Sunday, March 29, 2009

Darryl Hunt: WorSharks Double Up Providence, 4-2

The Worcester Sharks, on the strength of four unanswered goals, defeated the Providence Bruins 4-2 Sunday afternoon at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island in front of an announced crowd of 8,026.

Providence outplayed the WorSharks throughout most of the opening period, but thanks to Worcester netminder Thomas Greiss it looked like they would escape the opening stanza tied at zero. Those hopes were dashed when Zach Hamil would connect with just eight tenths of a second remaining in the period to give the Baby-Bs the lead going into the dressing room.

Providence would extend that lead to 2-0 when Vladimir Sobotka tipped another past Greiss at 4:45 of the second period. And with the problems the WorSharks have had scoring lately it looked like Worcester may have dug a hole too deep to climb out of.

But Worcester started climbing quickly, and just 79 seconds later Frazer McLaren would notch his sixth marker of the season when he tipped in a lose puck that Providence netminder Kevin Regan thought he had control of to get the WorSharks back within one. Matt Jones grabbed an assist on the original shot from the wing.

The last twenty minutes would be all threes for Worcester; three goals for the third line in the third period.

Trent Campbell would connect at 7:46 on the power play to tie the game when he scooped up a rebound of an Andrew Desjardins shot and buried it past Regan. Derek Joslin had the second assist on the play.

Dan DaSilva would grab the game winner at 15:58 when he deflected a Patrick Traverse blast from the point.

Campbell would get his second of the night on an empty net power play tally with just five seconds left to ice the first regulation victory over Providence this season for Worcester.

Worcester went with the same line-up all weekend. Mike Morris is out for the season, and Kyle McLaren is expected to be ready to play some time soon. Joe Loprieno, signed to an ATO with Worcester for the remainder of this season and a two-way deal with San Jose for 2009-10, has yet to suit up for Worcester as he recovers from a sprained knee.

The win was just the fourth for Worcester when trailing after two periods, and it was just Providence's second loss after leading after 40 minutes.

The thre stars of the game were:
1. DaSilva (gwg)
2. Hamill (g)
3. Demers (2a)
Honorable Mention needs to go to Campbell for his first two goals in a WorSharks uniform.

WOR 0 1 3 - 4
PRO 1 1 0 - 2

1st Period
Scoring: 1, Providence, Hamill 13 (MacDonald, Marchand), 19:59.
Penalties: Buckley Wor (cross-checking), 0:26; Moore Wor (holding), 2:02; Hamill Pro (tripping), 4:39; Penner Pro (hooking), 7:07.

2nd Period
Scoring: 2, Providence, Sobotka 17 (St. Pierre, Boychuk), 4:45. 3, Worcester, McLaren 6 (Jones, Demers), 6:04.
Penalties: Reul Pro (interference), 8:00; Kaspar Wor (slashing), 11:13; Sobotka Pro (high-sticking), 11:38; Demers Wor (hooking), 15:34; St. Pierre Pro (tripping), 16:13; DaSilva Wor (roughing), 20:00; St. Pierre Pro (roughing), 20:00.

3rd Period
Scoring: 4, Worcester, Campbell 4 (Desjardins, Joslin), 7:46 (pp). 5, Worcester, DaSilva 4 (Demers, Traverse), 15:58. 6, Worcester, Campbell 5 (DaSilva, Desjardins), 19:55 (pp en).
Penalties: Desjardins Wor (elbowing), 2:34; Penner Pro (hooking), 3:40; McQuaid Pro (boarding), 5:57; served by Rabbit Pro (bench minor - too many men), 19:18.

Shots on Goal
Worcester 6-16-14-36
Providence 12-10-6-28

Power-play opportunities: Worcester 2 of 8; Providence 0 of 5.

Worcester, Greiss 25-23-2 (28 shots-26 saves)
Providence, Regan 9-7-2 (35 shots-32 saves)

A-8,026. Referees: Shaun Davis (31). Linesmen: Luke Galvin (2), David Spannaus (8).

Darryl Hunt: WorSharks Lose To Lowell

The Worcester Sharks had two third period goals waved off in a 1-0 loss to the Lowell Devils Saturday night at the DCU Center in front of 4,214 clearly disappointed fans.

Worcester fans knew it was going to be an odd game when referee Ryan Fraser called a penalty on the WorSharks even before he was able to drop the puck. While Lowell's Rod Pelley and Worcester's Andrew Desjardins fought for position on the opening face-off for some reason Fraser didn't drop the puck. Both Pelley and Desjardins stood up and shoved each other, with Desjardins poking Pelley with his stick. Fraser then sent Desjardins to the box for slashing at 0:00 of the first.

After both teams switched to special teams lines, Fraser again misfired on dropping the puck resulting in the Lowell player being waved out of the face-off.

Worcester killed the penalty, but Lowell continued to pressure the WorSharks. That pressure paid off when Alexander Vasyunov skated in from the left half boards and fired a hard wrist shot just past the outstretched pad of Worcester goaltender Thomas Greiss for the 1-0 lead.

It would be the only goal logged on the scoreboard, but it wouldn't be the only time the puck entered the net. Twice in the third period Worcester would get one into the Devils' net, but both times referee Fraser was out of position and wouldn't see the puck.

The first time was a Trent Campbell blast toward a wide open net. Lowell netminder Jeff Frazee made an incredible catch of the shot after diving across the net, but Frazee's glove (and arm) was inside the net at the time. Both Campbell and Desjardins immediately began pointing to Frazee's glove but the goal light never came on. Fraser consulted with the goal judge and linesmen, and then signaled "no goal".

The replay on Sharksvision showed clearly that Frazee's glove and arm was completely inside the net.

The second was with just 1:53 left in the game and Worcester on the power play. With Worcester crashing the net a bouncing puck went into a pile of players in front of Frazee. With Frazee trying to cover the puck Riley Armstrong poked at it and pushed it into the net. Fraser, out of position, didn't see the puck was loose and blew the play dead--although the whistle didn't blow until well after the puck was in the net.

Worcester's line-up was unchanged from Friday night.

Prior to the game Mike Moore was named the Worcester Sharks "Man of the Year" for his outstanding contributions to the Worcester community during the 2008-09 season. Moore is now one of 29 finalists for the AHL’s 2008-09 Yanick Dupre Memorial Award, honoring the overall AHL Man of the Year.

The three stars of the game were:
1. Frazee (33 saves)
2. Greiss (20 saves)
3. Vasyunov (gwg)

LOW 1 0 0 - 1
WOR 0 0 0 - 0

1st Period
Scoring: 1, Lowell, Vasyunov 13 (Zharkov, Fraser), 2:30.
Penalties-Desjardins Wor (slashing), 0:00; Mills Low (slashing), 6:43; Fraser Low (tripping), 8:19; Magnan Low (roughing), 8:28; Larose Wor (slashing), 8:28; Letourneau-Leblond Low (misconduct - unsportsmanlike conduct), 13:02; McLaren Wor (misconduct - unsportsmanlike conduct), 13:02; Vasyunov Low (unsportsmanlike conduct), 14:14; Joslin Wor (hooking), 14:14; Corrente Low (roughing), 19:42.

2nd Period
No Scoring.
Penalties-Buckley Wor (interference), 2:25; Eckford Low (interference), 2:57; Fraser Low (tripping), 13:22; Armstrong Wor (holding), 13:56; Letourneau-Leblond Low (roughing), 18:04.

3rd Period
No Scoring.
Penalties-Spiller Low (cross-checking), 6:09; Demers Wor (tripping), 8:03; Rheaume Low (interference), 17:50.

Shots on Goal
Lowell 7-11-3-21
Worcester 8-15-10-33

Power-play opportunities: Lowell 0 of 4; Worcester 0 of 8.

Lowell, Frazee 26-19-5 (33 shots-33 saves)
Worcester, Greiss 24-23-2 (21 shots-20 saves)

A-4,214. Referee: Ryan Fraser (14). Linesmen: Mark Messier (12), Brian MacDonald (72).

