Sharks score 3 goals in third period to drop Dallas 4-2 in a nationally televised game on Versus

More on the San Jose Sharks 4-2 win over the Pacific Division rival Dallas Stars will be posted soon.

Miami (Ohio) New No. 1 on USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll

Carmen Electra Long Beach State hockey fan

Carmen Electra is a Long Beach State hockey fan? It is one of the best jerseys in the ACHA. Long Beach State was active in the Best of the West Showcase 4-team tournament in San Jose over the weekend, with games against New Mexico, University of Colorado, and SJSU. More on local college hockey is available at the bottom of this post.

The latest NCAA Men's College Hockey Poll was released Monday from USAhockey.com:

Miami (Ohio) New No. 1 on USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Miami (Ohio) University received 30-of-34 first-place votes and 506 points to claim the top spot on the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men’s College Hockey Poll for the first time this season after sweeping the University of Nebraska Omaha in a weekend series.

This Week's Top-15 Match-ups:

Friday, November 2
No. 12 Maine @ No. 5 Boston College
No. 7 Denver @ No. 8 Minnesota
No. 10 Colo. Coll. @ No. 3 North Dakota
No. 14 Mich. Tech @ No. 9 Wisconsin

Saturday, November 3
No. 10 Colo. Coll. @ No. 3 North Dakota
No. 14 Mich. Tech @ No. 9 Wisconsin

Sunday, November 4
No. 7 Denver @ No. 8 Minnesota

The University of Michigan (446) moved up one spot to No. 2, while the University of North Dakota (433) received two first-place votes, but fell two spots to No. 3. The University of New Hampshire (430) claimed the remaining two first-place votes and moved up from No. 6 to No. 4. Boston College (385) rounded out the top five.

The University of Minnesota Duluth made its debut on the poll this week at No. 15.

NOTES: This is the first time since January 30, 2006, that Miami has held the No. 1 spot on the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men’s College Hockey Poll.

USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll - #5

(First-place votes in parenthesis, Last Week's Ranking, 2007-08 Record, Weeks In Top 15)

1 Miami (Ohio) University, 506 (30), 2, 6-0-0, 5
2 University of Michigan, 446, 3, 5-1-0, 5
3 University of North Dakota, 433 (2), 1, 3-1-1, 5
4 University of New Hampshire, 430 (2), 6, 3-0-0, 5
5 Boston College, 385, 5, 3-1-2, 5
6 Michigan State University, 323, 9, 4-1-0, 5
7 University of Denver, 250, 7, 4-2-0, 5
8 University of Minnesota, 247, 10, 4-2-0, 5
9 University of Wisconsin, 235, 11, 3-1-0, 5
10 Colorado College, 219, 4, 2-2-0, 5
11 Clarkson University, 174, 8, 4-2-0, 5
12 University of Maine, 143, 13, 4-2-0, 4
13 University of Notre Dame, 99, 12, 4-3-0, 5
14 Michigan Tech University, 97, 15, 4-2-0, 2
15 University of Minnesota Duluth, 47, NR, 4-1-1, 1

Others receiving votes: St. Lawrence University, 14; Niagara University, 10; The Ohio State University, 9; U.S. Air Force Academy, 7; University of Alaska Anchorage, 4; College of the Holy Cross, 1; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1.

ABOUT THE POLL: The 13th annual USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men’s College Hockey Poll is conducted each week in conjunction with the American Hockey Coaches Association. The poll includes input from coaches and journalists representing each of the six NCAA Division I ice hockey conferences, as well as composite votes from officers of the American Hockey Coaches Association and USA Hockey Magazine, the most widely distributed hockey magazine in the world.

[Update] Five Alive: INCH's Fifth Anniversary - Inside College Hockey.

Approximately five years ago, Inside College Hockey got off the ground (specifically at 6 a.m. on Oct. 7, 2002). Thanks to you, we're still here five years later and we continue to grow. We're usually not ones to pump our tires, but we couldn't let our fifth anniversary pass without a look back at our journey from a two-person, seat-of-the-pants operation to... well, an eight-person, seat-of-the-pants operation

Congratulations INCH.

[Update2] Nice Things About Miami - Elliot Olshansky for College Sports TV.

All of that, of course, has nothing to do with Miami, and in all fairness, Miami has done plenty to earn the No. 1 ranking. The RedHawks are 6-0-0 on the season, with wins over Vermont, Ohio State and Nebraska-Omaha. The RedHawks are scoring four and two-thirds goals per game, and allowing one and a third. Jeff Zatkoff hasn't been as mind-blowingly brilliant as Jean-Philippe Lamoureux, but a .951 save percentage and a 1.2 goals-against average are just fine, thank you very much.

Most important, though, the RedHawks have done all of this despite losing Nathan Davis to a separated shoulder in the first game of the season. Losing your best player - and not just a great scorer, but a fantastic two-way forward - is a tough blow, but Miami's absorbed it astoundingly well against some pretty tough competition.

[Update3] In local college news, Santa Clara (2-2) picked up their second win of the season with a 5-3 win over U.C. Davis Saturday at Sharks Ice in San Jose. The Broncos face U.C. Irvine November 3rd on home ice.

Thursday through Sunday featured a Best of the West Showcase 4-team tournament in San Jose between SJSU, New Mexico, University of Colorado, and Long Beach State. The opening Best of the West Showcase game on Thursday featured New Mexico vs. University of Colorado. Colorado dropped 13 goals in the opener, Andrew Neitenbach scored four goals in the 13-0 route. Friday Long Beach dropped another football 13-0 score on New Mexico with 5 different players registering a multi-goal game, and the University of Colorado overpowered San Jose 8-0, P.J. Bevan and Chad Wetzel scored twice for Colorado. On Saturday SJSU stomped on University of New Mexico 10-1, Josh Legge scored a hat trick and 6 different Spartans lit the lamp, and the University of Colorado downed Long Beach 2-1 on an overtime goal by Max Myers. Long Beach defeated SJSU 4-1 on Sunday.

Stanford University (3-4) split games with UCLA at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo over the weekend, and will return home to face Oregon twice at the Redwood City Ice Oasis on Friday and Saturday. UCLA travels to Cal Berkeley for two games at the Oakland Ice Center November 2nd and 3rd.


Eloy Perez and Cynthia Talmadge register knockouts, Celaya and Garcia victorious in Monterey Riot Boxing

10/26 Riot Boxing Monterey: video1 | video2
Riot Boxing at the  Monterey Convention Center
Riot Boxing at the Monterey Convention Center

The opening entrance for super flyweight Constancio "Tacho" Alvarado (2-0-3) set the tone for Friday's raucous Riot Boxing event at the Monterey Convention Center. Former Salinas fieldworker Alvarado came out for his fight with Jose Pacheco (0-0-2) to loud latin music, a roaring crowd, and a ring bathed in the tricolor green, white, and red. The buzz seldom dipped for the rest of the evening.

Alvarado may have given up height and reach to Pacheco, but "Tacho" came to the fight with very heavy hands. He landed several punches early, and showed good strength pushing Pacheco up against the ropes in the first. Pacheco was the aggressor towards the end, and he finished the round with a long looping right hand. A head butt opened up a cut over Alvarado's left eye in the second, and it flowed heavily for the rest of the fight. The pace slowed slightly for the final two rounds, but a hard shot from in close stunned Pacheco in the middle of the third. With Pacheco content to stand and trade instead of trying to cut off the ring, Alvarado finished strong. Constancio Alvarado was bloody for the fourth and final round, but he could not put a game Pacheco down. All 3 referees scored the bout 38-38, 38-38, 38-38, a unanimous draw.

The second fight featured two boxers looking for their first professional win, San Jose's Maurice Slade (0-2) out of the American Kickboxing Academy vs Oakland's Yonas Gebleegziabher (0-3) out of Kings Gym. Slade looked to attack off the counter, but in the process he let Yonas score a number of punches in the first. At the end of the round, many spectators were pleading for Slade to throw punches. It would be a familiar refrain. Slade exhibited excellent movement and agility, but never let his hands go. Yonas Gebleegziabher earned a majority decision win by being the more active fighter.

Former #1 ranked WBO welterweight and NABO champion Jose Celaya (31-3, 16KOs) continuted his comeback tour against a boxer he defeated in April, Juan Pablo Montes de Oca (9-12-2, 6KOs) of Los Angeles. Celaya came into the bout 6 pounds over the 154 pound limit, and a first round knockdown of de Oca might have signaled a more decisive performance from Celaya than the first fight. Juan Pablo Montes de Oca plodded foward, and landed solid punches when he was able to catch up to Celaya, which was not often. A frustrated de Oca started stomping his feet, and tapping his head with his gloves while yelling at Celaya in the third round. The antics drew a warning from referee Marty Sammon.

Jose Celaya's defense and mobility allowed him to elude many of de Oca's telegraphed punches, but Celaya often tucks his arms into his body and pulls straight back. Against a puncher with explosive speed, that could spell trouble. The fourth round was Juan Pablo Montes de Oca's best, trapping Celaya up against the ropes and landing numerous blows to the body. Jose Celaya earned a majority decision win 59-54, 58-55, 56-57. Many spectators vocally expressed their displeasure with the lack of action in the final two rounds, but in a post fight interview Celaya noted an illness he has been fighting earlier this week.

Undefeated Salinas boxer Jesus Vega was pulled from the Monterey card at the last minute by the CSAC, scuttling his return bout after a 4 year battle with cancer. Cuban Freddy Rojas (1-5) stepped in on a few days notice to participate in a 4-round slugfest with Gabriel Garcia (4-3), whose uncle is Georgie "The Hammer" Garcia. Garcia dictated the action early, and showed tremendous power when turning on punches inside. From the outside, Gabriel Garcia's long slapping shots were a little more unrefined. It looked like Garcia would walk through Rojas after two, but he ran into a boxer with solid technique, and one who could punch. Garcia held on as both traded punches for the final two rounds, earning a unanimous decision win 40-36, 40-36, 39-37 and a standing ovation from the crowd.

Cynthia Talmadge (1-1, 1KO) of San Francisco was fighting at a more natural weight of 120 pounds after her loss against a larger Jennifer Barber at the Riot in San Jose in July. Talmadge would face featherweight Leonie Hall (0-3-1), who had to leave her San Diego home due to the Southern California wildfires. Hall, who is deaf, actually defeated Talmadge three years prior in the amateur ranks. Talmadge came out more agressively in her second professional fight, throwing combinations, and trying to avoid a hard charging Leonie Hall like a bullfighter. Hall repeatedly tried to get in close and let loose with punches, but she paid a high price in the process. Cynthia Talmadge landed a hard right that stunned Hall halfway through the second round, followed by a brutal combination that dropped Leonie to the mat. Referee Ray Balewicz counted to two before waiving off the motionless boxer. Cynthia thanked Riot promoter Jerry Hoffman for his dedication to women's boxing in the post fight interview, and said that there will be more to come from her in the future.

Team Garcia super featherweight Eloy Perez (10-0-2, 2KOs) of Salinas headlined the Monterey Riot card with a fight against 37 year old southpaw Ron "teflon" Boyd (5-3, 2KOs) of Washington D.C. The day after Eloy Perez's 21st birthday, he found himself staring down a much larger Boyd, giving up half a foot in height. Boyd also had the imposing former Flyweight and SuperFlyweight title holder Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson in his corner. Boyd came out strong, overpowering the smaller Perez early. Towards the end of the round, Eloy started to land long lunging jabs piercing Boyd's guard.

Perez was quicker to the punch in the second round, and the damage started stacking up for Boyd. Perez could close the gap and back out without getting hit, Boyd was eating punches while he tried to move forward. There was no plan B. At the end of the second, Perez stumbled a little into the ropes, and Teflon Boyd tried to jump on the brief opening without success. More punches started to stick to Boyd in the third, and Perez turned on a left hook that wobbled Teflon Ron. Boyd never recovered in the fourth, and his trainer repeatedly called for him to snap out of his "survival mode". Two crushing lefts to the body dropped Boyd to one knee in the fifth round. Seconds later Eloy Perez dropped him with another body shot and referee Ray Balewicz stepped in and stopped the fight.

The Riot Boxing series, in its 15th year of showcasing Northern California boxing talent, may not be able to continue with rising costs and prohibitive logistical conditions. The series has featured a number of former state and world boxing champions including IBF/IBO flyweight champion Nonito Donaire, WBC female minimumweight title holder Carina Moreno, IBF featherweight champion Robert Guerrero, Cal State Jr Welterweight title holder Jesus Rodriguez, and WBC welterweight title holder "Sugar" Shane Mosley. Carina Moreno, who will fight November 8th at HP Pavilion, was a special guest at ringside. Jesus Rodriguez was in the corner for several of the Team Garcia boxers.

More information on the Riot Boxing series is available via 12sportsonline.com. A photo gallery from the Monterey Riot is available here. A highlight video with rounds from Garcia-Rojas, Celaya-de Oca, and Perez-Boyd, and post-fight interviews from Celaya, Garcia, Talmadge and Perez is available here: part 1, part2.

The Riot is an excellent venue to showcase local boxing talent, and on the topic of whether or not this would be the last event promoter Jerry Hoffman said recently on his blog:

Briefly, our twice annual RIOT event has become too costly to continue without a title sponsor and more VIP support. An efficient gate only covers half the cost in executing the show as fans have come to expect. The other hurtle is not knowing what to expect from the California State Athletic Commission. The process of producing an event like THE RIOT is challenging enough without fighters being pulled from the show.

[Update] Perez, Celaya both win bouts at The Riot - Dennis Taylor for the Monterey County Herald.

Salinas super bantamweight Eloy "The Prince" Perez, fighting an opponent who dwarfed him by six inches, scored his second career knockout with two devastating punches to remain undefeated in the main event of The Riot at the Monterey Conference Center. Perez fought a nervewracking first round against Ron Boyd (5-3), whose fishing-pole reach was threatening until Perez solved the problem with his lightning speed.

"He was a giant. He was huge." Perez said of Boyd, who trains in Washington D.C. under former world champ Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson, who worked his corner. "I didn't know he was going to be that tall, I just knew he was a lefty and that's about it. But I heard Max and Don telling me to work behind the jab, and I could hear (Garcia Boxing stablemate) Chuy Rodriguez telling me to go to the body, and that's what I did."

Monterey Herald boxing columnist Dennis Taylor teams with David Marzetti 9-10AM every Sunday morning for a boxing radio show on KNRY 1240AM (livestream available online at knry.com).

[Update2] Perez, Celaya victorious! - David Robinett for Fightnews.com.

The six-bout card at the Monterey Conference Center was presented by popular local promoter/ring announcer Jerry Hoffman and his 12 Sports Productions. Although contingent on finding additional sponsorships, Hoffman stated that the next installment of "THE RIOT!" is tentatively scheduled for next Spring.

[Update3] Perez Still Unbeaten - Secondsout.com.

Darryl Hunt: WorSharks Lose Thriller, 2-1

Whomever says "old time hockey is dead" should have been at the DCU Center last night. The home fans in attendance may not have like the result, but old time hockey fans would have loved the action as the Hartford Wolf Pack and Worcester Sharks pounded each other for 60 minutes with huge hits with the Wolf Pack coming out ahead 2-1 before an announced crowed of 3,464.

The first period saw no scoring, but hockey fans certainly enjoyed the first 20 minutes as both teams played very physically. WorSharks forward Riley Armstrong got the party started with a bone-crunching check of Hartford defender Jake Taylor behind the Wolf Pack's net. Taylor was slow to get up and did not return.

Not to be outdone, a couple shifts later Hartford forward Dane Byers laid a beautiful open ice blast on TJ Fox that sent Fox flying through the air. The next shift it was Craig Valette's turn as Valette threw a huge shoulder into the chest of a much larger Hugh Jessiman.

The last of the first period's big hits would be when WorSharks rookie defender Derek Joslin pasted Hartford’s Greg Moore as Moore tried to slip the puck past Joslin. Moore was also slow to get up, but continued on with his shift.

Despite all the huge hits the first period was remarkably clean, with referee Francois St. Laurent keeping his whistle in his pocket until late in the first.

The second period started more wide open than the first, with Hartford goalie Chris Holt and WorSharks netminder Taylor Dakers both making big saves in the period's early moments.

As in four of the WorSharks first five games, game six was no different as the opponent scored first when Hartford winger Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau wristed a laser over Dakers' glove and just under the crossbar for a 1-0 Wolf Pack lead. That lead would last a whole 39 seconds.

On the next shift Ashton Rome found himself alone behind the Hartford net, and Mike Iggulden got just enough of the centering feed to deflected it just past a stretching Holt to knot the game at 1-1.

The first fight of the game came next as Francis Lessard to exception the three hits against him in one shift. The first to knock him down was Iggulden, who got him in front of the Worcester bench. Just a handful of seconds later Valette hit Lessard in front of the Hartford bench. To complete the trifecta, Brennan Evans got Lessard right at the WorSharks blue line. Lessard was visibly less than pleased, and went after Evans in the Worcester zone.

Lessard landed a few blows but effectively ended the fight as he turtled while Evans was landing clean shots.

Hartford would take the lead with under a minute to go as Greg Moore blocked a Lucas Kaspar power play shot and went end to end, beating Dakers high to the glove side for a 2-1 advantage. The goal was not shorthanded as Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau's penalty for high sticking had just expired.

The WorSharks thought they tied the game just 45 seconds into the third period when Tom Cavanagh found the twine behind Holt, but St. Laurent immediately waved off the goal and called Nate Raduns for goaltender interference. The video replay shown on the DCU jumbotron shows the call may belong in the "questionable" category.

Midway through the final period Hugh Jessman boarded Armstrong in retaliation for the Taylor hit just inside the Wolf Pack zone, and Brad Staubitz defended his team mate by skating two zones to battle with Jessman. Jessman had the early edge, but Staubitz landed several unanswered bombs and got the take down to win the decison. The officials confered to determine if Staubitz had left the bench to begin the altercation--he did not--and Jessman's boarding minor was washed out by Staubitz's instigator penalty.

Hartford played a defensive game from that point, and any hope of a miraculous comeback was squelched by a deserved too many men on the ice minor when Dackers played the puck by the WorSharks bench just after Graham Mink had jumped on the ice to replace him.

The National Anthem was performed by Ed Arndt on electric guitar. Arndt has performed it several times at the DCU center for the New England Surge, and is by far the best of the folks that perform the song before Sharks games.

It's going to be fun to watch Devin Setoguchi once his ankle fully heals. Setoguchi took Mink's spot on his usual line and played right point on the second power play unit.

Neither team could capitalize with the man advantage with both teams going 0-4 on the power play. Hartford ended the game with 22 minutes in penalties. The WorSharks had 32, the difference being Staubitz's instigator misconduct.

Hartford's assistant coach J.J. Daigneault played 9 games for the Worcester IceCats during the 1995-96 season, scoring a goal and ten assists in nine games after being traded to St Louis from Montreal for Pat Jablonski.

In other Hartford news, Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau owns the longest name currently playing in the AHL at 24 letters. Olivier Magnan-Grenier from Lowell is second on that list at 20 letters.

The three stars of the game were
1) Moore (GWG)
2) Iggulden (1g)
3) Holt (25 saves)
Honorable mention goes to Valette for another oustanding game, although in this one he did get on the score sheet with the second assist on Iggulden's goal.

Even strength lines Cavanagh/Raduns/Iggulden


Penalty Kill


Power Play


Face Offs (offense/neutral/defense = total) (unofficial)
Raduns 6-2/0-1/3-5 = 9-8
Armstrong 0-0/2-3/0-1 = 2-4
Setoguchi 4-1/0-0/0-2 = 4-3
Fox 1-3/0-3/0-2 = 1-8
Rome 2-1/0-3/2-2 = 4-6
Cavanagh 4-1/0-0/1-1 = 5-2
Kaspar 0-1/0-0/0-0

Every Worcester player excepting Dackers had at least one hit. Staubitz, Rome, Evans, Joslin, and Fox each had two. Armstrong and Valette had three, Mink had four.

Valette blocked 4 shots on the penalty kill.

Dackers made four big saves.

Hartford 0 2 0--2
Worcester 0 1 0--1

1st Period
Scoring: None.
Penalties: WOR-Cavanagh, Tom (Tripping), 17:14.

2nd period
Scoring: 1, Hartford-Parenteau, Pierre 3 (Dupont, Brodie 2) 8:33. 2, Worcester-Iggulden, Mike 4 (Rome, Ashton 1; Valette, Craig 2) 9:09.3, Hartford-Moore, Greg 4 (game winner)(unassisted) 19:02.
Penalties: WOR-Armstrong, Riley (Interference), 0:13. HFD-Lessard, Francis (Fighting, Major), 11:13. WOR-Evans, Brennan (Fighting, Major), 11:13. HFD-Pock, Thomas (Hooking), 12:40. HFD-Parenteau, Pierre (High sticking), 17:02.

