Sharks tie game in third period, lose 3-2 to Los Angeles Kings in OT Shootout

San Jose Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov
NHL defenseman Rob Blake holds Jonathan Cheechoo's stick, no penalty
NHL photo

The San Jose Sharks and head coach Ron Wilson came into Wednesday night's game with Los Angeles wanting to shake up the status quo. After dropping two games to last place Los Angeles at home, where the Sharks were 3-5-1 this season, Wilson stressed the fact that he did not want his team complacent in the face of adversity. He wanted his team to approach problems differently, practice at unusual times, and to not remain comfortable when playing at home.

In his pre-game chat with radio host Dan Rusanowky, Wilson described the reason behind moving defenseman Matt Carle from the left to right side. "What you are doing is making a guy think instead of throwing it into automatic. When you are uncomfortable, you think more" Wilson told Rusanowsky. Ron Wilson also mentioned that preperation was the #1 thing that determines whether a shot from the point gets on net. "If you haven't thought about what to do with the puck before you get it, it is already too late" Wilson said.

The Sharks came out with an early goal by Joe Thornton (assist Marc-Edouard Vlasic) in the first period, but two unanswered goals by Anze Kopitar and Patrick O'Sullivan gave the Kings a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. Defenseman Craig Rivet, who may have delivered his most impassioned performance of the season, tied the game at 2-2 on the power play 3:41 into the third period. The Sharks outshot Los Angeles 18-12 in the final period and overtime, but solid goaltending by Evgeni Nabokov and Jason LaBarbera sent this game to an OT shootout. The Sharks were 1-3 this season in shootouts, and 4-12 alltime (worst in the NHL).

All three shooters for the Kings scored on Evgeni Nabokov; Patrick O'Sullivan, Anze Kopitar, and Dustin Brown. Jeremy Roenick and Joe Pavelski scored on Jason LaBarbera, but Milan Michalek's attempt was stopped to give Los Angeles the 3-2 OT shootout win. Michalek was the only player to attempt a deke.

Jason LaBarbera (6-8-1) made 34 saves on 36 shots, and took one more step towards bumping his record to .500 with the win. Evgeni Nabokov (11-8-4), the only NHL goaltender to start every one of his team's game this season (23 games), made 29 saves on 31 shots. The Los Angeles Kings (10-13-1) are tied with Edmonton for last place in the Western Conference with 21 points, although the Kings have 1 game in hand. The San Jose Sharks (11-8-4) are tied for second place in the Pacific Division with Anaheim, behind the Dallas Stars, and tied for the 8th and final playoff position in the Western Conference with Columbus a quarter into the 2007-08 NHL season.

A belated game liveblog:

LA Kings 3, SJ Sharks 2 OT shootout
11/28/2007 - HP Pavilion

An interesting pre-game graphic on the SJ-LA broadcast from FSNBA noted a recent surge from teams in the Pacific Division; Sharks 6-3-2 during stretch of divisional play (+12 goal differential), Dallas 6-1-0 since last game vs San Jose (fired GM Nov. 13), Phoenix 4-1-0 since last game vs San Jose (claimed Bryzgalov off waivers Nov. 17), Ducks 7-7-2 in November (2 SO wins over SJ), Kings 2 road wins in SJ (1 SO).

Television color commentator Drew Remenda also noted that Kyle McLaren was a healthy scratch for the first time in his 300-game tenure in San Jose. NHL media also noted that the Sharks have outshot LA 102-72 in 3 games so far (1-2 in that span), that the Sharks have the worst home record in the Western Conference (3-5-1), and that San Jose leads the all-time series with Los Angeles 44-37-9.





The Sharks came out in the first period with a high tempo, and the defense is moving the puck up ice to the forwards with authority. Joe Thornton evades Michal Handzus's attempt to block a shot, and rips a shot up high over Jason LaBarbera's right shoulder for the first goal of the game at 3:58. On the play, Michalek manoeuvres in front of LaBarbera for a perfectly executed screen. Mike Grier builds on the momentum with a solid forecheck, forcing Los Angeles to move the puck backwards three times on a single shift.

Joe Thornton sets up Milan Michalek for a point blank shot, then retrieves the puck and intiates two more scoring chances for his linemates. Cheechoo, Pavelski and Marleau have a 3-on-1 in the Kings zone, LaBarbera makes the initial stop allowing the Kings defense to regain position. Jason LaBarbera uses a leg pad tight against the post to stop Cheechoo, before closing the 5-hole in quick succession to shut down Pavelski. Joe Thornton spins of a defenseman to gain possession of the puck, and finds a streaking Rob Davison in the slot. Davison is tied up, but he spins off of the check to get his stick on the ice and wrist a shot on goal.

Late in the period, Craig Rivet tries to poke the puck past Patrick O'Sullivan to keep it in the Kings defensive zone, but O'Sullivan anticipates the play and breaks up ice with possession. Rivet pulls O'Sullivan down at the last second and draws a hooking penalty, which could easily have been called a penalty shot. Sharks kill it off. Near the end of the first, Rivet breaks his stick and Moulson has a clear breakaway opportunity when the end of period horn sounds.

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson Jr. was a guest on FNSBA for the first period intermission, Ferguson's blog on mapleleafs.com is available here. JFJ talked about his father John Ferguson, who served in several capacities with the Sharks organization for 10 years before his death in July. John Ferguson Jr. described the Sharks organization's treatment of his father as "classy to the end, and after". He also expressed support at the upcoming NHL Board of Governors meeting for a change in the schedule. "We support every team playing in every building at least once. We support that. Our fans want more variety in our building. What's better than coming out here, or to bring Joe Thornton, Sidney Crosby, and Alexander Ovechkin to our building" Ferguson Jr. said to Sharks television broadcaster Randy Hahn.

Sharks start the second period forechecking well, but there is a little more panic with the puck on the stick. Rivet is dynamic in the offensive zone, skating much quicker this season that he was at the end of last year. There were reports that he had not recovered fully from a bout of pneumonia when he was traded from Montreal to San Jose for defenseman Josh Gorges and a 1st round draft pick on February 25th. Rivet cycles the puck from the left point down low behind the net, firing a pass in front of LaBarbera. Rivet gathers the rebound, takes it behind the net along the boards to the right point before reversing direction. He dumps the puck in down low, and Los Angeles eventually has to clear the puck after an extended shift in their own zone. On a subsequent power play, Michalek and Setoguchi are in front of the net without a lot of movement. Ozolinsh, Rivet and Thornton are moving the puck well on the perimeter.

While on the power play, Douglas Murray mishandles the puck at the point and Dustin Brown takes off like he is shot out of a cannon. Excellent poke check by Nabokov as Brown is tied up on the breakaway, but the puck drops between Nabokov's legs as the play continues. A backchecking Murray skates to Brown, who already has a man on him, while Anze Kopitar glides in and pokes the puck into the net passed Evgeni Nabokov, who looks as if he stopped for a whistle. But there was no whistle. Short handed goal for Kopitar at 10:39, assist by Dustin Brown, game tied 1-1.

A defensive breakdown resulted in the second goal for Los Angeles. Patrick O'Sullivan gets the puck in deep. Douglas Murray battles with Dustin Brown for possession in the corner, with Mitchell and Carle also in close quarters. The puck is moved to O'Sullivan in the slot, who dekes around Derek Armstrong (who was taking a long wind up for a slap shot), before wristing his own shot on goal. Tom Preissing gets the rebound and fires another shot on goal that is blocked by Mike Grier. Brad Stuart gets the rebound, drives the puck down the right side and finds O'Sullivan for a backdoor tap-in goal. No chance on the play for Evgeni Nabokov. Jeremy Roenick let O'Sullivan skate to the front of the net unchecked.

New NHLPA Executive Director Paul Kelly, also in town prior to the NHL Board of Governors meeting at Pebble beach on Thursday/Friday, was interviewed on the Sharks television broadcast for the second intermission. About the possiblity of another strike during his tenure, Kelly said, "It's my number one priority to make sure there are no more labor interruptions. No more talk of lockouts, or strikes. I think we owe it to the fans and the game to work out our problems in a professional way, to work together with the owners. I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that does not happen."

Randy Hahn mentioned attendance concerns, and the struggle the NHL has had trying to garner larger television ratings. Hahn asked what roles should the players have in selling the game. Kelly responded that the players needed to provide access and interviews, and contribute in the community. He also mentioned that the players understand the business of hockey more than they ever have, and that they are willing to do their part to market and help promote the game. Hahn's final question was about Kelly's first opportunity to address the owners. The new NHLPA head Paul Kelly said that they would stress working together in partnership with the owners, instead of butting heads. "The Cold War between the players and the owners, we can't go back to those days. If we work together, I think we can grow the game."

The Sharks are moving the puck well to start the period, but the question at this point is if it will continue for 20 minutes, and will defensive breakdowns sabotage any offensive gains. Penalty on Brad Stuart for hooking 1:14 into the third period. San Jose wins 1-on-1 battles in front of the crease, but LaBabera and the Kings are able to hold the puck out of the net. Jack Johnson hammers Joe Thornton to the ice for a penalty. There will be a 6 second 5-on-3 for the Sharks.

Sandis Ozolinsh shoots the puck on net from the right point. Cheechoo and Thornton are on either side of goaltender Jason Labarbera, with Rob Blake and Brad Stuart trying unsuccessfully to check them. Puck bounces to Rivet who lets loose with a shot from the left point. LaBarbera can not get across, PP goal for Rivet, his first goal of the year. Game tied 2-2 at 3:41.

Craig Rivet cross checked O'Sullivan to earn a roughing penalty at 9:05, Kings are 0-3 on the power play so far in the game. Matt Carle checks Ladislav Nagy along the right boards in the Sharks defensive zone, and Carle is called for a hooking penalty. There will be a 1:37 5-on-3 power play for Los Angeles. Fans at HP Pavilion boo loudly as they think Nagy went down early, and the noise level increases after the replay on the new high definition scoreboard. Ehrhoff-Vlasic-Grier are the first unit out for the Kings 2-man advantage, followed by Ozolinsh-Murray-Brown. The Sharks successfully kill off the 5-on-3, only to have Torrey Mitchell called for tripping at 11:53. Mitchell is visibly frustrated by the call. The Sharks kill off the minor penalty, and Los Angeles will remain 0-6 on the power play for the game. John Zeiler is called for tripping at 15:37, and on the subsequent power play defenseman Craig Rivet hits the post with a point shot. The Sharks finished 1-4 on the power play, with 6:27 of PP ice time.

Best play of the 5 minute overtime period was an end-to-end rush by San Jose rookie Torrey Mitchell. The puck was left for him behind the net, and Mitchell took possession and accelerated through the defensive and neutral zones. Torrey Mitchell blew by Anze Kopitar, who had Jack Johnson to pick up coverage deep in the Kings defensive zone. Johnson stumbled as Mitchell streaked around him on the outside, and Kopitar weakly tried to prevent him from getting a backhand shot on LaBarbera. Mitchell got the shot on goal, but LaBarbera was there to make the save.

SJ - #27 J. Roenick, goal (1-0)
LA - #12 P. O'Sullivan goal (1-1)
SJ - #9 M. Michalek save (1-1)
LA - #11 A. Kopitar goal (1-2)
SJ - #8 J. Pavelski goal (2-2)
LA - #23 D. Brown goal (2-3)

"It is simple type errors that pop up on us. Our sticktoitivness just isn't there. The first ten minutes of the game we were doing everything we executed in practice, and then something does not go our way and we just seem to not want to stick to the plan, or want to have everybody committed to it. You have one or two guys who make a silly mistake, and it seems to affect the whole team. We have to find a way to battle through that."

"You are at home and you try too hard, it gets a little frustrating. Right after we score for example, Matty Carle tries a blind, behind the back pass in the neutral zone. As an example, you think why would you do that. You keep the game as simple as you can, you pass the puck to people who are open and who you are looking at. That is an example that happens as the game goes on all over the place. The best thing to do, I don't know if we came into the game thinking we were automatically going to win 5 or 6 to nothing because they beat us the last game. If the game is only 1-0 you should be satisfied with that and keep on plugging. Be patient with what you are trying to do. Don't change what gave us the lead. In the second period we did."

"We obviously play best when we get a lot of games going, we find our rythmn. We will keep harping on the same things in practice. Our power play we had a lot more movement established, got some shots, hit the post a couple of times, and scored once, so there is some improvement there. We had better movement early in the game, and late in the game, but we have to figure out why it slides away in the second period. Especially in home games, that is where you see us fall off a little bit."

"It is just a matter of us trying to find some traction. I want to see players more upset with what our record is, and as individuals what their numbers are. A lot of them it is just unacceptable, and you should be angry about it. Then you do something about it. Not wait for somebody else to do it."

"I don't think (playing the same team within a few days) is that difficult. We're used to it since they changed the schedule to play eight divisional games. Last year we did a lot of two games in an opposition rink. Usually they were in the space of sometimes two days, sometimes three days. This one, we had a game in between- we played Anaheim. It's familiarity for one thing, and from a preperation standpoint, it's a little bit easier because you're preparing for the same style of game, and you're just trying to make adjustments."

"I thought it was a realy gutsy effort, which is what you're going to need in games and playoff-like games. You have whoever you have in your lineup come out and battle, and I was really pleased with the guys because they battled so hard tonight."

A photo gallery from the game is available here, youtube video highlights are up here.

[Update] Comeback Falls Short, Sharks Fold, 3-2 SO - SJsharks.com.

[Update2] Lombardi on hot seat? - Inside the Kings.

I know a Ducks comparison won't be popular here, but you have to look at what they did. They brought the kids (Getzlaf, Perry, Kunitz, Penner, etc.) along and made veteran acquisitions (Selanne, Niedermayer, Pronger, O'Donnell, Beauchemin, etc.) that panned out. If a team is going to have success, they go hand in hand. Lombardi's challenge, particularly next summer, is to make some smart veteran acquisitions. So far, I think that's been his clear weakness.

[Update3] New union chief talks about new strategy - SJ Mercury News.


Kings put in solid 60 minute effort, down San Jose Sharks 2-1

Los Angeles Kings Jason Labarbera
San Jose Sharks Los Angeles Kings NHL hockey
Anze Kopitar Los Angeles Kings NHL hockey

Two Californian teams heading in opposite directions met on Saturday night as the Los Angeles Kings iced a solid 60 minute effort to earn a 2-1 win at HP Pavilion. The Sharks, coming off of a 6-day layoff, had not lost in regulation for five straight games to earn 9 out of a possible 10 points. The Kings had dropped 5 straight games against Pacific Division opponents, and were outscored 18-7 in that span. The Kings earned a 5-2 win in San Jose on November 2nd, before losing to the Sharks 3-1 at home the next night.

The game started with heavy hitting from both sides, and it took all of 31 seconds for Kyle McLaren to destroy Kings center Michal Handuz with a huge check up against the glass. McLaren earned a boarding call for his efforts, one of three minor penalties the Sharks would be called for in a very physical first period. San Jose outhit the Kings 13-11 after three periods of play, but turnovers (24-7) and blocked shots (17-13) favored Los Angeles.

The Sharks were moving the puck well, but Kings goaltender Jason LaBarbera was in the zone saving all but 1 of the 27 shots he faced. LaBarbera made a diving stop on a Steve Bernier wraparound attempt behind his own net at 3:11 that was the best scoring chance of the first period, and then LaBarbera closed the door on a tic-tac-toe rush up ice from Marleau-Rissmiller-Bernier that was the best scoring chance of the second period. Patrick Marleau jumped on a turnover and saucered a pass to Patrick Rissmiller who had a step on a defender. Rissmiller one-touched the puck to Steve Bernier to the left of LaBarbera, but LaBarbera slid side-to-side and made a spectacular stick save. "We can't get too excited about one win. It's been frustrating the past few weeks losing the way we did, but it's nice to beat a first-place club like this." LaBarbera said after the game.

Two failed San Jose attempts to clear the puck turned out to be the deciding plays in the Kings 2-1 win. Los Angeles defenseman Jaroslav Modry broke the puck up ice midway through the first period with a long pass through the neutral zone, but the play stalled just inside the Sharks blue line. Jeremy Roenick, Douglas Murray and Torrey Mitchell each had an opportunity to clear the puck, but it was Anze Kopitar who pulled the puck out of the crowd and moved it to defenseman Tom Preissing on the point. Dustin Brown, stationed about an inch in front of Evgeni Nabokov, defelected Preissing's shot for the first goal of the game.

The second failed clearing attempt came later in the first period with the Los Angeles Kings on the power play, a result of a tripping call on Sandis Ozolinsh. Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray checked Michael Cammalleri off the puck behind the net, but he could not clear the puck on his backhand or hit a nearby Mike Grier with a pass. The puck was moved out to Lubomir Vishnovsky on the point who fired a shot/pass to Anze Kopitar on the right side of the slot. Kopitar wasted no time rifling a shot over the left shoulder of Evgeni Nabokov to make the score 2-0 Los Angeles.

Christian Ehrhoff checked Ladislav Nagy from behind on a breakaway attempt in the second period. Nagy was awarded a penalty shot. Ladislav came in with a slow stride, and tried a quick snap shot five-hole which Nabokov swallowed up fairly easily. Late in the third period, a set play from Joe Pavelski and Milan Michalek resulted in the Sharks only goal of the game. Pavelski won the faceoff cleanly with a pass back to Michalek, who ripped a shot passed Jason LaBarbera from 20 feet out. Late in the game, Joe Thornton almost made an entry on the wrong side of the score sheet. With his back to the boards behind the Kings net, Thornton tried to pass the puck to the point. The Sharks players were tied up, and the puck sailed through the neutral zone and bounced off of the Sharks goal post with 8 seconds left. Game over, Kings win 2-1.

A photo gallery from the game is available here, youtube highlights of the game are available here. The Sharks are 11-8-3 on the season, 3-5-1 when home at HP Pavilion. The San Jose Sharks face off against the Los Angeles Kings again Wednesday night in San Jose. The Kings gave up 3 unanswered goals to lose to the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 on Sunday night.

Post-game comments from San Jose Sharks head coach Ron Wilson:

"The first ten minutes was ok. The second goal we had the puck, made a soft play, and didn't clear it. In fact, we made two soft plays. The first we did not clear it, and the second one was just a soft little play. The two turnovers ended up being the difference in the hockey game. To kill a penalty, you pound the puck down the ice and you keep your shifts short. When you get extended out there because you don't clear the puck, bad things can happen. And obviously it did. Our power play, we just weren't very good on it."