Sharks gut out a 3-2 win over Phoenix, Patrick Marleau leaves game in 2nd period with injury

San Jose Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov Phoenix Coyotes right wing Viktor Tikhonov
San Jose Sharks left wing Milan Michalek Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov photos
San Jose Sharks Jeremey Roenick faceoff photo

Notes from the San Jose Sharks 3-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes will be posted soon. A photo gallery from the game is available here. Video highlights from the game are available here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Darryl Hunt: WorSharks, DaSilva Shoot Down Falcons, 3-2

The Worcester Sharks used a two goal night from Dan DaSilva and another strong outing by goaltender Thomas Greiss to defeat the Springfield Falcons 3-2 Friday night at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of 4,132 fans.

DaSilva's first goal would come at 11:29 of the first as the third line, who was the team's best line all game, broke into the zone and just overwhelmed the Falcons defense. The line continued to force the play, and their hard work paid off when Trent Campbell skated out of the right corner and fired a bullet of a pass right to DaSilva. DaSilva, standing all alone at the far post, buried it for the 1-0 lead. Andrew Desjardins had the second assist on the play.

It would take just 62 seconds for Springfield to tie the game when Ryan Potulny would knot his 31st of the season as the Falcons caught the Worcester defense running around in its own zone. Jordan Eberle, straight out of juniors and playing his first AHL game, had an assist.

Springfield would make it 2-1 at 1:57 of the second period on the power play when Shane Willis banked a blast from the right point off the right hip of Brett Westgarth. Greiss never stood a chance on the play as the puck bounded into the far corner.

Lukas Kaspar would get the WorSharks back to even at 18:04 of the second with a power play tally of his own. Worcester's power play hasn't been very good lately, and it looked like another advantage would be washed away when Kaspar blasted a lose puck at the blue line on Falcons goaltender Devan Dubnyk. Dubnyk easily made the kick save into the corner, but Worcester would grab the rebound and circle the puck back to Kaspar. This time Dubnyk didn't stand a chance as Kaspar fired a 40' cannon shot.

After the goal Kaspar fired his stick into the near boards out of frustration, and his show of emotion seemed to fire up his team mates.

DaSilva would grab his second of the game, and game winner, just 21 seconds into the third period on a 40' wrist shot that banked off the far post and in. Desjardins and Campbell would each grab their second assists of the game for a six point night for the team's third line.

From that point on Worcester put on a defensive clinic, limiting the Falcons to just six shots in the period. An aggressive forecheck by Worcester kept Dubnyk in his net until it was very late in the period, and a clearing flip out by DaSilva with just seconds to go in the game iced the game for Worcester. The loss officially eliminated the Falcons from the playoffs.

Joe Loprieno, who was recently signed to an ATO out of Merrimack College, was the teams only healthy scratch. Loprieno, who is 6'3" and 225 pounds, will wear #10 for Worcester when he suits up. Both Mike Morris and Kyle McLaren remain on Worcester's injury list, although rumors are abound that McLaren will be playing soon, maybe as soon as Saturday evening against Lowell.

It was a big night for Dan DaSilva with his two goals and stellar play on both ends of the ice. Just after his first goal DaSilva was checked into the end boards in the Springfield zone by winger Hans Benson which broke the blade off of DaSilva's left skate. Equipment manager Vinny Ferraiuolo was handed both the skate and broken blade, and stared at each in disbelief. No one along press row could remember ever seeing a blade broken away from a skate like that before.

Worcester wore special "Be A Leader" jerseys in the game, and will wear them again Saturday night. They are a teal and black jersey, and are the first WorSharks jersey to have a non-Sharks logo on the front. The jerseys will be auctioned off during Saturday's game to benefit Sharks Charities.

Some milestones set during the game: Riley Armstrong played in his 200th game in a Worcester uniform; Frazer McLaren's fight with Benson in the first period was his franchise record 20th of the season; and Dubnyk 58th appearance breaks the Falcons record for most games by a goaltender in a season.

Sharkspage spoke to Sandy Dunn, the DCU Center’s General Manager, about some exciting things going on for next hockey season. The DCU Center will be replacing its 15 year old ice making system with a new state of the art system, and will also be replacing the boards and glass. When asked if the DCU center was going to seamless glass, Dunn responded that both seamless and plexiglass was being looked at, but that the hybrid system of seamless along the sides and plexi behind the goals was the direction the DCU Center was leaning. The DCU Center will effectively be closed over the summer while those improvements, along with several other planned upgrades, are completed.

National Grid, the region's electric power provider, is also upgrading the transfer system within the downtown area of Worcester. They will be installing a triple redundant system within the DCU Center to prevent a power failure within the building. The new ice making system will also be put on its own back-up system.

During last night's AHL game between Grand Rapids and Norfolk, referee Chris Cozzan was cut in the neck by the skate of Norfolk's Radek Smolenak. He was tended to on the ice by both teams trainers, EMTs and Norfolk's team doctor. A press release by the AHL early Saturday morning indicated Cozzan was taken to Norfolk General Hospital to undergo surgery to repair the injury, and is expected to make a full recovery.

The three stars of the game were:
1. DaSilva (2g)
2. Campbell (2a)
3. Desjardins (2a)
Not much to argue about there.

Even Strength Lines


Penalty Kill Lines


Power Play Lines


SPR 1 1 0 - 2
WOR 1 1 1 - 3

1st Period
Scoring: 1, Worcester, DaSilva 2 (Campbell, Desjardins), 11:29. 2, Springfield, Potulny 31 (Eberle, Stone), 12:31.
Penalties: Westgarth Wor (interference), 1:44; Wild Spr (interference), 3:50; McDonald Spr (broken stick), 5:22; Benson Spr (fighting), 12:00; McLaren Wor (fighting), 12:00; DaSilva Wor (high-sticking), 18:12.

2nd Period
Scoring: 3, Springfield, Willis 3 (Roy, Wild), 1:57 (pp). 4, Worcester, Kaspar 16 (Traverse, Armstrong), 18:04 (pp).
Penalties: Demers Wor (interference), 1:50; O'Marra Spr (boarding), 5:58; Joslin Wor (tripping), 10:51; Eberle Spr (tripping), 16:08.

3rd Period
scoring: 5, Worcester, DaSilva 3 (Desjardins, Campbell), 0:21.
Penalties-Lefebvre Spr (roughing), 9:21.

Shots on Goal
Springfield 12-9-6-27
Worcester 9-20-6-35

Power-play opportunities: Springfield 1 of 4; Worcester 1 of 5.

Springfield, Dubnyk 18-37-2 (35 shots-32 saves)
Worcester, Greiss 24-22-2 (27 shots-25 saves)

A-4,132. Referees: Shaun Davis (31). Linesmen: Chris Woodworth (17), Hans Baker (67).

Friday, March 27, 2009

NHL Notes - March 27th

San Jose Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov Stanley Cup Playoffs hockey photo

- Yahoo's Puck Daddy Russian correspondent Dmitry Chesnokov and Sovetsky Sport's San Jose reporter Mikhail Bykov combined for an in-depth interview with San Jose Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov: Puck Daddy chats with Evgeni Nabokov about Sharks' Cup chances, awards snubs and (allegedly) kicking Corey Perry.

[Q] The playoffs are almost here, so let's hit the obvious question: Tell us why the San Jose Sharks will not be "chokers" in the playoffs this year?

[EN] Well, I actually don't want to guess the future, because in the playoffs every game means something. It is just very difficult to predict any results. That's why I, just like any other athlete, do not want to make predictions. Will there be a failure? Won't there be one? I don't know. But we will give it all to get the right result this time.

[Q] Does carrying that weight of past failures, as a franchise, add additional pressure when the playoffs start?

[EN] Without a doubt. I think that the playoffs always equal pressure. There is pressure in any professional sport. There is no such thing as "lack of pressure." You always want to win. It's just the nature of the sport. It is normal. I think every player is used to it now. We have this adrenaline pumping through our bodies. We are just used to it.

[Q] The Sharks' record without you starting is much poorer than when you play. That's MVP material. So why aren't you talked about more for the MVP?

[EN] Maybe because I don't want to speak to the media more often? [Laughing] But to be serious, I just don't know. I cannot answer this question. I just try to do my job on the ice. And whatever happens off the ice doesn't depend on me. I don't know.