3rd period
Scoring: None.
Penalties: WOR-Raduns, Nate (Obstr goalie interfe), 0:45. HFD-Byers, Dane (Slashing, Roughing, Double minor), 2:03. WOR-Evans, Brennan (Roughing), 2:03. HFD-Lessard, Francis (Hooking), 5:39. HFD-Jessiman, Hugh (Board check, Fighting, Major), 10:14. WOR-Staubitz, Brad (Fighting, Instigator, Major, Ten minute misc.), 10:14. WOR-BENCH served by Raduns, Nate (Too many men), 19:05.

Shots On Goal
Hartford 10 7 7--24
Worcester 6 9 11--26
Power Play Conversions: Hartford - 0 of 4, Worcester - 0 of 4. Goalies: Hartford-Holt, Chris (60:00, 26 shots, 25 saves; record: 2-1-0). Worcester-Dakers, Taylor (59:20, 24 shots, 22 saves; record: 1-1-0).
A: 3464. Referee: St. Laurent, Francois. Linesmen: Boyle, Ed; Messier, Mark.


Darryl Hunt: WorSharks Escape Portland With A Point

The Portland Pirates out hit, out shot, out played, and totally "out hockied" the Worcester Sharks at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Maine last night. Fortunately for Worcester it took overtime for the Pirates to outscore them, and the WorSharks returned to the Bay State with a point after the 3-2 overtime loss.

Despite playing their worst game of the season the WorSharks actually held the lead 2-1 after two periods. As has happened in four of the WorSharks five games, the opponents struck first when Matt Christie found the twine after a pass from Brian Salcido.

Worcester would score both of its goals off of turnovers in the second period. Mike Iggulden and Riley Armstrong both beat Portland netminder Jonas Hiller in one-on-one situations. Iggulden's goal was just 39 seconds into the second and was assisted by Tom Cavanagh, Armstrong's was unassisted.

The Pirates would pull even early in the third while on the power play, with Bobby Ryan putting one past Thomas Griess while Dennis Packard was off for interference.

Greiss, wearing his customary number 29, should have been wearing number 1 as for long stretches of the game it seemed he was the only one out on the ice for the Sharks. With the Sharks being outshot nearly two-to-one and scoring chances few and far between, Greiss made save after save to keep the WorSharks in the game.

With Worcester barely hanging on Andrew Ebbett connected just to the left of Greiss and Portland grabbed the win and the extra point.

Devin Setoguchi returned to the WorShark's lineup finishing the game with one shot on goal and 2 minor penalties.

The WorSharks had three natural defensemen on the ice when the game winner was scored with Brad Staubitz at forward.

Despite the loss, the WorSharks have trailed for less than 38 minutes in over 300 minutes of game time.

Nate Raduns did not score a goal for the first time this season. He was on the ice for Iggulden's goal and leads the WorSharks in plus/minus at +6.

Worcester scratches were Marc Busenburg, Mike Morris, Josh Prudden, and Jonathan Tremblay.

Worcester 0 2 0 0--2
Portland 1 0 1 1--3

1st Period
Scoring: 1, Portland-Christie, Matt 1 (Salcido, Brian 6) 12:06.
Penalties: POR-Bouck, Tyler (Holding), 2:44. WOR-Setoguchi, Devin (Tripping), 8:39. WOR-Staubitz, Brad (Interference), 10:00. WOR-Rome, Ashton (Interference), 15:47.

2nd Period
Scoring: 2, Worcester-Iggulden, Mike 3 (Cavanagh, Tom 4) 0:37. 3, Worcester-Armstrong, Riley 2 (unassisted) 13:35.
Penalties: WOR-Raduns, Nate (High sticking), 7:22. POR-Dingle, Ryan (Interference), 16:04. WOR-Valette, Craig (Fighting, Major), 18:11. POR-Rome, Aaron (Fighting, Major), 18:11. POR-Ebbett, Andrew (Hooking), 19:17.

3rd Period
Scoring: 4, Portland-Ryan, Bobby 1 (power play) (Christie, Matt 1; Ebbett, Andrew 7) 2:08.
Penalties: WOR-Packard, Dennis (Interference), 2:03. WOR-Joslin, Derek (Roughing), 7:51. WOR-Setoguchi, Devin (Roughing), 7:51. WOR-Walsh, Tom (Game misc.), 7:51. POR-Dixon, Stephen (Roughing, Game misc.), 7:51. POR-Ferguson, Simon (Roughing), 7:51. POR-Segal, Brandon (Board check), 7:51. WOR-Raduns, Nate (Tripping), 12:02. WOR-Armstrong, Riley (Diving), 15:21. POR-Bouck, Tyler (Interference), 15:21. WOR-Iggulden, Mike (Hooking), 19:50.

Scoring: 5, Portland-Ebbett, Andrew 3 (game winner)(unassisted) 3:26.
Penalties: None.

Shots On Goal
Worcester 5 11 4 0--20
Portland 12 5 19 3--39

Power Play Conversions: Worcester - 0 of 4, Portland - 1 of 7.
Goalies: Worcester-Greiss, Thomas (63:26, 39 shots, 36 saves; record: 3-0-1). Portland-Hiller, Jonas (63:26, 20 shots, 18 saves; record: 1-0-0). A: 3966. Referee: St. Laurent, Francois. Linesmen: Unknown; O'Neill, Mike.


Tonight's Riot Boxing event in Monterey may be the last, Jesus Vega pulled off card by CSAC

Riot Boxing super featherweight Eloy Perez
Riot Boxing Monterey bantamweight Cynthia Talmadge

A lot of news is swirling around tonight's edition of the Riot Boxing series in Monterey. After 15 years, declining sponsorship, logistical problems with the California State Athletic Commission, and attendance concerns may signal the end for what has become one of the top showcases for Bay Area and Central Californian boxing talent.

Undefeated Salinas super featherweight Jesus Vega (14-0-2) was scheduled to make his return to the ring after a 4 year battle with testicular cancer. According to the Monterey Herald's Dennis Taylor, Vega was cleared by a neurologist, a radiologist, an opthomologist, a cardiologist, and his Salinas oncologist only to be overruled at the last minute by a California State Athletic Commission doctor citing an abnormality. Taylor also reported that Vega has been training for the fight for close to two months, and that he was frustrated by the doctors decision. Gabriel Garcia was named as a replacement for Jesus Vega. He will face Freddy Rojas in a 4 round super featherweight bout.

Bruising Salinas super featherweight Eloy Perez (9-0-2) will headline the October 26th Monterey card in a 8-round bout with Ron Boyd (5-2) of Washington D.C. Perez turned in a dominant performance against Barbaro Zepeda May 24th in San Jose, earning a unanimous decision win (60-54, 60-54, 60-54), but that was followed by a draw against Carlos Vinan August 10th in Sacramento (78-74, 76-76, 73-79), and a difficult unanimous decision win against Odilon Rivera September 13th again at HP Pavilion (60-54, 60-54, 60-54). Perez will look to rebound with a strong performance against the southpaw Boyd, who is 5-1 in his last 6 fights.

Also on the card is former #1 ranked welterweight contender Jose Celaya, former amateur golden gloves champion Cynthia Talmadge facing off against deaf San Diego boxer Leonie Hall, former Salinas fieldworker Constancio Alvarado, and San Jose welterweight Maurice Slade looking for his first win as a professional.

Tickets may be ordered through 3PM by calling 915-1119, and after 5PM they will be available at the Monterey Conference Center box office. More information is available from 12sportsonline.com, and Riot Boxing promoter Jerry Hoffman's blog Jerry's Jabs.

An updated fight card:


Main Event - Super Featherweights (8 rounds)
Eloy Perez (9-0-2 Salinas) vs. Ron Boyd (5-2 Washington DC)

Special Attraction - Jr. Middleweights (6 rounds)
Jose Celaya (30-3 Salinas) vs. Juan Pablo Montes de Oca (9-11 Las Vegas)

Super Featherweights (4 rounds)
Gabriel Garcia (3-3) vs Freddy Rojas (1-4 Las Vegas)

Female Feature - Bantamweights (4 rounds)
Cynthia Talmadge (0-1 San Francisco) vs. Leonie Hall (0-2-1 San Diego)

Super Flyweights (4 rounds)
Constancio Alvarado (2-0-2 Salinas) vs. Jose Pacheco (0-0-1 Los Angeles)

Welterweights (4 rounds)
Maurice Slade (0-1 San Jose) vs. Yonas Gebleeziagher (0-3 Oakland)

* card subject to change

[Update] Riot at the San Jose Civic Center Boxing, Rodriguez wins Cal State Jr Welterweight title - Sharkspage.

[Update2] Could this be the last Riot? - Dennis Taylor for the Monterey County Herald.

Monterey has never been treated to a boxing show quite like the next edition of The Riot, scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Monterey Conference Center. Just for starters, Jerry Hoffman's event will feature four top-drawer Salinas boxers, each with a legitimate shot at a spot in the world rankings in the coming months.

But it's more interesting than that. The showcase performers of the six-bout show include a cancer survivor, a former Salinas fieldworker, a boxer who once was ranked No. 1 in the world, a woman who works construction all day in one city, then trains deep into the night in another, and a fighter who is completely deaf. Three of the bouts, including the main event, feature an undefeated fighter. A bona fide boxing legend will work the corner of one of the combatants.

And here's the most amazing thing of all. This edition of The Riot, a Central Coast fixture for the past 15 years, may well be the last.

[Update3] Celaya doesn't make weight - Salinas Californian.


Sharks announce new ECHL affiliation with the Phoenix Roadrunners

San Jose Sharks affiliation with ECHL Phoenix Roadrunners

A press release from the San Jose Sharks last week announced a new 2-year secondary affiliation with the Phoenix Roadrunners of the ECHL. The Sharks have a primary ECHL affiliation with the Fresno Falcons.


San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson and Sharks Vice President and Assistant General Manager Wayne Thomas announced today that the club has formalized a two-year secondary affiliation with the Phoenix RoadRunners of the ECHL, America’s Premier "AA" Hockey League. The Sharks top development affiliate is the Worcester Sharks of the American Hockey League.

"We are pleased to add this quality organization as our development affiliate," said Thomas. "The Phoenix club has a long-standing tradition of excellence in its market – on and off the ice – and we look forward to their assistance in the development of Sharks prospects. Brad Church played in the Sharks organization and brings the same competitiveness and preparation as a coach as he did as a player."

The ECHL began play in 1988-89 with five teams in three states and has now expanded to 25 teams ranging from New Jersey to Alaska.

The Phoenix RoadRunners enter their third season in the ECHL, but their history as a franchise runs much deeper then just the past three seasons. The Phoenix RoadRunners were actually the first professional franchise in the state of Arizona. The team initially existed from 1967-1974 in the WHL. The team played in several leagues for various spans of time over the next few decades, but eventually went dark in 1997.

After four years without a minor league hockey team, the RoadRunners were revived in the ECHL by the same group of owners from the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Rattlers and Phoenix Mercury including Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver and Chairman and CEO Jerry Colangelo. The group also purchased the familiar hockey name and logos for play in their new home at US Airways Center.

The team had its best campaign, finishing fourth in the West Division and eighth in the National Conference in 2006-07, which earned them a berth in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

The team returns for the 2007-08 season led by head coach Church and a new affiliation with the San Jose and Worcester Sharks.

Links to the ECHL Phoenix Roadrunners, and the ALIH China Sharks have been added to the right.


2007 PhotoPlus Expo review

PDN's PhotoPlus Expo in New York City is one of the largest photography conventions in the U.S. There are a number of manufacturers, agencies, and software companies showcasing products and services, but one of the best reasons to attend is to meet the photographers themselves and learn how they are adopting new technologies to produce better images. Below is a brief rundown of the last three days of the conference with a focus on sports photography, and two or three hockey links thrown in as well. Not sure why the audio cuts out on a few of the clips, but there is still some good info included.

First stop of the day was the Nikon booth to take another look at the new D3 DSLR, and ask the staff a little more about it. The sample photos on display taken with very high ISO looked remarkably clean, see this Dave Black hockey example on Ken Rockwell's website, but would those results under set conditions apply when shooting very dark practice rinks or boxing events. It was explained that one of the reasons for the improved high ISO performance is the larger size of the sensor, and the increased amount of detail each pixel can contain. The rep also talked about how long the full frame (FX) camera was in development, how the scene recognition system and enhanced metering and white balance will improve performance, and how you can bump the frame rate from 9 to 11 by selecting the smaller DX mode. Inside Digital Photo has a video interview with Steve Heiner, Nikon's General Manager of Digital SLRs, here. Steve Heiner made a brief cameo on this blog here, along with Robert Scoble, to discuss the Coolpix S51c.

One of the themes of the PhotoPlus conference that photographers were most interested in this year was online image archiving, distribution and printing. Four companies I wanted to see were Santa Clara's Printroom.com, Digital Railroad, PhotoShelter, and Smugmug. Printroom's VP of Marketing Andrew Baum explained the new flash storefront creation tool, which makes it easy to create professional looking flash photography galleries. He also pointed to the Detroit Red Wings fan foto storefront as an example. Interesting tool, but the quality of prints from Printroom are better than any online print lab I have tried.

Did not get to see SmugMug at the conference, but their partner, independent book publisher Blurb, was there. Blurb may have the most affordable book publishing options, but the quality is also very good. They have templates where you can drag and drop your photos and text, and select from a number of different printing options. If I was going to take 30-40 photos from this blog, and 10-15 articles I have written, it would make a very interesting book in probably less than an hour. ($10 off your first book with promo code: photoplus07).

Digital Railroad offers an online digital archive and marketplace for photographers, and the DR marketplace blog highlights individual photographers successfully using the product in different disciplines. Digital Railroad hosted a party for photographers also sponsored by the APA, Canon, Blurb, and Modern Postcard.

PhotoShelter is a similar online distribution offering for photographers, home to Eric McErlain, Ellen Blanchard and Allen Clark's Offwing virtual photoagency. Lots of good hockey and soccer photography there. Ran into PhotoShelter VP of Sales and Marketing Grover Sanschagrin and SportShooter.com's Brad Mangin at the PhotoShelter booth. Later that night they hosted PhotoShelter A-GoGo, possibly the best party of the weekend, but the line was full so I sampled a local bar sans gogo dancers and watched New York fans hate on the Red Sox.

It took a few minutes to recover from Jennie Finch stopping me on a street corner and asking me to buy a hot dog, but I powered on to the Jacob Javits Center for Day 2. On the back side of the conference hall, Brad Kuhns of IPNstock wrote software to include all 27,290 photo submissions for the National Geographic Traveler and PDN Focus Contest into thirteen 12x5 foot panels. The final product, produced on an Epson Stylus Pro 11880 printer, was a segmented 154x5 foot print. Very cool. There is a brief shot of one panel in the video above.

Stopped by the Nikon booth again, this time to listen to Nikon Professional Photographer Mike Corrado discuss and show samples from the new D3 and D300. Also met MWW Group Account Coordinator Matthew Kopacz, who arranged the Nikon Four to the Floor event in San Francisco last week. Talked briefly about Nikon's Picture This marketing campaign with bloggers, and about things that hit photographers while shooting sports.

Visited the Lumiquest flash accessory booth to speak with Quest C. Couch. A lot of people were crowding Gary Fong's booth, asking about the LightSphere, but if I was going to recommend one accessory for a flash it would still have to be Lumiquests top selling product, the pocket bouncer. If you are at a large arena or concert hall with no ceiling to bounce a flash off of, it is a very simple and effective solution. The softscreen should solve a lot of digicam flash problems. Quest C. Couch mentioned "the larger the light source, the softer the shadows", and he also recommended using a flash from more natural directions. More on off camera flash can be found at strobist.

Also noted from the latest AMSP bulletin (American Society of Media Photographers): Minnesota Wild team photographer Bruce Kluckhohn (brucekphoto.com) was featured as one of the best sports photographers. He has been shooting the Wild for the last 7 seasons, and recently began covering the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Swarm Lacrosse teams. Kluckhohn discussed the benefits of digital photography compared to film, noted some of the licensing arrangements he has with the Minnesota Wild, and said that multimedia capture is not yet on his radar.

On the last day of the conference I got to listen to presentations from two of the best sports photographers in the business Dave Black and Vincent Laforet. There are brief clips from both in the video at the top of this post, but unfortunately both were taken at the wrong times. While I was still charging a battery, Dave Black talked about using external lights and long exposures to shoot ice climbers on a glacier as the sun faded. The results were spectacular. He also showed more examples of the Nikon D3's high ISO performance.

New York Times photographer Vincent Laforet discussed using a tilt shift lens to photograph various sporting events in the video clip at the top. Then as I stopped recording he started to talk about his sports aerial photography (NY Times multimedia presentation here). His shot from above of skaters and their shadows from the Lasker ice skating rink in Central Park is one of my favorites. Laforet talked about which helicopters he would not fly in, there were only two, and that using vibration reduction did not really work for him from the air. The shutter speeds were too quick, and VR would slow the shot down. He did recommend not having any part of your body resting against the side of the helicopter when shooting. Laforet's shots of surfers at the Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii from the top down were impressive, but it was nice to compare his field of view from photographers I have seen shoot the break over the years from the water and from the shore. My favorite shots are still of Jaws from the shore (some with helicopters in the frame filming action from below the top of the wave), and Mavericks in Half Moon Bay from a boat.

Laforet's tilt shift sports photos were an interesting look at select perspective photography. Another company at the conference released a product with a similar purpose, Lensbabies third generation 3G select focus lens. Lensbabies' Dave Aakhus demos the new lens in the video above, but you really have to google lensbabies and take a look at some of the resulting photos for yourself.

At the end of the conference my brother, NPD analyst Chris Swenson, joined me to check out a few of the software companies on display. On the walk home we stopped by the Law and Order television studio, took a photo of the last meat packing plant in the meat packing district, took a photo of architect Frank Gehry's "Sails" InterActiveCorp building, and stumbled upon a live 10-day, 6 hours a day art exhibit from Ragnar Kjartansson. A short clip snuck into the video above. Kjartansson was playing slow guitar and wailing into the microphone in an empty warehouse, lined with a few fake trees. Exhibit websites are available here and here. Visit at your own risk.

Inside Digital Photo posted video podcasts from photographer and author Amadou Diallo, photographer Michael Fehrer during a live model shoot, Leica USA's Director of Marketing Christian Erhardt on the new Summarit-M lenses, and an intro to the PhotoExpo with PDN PhotoPlus International Conference and Expo show director Jeff McQuilkin.

Professional photographer and photobusiness guru John Harrington posted two video features showcasing different products and companies from PhotoPlus here and here. Harrington also lead a session on best business practices for freelance photographers.

PC Magazine, Wired Magazine, and Popular Photography also posted about the conference, but the blog coverage of the conference was also pretty good. Photoshop trainer and author Scott Kelby wrote a brief review here, and Kathryn Hill has extensive notes and sample photos here.

[Update] In the Aisles - PhotoPlus Products Report - PDNpulse.com.

When covering a show as big (and noisy) as last week's PhotoPlus Expo in New York City, it's easy to overlook some of the lower-key products tucked away in the various corners of the show floor. To be sure, the gear that grabbed the most attention at PhotoPlus 2007 was at the front of the hall where Nikon's new flagship digital SLR, the D3, and Canon's new top-of-the-line DSLR, the EOS 1Ds Mark III, were making their debuts.

[Update2] PhotoPlus: 24-foot tripod from Manfrotto - Adorama.com.

[Update3] Amazon's current blog posts a PhotoPlus review here and here. Links via Instapundit.

[Update4] More videos from Photoplus, an interview about the Nikon D3, an interview with photographer Joe McNally, an interview with Douglas Kirkland about the Canon 1Ds Mark III and several others are available via Calumet Photo News.


Celebrity Apprentice hotdog for charity from Jennie Finch and Carol Alt

Celebrity Apprentice challenge

Walking to the Jacob Javits Center on Friday, softball pitcher Jennie Finch asked me if I would like to buy a hotdog for charity. Behind her were a row of television cameras, Omarosa, Marilu Henner, Tiffany Fallon, and a hotdog stand. 5-time Olympic gold medalist Nadia Comaneci and model Carol Alt made the hotdog. I have never seen the regular apprentice show, but apparently this was the celebrity version.