Post-game comments from Los Angeles Kings head coach Marc Crawford:

"I thought as much as we got a great performance from Jason, I thought our team played really well. We didn't give them many quality chances tonight. We got the better of the chances tonight. I thought our Grade A chances were better than their Grade A chances. They threw a lot of pucks at the net and this was a game I thought our guys played really well. They executed very well."

"Defensively, it's probably the best defensive performance we have had this year. Our defense group as a whole was very good. What can you say about Michal Handzus? He was terrific tonight and played well against Joe Thornton. This is a team that has been off for a week and we knew they would have a lot of energy throughout the game. It ends up being a real good win for us and a good defensive team performance."

[Update] Kings Slow Down Sharks, Earn 2-1 Decision - SJsharks.com.

San Jose Sharks fan photo

[Update2] Bonus photo.

[Update3] Handzus and Nagy - Rich Hammond for Inside the Kings.

Sometimes I feel as though I'm the only one who feels this way. Perhaps I am. But I can't get past the feeling that the signings of Handzus and Nagy have been profound disappointments. In September, I saw them as two-thirds of a potential strong second line, perhaps with Frolov or O'Sullivan on the other wing. They were supposed to have great chemistry together. Has anyone seen it yet?

Handzus, who got a four-year, $16-million contract, has one goal and three assists in 23 games. Nagy, who got a one-year, $3.75-million contract, has four goals and seven assists in 20 games. Not awful, but he has the potential to be a 20-goal scorer. As for Handzus, I understand that he's still getting stronger after ACL surgery, and I believe he has played much better in his last few games.

I have a hard time believing, though, that the Kings are paying Handzus $4 million a year because he's a valuable two-way, third- or fourth-line player. And I have a harder time believing they're pleased with Nagy, especially since Marc Crawford made him a healthy scratch Sunday (against Anaheim).


Darryl Hunt: WorSharks Fight For Point in 5-4 Shootout Loss

The Worcester Sharks survived a fight-filled first period and several bad bounces to earn a point in a 5-4 shootout loss against the Providence Bruins at the DCU center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of an announced crowd of 6,277.

The game started fast, with both teams having excellent scoring chances and throwing big hits. WorSharks goaltender Dimitri Patzold and Providence netminder Mike Brown rose to the challenge, each making two great saves before the game was even five minutes old.

The opening act began at 4:37 of the first period when the Bruins forward Steve MacIntyre and WorSharks winger Jonathan Tremblay lined up together for a face-off in front of the Bruins bench. The two stood there and jawed at each other as the play moved into the Worcester zone, and then dropped them and skated toward center ice. Once they engaged it was a decent fight, with Tremblay landing the quantity of punches and MacIntyre landing the quality. Fans gave MacIntyre the edge in this battle.

Less than two minutes later what started as a clean, hard check from WorSharks captain Graham Mink would end with nine fighting majors and an ejection.

The hard check was against Pascal Pelletier, and Pelletier ended up just inches away from falling into the Bruins bench. Pelletier took exception to the hit, and went after Mink. Mink just about brushed him aside, but as that was going on all the forwards on the ice started to scrum with punches being thrown from all participants.

Then the defensemen entered the fray, with Providence defender Sean Curry shoving away Brennan Evans to take on non-fighter Patrick Traverse. Evans chose to protect his partner and jumped into the fight landing several shots to Curry.

When the dust settled Curry, David Krejci, Pelletier, and T. J. Trevelyan received fighting majors for Providence, and T.J. Fox, Dennis Packard, and Traverse received fighting majors for Worcester. Evans received a game misconduct for being the third man in the Curry/Traverse battle. Mink was called for a minor for elbowing on the original hit despite referee Terry Koharski never raising his arm to call the penalty before the altercations started.

Josh Prudden would open the scoring later in the period on the power play as he and Ashton Rome crashed the net after a Dan Spang blast went wide. Prudden grabbed the puck from behind the net and wrapped it around, jabbing in the rebound of the original save made by Brown. It was the second game in a row the WorSharks have scored first.

Pelletier would tie the game late in the first on a play that faked out Dan Spang so badly he was completely turned around on the break in.

Mike Iggulden would tally early in the second to give the WorSharks a 2-1 lead after banging in a rebound of a Derek Joslin shot. Joslin took advantage of Bruins forward Nate Thompson playing without a stick to get off a great shot that Brown made a great save on but couldn't control the rebound.

The Bruins would tie it again under two minutes later on the power play when former Worcester IceCat Jeff Hoggan tapped one into an empty net after Patzold had made a very nice save of a Trevelyan wrister.

Rome almost broke the tie at the 10 minute mark by beating Brown cleanly to the glove side on a 45 foot blast, but the puck found the inside of the post and bounced away harmlessly. The next scoring chance would belong to Mink, and it showed why he is one of--if not the--best pure power forward in the AHL.

After a small flurry by Providence, Brad Staubitz flipped a lazy clear into the Bruins zone so the WorSharks could make a line change. Mink had other ideas however, and raced Bruins defender Jonathan Sigalet to the puck. Sigalet won the race, but Mink would not surrender, muscling Sigalet off the puck and skating across the slot out-waiting Brown. When Brown went down Mink slipped just out of his arms reach for the 3-2 lead.

The next two goals would belong to Providence, both on odd bounces. Chris Collins scored one late in the second period from a bad angle as the puck hit the far post, deflected off of Patzold's skate as he lay just outside the crease with several players on top of him, and into the net. Pelletier would grab the second five minutes into the third period as another great save from Patzold banked in off Pelletier and into the net. Tom Walsh had Pelletier very well covered, but there was nothing he or Patzold could do as they helplessly watched the puck slowly roll into the net.

Leading for the first time in the game the Bruins began to really take control of the game, but the Sharks were the one that caught the next lucky break. The Sharks dump in deflected into the netting to the right of Brown, but none of the officials saw it and play continued. Iggulden pounced on the loose puck and passed back to Staubitz, who found Packard all alone in the slot. Packard tee'd it up and beat Brown with a shot so hard it knocked the water bottle off when it hit the back of the net.

With the score tied 4-4, it became the Dimitri Patzold Show. Patzold stopped a short handed breakaway and then followed it with two more incredible saves, all in the span of about ten seconds late in the third period. In OT, with Tom Cavanagh off for high sticking, Patzold made four saves that would make any highlight real to keep Worcester in the game.

Patzold was out of magic in the shootout however as Providence scored on its first three shots to win the game 5-4.

Marc Busenburg was the only healthy scratch last night. The injury list remains unchanged, and with Valette still out tending to family issues.

One has to wonder how Providence ended up with a power play after the first period donnybrook. A look at the penalties shows four fighting majors for Providence and only three for Worcester. Evans did not get a fighting major, only a game misconduct for third man in. Add the two minutes for Mink and Worcester should have gotten a 3 minute "major" power play at the end of Mink's minor.

The game's three stars were
1) Iggulden (1g/1a)
2) Pelletier (2g)
3) Patzold (41 saves)
My vote would have been Patzold, Brown, and Mink

Patzold went 1-1-0-1 in his rehab stint, with a 3.57 GAA and a save percentage of .903, numbers skewed a touch by the 6-0 loss in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

I spent the game sitting next to New England Surge owner and head coach Roy Lucas, Jr. The Surge, a team in the Continental Indoor Football League, also play their home games at the DCU Center. After a few minutes of talking about some of the news coming out of the CIFL, including the new divisional alignments and recently released schedule, it was easy to tell Lucas is very excited about the upcoming season.

Daniel Sisca is listed as being 5'9". That number seems to be, at least at a distance, very generous. No matter what his height really is he plays a lot bigger than his actual size.

Even Strength lines
Tremblay played sparingly, Sisca played shifts on all three lines

After the Evans ejection the Sharks went to a straight five man rotation

Power Play lines


Penalty kill


Faceoffs (offense/neutral/defense = total) unofficial
Armstong 3-0/3-3/3-3 = 9-6
Cavanagh 3-3/1-6/8-3 = 12-12
Prudden 4-2/2-1/1-3 = 7-6
Leisenring 0-1/0-3/1-0 = 1-4
Fox 2-1/0-0/1-0 = 3-1
Iggulden 0-1/0-0/0-0 = 0-1
Rome 0-1/1-1/0-1 = 1-3

Providence 1 2 1 1--5
Worcester 1 2 1 0--4

1st Period
Scoring: 1, Worcester-Prudden, Josh 1 (power play) (Rome, Ashton 4; Spang, Dan 3) 15:05. 2, Providence-Pelletier, Pascal 7 (Krejci, David 7; Karsums, Martins 9) 18:04.
Penalties: PRO-Trevelyan, T.J. (High sticking), 2:06. PRO-MacIntyre, Steve (Fighting, Major), 4:37. WOR-Tremblay, Jonathan (Fighting, Major), 4:37. PRO-Curry, Sean (Fighting, Major), 6:21. PRO-Krejci, David (Fighting, Major), 6:21. PRO-Pelletier, Pascal (Fighting, Major), 6:21. PRO-Trevelyan, T.J. (Fighting, Major), 6:21. WOR-Evans, Brennan (Game misc.), 6:21. WOR-Fox, T.J. (Fighting, Major), 6:21. WOR-Mink, Graham (Elbowing), 6:21. WOR-Packard, Dennis (Fighting, Major), 6:21. WOR-Traverse, Patrick (Fighting, Major), 6:21. PRO-Pelletier, Pascal (Board check), 13:07.

2nd Period
Scoring: 3, Worcester-Iggulden, Mike 10 (Joslin, Derek 7; Spang, Dan 4) 3:17. 4, Providence-Hoggan, Jeff 8 (power play) (Trevelyan, T.J. 4; Skinner, Brett 9) 4:49. 5, Worcester-Mink, Graham 5 (Staubitz, Brad 4; Armstrong, Riley 5) 12:36. 6, Providence-Collins, Chris 6 (Hoggan, Jeff 5; Rabbit, Wacey 4) 17:10.
Penalties: WOR-Armstrong, Riley (Hooking), 4:39. PRO-Pelletier, Pascal (Tripping), 7:37. WOR-Traverse, Patrick (High sticking), 13:49.

3rd period
Scoring: 7, Providence-Pelletier, Pascal 8 (Krejci, David 8; Karsums, Martins 10) 5:11. 8, Worcester-Packard, Dennis 3 (Staubitz, Brad 5; Iggulden, Mike 11) 10:19.
Penalties: PRO-Krejci, David (Tripping), 13:09. WOR-Joslin, Derek (Interference), 15:18. PRO-LaShoff, Matt (Hooking), 15:41.

Scoring: None.
Penalties: WOR-Cavanagh, Tom (High sticking), 0:10.

Shots on goal
Providence 12 15 12 6--45
Worcester 10 9 9 1--29

Power Play Conversions: Providence - 1 of 5, Worcester - 1 of 5.
Goalies: Providence-Brown, Mike R. (65:00, 29 shots, 25 saves; record: 5-0-0). Worcester-Patzold, Dimitri (65:00, 45 shots, 41 saves; record: 1-1-1).
A: 6277. Referee: Koharski, Terry. Linesmen: Ross, Joe; Messier, Mark.


Max Giese: San Jose Sharks First Quarter Report Card

The following grades are based on each players performance at the quarter pole of the 2007-08 NHL season.

Evgeni Nabokov - Nabokov has started all 21 San Jose Sharks games this season, only Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff has started all of his team's games this season. Nabokov earned the NHL's second star of the week from Nov 12-18 by posting a 3-0-1 record with a 0.96 goals against average, .959 save percentage and two shutouts. Nabokov is tied for 3rd in the NHL in wins (11), 3rd in shutouts (3), 4th in minutes played (1248:48), and 5th in goals against average (2.02). "(Nabokov) is, to me, one of the top five goalies in this league" - Ron Wilson to the Canadian Press 9/12/2007. Evgeni Nabokov is the only San Jose Shark to perform above expectations every night. Grade - A+.

Kyle McLaren – McLaren is second on the team in hits (34), tied for first in blocked shots (27), and his assist against Los Angeles was the 200th point of his NHL career. Kyle McLaren is a physical and veteran presence hat has been key to Sharks strong defense. Grade - A.

Craig Rivet – Rivet is tied for 4th on the Sharks in points (9), and second on the team in time on ice (22:40). Craig Rivet is playing smart and strong hockey as well as being a great leader on the youngest lineup in the NHL. Grade - A.

Jeremy Roenick – Roenick has posted a point in 8 of his last 9 games, and has registerd 5 game winning goals at this early point in the season. Jeremy Roenick has been at times dominant on the ice, and a mentor off the ice for several of the Sharks younger players. Roenick needs more face time in the media, not less. Release the hounds. Grade - A.

Devin Setoguchi – Setoguchi scored 7 goals in his first 10 NHL games, and is tied for second in the rookie goal scoring race with Chicago's Patrick Kane. Setoguchi's shot and ability to break the game open scares the opposition. Grade - A.

Douglas Murray – Murray is +11 in his last 5 games, tied with Ottawa's Dany Heatley for the 2nd best +/- in the league, and has earned 5 major penalties this season. A physical monster on the back-end, tough to play against, making solid contributions by simplifying his game, great first pass. Grade - A-.

Sandis Ozolinsh – Ozolinsh made a highlight reel diving goalline save against Anaheim on November 17th to help the Sharks earn a point in an OT shootout loss. Sandis Ozolinsh (2nd round, 30th overall) was the third player ever drafted by the San Jose Sharks, behind Pat Fallloon and Ray Whitney in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. Ozolinsh is the best puck moving defenseman on the team, a passionate force late in games, and his conditioning will only improve as he regains his pre-layoff form. Grade - B+.

Joe Thornton – Thornton leads the Sharks in goals (8), has posted a point in nine out of his last 11 games (5G,9A), and is 4th in the NHL from the faceoff dot (60.9%). Joe Thornton contributes on both ends of the ice, uses his size to consistently wear down defenseman, and is a fountain of intensity for a team that needs it. Grade - B+.

Torrey Mitchell – Torrey Mitchell has five points (4G, 1A) in his last six games, and he is tied for 7th in the league for blocked shots by a forward (18). Torrey Mitchell is a blazing forward who needs to finish more of the scoring chances he creates with his speed. Mitchell is killing penalties and scoring key goals in his rookie season. Grade - B+.

Mike Grier – Grier is 11th among NHL forwards in shorthanded time on ice per game (3:30), and is +6 in his last 6 games. Mike Grier has been solid on the penalty kill, but he can contribute more offensively 5-on-5 to help stabilize a turbulent start to the San Jose Sharks season. Grier's play is exhibit 1A why the NHL needs to start recording a penalties drawn statistical category. Grade - B.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – The 2nd year Vlasic leads the Sharks in time on ice per game (22:56), and San Jose Sharks head coach Ron Wilson has shown confidence using Vlasic in any situation. Marc-Edouard Vlasic is steady in his own zone, moves the puck up ice like a 15-year NHL veteran, but Vlasic can use his hockey sense and gifted puck moving ability more to contribute from the blueline and on the power play when other options are not working. Is the type of player whom the more you ask of him, the more he will give. Grade - B.

Milan Michalek – Michalek, who has missed the last three games with an elbow injury, is tied for 3rd on the Sharks in goals (6) and tied for 6th in points (8). Jeremy Roenick described Michalek to Yahoo Sports, "He epitomizes pure, sheer talent with brains. And you don't find that too often with players...I've never seen a guy go from zero to full speed in three strides, and he has that ability. I'd say 98-99 percent of the players need half a zone – five or 10 strides – before they hit their peak. Milan can do it within three. Defensemen have fits with guys like that". Milan Michalek needs to consistently score and create for the Sharks to pull away in a tight Pacific Division race. Michalek continuted to build on his emergence last season as a dominant NHL power forward, using his speed and agility to create space, and driving to the net with authority. Grade - B-.

Joe Pavelski – Pavelski tied a career high with two goals on November 15th against Phoenix. Joe Pavelski demonstrated his exceptional hands and competitiveness in recent games, and his is developing into a solid 2-way forward. Grade - C+.

Alexei Semenov – Semenov played his first game with San Jose October 22nd against Calgary, and scored his first goal on the power play October 26th against Detroit. Alexei Semenov is performing well at both ends when in the line-up, but he can use his size and reach advantage to punish and intimidate opposing forwards, instead of just shutting them down. Grade - C.

Rob Davison – Davison was placed on injured reserve (finger) on October 28th. Rob Davison played a physical team-first game, and he can add some toughness on the wing if needed. Grade - C.

Matt Carle – Matt Carle signed a four-year, $13.75 million contract extension on Wednesday. Carle was scratched for 2 straight home games against Phoenix, and road game against Dallas, but he recorded 2 shots on goal, and was +2 in his return for 2 games against Phoenix and Anaheim. Matt Carle was impressive early in the year but he needs to regain his confidence. Grade - C-.

Steve Bernier – Bernier leads the San Jose Sharks in hits (41). Steve Bernier is the most physically imposing forward on the San Jose Sharks, but has been a huge disappointment offensively. He has all of the tools to be an elite goal scoring power forward, but he may have to get dirty in front of the net to realize that potential. Grade - C-.

Curtis Brown – Brown has been a stalwart in the faceoff circle and on the checkline line for San Jose in the past, but he not played well enough and the competition has been too great for Brown to stay in the line up every night. Grade - C-.

Patrick Marleau – Marleau has six points (1G, 5A) in his last 4 games, and he is ranked 8th in the league on faceoffs this season (56.6%). Patrick Marleau has had stretches of invisibility on many nights, although his confidence is beginning to rise. Still one of the most underrated forwards in the NHL. Grade - D+.

Marcel Goc – Goc was placed on injured reserve November 17th, and has missed the last two games due to back spasms. Injuries and problematic play in his own end have hurt Marcel Goc in recent games. Grade - D+.

Patrick Rissmiller – Rissmiller led the Sharks with 5 hits November 2nd against Los Angeles. Patrick Rissmiller needs to use size more frequently, simplify his game and focus more on a shutdown role when the Sharks have a lead late in games. Grade - D.

Christian Ehrhoff – Ehrhoff played in his 200th career NHL game on November 2nd against Los Angeles. Christian Ehrhoff's elite athleticism, stickhandling prowess and speed has not translated into him being a top tier offensive-defenseman at this point in his career, thus the need for Sandis Ozolinsh. Offense from the blueline, shots on goal from the point on the PP, and high quality first passes to pressure the puck up ice are what the Sharks need from their offensive-minded defenseman. Ehrhoff, Carle and Ozolinsh should be a force to be reckoned with, instead Ehrhoff and Carle appear to be catching up on many nights. Vlasic and Rivet can contribute, or the Sharks can use a forward on the point on the power play, but if either happens it means Ozolinsh/Carle/Ehrhoff are not getting it done. Grade - D.