[Q] Your name also doesn't seem to come up as much as players like Roberto Luongo, Steve Mason and Tim Thomas when it comes to the Vezina Trophy. What kind of bias is there against you in the media and the hockey world?

[EN] Once again, I just don't know. I do try not to focus my attention on it. For me, the most important thing is to have the respect of the guys on my team and of our organization. And all the rest is just secondary.

Fair or not, the Sharks are carrying a Buffalo Bills like reputation into the postseason for many hockey fans and members of the media. General manager Doug Wilson targeted the major problem in the offseason, bringing in a trio of veteran defenseman with Stanley Cup experience to address it. Future Hall of Famer Rob Blake, 2008-09 NHL Allstar and Norris Trophy candidate Dan Boyle, and 2-time Cup winner Brad Lukowich. The Sharks also added a dose of mean with the acquisition of Travis Moen and Kent Huskins at the trade deadline. The playoff tools for rookie head coach Todd McLellan are there for him to take advantage of in the playoffs, the tools just need to be healthy.

As to why Evgeni Nabokov is not mentioned more in MVP or Vezina discussion this season, there are a number of contributing factors. The lack of consistent media attention on the West Coast plays a part, a numbers game of quality candidates will make a Vezina campaign more difficult, and inconsistent play will make an MVP bid unlikely. It is hard to argue with Nabokov's assertion that the most important stat for a goaltender is wins, but after a close second place Vezina finish last year one could argue NHL general managers may place a higher focus on save percentage or reputation.

Nabokov also answers questions about his pre-game and offday routines, his rivalry or non-rivalry with former teammate Miikka Kiprusoff, who he believes is the best goaltender in the game (Brodeur), his thoughts about NHL players participation in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and what he enjoys most about playing hockey.

- The Sharks 3-2 loss to Nashville Thursday night at the Sommet Center was another case of one step forward, two steps back. Captain Patrick Marleau returned after a brief 1-game absense due to the birth of his second son Brody Marleau, but right wing Jonathan Cheechoo joined the ranks of the walking wounded with a undisclosed lower body injury suffered against Chicago.

Nashville has been on fire with their penalty kill at home. They had shut down the opposition power play in 12 straight games dating back to a 4-3 shootout win over St Louis on February 12th, killing 34 straight. On their first power play opportunity of the game the Sharks attacked the Preds zone with speed. Dan Boyle sprinted through the neutral zone before stopping at the blueline and dropping the puck back to Milan Michalek in stride. Michalek hit Devin Setoguchi along the boards, and Setoguchi dished the puck to Christian Ehrhoff on the opposite point. Ehrhoff slid a short pass to Joe Pavelski, who released a quick wrist shot before defenseman Dan Hamius or goaltender Pekka Rinne could react.

San Jose scored on their second power play opportunity early in the second period. After a faceoff win by Joe Pavelski in the Predators zone, a series of quick passes on the point opened up room for a Dan Boyle wrist shot with an unchecked Milan Michalek on the doorstep. Devin Setoguchi and Joe Pavelski pounced on the rebound, and it was Devin Setoguchi registering his 30th goal of the season to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead.

The Predators came storming back with 3 goals in less than 3 minutes. Radek Bonk (PP), Martin Erat, and Greg Zannon scored in quick succession as Nashville was driving the net and the Sharks were mostly standing around and watching instead of clearing bodies. Bonk's power play goal was sparked when 4 Sharks penalty killers were frozen watching the puck on the blueline with Erat, Bonk and Weber driving the zone. Then Steve "Lazarus" Sullivan beat Dan Boyle to a stretch pass along the boards. Sullivan pulled up behind the net as Boyle and Lukowich overplayed the far side. Erat posted up along the near post and tapped in an easy goal. The third strike for San Jose came will 5 players coasting as Radek Bonk and Jordan Tootoo drove deep. Greg Zannon took a tipped pass from Smithson on the point, and snapped a seeing eye shot through traffic to give Nashville a 3-2 lead.

The Sharks could not score another goal on 2 more power plays, nor could they score on several opportunities 5-on-5. "We didn't score a goal 5-on-5, and that's obviously been one of the big problems the last few months," defenseman Dan Boyle told the Associated Press. "There's not much time left to fine tune this thing," he added. In March the Sharks have scored only 18 even strengthed goals 5-on-5, 11 goals came on the power play, 2 via an empty net, with Ehrhoff scoring the lone 4-on-4 goal in overtime against Minnesota. San Jose has played 13 of 15 games scheduled in March. In February the Sharks scored 21 even strength 5-on-5 goals in 13 games played, 14 power play goals, 2 short handed goals, and 1 empty net goal. The pace for even strength 5-on-5 goals over the last 2 months is 1.5 per game.

The Sharks are still tied with Detroit atop the Western Conference and the NHL with 107 points, but they did not take advantage of the game in hand and Detroit holds the tie breaking edge if both teams remained tied. A first round matchup is not going to be a given, but the Calgary Flames loom large in the second round for the team that loses out on the top seed. Nashville is currently tied with Anaheim for the 7th and 8th spot with 80 points, but Edmonton, St Louis and Minnesota are bunched up within 2 points. Nashville has 4 franchise playoff appearances, 2 first round exits against San Jose in 5 games, and 2 first round exits against Detroit in 6 games. If they make the playoffs in 2008-09, they will have a shot against... Detroit or San Jose.

- The prelude to the Sharks-Nashville game last night featured discussion about Brad Staubitz's fight with Jordan Tootoo in the previous meeting March 19th at HP Pavilion. Staubitz blitzed Tootoo landing 18 punches in quick succession. The fallout according to John Glennon of the Nashville Tennessean came from Tootoo, general manager David Poile and even NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell.

Campbell told Glennon in an email "A player can leave his glove on to fight if he wants, so if he was hitting him with a piece of equipment that was worn legally there is no rule in place for that. If he hit him with an elbow instead of a fist there is no rule to prevent that at the moment." It may not specifically be in the rule book, but it may be added in the offseason. The only problem is that the video does not show Staubitz using an elbow "in mixed martial-arts fashion" to strike Tootoo. It shows him throwing a series of left hands where elbows may be hitting him on the follow through, before he switches to his right for several more punches, finishing with an uppercut.

There may be a different in-house camera angle shown during the event with a clearer display of the action, but if this is a test case for banning elbows it is not a good one. More discussion from James Mirtle.

- The Forechecker's Dirk Hoag posted a Predators update today, and recapped the 3-2 Predators win here. Dirk also has a differing opinion on the Staubitz-Tootoo fight.

- Sharks get mauled by Predators - Ryan Leong for

If last night's loss to the Chicago Blackhawks was a disappointment, blowing a two goal lead to the Nashville Predators is simply a failure. Joe Pavelski and Devin Setoguchi scored first period power play goals but the Predators scored three goals in under three minutes and held on for a 3-2 win.

“They were a tired team after a long game in Chicago,” Nashville forward Steve Sullivan said. “So we took it to them early and often in the first period, and carried the momentum well into the second period. Even though they had the 2-0 lead, we thought we were the fresher team and if we kept on going after them good things would happen.”

- San Jose Sharks playoff tickets for Games 'A' and 'B' will go on sale to the public Saturday, March 28th at 10AM (PT). Visit or for more information.

How injuries affect performance points earned NHL James Mirtle

- Another pair of excellent posts by James Mirtle examine how injuries affect performance in the NHL, and chart each team's man games lost to injury.

Mirtle published the chart above from Ohio State University mathematics graduate student Kyle Joecken showing that on average 100 man games lost to injury equals 10 points lost in the standings or "Basically, you lose one point for every 20 man-games lost." The conclusion is based on data from the 2005-06 season to 2007-08.

The March 18th post chronicling each team's man games lost to injury charts totals from the last 3 seasons as well as a projected total for 2008-09. The Sharks are conspicuous for their relatively injury-free seasons in 05-06 and 06-07, with 123 and 159 man games lost respectively. In 2007-08 the Sharks lost 200 games due to injury, and they are projected to lose 202 games to injury this season. The total over 4 years for San Jose is projected to be 684 games lost, for a 171/year average (22nd in the NHL). The New York Islanders rank 1st overall this season (566 projected games lost), and 1st overall in the projected 4 year total (1567 games lost), with an average of 392 games lost per season during that span.