I asked Carol Alt about hockey, but blanked on the name of her boyfriend, Alexei Yashin. Not my fault, I am a Western Conference guy. She mentioned that she talks to Yashin daily, and that he is enjoying the season with Russian Super League team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, where he has 5 goals and 9 assists in 19 games.

Yashin may be one of the most enigmatic and contentious stars of the modern NHL. Drafted second overall by the Ottawa Senators in 1992, Yashin went on to register six 30-goal seasons in the NHL, including a runner-up finish for the Hart and Rocket Richard trophies in 1998-99.

A series of contract disputes lead to Yashin sitting out the 1999-2000 NHL season, surrendering his Senators captainship to Daniel Alfredsson. A draft day blockbuster trade in 2001 sent Alexei to the New York Islanders for towering defenseman Zdeno Chara, Bill Muckalt and the 2nd overall pick in the draft (Jason Spezza). The Islanders signed Yashin to a monster 10-year $87.5 million deal which resulted in the end of an 8-year playoff drought.

Early playoff exits in three straight seasons pushed expectations for Yashin to a new level in 2005-06. Alexei Yashin was named captain of the New York Islanders after the trade of Michael Peca, but he delivered a subpar 28 goals and 38 assists. A lingering knee injury limited Yashin to only 58 games in 2006-07, and the Islanders bought out the remainder of the contract after the season. Alexei and his agent were not pleased with the offers made by NHL clubs this offseason, and he signed a 1-year deal with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the RSL.

This was an interesting break from all of the conference presentations and parties, but at least I can say I was Jennie Finch's first celebrity apprentice hotdog sale.

NHL powered by Reebok store showcases the latest hockey gear in New York City

NHL powered by Reebok storefront in New York City
NHL motorcycle Orange County Choppers Stanley Cup bike

Last week marked the grand opening of the new NHL powered by Reebok Store on 47th street and 6th avenue in Manhattan. Located at the base of the new NHL World Headquarters, the 6,700-square-foot "retail mecca" designed by architecture firm Gensler and Reebok's Global Design Team features a 29 foot video wall, new RBK edge jerseys and custom apparel from all 30 NHL teams, interactive video game kiosks, an XM radio studio that will feature live hockey programing on NHL Home Ice (XM station 204), a floating 400 Rbk hockey stick sculpture, a mini Starbucks with hockey artwork, and more flat panel HD television screens than you can count.

The new store is spacious, and it will take fans some time to work through the new merchandise. Most of the traffic was centered around the new RBK Edge jerseys, the new line of vintage NHL apparel, and the Orange County Choppers custom NHL motorcycle. I asked one of the employees what opening day was like (Friday, October 12th) and he said it was like a rock concert, with wall-to-wall people and media, autograph sessions, and a Stanley Cup procession down 6th avenue.

NHL Executive Vice President of Marketing Brian Jennings said in a press release, "The 'NHL Powered by Reebok' store will serve as a year-round showcase for the sport of hockey and will bring the game to life through a multi-sensory experience. We are excited to partner with Reebok because of their immense retail experience. Together, we have produced a store that will undoubtedly become a must-see destination for hockey fans worldwide."

It is definitely worth a visit, and if you purchase a vintage Quebec Nordiques jersey shirt or new RBK 9K skates, you can walk a couple of blocks and test them out on the open ice rinks at the Rockefeller Center or in Central Park.

A photo gallery from the new NHL store is available here. Photos were taken with a Nikon Coolpix S51c.

[Update] A New Epicenter for the NHL - Washington Times.

So after the morning skate I made my way down to the new NHL store, which held its grand opening today. If you have not heard, the store is at 1185 Avenue of the Americas (the corner of 47th St. and 6th Ave.) in Manhattan, and if today was any indication, it will be a beacon of hockey greatness in the middle of the Big Apple.

There were literally thousands of people in and around the place. Just walking around in the store was not easy...

Inside is where the action was at. To the left of the main entrance sat Lord Stanley's Cup, and there was a line out the door and wrapped around the block to get your picture taken with it. There are these gigantic photos about 25 feet tall along the left wall of Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Joe Thornton and Martin Brodeur showcasing the new uniforms. Sorry for the shoddy photography, I blame the tools (my cell phone) with which I had to work with.

[Update2] NHL'S LATE STORE PLAY, League set to open retailer - NY Post.

[Update3] The NHL Store Experience - Arune.com.


Darryl Hunt: WorSharks Hand Providence Its First Loss, 5-3

The Worcester Sharks, behind the strength of a 39 save performance by goaltender Thomas Greiss, defeated the Providence Bruins 5-3 to win the battle of Atlantic Division unbeatens.

The WorSharks had the game's first two power plays, and even skated 5 on 3 for over a minute, but could not get the puck past Bruins rookie netminder Tuukka Rask despite crashing the net on numerous occasions. As they would all game, both goaltenders made several great saves throughout the early part of the first period.

For the first time this season the WorSharks got on the board first as Ashton Rome batted the rebound of a Brad Staubitz blast out of the air and past Rask to take a 1-0 lead with just over six minutes remaining in the first stanza.

Despite being shorthanded late in the first it appeared the Sharks would escape the period with the lead despite being outshot by a wide margin, but Providence had other ideas. In a play that looked like it may have been offsides, Bruins forward Byron Bitz gained the blue line and hit a streaking Petteri Nokelainen, who blasted a shot just past the outstretched pad of Greiss and just inside the post to tie the game with 7.7 seconds remaining.

In the second period the Sharks would take the lead on their next power play chance as Sandis Ozolinsh blasted a shot just wide of Rask in what appeared to be a set play, and Mike Iggulden tipped the rebounding puck past the sprawling netminder for the 2-1 lead.

Under two minutes later the Sharks would strike again, this time with the fourth line. Jonathan Tremblay and Dennis Packard spent the whole shift pinning the Bruins in their own zone with big hits and a relentless fore check when the Bruins turned it over behind their own net. Nate Raduns, double shifting with the second and fourth lines, banked the puck off of Rask and into the net for his fourth goal in four games. Tremblay's assist was his first AHL point.

The next two goals would be by Providence, and both would be scored by former Worcester Icecat Jeff Hoggan. The first would come 96 seconds after Raduns tally, and the tying goal would come four minutes into the third period to tie the game 3-3.

The WorSharks would take the lead for good at the 9:01 mark with an odd combination. With Sharks defender Tom Walsh holding the puck behind Greiss' net, the Sharks changed forwards with a line that hadn't played together all game. Captain Graham Mink and Packard at wings, and TJ Fox at center. Mink swung the net taking the puck from Walsh, and as Mink flipped the puck into the attacking zone all three forwards crashed the net, with Mink gaining the lose puck and flipping it wide of Rask. Packard grabbed the puck on the goal line to Rask's left and hit Fox with a nifty pass, with Fox tipping the puck into the now empty net for his first professional goal.

Providence nearly tied the game later in the period, but Martins Karsums slapshot found iron to the right of Greiss. The WorSharks iced the game with six second remaining with the Bruins using an extra attacker as Raduns hit the open net from 150 feet away on a clearing attempt.

Worcester scratches were Marc Busenburg, Mike Morris, Josh Prudden, Patrick Traverse, and Devin Setoguchi.

The AHL requires all players to wear a visor. Sandis Ozolinsh followed the absolute letter of the rule, having a visor attached to his helmet. He may have to work on the "spirit of the rule" part, as the visor was barely low enough to protect his forehead.

The three stars were
1) Fox (GWG, +2)
2) Hoggan (2g)
3) Greiss (39 saves)
Honarable mention has to go to Raduns and his two goals.

The jersey situation appeared to be fixed with all players wearing their normal numbers.

Attendance was announced at 3,362. Not a bad total considering the WorSharks had to compete with both the New England Patriots and the Boston Red Sox in game seven of the ALCS, both happening around the Sharks game.

Even strength lines


Power Play lines


Shorthanded lines


Face-Offs (offense/neutral/defense = total) (unofficial)
Raduns 2-6/2-3/3-3 = 7-12
Cavanagh 4-1/1-0/1-0 = 6-1
Fox 0-1/1-1/4-3 = 5-5
Armstrong 2-4/2-3/1-2 = 5-9
Rome 4-2/0-0/0-2 = 4-4
Valette 0-0/0-0/0-1 = 0-1
Kaspar 0-1/0-0/0-0 = 0-1

Both Staubitz and Ozolinsh blocked shots while short handed.

Joslin had a hit; Valette, Evans, Staubitz, Cavanagh, and Tremblay each had two. Armstrong had three, and Rome had four.

Greiss had 5 big saves. I didn't track them for Rask, but he had at least a half dozen.

Providence 1 1 1--3
Worcester 1 2 2--5

1st Period
Scoring: 1, Worcester, A. Rome (1) (B. Staubitz, C. Valette) 13:56. 2, Providence, P. Nokelainen (2) (B. Bitz, M. Lashoff) 19:52 PP
Penalties: C. Collins Pro (tripping) 1:16, M. Hunwick Pro (hooking) 1:59, B. Evans Wor (interference) 9:17, J. Tremblay Wor (slashing) 16:11, T. Fox Wor (hooking) 18:38

2nd Period
Scoring: 3, Worcester, M. Iggulden (2) (S. Ozolinsh, G. Mink) 9:09 PP. 4, Worcester, N. Raduns (4) (D. Packard, J. Tremblay) 11:06. 5, Providence, J. Hoggan (2) (B. Bitz, B. Skinner) 12:40
Penalties: C. Collins Pro (holding) 7:11, M. Lashoff Pro (interference) 16:05

3rd Period
Scoring: 6, Providence, J. Hoggan (3) (W. Rabbit, C. Collins) 4:12. 7, Worcester, T. Fox (1) (D. Packard, G. Mink) 9:01. 8, Worcester, N. Raduns (5) (T. Cavanagh) 19:54 EN
Penalties: M. Karsums Pro (high-sticking) 0:54, C. Valette Wor (holding) 10:04, V. Sobotka Pro (holding) 12:52

Shots on goal
Providence 16 12 14--42
Worcester 8 12 7--27

Power Play Conversions
Providence Bruins 1 of 4. Worcester Sharks 1 of 6.

Goalies: Providence-Rask, Tuukka (59:21, 26 shots, 22 saves; record: 3-1-0). Worcester-Greiss, Thomas (59:43, 42 shots, 30 saves; record 3-0-0). A: 3362. Referee: David Banfield (44). Linesmen: Tim Low (68), Brian MacDonald (13)

Darryl Hunt: Dakers, WorSharks defeat Lowell, 2-1

Rookie netminder Taylor Dakers, making his first professional start, turned aside 25 of 26 Lowell Devils shots to lead the Worcester Sharks to a 2-1 victory in front of an announced crowd of 3,246 at the DCU Center in Worcester.

The game's first few minutes saw some big hits, and the one that Brennan Evans threw on Lowell defender Sheldon Brookbank in the referee's crease started the game's only fight, with Evans getting his right arm free to land several good shots. As Brookbank threw a few of his own, Evans switched to lefts to win the decision.

In the first two WorSharks games the opponent found the twine first, and this game was no exception as Ivan Khomutov fired a low wrister from the right circle that beat the crossing Dakers to give Lowell a 1-0 lead just over six minutes into the contest.

Worcester is getting a reputation of answering early goals quickly, and last night was no exception as under two minutes later rookie Nate Raduns skated into the attacking zone against both Devils defenders and threw an easy backhand at Lowell goaltender Frank Doyle that was easily saved, but before he could cover the bouncing puck a streaking Dennis Packard poked it in to knot the game at 1-1.

The Sharks would score again in the first period as Raduns went coast-to-coast after a Lowell turnover in the Worcester defensive zone, and threw a pass across the Lowell goalmouth to Packard. The puck banked in off of a sprawling Doyle and across the goal line for what turned out to be the game winner. Raduns has goals in all three Worcester games.

Referee Jamie Koharski must have had a plane to catch as whistles were few and far between, with both teams getting just two power plays. Neither team was able to capitalize on the man advantage.

The goalies took over for the last two periods, with both making several nice saves to keep the game 2-1. The biggest save of the night for Dakers came with just under a minute remaining as he flashed the glove out to grab a hard blast from the point while being screened. Dakers also showed great control of rebounds during that stretch, twice deflecting hard shots to wide open Sharks defenders for easy clears.

Sandis Ozolinsh, a veteran with 836 games of NHL experience, played in his first ever AHL game after signing a PTO with the WorSharks on Friday. The rust of not having played in a game for over 10 months showed, but as the game went on you could see him getting more comfortable every shift he took. He was on the ice during the last minute of the game while Lowell skated with the extra attacker.

Sharks head coach Roy Sommer went with his usual first line of Kaspar/Armstrong/Mink, but mixed up his other lines as the game went on. Brad Staubitz saw shifts at both forward and defense. Every line combination Worcester threw out there played very well. The defensive lines were also shuffled quite a bit, and each combination played solidly.

Sommer pulled Dakers with 3.1 second left in the first period and the face-off to the left of Doyle. Armstrong lost the draw cleanly and Lowell got off a decent attempt on the open net. The shot crossed the goal line just wide and not much after the horn sounded.

The loudest cheer of the night came from the Charter Zone club after JD Drew hit a grand slam in the 1st inning during the Indians/Red Sox ALCS game. With the press box gang watching the game over the internet, several nearby fans ran over to watch the home run as the internet feed is delayed about 40 seconds over the TV broadcast.

Worcester was not immune from the jersey issues the AHL has been having. Because of the problems Derek Joslin was wearing number 24 instead of his usual 25, and Staubitz had on 34--Jonathan Tremblay's usual number--instead of 6.

Worcester scratches were Marc Busenburg, Mike Morris, Josh Prudden, Devin Setoguchi, and Jonathan Tremblay.

Devin Setoguchi was seen walking around the concourse between periods wearing a protective boot on his injured left ankle. No official word on his prognosis, but he didn't have the look of someone that was going to be playing soon.

Score a hit for referee Jamie Koharski, who knocked over Ozolinsh before a face-off as Ozolinsh was skating backwards after a brief conversation with Patrick Traverse with the Sharks on the power play.

The three stars of the game were
1) Raduns (GWG, 1A, +2)
2) Packard (1G, +2)
3) Dakers (25 saves)
Honorable mention goes to Craig Valette, who didn't appear on the score sheet but may have played one of the best games of his career.

Face-offs (offense/neutral/defense = total)
Raduns 3-4/0-6/2-0 = 5-10
Armstrong 3-4/2-3/0-3 = 5-10
Kaspar 0-0/0-1/0-0 = 0-1
Fox 0-3/1-1/2-2 = 3-6
Cavanagh 4-1/0-3/1-2 = 6-6
Mink 0-0/0-0/1-0 = 1-0
Iggulden 1-1/0-0/0-0 = 1-1
Rome 1-0/0-0/1-0 = 2-0

Spang, Packard, Raduns, and Fox all had hits. Traverse and Rome had two, Mink and Evans had three, Armstrong had four, and Valette had five.

Rome blocked a shot, and Ozolinsh made a save on a puck that squirted by Dakers. Dakers made four big saves.

Lowell 1 0 0--1
Worcester 2 0 0--2

1st period
Scoring: 1, Lowell-Khomutov, Ivan 2 (Fraser, Mark 3; Gionta, Stephen 1) 6:15. 2, Worcester-Packard, Dennis 1 (Raduns, Nate 1; Iggulden, Mike 5) 8:00. 3, Worcester-Raduns, Nate 3 (game winner) (Staubitz, Brad 1; Walsh, Tom 1) 14:44.
Penalties: LOW-Brookbank, Sheldon (Fighting, Major), 5:24. WOR-Evans, Brennan (Fighting, Major), 5:24.

2nd period
Scoring: None.
Penalties: WOR-Evans, Brennan (Tripping), 3:52. WOR-Traverse, Patrick (Slashing), 17:08.

3rd period
Scoring: None.
Penalties: LOW-Malmivaara, Olli (Hooking), 4:55. LOW-Ryznar, Jason (Slashing), 8:22.

Shots On Goal
Lowell 9 9 8--26
Worcester 16 4 15--35

Power Play Conversions: Lowell - 0 of 2, Worcester - 0 of 2.
Goalies: Lowell-Doyle, Frank (58:55, 35 shots, 33 saves; record: 1-2-0). Worcester-Dakers, Taylor (59:56, 26 shots, 25 saves; record: 1-0-0).
A: 3246. Referee: Koharski, Jamie. Linesmen: Messier, Mark; Millea, Chris.


MMA/Boxing Notes - October 18th

Strikeforce BodogFight Strikeforce MMA Tournament

- Strikeforce announced this week that a 4-man, single-elimination Middleweight tournament will be held November 16th for the right to challenge Strikeforce World Middleweight Champion Frank Shamrock. Falaniko "Niko" Vitale (24-7) and Joe "Diesel" Riggs (27-9) have been named as two of the competitors for the first mixed martial arts elimination tournament in California.

Strikeforce "Four Men Enter, One Man Survives" in San Jose November 16th - Strikeforceusa.net.

"We're very grateful that the athletic commission has given us the opportunity to produce a tournament format fight for our fans," said Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker. "This will be the first step in our efforts to produce more tournaments which, historically, have been a great way to challenge world class athletes and to determine who the best competitor is on any given day."

Strikeforce promoter Scott Coker has experience putting together a number of K-1 kickboxing tournaments, and bringing in Joe Riggs (27-9) and Niko Vitale (24-7) after dominating wins on the last Strikeforce Playboy card add an edge to this Middleweight competition early.

Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports reports that the California State Athletic Commission will require two alternates to be in place before the tournament can be held. Iole also notes that Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Frank Shamrock has not agreed to face the tournament winner, and that the tournament MMA format is one that Strikeforce is looking to use more often in the future.

A dream bracket would also include San Jose's Cung Le, or local David Terrell, but a Shamrock-Le fight may take place at a later date, and Terrell is trying to make a successful comeback from injury in the UFC.

- Boxing promoter Jerry Hoffman is bringing the popular Riot Boxing series back to the Monterey Conference Center October 26th for an exciting 6-bout card. Sharkspage favorite Eloy Perez headlines the event with a fight against Washington D.C.'s Ron Boyd, undefeated Jesus Vega (14-0) returns to the ring, former top ranked contender Jesus Celaya (30-3) and San Francisco Golden Gloves champion Cynthia Talmadge are also scheduled to appear.

On his blog, Jerry's Jabs, Hoffman previews the fight card with posts about the addition of deaf female boxer Leonie Hall, a post about Eloy Perez's main event opponent Ron Boyd, trained by former World Champion Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson, and writes about undefeated Jesus Vega's return from testicular cancer.

A press release from Riot Boxing:

6 bout card set for October 26th at Downtown Monterey Conference Center

Several undefeated prospects, a former #1 contender, a cancer survivor, and a deaf female fighter highlight THE RIOT boxing card promoted by Jerry Hoffman and 12 Sports Productions.

Historic downtown Monterey is the venue. The Main event finds 9-0-2 Eloy Perez of Salinas challenged by Ron Boyd of Washington, DC. Boyd at 5-2 is trained by former World fly and superflyweight champion Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson. Perez turns 21 on the eve of THE RIOT, and will face his toughest challenge as a pro. The bout is an 8 rounder at 130 pounds.

14-0 Jesus Vega, also of Salinas has already won the biggest fight of his life. The promising southpaw was diagnosed with testicular cancer 4 years ago, but has the disease in total remission. With a complete clearance by his oncologist, Vega resumes his pro boxing career against Fruedin Rojas of Las Vegas. This bout will be a 4 round affair contested at 130.

Our female feature has a pair of decorated amateurs seeking their first win as professionals. 0-1 Cynthia Talmadge of San Francisco dropped her professional debut to undefeated Jennifer Barber on THE RIOT card in July, but earned a trip back. Her opponent, Leonie Hall is 0-2-1 as a pro, but beat Talmadge 3 years ago when both were top 5 amateurs in their weight classes. This time, the two will collide at 120 pounds in a 4 rounder. Hall's world is silent.

Returning to Monterey for the first time since 2001 is Jose Celaya. The one time pride of Salinas, encountered a rude awakening when he left his previous team in favor of a signing bonus with a group that had no boxing experience. Celaya promptly got knocked out in consecutive TV appearances. He has since humbled himself to start all over, despite achieving a #1 contender record as a welterweight while under the guidance of Max and Kathy Garcia who head Team Garcia Boxing. Now an independent, Jose Celaya at 30-3 tries to regain some of his former glory. He'll be in a 6 rounder vs. Juan Pablo Montes de Oca.