Jonathan Cheechoo – Cheechoo is +3 in his last 5 games. One former NHL front office member believes that an injury Cheechoo suffered last year in the playoffs has not fully healed. The speed is not there for Cheechoo to get to open spots on the ice, but his quick release and cannon for a shot will always make him a threat with the puck on his stick. Cheechoo is the biggest disappointment on this team for lack of scoring and effort. Grade - D.

Ryane Clowe - The young power forward from Mount Pearl, Newfoundland was placed on the IR October 28th with a knee injury. Clowe registered 3 goals and 3 assists in 11 games played this season. Grade - Incomplete.

Dimitri Patzold/Thomas Greiss – This may be more of an area for Darryl Hunt and the Worcester Sharks to determine. Evgeni Nabokov is one of two ironmen remaining, starting every one of his team's games along with Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff. Dimitri Patzold has appeared in 2 games in San Jose for a total of 24 minutes, against Colorado on October 7th Patzold stopped 2 shots, on October 26th against Detroit Patzold stopped 8 of 9 shots. Patzold has a 1-1 record with Worcester. Thomas Greiss has played 10 games as the #1 goaltender for the Sharks AHL affiliate in Worcester, before being called up to the San Jose Sharks this week. Greiss has registered a 6-4 record, 3.15% GAA average, and a .904 SV% in that span. Will Greiss get a NHL start Saturday against Los Angeles on Worcester's Thomas Greiss bobblehead night? No, but his time will come. Grade - Incomplete.

[Update] Los Angeles Kings notes from the blog of LA Daily News writers Matthew Kredell and Rich Hammond: Kyle Calder and the hulking 6-foot-3, 263-pound Raitis Ivanans would be game-time decisions today (Calder is rehabbing a broken thumb Ivanans a broken cheekbone), left wing Alexander Frolov will be out with a pulled groin after stepping on a puck against Anaheim, and former Shark Scott Thornton is out with a bruised sternum. Hammond also notes the Washington Capitals hired the former coach of the Kings AHL affilitae in Manchester Bruce Boudreau.

More on Frolov from Kredell's Dailynews.com column, Injury keeps Kings' Frolov out this weekend.

[Update2] Sharks' Murray now is more than hit or miss - SJ Mercury News.

[Update3] Frolov to sit out at least two games - Los Angeles Times.

It's not enough that the Kings have won only once in their last seven games, have scored one time in three games and are facing two road games against Pacific Division power San Jose in the span of five days.

On Friday came news that leading scorer Alexander Frolov (four goals, 20 points) will sit out at least two games, possibly more, because of an injured right groin. Not the left groin, which has plagued him the last couple of months. Now, it's the other side, courtesy of what Kings Coach Marc Crawford called a "freak accident" against the Ducks on Nov. 15 when Frolov stepped on a puck in the third period.

[Update4] From James Mirtle: Evgeni Nabokov is on pace to play 80.5 games this regular season, Miikka Kiprusoff of the Calgary Flames is second with 79.9, Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers is third with a 77.9 projected total.

Darryl Hunt: Patzold Leads WorSharks To Victory, 3-1

The Worcester Sharks, behind a 28 save performance from Dimitri Patzold, defeated the Manchester Monarchs Friday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena in New Hampshire in front of an announced crowd of 6,435.

Coming off of a 6-0 thrashing in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Wednesday night, Worcester fans were uncertain what they would see out of a team struggling through a three game losing streak. Those that made the trek to the Granite State were not disappointed.

Both teams started off slowly at the beginning of the period, but when the WorSharks' Jonathan Tremblay and Manchester right wing Kevin Westgarth took the ice together the fireworks began. Westgarth landed the first big shot, but Tremblay rebounded with a huge right. Tremblay then followed with a series of lefts that resulted in Westgarth taking Tremblay down to stop the pummeling.

Late in the first the WorSharks got on the board when Monarchs defender Brian Boyle fumbled with the puck off the to the side of Manchester netminder Dan Cloutier while the line of Riley Armstrong, TJ Fox, and Graham Mink crashed the net. Fox got the goal, with Armstrong and Mink getting the hard earned assists.

It was just the fourth time this season Worcester has scored first.

The second period opened with Worcester on the power play, and just 22 seconds into the period Derek Joslin scored his first professional goal on a 40 foot wrist shot. The shot was deflected, but it was hard to tell if it went off of Tom Cavanagh or one of the Monarch defenders. The WorSharks must have assumed it was off Cavanagh as they did not retrieve the puck for Joslin.

The third period saw an ugly play that could have cost Worcester the game.

At the 5:31 mark, Manchester rookie Vladimir Dravecky crosschecked Brad Staubitz from behind and into the boards behind the WorSharks net. Staubitz jumped to his feet and threw three huge lefts to the head of Dravecky who then went down in a heap. Staubitz was given an instigator minor, a fighting major, a misconduct, and a game misconduct. Dravecky was given a minor for cross checking.

As Dravecky was skated to the bench he left a long trail of blood behind him. After the game, reports from the locker room indicated Dravecky may have a broken right cheekbone.

While killing the major on Staubitz Brennan Evans was called for a borderline crosscheck by referee Terry Koharski, setting up a five-on-three power play for Manchester. Manchester capitalized, but it took a little luck to find the net.

Peter Harrold fired a shot from 50 feet away that Patzold saved--with his mask. Unfortunately for Patzold the puck went up over his head, off the crossbar, rolled off of Patzold's back, and into the net just barely over the goal line, spoiling the shutout bid. Worcester has still not recorded a shutout in the history of the franchise.

At the 14 minute mark Worcester got an insurance goal from Ashton Rome as he deflected a Evans blast from the point for the 3-1 final.

Before the game Worcester signed old friend Brady Leisenring and first time AHLer Daniel Sisca to PTOs. Sisca played, wearing #41. Leisenring, who will wear his usual #11, did not play due to an equipment issue. The issue being, apparently, it didn't arrive with him from Fresno.

Leisenring was Worcester's only health scratch. Kaspar is still out with that "upper body injury", and Nate Raduns has been added to the "day to day" list with a shoulder injury. Craig Valette missed the game due to a death in the family.

Patzold's conditioning stint should end with Saturday's game vs Providence. Thomas Greiss, who is with San Jose while Patzold is here, will miss his bobble head being given away Saturday night.

Should Greiss make it into an NHL game while with the big club, he will wear the Pink Mask. The Pink Mask, which Greiss has worn all season for Worcester, will be auctioned off on NHL.com. The auction will start on Friday, November 23rd at Noon and conclude on Saturday, November 30th at 9 p.m. with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge of Worcester via Sharks Charities.

The three stars of the game were
1) Patzold (28 saves)
2) Harrold (1g)
3) Joslin (1g)
Harrold was also (-2) for the game and is in because of the "hometown" inclusion. My vote would have had TJ Fox in Harrold's place.

Worcester 1 1 1--3
Manchester 0 0 1--1

1st period
Scoring: 1, Worcester-Fox, T.J. 2 (Mink, Graham 8; Armstrong, Riley 4) 18:22.
Penalties: WOR-Staubitz, Brad (Hooking), 4:18. WOR-Tremblay, Jonathan (Fighting, Major), 10:22. MCH-Westgarth, Kevin (Fighting, Major), 10:22. MCH-Cliche, Marc-Andre (Hooking), 12:05. MCH-Giuliano, Jeff (Hooking), 18:45.

2nd period
Scoring: 2, Worcester-Joslin, Derek 1 (game winner) (power play) (Iggulden, Mike 10; Walsh, Tom 7) 0:22.
Penalties: WOR-Tremblay, Jonathan (Tripping), 3:42. MCH-Ryan, Matt (Tripping), 5:55. WOR-Sisca, Daniel (Tripping), 11:39.

3rd period
Scoring: 3, Manchester-Harrold, Peter 2 (power play) (Gauthier, Gabe 17; Purcell, Teddy 19) 10:00. 4, Worcester-Rome, Ashton 3 (Evans, Brennan 1) 14:01.
Penalties: WOR-Staubitz, Brad (Fighting, Instigator, Major, Ten minute misc., Game misc.), 5:31. MCH-Dravecky, Vladimir (Cross checking), 5:31. WOR-Evans, Brennan (Cross checking), 8:46. MCH-Klemm, Jon (Hooking), 18:27.

Shots on Goal
Worcester 6 10 4--20
Manchester 6 13 10--29

Power Play Conversions: Worcester - 1 of 4, Manchester - 1 of 5.
Goalies: Worcester-Patzold, Dimitri (60:00, 29 shots, 28 saves; record: 1-1-0). Manchester-Cloutier, Dan (59:33, 20 shots, 17 saves; record: 2-7-0).
A: 6435. Referee: Koharski, Terry. Linesmen: Lovett, Jeremy; MacDonald, Brian.


Sharks Friday Practice

San Jose Sharks Friday practice
San Jose Sharks Friday practice
San Jose Sharks Friday practice

The San Jose Sharks entered a 6-day break this week playing their strongest hockey of the season. The Sharks earned 9 out of a possible 10 points in a five game stretch, with one overtime shootout win over Dallas, one overtime shootout loss to Anaheim, and 3 wins over a Bryzgalov-less Phoenix Coyotes.

During Friday's practice, the Sharks scrimmaged, worked on the power play, the penatly kill, the penalty kill with the handle of the stick on the ice instead of the blade (first photo), and finished with 3-on-2 breakaways and conditioning. The lines that I noticed were, Setoguchi-Thornton-Michalek, Davison on the right wing for Curtis Brown and Joe Pavelski, Mitchell-Roenick-Grier, and Rissmiller-Marleau-Bernier. Ehrhoff was paired with Semenov for most of the practice, and Vlasic took a number of shifts with McLaren, Rivet, and Carle. The defensive pairings were changed often.

There was a good number of fans in the stands, but a straight mob of youth hockey players, parents, and fans rinkside during the final half hour of practice. After each silver stick youth game finished on the adjacent rinks, the young players made a b-line for the south rink to dump their equipment and watch the Sharks practice. The line most often heard from players and parents? "They skate and move the puck so quickly". One fan, who had seen Thornton play previously, was visiting from Switzerland.

Newly called up goaltender Thomas Griess was wearing the pink mask that will be auctioned off for charity on NHL.com. The proceeds from the auction will go towards breast cancer awareness from the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge of Worcester via Sharks Charities. The pink masked was designed by Worcester Sharks Director of Youth Hockey and Community Relations Michael Myers, who has also designed masks for Cam Ward and Dwayne Roloson.

Bids on the mask can be made on NHL.com here until November 30th.

[Update] Holiday over, and it's back to business as usual - David Pollak's SJ Mercury News blog.

Silver Stick 2007 Pacific Regional youth hockey tournament in San Jose

San Jose Silver Stick youth hockey tournament
San Jose Silver Stick youth hockey tournament

The Sharks Ice facilities in San Jose and Fremont are hosting the Pacific Regional Silver Stick 2007 youth hockey tournament this week from November 21-25. According to a press release, 68 teams and over 1200 players from California, Oregon (Oregon Jr Summits, Portland Jr Hawks) and Arizona (Phoenix Firebirds, Jr Coyotes, Phoenix Mustangs) will compete in nine different divisions (Mite, Squirt A, Squirt B, PeeWee A, PeeWee B, Bantam A, Bantam B, Midget 16U and Midget 18U) to determine which teams will advance to the the International Silver Stick Finals in January 2008.

During the 2007 USA Hockey Womens/Girls Championships held in San Jose in March, a number of youth teams dotted HP Pavilion to watch the Sharks reach 100 points with a 4-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes. Many of youth teams competing in the Silver Stick tournament are expected to attend the Sharks Battle of California game with the Los Angeles Kings at HP Pavilion on Saturday November 24th.

This is the 3rd Silver Stick tourament hosted by Sharks Ice, but the original Silver Stick International organization has been operating since 1958. Former featherweight boxer Jack Kinsella created the tournament to further international relations among Pee Wee and Bantam age hockey players in the Ottawa and New York state areas. The first North American Silver Stick tournament was held in Port Huron, Michigan in 1963, and Port Huron remains the permanent home for the Pee Wee and Bantam final tournament. Girls divisions were added to the Silver Stick tournaments in 1997.

More information about the tournament is available at sharksiceatsanjose.com. An updated schedule and standings table is available here.

[Update] One game of note today was the San Jose Jr Sharks Peewee B game against the Southern Oregon Summits. Down 3-2 entering the third period, the Jr Sharks stormed back with 4 goals to pull off a 6-3 win and remain unbeaten after three games. The San Jose Jr Sharks mite A, Squirt B, Squirt A, Peewee A, Bantam B Green, and Midget 16A teams all won on Friday.

[Update2] For more information on Northern California youth hockey visit norcalyouthhockey.com. For more information on Southern California youth hockey visit scaha.com.

[Update3] Photos from the Silver Stick and other local hockey tournaments are available via hockeyshots.net.


California Cup report: Ducks down San Jose 2-1 in overtime shootout

San Jose Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov

A California Cup report, and news and notes from the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 OT shootout win in San Jose Saturday night are coming soon. A photo gallery from the game is available here.


Darryl Hunt: WorSharks fall to Portland, 5-3

The Worcester Sharks scored first for just the third time in 14 games this season, but the Portland Pirates scored the game's last three goals to win the divisional match-up 5-3 in front of an announced crowd of 4,288 at the DCU center last night in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The WorSharks got on the board early when Dennis Packard attempted to make a cross-slot pass to Nate Raduns on a two-on-one break that hit Pirates defender and NHL veteran Eric Weinrich's stick and deflected past Portland goaltender Gerald Coleman.

Portland would strike for the next two, both on the power play. The first came from Geoff Platt, who one-timed a perfect crossing pass from Andrew Ebbett into a wide open net. The second was almost a replay of the first, with this time Ebbett feeding Bobby Ryan for the tally. Ryan also assisted on Platt's goal, and Platt assisted on the Ryan score.

Worcester would come back to tie it at 2-2 when TJ Fox won a clean draw that Riley Armstrong kicked over to a wide open Ashton Rome for a blast from the top of the left face-off circle that Coleman just got a piece of before it broke past him and rolled just over the goal line.

The WorSharks would grab the lead back at the 18:22 mark while on a five on three power play when Mike Iggulden skated in along the goal line to the right of Coleman and fired a laser between Coleman and the post and just under the crossbar for a 3-2 lead.

Worcester almost increased its lead in the waning seconds of the period when Graham Mink broke in alone from a scrum at the blue line and blasted a wrister that Coleman was just able to grab with his glove.

Portland would connect with the only goal of the second period as Ryan scored an unassisted goal from nearly the exact spot Rome had scored from. The puck had been cleared along the board behind the Worcester net, but it struck the door where the visiting team exit the ice and bounced at a weird angle right to Ryan. As it has happened many times in the last couple of games fans can probably expect that the door will be fixed by the next home game.

During the second period Mike Hoffman and Brennan Evans decided to introduce themselves to each other. With Evans giving up a couple inches and twenty pounds, it was truly an uphill battle. He didn't make it up the hill very far as Hoffman easily won the decision. Late in the second period Gordie Dwyer and Brad Staubitz got into a hug-fest and while they were called fighting majors each should have gotten five minutes for delay of game.

The difference in the game came in the third period, with the Sharks being unable to convert on another five on three advantage. Portland also got a five on three advantage, but it came on a very controversial call.

With Portland seizing the advantage while skating on a delayed penalty call to Dan Spang, Riley Armstrong collided with Ebbett at the blue line. With Ebbet lying on the ice the linesman called Armstrong for a major for interference, which is a new rule in the AHL this season to help cut down on concussions. Dwyer came to the defense of Ebbet, and after the scrum Portland ended up with a five on three for two minutes and them a three minute man advantage while the rest of the major was served.

The Pirates capitalized twice during that five minute stretch, finishing the game four for seven on the power play.

The last 25 seconds of the second period were tacked on to the start of the third period when a pane of plexi popped out to the right of Thomas Greiss.

Roy Sommer called Worcester's timeout with 2:02 left in the first. It worked, with Iggulden scoring just 24 seconds later.

Marc Busenburg was the only healthy scratch for Worcester. Lukas Kaspar is out with the dreaded "upper body injury". While not officially "day to day", he isn't expected to miss much time. Mike Morris is still on schedule to be back sometime in December. He may also have to recuperate from Writer's Cramp as he has been one of the two WorSharks signing every home game on Saturday night.

The three stars were
1. Ryan
2. Iggulden
3. Ebbett
I would have had Coleman in there somewhere. Just not sure who I'd take out.

Worcester Sharks Chief Operating Officer Dave Daniels spoke to season ticket holders prior to the game. It was the standard "meet and greet", but Daniels has such a positive attitude he could probably make reading the phone book sound interesting. One tidbit he did confirm was the WorSharks have made a bid to host the 2009 AHL All-Star game. The 2008 game is in Binghamton, NY.

During Friday's loss in Providence P-Bruin goaltender Jordan Sigalet collapsed to the ice while the game was going on in the WorSharks zone. Providence head coach Scott Gordon told projo.com that Sigalet was conscious when taken off the ice on a stetcher. Sigalet has multiple sclerosis, and boston.com is reporting that Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli is indicating the recent conctruction at the Dunkin Donuts Center may have contributed to Sigalet's collapse. Sigalet has also had problems at the Verizon Wireless Center in Manchester, where the Monarchs use pyrotechnics before each game.

Even Strength Lines
Prudden played center on all lines as Sommer rotated players keeping them fresh


Penalty Kill


Power Play


Face-offs (offense/neutral/defense = total) (unofficial) Cavanagh 9-4/3-1/4-2 = 16-7
Armstrong 1-4/4-0/0-0 = 5-4
Prudden 2-1/1-0/10-1 = 13-2
Raduns 2-2/3-0/2-2 = 7-4
Fox 2-0/0-0/1-0 = 3-0
Iggulden 1-0/0-1/0-0 = 1-1

Every WorShark except Greiss registered at least one hit. Traverse and Raduns had two, Valette had three, Mink had four, Raduns and Fox klead the team with five.

Tremblay played only a handful of shifts, but managed to block two shots while on the ice. Every Portland player seemed to skate well away from him while he was on the ice.