One Sharkspage reader noted that most of the Sharks injuries came after January 1st. Prior to San Jose's game with Dallas on Saturday the Sharks had 107 man games lost to injury after January 1st, as well as 41 games where players did not dress. A handful of DND's were healthy scratches (Alexei Semenov, Jody Shelley), but many were injuries not officially recorded in the NHL stats (Blake, Ehrhoff, Boyle, Shelley). That means that either 107 or somewhere near 140 of the Sharks projected 202 man games lost to injury total for 2008-09 will have come after January 1st. Add in recent injuries to Ryane Clowe, Tomas Plihal, Jonathan Cheechoo, Marcel Goc, Rob Blake, Jonathan Cheechoo, Claude Lemieux, Mike Grier, recently acquired Kent Huskins, and a season long injury to Torrey Mitchell and the Sharks are going to almost certainly exceed that projected amount.

- On a lighter note, professional poker players Maria Ho, Tiffany Michelle, Layne Flack and Rick Fuller recently attended the Sharks vs Los Angeles Kings game on March 14th while in town for the WPT Shooting Stars event at Bay 101. Tiffany Michelle posted a youtube clip of here and Maria scalping tickets and watching the game here. Steve Brecher won the 2009 Bay 101 Shooting Star WPT event this year.

Former Predators blogger and Bluff Magazine writer Jason Kirk turned me on to this WPT event a few years ago. Besides seeing Jennifer Tilly and Shannon Elizabeth play live, one of the best moments was watching one of the tables along with a former WSOP champion. Kirk told me a moving story about professional poker players rallying around a sick blogger that covered them.

- Two new websites added to the blog role under NHL media and media blogs, and Taking Note.

- Prior to the NHL lockout, then San Jose mayor Ron Gonzales sent a letter to the NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, NHLPA Executive Director Robert W. Goodenow, Sharks President and CEO Greg Jamison, and forwarded it to the mayors of 29 other NHL cities. In the letter Gonzales cited the impact NHL teams have on communities from local services to downtown business. The number mentioned most often was that the Sharks could have a $100+ million a year impact on downtown San Jose.

There was an interesting study recently released taking a look at HP Pavilion's impact after 15 years of operation in San Jose. The City of San Jose commissioned the "Economic & Fiscal Impact Analysis" study prepared by the market research firm SportsEconomics.

According to, since opening in September 1993 HP Pavilion has seen 20 million visitors attend over 2,600 events generating a $1.7 billion economic impact and creating an estimated 5,000 jobs.

According to the Economic & Fiscal Impact Analysis, the level of activity has resulted in an annual fiscal impact of $2.4 million for a Sharks season and $3 million for high-end entertainment acts.

“Approximately $92 million per year is spent outside of HP Pavilion on businesses located in San Jose by visitors coming to the City specifically to watch, or participate in, events at the facility. This spending benefits the owners and employees of those downtown establishments thereby creating a positive direct impact,” said Dr. Daniel Rascher, president, SportsEconomics. “The venue’s proximity to the overall Downtown San Jose ecosystem ensures that this positive economic impact is happening at nearby hotels, restaurants, clubs and retail outlets,” said Rascher.

The impact would most certainly be larger if BART service was extended to San Jose. The HP Pavilion economic report is available in PDF form at The Sports Economics research firm website is available at, and San Jose's official website is available at Sharkspage's lighthearted 2004 interview with former mayor and brief president of the Calgary Flames fan club Ron Gonzales is available here.

- Other Sharks reading you might have missed: the Hockey News published a feature on Rob Blake and how he is fitting into the San Jose franchise, Yahoo's Puck Daddy linked to a new fashion trend hitting the Sharks locker room (this time inspired by Joe Thornton and not Jeremy Roenick)... yoga underwear, and one of the most bizarre headlines of the year by the Mercury News; McNealy's hockey dome 'visual blight'?. Can't a man have a hockey dome in peace?

[Update] Northwest: Nolan lives by his own code -

Back in his days in San Jose, Owen Nolan was known for his steely glare, his at-best standoff-ish approach with local reporters, and his nickname, "Buster." Some of the writers, in fact, referred to him from time to time as "Buster Crab."

Now a 37-year-old with the Minnesota Wild, it turns out Nolan's persona hasn't changed much. He's still the power forward with the hard edge and the smile that only comes out on special occasions. But if the Wild scrape their way into the playoffs, Nolan is going to deserve a good deal of the credit...

Just as in San Jose, Nolan is an imposing figure in Minnesota. The Wild impose a dress code on the road, but Nolan doesn't adhere to it, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. According to the paper, he showed up for a recent trip "looking like the bad guy in a Clint Eastwood western, with his blue jeans, gray stubble and gunmetal glare."

[Update2] Predators have the West just where they want it - Nashville Tennessean.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sharks rally to tie game with 2 late goals but fall to Chicago Blackhawks 6-5 in overtime shootout

The San Jose Sharks came from behind with 2 late third period goals by Devin Setoguchi and Joe Thornton to send the game into overtime, but the Chicago Blackhawks earned a 6-5 OT shootout win to move into sole possession of 4th place in the Western Conference. With the OT loss, the Sharks tied Detroit atop the NHL with 107 points and a game in hand.

Patrick Kane executed several dekes and lifted a backhand over the glove of Nabokov to open the OT shootout, and Chicago captain Jonathan Toews scored on a quick shot 5-hole. San Jose's shootout specialist Joe Pavelski ringed a shot off the post, and goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin closed the door on former Blackhawk Jeremy Roenick to give his team a hard earned W. Chicago snapped a 13 game losing streak against the Sharks dating back to 2005 with a 4-2 at HP Pavilion on January 31st. They returned the favor Wednesday night at the United Center earning the first win agaist San Jose on home ice since October 7th, 2005.

Starting the season one of the questions regarding rookie head coach Todd McLellan and his coaching staff was how quickly they would evaluate and assess the organizational depth available to them. They have quietly, and in the case of Claude Lemieux not so quietly, cycled 8 players from the AHL affiliate in Worcester into the lineup during the regular season (McGinn, Kaspar, Staubitz, Lemieux, Cavanagh, Vesce, Joslin, Armstrong). As the injuries have piled up (Goc, Blake, Clowe, Plihal, Lemieux, Grier, Huskins, Mitchell), the regular season exposure has given McLellan a greater handle on how to manage the younger players and the roles they can fill instead of leaning hard on a core group of veterans.

The Sharks had to face the Blackhawks without captain Patrick Marleau, who stayed in San Jose for the birth of his son Brody. San Jose would have the benefit Jeremy Roenick's return, who has been out with a shoulder problem since the end of February. Roenick is the 7th all-time leading scorer for Chicago with 267 goals, 596 points and 570 penalty minutes in 524 games played for the original six franchise. In addition to plugging, Jeremy Roenick told the official website "I don't like sitting, watching from the bleachers... you want to do whatever you can to help the team." He was very animated watching a portion of Saturday's 5-2 win over the Dallas Stars from rinkside. Roenick told Sarah Spain of Mouthpiece Sports "For us it is holding our stature in the league, we are on top... having that first slot is important for home ice advantage". He also notes that home ice advantage for Chicago, which it currently holds with the 4th seed, would be worth 1-2 goals a game at the United Center.

With the exception of a 3-goal period against Phoenix, the Sharks were clamping down defensively with a strong 2-way effort in 7 straight games (5-2). The first period at the United Center was a slight departure, Chicago outshot San Jose 14-9 and scored 3 even strength goals in the first 10 minutes of play. Martin Havlat, Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd put the Sharks on their heels early. Devin Setoguchi scored his 28th goal of the season with a hard point shot on the power play, and also created another quality scoring chance later in the period on a 2-on-1.

"We had a great start tonight," Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenville said. "We had speed, we had energy, it was nice to get some production right off the bat. We had a 4-1 lead, and we thought we were on our way, but their top guys are dangerous". Chicago captain Jonathan Toews came close to registering a 4-1 lead at the end of the first period, after a give-and-go with Patrick Kane left him open for a 15 foot wrist shot that goaltender Evgeni Nabokov picked out of the air with his glove. Toews would put one on the board 8:27 into the second period. With Devin Setoguchi charging him at the point, Toews took a step to his left and fired a hard low slapshot that deflected off Nabokov's foot, off of another player in front, and off of a stick to beat Nabokov and give Chicago the 4-1 margin.