Another Salinas fighter, Constancio Alvarado at 2-0-2 was literally plucked from the fields last year by Team Garcia and has become an unbeaten energized Super Flyweight. He is challenged by Jose Pacheco of Los Angeles in a 4 at 116.A pair of winless pros complete the card, as 0-3 Welterweight Yonas Gebleeziagbher of Oakland matches with 0-1 Maurice Slade of San Jose. Tickets are available by calling (831) 688-1604 to charge by phone or visit www.12sportsonline.com and find www.virtualboxoffice.com to order online. The bell rings for the first bout at 7:30PM.

A press conference featuring Eloy Perez (9-0-2), Jesus Vega (14-0-2), Constancio Alvarado (2-0-1), Jose Celaya (30-3), Jesus "Chuy" Rodriguez (17-2) and trainer Max Garcia will be held at the Monterey Conference Center Friday October 26th at 1PM.

Xfight  Kickboxing San Francisco

- WBC Muay Thai- XFIGHT Promotions, October 19th! - Fairtex.com.

San Francisco, CA. Promoter Mr. Michael Borbet of XFIGHT Promotions is bringing one of the most exciting ring sports - Muay Thai to the Bay Area with his first event on October 19, 2007 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. The event is marked as "War of the Contenders" as ranking fights with worldclass athletes to be sanctioned by the World Boxing Council - Muay Thai Division (WBC Muay Thai), United States Muaythai Federation (USMF) and World Muaythai Council (WMC). This is a history in the making where for the first time, all three sanctioning bodies have united as one to support the growing demand for Muay Thai. This is the first event in San Francisco’s history under Full Muay Thai Rules.

With public interest in martial arts at an all-time high, XFIGHT Promotions is working closely with Mr. Anthony Lin, President of USMF, North American Coordinator for WBC Muay Thai and sole representative for WMC, to sanction up to six events in year 2008. "The objective is to build the ranking system thus uniting the Muay Thai community and to hold National, International and World Championship Titles under the banners of WBC Muay Thai, USMF and WMC in USA." said Mr. Borbet. "For the first event, XFIGHT has been working closely with Fairtex and USMF to invite 30 athletes from 16 gyms in 8 States to participate in this ranking event," added Mr. Borbet. The main event is a rematch between Fairtex fighter, Armando Ramos from San Francisco, CA versus Dan Rawlings from Florida.

The event will have up to 15 bouts with male and female athletes competing for professional and amateur rankings. "We are excited to see that there are so many female athletes that want to compete in this event. I am excited to see one of our very own, Jenna Castillo from Mountain View, CA face Melanie Kohler-Edwards from Utah," said Ms. Mimy Sisavat, General Manager of Fairtex Muaythai Fitness. "It is an exciting time for the sport of Muaythai." said Mr. Lin. "Muaythai is gaining the international recognition as one of the most effective and exciting stand-up combat sports. It is most suitable for MMA, self-defense, weight loss, and more... We are excited that Muay Thai under USMF, WMC and International Federation of Muaythai Amateurs (IFMA) has been recognized by the General Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF) in 2006, making it a step closer to becoming an Olympic sport." As Mr. Hein Verbruggen, President of GAISF. Switzerland says, "Muaythai is now a member of the Olympic family"...

Fairtex, Singha Beer, Superfly and All Pro Bail Bonds are the official sponsors for the event.

XFIGHT Promotions - War of the Contenders starts at 6:00 pm at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium located at 99 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 this Friday, October 19, 2007. VIP - $150, Ringside - $80, Reserved - $60 and General - $40 seating tickets can be purchased through City Box Office at 415- 392-4400 or www.cityboxoffice.com.

Thanks to Anthony Lin of Fairtex.com for the email. He notes that future kickboxing events may be held in the San Francsico and Mountain View Fairtex locations, drawing competitors from the legendary Fairtex gyms in Thailand, and other international competitors. Lin also reports that this is the first time three sanctioning kickboxing bodies (WBC Muay Thai, WMC and USMF) will be working together on a Muay Thai promotion in the USA.

- Fedor Emelianenko to Make Contract Announcement on Monday - MMAjunkie.com.

PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko is headed to New York City for a Monday press conference to announce a new contract, MMAjunkie.com has learned.

The Russian fighter, who is one of the sport's top-ranked fighters and MMA's most sought-after free agent, will share the details of his recently signed contract at the reception.

Event organizers are tight-lipped about the contract, as well as the fight promotion that signed Emelianenko. However, all answers will be answered on Monday at 5:30 p.m. ET, we're told.

I am in New York City for the Photo Plus Expo photography conference. If I can make it to the Emelianenko press conference, I will post about it here.

- The news of Pride FC Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko's contract signing lead to the resignation of UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture, possibly the most visible figure in mixed martial arts. Couture cited a lack of respect and inadequate financial compensation, but there has been an undercurrent of frustration for many years about how the UFC pays and treats its competitors. That issue is now front and center, and it will be until things change. Couture's contract status may not be determined without protracted legal proceedings.

If this would delay or kill a possible Emelianenko-Couture Heavyweight superfight, it would only open the door further for a number of other promising MMA promotions.

[Update] Interesting quote from ESPN's latest live episode of Contender, seen via JetBlue's Direct TV inflight service at 3AM. Color commentator Teddy Atlas described the bout between Contender veteran Alfonso Gomez vs Welterweight veteran Ben Tackie, "Tackie is trying to tenderize the meat with those punches, but he can't put him in the oven just yet."

Gomez earned the unanimous decision win (98-92, 98-92, 97-93). The Contender reality boxing competition is in the elimination phase, with the next two taped bouts scheduled to air October 23rd between Jaidon Codrington and Wayne Johnsen, and an excellent showdown October 30th with Sakio Bika facing Sam Soliman. The Contender finale will be shown live on ESPN November 6th in Boston.

[Update2] UFC 77 Preview - MMA Insider blog on the Baltimore Sun.

Middleweight title: Champion Anderson Silva vs. Challenger Rich Franklin

Most fans remember the first Silva-Franklin fight just about a year ago at UFC 64. Silva dominated that encounter, controlling Franklin in a Muay Thai clinch and pounding the former champion with a series of knees to the body and finishing Franklin off with knees and kicks to the head. Since then, Silva has continued to demonstrate his impressive all-around skills, first by getting Travis Lutter to submit in a non-title fight and then defeating Nate Marquardt by ground-and-pound in his first official title defense.

Franklin has not looked nearly as able. While he pounded an overmatched Jason MacDonald in his first fight back after losing the belt, Franklin had quite a bit of trouble with Yushin Okami in his next fight. Okami was very passive in the first two rounds of the fight, but when he became aggressive in the third round, he was almost able to get Franklin to submit. I believe that Okami would have won that fight had he been more aggressive earlier on in the fight.

Tonight, I simply don’t believe Franklin will be able to handle Silva's all-around superior game. Whether or not Franklin has learned how to deal with Silva’s clinch is almost irrelevant. Silva has too many other weapons.

Prediction: Silva by TKO in the second round

[Update3] There is a new boxing radio show/podcast from 1050 AM KCAA's Lee Honish. Available via a live radio stream, or available via a podcast for download here. Fight Net Radio is a nationally syndicated boxing/MMA/sport's talk show that originates from 1050 AM Southern California's KCAA-NBC, and is broadcasted around the world.


Sharks overpower Vancouver Canucks 4-2, score three goals in third period

Joe Thornton was named first star of the game in Monday's 4-2 win at Vancouver, registering a goal and 2 assists. San Jose scored 3 goals in a critical 3:20 span early in the third period, and the Sharks converted 2 of 7 power plays which controlled the flow of the game early. Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov finished with 24 saves on 26 shots, and the win pushed his record at this early juncture over .500 (3-2-1, .896SV%, 2.40GAA). Roberto Luongo finished with 30 saves on 34 shots (3-3-0, .897SV%, 3.17GAA).

David Pollak of the Mercury News reported that Ron Wilson tried to motivate Jonathan Cheechoo by pulling him off of the top line, and substituting Joe Pavelski on the power play. Pavelski scored with the man advantage, but Cheechoo returned to his spot alongside Thornton and Clowe by the third period and earned his first two points of the season on a goal and an assist.

The official game recap from sjsharks.com notes it was only the second game in 10 days for the Sharks, offered a blow-by-blow of Douglas Murray's fight against Rick Rypien, detailed the line combinations and defensive pairings (Clowe-Thornton-Mitchell, Michalek-Marleau-Bernier, Grier-Pavelski-Cheechoo, Rissmiller-Goc-Roenick, Carle-Rivet, Ehrhoff-McLaren, Murray-Vlasic), and noted Jeremy Roenick's return after a 1 game absence, but it did not include the stunning Getty Images photo of Evgeni Nabokov's diving save to rob Daniel Sedin of a point black goal used on the front page. Sedin was left momentarily staring into space, but he later slammed his stick along the boards on his way back to the Vancouver bench.

The Vancouver Province lead with Joe Thornton, and Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault's comment that #19 was a cut above at the NHL level. The Province quoted Vigneault, "In the third period we saw an elite player, one of the top three players in the NHL, bring his game to another level. We didn't have anything to respond with." Gordon McIntyre backed up that assertion noting Thornton's 18-of-20 performance from the faceoff circle. The Province also posted a photo gallery from the game here.

The Van Provies Nightly Awards mentioned 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds Rick Rypien's ability to play big, but they left out the fact that Douglas Murray dropped him with a single right hand, and proceeded to pummel him with several others before and after he had his jersey pulled over his head. Lest we forget, Murray was "jersied" by Vancouver's Pierre-Cedric Labrie in the preseason. On the hockeyfights.com leaderboard, the 6-foot-3, 240 pound Murray is tied for the NHL FM lead with Derek Boogaard and Dallas Drake. Each has registered 3 fighting majors so far this season.

The Vancouver Sun's Iain MacIntyre said that all-universe goaltender Roberto Luongo was "outgoaltended" by Evgeni Nabokov, a rare occurance when Luongo routinely sees double digit shots more than his opposition. MacIntyre notes that the Canucks played in 48 one-goal games last season, and earned a 17-7 record in overtime and shootout games. Elliott Pap writes about the Sharks break out performance in the third period, and the article is accompanied by a Peter Battistoni photo of a violent collision between Matt Cooke and Sharks winger Ryane Clowe. That may be the play where a Canuck put a rear naked choke on Clowe. Penalty, 2 minutes for submission attempt? Brad Ziemer pens the most critical Vancouver column of the day, titled Canucks exposed as pretenders Vancouver defence tonic for Sharks offence.

Cooke makes return to lineup to face an old foe - Grant Kerr for the Globe and Mail.

Pesky winger Matt Cooke returned to the Vancouver Canucks' lineup last night after being benched for one game, and that's just fine with San Jose Sharks centre Joe Thornton. He has disliked Cooke for years. They were rivals in the OHL, and late last season, Thornton crushed Cooke with a heavy check in a game at San Jose.

"I just enjoy playing against guys like that," 6-foot-4 Thornton said of 5-foot-10 Cooke. "I find it amusing guys like that are not going to fight. I beat him up pretty bad in junior. Maybe it's carried on. Does he fight? Guys like that hide behind the face shield."

The Sharks FSNBA television broadcast of the game also mentioned Thornton's comments on Matt Cooke. They replayed last year's season finale with Vancouver, and showed Thornton destroying Cooke with a borderline check against the endboards. It was a hit so hard that Joe Thornton broke his nose on the play.

There might be technically more Vancouver Canucks blogs per capita than people per capita in British Columbia, but their coverage of the game with San Jose on Monday night is still struggling to get out of preseason mode. Tom Benjamin posted an interesting analysis of an earlier Adam Proteau column on The Hockey News. Benjamin discussed the Business of Hockey, and seperated that from the Business of Violence in hockey. Hoopsjunky recaps the media coverage of the game for the Canucks Hockey blog, and labeled Evgeni Nabokov "impenetrable". The loss appears to have silenced Alanah on Canucks and Beyond for the moment.

[Update] The Canucks.com group blog and gamelog, one of the best in the NHL, does not appear to have survived the switch to the league-wide NHL website template. Check that, it did survive, it just takes 3 or 4 minutes to load. The site looks a lot different this year, player contributions by Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond are balanced by what appears to be blogs by the late Hunter S. Thompson, a polar bear, and Mike the Yankee labrador. I have no comment on the blog, but I give the polar bear 3 to 1 odds on being more knowledgeable about hockey than Ray Ratto.

[Update2] Tuning in to the online stream of Vancouver's Team 1040AM, it is unusual to hear an out of market station tease segments by talking about Joe Thornton and the Sharks. On the air now with the Vancouver Province editor, they are wondering if questioning the Vancouver Canucks management, the coaching staff, and the players is acceptable after 6 games, or if patience should be had until the situation can play itself out a little further. The Canucks started the season 3-3-0, undefeated in their division.

The official Sharks website has a collection of hockey interviews from KNBR 680AM available for download online.

[Update3] Atlanta is losing to the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0 early in the third period of a game broadcast live on Versus. It has been a difficult start of the season for the Thrash, opening with 5 straight losses and being outscored 23-9. Ben Wright runs the official Blueland Blog for the Atlanta Thrashers, and it looks like he has been promoted this year from "web guy" to Ben Wright. One interesting stat pointed out by The Falconer blog, "the Thrashers rank dead last (30th) in shots on goal against".

[Update4] The Matt Cooke matter and more - David Pollak's Working the Corners blog.

Goaltender Ryan Lowe signs with Pennsylvania Valley Forge Freedom of the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League

San Jose State Ryan Lowe

The San Jose Sharks Fresno Falcons ECHL affiliate invited former San Jose State goaltender Ryan Lowe to training camp. According to a press release, Lowe earned ACHA D2 All-West honors for three of his four seasons at San Jose State, and he was named an ACHA D2 All-American in 2005-06.

Lowe was recently interviewed by Michael Pasaoa of the SJSU student newspaper The Spartan Daily. In addition to being invited to the Fresno Falcons training camp, Lowe also tried out with the Central Hockey League and the Pennsylvania Valley Forge Freedom of the new Mid-Atlantic Hockey League. Lowe signed a 1 year contract with Pennsylvania. The official MAHL league website is available here.

Also mentioned in the interview, Lowe is the first player to sign a professional contract to play hockey in the U.S., and a 3-1 win over defending ACHA D2 champion Michigan State in 2005-06 was the favorite game of his SJSU career.

[Update] Noted from the Sharks-Vancouver broadcast on FSNBA last night, a college hockey "Battle of the Bay" will take place this Friday at Sharks Ice in SJ. San Jose State (3-1) will face Stanford (1-2) at 7:45PM, and the new Santa Clara University (0-1) hockey team will face the new University of the Redlands (0-2*) at 9:15PM.

China Sharks signage and jerseys

San Jose China Sharks

Noticed this interesting signage on the boards at HP Pavilion in San Jose advertising the new China Sharks Asian Hockey League franchise, and the new website Chinasharks.com. The website is still under development, but one of the links points to the China Sharks Store at SVSE.

The Sharks jersey with Chinese lettering is cool.

Max Giese: Long term, Sharks are building something special on defense

San Jose is a legitimate contender for the Stanley Cup this season, but there have been early concerns with team defense. Early performances suggest at this point that San Jose's defenseman do not necessarily move the puck well, and do not do a good job of suffocating the opposition's offensive attack. The Sharks do not need their defense to carry the team, as the offense is capable of being top three in the league. The defenseman need time to gel, time to become a steady group that focuses on getting the puck up to the forwards early, simplifying their game, and minimizing costly mistakes.

The Sharks defense is an awfully young group, and it is a defensive corps that lacks a true number one defenseman. That is the reason behind much of the rampant offseason speculation. It may be puzzling to some why Sharks general manager Doug Wilson has stood pat on the defense side, but if you take a step back and look long term, there is a method to his madness. San Jose's development pipeline of young, big, and mobile defenseman is an impressive one that mirrors their current NHL blueline. In the interim, the coaching staff has also created a competition for the sixth defensive slot between four solid candidates, Douglas Murray, Rob Davison, Alexei Semenov, and Sandis Ozolinsh, each capable of bringing something different to the roster.

The Sharks are icing a young core of defenseman lead by 20-year old phenom Marc-Edouard Vlasic, 23-year old Matt Carle, and 25-year old Christian Ehrhoff. All three players receive ample ice time, and each one has the potential to develop into a solid finesse defender capable of moving the puck up ice. The Sharks are expecting that potential to turn into reality this season. All three defenseman have shown flashes of brilliance, but all three have room for improvement. Christian Ehrhoff must begin to use his size more on the defensive side of the puck, and begin to hit the net consistently with his booming slap shot. Matt Carle needs to regain his confidence and timing in the offensive zone, and focus on minimizing turnovers. Marc-Edouard Vlasic has been the Sharks top defensive defenseman this season, and he delivers a mistake free game night in and night out. Vlasic has loads of offensive potential, and during training camp and the preseason he started to initiate more offense from the blueline, but the Sharks need more. The Sharks have a very talented group of young defenseman, but the franchise needs that talent to exert itself now in order to deliver on lofty expectations for the season.

The Sharks boast several young defensive prospects that will soon be ready to join the Carle's and Vlasic's to form a potent defensive core for years to come. 24-year old Dan Spang, and 20-year old Derrick Joslin are impressing many with the Sharks AHL affiliate in Worcester. Both defenseman are cut from the same cloth as Carle, Vlasic, and Ehrhoff, finesse defenders capable of moving the puck. That similarity to the Sharks NHL defenseman is a good and bad thing. While it could result in a seamless transition in terms coaching philosophy, it also means that neither defenseman will bring much of anything new to the table.

Looking further down the road the Sharks have two towering prospects on the back end in first rounders Ty Wishart and Nick Petrecki. Both defenseman are well over 6-foot-4, 215 pound, and both project to be go-to defenseman in the NHL. Wishart (16th overall 2006) and Petrecki (28th overall 2007) move on the ice with remarkable grace for big men, although their playing styles differ greatly. Petrecki, who is honing his game with the NCAA Boston College Eagles, is a ferocious defenseman with a nasty mean streak. He is difficult to play against, and the type of defenseman you want on the ice against opposition's top lines. Wishart, who is the team captain for the WHL Prince George Cougars this season, is a methodical and sound two-way defenseman, capable of performing well in all situations. Unlike Petrecki, Wishart does not stand out in any one area of the game, instead he plays well in all areas. His puck movement is more refined than most players his age, and he uses his long reach effectively in his own zone. Both young defenseman will be welcome additions to the blue line. The Sharks can be expected to stack defensive prospects at different levels of development to create a steady stream of blueline talent into the NHL.

Looking at the big picture, it is easy to see why Doug Wilson did not sign a big name defenseman for big free agent dollars, and why he has not hit the panic button on making an early trade at this point. With the unrealized potential of the young defenseman currently on the roster, the expectations for Carle and Ehrhoff to step into the lead offensive defensman role, the four man competition for the current sixth defensive slot, the puck moving defenseman currently impressing at Worcester, and the towering duo of Wishart and Petrecki looming in the wings, it is easy to see why Doug Wilson is giving this situation time to play itself out. The Sharks have more than enough cap room to make a move if needed later in the season, and the talent track for this blueline is going to move from one that has unanswered questions, to one that is feared, in a few short years.


Power Outage Game: goaltender Tim Thomas is lights out in 2-1 Boston win

Boston Bruins Aaron Ward game winning goal
Boston Bruins San Jose Sharks
San Jose Sharks photo Evgeni Nabokov

If the home opening game against Boston is a portent for the Sharks regular season, pencil in locusts for 2007-08. The Bruins earned a 2-1 win on a late goal with 12 seconds remaining, but a power outage that blackened the arena will keep many fans talking about this game for some time.

On the ice, San Jose tied the game with 38 seconds remaining after pulling goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. With two players drawn to Mike Grier in front of the net, Michalek set up behind the play and snapped a Joe Thornton pass over the glove of goaltender Tim Thomas. The buzz inside HP Pavilion barely subsided when a long cross ice pass from Zdeno Chara lead to a Bruin tipping the puck deep in the Sharks zone. Defenseman Marc Edouard Vlasic tried to move the puck around the boards before taking a hit by Patrice Bergeron, but it deflected off the skate of a referee directly to Marco Sturm. Sturm was playing his first game as a visitor in San Jose after 8 seasons in teal. Marco found Aaron Ward up high, and Ward buried the game winner from the right faceoff dot with 12 seconds left in the third period.

Off of the ice, this Saturday the 13th home opener was something out of the twilight zone. A serious injury accident blocked off one of the main highway access points to HP Pavilion at Guadalupe Parkway, and cars that made a detour to the next exit were greeted by 3 or 4 blocked streets for the San Jose Rock and Roll marathon. It lead to a slow caravan of Sharks fans winding its way through the back streets trying to find its way to San Jose.