Portland 2 1 2--5
Worcester 3 0 0--3

1st period
Scoring: 1, Worcester-Packard, Dennis 2 (Raduns, Nate 6; Walsh, Tom 4) 1:28. 2, Portland-Platt, Geoff 2 (power play) (Ebbett, Andrew 14; Ryan, Bobby 9) 9:13. 3, Portland-Ryan, Bobby 4 (power play) (Ebbett, Andrew 15; Platt, Geoff 1) 12:07. 4, Worcester-Rome, Ashton 2 (Fox, T.J. 1; Armstrong, Riley 3) 14:47. 5, Worcester- Iggulden, Mike 9 (power play) (Joslin, Derek 6; Walsh, Tom 5) 18:22.
Penalties: WOR-Walsh, Tom (Interference), 7:25. WOR-Joslin, Derek (Interference), 11:11. POR-Bouck, Tyler (Holding stick), 16:50. POR-Dwyer, Gordie (Roughing), 16:50. WOR-Packard, Dennis (Roughing), 16:50. POR-Salcido, Brian (Cross checking), 17:58.

2nd period
Scoring: 6, Portland-Ryan, Bobby 5 (unassisted) 4:26.
Penalties: POR-Hoffman, Mike (Fighting, Major), 7:37. WOR-Evans, Brennan (Fighting, Major), 7:37. WOR-Rome, Ashton (Board check), 16:07. POR-Dwyer, Gordie (Fighting, Major), 18:57. WOR-Staubitz, Brad (Fighting, Major), 18:57.

3rd period
Scoring: 7, Portland-King, Jason 8 (game winner) (power play) (Platt, Geoff 2) 15:20. 8, Portland-Keith, Matt 3 (power play) (Segal, Brandon 2; Dixon, Stephen 3) 17:49.
Penalties: WOR-Cavanagh, Tom (Tripping), 7:40. POR-BENCH served by Ryan, Bobby (Too many men), 11:08. POR-Ebbett, Andrew (Hooking), 12:19. POR-Dwyer, Gordie (Roughing), 14:28. WOR-Armstrong, Riley (Roughing, Interference, Major, Game misc.), 14:28. WOR-Spang, Dan (High sticking), 14:28. POR-Dwyer, Gordie (Interference), 19:53.

Shots on goal
Portland 6 9 8--23
Worcester 8 8 5--21

Power Play Conversions: Portland - 4 of 7, Worcester - 1 of 5.
Goalies: Portland-Coleman, Gerald (59:35, 21 shots, 18 saves; record: 1-1-0). Worcester-Greiss, Thomas (59:16, 23 shots, 18 saves; record: 6-3-1).
A: 4288. Referee: Banfield, David. Linesmen: Boyle, Ed; Redding, Kevin.


Jorge Santiago wins first Californian MMA tournament, Cung Le and Alistair Overeem earn big wins at Strikeforce

Strikeforce MMA Tournament Trevor Prangley
Strikeforce MMA San Jose Cung Le

Jorge Santiago defeated Sean Salmon and Trevor Prangley to win the first ever sanctioned single night mixed martial arts tournament in California on Friday night. Santiago captured the Strikeforce Middleweight tournament belt in front of 8,233 fans with a jumping knee that stopped Sean Salmon 24 seconds into the opening bout, before outstriking Trevor Prangley midway through the first round of the tournament finale. Sean Salmon, a late replacement after Yuki Sasaki was not cleared by the CSAC, was sent to the hospital after laying motionless on the canvas for several minutes. A subsequent CT scan did not reveal any bleeding to the brain.

Dutch veteran Alistair Overeem took San Jose striker Paul Buentello down at will in the semi-main event for the vacant Strikeforce Heavyweight title. Overeem tried to drop an "Alistene" choke in the midst of several guillotine attempts, but Buentello was able to survive the first round by using the cage and spinning out of danger. Buentello never had enough room to let his hands go in the first round, and Overeem continued the well executed game plan to take his opponent to the ground in the second. Buentello unleashed a few brief flurries, but the action hit the mat soon after with Alistair in the dominant position. After both fighters gained their feet several hard knees in the clinch dropped Buentello, who could no longer continue.

In the main event, Cung Le came out for his fight with Ultimate Fighter 2 reality show competitor Sam "the Squeeze" Morgan to a loud, South Vietnamese flag waving crowd. Known for a propensity to throw multiple suplexs in earlier fights, Cung Le relied on a diverse array of kicks and several hip tosses against Morgan. "The Squeeze" kept trying to press the action forward despite taking an inordinate amount of punishment from Le. Sitting ringside, Pride veteran Kevin "the Monster" Randleman noted that Morgan competed long past the point that other fighters may have tapped out, and it may have resulted in health concerns for Morgan after the fight. A side kick ended the bout 1:58 into the third round, with Cung Le (5-0) earning his fifth straight win in mixed martial arts. Morgan was taken to the hospital for overnight evalutation after what was reported as "uncontrollable vomiting" in the locker room by the CSAC.

The Strikeforce/BodogFight promotion was the second event in a row streamed online for free via Yahoo Sports, which also recently streamed the Cotto-Mosley boxing undercard from NYC. There was a 150-mile blackout radius for the live online Strikeforce broadcast, but the archive is available for viewing on Yahoo video here.

Strikeforce Tournament Series results:

November 16, 2007

D. Hallman def J. Metcalf submission (1-1:39)
C. Drumm def E. Esguerra no contest
A. Crispin def C. Coronel unanimous decision
A. Figueroa def P. Sabala split decision
E. Lawson def J. Neal submission (2-0:20, RNC)
J. Santiago def S. Salmon KO (1-0:24)
T. Prangley referee decision F. Vitale (2-2:12)
L. Stewart def B. Kamaka KO (1-0:19,)
A. Ruiz def B. Southworth TKO (2-0:59, cut)
L. Davis def B. Schwartz unanimous decision
A. Overeem def P. Buentello submission
J. Santiago def T. Prangley TKO (1-2:31)
C. Le def S. Morgan TKO (3-1:58)

[Update] Light crowd, devastating blows at MMA event - San Jose Mercury News.

[Update2] Strikeforce: Santiago, Overeem and Le Win - Sherdog.com.

In the four-man tournament's opening bout, Sean Salmon, who replaced Japan's Yuki Sasaki after he failed to gain medical clearance from the California State Athletic Commission and was thusly denied a license to fight, was victim of a scary knockout just 24 seconds after the opening bell that could endanger his career.

Moving around the cage Santiago, 27, launched into the air and connected with a right knee to Salmon's neck. The Ohioan, reminiscent of his iconic knockout loss in the UFC to Rashad Evans, was out instantly. He crashed to the canvas and absorbed an additional punch before referee Cecil Peoples intervened.

[Update3] Jorge Santiago Roars to Strikeforce Tournament Championship - MMAjunkie.


Sharks look to regain their bite

After a disappointing 6-5-1 start to the season in the month of October, it appears the San Jose Sharks are back on track with a four game winning streak. Each win has come against divisional opponents as the Sharks have outscored their rivals 19-4 over that span. The improved results can be attributed to vastly improved play over the past week. Strategic changes made by the coaching staff, impeccable goaltending by Evgeni Nabokov, as well as players simplfying their game have all contributed to the positive run.

Here are the three keys to the Sharks recent surge:

1. Change in Defensive Philosophy

San Jose Sharks head coach Ron Wilson has employed a modified defensive system this year that favors team defense over offense. Last season the Sharks were an aggressive forechecking team would that would send two men after the opposition's puck carrier while proactively pinching the defenseman on the far side to help keep the puck from leaving the offensive zone. This system was tailored to generate turnovers inside the opposition's blue line, however it left the Sharks susceptible to odd-man attacks, especially if the effort to pressure the puck was not consistently there.

The Sharks have employed a different forecheck and defensive system recently that is built around sound positioning, One that emphasizes clogging the opposition's passing lanes more than an aggressive puck pursuit. San Jose often sends only one forward in deep after an opponent's defenseman, and the Sharks defenders rarely pinch low to hold the zone. This has lead to less gaudy offensive statistics for the Sharks key forwards, but it has stymied the scoring chances against. It is a suffocating defensive system that when working effectively, can shut down opposing forwards. Elements of this defensive style may be slightly reminiscent of the trap system the Sharks employed in the mid-90s.

2. Players Using Size and Speed

Good teams play to their strengths, and the Sharks are beginning to play a style more condusive to the youngest, largest, and one of the fastest lineups in NHL. The Sharks are built around size and speed, but those attributes are wasted if players do not utilize them on a nightly basis. Early in the season San Jose was often too soft when playing body, and they would hesitate to use their speed on the forecheck, or when moving the puck up the ice. With two of their main attributes going to waste, the Sharks where struggling to win games and stay above .500.

It appears the Sharks have had this very same revelation, and with 11 of the 12 November games against Pacific division rivals, it could not have happened at a more critical time. Imposing forwards like Steve Bernier, Mike Grier, and Patrick Rissmiller are beginning to use their size to their advantage on the forecheck, and outmuscling opponents along the board to win the 1-on-1 battles. Craig Rivet, Douglas Murray, and Kyle McLaren have been physical forces on the back end.

The speed the Sharks possess has also been more evident during the recent winning streak as players such as Jeremy Roenick, Torrey Mitchell, and Patrick Marleau can now be seen driving their feet harder on the forecheck and with the puck. Now just imagine what this line-up will be like when a healthy Milan Michalek get his legs back.

3. Confidence with the puck

For a trendy pre-season favorite to win the Stanley Cup, the San Jose Sharks seemed to lack confidence and poise with the puck early in the season. Even key offensive players were fumbling the puck with regularity, and failing to show any life on an anemic power play. Two major events have changed that attitude, Jeremy Roenick bringing passion and energy to the ice en route to scoring his 500th career goal, and the confidence rookie snipers Devin Setoguchi and Torrey Mitchell appear to be rubbing off onto the rest of the team.

Former NHL MVP Joe Thornton is an NHL version of King Midas, turning any player who lines up next to him into gold. Captain Patrick Marleau is regaining his scoring touch, and is starting to use his tremendous size more than his blazing speed. Steve Bernier, Milan Michalek and Joe Pavelski give the Sharks secondary scoring options that flourish when teams try to load all of their eggs into one basket to shutdown or attempt to intimidate the top line.

San Jose's defenseman have also been moving the puck better as of late, especially veteran Sandis Ozolinsh. Ozolinsh has been a welcome addition to a blue-line that was struggling to break the puck out of the zone with regularity. Ozolinsh always has his head up looking to make a clean outlet pass, and his main problem to date his been his impatience. He can often be seen tapping the ice with his stick demanding a pass, or skating back to the bench with a frustrated look after a missed opportunity. Ozolinsh dropped out of the sky onto an elite Western Conference team that need a veteran puck moving defenseman, needed a selfish player to load up on a few point shots, and needed a role model to help push Christian Ehrhoff and Matt Carle to take more advantage of their talents. This is an exciting and talented line-up in San Jose, capable of being one of the most feared offensive attacks in the league. Contributions by late off-season additions Jeremy Roenick and Sandis Ozolinsh have helped this team ride out a few early rough patches, but San Jose needs solid contributions from Patrick Marleau, Jonathan Cheechoo, and a healthy Ryane Clowe if this team is going to realize its potential.

[Update] Ctrl-Alt-Delete - One Fan's Perspective.

The Coyotes must now regroup and start over. The tough aspect of playing the San Jose Sharks three times in a row is that when the Sharks clearly owned the Coyotes in the first two games, they were able to keep the pressure on them and not let go. The Sharks exhibited the tenacity that the Coyotes currently lack when finishing off teams. Tonight, the Coyotes never had a chance.

The Coyotes now go three games below .500 and they now have to figure out how to resurrect a power play that showed life in the stretch of games before the series with San Jose and they now have to figure out a way to bring back the energy and edge they had at the beginning of the season.

The Sharks pushed them and instead of responding, the Coyotes stayed flat. They did not charge after them and lost the battles along the walls, in the neutral zone, and on the blueline. Save for some quality hits by Keith Ballard, and strong rookie line work from Daniel Winnik, Craig Weller, and Martin Hanzal, the rest of the team did not get going.

[Update2] Sharks take another bite out of Coyotes - TSN.


Strikeforce MMA Tournament "Four Men Enter, One Man Survives" Weigh-In photos

Strikeforce MMA Tournament weigh-ins
Strikeforce MMA Tournament weigh-ins
Strikeforce MMA Tournament weigh-ins

Strikeforce held a random drawing at the HP Pavilion Grill Thursday night to determine brackets for the 4-man single elimination Middleweight (185 pound) tournament on Friday. The event will be the first sanctioned single night mixed martial arts tournament in California history, and the final 8 fights will be streamed online for free outside of Northern California starting at 8PM (PT) on Yahoo! MMA.

Pride FC and Pancrase veteran Yuki Sasaki (21-13-1) drew first, and he was soon joined in his fight bracket by UFC and KOTC veteran Jorge Santiago (14-7-0). Trevor Prangley (16-4-0), out of San Jose's American Kickboxing Academy, will face Hawaiian Falaniko Vitale (24-7-0). MMAjunkie.com's Dann Stupp reports that Yuki Sasaki is still awaiting final medical clearance. Jeremiah Metcalf (5-3) is a fighter on hand in reserve, but he may have problems with CSAC clearance as well. UFC veterans Dennis Hallman (37-12-2) and Sean Salmon (14-4) will open the November 16th fight card, and either may serve as a tournament competitor if Sasaki and Metcalf are unable to compete. The tournament matches will consist of two 5-minute rounds, without the use of elbows to the head of fighters in the prone position.

In addition to the MMA Tournament, former kickboxing world champion Cung Le (4-0) will face UFC reality show cast member Sam Morgan (18-8). Sam "the squeeze" Morgan has 14 submission wins and should test Cung Le's as yet unproven ground game. San Jose striker Paul Buentello (23-9) will take on the the former Pride FC phenom Alistair Overeem (25-11-0) for the vacant Strikeforce World Heavyweight title. The Dutch Overeem started his MMA career on fire before a KO at the hands of Chuck Liddell preceeded other losses against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Mauricio Rua, Fabricio Werdum and Ricardo Arona, a whos-who of elite talent in the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions. Buentello rebounded from a Heavyweight title fight loss to Andrei Arlovski in UFC 55 by running off 4 straight wins against Gilbert Aldana, David Abbott, Ruben Villarea, and Carter Williams. Overeem and Buentello are devestating strikers, do not expect this fight to go the distance.

East Palo Alto's Bobby Southworth (8-4), the Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, will meet Anthony Ruiz (17-10) in a 3-round non-title fight. 6-foot-3 former ISKA super middleweight kickboxing champion Brian "The Mad Stork" Schwartz will face Lamont Davis in his first professional MMA fight.


Yuki Sasaki (183.75) vs. Jorge Santiago (184)
Trevor Prangley (185) vs. Falaniko Vitale (185)
Jeremiah Metcalf (182.5) — reserve

Cung Le (181) vs. Sam Morgan (177.75)
Paul Buentello (250) vs. Alistair Overeem (224)
Lemont Davis (171.75) vs. Brian Schwartz (167)
Bobby Southworth (204) vs. Anthony Ruiz (204)
Luke Stewart (171) vs. Bryson Kamaka (169)

Josh Neal (186) vs. Eric Lawson (184)
Pete Sabala (137) vs. Anthony Figueroa (132)
Alex Crispin (155.5) vs. Clint Coronel (154.75)
Chris Drumm (145.5) vs. Evan Esguerra (145)
Dennis Hallman (183) vs. Sean Salmon (185) - alternates

[Update] Four Men Enter, One Man Survives - Bodog Nation.

"I like it – it's more of a mental test. Physically most fighters can do it, but not everyone has the mental toughness to do it. I like to test myself this way. This is why I fight, to see just how good I can be. I haven't yet reached the top of my ability, and I want to know how good I can be. When I retire I don’t want to have any regrets or wonder could I have done this or that. I want to push myself as far as I can, mentally and physically." – Bodog Fight middleweight champ Trevor Prangley on fighting twice in the same night.

[Update2] Sasaki's Status in Doubt as Tournament Looms - Sherdog.com.

[Update3] Strikeforce hits Shark Tank - Gilroy Dispatch.

[Update4] Like the movies - Yahoo Sports.

In his last fight, on June 22, at the HP Pavilion on the combined Strikeforce/Elite XC pay-per-view show, the rest of the country got to see "The Cung Le Show." It starts with thousands of fans waving Vietnamese flags, and chanting the trademark "Ush!" The fight begins with a smorgasbord of kicks with a few punches thrown in. Tony Fryklund, a veteran fighter, tried to take Le out of his game by going to the ground, but got nowhere.

San Jose Sharks usher in the Brett Hull-Les Jackson GM era with 4-3 overtime shootout win

The San Jose Sharks were playing with fire en route to a 4-3 overtime shootout win in Dallas on Wednesday night. After building a 3-1 lead in the first period on goals by Torrey Mitchell, Devin Setoguchi and Patrick Marleau, the Sharks were outshot, outworked, and outscored in the final two periods by the Dallas Stars.

Early in the third period, Mike Modano held the puck in at the point, and a tic-tac-toe play between Mike Ribeiro and Jere Lehtinen off the side boards resulted in a juicy rebound for captain Brenden Morrow. Morrow converted the point blank shot to make it a 1-goal game. Nicklas Hagman's vaunted work ethic then became a factor. After skating through three players and fighting to keep the puck in the zone on one play, Hagman anchored himself at the side of the crease and hammered home a Antti Miettinen pass to tie the game at 3-3 shortly thereafter.

Mike Grier and Curtis Brown combined for two solid scoring chances in the overtime period, and Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic wristed a shot off the post as the Sharks valiantly tried to end the game before reaching an OT shootout. San Jose is 4-12 alltime when reaching a shootout, 1-2 this season. An Interference penalty by Douglas Murray forced San Jose to kill off a 4-on-3 for the final 1:12.

Evgeni Nabokov stoned Sergei Zubov and shootout specialist Jussi Jokinen for San Jose. Devin Setoguchi and Patrick Marleau followed up their first period goals with conversions on the shootout as the Sharks picked up their first OT shootout win of the season. Nabokov finished with 26 saves on 29 shots for his 10th win of the season, Marty Turco finished with 22 saves on 25 shots in a losing effort.

[Update] Last night's game - Andrew's Starspage.

[Update2] Shuffling part of the deal for Stars, Rangers owner; Lites dismissed as Stars' president; Cogen shifts back from Rangers - Dallas Morning News.

Tom Hicks was juggling phone calls like tennis balls, meetings like bowling pins and people like beanbags Wednesday morning when he slowed down enough to answer a few questions.