The momentum was clearly in the Blackhawks favor after 30 minutes, but the Sharks kept chipping away at the lead. AHL Worcester Sharks leading scorer Ryan Vesce was denied his first NHL goal, but Jamie McGinn was credited with his 4th NHL goal after a nice drive down the left wing. McGinn took a pass off the wall and snapped a low shot on net before defenseman Brian Campbell could close on him. The puck pinballed in the crease as the 5-foot-8, 175-pound Vesce flung himself into the net while checked by a much larger defenseman. Vesce spun and poked the puck in the net, but it was ruled to have crossed the line on McGinn's earlier shot. Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov bailed out Jeremy Roenick and Marc-Edouard Vlasic as a miscommunication lead to another point blank attempt by Byfuglien. Highlight reel glove save of the game.

The Sharks clawed back to within 1 goal as Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored his 6th goal of the season at 11:37. Jeremy Roenick won a battle for the puck in the corner and threw it out to Joe Thornton. Short Thornton pass to Cheechoo in front was moved to Vlasic on the point. Vlasic's shot from the top of the circle deflected off a Chicago body at beat Nikolai Khabibulin to make the score 4-3 with 28+ minutes remaining. After snapping his 9-game goalless drought in the first period, Andrew Ladd added an insurance goal 5:35 into the third period. Ladd entered the zone then dropped a pass for Bolland while driving to the side of the net. A shot/pass by Bolland was deflected around an extended Nabokov to give Chicago a 5-3 lead.

Without roughly 2 forward lines and a defensive pair on the injured list, the Sharks were business as usual in the third period. The have shown the ability and confidence to come from behind in all manner of situations this season. That continued with center Joe Pavelski slicing his way around 2 Blackhawks in the offensive zone and snapping a shot before Khabibulin closed down the 5-hole. A home run, neutral zone wide Pavelski pass to Devin Setoguchi set up the next goal. Setoguchi blew by Campbell, who struggled to make the turn and catch up on the play. Setoguchi made a hard move to his forehand and broke through the Bulin Wall gloveside. Score 5-4 with 5:07 remaining in the third.

The Sharks were coming at Chicago in waves, and the momentum had clearly shifted back to San Jose. Joe Thornton channeled Jamie McGinn and Devin Setoguchi and drove wide right around Chicago's best defenseman in Brent Seabrook. Duncan Keith and Dave Bolland were there for a possible backcheck, but they played off Thornton and let him drive the net. Thornton carried the puck with one hand on his stick around Seabrook, then cut hard to his backhand and punched it past Khabibulin to tie the game at 5-5 and send it into overtime. Jeremy Roenick and Marc-Edouard Vlasic assisted on the play.

Nikolai Khabibulin made 23 saves on 28 shots, and stopped both shootout attempts against to earn his 19th win over the season (19-7-6, .916SV%, 2.52GAA, 1SO). Khabibulin, who was platooning with Cristobal Huet before a recent injury, appears to have been given the reigns down the stretch with 5 out of the last 6 starts. Evgeni Nabokov stopped 27 of 32 shots against. According to TimeonIce's NHL shift charts, Roenick started the game on the third line with Travis Moen and Ryan Vesce before moving up to Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo's line in the second period. Jonathan Cheechoo and Douglas Murray briefly left the ice, but they both returned to finish out the game. Assistant head coach Trent Yawney was quoted on the Comcast broadcast after the second period, "we minimized turnovers after the first period but sometimes we try to make plays that aren't there... sometimes we just need to get it out".

[Update] Sharks rally against Blackhawks, then lose in shootout - San Jose Mercury News.

[Update2] Hawks shine in shootout, Kane, Toews goals cement victory, lift Hawks back into 4th place - Chicago Sun Times.

The Hawks blew leads of 4-1 and 5-3 but still managed to get the two points, their margin over the idle Vancouver Canucks for fourth place in the Western Conference. "It was a huge win at the end of the day," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "We've just got to be a little more comfortable in that setting."

[Update3] Chicago Blackhawks beat San Jose Sharks in shootout, Move ahead of Canucks with shootout victory - Chicago Tribune.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Darryl Hunt: Worcester Sharks Booster Club Announces Team Awards

The Worcester Sharks Booster Club held its third annual awards dinner Wednesday night at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. Voting was done by the members of the booster club starting at the end of February, and concluded during the first weekend in March.

The awards, as announced by Booster Club President Rich Lundin were:
Best Offensive Player - Ryan Vesce
Best Defensive Player - Derek Joslin
Tough Guy Award - Brad Staubitz
Seven Hills 7th Player - P.J. Fenton
Rookie of the Year - Jamie McGinn
Best Single Game Performance - Fenton; for his hat trick and assist vs Springfield on 2/28
MVP - Vesce
Fan Favorite - Riley Armstrong

Derek Joslin was also presented with the puck he won the hardest shot with during the 2009 AHL Skills Competition.

Former NHL player and referee Paul Stewart was the keynote speaker.

Darryl Hunt: WorSharks, Greiss Steal Two Points in Bridgeport

The Worcester Sharks, behind the strength of four first period goals and 47 saves from Thomas Greiss, ended their three game losing streak with a 5-3 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Tuesday night at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Connecticut in front of an announced crowd of 2,177.

Bridgeport also has a photo gallery of the game on their web site.

With all the injuries in San Jose that have resulted in recalls, Worcester had no healthy scratches.

With the NCAA East Regional of the Men's Division 1 Ice Hockey Tournament heading to Bridgeport next weekend the Sound Tigers' logo was missing from center ice and was instead replaced by the NCAA logo. The teams competing in the regional round in Bridgeport are Air Force, Michigan, Vermont, and Yale.

The three stars of the game were
1. P.J. Fenton (2 goals)
2. Thomas Greiss (47 saves)
3. Sean Bentivoglio (g,a)

Even Strength Lines


WOR 4 1 0 - 5
BRI 1 1 1 - 3

1st Period
Scoring: 1, Worcester, Zalewski 12 (Moore), 2:00. 2, Worcester, Fenton 5 (Fornataro, Joslin), 3:13 (pp). 3, Bridgeport, Joensuu 18 (Bentivoglio, MacDonald), 7:31. 4, Worcester, Fornataro 10 (Demers, Fox), 10:48 (pp). 5, Worcester, Fenton 6 (Armstrong, Fox), 19:13.
Penalties-Haley Bri (unsportsmanlike conduct), 2:17; MacDonald Bri (roughing), 9:02; Sim Bri (slashing), 11:10; MacDonald Bri (holding), 14:24; served by Fornataro Wor (bench minor - too many men), 16:06.

2nd Period
Scoring: 6, Worcester, Desjardins 8 (Demers, DaSilva), 15:53. 7, Bridgeport, Bentivoglio 9 (Colliton, Lee), 16:41.
Penalties-Campbell Wor (holding the stick), 2:39; Kaspar Wor (tripping), 5:43; Traverse Wor (hooking), 10:37.

3rd Period
Scoring: 8, Bridgeport, Walter 18 (Wotton), 15:48.
Penalties-Desjardins Wor (tripping), 0:53; Moore Wor (interference), 12:04; McLaren Wor (delay of game), 13:26.

Shots on Goal
Worcester 16-7-4-27
Bridgeport 13-15-22-50

Power-play opportunities
Worcester 2 of 4
Bridgeport 0 of 7

Worcester, Greiss 22-22-2 (50 shots-47 saves)
Bridgeport, Lawson 17-7-2 (16 shots-12 saves); Mannino 14-11-2 (11 shots-10 saves)

A-2,177. Referee: Nygel Pelletier (41). Linesmen: Luke Galvin (2), Kevin Redding (16).