Sitting rinkside for the Boston warmups, I ran into former San Jose State captain Ray Kellam, who played professionally last year in the Spanish Hockey League. Kellam mentioned an early 3-1 start for SJSU, that he is coaching the Santa Clara Blackhawks youth team and hitting clinics at Sharks Ice, and that former goaltender Ryan Lowe is also playing in a professional league in the U.S. this season.

Five minutes after both teams began pre-game warmups, a loud buzz was followed by all of the lights inside HP Pavilion going dark. A few seconds later auxillary lights kicked in, but the scoreboard, LED ring, and portions of the basement were still dark. The crowd was remarkably non-plussed by the situation. Many filed into the concourse for an extended chat with fellow fans and season ticket holders. The outer doors were briefly locked, and the lights in the parking lot were also dark for a period.

David Pollak of the Mercury News reported that Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson and Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli discussed the situation with the league office in Toronto, and agreed to start the game 30 minutes late without any arena sound, any home opening video ceremony, or any national anthem.

The game began without any pomp and circumstance, save for the noise of an enthusiastic crowd. The services began to re-emerge in stages, with status updates from the frantically working facilities staff coming every few minutes. "PA on. Scoreboard on. Music on." In the third period, with the Sharks challenging in the Boston defensive zone, a premature fog horn went off before Milan Michalek had time to shoot the puck. It looked like a few players reacted to the horn, and many fans leapt from their seats, but the play continued to the side of the Bruins net.

Patrice Bergeron put the Bruins on the board in the first period. A hard point shot by Zdeno Chara was pulled from Evgeni Nabokov's leg pads by Bergeron and deposited for the first goal of the game. Bergeron scored as he was being checked to the ice by Joe Pavelski. The Bruins outshot the Sharks 12-4 in the first period, and they had jump in their game early.

After the first intermission, the Sharks responded with a dominant performance for 2 periods. The reunited line of Michalek-Marleau-Bernier was set up in front of Thomas, and the Bruins main adjustment appeared to be having all 5 players collapse in on the crease. Thomas was forced to make several acrobatic stops, including one soccer kick of the puck (actually a knee), and several glove saves with highlight reel flair. All the while his goalie mask remained firmly in place, something that has not always been the case in the past.

The Sharks held the Bruins without a shot in the second period, but shots that hit the post by Matt Carle and Joe Pavelksi were followed by those that hit the post by Grier, Goc, and Marleau. The Sharks finished the game outshooting Boston 27-20, with 5 hit posts, and 30 shots that missed the net. Boston only took 9 shots that missed the net, and blocked 10 more shots than San Jose (21-11).

It was an unsuccessful come from behind attempt at home, where the Sharks are hoping to improve this season, but an 82 game schedule is a marathon, not a sprint.

Three stars of the game: 1st star goes to Tim Thomas, who held tight even when the Bruins went into prevent offense mode. 2nd star goes to Milan Michalek. He scored the third straight goal for the Sharks after netting 2 power play goals against Chicago. One member of the Michalek-Marleau-Bernier was going to be named, and it would not be a stretch to name all 3 after they spent an extended amount of time without being moved in front of the Boston crease. 3rd star of the game goes to the Sharks facilities crew. The home opener was going to be the debut of the massive new 18x24 foot HD scoreboard, improved sound system, and wraparound LCD ring. Instead it was one of the most unusual games played at HP Pavilion. The hard work of the Sharks staff behind the scenes made sure that the home opener would go on.

A photo gallery from the game is available here.

[Update] The Boston Bruins recap of the game by John Bishop is available here. Bishop posted a quote from Boston goaltender Tim Thomas on the power outage, "We're pro hockey players and a lot of us have been through the minors where you see weird stuff like that happen all over the place," said Thomas. "So we just stayed with it, and tried not to let it bother us."

Ward short-circuits Sharks, Bruins end trip with last-minute victory - Boston Globe.

The Sharks applied some heavy pressure in the second period, especially during their third power play. Ward, who was called for hooking at 1:17, went off again at 3:38 when he was called for delay of game for putting the puck into the stands.

On the following power play, the Sharks kept Boston's penalty-killing foursome of Andrew Ference, Andrew Alberts, P.J. Axelsson, and Chuck Kobasew on the ice for nearly the entire two minutes. But Thomas stood tall, bailing out his penalty-killers whenever the Sharks shook their checks.

Stephen Harris of the Boston Herald reported that the blackout was "venue specific", only affecting the HP Pavilion. Harris also noted that the NESN television broadcast of the game was unaffected by the blackout, but the WBZ radio broadcast was delayed shortly. During the second period of the radio broadcast, Joe Thornton discussed his goals for himself and for the San Jose Sharks. "We don't want to win 1 cup here, we want to win 2 or 3, and I think we have the team to do it" Thornton said. Boston Bruins vice president and three time 50 goal scorer Cam Neely was in the press box for the game in San Jose.

[Update2] Bruins withstand Sharks' goal in last minute with their own - ESPN.

[Update3] Power Outage - Ryan Garner for Hockeybuzz.com.

If Torrey Mitchell wasn't the best player on the ice at least he showed the most jump. The problem with Mitchell is that he's like that bus from the movie "Speed" that can't drop under 55 miles per hour or it will explode, but driving over 55 increases the risk of plunging into a building and killing Keanu Reeves. Mitchell's just too fast for his own good. Every pass is a misguided touch pass, and he's always overskating the puck. However, if he doesn't use his speed he's ineffective, so his hands just have to catch up with his feet.

Darryl Hunt: Worcester Sharks Win Home Opener 3-2

The Worcester Sharks scored three goals in just over two minutes during the second period and held off a late Portland Pirates surge to win their home opener 3-2 in front of an announced sell out crowd of 7,230.

Just like their season opener last weekend, the Sharks fell behind early. During the Sharks' second shift of the game Riley Armstrong was penalized for boarding in a call that was more reputation than foul. The Pirates, affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks, took advantage on the power play with Jason King notching his fourth of the young season after one timing a Bobby Ryan thread-the-needle pass past a sprawling Thomas Greiss to take a quick 1-0 lead.

Unlike their season opener, the goal deficit would last a while.

The two teams played at even strength, and with very few stoppages, for the remainder of the first period and well into the second stanza when Pirates center Petteri Wirtanen was called for cross checking Armstrong well after the whistle. The Sharks took advantage of their first power play of the game just seven seconds later as Tom Cavanagh banged home a nice pass from Graham Mink to knot the game at one.

The Sharks would take the lead for good under two minutes later with another quick power play goal. With Bobby Ryan in the sin bin for holding, Mike Iggulden knocked in his own rebound after just 23 seconds of Worcester skating a man up.

After Iggulden's tally he was taken down by Pirates defender Joe Callahan. Mink showed the captain's "C" isn't too heavy on his chest by coming to Iggulden's aid. Mink was headed off by Aaron Rome, brother of the Sharks' Ashton Rome, and the two shoved and wrestled themselves into double minors for roughing.

Iggulden, who was double shifted much of the night seeing time on Worcester's second and fourth lines, assisted on what would turn out to be the game winning goal by Nate Raduns just 31 seconds later as he picked the pocket of Pirates defender Brendan Mikkelson and sent Raduns in alone.

The chippiness of earlier would continue in the Worcester end after Greiss dove out to the left face off circle to break up a Pirates break in, and then making a sensational save just seconds later after a one-timer. Portland forwards Ryan Dingle and Simon Ferguson and Sharks forward Ashton Rome all took roughing minors, with Rome also picking up a misconduct for continuing to go after Dingle once the two were separated by the linesmen.

The Pirates pulled within one on a nifty Tyler Bouck goal as he deflected a Ryan pass just under the crossbar, but that would be all the scoring on the night as the Sharks held on for the last 60 seconds with Portland playing with the extra attacker.

The night also saw the professional debut of Devin Setoguchi. Setoguchi, wearing number 18, saw limited action on the fourth line as he recovers from an injured ankle. He also saw a shift on the penalty kill, and looked like a player with a bad ankle that hadn't played in a while. He finished the game with one shot on goal and (-1).

Worcester wore their road dark jerseys for the game as their home whites were not ready yet.

Greiss was wearing a pink helmet to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

With game being played opposite the ALCS there were a lot of "no shows", and by the middle of the third period the crowd had thinned out considerably.

The healthy scratches for the Sharks were Marc Busenburg, Josh Ciccio, Chris Murray, Josh Prudden, and Jonathan Tremblay.

The games three starts were:
1) Mike Iggulden (1g/2a)
2) Tom Cavanagh (1g/1a)
3) Bobby Ryan (2a)
Can't argue with those choices, that would have been my vote.

In the "worthless stat of the week" file, Worcester leads the AHL in power play percentage at .333 (3 for 9)

Sharks lines


Face-offs offense/neutral/defense=total (unofficial)
Fox 2-1/3-2/0-0 = 5-3
Armstrong 1-3/4-2/2-0 = 7-5
Valette 0-0/0-1/0-1 = 0-2
Iggulden 0-0/0-2/1-1 = 1-3
Cavanagh 3-1/0-1/3-3 = 6-5
Raduns 2-2/1-3/2-2 = 5-7
Setoguchi 0-1/0-0/0-0 = 0-1
Kaspar 0-0/0-1/0-0 = 0-1

Greiss made four great saves, a couple coming after a few minutes of inactivity.

Rome, Iggulden, Fox, Joslin, Walsh, Evans, and Mink all had hits. Staubitz and Valette both had two, and Armstrong had three.

Traverse and Staubitz both blocked shots while short handed to prevent good scoring chances.

Dan Spang broke up a 2v1 with a nice diving sweep check.

Portland 1 0 1--2
Worcester 0 3 0--3

1st period
Scoring: 1, Portland-King, Jason 4 (power play) (Ryan, Bobby 3; Wilson, Clay 1) 1:43.
Penalties: WOR-Armstrong, Riley (Board check), 0:36.

2nd period
Scoring: 2, Worcester-Cavanagh, Tom 1 (power play) (Mink, Graham 2; Iggulden, Mike 3) 7:45. 3, Worcester-Iggulden, Mike 1 (power play) (Mink, Graham 3; Traverse, Patrick 1) 9:26. 4, Worcester-Raduns, Nate 2 (game winner) (Iggulden, Mike 4; Cavanagh, Tom 2) 9:57.
Penalties: WOR-Valette, Craig (Hooking), 4:11. POR-Wirtanen, Petteri (Cross checking), 7:38. POR-Ryan, Bobby (Holding), 9:03. POR-Rome, Aaron (Roughing, Double minor), 9:26. WOR-Mink, Graham (Roughing, Double minor), 9:26. POR-Dingle, Ryan (Roughing), 10:40. POR-Ferguson, Simon (Roughing), 10:40. WOR-Rome, Ashton (Roughing, Ten minute misc.), 10:40.

3rd period
Scoring: 5, Portland-Bouck, Tyler 1 (Ryan, Bobby 4; Salcido, Brian 3) 4:26.
Penalties: WOR-Staubitz, Brad (Interference), 6:54.

Shots on goal
Portland 9 9 8--26
Worcester 8 6 9--23

Power Play Conversions: Portland - 1 of 3, Worcester - 2 of 3.
Goalies: Portland-McKenna, Mike (59:03, 23 shots, 20 saves; record: 0-1-0). Worcester-Greiss, Thomas (60:00, 26 shots, 24 saves; record: 2-0-0).
A: 7230. Referee: Hache, Conrad. Linesmen: Millea, Jack; Paquette, Bob.

Fans pack home opening street rally

San Jose Sharks fans street rally
San Jose Sharks fans street rally
San Jose Sharks fans street rally

San Jose Sharks fans turned out by the thousands for a home opening street rally prior to a contest with the Boston Bruins on Saturday night. There was music, a group of trampoline acrobats, a Sharks ice cream truck, face painting, radio giveaways, and firemen handing out free pucks among other events.

Took a quick poll of three Sharks fans: Most difficult opponent = Detroit. Most likely candidate for a breakout season = center Torrey Mitchell. Prediction for which team will win the Stanley Cup = San Jose Sharks.

Chatted with a number of Boston Bruins fans, some from Boston, some from Halifax and Toronto. Several made the three game Bruin California trifecta, completing a road trip from Anaheim to Los Angeles to San Jose. Most agreed that the loss of Niedermayer and Selanne, and the absence of Schneider, probably moved the Sharks to the top of the state pecking order. All wanted Joe Thornton back in Boston.

Brief game recap, notes and photos coming soon.


Hockey Notes - October 13th

- Above is a short video clip of the practice at Sharks Ice on Friday. The lines were split up by color, Joe Thornton, Jonathan Cheechoo, and Ryane Clowe wearning orange, Mike Grier, Joe Pavelski, and Torrey Mitchell in green, Curtis Brown, Marcel Goc, and Patrick Rissmiller in grey, and Patrick Marleau, Steve Bernier, and Milan Michalek in white. The Sharks assigned right wing Devin Setoguchi to the Worcester Sharks AHL affiliate, and Jeremy Roenick did not skate after tweaking a knee against Chicago. The Sharks worked on a lot of 1-on-1, 1-on-2, 2-on-3 and conditioning drills.

- The Boston Bruins finish a 5-game, 10-day road trip in San Jose tonight for the Sharks home opener. The B's split games in Southern California, with a 2-1 loss to Anaheim after a pregame banner raising ceremony, and an 8-6 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

University of Minnesota alumni Phil Kessel notched a hat trick and an assist, and 5 other Bruins scored goals in a rough home outing for rookie Kings goaltender Jonathan Bernier. Tim Thomas (1-1-0, .955SV%, 1.52GAA) and marquee offseason acquisition Manny Fernandez (1-1-0, .796SV%, 5.01GAA) have split time in net for Boston, but Fernandez is still working back into game shape after missing an extended period last season for the Wild with a knee injury. Fernandez made 25 saves on 31 shots Friday night in Los Angeles.

Former Bruins goaltender, and current Dallas Stars goaltending coach, Andy Moog broke down Fernandez's unorthodox style for Boston Herald's Stephen Harris:

"He's got a very deep crouch, so his ready position looks unconventional," said Moog. "But he's got great legs, active legs. He gets good pushes. And he always seems to be squared up on the puck. Rarely does he give up a 5-hole goal. He always seems to be there. With Manny, the (puck) rarely finds a hole - through his legs or under his arms. You may beat him wide, but very rarely through a hole."

- Scoring wave takes Kings under, L.A. has lots of penalty-killing problems, and its third-period rally to erase a deficit falters in an 8-6 loss to the Bruins. - LA Times.

- After some of the Canadian press marveled at Anaheim's proximity to the beach during last year's Stanley Cup Finals, the Boston Globe's Fluto Shinzawa gets into the act noting forward Glen Murray's home near the Kings practice facility. The 2 ice rinks, and 1 roller hockey rink at the Toyota Sports Center are literally blocks from the "perpetual sunshine" at Manhattan beach.

- In an otherwise excellent profile of young Bruins prospect Milan Lucic, a hulking 6-foot-4 220 pound left wing who plays with a hint of Cam Neely and more of a Terry O'Reilly, it almost appears that not a week goes by in Boston without Globe columnist Kevin Paul Dupont taking pointed shots at former Boston stars.

The Bruins remain a team desperate for that one anchor player, the difference maker, who can step in and take control of a game, be it with a big goal, or a body check, or a fight. It would be premature and unfair to drop that expectation on Lucic's door, especially after the lessons learned in watching the likes of Joe Thornton and Sergei Samsonov fizzle out under the weight and want of the spoke-B.

Nonetheless, there is naive and engaging confidence in Lucic, an anything-is-possible air about him that will be wonderful to watch in these weeks and months ahead. Skillwise, he does not project as a star, a bit short on hands and heavy of legs. But he could be that rare kid for whom will wins out over skill.

Boston's fourth line of Glen Metropolit, former Anaheim defenseman Shawn Thornton, and the aforementioned Milan Lucic should be one to keep an eye on. (Note: Milan Lukic skated on the third line with David Krejci and Phil Kessel last night against Los Angeles).

- Sharks' Thornton faces former team - David Pollak for the SJ Mercury News.

- Calling On The Secret Weapon - Ryan Garner for Hockeybuzz.com.

Davison made his first appearance of the season Wednesday night against the Blackhawks, seeing nearly 13 minutes of playing time. He rattled Chicago forwards with a couple big hits, and had a decent tilt with Marty Lapointe. The performance was strong enough to earn him a spot alongside Vlasic for Saturday's home opener against the Bruins.

"He played really well and deserves to be back in there," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said after today's practice. "He kept it simple, moved the puck well, and took chances when he had them. If he keeps doing that he'll have success."

- Former Sharks beat writer Victor Chi compiled a list of hockey notes for the Sporting News, including a look at late Chicago Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz, Jonathan Toews' NHL debut against the San Jose Sharks, the highs and lows attendance-wise early in the season, expanded sports coverage on Versus including college football and a new sports show from Dennis Miller, and the hit the Anaheim Ducks are taking on the blueline without Scott Niedermayer and Mathieu Schneider.

- Former Chronicle Sharks beat writer Ross McKeon was at the practice in San Jose on Friday. He is going to be covering the Sharks and the NHL for Yahoo Sports, who also recently corralled Jamie Mottram of AOL. Two very solid acquisitions. Although Yahoo recently streamed the Strikeforce mixed martial arts event from the Playboy Mansion for free online, Yahoo's sports coverage is more national in bent than regional. It is possible to do both, and not doing so forfeits a lot of eyeballs who regularly use Yahoo to other news sources.

- Jamie Mottram, Yahoo's Sports Senior Editor of Blogs and Community, makes an appearance on Yahoo's sports blog here. My only question, when is the Blog Show going to make a road trip to Sunnyvale?

- Adam Brady is the new Director of Publications and New Media for the Anaheim Ducks and Honda Center. He is publishing one of two new blogs on the Anaheim Ducks official website. In his latest post, Adam included several photos of the Ducks pregame championship banner raising ceremony, and several photos of the new Power Players page, noting (How many other websites can give you photos of cute girls holding shovels?). No shovels here.

The Ducks also posted comments from not yet retired defenseman Scott Niedermayer, and not yet retired Finnish Flash Teemu Selanne. Niedermayer on his future status, "I can't really expand on any answers I've given really over the last five or six weeks, nothing has really changed, it's just that now at this point when I do make the decision you know finalize it, that's really the next step. I don't think I can really get into each day, each second of how I'm feeling or what I'm thinking."

Selanne had a similar comment, "I just try to listen to myself, if I want to come back. It has to come from inside if you really want to play." The NHL's Western Conference, and the rest of the league are going to be keeping an eye on the news feed out of southern California until each decision is final. Forward Samuel Pahlsson returned from hernia surgery against Boston, goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere is set to return from a more intensive hernia surgery shortly. Defenseman Mathieu Schneider, who suffered a broken ankle in the second preseason game with Los Angeles, will need more time.

- Interview with OC Register beat writer Dan Wood - Sharkspage.

- Murph of Islanders Army was at the grand opening of the NHL Powered by RBK store in Manhattan on Friday. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was in attendance, along with several former NHL players, and a Zamboni driven down 6th Avenue trailed by the Stanley Cup in a limo.

One of my fellow Nikon "Picture This" bloggers, ctsiokos, was also at the NHL store opening. He posted a photo on flickr of a card and key used for the Unlock your NHL dreams promotion that was part of the festivities.

More from the NHL here.

- Two Minutes for Blogging compiled a list of all of the NHL players known for dropping their gloves, broken down by weight class and by team. Their look at the Sharks roster:

San Jose Sharks:

Brad Norton (HW)
Rob Davison (CW)
Ryan Clowe (MW)
Doug Murray (CW)

In the system: Jonathan Tremblay (HW), Brad Staubitz, Brennan Evans (CW

Thanks to Paul Kukla for the link.

- Spartan hockey skates into new season with more youth - SJSU Spartan Daily.

- Sharkspage contributor Max Giese attended the Sharks recent 2-1 win in Chicago. Of the game, Max noted Jonathan Toews first NHL start and his first period goal, and the "dominant" performance of the reunited line of Patrick Marleau, Steve Bernier, and Milan Michalek which resulted in 2 power play goals for Michalek. Max also met Patrick Rissmiller and a friend of Steve Bernier's in the concourse. Max recently got NHL Center Ice Online. If there are any questions you have about the service, feel free to forward them to him. It will be a week or two before I return from NYC and sign up for it.