Like: Are you amazed at how much you have changed the leadership of your sports empire in the span of 24 hours? "I'm the owner; it's what I do," Hicks said matter-of-factly. "Honestly, I feel very good today. I think I'm getting a lot accomplished."

Hicks fired Stars general manager Doug Armstrong on Tuesday, met with the principals in his hockey organization and came up with a plan that will place Les Jackson and Brett Hull as interim co-GMs for the remainder of the season.

[Update3] Stars Hope Front Office Changes Produce More Wins - Dallas Stars.

Both Jackson and Hull indicated that the Stars need to become more offensive-minded to make the playoffs and push for another Stanley Cup title.

"It’s a young man's game and we have to get up to speed with what's going on," Jackson said. "We have healthy competition. To be in the top eight is going to be a challenge, but I believe we have the group to do that. I hope at the end of the season we're one of the teams pushing for a Cup."

Said Hull: "It's going to take some time. You can't just snap your fingers and say you’re going to be the Russians. We're going to get together and try to figure the best way to make that happen. But that's what wins in the NHL."

[Update4] Is the 'Ambassador of Fun' ready to get serious? - Scott Burnside for ESPN.


Tampa Bay Lightning fan Steve Williamson in the home stretch of 30 games in 30 day odyssey

Steve Williamson 30 NHL games in 30 days

Tampa Bay fan Steve Williamson was at Monday night's Phoenix-San Jose game as part of his 30 games in 30 nights monster road trip. Williamson, orginally from England, now follows the Lightning and works for the Orlando Convention and Visitors Bureau in Florida.

Williamson was impressed by the loud HP Pavilion for a Monday night hockey game, he mentioned prior to the third period that the fan support in San Jose was the best in the U.S. He sampled part-owner Owen Nolan's Britannia Arms pub prior to the game, sat next to an enthusiastic Sharks fan with his a Sharks jersey tattooed on his back, met John Nordahl and Jess Knaster who embarked on their own NBA/Sharks extended road trips, and he saw Sharks rookie Devin Setoguchi and Joe Thornton each double up on the score sheet.

The New York Times, the Globe and Mail, and San Jose's own Morning Buzz have covered the impressive road trip, but Greg Wyshynski of AOL Fanhouse caught up with Steve and his girlfriend Heather for a brief interview worth reading. Wyshynski, author of Glow Pucks and 10-cent Beer: The 101 worst ideas in sports history, grills Steve Williamson for his favorite arena, favorite goal song, best arena food and more.

Remaining dates on the 30 games in 30 nights schedule:

Thu 15-Nov Wild at EDMONTON Oilers
Fri 16-Nov Blue Jackets at ST. LOUIS Blues
Sat 17-Nov Devils at PHILADELPHIA Flyers
Sun 18-Nov Avalanche at MINNESOTA Wild
Mon 19-Nov Lightning at ATLANTA Thrashers
Tue 20-Nov Bruins at TORONTO Maple Leafs
Wed 21-Nov Senators at BUFFALO Sabres
Thu 22-Nov Red Wings at NASHVILLE Predators
Fri 23-Nov Lightning at CAROLINA Hurricanes
Sat 24-Nov Devils at TAMPA BAY Lightning

Next road trip in the works for Sharkspage? Possibly a Portland Winterhawks and University of Oregon weekend with a brewery tour of the surrounding area. Not sure if it will happen this season, but after traveling to see every NHL/ECHL/ACHA-D2 team in California last year, I have to start my push northward.

[Update] Ultimate Hockey Experiences in North America - Terry Frei for ESPN.


Oregon, not Maine.

First, sample one of the game's most heated rivalries, driving on Interstate 5 to catch barn-to-barn Western Hockey League games between the Winter Hawks and the Seattle Thunderbirds.

The best set this season is February 2 in Portland at the glass palace, Memorial Coliseum, which is where Cam Neely, Glen Wesley and Marian Hossa, among others, played; and where Bill Walton played when he didn't talk at all, much less so darned much. Stick around after the game as long-time radio voice Dean "Scooter" Vrooman hosts "Hawk Talk" and visits with a Portland player on the ice, with the sound heard both in the arena and on the radio. Then catch the rematch the next night at Seattle.

Eat at Huber's in Portland, having the turkey and the famous Spanish coffee afterwards. Dine at Ray's Boathouse in Seattle, but be sure you allow enough time because of the gridlock traffic and take great care not to get on the Lake Washington bridge accidentally because there's no turning back for miles.

There also is a slight chance it could be raining, so take an umbrella. And don't let it bother you that you're pretty much watching a bunch of Canadian teenagers playing under the Canadian Hockey League umbrella. If you want to extend the trip, you could follow the Hawks to Kelowna, Prince George, and Kamloops, all in British Columbia.

San Jose Sharks captain Patrick Marleau scored 83 goals and 116 assists for 199 points in 143 games played for the Seattle Thunderbirds in 95-96 and 96-97. Marleau currently has 499 career points in his 10th NHL season, 223 goals and 276 assists. The Thunderbirds travel to Portland Memorial Coliseum December 31st for a New Years Eve matchup which should be one of the best rivalry games on the West Coast this year.


Setoguchi and Thornton score twice, Evgeni Nabokov earns shutout in 5-0 win over Phoenix

Christian Ehrhoff San Jose Sharks
Steve Bernier San Jose Sharks
Evgeni Nabokov San Jose Sharks

Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi scored two goals apiece as the Sharks powered past the Phoenix Coyotes 5-0 on Monday, the second home win over Phoenix in three days. Evgeni Nabokov (9-7-2, .909SV%, 2.15GAA, 2SO) stopped all 25 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season. Coyotes goaltender Mikael Tellqvist (9-7-2, .909SV%, 2.15GAA, 2SO) stopped 23 of 28 shots, including a Joe Pavelski penalty shot in the first period. Tellqvist has stopped all 3 career penalty shots he has faced.

Mike Grier initiated the first scoring play of the game on the penalty kill. Grier pulled the puck out of a scrum along the boards and sprung Torrey Mitchell at center ice. Grier sprinted to catch up to the streaking rookie, and then buried a pass up high over a sliding Mikael Tellqvist.

Phoenix Coyotes head coach Wayne Gretzky was animated on the bench after the defensive breakdown, but after the game he took a more diplomatic tone. "It's all a learning process and our emotions got a little bit high. They're one of the better teams in the Western Conference, they've got a lot of depth and it makes you grow up in a real hurry so it makes us a better team" Gretzky said after the game.

The 9-goal outburst in back-to-back games with Phoenix may serve as a catalyst for San Jose's inconsistent offense. The Sharks remain in first place for the Pacific Division, but San Jose trails 16 other NHL teams in offensive production. In the last 3 games against the Phoenix Coyotes (2) and Anaheim Ducks, Joe Thornton has amassed 3 goals and 3 assists, rookies Devin Setoguchi and Torrey Mitchell have combined for 5 goals, Patrick Marleau registered 2 assists, and Jonathan Cheechoo has earned an assist and 10 shots on goal.

The Sharks are outshooting teams 194-143 in the month of November, with a 3-3 record in that span. Many of the shots are coming from the perimeter without enough traffic in front of the net to screen goaltenders. Offensively, the Sharks need more production on the blueline from Ozolinsh-Ehrhoff-Carle, more intensity from a power play ranked only 15th in the league, and most importantly San Jose needs Thornton-Marleau-Cheechoo-Michalek (among others) to develop a killer instinct. Kick teams when they are down, take advantage of teams playing injured or on back-to-back nights, run up the score, use games against cellar dwellars to make a statement to the rest of the conference. Nice teams finish last.




A photo gallery from the game is available here. Youtube Sharks-Phoenix highlights are available here.

[Update] Sharks right wing Steve Bernier dropped the gloves twice on Monday night. Derek Morris and Steve Bernier faced off in the first period after Bernier took a run at Jovanovski with a huge hit in the corner. Bernier landed a number of shots early, but Morris lost his helmet and came on towards the end. Morris was given an instigator and misconduct penalty on the play. Late in the third period, Nick Boynton grabbed Bernier from behind and started throwing punches before Bernier could even turn around. Boyton was given an instigator penalty and each player received a game misconduct. Both fights are up on hockeyfights.com here and here.

[Update2] The San Jose Aftermath - One Fan's Perspective.

hen, in the final five minutes of the third period, in a "what the hell?" moment, Nick Boynton decides to enact retribution himself on Bernier, which handed him the same penalty minutes as Morris. While Bernier was to me a willing combatant in the altercation with Morris, clearly he was not here with Boynton.

All this on the heels of a hooking penalty called on Shane Doan and the Sharks went on a five-on-three power play. The Sharks scored the fifth goal.

What happens pursuant to the NHL rulebook? Wayne Gretzky is fined $10,000 and Boynton sits out the next game.

I have no problems with the punishment that the NHL handed down today. As I thought that the hit on Jovanovski in the first period warranted a penalty, the issue was solved then between Morris and Bernier. Boynton didn't have to lose it late in the game like he did. Ugly incidents can happen to players when vigilante justice is enacted.

[Update3] NHL suspends Boynton, fines Gretzky - Arizona Republic.

Darryl Hunt: Greiss, WorSharks defeat Falcons 2-1

The Worcester Sharks, behind a 36 save performance by Thomas Greiss, held off division rival Springfield 2-1 in a shootout in front of an announced crowd of 3,945 Monday afternoon at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Greiss and Springfield Falcon's goaltender Jeff Deslauriers both had incredible games, with each making big save after big save. Greiss faced more shots, 37-25, but Deslauriers stopped nearly all of what was a clear advantage of quality scoring chances for Worcester. Both goaltenders played the first 50 minutes of the game perfect, with the score being knotted at zeros.

Fans were buzzing that it would take an exceptional play or a fluke for either team to get on the board. As luck would have it, it was an exceptional play.

With the WorSharks fighting for the puck along the boards to Deslauriers' left the puck bounced out through the slot and to just above the right face-off circle. Dan Spang jumped on the loose puck and fired a puck that Deslauriers made an easy pad save on. But Spang continued toward the net and grabbed the rebound, firing a hard 25 foot wrister over Deslauriers' shoulder for a WorSharks 1-0 advantage with just under nine minutes remaining in the game.

The advantage would hold up until the game's final minutes when the Falcons pulled Deslauriers for an extra attacker. With just 5.1 second remaining, rookie Sebastien Bisaillon blasted a 55-foot slap shot off of Greiss and into the net to knot the game at 1-1. The blast was one of the hardest ever seen in the DCU Center, with some in press row estimating its speed in excess of 100mph.

Springfield would have the only two shots of overtime, although neither was really a good scoring chance.

In the shootout the WorSharks connected first in round three when Graham Mink fired a laser to Deslauriers' low stick side. The clincher came from Nate Raduns, who beat Deslauriers on the same side for a 2-0 shootout win.

With the Falcons dressing tough guys Ryan Flynn and Jean-Francois Jacques, the Sharks dressed Jonathan Tremblay. While Tremblay was on the ice several times with both Falcons enforcers nothing even close to an altercation resulted.

Worcester's healthy scratches were TJ Fox and Marc Busenburg. Mike Morris is still the only long term injured player.

The Veteran's Day matinee was the first early afternoon home game in WorSharks history. It is not the earliest game the WorSharks have ever played however, with Worcester playing in Bridgeport at 11am last Wednesday.

The games three stars were
1) Greiss (37 saves)
2) Deslauriers (24 saves)
3) Mink (Shootout game winner)
The third star could have gone to a dozen or more players, but the first two are spot on.

Even Strength lines


Power Play lines


Shorthanded lines


Faceoffs (offense/neutral/defense = total) unofficial
Raduns 4-0/0-2/1-5 = 5-7
Cavanagh 6-3/2-1/3-3 = 11-7
Armstrong 1-2/2-2/3-2 = 6-6
Prudden 4-0/4-0/6-3 = 14-3
Iggulden 1-3/0-0/0-0 = 1-3
Rome 2-1/0-1/1-0 = 3-2

SPR-Thoresen; backhand deke--save
WOR-Iggulden; poke checked--wide right
SPR-Schremp; shoot stick--wide left
WOR-Armstrong; deke low stick--save
SPR-Reddox; shoot low stick--save
WOR-Mink; shoot low stick--GOAL
SPR-Pouliot; shoot five-hole--save
WOR-Raduns; shoot high stick--GOAL

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

1st period
Scoring: None.
Penalties: SPR-Sestito, Tim (Board check), 0:12. WOR-Valette, Craig (Tripping), 10:03. WOR-Walsh, Tom (Interference), 18:58.

2nd period
Scoring: None.
Penalties: WOR-Staubitz, Brad (Holding stick), 6:21. SPR-Berry, Rick (Tripping), 14:28. SPR-Jacques, Jean-Franco (Board check), 17:23.

3rd period
Scoring: 1, Worcester-Spang, Dan 1 (Packard, Dennis 4; Iggulden, Mike 9) 11:10. 2, Springfield-Bisaillon, Sebastien 1 (Pouliot, Marc 4; Kemp, T.J. 5) 19:54.
Penalties: SPR-Jacques, Jean-Franco (Unsportsmanlike Cond), 2:20. SPR-Syvret, Danny (Hooking), 4:21. WOR-Raduns, Nate (Hooking), 14:29. SPR-Simon, Ben (Slashing), 20:00. WOR-Kaspar, Lukas (Slashing), 20:00.

Scoring: None.
Penalties: None.

Shots on goal
Springfield 11 13 11 2--37
Worcester 8 8 9 0--25

Power Play Conversions: Springfield - 0 of 4, Worcester - 0 of 5.
Goalies: Springfield-Deslauriers, Jeff (63:47, 25 shots, 24 saves; record: 6-2-3). Worcester-Greiss, Thomas (65:00, 37 shots, 36 saves; record: 6-1-1).
A: 3945. Referee: Koharski, Terry. Linesmen: Millea, Jack; Messier, Mark.


Jeremy Roenick post-game locker room interview

Jeremy Roenick's second period game winning goal against the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night was the 500th of his NHL career. In 1267 games played with Chicago, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Jose, Roenick has amassed 500 goals, 680 assists, 1419 penalty minutes and a +162 plus-minus rating. Roenick becomes the third U.S. born player to reach the 500-goal milestone, and the 40th player to achieve the mark in NHL history.

After the game, he answered questions from reporters in the locker room alongside his son Brett.

Roenick scores his 500th goal in Sharks 4-1 win over Phoenix, 3rd U.S. born player to reach the milestone

Jermey Roenick 500 NHL goals
Matt Jones vs Jermey Roenick hockey hit
Jeremy Roenick and son Brett Roenick

Jeremy Roenick scored the 500th goal of his NHL career in the second period of a 4-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes at HP Pavilion on Saturday night. The goal was symbolic for a number of reasons. Roenick became the third U.S. born player to reach the 500 goal plateau, the win leapfrogged the Sharks into first place in the Pacific Division, and the goal was Jermey Roenick's (15GP, 5G, 5A, 4GWG) 4th game winner of the season.

After the game Roenick dedicated the goal to his former roommate and current GM, Doug Wilson. The decision to bring in Roenick, a character veteran who brings passion to the rink every night, is only one of two moves that have worked out beyond expectations for San Jose at this early point in the season. Defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh also scored a 3rd period power play goal for the Sharks Saturday night against Phoenix. Ozolinsh, who has shown confidence and poise with the puck, could be the offensive catalyst from the blueline that has been the Sharks achilles heel in recent campaigns. The Sharks are hoping that Sandis Ozolinsh can help Christian Ehrhoff or Matt Carle take the next step.

Goals by rookies Devin Setoguchi and Torrey Mitchell also highlighted some of the problems the Sharks are having getting production from the top forwards. No San Jose Sharks is in the NHL's top 10 for points (T-17th Thornton, 17 points), goals (T-43rd Thornton, Michalek, 6 goals), or assists (T-14th, Thornton, 14 assists). San Jose head coach Ron Wilson mentioned as much after the game. He said the fact that Jeremy Roenick was the second leading scorer on the team, a positive contribution to be sure, should be a wake up call that the Sharks need more production from their primary goal scorers.

Youtube highlights from the game are available here. A photo gallery from the game is available here.

[Update] Roenick Enjoys His Special Night - SJsharks.com.

Roenick appreciated the support he received from his home fans, even though he is not a long time Shark.

"The way they celebrated the Modano goals showed they're first class," said Roenick. "People don't know how great the fans are. It's good to do it in front of a crowd that appreciates hockey"...

Roenick has scored major tallies in some of the NHL's best old and new buildings. "I scored by 50th in the Boston Garden, my 250th in Chicago stadium and my 500th here against a team where my home is," said Roenick.

[Update] Roenick gets a piece of the pie, slice of history and then a pizza - SJ Mercury News

[Update] Lucky bounces for Roenick - Ross McKeon for Yahoo Sports.


Ricardo Cortes and Carina Moreno score dual 2nd round KOs in Fight Night at the Tank finale

Middleweight Ricardo Cortes San Jose boxing
Carina Moreno WBC NABF boxing champion

San Jose middleweight Ricardo Cortes (22-1-1, 15KOs) entered the ring at HP Pavilion for the 13th time Thursday night loose and relaxed, in spite of the loud partisan crowd cheering him on for the Fight Night at the Tank season finale.

The feeling out process between Cortes and Joshua Onyango (13-14, 11KOs) was a brief one. A minute into the opening round, Cortes began to turn it on. A quick 2-punch combination knocked Onyango off of his feet and bounced his head off of the middle rope. The wide eyed Onyango finished out the round, but it would only prolong the inevitable. Cortes systematically picked Onyango apart in the second. Ricardo dropped Onyango with a right hand late in the round, and another knockdown shortly after finished off the fight with a second round KO.

WBC and NABF champion Carina Moreno (15-1, 5 KOs) was the co-main event featured boxer on the card. The Watsonville native faced a much taller flyweight Emily Kelly (2-3-1, 1KO) out of Houston, Texas. From the first bell, Moreno exhibited lightning quick punches and pinpoint accuracy. She is able to land from outside without many problems, and Emily Kelly is forced to hold on in an attempt to forestall the onslaught. In the second round, Carina Moreno landed two huge combinations which stunned Kelly, and then a hard right staggered her into the ropes. Moreno tried to finish the fight in the last 20 seconds, but Kelly was able clutch and grab her way to the bell. The referee called off the fight before the start of the third round.

2-time Heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe met with season ticket holders and sat ringside for the event. A recent report on Sherdog.com mentioned that the 40-year old Bowe is looking forward to making his mixed martial arts debut. Also ringside were Hula Networks founders Joe Commendatore and Scott Hobin.