Max Giese: Sharks Sign 2007 First-Round Pick Nick Petrecki

Sources tell Sharkspage that the San Jose Sharks have signed defenseman Nick Petrecki and that he will be joining the Worcester Sharks for the remainder of the season if he can do it while finishing his classes. Petrecki, one of two of the Sharks first-round picks in 2007 (28th overall), is leaving school after playing two seasons at Boston College where he accumulated 5 goals, 14 assists, and 263 penalty minutes in 77 games. A physical force noted for his hulk like strength and tenacious mean streak, Petrecki is also a phenomenal skater with remarkable buoyancy on his feet for a player of his size. Many NHL scouts have noted that he has "out grown" the NCAA and all believe is a wise move for his development.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sharks continue to build momentum down the stretch with another solid defensive performance in 5-2 win over Dallas Stars

San Jose Sharks Patrick Marleau Dallas Stars goaltender Marty Turco hockey photo
Dallas Stars center Mike Modano
San Jose Sharks Devin Setoguchi Dallas Stars Steve Ott
San Jose Sharks center Marcel Goc injury

Notes from the San Jose Sharks 5-2 win over the Dallas Stars will be posted soon. Video highlights are available here. A photo gallery from the game is available here.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sharks Prospect Alex Stalock wins WCHA Title and Awards

Goaltender Alex Stalock, the Sharks' 4th round selection in 2005, has blossomed into a premiere prospect that is may be the best goaltender in the NCAA. The junior's recent heroics helped Minnesota Duluth become the first WCHA play in winner to win the Final Five Championship. The Bulldogs used three consecutive upsets over conference rivals North Dakota, Denver, and the Minnesota Gophers to win the WCHA title. Below is a tournament report on Stalock, who pitched two shut-outs in three of the upsets.

Alex Stalock (SJ), G, Minnesota Duluth
Talk about a decorated prospect, Stalock was the WCHA goaltender of the year, first team All-WCHA, awarded the top goaltender of the tournament, and was named the tournament’s MVP .. displayed his ability to steal a game on his own by stopping 39 out of 40 shots in a win against the Minnesota Gophers .. then followed that performance with a 31 save shut-out against the number one seeded Fighting Sioux and then another shut-out against Denver in the Championship game .. probably the hottest goaltender in the NCAA right now and is nearly a clone of Marty Turco with the leadership qualities of Martin Brodeur .. a brilliant skater and puck handler that is blessed with high end athleticism .. his puck handling ability forces the opposition to readjust their forechecking game .. a natural born leader and this translates to the ice where he always has his teammates fighting hard for him .. his rebound control was inconsistent and he got lucky a few times while out of position, but overall there is no goaltender more feared and respected by his opponents in the NCAA than Alex Stalock.

Dan Boyle launches playerpress designed blog at

San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle launches blog

Dan Boyle joined teammates Jeremy Roenick, Christian Ehrhoff and Marcel Goc by releasing his own personal website recently at The Player Press designed site is still in its formative stages, but it already contains a photo gallery, a blog, an online store, and a section where fans can email questions for Boyle to answer.

The colorful Boyle currently is 5th on the Sharks in scoring with 14 goals, 35 assists and 49 points in 65 games played. Boyle, who lead all defenseman in scoring in January, now ranks 6th in the NHL trailing Mike Green, Andrei Markov, Brian Rafalski, Mark Streit and Nicklas Lidstrom. Boyle has joined Green, Rafalski, Lidstrom, Streit and Chara as the 6 defensive candidates at the top of the class for 2008-09 Norris Trophy consideration. The New York Times (quoting Chris Botta of and ESPN's Scott Burnside include Dan Boyle in their final 3 Norris Trophy nominations.

Earlier this season Yahoo's Greg Wyshynski featured Boyle after his first career NHL All-Star Game appearance where he was ironically paired with defenseman Brian Campbell.

That said, count Boyle among those NHL players who believe there should be some added incentive for an all-star game victory. His teammate Joe Thornton floated the idea that winning team's players would be exempt from paying into the League's escrow account. But Boyle wants to see Canada's religion take a page from America's pastime.

"Down the road, they should look into making it just like the baseball game, where you get home-field advantage," he said. "[But] you obviously don't want to see guys get hurt. You have to worry about that, too. But it's something to think about. I'm not saying 'let's do that,' but just make it worthwhile."

It was a worthwhile weekend for Boyle, as he leaves with a two-point game... even if he didn't end his all-star debut in Gordie Howe style. "Yeah... I just didn't fight. That was the only thing that was missing for the hat trick," he said in the Western Conference locker room. "Maybe it's not too late, and I can find a guy [in here]." Was he eyeing anyone on the Eastern Conference side during the game. "Marty St. Louis," said Boyle. "I think I can take him."

[Update] STREIT’S UPHILL BATTLE FOR A NORRIS NOD, Only a final flourish will give him a shot at Vegas - Chris Botta for

My prediction for the third nomination after Green and Lidstrom is Dan Boyle. The first-year Shark is 14-34-48 and only +8. He’s the 5th leading scorer among NHL defensemen, while Streit is current tied for third. The big difference is Streit’s Islanders are last in the NHL and 14 games under .500, Boyle’s Sharks are second in the league and an incredible 32 games over .500. San Jose is also tied with Boston and New Jersey for the fewest goals allowed (167). Boyle leads the team with 24:40 average time on ice.

Chris Botta has Boyle earning the third nomination after Green and Lidstrom. It is hard to argue with his top 3, and any selection is going to leave out defenseman having excellent seasons.

Darryl Hunt: WorSharks Silenced By Sound Tigers

The Worcester Sharks started a four game road trip on the wrong foot after a 2-1 loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Friday night at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Connecticut in front of an announced crowd of 3,049.

The Sound Tigers' website also has a nice photo gallery from the game.

With Ryan Vesce being recalled to San Jose, P.J. Fenton--who had been reassigned to Phoenix of the ECHL earlier in the week--was recalled to Worcester. Worcester's injury list remains unchanged, although Cory Larose is expected to play some time this weekend.

Worcester continues its four game road trip with games in Lowell Saturday night and in Springfield Sunday afternoon. The WorSharks return to Bridgeport Tuesday night in a game rescheduled from February 14.

The three stars of the game were:
1. James Sixsmith (gwg)
2. Nathan Lawson (37 saves)
3. Riley Armstrong (g)

Even Strength Lines


WOR 0 0 1 - 1
BRI 0 1 1 - 2

1st Period
No Scoring.
Penalties: Lawson Bri, served by Lessard (delay of game), 5:31.

2nd Period
Scoring: 1, Bridgeport, Lessard 11 (Fraser, Walter), 8:34.
Penalties: Jones Wor (interference), 2:51; Cavanagh Wor (tripping), 13:19; Joensuu Bri (cross-checking), 19:36.

3rd Period
Scoring: 2, Worcester, Armstrong 23 (Cavanagh, Kaspar), 1:13 (pp). 3, Bridgeport, Sixsmith 4 (Haskins, Lee), 6:17.
Penalties: Wotton Bri (delay of game), 14:33.

Shots on Goal
Worcester 4 16 18 - 38
Bridgeport 8 9 5 - 22

Power-play opportunities
Worcester 1 of 3
Bridgeport 0 of 2

Worcester, Greiss 22-20-2 (22 shots-20 saves)
Bridgeport, Lawson 16-7-2 (38 shots-37 saves)

A-3,049. Referee: Ryan Fraser (14). Linesmen: Derek Wahl (46), Paul Simeon (66).

Friday, March 20, 2009

San Jose earns second straight shootout win at home, Cheechoo delivers another game deciding shootout goal as Sharks down Nashville 3-2

The Sharks rebounded from a disheartening loss to Phoenix with another solid performance at home en route to a 3-2 OT shootout win over the Nashville Predators. Jonathan Cheechoo's game winning shootout goal against Los Angles on Saturday came with a psuedo-soccer style penalty kick pause, before he snapped it gloveside past Erik Ersberg. Against Nashville's hot 6-foot-5 goaltender Pekka Rinne on Thursday night, Cheechoo threw a much quicker hesitation move then stalled with the puck on his forehand. Rinne bit completely dropping both leg pads to cover the 5-hole, and Cheechoo tucked a backhand in the open net to give the Sharks a 2-1 shootout margin. Legwand missed the net on the final opportunity, giving the Sharks a 3-2 OT shootout win.