- After 7 games, the China Sharks are having a difficult start to the 2007-08 ALIH season. With 1 win, 5 losses, and 1 overtime loss, the Sharks are in last place in the 7 team Asian hockey league, 1 point behind the HC Nikko IceBucks. Forwards Kevin Korol and Jason Beeman are tied for the team lead with 2 goals each. The official ALIH website is available here, the China Sharks home page is available here. A recap of the San Jose Sharks cooperation with the China Sharks team is available here.

- Leafs' video ban signals worrisome move - Toronto Star.

The latest skirmish in the ongoing war between the media and sports rights holders involves the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have banned hand-held video cameras from their dressing room both here and on the road.

While this may seem trivial in comparison with weighty matters such as the state of Alexei Ponikarovsky's knee, newspapers don't see it that way. The Toronto-based dailies and the Canadian Press have united to fight what they see as an impediment to their right to gather news.

- Skip Oliva On The MSG vs. NHL Website Antitrust Suit - Offwing.

- I spoke with the Sharks about their adjustment to the new NHL Sharks website. The Sharks created the first site of any NHL team in 1995. Tradionally content heavy, it will take some adjustment to incorporate the traditional content with a lot of the new multimedia content in the new template. With Sharks TV, Center Ice Online, video streaming from Yahoo, Youtube, Comcast, and TSN, and a number of other sources, hockey multimedia content will be a staple for the future. But it will take time to see how fans utilize that content, and teams and advertisers should adjust as trends change moving forward.


2007 Nikon Four-to-the-Floor music/photography tour comes to San Francisco

Nikon 2007 Four to the Floor music tour

Nikon's 2007 Four to the Floor Tour, also sponsored by Volvo, made a stop at the Ruby Skye nightclub in San Francisco Wednesday. The five city tour will visit Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Miami to feature up and coming DJs and Producers, saxophonist Mike Phillips, jazz/R&B violinist Karen Briggs, and the new line of Nikon cameras.

The video above features brief highlights from the pre-event media session. The first person I met in line was Robert Scoble (aka Scobleizer), along with his Podtech Network associate Rocky Barbanica. They discussed recent photo walking video shows filmed at the USS Hornet, Stanford, and using a monster 600mm lens rented from Keeble & Shuchat to shoot surf at Half Moon Bay. Photographer Thomas Hawk lead the Pod Tech photowalking tours, and he made an appearance at Ruby Skye later in the night. Wired Magazine, CNET, and SFist were also seen covering Nikon's SF Four to the Floor event.

The first order of business was examining the Nikon Coolpix line of digital cameras. There is a wide range of price and feature options, but for my purposes I was looking for a small digicam that could be used to take short ringside or sideline video clips. Good video and sound quality, and vibration reduction were the main requirements. The Nikon staff recommended two cameras, both released in August, the Coolpix S51c (8 megapixel, 38-114mm VR lens, 3-inch LCD, WIFI, avi movies) and the Coolpix P5100 (12.1 megapixel, 35-123mm VR lens, ISO 3200, avi movies, converter, wide-angle and telephoto lens options). In the video above, Nikon Sr Technical Manager Steven Heiner illustrates the S51c's stopmotion video capabilities.

The star of the show was hands down Nikon's first full-frame digital SLR, the new Nikon D3. The feature list is prodigious, but taking a look at the D3 from a sports photography perspective the highlights are the improved noise levels at extremely high ISO (up to 12800/25600 with a boost), the burst rate (9-11 frames per second in DX), the lightning quick 51-Point autofocus, and the leaps made in wireless functionality.

The Nikon reps mentioned that it was an early non-production firmware version of the D3, but a test shot of the darkened Ruby Skye dance floor at f4, 1/50, 6400 ISO looked comparable to ISO 500 or 640 in other cameras. Pretty much the starting point for shooting hockey or boxing under perfect lighting conditions. What this means in practical terms is that you could use a higher shutter speed to freeze the action, a larger aperture can be used to improve the depth of field, and there will be ISO left over for a bright, crisp, printable photo. An official press release reported the Nikon D3 will be available in early November for an estimated price of $4,999.95.

I will be at the Photo Plus Expo photography conference in New York City next week. More sports and photography notes will be posted on this blog, and at offwingphoto.com. If there are any questions or comments about a specific model or brand, send them along and I can ask the manufacturers in person in NYC.

[Note] On the way out the door, Nikon and the MWW Group gave me a Nikon Coolpix S51c camera to use for this blog. Videos and photos posted from here on out will now be all Nikon, all the time. Previously we have been using an older Fuji E550, which shakes like a washing machine but delivered pretty good audio and video.

[Update] Nikon Takes Four to the Flour Tour to San Francisco - Imaging Resource.

[Update2] Nikon "Picture This" D80 marketing campaign reaches out to blogs, and lands one hockey blogger - Sharkspage.

[Update3] Hands On D3 and D300 Impressions, Beefy and Beautiful - Gizmodo.


North Dakota Remains No. 1 on USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll

A press release from USAhockey.com:

North Dakota Retains No. 1 Position in USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The University of North Dakota held onto the No. 1 spot on this week's USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll, receiving all 34 first-place votes and a total of 510 points.

This Week's Top-15 Match-ups

Friday, October 12
No. 2 Boston College vs. No. 9 Michigan
No. 7 Notre Dame vs. No. 14 Wisconsin
No. 15 Maine @ No. 10 Denver

Saturday, October 13
No. 3 Michigan State @ No. 1 North Dakota
No. 15 Maine @ No. 10 Denver

St. Lawrence University debuted on the poll at No. 12 this week following a home victory against then-No. 7 Clarkson University, which fell to No. 13. Rounding out the top five in this week's poll were Boston College (428), Michigan State University (417), Miami (Ohio) University (374) and the University of New Hampshire (360).

For most teams, this weekend marks the start of the season with 39 games being played between Friday and Sunday.

ABOUT THE POLL: The 13th annual USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll is conducted each week in conjunction with the American Hockey Coaches Association. The poll includes input from coaches and journalists representing each of the six NCAA Division I ice hockey conferences, as well as composite votes from officers of the American Hockey Coaches Association and USA Hockey Magazine, the most widely distributed hockey magazine in the world.

USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll - #2 (First place votes in parenthesis, Last Week's Ranking, 2007-08 Record, Weeks In Top 15)

1. U. of North Dakota, 510 (34), 1, 0-0-0, 2
2. Boston College, 428, 3, 0-0-0, 2
3. Michigan State U., 417, 2, 0-0-0, 2
4. Miami (Ohio) U., 374, 5, 0-0-0, 2
5. U. of New Hampshire, 360, 6, 0-0-0, 2
6. U. of Minnesota, 358, 4, 0-0-0, 2
7. U. of Notre Dame, 287, 8, 0-0-0, 2
8. Boston U., 250, 9, 0-0-0, 2
9. U. of Michigan, 229, 10, 0-0-0, 2
10. U. of Denver, 168, 12, 0-0-0, 2
11. Colorado College, 161, 11, 0-0-0, 2
12. St. Lawrence U., 132, NR, 1-0-0, 1
13. Clarkson U., 129, 7, 0-1-0, 2
14. U. of Wisconsin, 110, 14, 0-0-0, 2
15. U. of Maine, 106, 13, 0-0-0, 2

Others receiving votes: Others receiving votes: Quinnipiac University, 29; Cornell University, 10; Dartmouth College, 8; Michigan Tech University, 7; University of Nebraska-Omaha, 6; University of Massachusetts, 3; St. Cloud State University, 3; University of Vermont, 3; U.S. Air Force Academy, 1; The Ohio State University, 1.

[Update] Hirsch: Wild guilty of 'false media' - Minneapolis-St Paul Star Tribune.

[Update2] SCU Drops Debut Game - Santa Clara University Hockey.

SCU lost to Stanford 10-8 in a physical first game in front of a packed house. Scores of SCU hockey fans, friends, and family packed the stands at the North Rink at Logitech Ice to support the Broncos in its debut against Stanford. A spirited and physical SCU squad jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, but later got into penalty trouble and fell behind to visiting Stanford.

Two quick goals cut the Stanford lead to 9-8 with just minutes left in the third period. Stanford was then called for two penalties, setting up a 6-on-3 situation with less then a minute to go when SCU pulled goalie Chris McNamara for the extra skater. Alas, SCU was unable to score the tying goal and Stanford tacked on the empty net goal to secure the 10-8 win.

Max Giese: Line-up Changes Needed

With three days of travel and practice ahead of them, the Sharks have a perfect opportunity to correct mistakes and tweak its line-up before playing the Blackhawks in Chicago on Wednesday. San Jose Sharks head coach Ron Wilson tried several new line combinations to begin the season, but these lines are not working. They are transforming this team from a dangerous offensive juggernaut into a mediocre one. The experimentation has gone on long enough, and the time is now for Wilson to go back to the structure that has worked in the past. Let the players who that have developed chemistry with one another play together.

Ron Wilson's experiment of putting captain Patrick Marleau on Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo's line must come to an end. The combination is a great tool to use to spark the team late in a game, or when used together on the power play, but for this team to be as potent as possible it needs the one-two punch down the middle that having Marleau on the second line gives them.

It is not that Marleau-Thornton-Cheechoo are playing poorly together. It is just that the line is not any more dangerous than Thornton-Cheechoo-(insert name here), that we have seen before in the past. Placing Marleau on the second line puts more pressure on the opposition, and this is a team chalked full of talented wingers who can use an offensively gifted player to center them.

Milan Michalek has been playing well, utilizing his big frame and challenging defenses with his prodigious skill set. Michalek can not be expected to generate the offense he is capable of, playing on a line with rookie center Torrey Mitchell and and veteran Jeremey Roenick. It is time for Ron Wilson to reunite Michalek with either Patrick Marleau or Joe Thornton.


Cage Combat Fighting Championships hit San Mateo Saturday night

Cage Combat Fighting Championships San Mateo
Cage Combat Fighting Championships San Mateo
Cage Combat Fighting Championships Nathan Nick Diaz

The Cage Combat Fighting Championships descended on San Mateo for the first time on Saturday night. Previously held in Santa Rosa and Yuba City, the 5th CCFC event promoted by twin brothers Todd and Tully Middendorp featured nine fights, including two title fights for Bantamweight and Welterweight belts.

The main event showcased Cung Le trained Team USH fighter James Terry (5-0) against Oroville's Josh Hinkle (6-2) for the CCFC Welterweight title. Both competitors have Division 1 wrestling experience, and it showed early as Hinkle landed a throw and gained side control on Terry. A second throw by Hinkle at the end of the round drew a reaction from the crowd, and put Terry in a come-from-behind position for the rest of the fight. The action was a little more deliberate as each fighter made adjustments. The ref let an extended battle for ground position finish out the second round. In the third, Terry showed more mobility landing kicks and punches from the outside. Hinkle pushed Terry up against the cage towards the end of the fight, but could not finish effectively. James Terry earned a split decision win.

The second co-main event featured San Francisco Fight N Fitness fighter Darren Uyenoyama (2-1) vs Oakdale MMA's Rolando Velasco (4-0) for the Cage Combat Bantamweight title. Uyenoyama, the Ralph Gracie trained Jiu-Jitsu Brown Belt, recently won a gold medal at the 2007 World Grappling Championships in Turkey. Darren Uyenoyama comes out with a high pace, landing several kicks before taking Velaso down to the mat. In the second round, both fighters trade punches from outside with Velasco getting the edge. Uyenoyama is not able to solve his opponent's stand up defense. Rolando Velaso lands more quality punches in the third round and earns the Bantamweight title by unanimous decision.

In the stands and in the corner for several of the fighters was PrideFC and UFC veteran Nick Diaz, the ultimate fighter reality show's Nathan Diaz, K1 and Strikeforce competitor Cung Le, Strikeforce's Josh Thomson, fresh off of a win over Adam Lynn at the Playboy Mansion, and Cesar Gracie Fight Team members Jake Shields and Gilbert Melendez. Seen at the Fairgrounds, Charles Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy located at 3718 El Camino Real in San Mateo (650-638-0329), youth kickboxing and jiu-jitsu classes are available.

Other highlights of the evening include a dynamic opening fight between Jeremy Tavares and Evan Esguerra, Esguerra was more effective in the ground battle earning a unanimous decision win. Kyle Rideau of Daly City submitted Ricky Almondia with a rear naked choke. Ky Hollenbeck defeated San Mateo local John Preston with an armbar, despite Preston's valiant effort to remain in the fight. Dominique Robinson stops Zak Yngojo with a cut over the eye, but a with the loss of a speaker in front it was hard for fans to hear the decision. Not sure if this was the fight, but one victorious fighter taunted his opponent after a stoppage. He was then called cage-side for a verbal tongue lashing by California State Athletic Commission head Armando Garcia. Joey Armstrong stopped Francisco Soto after a barrage of punches, and also earns the title of the fighter with the most tattoos. Pacifica's Bobby Stack landed the biggest knee of the night in a clinch with Frank DiMartino.

A photo gallery from the Cage Combat Fighting Championships is available here, the official website is available at cagecombatfighting.com. The next Cage Combat event will be held Feb 23rd in Santa Rosa with CCFC middleweight champ David Mitchell making his first title defense. The next event scheduled to return to San Mateo will be in Apr/May.

Cage Combat Fighting Championships 5 Results:

[Fight1] Evan Esguerra unanimous decision over Jeremy Tavares
[Fight2] Kyle Rideau submission over Ricky Almondia (RNC)
[Fight3] Ky Hollenbeck submission over John Preston (arm bar)
[Fight4] Damien Douglas submission over Juan Alcaine (arm bar)
[Fight5] Dominique Robinson TKO Zak Yngojo (1st round)
[Fight6] Joey Armstrong TKO Francisco Soto (1st round)
[Fight7] Bobby Stack KO Frank DiMartino (1st round)

[Fight8] CCFC Bantamweight Title Fight - Rolando Velasco unanimous decision over Darren Uyenoyama
[Fight9] CCFC Welterweight Title Fight - James Terry split decision over Josh Hinkle

[Update] MMAcalifornia.com posted a fight-by-fight recap of the Saturday event. More pre-fight notes from the San Mateo Daily News, MMAfighting.com, and the official CCFC myspace page.

[Update2] Martial arts hits San Mateo - San Mateo Daily Journal.

Two years ago, Ky Hollenbeck walked across the stage to pick up his high school diploma. On Saturday, he walked into an entirely different arena — the San Mateo Event Center, which was hosting a Mixed Martial arts (MMA) event for the first time in city history.

Fighting in the third match of Cage Combat Fighting's "Undefeated," a nine-card event, Hollenbeck looked impressive in a win over John Preston of San Mateo in the 170-pound weigh class. Hollenbeck, a Capuchino High graduate, won after making Preston tap out after placing an arm bar, pulling Preston's left arm parallel to his body while placing both legs on top of Preston's neck.

[Update3] Cage Combat Fighting Championships - Osiris News.

Darryl Hunt: Worcester Sharks Chomp Springfield 4-2 In Season Opener

In a day where New England weather felt more appropriate for baseball than hockey, the Worcester Sharks opened their regular season with a 4-2 road win over the Springfield Falcons.

The Springfield crowd, announced at 4,550, was still loudly celebrating the first home game under their new affiliation with the Edmonton Oilers when center Ben Simon deflected a hard wrist shot by T.J. Kemp past Sharks goaltender Thomas Greiss, to take a 1-0 advantage just 2:11 into the game. That lead would be short lived.

Just 96 seconds later, with the Falcons defenseman Rick Berry off for tripping, the Sharks power play continually crashed the net. Sharks captain Graham Mink tallyed the tying goal by banking it off of a Falcons defenseman in front of Springfield netminder Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers and through the five hole to knot the game at 1-1.

Later in the first stanza with both teams skating four on four St. Cloud State product Nate Raduns, an undrafted free-agent playing in his first professional game, fired a wrist shot that Drouin-Deslauriers misplayed. The puck just squirted over the goalline to the give the Sharks a 2-1 lead at 7:33. Falcons head coach Kelly Buchberger lifted Drouin-Deslauriers in favor of Devan Dubnyk. Neither Greiss nor Dubnyk were really tested the remainder of the first period as both teams settled into a defensive style of play.

The second period saw no scoring but plenty of fireworks as both teams threw several huge hits. One of those hits resulted in the game's first fight after Sharks defenseman Brennan Evans leveled Falcons center Zack Sortini. Sortini took issue with the hit and went after Evans, and Evans landed several nice shots to win a decision. In addition to losing the fight, Sortini got an instigator minor penalty for his troubles.

The second of the night's bouts started after Jean-Francois Jacques, sent down earlier in the day from Edmonton, threw the biggest hit of the night against Dan Spang behind the Worcester net. Brad Staubitz came to Spang's defense, and got absolutely pummeled in one of the most one-sided fights this writer has ever seen.

Late in the second period the Falcons had a 2-man advantage for just over a minute, but with a couple of nice saves by Greiss, and a little help by the far post, the Sharks held the lead after 40 minutes. Lukas Kaspar notched an insurance goal 4:52 into the final period, another goal where the Sharks crashed the net and would not be denied. It also turned out to be the game winner as Jean-Francois Jacques scored a power play goal at 13:36 to complete the Gordie Howe hat trick and bring Springfield within one at 3-2.

With the Falcons skating with an extra attacker after pulling Dubnyk, Riley Armstrong fired a wrist shot from the blue line into the open net to ice the contest.

Graham Mink was named the first captain in Worcester Sharks history. The alternates were Patrick Traverse and Craig Valette. Last season Coach Roy Sommer went exclusively with three alternates.

The three starts of the game were:
1) Lukas Kaspar (GWG, +2)
2) Jean-Francois Jacques (Gordie Howe hat trick)
3) Mike Iggulden (2 assists)
I did not have a vote, but if I had one Mink (1g,1a) would have been on the list somewhere.

The Worcester Sharks scratches were Marc Busenburg, Josh Ciocco, Chris Murray, and Jonathan Tremblay.

The Worcester Sharks and Falcons play 10 times this season, but due to the oddities of the AHL schedule Worcester does not visit Springfield again until January 21.

Riley Armstrong was seen icing his left hand/wrist after the game. When asked by fans as he signed autographs outside the Mass Mutual Center he said it was precautionary due to his off season surgery

Worcester 2 0 2--4
Springfield 1 0 1--2

1st period:
Scoring: 1, Springfield-Simon, Ben 1 (Kemp, T.J. 1; Jacques, Jean-Franco 1) 2:11. 2, Worcester-Mink, Graham 1 (power play) (Iggulden, Mike 1; Cavanagh, Tom 1) 3:47. 3, Worcester-Raduns, Nate 1 (Iggulden, Mike 2) 7:33.
Penalties: SPR-Berry, Rick (Tripping), 2:34. WOR-Prudden, Josh (Interference), 4:14. WOR-Mink, Graham (Tripping), 6:35. SPR-Berry, Rick (Roughing), 6:35. SPR-Kemp, T.J. (Slashing), 17:58.

2nd period:
Scoring: None.
Penalties: SPR-Sestito, Tim (Hooking), 0:53. SPR-Jacques, Jean-Franco (Holding), 3:34. WOR-Evans, Brennan (Fighting, Major), 6:57. SPR-Stortini, Zachery (Instigator, Fighting, Major, Ten minute misc.), 6:57. WOR-Staubitz, Brad (Cross checking, Fighting, Major), 10:06. SPR-Jacques, Jean-Franco (Fighting, Major), 10:06. WOR-Valette, Craig (Too many men), 13:12. WOR-Evans, Brennan (Hooking), 14:11.

3rd period:
Scoring: 4, Worcester-Kaspar, Lukas 1 (game winner) (Mink, Graham 1; Spang, Dan 1) 4:52. 5, Springfield-Jacques, Jean-Franco 1 (power play) (McDonald, Colin 1; Schremp, Rob 1) 13:36. 6, Worcester-Armstrong, Riley 1 (unassisted) 19:01.
Penalties: WOR-Joslin, Derek (Tripping), 0:51. WOR-Cavanagh, Tom (Tripping), 8:02. WOR-Armstrong, Riley (Interference), 13:18. SPR-Kemp, T.J. (Hooking), 15:59.

Shots on goal:
Worcester 7 7 8--22
Springfield 9 3 17--29

Power Play Conversions: Worcester - 1 of 6, Springfield - 1 of 7. Goalies: Worcester-Greiss, Thomas (60:00, 29 shots, 27 saves; record: 1-0-0). Springfield-Drouin-Deslauriers, (7:33, 4 shots, 2 saves); Dubnyk, Devan (51:51, 18 shots, 16 saves; record: 0-1-0). A: 4550. Referee: Brown, Chris. Linesmen: Briggs, Jim; Patry, Rich.