A new feature for the Fight Night at the Tank involved a "Tournament of Champions" for the four undercard fights. The winner of the most entertaining fight, as determined by the fans, would receive a special bonus. The first fight of the evening featured Heavyweight Joseph Jones (3-1, 1 KO) of Lancaster vs Israel Spencer (2-2, 2 KO's) of Watts. Jones stunned Spencer early, and a subsequent flurry knocked out Spencer at 1:42 of the first round.

Junior Lightweights Tomas Barragan (8-2-1 1 KO) and Cuauhtemoc Mendoza (3-4-1, 1 KO) combined for what was possibly the best fight of the evening. Barrajas showing superior power and movement, dropping Mendoza in the first round. Barrajas controlled the second round, picking his spots and remaining on the outside. Two huge combinations staggered Cuauhtemoc Mendoza, and a very deep cut opened up over his left eye. Mendoza landed 2 punches after the bell.

The third round began with a more determined Cuauhtemoc Mendoza, as the fight could be stopped because of his cut at any time. Mendoza tries to cut off the ring, but Barragan is able to move inside, land quality shots, and move out without taking too much punishment. Towards the end of the round, Mendoza catches Barragan, pushes him against the ropes, and both trade blows until the end of the round. At the start of the fourth round, both fighters are starting to show a little exhaustion. Mendoza's cut is flowing freely, drenching both competitors in blood. Cuauhtemoc backs Barragan up against the same corner, and lets loose with 4 haymakers in a row. Only 3 land, 2 hard uppercuts and 1 hook before Tomas Barragan spins out of danger and moves to the center of the ring. Barragan looks a little gassed at the end of the round, Mendoza finishes the fourth and final round with desperation as he knows he is behind on the score cards. Tomas Barragan earns a unanimous decision, 39-36, 39-36, and 39-36.

The third fight featured Middleweights Tony Hirsch (3-1, 1 KO), a former Oakland Raider and San Jose Sabercat, and a huge Cromwell Gordon (4-7, 4 KO's). Gordon lands huge chopping blows early, and scores a first round knockdown of Hirsch. Tony Hirsch recovers slightly, and decides standing in front of the much larger Cromwell Gordon is not the best strategy. Hirsch comes out hard in the first, but near the end of the round a hard right by Cromwell sent him back into the ropes. It looked like Hirsch would be able to continue, but the referee stopped the fight to the fans very vocal displeasure.

The fourth undercard fight featured Francisco Santana (7-0, 3 KO's) of Santa Barabara and Leshon Sims (4-7, 3 KO's) of Temecula. Santana opted for a Beckham faux hawk and understated leopard print trunks. In the second round the fight boiled down to Sims trying to land long range shots from outside, and a more technical Santana bringing the fight in close, turning on hooks with power. Sims scored a knockdown in the third round. Both fighters stood toe-to-toe for the last 20 seconds, neither wanting to back down an inch. The fourth round saw both fighters score points, but the judges awarded a majority decision to Francisco Santana. The fans then awarded him a fight of the night designation, and he took home the Tournament of Champions bonus for his efforts as well.

San Jose Native Cortes Earns TKO Over Onyango In Main Event - Fight Night at the Tank.

American Metal and Iron Fight Night at the Tank results, HP Pavilion - San Jose, CA - May 24, 2007:

Ricardo Cortes (22-1-1, 15KOs) def. Joshua Onyango (13-14, 11KOs)...Second Round KO

Carina Moreno (15-1, 5 KOs) def. Emily Kelly (2-3-1, 1KO)...TKO called after second round

Francisco Santana (7-0, 3KOs) def. Leshon Sims (4-7, 3KOs)...Unanimous Decision

Cromwell Gordon (4-7, 4KOs) def. Tony Hirsh (3-1, 1KOs)...TKO in second round

Tomas Barragan (8-2-1, 1 KO) def. Cuauhtemoc Mendoza (3-4-1, 1KO)...Unanimous Decision

Joseph Jones (3-1, 1KOs) def. Isreal Spencer (2-2, 2KOs)...First Round KO

Attendance: 3,548

[Update] Cortes wins again at Tank, San Jose boxer has good luck in the 13th fight at HP Pavilion - SJ Mercury News.

My corner told me to come out hard at the very start of the fight and I wanted to throw my combinations a little faster," Cortes said. "I wasn't looking for the knockout, but if it comes, I'll take it."

Cortes has been on a roll having won 12 in a row, including six at HP Pavilion, since losing a controversial bout to Errol Banner at the Tank in 2003.

[Update2] Cortes, Moreno Triumph at the Tank - 15rounds.com.

[Update3] Moreno enjoys latest win, waits and prepares for next challenger - Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Inside the ring, "La Reina" is a ball of fury. Despite her small stature [5-foot-2], the 106-pound straw weight from Watsonville packs a punch. Thursday, she used quick left hand jabs to set up a heavy, overhand right that stunned her opponent, who was nearly 6 inches taller. Moreno threw flurries of combinations at her opponent, sending her back to the ropes.

But for as vicious as Moreno was to Kelly inside the ring, she was as kind to her opponent afterward. After pummeling the match, Moreno and (promoter Rick Noble) took Kelly out to dinner because Kelly didn't know anything about the area.


Mike Modano reaches milestone for U.S. born players, scores twice in Dallas Stars 3-1 win

Mike Modano record U.S. born player
Modano surpasses Phil Housley for alltime US point record
San Jose Sharks Craig Rivet

Early Wednesday night Dallas Stars center Mike Modano scored two goals, the 1232nd and 1233rd points of his career, to surpass Phil Housley for most points scored by a U.S. born player in NHL history.

Mike Modano's first goal came on a rush down the left wing 2:19 into the opening period. Modano blasted a shot that beat Evgeni Nabokov stick side, with assists by Sergei Zubov and Stu Barnes. His second goal came just over 2 minutes later on the penalty kill. Jere Lehtinen forced a turnover at the blueline, and Modano sprinted up ice for a breakway in the other direction. Modano briefly lost control of the puck moving it from his forehand to his backhand, but he gathered himself at the last second and tipped it passed Nabokov five hole. The San Jose crowd gave Modano a standing ovation after the first goal, and grudgingly gave him applause after the second.

Later in the period Evgeni Nabokov stoned Sergei Zubov on a penalty shot with a poke check, and San Jose's penalty kill effectively neutralized a 4-minute double minor penalty on Steve Bernier. Defenseman Matt Carle put the Sharks on the board with a power play goal on a slick play late in the first. He feigned a shot, took a quick step to his left, and wristed the puck through traffic beating the impenetrable Marty Turco gloveside.

Todd Fedoruk hit Steve Ott with a home run pass early in the second period. Ott showed his knack for finishing by deking to his right and directing the puck past Evgeni Nabokov for his second point of the season. Total points by Fedoruk and Ott prior to the goal = 2. Total penalty minutes by Fedoruk and Ott prior to the goal = 55.

The Sharks pressured Turco and the Stars for the remainder of the second and third periods, but they could not get another puck passed the Dallas netminder. Milan Michalek, Patrick Marleau, and Jonathan Cheechoo spent a lot of time in front of the crease, but the Sharks had trouble getting shots on net to capitalize on the chaos they were working to create in front of the slot. A Sharks goal by Sandis Ozolinsh in the second was called off after Milan Michalek apparently stepped on Turco's glove with his skate, while subsequently being hammered to the ice. The Stars also checked Sandis Ozolinsh hard to the ice during another frantic scramble in front of Turco, no penalty was called. Ozolinsh stared down the referee and carried a running conversation with him in the third period.

San Jose finished the game outshooting Dallas 39-12, as the Stars entered a prevent offense mode for much of the third period. Marty Turco finished with 38 saves on 39 shots, improving his record to 5-3-1. The Sharks finished 1-8 on the power play, with the lone goal coming 4-3 advantage, the Dallas Stars were 0-5. With the win, the Stars moved into first place in the Pacific Division.

Dallas Stars head coach Dave Tippett:

"We found a way to win tonight. We were under seige there a little bit. Our goaltending was very strong, and we found a way to win. That's the name of the game. We got to go into every game and find a way to win."

"Oh (Modano's accomplishment is) wonderful. Both really good goals too. The players and everyone within the organization are very, very happy. The accomplishment is phenomenal. What he's meant to hockey in the United States, it goes without saying. He does it with such class. Its great to see him finally get it."

San Jose Sharks head coach Ron Wilson:

"(The game) was frustrating. We had a couple of calls that didn't go our way, obviously the first call on Steve Bernier, their goalie high-sticked their own guy and we had to kill four minutes... Sandis's goal should have counted. The defense has a stick between Milan's legs, twists him and pushes him back on the goalie. There was absolutely nothing Milan could do there. That would have been a huge goal for us."

"We need to work when we get on the power play. We completely outworked them five on five. We get guys who draw penalties, and then the power play goes out, and works about 65 percent instead of 100 percent for 45 or 50 seconds, so that is something we have to focus on."

A photo gallery from the Sharks-Stars game is available here, video highlights are available via youtube here. Ulf Dahlen was in the building as a member of the Dallas Stars staff.

[Update] Modano the star in Sharks' loss - SJ Mercury News.

[Update2] The impact of Modano's accomplishment sparked a number of responses from the hockey media. It was a perfect night for ESPN's Wednesday night hockey coverage. Barry Melrose discussed the greatest U.S. born NHL players, a list that must include Mike Modano, Joe Mullen, and Jeremy Roenick, but Melrose goes off the board and names Detroit Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios as the best U.S. born NHL player.

Kevin Allen of USA Today lauds Modano as the NHL's new U.S. scoring king. Allen also gives the odds for other American players that might have a shot at taking down Modano: Chicago Blackhawks rookie Patrick Kane (2-1 ), Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny (15-1), San Jose Sharks center Jeremy Roenick (15-1), and St Louis Blues winger Keith Tkachuk (100-1). Allen also ranks the top scoring NHL players from Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden, Slovakia, USA, and Russia.

Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News notes that an extended slump preceeded Modano's point scoring record. "I think the longer it's drawn out, the more it's forced me to appreciate the situation and kind of enjoy it", Modano said to the Morning News. A tribute night has been scheduled by the Dallas Stars for November 21st prior to a game with the Anaheim Ducks.

Notes from the Razor, Darryl Reaugh:

Big Hairy American Scoring Machine

Modano was toasted by his teammates on the Stars luxurious new plane en route to Phoenix last night. (Fitting huh) The boys gathered in the back mid-flight and sipped a plastic glass of fine bubbly with the greatest American ever. Next up is a phone conversation sometime today with "W" himself, President George Bush. I'm not sure about Moe's politics (he strikes me as a liberal) but when it comes to one on one time with the sitting President, I don't think it matters. Although I am urging Mike to ask the former Rangers owner to do something about petrol prices. Ridiculous

Victor Chi credits the Mircale on Ice with an assist in Mike Modano's American scoring title, noting that both Modano and Jeremy Roenicky cite the 1980 Olympic hockey gold medal run as an inspiration for their careers, and for hockey in the United States.

[Update3] ESPN's John Buccigross features Jeremy Roenick for a fan question and answer session in his latest column.

Max Giese: Two Californian’s labeled as next American phenoms, Rocco Grimaldi and Shane McColgan

The exponential growth of hockey in California is beginning to shine through. Young players that took to the ice because of Wayne Gretzky's arrival in Los Angeles are beginning to blossom into some of the world's best prospects at their respective age groups. The 2007 NHL Entry Draft saw its first, but certainly not the last California-born player, drafted in the first round when the Nashville Predators selected Rancho Santa Margarita native John Blum. Now two more California-born players, Rocco Grimaldi and Shane McColgan, are being labeled as the top players in their respective age groups by the scouting community.

Rocco Grimaldi is the older of the two, a 1993 birth date means he will not be eligible for the NHL Entry Draft until 2011. Rocco was born and raised in Southern California before moving this past year to Detroit Michigan to further his hockey career playing for the Detroit Little Caesars. Grimaldi is a small but offensive-minded juggernaut, with prodigious hands and elite offensive creativity. He is already being compared to the first overall selection in 2007 Patrick Kane, for his similar stature and skill set. Grimaldi is already a much more natural skater than Kane at this stage in his development, with effortless and explosive strides in all directions. Grimaldi is expected to play for the United States National Development Program next year, and he is a player that NHL teams would love to have a chance to draft.

One year younger than Rocco, and even more highly touted, is Los Angeles Junior Kings center Shane McColgan. Scouts took instant notice of McColgan when he was the most dominant player at the Select 14 Festival in New York this past summer. Not only did his play earn high marks, but his character did as well. "He had nothing for linemates, yet he played with grit and determination every shift, and never displayed frustration or pointed fingers" remarks one scout who attended the festival. McColgan has not stopped his impressive play over the course of the season. He is playing two-levels ahead of his peers while at Midget Major, which means he is playing against players 3-4 years older than he is. Not only is he playing against them, but he is dominating at that level on a regular basis. Recently Shane attended a tournament in Minnesota where he played against the top 17 year olds from the State. Several NHL scouts were in attendance, and it was not the Minnesotan prospects that they where raving about, it was McColgan. "He's amazing, his skill and hockey sense is off the charts, for him to show up at this tournament and outperform potential first round picks this year, while we can't get our hands on him for another four years is remarkable" said one NHL scout. McColgan is on his radar for the 2012 Entry Draft.

Both players have bright futures ahead of them, and it is proof that the growth of hockey in California has been a success. Either of these talented prospects could be stars in the NHL some day, and it should only serve to further the development of hockey in their home state.


Big Tuesday for San Jose Earthquakes -- new coach Frank Yallop introduced, SJ City Council stadium vote positive

MLS San Jose Earthquakes general manager John Doyle and head coach Frank Yallop

Tuesday was a major step forward in the return of Major League Soccer to the Bay Area. In a press conference held at the new San Jose Earthquakes headquarters in Santa Clara, general manager John Doyle announced Frank Yallop's return as the Quakes head coach for the 2008 MLS season. In a later San Jose City Council meeting, the council unanimously voted to extend the negotiating period for a new soccer-specific stadium.

It was announced Tuesday that Frank Yallop signed a three year contract to usher in the third iteration of the San Jose Earthquakes franchise. Version 3.0? Video of the Yallop press conference is available from the official website. Earthquakes owner Lew Wolff, president Michael Crowley, and Santa Clara Broncos Men's Soccer head coach Cameron Rast were in attendance. It was also noted from the press conference that the Earthquakes would spend the 2008 and 2009 seasons, and possibly the 2010 MLS season playing at a rennovated Buck Shaw stadium.

Former Earthquake captain, long-time USMNT defender, and current San Jose general manager John Doyle introduced head coach Frank Yallop to the media:

"It was great that we were able to keep the name, the San Jose Earthquakes, and to keep the stars on our jersey. (Frank Yallop) is the reason we earned those stars for our club, for this community, and for soccer in Northern California."

After a distinguished playing career with Ipswich Town in England, and the Tampa Bay Mutiny of the MLS, Frank Yallop earned San Jose's first MLS Championship in his first year as head coach of the San Jose Earthquakes in 2001. He was also named MLS coach of the year. In 2003 Yallop lead the Earthquakes to their second MLS Championship with a 4-2 win over the Chicago Fire. Frank Yallop addressed the media:

"It is an emotional time coming back, because I had three fantastic years here" Yallop said. "It is going to be a tough ride to start with, but we are going to do the right things to start from scratch... I am excited to start something that is going to last for a long time."

Yallop also notd that his last season as head coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy was a difficult one, calling it "a learning experience" for himself and for the team. The Galaxy finished 9-14-7, second to last place in the Western Conference. The debut of former England captain David Beckham was stifled by injuries to his foot and his knee, and the weight of the intense media pressure on the club was a difficult environment for the team to deal with.

Yallop mentioned that he will build a team through free agency, through allocation money, and via the draft, that he would target his first player after the MLS Cup November 18th at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., and that he would look forward to a new soccer-specific stadium but he needed to build a team and win games first.

- Ann Killion in the Mercury News thanks David Beckham for blowing up the LA Galaxy season, and sending coach Frank Yallop northward. Killion adds that Yallop's hiring brings the fledgling franchise instant credibility. She also briefly touches on the discord in the front office with Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas.

- Soccer Silicon Valley posted live updates from the San Jose City Council meeting. A few of the highlights: a cost benefit analysis is scheduled to be completed by Feb 2008, owner Lew Wolff discussed the possibility of alternate revenue streams that might offset a declining housing market, councilmember Dave Cortese asked about rezoning the iStar site and its subsequent impact on the city and the Earthquakes, and aviation director of Mineta International Airport Bill Sherry saying that the airport no longer has any plans for development at the Airport West site.

In a subsequent post, SSV reiterates the Earthquakes position that any job loss created by the zoning would be redressed by increasing the density of the industrial and commercial sites of surrounding businesses, that new revenue for the city would be developed in the form of property taxes, hotel taxes, and sales taxes, that fair market value will be paid for the property based on a reputable appraisal, that Wolff agreed to pay for cost overruns, and that the city attorney stated yesterday that no tax dollars would be used in stadium construction.

- Barry Witt offers a rebuttal in today's Mercury News, San Jose waives rule for soccer stadium plan, city to consider rezoning land to pay for Earthquakes home.

Witt delves into San Jose mayor Chuck Reed's stated policy of open government, and paints the city council's decision to consider rezoning the land in a nefarious light. Unfortunately, Witt does not offer a lot of data to adequately substantiate a number of the claims made in his column. In fact, most of the work being done seemed to go into drawing together disparate accusations and weaving them into a very shaky narrative. Witt does not do a good job of giving readers enough detail to make an informed decision one way or the other.

- City's "most extraordinary opportunity" ever — soccer stadium or silicon chip? Tough call - John Ryan's Mercury News blog.

- After Yallop's departure from the LA Galaxy, a coaching short list was thrown around for possible replacements. The list included: German football player and manager Juergen Klinsmann, former Chelsea FC head coach Jose Mourinho, and former USMNT and Red Bulls head coach Bruce Arena. Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas also said that the Earthquakes did everything right in their pursuit of Yallop, and that it was a mutual decision by both parties.

- Two days after playoff loss, former U.S. manager Arena resigns from Red Bulls - IHT.

- The Chicago Fire will face the New England Revolution Thursday, November 8 in the Eastern Conference Championship game on ESPN2 at 7:30PM. The Kansas City Wizards face a powerful Houston Dynamo club Saturday, November 10th in the West Finals. The 2007 MLS Cup will air noon on ABC Sunday, November 18th. ESPN soccer analyst Allen Hopkins labeled the Dynamo as a strong favorite, and noted that head coach Dominic Kinnear is a finalist for 2007 coach of the year. Hopkins also noted the bad blood between New England and Chicago, and predicted an entertaining game. There are only two players this blog is legally allowed to root against, Chris Pronger and Cuauhtemoc Blanco. Blanco has 4 goals and 7 assists for the Chicago Fire this season.