The Sharks (46-14-10, 102 points) moved to within 1 point of Detroit (47-15-9, 103 points) for first place in the NHL/Western Conference with a game in hand. San Jose is 2 points ahead of Eastern Conference leading Boston with 2 games in hand. As noted by radio analyst Jamie Baker, if the Sharks lost to Nashville in OT they would not mathematically control their own destiny as the Wings own the playoff tiebreaker (games won, points earned in games between 2 competing clubs, goal differential).

It was a statement game for Cheechoo, who was reunited on the top line with Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton. He finished with 5 shots (1 on goal, 4 missed shots), and was a catalyst on both sides of the ice. After averaging 13-15 minutes a game for for most of 2009, Cheechoo has been in the 18-20 minute range in consecutive games agaist Phoenix and Nashville. "I have been getting chances for awhile, I need to start putting some in," Cheechoo told reporters after the game. On the game-winning goal he mentioned studying Pekka Rinne earlier in the shootout. Rinne gave up a goal to Joe Pavelski and stopped Dan Boyle. "I go in there with a plan... see if he is back in or if he is playing out." Cheechoo said. "He was playing a little higher out on me, he is a big goalie I wanted to get him to move one way or the other".

San Jose is going to lean heavily on the Moose Factory native with the absence of Clowe. Having seven top-6 forwards is not a luxury most teams have, but head coach Todd McLellan has dropped veterans Jeremy Roenick, Travis Moen, and Jonathan Cheechoo on the top line when circumstances warrant. The Sharks injury list is still in a pretty massive state of flux. After third line center Marcel Goc returned to the lineup, his fill-in Tomas Plihal suffered an injury in warmups. Evgeni Nabokov and Rob Blake returned from brief absences only to have Ryane Clowe go down (for a reported 7-10 games on last night's telecast). Christian Ehrhoff's brief 3-game absence was not performance-related, but was instead a lower body injury. Claude Lemieux (upper body), Mike Grier (knee), Jeremy Roenick (shoulder), and Kent Huskins (foot) are out but expected to return for playoff duty. Assistant coach Todd Richards said in an intermission interview "With change comes opportunity, some guys are going to get ice time and take advantage of it". Defenseman Alexei Semenov was the Sharks only healthy scratch against Nashville.

Nashville is also coping with the loss of leading scorer and captain Jason Arnott, Radek Bonk and Wade Belak to injuries. The Predators responded with a 14-6-3 record in February and March, putting themselves into the 8th and final playoff seed with 10 games left to play in the season. Under head coach Barry Trotz, Nashville has his team peaking at the right time. They are having success by outworking other teams and playing hard for 60 minutes. The Predators earned 6 points on a 4-game West Coast road trip to give themselves a little seperation in a tight playoff stretch run.

The Sharks have been sliding in a somewhat in a neutral direction. After Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton started the season with a nasty edge to their game, the team has stalled to a 9-7-5 record in February and March, hardly the NHL record setting pace they were on the first 4 months of the season (36-7-5). After giving up 3 first period goals to the last placed team in the Western Conference, the Sharks held a team-only 90-minute meeting on Wednesday to help clear the air between the players. Head coach Todd McLellan said on Thursday's broadcast that he did not say much at the meeting, the players had already heard enough of his voice. He also noted that the media may make too much of a direction setting meeting.

Last season after being shutout 2-0 in a rare three games in one week duel with the Anaheim Ducks, then head coach Ron Wilson said "This gives me a chance to look right in everybody's eye and see who can play in this kind of atmosphere, this kind of mini-playoffs against the Stanley Cup defending champions. You have decisions to make after what you see". It is the same challenging style Wilson is using in Toronto, but the Sharks did not respond well. A 3-2 shootout loss to the Phoenix Coyotes where Shane Doan outworked several players for the game tying and game winning goals spurred a 2-hour team meeting. After the meeting, the Sharks were hammered on home ice 5-2 by the Anaheim Ducks. "It's in a bad place... some of it is lack of confidence. We talked about this. The same people aren't ready to compete when it mattered most. It's going to be an interesting practice tomorrow" Ron Wilson said after the Anahiem loss.

The practice wasn't interesting, and it wasn't even much of a practice. Wilson decided to give many players time off, and he deflected any questions about the team's performance deciding instead to talk about upcoming Christmas shopping. After the team meeting on Wednesday, and prior to Thursday's matchup with Nashville, head coach Todd McLellan noted that it may take time for the Sharks to adjust their play for the playoffs "but when it's all said and done our game should be going upwards, not flat, not down" he told the Mercury News.

Joe Thornton, Craig Rivet and Torrey Mitchell were the three catalysts last season with the team struggling out of the gate on the power play and on home ice. Two of those players are no longer in the lineup (Rivet traded to Buffalo, Mitchell on IR). This season the Sharks have a much deeper offensive attack with 6 forwards scoring 20 or more goals and for the first time in NHL history 4 defenseman with 30 or more points, but more often than not they have been able to score their way out of problems. Giving up early goals or late leads has been papered over by furious attacks in the finals minutes or even seconds. Poor line changes and inconsistent play has also opened the door for other teams. The Sharks have the firepower to close out teams early and impose their will, but they often play down to the ability of their opponent.

McLellan has stressed from training camp that there would eventually be hurdles to overcome, and it would be sticking to the process that would pull them through. Create traffic in front of goaltenders, take advantage of one of the largest lineups in the NHL in front of the net and in the corners, make smart decisions moving the puck out of your own zone, and hammer shots on goal from the point. Time and space close down in the post season, and garbage goals and rebounds become playoff gold. There are 6 teams within 7 points of the last 2 playoff spots with 10 games left in the season, this is going to be the playoffs for 5 of them. The Sharks have 6 games remaining against Dallas, Nashville, Edmonton, Los Angeles and Anaheim. This is purely speculation, but I imagine general manager Doug Wilson told the team that they need to match the desperation and intensity of those teams battling for the playoffs if they want to have postseason success.

San Jose can look back at their last 3 coaches and take a lesson from each. Darryl Sutter stressed 100% effort, and he had a less talented team running through walls for him prior to the start of the postseason. Ron Wilson stressed results. He gave the best players large minutes and expected them to get the job done. Todd McLellan has stressed the process. One ESPN analyst said that 2008-09 is a "Stanley Cup or Bust" season for the Sharks, but after 4 straight disappointing playoff exits a majority of the fanbase in San Jose will be satisfied with 100% effort executing Todd McLellan's philosophy game in and game out. Over a 7-game playoff series, you have to like this team's odds in that scenario.

The Sharks have started to bear down approaching the final stretch of the regular season. With the exception of allowing 3 first period goals to Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose has turned in it's best defensive performance over a 5 game period since the first half. Against Nashville, Rob Blake opened the scoring on a 5-on-3 power play in the first period. After excellent puck movement, Joe Thornton fed Blake at the opposite point for a booming 1-timer that beat Rinne gloveside. The Sharks had trouble getting shots through traffic as the Predators blocked 18 total shots to San Jose's 8. Defenseman Dan Hamhuis waited for traffic to clog up the ice in front of him, and his point shot traveled through 7 bodies deflecting off of Joel Ward. The puck bounced off the ice a few feet in front of Nabokov and into the net to even the score at 1-1.

A miscue on the power play saw the puck hop over the stick of Joe Pavelski, opening up a clear breakaway for Vernon Fiddler on Evgeni Nabokov. Fiddler used a hard deke to his backhand for a shot up high, one that has worked for him in the shootout, and it worked 5-on-5 as well. Fiddler gave Nashville a 2-1 lead, and the momentum briefly swung in the Predators favor. Devin Setoguchi moved down to the second line with Pavelski and Michalek, and he registered a game-high 7 shots and tied for the lead with 4 hits. On the ice with Goc and Michalek with seconds remaining in the first period, Michalek created two quality scoring chances in front of the net. He shoveled a pass by Goc on Rinne, then chopped twice at a hard angle rebound that deflected off the goaltender to tie the game at 2-2. Defenseman Ryan Suter had his body planted in front of Michalek, but he could not move him off his stick in despite a final diving effort.