Sharks earn 3 out of 4 points against Vancouver and Edmonton

Edmonton Sun Edmonton Oilers San Jose Sharks

The Sharks earned 3 out of 4 possible points with a 3-2 OT shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers, and a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks to open the season.

On Thursday, a 2006 Western Conference semifinal rematch between San Jose and Edmonton saw a goaltenders duel between Evgeni Nabokov and Dwayne Roloson for 2 periods. Patrick Marleau opened the scoring early in the third period on a nice feed from Joe Thornton at the side of the net. Rookies Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner responded with a nice rush up ice to set up trailing defenseman Tom Gilbert for a goal. Marty Reasoner chased down a loose puck in the Sharks zone. Nabokov could not control the rebound of a hard Sheldon Souray point shot, and center Kyle Brodziak poked it past his pads for a 2-1 lead.

The Oilers were outskating and outhitting the Sharks, but a late holding call on Souray opened the doors for the Sharks power play, and the line of Marleau-Thornton-Cheechoo. Thornton capitalized in close with 11 seconds left to tie the game at 2-2 and send it into overtime. After a scoreless 5 minutes, Nabokov stopped Hemsky and Reasoner, but allowed shootout goals by Nilsson and Stoll. Roloson stopped Cheechoo, Marleau and Clowe, allowing only one goal by Joe Pavelski. Oilers win an OT Shootout 3-2.

The season opening win was front page news in the Edmonton Sun and the Edmonton Journal. Robert Tychkowski for the Sun wrote that the Oilers youth led the charge. Tychkowski quoted rookie center Andrew Cogliano, "All the young guys contributed and that's a good start for the team. It just puts a lot of confidence, not only in the coaches, but in the players' minds, that we're ready.". Derek Van Diest reported that Kyle Brodziak's third period goal was the biggest goal he has scored as an Oiler. Another article focused on Edmonton's youth and energy, and noted that the Oilers have not lost a season opener since 1998.

The Edmonton Journal feature read The Kids are Alright. Joanne Ireland covered an exuberant Andrew Cogliano, and heaped praise on Dwayne Roloson, Ales Hemsky, and coach Craig MacTavish. The Journal also tallied 3 hit posts by the San Jose Sharks, and called the late holding penalty by Sheldon Souray that lead to a Thornton goal the turning point of the game. Jim Matheson reported that Oilers captain Ethan Moreau missed the game with a badly bruised left foot, leading to 3 assistant captains (Sheldon Souray, Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky).

Matheson also contributed two feature articles on San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton. The first focused on a difficult rookie season for Thornton with the Boston Bruins in 1997-98. The second detailed Thornton's efforts Thursday night against Edmonton, the "slight tug" on Jumbo Joe from Sheldon Souray, how the Oilers worked to shut him down for most of the night, and how Roloson outduelled Evgeni Nabokov in the overtime shootout.

[Update] Joe Thornton started where he left off the night before, scoring the opening goal Friday in a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. With Jonathan Cheechoo streaking down the wing on his right, Thornton hesitated to let a defenseman slide by and ripped a shot past Roberto Luongo. The Canadian announcer said, "everyone thought he was going to pass, but he dragged the puck to the middle and makes it 1-0 San Jose."

Jeremey Roenick, in the lineup with rookie Devin Setoguchi nursing a bruised foot, scored the 496th and 497th goals of his NHL career to give the Sharks a 3-0 lead after 1 period. Roenick's linemates Milan Michalek and rookie Torrey Mitchell, two of the fastest forwards in the league, created a lot of room for Roenick and he knew how to take advantage of hit. His first goal came from in close, slamming home a rebound in front of Luongo. Roenick earned his second goal by punching at a Douglas Murray point shot, deflecting it past Roberto Luongo. The Vancouver Canucks picked up the pace in the third period, described as "furious onslaught" by one broadcaster. After difficult stops on defenseman Kevin Bieksa, and center Byron Ritchie, a wraparound by Brendan Morrison beat Evgeni Nabokov 5:56 into the third period to end the shutout.

Jeremey Roenick's 1,172 career points trails only Mike Modano (1,227 points) and Phil Housley (1,232 points) for most points by a U.S. born player. Evgeni Nabokov was in postseason form, earning his first win of the season with 22 saves on 23 shots. Roberto Luongo made 28 saves on 31 shots. Youtube video highlights of the Sharks-Canucks game is available here.

Canucks start their season with a noose around their necks - Vancouver Sun.

Raymond and Shannon wilt in the opening-night spotlight, Debut: Youngsters will get to play again - Vancouver Province.

A 3-1 loss to San Jose Friday was more fizz than whiz for Raymond and Ryan Shannon, the two young forwards the Canucks are hoping can provide a little "wow" to an offence that has struggled to look ordinary.

Raymond started the game on the Canucks No. 1 line. He was in Vancouver's penthouse suite, in a position to wait and get room service from the Sedin twins. But by the time the game ended he had a punched ticket for the press box Saturday in the Pengrowth Saddledome...

Unlike Raymond, Shannon stood out like a neon sign Friday. But he was all flash and no finish. As Vigneault said, Shannon had "multiple, multiple, multiple opportunities to score" but struggled to even get his shots on net (he had just one).

The Vancouver Province was the first major newspaper to link to this blog back in 1999, followed shortly by the San Francisco Chronicle (which has recently been redesigned).

[Update2] Sharks: Marleau and Coach Ron Wilson seek winning formula - David Pollak for the SJ Mercury News.

Five months later, things again appear to be on track. The big offensive guns led by superstar center Joe Thornton are back. Though Scott Hannan is gone, the rest of the defense remains intact. The goaltending burden is squarely on Evgeni Nabokov's shoulders and he welcomes that. Still, there are differences.

For one thing, teammates say Marleau - who received a two-year, $12.6 million contract extension in August - came to training camp even more focused than in the past. An exhibition-game fight against Vancouver is cited as evidence of his resolve.

For another, Wilson has established a leadership council among his players as a means to improve communication and increase accountability. "There's no excuse to not know what you're doing on the ice anymore," Wilson said. "That's what this year is all about."


The Wave Magazine's 2007-08 Sharks preview issue

The Wave Magazine San Jose Sharks preview

The Wave Magazine's October issue features Jeremey Roenick on the cover for the 2007-08 Sharks season preview guide. The Wave Mag notes the return of television color commentator Drew Remenda and the addition of former players Bryan Marchment and Mike Ricci to the front office, reports on arena upgrades including a massive 18x24 foot hi-def scoreboard and the new RBK jersey and Sharks logo, and posts a schedule of family pack games and mystery puck auctions.

Scoring with Styles, Getting to know the newest Shark, Jeremy Roenick - Anne Ward Ernst for The Wave Magazine.

[TW] You were in two Olympics, what was that like?

[JR] The first one was anticlimactic. Going all the way to Japan, the team didn’t do well. [There was] a lot of controversy. 2002 [in Salt Lake City, Utah] was probably my most storied moment as an athlete. Going to the Olympics, playing at home, having that patriotic feeling and getting in the gold medal game against Canada. Even though we lost, it was a dream match-up. I have a silver medal sitting on my counter. That’s stuff you can’t take away, those are memories that last forever. I haven’t won a Cup yet, I’m sure that will take over it if that ever happens.

[Update] The Mercury News posted a solid NHL season preview feature earlier this week, but today John Ryan (aka Morning Buzz) wrote about the Whiskey Avengers song Cheechoo-Tameu, and noted Santa Clara University's inaugural ACHA Division 3 game tomorrow against Stanford, 7PM at Sharks Ice in San Jose (formerly the Logitech Ice Center).

There are more notes about the Whiskey Avengers on this post, and via the official WA myspace page here. They have 5 more dates in the South Bay before heading to Europe, so make sure to check them out. About inspiration for a new Sharks song? Forget about the Murderer's Row line of Marleau-Thornton-Cheechoo. Douglas "Crankshaft" Murray's pancake hits, his concrete right hand, and his revolutionary hands-free invention (the ubertap) make a ska song almost write itself.

[Update2] The official SCU Men's Ice Hockey website is available at scuhockey.net. Link added under the college sidebar to the right.

[Update3] Sharks center Joe Thornton was on KNBR 680AM's Razor and Mr. T Show with Tom Tolbert and Ralph Barbieri Wednesday. Sharks GM Doug Wilson was interviewed by Bob Fitzgerald and Rod Brooks for KNBR's "Fitz and Brooks" show Thursday. Audio of both interviews are available on SJsharks.com's radio archive section here.

Max Giese: AHL West Division Preview

AHL West Division Projected Standings:

1. Rockford Ice Hogs
2. Chicago Wolves
3. Milwaukee Admirals
4. Quad City Flames
5. Iowa Stars
6. Houston Aeros
7. San Antonio Rampage
8. Peoria Rivermen

Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators)
After a disappointing finish where they where swept in the playoffs by divisional rival Chicago, the Admirals look ready to rebound with a strong import crop from Europe, and two key prospects from North America. The Admirals figure to be very strong in net with 2-year veteran Pekka Rinne pushing for NHL minutes.

Key Prospects:
1. D Cody Franson, 79th overall 2005.
Franson comes to the Admirals as an accomplished offensive-defenseman internationally, and in the WHL. He is big and skilled, with exceptional puck movement, and a dangerous point shot. Franson still needs to work on his defensive play and skating, as he can still get caught flat footed by a faster opponent.

2. RW Mike Santorelli, 178th overall 2004.
After a successful NCAA career with Northern Michigan, Santorelli is primed to make an immediate impact in the AHL. A combative winger with good acceleration and a ferocious wrist shot, look for Santorelli to score a number of goals screaming down the wing.

3. C Cal O'Reilly, 150th overall 2005.
O'Reilly quietly had a monster rookie season. He will be looked at by Milwaukee to shoulder the offensive load this season. An ingenious playmaker, O'Reilly possesses the patience to hold onto the puck until a passing lane opens, and he has the skill to stickhandle in a phone booth.

Chicago Wolves (Atlanta Thrashers)
The Wolves are an annual title contender, and this year will be no different. The team is deep in goal and on defense. Offensively Chicago will be lead by last year's AHL MVP Darren Haydar, who has the playmaking ability to make teammates around him better.

Key Prospects:
1. G Ondrej Pavelec, 41st overall 2005.
The Czech-born netminder possesses a wealth of international experience, and past QMJHL goaltender of the year and rookie of the year designations. An athletic hybrid goalie, Pavelec is one of the cornerstones in the Thrashers development system. He is one of the top goaltending prospects in the world.

2. C Brian Little, 13th overall 2006.
Atlanta desperately needs a number one center, and they are crossing their fingers that Brian Little can develop into that player. Small but stocky, Little oozes hockey sense and skill. He may begin the season with Atlanta, but some time in the AHL with the Wolves is expected and would benefit him development long term.

3. D Boris Valabik, 10th overall 2004.
A former 10th overall selection, Valabik is described as an "old NHL" defenseman. One that possesses amazing size and strength, but lacks the mobility and puck movement to thrive in today's game. He must learn to keep his temper in check and defend more swiftly off the rush.

Peoria Rivermen (St. Louis Blues)
While the Blues have drafted well as of late, the fruits of their labor will not show much in Peoria. Their blue chip prospects are either already in the NHL, still playing college, junior, or in Europe. Peoria will benefit from good goaltending, but this team full of gritty two-way performers but will struggle to score.

Key Prospects:
1. G Marek Schwarz, 16th overall 2004.
Schwarz is an underrated goaltender. One who has played under the radar despite having an exceptional rookie season with Peoria last year. His athleticism is unparalleled, and he possesses Gumby-like flexibility. Schwarz could be a special goaltender in the NHL in a couple of years if he continues to progress.

2. D Roman Polak, 180th overall 2004.
This Czech is turning out to be a late round gem for the Blues, who would be using him on their NHL roster right now if they were not so deep at the defensive position. Polak keeps the game simple but is a smart and competitive stay at home defenseman, one who can always be counted on to make the right play.

3. C Chris Porter, UFA
The Chicago Blackhawks could not come to terms with this feisty and smart two-way center out of North Dakota, so the Blues swooped in and got him signed this summer.

Rockford Ice Hogs (Chicago Blackhawks)
The expansion Rockford Ice hogs will be stacked with top end prospects and a healthy veteran presence (including former Shark Jim Fahey) at every position. Rockford should challenge for the division crown but will need to prove their merit in the playoffs where they have been knocked out early the past two seasons.

Key Prospects:
1. LW Jack Skille, 7th overall 2005.
Skille is a tremendous athlete with NHL size, speed, and skill. His game compares to former Shark Bill Guerin. He looked ready to handle a third line spot during camp, but the Hawks want him to develop into a premiere power forward, which starts with getting top line minutes in Rockford.

2. D Cam Barker, 3rd overall 2004.
Selected after Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin and ahead of player such as Alexander Radulov and Andrej Meszaro, Cam Barker's development has been slow and disappointing. He possesses a big frame and nimble feet with decisive puck movement, but his defensive game leaves much to be desired. Barker will get ample ice time in Rockford and should be back with Chicago by years end.

3. G Corey Crawford, 52nd overall 2003.
Viewed as the future in the Hawks goal crease, Crawford is a big and mechanically sound butterfly goaltender.

San Antonio Rampage (Phoenix Coyotes)
After several disappointing seasons the Rampage enter the 2007-2008 season with guarded optimism. The opening night roster will be filled with NHL prospects, but because of their weak parent team in Phoenix, the Rampage could see their roster plucked of many of their top talents. It could be another long season in Texas.

Key Prospects:
1. C Martin Hanzal, 17th overall 2005.
This towering center possesses a colossal reach and soft hands. Made the Coyotes out of camp, but will need some AHL seasoning before becoming a go-to-guy. Hanzal is still raw but the sky is the limit, could be the next Eric Daze.

2. D Keith Yandle, 105th overall 2005.
An offensive stud from the back end, Yandle combines elite wheels and hand skill to go along with impressive puck movement. Yandle will be a feared offensive presence from the back end.

3. D Logan Stephenson, 35th overall 2004.
Big and confident two-way defenseman that is still terribly raw. His development has been slow since being a high draft pick, and this may be a make-or-break season for the young rearguard.

Iowa Stars (Dallas Stars)
It will be a different looking squad in Iowa this year as several players moved on to the NHL, and multiple veterans traveled to other organizations this summer. Dallas did their part, and reloaded the team with a slew of intriguing prospects. The team will only go as far as talented but inexperienced Swiss netminder Tobias Stephan takes them.

Key Prospects:
1. D Mathew Niskanen, 28th overall 2005.
An electrifying offensive defenseman that can dangle and create highlight reel plays. Blessed with swift mobility and exceptional vision, Niskanen should be quarterbacking the Dallas Stars power play in the near future. He did not look out of place early in the season with Dallas, and he continues to translate seamlessly from college to pro.

2. C Perttu Lindgren, 75th overall 2005.
Lindgren is a finesse center with gifted hands. He could end up being comparable to Detroit Red Wings center Valterri Filpulla, albeit with less goal scoring and much more playmaking.

3. C James Neal, 35th overall 2005.
Few prospects have developed as rapidly since the 2005 draft as James Neal. He has always possessed a big frame and great work ethic, but recently Neal combined those traits with the abilities of a dynamic goal scorer.

Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild)
After a disappointing 2006-2007 season, the Aeros are looking for some of their young guns to take the next step. The team is weaker in goal this season with Josh Harding promoted to the backup role in Minnesota, but with development from within this could be an explosive offensive team.

Key Prospects:
1. C Benoit Pouliot, 4th overall 2005.
While it is taking him awhile to get there, Pouliot has all the talent to be the next Vincent Lecavalier. Trouble is that he plays in such a defensively demanding system in Minnesota, he is being forced to earn his stripes in the AHL before making the full time jump to the NHL.

2. LW Roman Voloshenko, 42nd overall 2004.
Two years ago he scored 60 points in 69 games for the Aeros, but Voloshenko hit the sophomore slump hard with only 30 points in 76 games last season. A prolific goal scorer that likes to wait in the weeds before attacking, Voloshenko needs to have a bounce back season.

3. RW Danny Irmen, 78th overall 2003.
Low risk, high reward type prospect with a gritty two-way game and speed. Irmen lacks the offensive creativity to be a top line guy in the NHL.

Quad City Flames (Calgary Flames)
The expansion Flames will be strong in goal, and will mimic the same gritty defensive game that their parent team in Calgary does. The Calgary Flames do not believe in rushing their players to the NHL, which bodes well for Quad City this season. They will have a healthy amount of NHL prospects on their roster.

Key Prospects:
1. C Dustin Boyd, 98th overall 2004.
One of the most underrated prospects in the game, Boyd would be a full time NHL'er by now on most teams. A complete package with a dynamic change of gears and the ability to finish and create, Boyd will either be an AHL allstar this season, or a breakout NHL Calder candidate.

2. LW Eric Nystrom, 10th overall 2002.
Drafted with the hope of developing into a goal scoring 2-way power forward, injuries and the inability to translate his scoring touch to the pro game have seen Nystrom's stock fall. This season will be a turning point for him, staying healthy will be paramount.

3. C Daniel Ryder, 74th overall 2005.
Crafty and slick offensive catalyst with a mature defensive game, Ryder is small but spunky, and one of the few offensively creative forwards in the Flames system.

For more information, visit theahl.com.

Max Giese: United States Hockey League Chicago Steel Profile

USHL Chicago Steel Profile:

After finishing dead last in the standings for two straight years, the Chicago Steel USHL franchise enter the 2007-08 season with no where to go but up. For head coach and former NHL defenseman Steve Poapst, this will be his first entire season behind the Steel's bench. The same can be said for general manager Jason Koehler, who is also a former NHL defenseman. The two should be instrumental in developing a defensive corps that arguably is the most talented of any in the league.

Key Prospects:

D Will Weber 6-4 205, Columbus Blue Jackets 52nd overall 2007, Miami-Ohio
After dominating the Michigan High school scene last year, the Chicago Steel felt comfortable enough to draft Will Weber first overall in the USHL Entry Draft. Weber is the highest drafted NHL prospect in the league, and he will only stay for one season before moving on to the University of Miami-Ohio. Weber possesses all the athletic tools to be a solid defenseman. He is big, with a powerful stride, and immense offensive skill. Still raw defensively, Weber also needs to work on his hockey sense and learn how to play a team game. He tries to go coast-to-coast nearly every time he has the puck.

D Max Nicastro 6-2 200, 2008 Eligible, Boston University
Sharks fans should keep a watchful eye on the progress of Nicastro, as San Jose tends to draft players that go on to play for the Terriers. Nicastro is an impressive prospect in his own right. He possesses a little bit of everything, with no glaring flaws. He can move the puck and play a physical game, but he projects to be a no-nonsense, shut down defenseman if he reaches the NHL.

D Barron Smith 6-5 180, 2009 Eligible, Uncommitted
The son of former NHL defenseman Steve Smith, Baron is a towering, mean two-way defenseman. His mobility is rough, and his hockey sense is questionable, but Smith is a tenacious defenseman with tons of raw upside. He does o’t lack confidence, and the fact that he is already playing in the USHL is a huge accomplishment.

More information is available at ushl.com and chicagosteelhockeyteam.com


MMA Notes - October 4th

Strikeforce MMA Playboy Mansion

- Strikeforce and BodogFight held the first ever mixed martial arts promotion at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills on Saturday night. A very deep fight card showcased a who's who of top Bay Area competitors. Cesar Gracie trained Gilbert Melendez, the Strikeforce Lightweight Champion, injured his hand in the second round against a game but bloody Tetsuji Kato. Melendez, a top pound-for-pound fighter who also wrestled at San Francisco State, earned a unanimous decision win fighting with one arm. Melendez talked about a possible future fight with Josh Thomson.

UFC veteran Joe Riggs dominated East Palo Alto's Eugene Jackson. Jackson looked solid before the fight, but a huge left hook by Riggs wobbled him early. Riggs then transistioned from a choke, to an armbar, and then back to a choke before Jackson escaped to his feet. Another huge shot by Riggs finished the fight. One of Hugh Heffner's girlfriends, Kendra, said of the fight "the blonde wins".

Josh Thomson earned his sixth straight win with a TKO over Adam Lynn in the first round. Thomson did damage early with a series of hard knees in the clinch, but dropped Lynn with a hard right. Interesting exchange between Cung Le and Frank Shamrock, two Strikeforce fighters on a possible collision course, "Cung thinks he owns San Jose. I have to remind him it is my town."