- Liverpool destroyed the Turkish Besiktas side 8-0 in Champions League action today. Manchester United also turned in an equally dominant performance en route to a 4-0 win over the Russian Dynamo Kiev club.

[Update] Tuesday follow-up: The press weighs in - Soccer Silicon Valley.

[Update2] Coaching carosel - Thats on Point.

[Related] Quakes tie Galaxy 1-1, Los Angeles advances, San Jose's MLS future uncertain - Sharkspage.

Max Giese: McKeen’s Hockey Releases Preliminary Rankings

McKeen's Hockey is a subscription based scouting service founded in 1994. The service provides in-depth scouting reports of top prospects yearly, and ranks the top draft eligible players in the world on a monthly basis. Max Giese scouts the western U.S.A. for McKeen's, with a focus on the USHL. This week McKeen's released their preliminary rankings for the 2008 draft, and they made the rankings available to the general public. For more information visit mckeenshockey.com.


1 - Steven Stamkos, C Sarnia (OHL)
2 - Alex Pietrangelo, D Niagara (OHL)
3 - Drew Doughty, D Guelph (OHL)
4 - Zach Bogosian, D Peterborough (OHL)
5 - Kyle Beach, R/C Everett (WHL)
6 - Tyler Myers, D Kelowna (WHL)
7 - Colten Teubert, D Regina (WHL)
8 - Luke Schenn, D Kelowna (WHL)
9 - Jordan Eberle, R/C Regina (WHL)
10 - Josh Bailey, C Windsor (OHL)
11 - Mikkel Boedker, R Kitchener (OHL)
12 - Joe Colborne, R/C Camrose (AJHL)
13 - Greg Nemisz, RW Windsor (OHL)
14 - James Livingston, RW Sault Ste Marie (OHL)
15 - Cody Hodgson, C Brampton (OHL)
16 - David Toews, C/R Shattuck-St.Marys (USHS)
17 - Mikhail Stefanovich, RW Quebec (QMJHL)
18 - Tyler Cuma, D Ottawa (OHL)
19 - Zach Boychuk, C Lethbridge (WHL)
20 - Colin Wilson, C/R Boston University (HE)
21 - Nikita Filatov, LW CSKA (Rus)
22 - Robert Mayer, G Saint John (QMJHL)
23 - Michael Del Zotto, D Oshawa (OHL)
24 - Johan Motin, D Farjestads (Swe)
25 - Mattias Tedenby, C HV 71 (Swe)
26 - Jake Gardiner, D Minnetonka (USHS-MN)
27 - Jacob Markstrom, G Brynas (Swe)
28 - Phil McRae, C London (OHL)
29 - John Carlson, D Indiana (USHL)
30 - Vyacheslav Voinov, D Traktor Chelyabinsk (Rus)

Comments from Max Giese on the 2008 Draft:

- The top three prospects eligible for this draft are a consensus selections amongst the scouting community. That group includes defenseman Drew Doughty and Alex Pietrangelo, as well as center Steven Stamkos. But as to what order those three prospects are in, from first to third, varies from scout to scout. It is likely that the player drafted first overall will be decided by a team's individual needs and preferences, instead of a vote of confidence of one player over another.

- It is a deep year in the CHL and the Ontario Hockey League. This is the best draft class available from the CHL since the highly touted 2003 class. Expect a Canadian flavor in 2008, as it is not a great year for the U.S.A., and Europe is just above average.

- Sharks fans should take note of Tyler Cuma, the 18th ranked prospect overall. Cuma is cut from the same cloth of players that the Sharks love to target come draft day. He is already receiving high accolades from Ottawa 67s coach, and Doug Wilson's long time friend and former coach Brian Killrea.

[Update] 2008 draft class looks like a winner - Red Line Report.

[Update2] October college prospects notebook - Hockeys Future.

As of the start of the 2007-08 regular season, 208 NHL drafted prospects representing all 30 NHL teams as well as 43 schools were playing in the NCAA this season. Of the NCAA schools, the University of Minnesota leads with 15 drafted prospects, followed by the University of Michigan with 13 and the University of North Dakota with 11.

Among the NHL teams, the San Jose Sharks have the most current collegiate prospects with 14, followed by the Chicago Blackhawks with 13 and the Philadelphia Flyers with 12. Among the Canadian-based teams, the Edmonton Oilers and the Toronto Maple Leafs lead with seven apiece.


Sharks win non-televised rubber match in Los Angeles 3-1

Los Angeles Kings Anze Kopitar street art

The Sharks scored a goal in each period Saturday night at the Staples Center to down the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 in the second game of a home-at-home series. The game was not televised in San Jose or in Los Angeles, so below is a brief recap of the media and blog coverage available from the game.

The lone traveling San Jose beat reporter David Pollak, noted that Sharks head coach Ron Wilson shortened the shifts for the road game with positive results. Lineup changes from Friday night were scratches for defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and left wing Patrick Rissmiller to see Marcel Goc and defenseman Alexei Semenov get the start. Wilson recently talked about giving Cheechoo ice time in different situations to wrest him out of his scoring slump, and Saturday he logged nearly 3 minutes on the penalty kill and he registered a goal and an assist even strength. Pollak also reported that Sharks general manager Doug Wilson was in attendance, and Wilson made a statement that the Sharks inconsistent 7-6-1 start will not continue indefinitely.

Mike Lee of the Feeder.com marks Jeremey Roenick's 499th goal, behind only U.S.-born goal scorers Mike Modano (509 goals) and Joe Mullen (502 goals), and noted that Joe Pavelski broke an 0-for-13 streak on the power play with a goal 2:21 into the first period. There is a new AM radio show dedicated to Sharks hockey, the Teal Spiel featuring Chetan Chaudhari and Louis Perez. The show airs 5-6:30PM on KNTS 1220AM. Saturday's pre-game show featured a lot of Jonathan Cheechoo talk, and an interview with Ray Slover of the Sporting News.

The go-to source for Los Angeles Kings news has to be the Inside the Kings blog from LA Daily News reporters Rich Hammond and Matthew Kredell. There is a wealth of information on that site, including post-game quotes from head coach Marc Crawford, "I thought, in the third period, we at least generated some chances. They're a team that, when they get a one goal lead, they're very adept at protecting it", post-game quotes from players Mike Cammalleri and goaltender Jason LaBarbera, and Kings notes from the pre-game morning skate.

Saturday (11/3) morning skate - Inside the Kings.

Jason LaBarbera is back in goal tonight. J.S. Aubin got quite a workout in practice. The coaches put him through a series of drills, most of which were focused on rebound control. I asked LaBarbera about the concept of maintaining momentum. You hear starting pitchers talk about it in baseball, about wanting to follow up a teammate's effort with a solid effort, so I asked LaBarbera if that translated to goalies. "You don't want to be the guy to let everyone down," LaBarbera said, "especially if the team played well and won the last game. At the same time, you don't want to think about it too much because you don't want to put too much pressure on yourself."

I asked LaBarbera if he learned anything about San Jose by watching from the bench, any tendencies that might help him tonight. He said, "For me, I've never really focused on what the other team is doing. It's nice to see how they set up the power play and how they set up in the offensive zone, but for the most part I focus on myself. If I worry too much about what the other team is doing, I'll think too much. I don't even like to know what we're doing. I just focus on myself and how I play."

Matthew Kredell of the LA Daily News notes that the 3-1 home loss to San Jose preceeds the Kings longest layoff of the season. The Daily News has been added to the list of NHL media links to the right. Lisa Dillman for the Los Angeles Times said the Kings could not match the Sharks deliberate pace on Saturday night after an uptempo affair the night before in San Jose. Dillman notes that Roenick scored the game winner in Los Angeles to reach 499, and that he was dead set against reaching 500 at the Staples Center. "I've got to be honest. I'm kind of glad I didn't do it here. It will be a great thing to have happen. It's going to be awesome. I'd rather be cheered than booed for an American accomplishment... I'm not going to get an empty-netter. I'll pass it. That's a promise. It's not going to happen" Roenick said.

LetsgoKings did not have much online from the game, but purplecrushedvelvet was there to sample the atmosphere, get an autographed copy of broadcaster Bob Miller's book Tales from the Los Angeles Kings, and to document the prodigious amount of boos for Jeremey Roenick.

The San Jose Sharks posted a game recap here, and radio broadcaster Dan Rusanowsky posted a video gameday preview on Sharks TV here. The Los Angeles Kings posted a game recap, game notes, and player quotes here. Publishing via Blogger has been intermittent at best since Sunday morning. Updates will be posted when possible.

[Update] Milan Michalek, Wing and a player - Ross McKeon for Yahoo Sports.

For all the help Joe Thornton dishes out to teammates, it may come as a surprise to know he may just need some himself.

We're talking about only the third player in league history to post back-to-back 90-plus assist seasons. And that's a pretty exclusive group that now includes Thornton, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky, who did it a mind-boggling 12 times.

So when the coach of the San Jose Sharks says he puts a certain player on the top line because "Joe needs someone fast to play with," that grabs your attention. Milan Michalek is Thornton's left-hand man, and you better not blink because you won't see him standing still for long.

[Update2] Roenick's goal is to help Sharks win, 500 is meaningless if Sharks are at .500 - San Jose Mercury News.

[Update3] Credit NHL with quality shot on Net - Eric McErlain for The Sporting News.

Has it really been three years already?

No, actually, it has been longer than that. It's more like three and a half years. Three and a half years since the ESPN empire pulled the plug on NHL2Night and robbed hockey fans in the lower 48 of the only regular outlet for out-of-town NHL highlights anywhere on American television.

As I've written many times at my own blog, Off Wing Opinion, ever since the cancellation of NHL2Night I've felt disconnected from the league at a very basic level. So while I might feel up to speed with the local team -- the Washington Capitals -- it got harder to keep up with what was going on with the league as a whole without a steady stream of video highlights from elsewhere.


Thunder Goes Pink II, Stockton comes from behind to down defending ECHL champion Idaho Steelheads 3-2

Stockton Thunder fans go pink to fight breast cancer
Stockton Arena goes pink breast cancer

After beginning the season with an inauspicious 4-game losing streak, the Stockton Thunder rebounded with a 4-game winning streak of their own, outscoring opponents in that stretch 14-4. The latest back-to-back wins came against the defending 2007 ECHL champion Idaho Steelheads Friday and Saturday night during part of the Thunder Goes Pink promotion. Last year the Thunder raised $37,000 for charitities dedicated to breast cancer awareness. This season the Thunder wore special pink-themed jerseys that will be auctioned off for the American Cancer Society in Stockton and the St. Joseph's Foundation breast cancer services.

The Thunder exacted a small manner of revenge Friday night with a 4-0 shutout against the Steelheads behind a sparkling 26 save performance by former University of Denver goaltender Glenn Fisher. Idaho knocked the Thunder out of the Kelly Cup playoffs last season in a grueling 6-game opening series.

Veteran Cam Ellsworth and Idaho's Kellen Briggs manned the pipes for the rubber match. Ellsworth (2-2-0) made 29 saves on 31 shots, and center Brandon Schwartz scored the game winning goal to give Stockton a 3-2 win on Saturday night. Jesse Bennefield and Jonas Almtorp also scored as the Thunder completed a come from behind win in front of 9737 loud and mostly pink clad fans.

Bennefield tipped a shot passed Briggs in the first period, to register his team leading 6th goal after only 7 games played. The initial goal upped the intensity level on the ice, as both teams combined for 9 minor penalities in the first period. The game tilted in Idaho's favor in the second as goals by Marty Flichel and Mike Sullivan gave the Steelheads a 2-1 lead.

The crowd was into the action in the third period, and Stockton was able to feed off of that energy. A sustained Thunder attack in the third period resulted in Jonas Almtorp converting a rebound from in close. Center Brandon Schwartz pulled up at the blueline and scored the game winner on a shot from 20 feet out, passed a screened Kellen Briggs.

A photo gallery from the game is available here, and a short youtube video is available here. Publishing via blogger has been down today.

[Update] Stockton pretty good in pink - Stockton Record.

Saturday's contest was the finale of the "Thunder Goes Pink II" weekend fundraiser for breast-cancer awareness, and Schwartz sent the pink-clad crowd home happy with his first goal of the season.

[Update2] Chance to compete is good news for O'Marra - NHL.com.

He's been a first-round draft pick. He's been signed by the team that drafted him, the New York Islanders. He’s even been traded. Most recently, the two-way center was reassigned to the ECHL's Stockton Thunder. O'Marra, who was dealt by the Islanders to the Edmonton Oilers in February as part of the Ryan Smyth deal, is looking at the move as a way to get his game on track.


Darryl Hunt: WorSharks blanked by Phantoms, 3-0

The Philadelphia Phantoms came into the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts with the best record in the AHL's Eastern Conference, and left with another two points after a 3-0 whitewashing of the Worcester Sharks in the first ever meeting between the two teams before an announced crowed of 4,033.

Just like six of the seven previous WorSharks games, the opponent struck first when Phantoms right wing Steve Downey hit Pete Zingoni with a tape-to-tape pass from the right circle as Zingoni was flying down the left side, who then blasted a 25 footer past the sprawling WorSharks goaltender Taylor Dakers for a 1-0 lead just 1:11 into the game.

Just past the four minute mark, with the puck trapped by several players along the boards above the right circle in the Worcester zone, Zingoni and Craig Valette introduced themselves to each other with some shoving and face washing, but the two players that escaped the pile to drop the gloves were Downey and Brennan Evans. Both players landed a few good punches, with the Philly fans in attendance giving the fight to Downey and the home crowd crowning Evans the victor. This writer scores it a draw.

The WorSharks have started another bad trend lately, giving up the second goal of the game to the opponent, and did so again last night. With Nate Raduns off for hooking Zingoni circled in from the right corner and waited for Dakers to react, and as Dakers went down Zingoni flipped one over him for a 2-0 Phantoms lead with the game less than ten minutes old.

The WorSharks, who had just one shot to that point, finally began to mount some offense and the periods next two scoring chances, with Mike Iggulden shooting a Patrick Traverse feed just wide and Dennis Packard deflecting a Josh Prudden pass that Phantoms netminder and Rhode Island native Brian Boucher had to flash a quick glove to nab.

The WorSharks nearly scored just 90 seconds into the second period after Valette one-times a Rome clean face-off win past Boucher that hit the iron and deflected out away from the goal and further away from any Worcester attacker.

Worcester also had two more great opportunities, both coming when Prudden skated in alone on Boucher from the right circle. Prudden fired a low wrister that Boucher saved with the rebound coming right back to Prudden, who fired the bouncing puck right back with Boucher flashing the left pad out to make the save.

Just after that exchange Boucher skated over to the Philly bench to be worked on by the trainers. After a minute or so referee Conrad Hache ordered Philly backup Scott Munroe to the ice and the game to continue. Less than a minute later, after a WorSharks icing call, Boucher replaced Munroe in the Phantoms net, but he lasted less than a minute before leaving the ice for good.

After the game Phantoms coach Craig Berube told Bill Ballou of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette that Boucher was not injured and the goalie switches were his decision.

The Phantoms next goal was what the entire game was in a nutshell, with the WorSharks working hard in the Phantoms zone only to turn the puck over after a couple of harmless shots. Downey stole the puck at his blue line and broke in alone on Dakers, who made a great stop. But both defender overskated the rebound and Stefan Ruzicka knocked the loose puck into the open net for the 3-0 final.

Prudden's holding the stick minor in the second period was an interesting call as that may have been one of the few penalties he wasn't guilty of during that shift. In one trip down the ice from the Philly to Worcester zone Prudden held, slashed, or punched every Phantom player on the trying to get one to retaliate to maybe give the WorSharks a power play.

Worcester's only healthy scratch was Jonathan Tremblay. Marc Busenburg made his WorSharks debut, and was (-1) for the night.

The three stars of the game were all Phantoms
1. Downie (2a)
2. Zingoni (2g)
3. Ruzicka (1g)
I would have had Zingoni as the number one star.

Worcester fans were happy to see Bill Ballou return to his seat on press row after covering the Boston Red Sox during their World Series winning season. Ballou, who covers the WorSharks for the Telegram & Gazette, was the 2006-07 recipient of the James H. Ellery Memorial Award in the newspaper category, presented annually by the league in recognition of outstanding media coverage of the AHL. He is now a two-time winner of the Ellery Award, having also received the honor in 1997-98.

Last night may have been referee Conrad Hache's last game as an AHL official. He's taking a job as director of officiating with the OHL.

Friday night the WorSharks lost at Hartford 4-3 in a game this writer did not attend. For those interested the boxscore for that game will be listed after the boxscore for the Philadelphia game.

Even strength lines

Busenburg played shifts on the second and third pairings

Penalty kill


Power play


Face-offs (offense/neutral/defense = total) (unofficial)
Prudden 4-3/2-2/6-3 = 12-8
Rome 3-1/2-0/5-3 = 10-4
Raduns 2-3/1-1/2-1 = 5-6
Cavanagh 1-4/2-0/0-5 = 3-9
Packard 0-1/0-0/0-0 = 0-1 Iggulden 0-1/0-0/1-0 = 1-1

Dakers made 4 big saves
Cavanagh, Rome, Evans, Armstrong, and Fox each recorded a hit. Packard and Traverse had two apiece, Mink had three, and Valette had four.

Philadelphia 2 1 0--3
Worcester 0 0 0--0

1st period
Scoring: 1, Philadelphia-Zingoni, Peter 5 (game winner) (Ruzicka, Stefan 6; Downie, Steve 1) 1:11. 2, Philadelphia-Zingoni, Peter 6 (power play) (Timonen, Jussi 4; Bartulis, Oskars 4) 9:55.
Penalties: PHI-Downie, Steve (Fighting, Major), 4:13. PHI-Zingoni, Peter (Roughing), 4:13. WOR-Evans, Brennan (Fighting, Major), 4:13. WOR-Valette, Craig (Roughing), 4:13. WOR-Raduns, Nate (Hooking), 8:51. PHI-Timonen, Jussi (Interference), 18:34. WOR-Mink, Graham (Cross checking), 18:34. PHI-Gauthier, Denis (Holding), 18:53.

