: Continental Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey
SUNDAY, MAY 14 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS ON NBC
Colorado Avalanche @ Anaheim Mighty Ducks (Game 5 if necessary)
Commentators: TBA Site: Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, California
All games available in HD
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
#34 MIIKKA KIPRUSOFF - SP FILE PHOTO
"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."
"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."
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."
PHOTO MAPLELEAFS.COM - USED WITH PERMISSION
"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."
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.
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."
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.
ANAHEIM ICE GIRLS - 2004
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.
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.
[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.
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.