Billy Evangelista and Jorge Masvidal earned impressive wins, and both will move farther to the top of fight cards in the very near future. Falaniko Vitale, out of Grappling Unlimited in Hawaii, is another fighter who fans will pay to see. He walked through a bigger Ron Fields with explosive speed and power. Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Bobby Southworth has a laundry list of qualifications on his resume, BJJ black belt, muay thai champion, golden gloves boxing champion, but he did not get to display a lot of that talent on Saturday night. After taking Bill Mahood to the ground, Southworth broke one of his ribs with a strike to the body.

Former professional wrestler, Cupertino's own Daniel Puder, earned a unanimous decision win over Richard Dalton. The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Puder went for a guillotine choke early. He was not able to earn the submission, and he expended a lot of energy in the process. Before the fight, Puder mentioned training at the Police Athletic League gym in San Jose, and that he was working more on his kickboxing and striking. Unfortunately, a lot of the knees Puder attempted were ineffective, and after he gained position he did not do enough to finish the fight. Puder is an MMA prospect work in process, but as they say in the hockey world, one with a lot of upside.

Strikeforce at the Playboy Mansion was streamed online live via Yahoo Sports, and the archived broadcast will be available free for 30 days. A big news story at the end of the live broadcast, Renato "Babalu" Sobral signed a multi-fight contract with Strikeforce. Sobral submitted David Heath with an anaconda choke at UFC 74 in Last Vegas, but he was fined $25,000 by the NSAC and released from his contract after he disobyed the referee and held on to the choke for an extra 4 seconds. The cast of NBC's Earl was cageside, along with Hugh Heffner, actor Michael Clarke Duncan, Joe Rogan, Jaime Pressly, Bob Sapp, and a number of other celebrities.

Strikeforce proves it isn't an all-UFC world - Yahoo Sports.

Saturday night’s event was the brainchild of the San Jose-based Strikeforce promotion. The MMA world is one in which promoters burn through millions of dollars without rhyme or reason in a futile attempt to compete with the industry-leading Ultimate Fighting Championship. But Strikeforce is the little promotion that could, carving out success where others have failed through simple promotional acumen...

Strikeforce promoted the first sanctioned MMA show in the state of California in March, 2006, selling out the 19,000-seat HP Pavilion in San Jose for Shamrock's win over Cesar Gracie. The promotion drew another large crowd in San Jose in June for Shamrock's win over Phil Baroni, and in the process drew more interest and publicity than any MMA card promoted by someone other than the UFC in 2007.

Cage Fighting Championships San Mateo Fairground

- The Cage Combat Fighting Championships "Undefeated" promotion comes to the San Mateo Fairgrounds, October 6th. The two headline title fights feature James Terry vs. Kyle Pimental for a Welterweight Title Fight, and Darren 'BC' Uyenoyama vs. Rolando Velasco for a Bantamweight Title Fight. The fight card features a number of competitors from local MMA gyms including Cung Le's Team USH, David Terrell's NCFA, Ralph and Charles Gracie Academy, Unlimited Kickboxing, World Team USA and the Frank Shamrock Submission Academy. More information is available at cagecombatfighting.com.

A full fight card is available here, tickets are available from virtualboxoffice.com.

Riot Boxing Monterey Conference Center

- The popular Riot Boxing series returns to Monterey for the Collision at the Conference Center October 26th. The stacked fight card will feature Sharkspage favorite Eloy Perez (9-0-2) in an 8-round Super Featherweight main event, former top ranked Welterweight Jose Celaya (30-3), the return of a undefeated Jesus Vega (14-0), Iraq veteran and Jr. Welterweight Brian Gordon (3-0), Cynthia Talmadge vs. Michelle Gutierrez, and Superflyweight Constancio Alvarado. Special ringside guests will include WBC Strawweight Champion Carina Moreno, and IBF Flyweight Champion Nonito Donaire.

Promoter Jerry Hoffman started a new blog with a lot of inside boxing news, Jerry's Jabs. Over the years, Hoffman and Riot Boxing has featured 7 World Champions including Nonito Donaire, Robert Guerrero, Carina Moreno and "Sugar" Shane Mosley. Tickets for the October 26th Riot are available by phone 1-831-688-1604, or online at virtualboxoffice.com.

- The excellent History Channel series Human Weapon finished its first season with an inside look at mixed martial arts in the United States. Hosts Jason Chambers and Bill Duff trained double leg takedowns with former UFC heavyweight champion, current Pancrase champion, and Pride veteran Josh Barnett, sprawl and brawl with the UFC's Forrest Griffin at LA Boxing, arm bar and triangle choke submission techniques from Eddie Bravo, leg combinations including a brutal spinning back kick with San Jose's own Cung Le at Wildcard Boxing, and Greco Roman grappling techniques with UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture at Extreme Couture in Las Vegas.

After a runthrough of most of the MMA fundamentals, Jason Chambers faced off with the IFL's Carter Huen in an exhibition match, and Bill Duff faced former heavweight champion Rico Rodriguez. Famed trainer Bas Rutten was in the corner for both of the fights. This was a solid finish for the Human Weapon series, after taking a look earlier in the year at Muay Thai kickboxing in Thailand, Judo in Japan, Karate, Pankration in Greece, Krav Maga in Israel, Marine Corps Martial Arts from Virginia, Savate in France, and Eskrima Stickfighting in the Philippines. This has been something MMA has needed for many years, historical background and a first hand look at the many different disciplines and technical proficency involved in a very complex sport.

One question many have asked, what could be covered in a second season? Sambo, Sumo, collegiate wrestling? Hapkido, Boxing or Jeet Kune Do?

- After a disaster in Sacramento for UFC 73, and a card that struggled to maintain the hype in UFC 74, The Ultimate Fighting Championship has righted the ship with two solid cards in a row. Early September's UFC 75 event from London, England, live on Spike TV, saw the highest profile fight of the year, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton Jackson vs Pride FC Light Heavyweight champion Dan Henderson. The broacast was the most watched MMA event all time, earning a record 4.7 million viewers. Jackson outlasted Henderson, and was surprisingly more effective on the ground. Pride suffered a furthur hit to its prestige as former K1 kickboxing champion and one of the most devestating strikers in the game Mirko "CroCop" Filipovic lost his second straight fight. This time to huge kickboxer Cheick Kongo. England's own Michael Bisping earned a questionable decision over Matt Hamill, and Houston Alexander continues to walk through all the UFC competition he has faced.

Chuck Liddell, possibly the most recognized mixed martial artist of all-time, faced American Keith Jardine as the headline fight of UFC 76. The 38-year old Liddell lost his last fight to Quinton Jackson decisively, and he was looking to rebound against the veteran Jardine. Jardine won a split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29), but Liddell showed a strong game on his feet. A future Liddell-Silva superfight should remain in the works.

UFC 76 may have been the final nail in the Pride Fighting Championships coffin. With heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko still unsigned and training in Russia, the second biggest Pride superstar Mauricio "Shogun" Rua signed with Dana White and faced TUF reality show competitor Forrest Griffin. The Brazilian Rua looked sluggish, and the Chute Boxe Academy fighter was shockingly ineffective and winded on the ground. Griffin earned a rear naked choke submission shortly before the end of the fight, but the referee could have legitimately stopped this fight much earlier. Another Pride favorite, Kazuhiro Nakamura, dropped a unanimous decision to Lyoto Machida and then tested positive for marajuna after the fight. The main event card opened with Brazilian Thiago Tavares vs. Tyson Griffin. Griffin earned a unanimous decision win with a dominant performance, and a $40,000 bonus for fight of the night.

- EliteXC, which originally partnered with proelite.com and Showtime, also recently acquired the King of the Cage, the British Cage Rage Championships, and Hawaii's Icon Sport. EliteXC also co-promoted an event with Strikeforce (Shamrock-Baroni this summer in San Jose), and has working relationships with Rumble on the Rock, and the top mixed martial arts promoter in South Korea, Spirit MC.

EliteXC/Icon's September "Uprising" event in Hawaii featured several big names, and several exciting fights. Robbie Lawler pounded out Murilo Rua in the third round to win the EliteXC Middleweight Championship. Stockton's Nick Diaz earned a split decision win over Hawaiian Mike Aina, an outcome that was not taken well by the all Hawaiian crowd. The top female mixed martial artist Gina Carano earned her first career submission over wrestler Tonya Evinger. Carano looked light headed during the weigh-ins, and appeared to have cut too much weight. Finding opposition in her weight class might be difficult for EliteXC, but she remains a solid draw for the organization.

San Francisco native Jake Shields, a Cesar Gracie trained former Shooto World Champion, dominated B.J. Penn's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor Renato Verissimo. Verissimo scored a take down early, but Jake Shields gained top position and pounded out a stoppage very convincingly. Referee Mario Yamasaki let the punishment continued longer than it should have, but Verissimo had no answer for Shields.

- Email from proelite.com: Nick Diaz has a live chat today with fans starting at 1PM.

- The Gladiator Challenge promotion out of San Francisco, will feature an event in the North Bay Saturday, October 13th. Tickets are available from virtualboxoffice.com.

[Update] Late word via email: No Limit Fighting will present the Brawl for it All October 20th live at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. The card is subject to change, but Nick Diaz, Charles "Krazy Horse" Bennett, Jeff Monson, Matt Major, and Ruben Villarrel are all listed as feature fighters. Boxer Mia St. John, seen on this blog at a Fight Night at the Tank event, is scheduled to make her mixed martial arts debut. More information is available via nolimitfighting.com.

[Update2] In addition to the Sharks-Ducks rookie games, I missed the Muay Thai Championships that same early September weekend in Gardena. Thefightgame.tv has a full recap of the event here, an official list of results, and an excellent photo gallery here.

It does not look like there are a lot events in California in the immediate future, but you can see some of my notes and photos from the BorntoFight Muay Thai event in San Jose on ikfkickboxing.com.

[Update3] From my brother Soren Peter Swenson, who will be going for a black belt in Judo soon, the 2007 International Taekwondo Symposium will be held Friday, October 12, 2007 at the RSF Field House in Berkeley.

NHL on Versus season opening promos

A number of new NHL on Versus promos were posted on youtube Wednesday to coincide with the start of the 2007-08 season. The clips of Mark Recchi's retirement, Briere's wrist shot, Ray Emery's pugilist mentality, and Eric Staal taking the ice are the best of the bunch. Game on.


Radio/TV/Podcast plugs

- The Sports Business Journal reported earlier this week that the NHL Network will roll out its coverage in the U.S., possibly on several cable network sports tiers. SBJ noted the top three cable operators (Comcast, Time Warner, Cox) are still in negotiations, and news from EchoStar and the Dish Network was not available at the time of the story. The NHL Network in the U.S. would feature 50+ games, and the popular "On the Fly" highlight show that aired on Versus and online last season.

- Wednesday Versus kicks off the regular NHL season on North American soil: Ducks at Red Wings (7:00 ET), Stars at Avs (9:30 ET), pre-game coverage starts at 6:30ET.

- Sharks television play-by-play broadcaster Randy Hahn interviewed Christian Ehrhoff for Sharks TV about his offseason, his recent marriage in Germany, how much he worked on skating during his development, and about other Germans playing in the Sharks organization.

- The Stockton Thunder, an ECHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, announced a new radio partner in 1420AM KSTN. Up to 55 regular season games will be aired, including select Kelly Cup playoff games. Stockon Media Relations director Mike Benton will return for his third season as the play-by-play announcer, and Jr hockey coach and WHL scout Derek Eisler will provide color commentary.

- There is a new Sharks call-in radio program in the Bay Area. The Teal Spiel featuring Chetan Chaudhari and Louis Perez airs on 1220AM KNTS Saturdays from 5-6:30PM. The program is also streamed live at 1220knts.com. The first show from September 29th featuring Sharks captain Patrick Marleau can be downloaded here (76MB). The Teil Spiel website is available at www.myspace.com/tealspiel.

- Earl Sleek, a co-blogger of mine at the Battle of California hockey blog, called in to Josh Brewster's Duck Calls radio program in Southern California. Brewster's guest on the show was Eric Stephens of the Los Angeles Times. The 17-minute segment covered the news and projections for all three California teams. Sleek mentioned the goals that will be missing in Anaheim from Selanne and Niedermayer, that not resigning Getzlaf and Perry prior to the start of the season may be a large problem for Brian Burke, and that the Sharks are in a fine tuning mode during the regular season but they have a "choking" problem in the playoffs. Brewster picks the Ducks as a candidate to repeat, names the Sharks a close second, and plugs rookie Devin Setoguchi. Eric Stephens calls the Sharks a great regular season team, but says that something is missing in the lockeroom during the playoffs.

Josh Brewster also maintains the excellent website hockeytalk.biz. Up on the site now are audio interviews with Kelly Hrudey, a San Jose Sharks audio preview with Joe Thornton, Steve Bernier, and GM Doug Wilson, and an excellent photo gallery from the Black Hockey And Sports Hall Of Fame.

- Sharkspage might make a guest appearance on the vaunted LCS Radio Network next Wednesday. Stay tuned.

- The latest episode of my favorite internet sports show is up on YouTube, although it is an abbreviated broadcast. The Blog Show featuring Jamie Mottram of Yahoo! Sports and the Washington Post's Dan Steinberg cover a possible animated series by Gilbert Arenas, Norv Turner and Brett Favre, and a college mascot fight. There was no artisinal cheese of the week this week, but the same East Coast blog media bias. The new Blog Show tshirt shop is available here.

- Recently launched: Offwingphoto.com.

- One program on Comcast worth checking out in the Bay Area, ESPN's Local Sports Break. It is on channel 30 in my area, and past shows have featured long form interviews from the USA Womens/Girls Championships in San Jose, the SJ Giants Class A Championship win, the Sharks logo launch press conference, and the SJ Sabercats playoff run among other stories. The show airs periodically at 6PM and 11PM. Well worth a tivo.

- Burly Sports has launched a regular series of unusual sports videos. This one of the Oakland A's mascot beatboxing is worth a look. Not enough to knock this clip of SJ Sharkie riding a Segway off the top of the mascot video list.

- There are going to be problems at the hockey competition from Robogames 2007 in San Francisco if only one robot is shaped well enough to move a puck. The other 5-6 robots were only capable of running into each other, kind of like the Calgary Flames.

- Send any hockey links or local sports suggestions here.


Sharks cut 3 more from training camp roster, 3 players to start season on IR

San Jose Sharks Torrey Mitchell

The San Jose Sharks announced Sunday that three players were assigned to the AHL affiliate in Worcester (goaltender Thomas Greiss, left wing Lukas Kaspar, right wing Graham Mink).

Also from the official website, injuries to center Tomas Plihal (shoulder) and defenseman Brad Norton (back) could force them to start the season on the IR, and right wing Devin Setoguchi and center Torrey Mitchell were told before the game with Calgary on Saturday that they would start the season on the opening night NHL roster. David Pollak of the Mercury News reports that defenseman Alexei Semenov will start the season on the Injured Reserve list with a stiff back.

23 players are on the current roster; 14 forwards, 7 defenseman, and 2 goaltenders.

The updated training camp roster as of Tuesday, October 2nd:

LEFT WING: Ryane Clowe, Milan Michalek, Patrick Rissmiller.

CENTER: Curtis Brown, Marcel Goc, Patrick Marleau, Torrey Mitchell, Joe Pavelski, Jeremy Roenick, Joe Thornton.

RIGHT WING: Steve Bernier, Jonathan Cheechoo, Mike Grier, Devin Setoguchi.

DEFENSE: Matthew Carle, Rob Davison, Christian Ehrhoff, Kyle McLaren, Douglas Murray, Craig Rivet, Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

GOALTENDER: Evgeni Nabokov, Dimitri Patzold.

Former Sharks defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh will be eligible for reinstatement into the NHL on October 10th after entering the NHL-NHLPA's substance and behavorial abuse program. San Jose opens the regular season on the road October 4th in Edmonton, and at home Saturday, October 13th against Boston.

[Update] From the new Mercury News hockey blog Working the Corners, David Pollak notes that Mitchell will wearing #17 and Devin Setoguchi will wear #16, that Rissmiller-Goc-Grier have established themselves as the Sharks checking line, and that defenseman Craig Rivet missed a few games to heal a lingering arm injury after the home game against Vancouver.

[Update2] His Time Has Come, After nine years of establishing himself as a superior passing center and a league MVP, Joe Thornton is ready to be the clutch goal scorer and leader who can bring the Stanley Cup to San Jose - Sports Illustrated.

As the puck drops on the 2007-08 season, many in the NHL are wondering this: Will Thornton, a three-time All-Star and 2005-06 league MVP with soft hands and long-doubted resolve, finally pick up his team by the scruff of its neck and lead it to a Stanley Cup?

Thornton watched two games of the 2007 Ducks-Senators final on tape while in India and, between winces, noticed the physical dominance of Anaheim, the Western Conference team. So, why shouldn't it be San Jose's turn in 2008? "We have a little more experience from the Edmonton and Detroit series," he said of second-round meltdowns in the past two seasons. "We realize we had some of those games in hand, but couldn't find a way to finish them. There are a lot of pieces here, a lot of guys going through their prime years. Realistically, we've got a shot at the Cup."

Thanks to Paul Kukla for the link.

[Update3] Team looking forward to full-strength Craig Rivet, Pneumonia plauged defenseman since his arrival in San Jose last season - SJ Mercury News.

Max Giese: 5 Calder Candidates to Watch

Los Angeles Kings Jonathan Bernier

Every year prospects play so well in training camp that they force teams to give them a spot on the opening night roster. The trend continues this year with a striking rookie crop ready to throw their names into the hat for the wide open Calder trophy race. Here is a look at the top five candidates for this year's title of Rookie of the Year:

[1] Carey Price (goaltender, Montreal Canadiens)
Carey Price is the most complete goaltending prospect to come to the NHL in several years, he has franchise goalie written all over him. He is everything you look for in a modern day netminder. Price is big, mechanically sound, confident and poised, and he can play the puck at an elite level. Price is the type of goalie that inspires the players around him. He can win games on his own, and it is no surprise to see Price on Montreal's opening night roster. Price was the most athletic goalie to hit the AHL since Kari Lehtonen. Last season, when he joined the Hamilton Bull Dogs, he carried them to a Clark Cup Championship.

[2] Jonathan Toews (center, Chicago Blackhawks)
The Chicago Blackhawks look like an emerging playoff contender thanks to roster full of young talent. Former 3rd overall selection Jonathan Toews is the jewel of the group. Blackhawks fans will have a tough time spotting Toews on the ice because he is not your ordinary rookie. He plays the mature game of a ten year veteran. He is powerful, with a strong separation gear, supple hands, and is a threat to score or create. Do not be surprised to see Toews on the power play and on the penalty kill. If he can remain injury free, Toews could finish the season as the Blackhawks top center.

[3] Jonathan Bernier (goaltender, Los Angeles Kings)
Few goalies are as polished at this age as Los Angeles Kings first round draft pick Jonathan Bernier. He has ice water in his veins, and impeccable poise and patience. Bernier is your classic French Canadian goaltender, with good size, swift lateral movement, and air-tight positioning. Given the fact that the Kings desperate for goaltending, look for Bernier to stick the entire season.

[4] James Sheppard (center, Minnesota Wild)
The Minnesota Wild never hesitate to play their young prospects in the NHL. The trend should continue this year with center James Sheppard. James has the size and the skill to fill a power forward role, and the focus to contribute on the defensive size with a mature two-way game. Sheppard is the type of player who contributes more than is seen on the stat sheet. Sheppard should play in all situations including the penalty kill.

[5] Sam Gagner (center, Edmonton Oilers)
Drafted seventh overall in this summer's 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Sam Gagner is the son of former NHL star Dave Gagner. While Sam is smaller, and his speed is not up to the level of other Calder candidates, Gagner possesses exceptional hockey sense, vision, and hand skill. The Edmonton Oiler's are starving for more offensive firepower, and they will expect Gagner to immediately bolster the anemic power play. Look for Gagner to be deadly down low, and along the half wall. He can break down an opposition's defense by threading the needle with a deft pass. Gagner can lift the fans out of their seats with his moves, but he also may be sent back to junior this season as his size and strength is a concern.

[Update] Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Skille giving Blackhawk Nation hope - ESPN.

Toews is a solid, quiet, Canadian boy from Winnipeg, Manitoba, who played on the backyard rink until he was too cold to go on. He honed his skills at the University of North Dakota and was selected with the third overall pick in 2006. Although he just turned 19 in April, there is nothing about Toews that says "boy."

Kane is not quite scrawny, but definitely slight. Later, he'll describe with a grin how he "bulked up" over the summer, jumping from 163 pounds in July to 170 at the start of camp.