2nd period
Scoring: 3, Philadelphia-Ruzicka, Stefan 5 (Downie, Steve 2; Guenin, Nate 2) 18:07.
Penalties: WOR-Prudden, Josh (Holding stick), 12:03. PHI-Greentree, Kyle (High sticking), 15:43.

3rd period
Scoring: None.
Penalties: PHI-Guenin, Nate (Roughing), 4:21. WOR-Raduns, Nate (Hooking), 4:31. WOR-Valette, Craig (Board check), 7:06.

Philadelphia 13 12 6--31
Worcester 10 12 10--32

Power Play Conversions: Philadelphia - 1 of 4, Worcester - 0 of 3.
Goalies: Philadelphia-Boucher, Brian (24:15, 13 shots, 13 saves; record: 7-1-1); Munroe, Scott (35:45, 19 shots, 19 saves). Worcester-Dakers, Taylor (60:00, 31 shots, 28 saves; record: 1-2-0).
A: Unknown. Referee: Hache, Conrad. Linesmen: Low, Tim; Bernard, Bob.

Worcester 0 2 1--3
Hartford 1 2 1--4

1st period
Scoring: 1, Hartford-Pyatt, Tommy 1 (Hutchinson, Andrew 2; Baranka, Ivan 2) 16:06.
Penalties: None.

2nd period
Scoring: 2, Hartford-Pyatt, Tommy 2 (power play) (Potter, Corey 2; Korpikoski, Lauri 2) 8:15. 3, Worcester-Iggulden, Mike 5 (Raduns, Nate 2; Cavanagh, Tom 5) 10:02. 4, Worcester-Traverse, Patrick 1 (power play) (Packard, Dennis 3; Raduns, Nate 3) 16:08. 5, Hartford-Byers, Dane 3 (Pyatt, Tommy 3; Korpikoski, Lauri 3) 18:09.
Penalties: WOR-Rome, Ashton (Tripping), 6:43. HFD-Korpikoski, Lauri (Hooking), 15:07.

3rd period
Scoring: 6, Worcester-Cavanagh, Tom 2 (power play) (Mink, Graham 7; Staubitz, Brad 3) 7:11. 7, Hartford-Bourret, Alex 2 (game winner) (Baranka, Ivan 3; Parenteau, Pierre 1) 13:43.
Penalties: HFD-Constant, Ryan (Interference), 5:20. WOR-Evans, Brennan (Hooking), 7:55. WOR-Mink, Graham (Roughing), 18:42. HFD-Parenteau, Pierre (Roughing), 18:42.

Worcester 6 7 10--23
Hartford 14 10 9--33

Power Play Conversions: Worcester - 2 of 2, Hartford - 1 of 2.
Goalies: Worcester-Greiss, Thomas (58:39, 33 shots, 29 saves; record: 3-1-1). Hartford-Holt, Chris (60:00, 23 shots, 20 saves; record: 3-1-0).
A: 2974. Referee: Hache, Conrad. Linesmen: Redding, Kevin; Simeon, Paul.


Sandis Ozolinsh returns to the Sharks, photos and post-game interview

San Jose's second favorite Latvian, 7-time NHL allstar defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh, returned to the Sharks Friday night for a 5-2 home loss against the Los Angeles Kings.

The free wheeling offensive defenseman was originally drafted by the Sharks (2nd round, 30th overall) during the inaugural 1991 season. After registering 43 goals and 73 assists in 173 games for the San Jose Sharks, Ozolinsh was part of the October 26th, 1995 trade with the Colorado Avalanche for captain Owen Nolan. Ozolinsh won a Stanley Cup with Colorado in 1996. In 1996-97, Ozolinsh was one of three finalists for the Norris Trophy given to the best defensemen in the NHL.

Sandis Ozolinsh entered the NHL's substance abuse program after being arrested last season. Although he participated in the Sharks training camp, he was unable to sign an NHL contract until October 10th. David Pollak of the Mercury News reported that visa issues delayed his debut another 3 weeks.

Ozolinsh holds the record for points in a season by a San Jose Sharks defenseman (64PTS, 26G, 38A), which was second on the team for goals in 1993-94, and third for assists. Ozolinsh also owns the Vilki OP/LaRocca hockey club in Latvia.

Reza Kazempour: November to remember for San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks Mike Grier Los Angeles Kings Michael Cammalleri
San Jose Sharks Sandis Ozolinsh

Reza Kazempour contributed this November San Jose Sharks column:

Remember, remember, the month of November.

November is the month that can help or break the San Jose Sharks. It can either increase their lead between other Pacific division teams or it can sink them into the abyss of the Western conference. The next 11 of 12 games the Sharks face will be against Pacific Division teams. Luckily for the Sharks, the Pacific division isn’t as hot as it used to be in previous years. Combined, the Pacific division only has 56 points on the season compared to the Northwest’s division 67 points and the Central division’s 75 points.

By the end of November, the Sharks can hopefully harvest two seeds: gain a bigger lead as division leaders and become a solid home team. Of the 12 games, the Sharks can be thankful that 8 are at home.

The real hockey fans of the Bay Area have been patient with the Sharks’ lackluster performance thus far. Despite their slow performance and not being able to gel together four solid lines, they are still treading water. The only disappointment is that they haven’t lived up to the hype set for them prior to the beginning of the season. You can’t really blame them. The earlier part of the season was played on the road. The early road games, comes with extensive traveling and playing in different time zones and countries.

The key move for the Sharks is to get closer to gelling together four lines by the mid-way point of the month. Once they figure out their lines and get into the groove, then the Sharks need to get their powerplay unit working again. They are ranked 16th in the league, converting only 17.5 percent of the time. Last year, the solid powerplay unit ranked 2nd in the league, converting 22.4 percent of the time. Their powerplay unit knocked in 91 goals of their total 152 goals on the season.

The Sharks’ to-do list doesn’t end there.

They say that defense dictates offense. It is no wonder why the Sharks haven’t been on top of the ball lately. They have allowed 33 goals while only scoring 30. There are several factors that play into the lack of defense shown by the Sharks, and not one of them is goaltending. Sharks’ goaltender Evgeni Nabokov has been solid in net, despite what the scoreboard might indicate. Nabokov is not to blame; the defensive unit is. It has become a common scenario to see the Sharks not move their feet fast enough in their zone. Many of the goals they allowed are a product of the Sharks being caught flat-footed or the inability to clear the puck out of their zone.

Lastly, the Sharks need to play all 60 minutes. It’s a key fundamental concept talked about in hockey all the time, but it seems like the Sharks haven’t fully understood the concept.

Not until they fully grasp all the fundamental concepts of the games, can the Sharks really get back on their feet.

Hopefully the Sharks can make it a November to remember.


Max Giese: Sharks Monthly Prospect Report

Logan Couture San Jose Sharks

Worcester Sharks Prospect Review:

G Thomas Greiss – The crown jewel of the Sharks prospective goaltenders, Greiss seems to be the next in line to become a stud NHL goaltender drafted and developed by the Sharks. "He has all the tools to become a number one goalie in the NHL and he has improved on his side-to-side movement, a weakness when he first arrived" notes Worcester Sharks correspondent Darryl Hunt.

G Taylor Dakers – Fresh out of Canadian Junior Hockey, the rookie net minder has seen limited action behind Thomas Greiss "He is playing very well positional but his glove quickness hasn't quite caught up to the speed of the pro game" says Hunt, who also notes that Dakers needs to improve on his rebound control in traffic.

D Derek Joslin – After lasting much longer in camp then expected, Derek Joslin has been statistically impressive in his rookie AHL season but has also committed rookie errors "he displays flashes of brilliance but then follows them with dumb mistakes" says Hunt.

RW Devin Setoguchi – Made the NHL roster out of camp but an ankle injury forced him out of line-up and a brief rehabilitation stint with the Worcester Sharks. Still, Setoguchi wasted no time making his presence felt "It takes just a couple of shifts to see that this kid has got all the tools to be a super star in the NHL" proclaims Hunt. Setoguchi was recalled back to the San Jose Sharks on October 28th and scored two goals a long with showcasing his special release and speed in a 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars.

LW Lukas Kaspar – Finally the 2004 first round pick showed what he was capable of and was one of the last cuts at this year’s training-camp before being recalled to make his NHL debut on October 27th in Dallas where he didn't dissapoint. Kaspar continues to progress and is now displaying the fortitude to play in the NHL "It seems his brush at making the NHL has lit a fire under him, and he is playing like a man on a mission to be in the NHL every day" says Hunt, who notes that Kaspar has improved on his shift-to-shift consistency.

D Dan Spang – The 2002 second round selection is a mobile puck moving defenseman that seems to make people love him or hate him. "A lot of the NHL folks I speak with say he's going to be a star, but I don't see it" says an honest Darryl Hunt.

Scout Talk:

Recently Sharkspage had the opportunity to speak with an Ontario based scout who had encouraging words on a couple Sharks prospects, and by the sound of things, it seems like the Sharks could be looking at another Thornton and Cheechoo like combination when junior linemates Logan Couture and Jamie McGinn wear teal down the road.

LW Jamie McGinn – Ottawa 67s – "He looks very good, reminds me a bit of Jonathan Cheechoo." says the scout.

C Logan Couture – Ottawa 67s – "Couture probably has the best hockey sense of anyone in the OHL, he appears to have bulked up which is making him stronger on his feet and a little quicker. He makes players around him better"”

NCAA Update:

Sharks Take Home Honors in the Hockey News NCAA Season Preview - The San Jose Sharks prospects where well represented in the past months Hockey News NCAA Preview. Center Steven Zalewski from Clarkson was listed as one of their four favorites for the Hobey Baker Award, and 2007 first round selection Nick Petrecki was listed as the #2 impact freshman in the Hockey East.

D Nick Petrecki – FR. Boston College – The 2007 first round selection is a big and mobile defenseman with a take no prisoners physical game. A knock on Petrecki is that he isn’t a natural puck mover but he has displayed impressive discipline early making smart outlet passes in the face of some stiff forechecks.

RW Carter Lee – Jr. Lake Superior State University – The 2003 ninth round pick continues to disappoint as he has failed to perform well enough to earn a regular roster spot on mediocre team. Lee has been a healthy scratch to begin the season and there are concerns that his work ethic is lacking. Insiders say that Lee lacks the desire it takes to improve and that he lacks and commitment off the ice.

D Brian O’Hanley – SR. Boston College – The other ninth round selection in 2003 has also developed at a disappointing clip. He’s diminutive and is a liability defensively. O'Hanley looked like a long shot to be signed heading into the season and being suspended for violating the teams policy doesn't help his cause either.

C Steven Zalewski – SR. Clarkson Knights – The alternate captain turned down a contract offer over the summer from San Jose to return for his senior year. Zalewski has always displayed a mature, detailed two-way game but is getting the opportunity this season to carry the Knights offense and early reports suggest he's capable of doing so. He works hard in front to score garbage goals but he also possesses a quickly released shot that is pretty heavy.

G Alex Stalock – SO. Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs - The fourth round draft pick has been great early in the season and is carrying Duluth to a fast start. Stalock already has two shut-outs including a 43 save effort in a 3-0 win against Denver.

D Christian Jensen – Jr. RPI – Put on noticeable weight this summer and his built like a rock. Beginning to grow into his skin and has been more assertive on the ice.

C Nick Bonnino – FR. Boston University – Talented and creative winger that oozes offensive presence and creativity but is still prone to making freshman mistakes such as over handling, or passing the puck instead of utilizing his wicked wrist shot. He sees most of his ice time on the power play where his dangling ability shines through but he desperately needs to upgrade his weak defensive game as he looks to have zero understanding of defensive positioning and marking skills.

C Jason Lawrence – JR. Boston University – Not seeing as much ice time as you would like to see and the fact that Lawrence is only a role player in his junior season is discouraging. Still, all hope is not lost as Lawrence is a hard working center with good wheels and a well rounded defensive game.

Major Junior Report:

G Timo Pielmier – St. Johns, QMJHL – The German import adjusted slowly to the North American game but has recently rounded into form and has stolen a few games for the Fog Devils. He appears more focused and is anticipating the play well as of late as he displays his ability to be unbeatable down low.

F Frazer McLaren – Portland, WHL – Raw and hulking winger has been inconsistent early as he’s most effective when he uses his big frame instead of his skilled hands to generate offense.

D Ty Wishart – Prince George, WHL – The 2006 first round selection has been dominating the WHL early as he has taken his offensive game to new heights despite playing on an offensively starved team.

G Tyson Sexsmith – Vancouver, WHL – Simply dominating again this season and Team Canada has taken notice as they have sent a scout to several of his games which means a possible spot on the World Junior Championship roster is within reach.

2008 Draft Watch:

Two defenseman eligible for next June's draft that should be on the Sharks radar have been hot out of the gates and are drawing attention from NHL scouts.

D Tyler Cuma – Ottawa 67s – The Sharks management puts a lot of stock into what Ottawa 67s coach Brian Killrea has to say and recently his praise for draft eligible defenseman Cuma has been deafening "If I could have a team full of Cuma’s I would, he's the type of player championships are built around" said Killrea. An Ontario based scout that spoke with Sharkspage compared his game to Calgary Flames defenseman Robyn Regeher. With the Sharks recent purge of drafting players from the 67s, and Cuma being the prototypical defenseman the Sharks covet, expect San Jose to attempt to complete some wheeling and dealing at the 2008 draft to secure the rights to this talented and tenacious two-way defenseman.

D Max Nicastro – Chicago Steel – Three reasons why the Sharks will likely target Nicastro at the NHL Draft. 1. He's a Boston University recruit and the Sharks tend to draft players who are going to play college hockey out east. 2. He's a Californian native hailing from Los Angeles. 3. While he's raw, Nicastro is a prototypical defenseman with good size and mobility to go a long with his physical defensive game as well as his skilled puck movement.

[Update] October 19th prospect report - SJsharks.com. There is a new October 31st prospect report that should be added soon.

[Update2] Sharks Top 20 prospects, Fall 2007 - Hockeys Future.

[Update3] Sharks Top 20 prospects, Fall 2007 - Kyle Woodlief for the Red Line Report.

After a long, frustrating winter at the rinks last season, when we had trouble mustering much enthusiasm beyond the first half-dozen picks, the staff at Red Line is weighing in from most precincts that scouting should be a much more enjoyable experience this time around.

And nowhere more so than in the OHL. After a couple of down years, 'The O' is back on top with a sizzling lineup that, as of right now, boasts the top three prospects for the 2008 draft. We're not sure in what order they'll wind up going, but Steven Stamkos, Alex Pietrangelo, and Drew Doughty are all worthy candidates for the top overall spot.


Max Giese: Setoguchi and Kaspar make great first impressions

San Jose Sharks Devin Setoguchi

The San Jose Sharks 2004 and 2005 first round entry draft selections made their NHL debuts Monday night in a 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars. Left wing Lukas Kaspar (22nd overall, 2004) and right wing Devin Setoguchi (8th overall, 2005) were called up Sunday after Ryan Clowe and Rob Davison were placed on the injured reserve. These were not emergency call-ups. The Sharks were treading water with a 3-3 record over the last 6 games, and they can use the offensive push that Setoguchi and Kaspar's talent will deliver.

Taber, Alberta native Devin Setoguchi came to the Sharks with high expectations. He was favored to make the opening night roster after a strong preseason where he registered 5 goals. Setoguchi wasted no time regaining his preseason scoring touch. Shortly after Setoguchi was moved onto the first line with Joe Thornton and Milan Michalek, he responded with two beautiful goals that showcased his scoring potential.

Few prospects can match the high-end skill level that Setoguchi brings to the table; a ferocious shooting arsenal with a lightning quick release, an innate sense of finding open space in front of the net, and pinpoint accuracy to pick corners through traffic. Setoguchi came to training camp this season in amazing physical condition. His powerful sride and quick feet are going to create matchup problems for opposing defenseman.

Setoguchi is a special talent, a dynamic goal scorer in the mould of Jonathan Cheechoo. It is possible that he may have found a home on the Sharks top line with Joe Thornton and Milan Michalek. A spot where he will see an inordinate amount of scoring opportunities, as Joe Thornton threads pass from all angles. Also a position where he will play alongside one of the prototypical power forwards in the modern NHL, Milan Michalek. Michalek has shed any previous hesitancy with the puck, and now he uses his size and explosive quickness to drive the net more often. Night in and night out on the opposite wing, the pace at which Setoguchi could develop should be a frightening proposition for other Pacific Division teams.

San Jose Sharks Lukas Kaspar

Lost in Setoguchi's near hat trick against Dallas (his shot on an empty net late in the game missed by 6 feet), was the debut of enigmatic left wing Lukas Kaspar. One of the problems scouts mention when discussing Kaspar is his occasional indifferent play. In his first regular season game against NHL caliber players, Kaspar displayed confidence and tenacity. Lukas brings several intangibles to the Sharks line-up, he can use his large frame to set up shop in front of the crease, he can use his speed to initiate the offensive attack, and he can take advantage of his on-ice vision to make plays and distribute the puck to his linemates. He also showed flashes of skills that have made scouts drool in the past, a bone rattling slap shot that surprised Turco, and a creative executiion with the puck in-tight around the goal.

Kaspar's development may have been a little slower than some of the draft publications predicted, but if he continues playing a similar game to his NHL debut, Lukas is going to make it difficult for the Sharks to send him back down to Worcester. Lukas Kaspar can utilize his speed and heavy shot on the left wing, but he has also developed a mature two-way game that should give the coaching staff confidence to play him in a number of situtations. The intangibles on display Monday night will make him a coveted player in the San Jose organization, and one that should not be overlooked when discussing the Sharks future.

There was a lot of consternation with the Sharks recent 3-3 stretch, including two losses to a Detroit Red Wings team that knocked San Jose out of the Western Conference Semifinals last season. One month into 2007-08, the Sharks (6-5-1) are 1 game over .500, they reside at first place in the Pacific Division, and are only 3 points behind second place in the Western Conference.

San Jose was not in a hurry to get younger up front. The youngest and largest lineup in the league already have plethora of emerging talent producing at an NHL level. It appears that both Setoguchi and Kaspar are ready for a long, and possibly permanent stay with the Sharks. One positive development, not only did Setoguchi and Kaspar perform exceptionally well on the ice, they also raised the level of the linemates playing with them. A rare and impressive feat for two rookies making their NHL debuts.

[Update] Rookies Setoguchi, Kaspar could help - SJ Mercury News.

[Update2] Devin Setoguchi knows the way to San Jose - NHL.com.

[Update3] Max Giese: Lukas Kaspar on the Cusp? 2004 first rounder trying to find his way to San Jose - Sharkspage.com.