Brad Staubitz challenged Jordin Tootoo in the second period for one of the best Middleweight NHL battles of the year to date. Staubitz zero'd in with his left hand directly to the head of Tootoo, and then started hurting him with right uppercuts as Tootoo tried to clinch. According to, Staubitz has 8 fights with the San Jose Sharks (72PIMS) this year and 10 with the AHL Worcester Sharks (130PIMS). Worcester Sharks leading scorer Ryane Vesce was also called up after the loss of Ryane Clowe. Vesce registered 6:17 of ice time on the fourth line with Jody Shelley and Jamie McGinn, and finished 3-3 from the faceoff circle. Evgeni Nabokov stopped 24 of 26 shots to earn his 35th win of the season.

[Update] What meeting? How Joe Thornton and others saw today’s session — plus a Brodeur-Strelow tale - David Pollak's Working the Corners blog.

[Update2] Team Calls Meeting In Lieu of Practice Sharks Players, Coaches and Staff Met for 90 Minutes on Wednesday -

Instead of a full practice at HP Pavilion on Wednesday, the Sharks met for 90 minutes in the locker room. The extended session included the entire hockey department from Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson to the coaches, players and staff.

Following the meeting, a few players took to the ice for an optional skate. The Tuesday night 4-3 loss in Phoenix wasn’t the entire reason for the gathering, but it was likely the impetus for the session.

“It wasn’t a direct result (of Phoenix),” head coach Todd McLellan said. “It was going to happen. If it was a 4-3 win, we probably still would’ve had the meeting. It’s a meeting that needed to happen and teams have them at this time of the year.”

[Update3] Sharks forward Clowe out after surgery - USA Today.

Left wing Ryane Clowe will be out of the San Jose Sharks' lineup for at least a week after undergoing lower-body surgery. Clowe is the latest San Jose regular to be sidelined by an unspecified injury, which apparently occurred during the Sharks' loss at Phoenix on Tuesday night.

[Update4] The Cheechoo train rides the Sharks to a shootout win -

Monday, March 16, 2009

Darryl Hunt: WorSharks Make Hartford Pack It In, 4-1

The Worcester Sharks used another strong game from Thomas Greiss and three second period goals to defeat the Hartford Wolf Pack 4-1 Sunday afternoon at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of an announced crowd of 5,723.

With both teams playing their third game in less than 48 hours, it wasn't all that shocking that the first period was a sloppy affair. It was clearly evident when the WorSharks had a four minute power play when Hartford defenseman Jared Nightingale was called for both roughing and a misconduct--he also got a 10 minute misconduct for his troubles--and Worcester could only muster one shot on goal, a dribbling clear in that Hartford goaltender Miika Wiikman could have handled while drinking a cup of coffee.

Worcester’s two best chances came at exact opposite ends of the period. The first came just over a minute into the game when a penalty kill clear hit the glass and bounded awkwardly toward the Hartford goal. Wiikman, who was moving toward the boards to intercept the puck, had to make a diving stick save as the puck bounded toward the far post. The second was with less than 10 seconds remaining in the period when Frazer McLaren threw a nifty backhand pass into the slot and right on the tape of T.J. Fox. Wiikman made an arm save of the blast to keep the game scoreless.

Hartford would grab the first goal of the game when Worcester got a little unlucky. Greiss made a skate save off a blast from the point, but the puck rebounded just out of his reach. Derek Joslin collected the puck and tried to tuck it under Greiss, but the puck went through the netminder’s legs where Hartford winger, and former San Jose Shark, Patrick Rissmiller pushed it into the empty net for the 1-0 lead just 2:07 into the second period.

Worcester would knot the game after a great individual effort by Riley Armstrong. Armstrong carried the puck into the Hartford zone and wheeled the net, throwing the puck into the slot. The puck would be cleared by a Pack defender, but right on to the stick of Mike Moore. Moore passed the puck to the near point where Brett Westgarth fired it on net. The puck deflected off the stick of defender Michael Sauer and right to Armstrong, who fired it over Wiikman to light the lamp at 6:14

Worcester would grab a 2-1 lead on the power play when Patrick Traverse intercepted a clearing attempt and fired it on net. Wiikman made the save, but the rebound went right to Ryan Vesce in the slot. Vesce froze Wiikman with a great head fake and passed to Tom Cavanagh wide open at the far post. Cavanagh buried it over the dive of Wiikman for the eventual game winner at 8:30

The WorSharks would get another power play tally at 14:42 when Lukas Kaspar streaked down the left side and fired a blast from the face-off circle that beat Wiikman to the short side.

The final nail in Hartford’s coffin was another great individual play by Armstrong, who carried the puck into the Pack zone. Armstrong fed Steven Zalewski along the half wall, who found Fox all alone in front. Fox’s blast found both the post and the back of the net for the 4-1 final.

All that was left was the normal Hartford shenanigans, but referee Nygel Pelletier would have none of it, sending both Nightingale and Devin DiDiomete to the showers with 10-minute misconducts at 19:35.

Worcester’s healthy scratches were P.J. Fenton and Michael Wilson. The injury list is unchanged, but both Cory Larose and Kyle McLaren should be returning to action shortly.

Two great plays that won’t appear in the box score...the first was Riley Armstrong drawing a roughing minor on Jared Nightingale after Cory Potter had already been whistled for holding. My very unofficial count has Armstrong drawing four penalties in the game. The second was Patrick Traverse swooping in and clearing away from the goal line after a shot broke through Greiss late in the third period.

Worcester’s third line (Campbell/Desjardins/DaSilva) didn’t get on the score sheet as a line, but for most of the game they were the three players that seemed to be having their best game. In discussions with fans during the first intermission there was a lot of talk of wanting to see that line take a power play shift. It was near unanimous that it would never happen, though.

The three stars of the game were:
1. Armstrong (g,a)
2. Greiss (21 saves)
3. Cavanagh (g,a)
That would have been my ballot had they handed me one.

Even Strength Lines


Penalty Kill Lines


Power Play Lines

When it was 5v3, Zalewski moved to the right point and Kaspar moved to right wing.

HAR 0 1 0 - 1
WOR 0 3 1 - 4

1st Period
No Scoring.
Penalties-Moore Wor (hooking), 0:56; Vesce Wor (interference), 7:23; Nightingale Hfd (roughing, unsportsmanlike conduct, misconduct - abuse of officials), 11:24.

2nd Period
Scoring: 1, Hartford, Rissmiller 9 (Parenteau, Moore), 2:07 (pp). 2, Worcester, Armstrong 23 (Moore, Westgarth), 6:14. 3, Worcester, Cavanagh 15 (Fornataro, Vesce), 8:30 (pp). 4, Worcester, Kaspar 15 (Traverse, Cavanagh), 14:42 (pp).
Penalties: Desjardins Wor (tripping), 0:40; Pyatt Hfd (interference), 8:02; Dupont Hfd (cross-checking), 14:00; Nightingale Hfd (roughing), 15:57; Potter Hfd (holding), 15:57; Fox Wor (interference), 19:01.

3rd Period
Scoring: 5, Worcester, Fox 6 (Armstrong, Zalewski), 9:52.
Penalties-Denisov Hfd (roughing), 11:51; McLaren Wor (holding the stick), 11:51; Parenteau Hfd (roughing, misconduct), 12:02; Joslin Wor (cross-checking), 16:41; DiDiomete Hfd (roughing, misconduct), 19:35; Nightingale Hfd (misconduct), 19:35.

Shots on Goal
Hartford 7-7-8-22
Worcester 8-10-11-29

Power-play opportunities
Hartford 1 of 5
Worcester 2 of 7

Hartford, Wiikman 18-18-3 (29 shots-25 saves)
Worcester, Greiss 22-19-2 (22 shots-21 saves)

A-5,723. Referee: Nygel Pelletier (41). Linesmen: Bob Paquette (18), Brian MacDonald (72).

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Nabokov and Blake return, Sharks down Los Angeles Kings 2-1 after 7-round overtime shootout

San Jose Sharks down Los Angeles Kings 2-1 in Overtime Shootout
Los Angeles Kings goaltender Erik Ersberg NHL hockey photo
NHL San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski picture

More notes from the San Jose Sharks 2-1 OT Shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings will be posted soon. Video highlights from the game are available here. A photo gallery from the game is available here.

Darryl Hunt: WorSharks Defeat Manchester, 4-2

The Worcester Sharks, behind some incredible saves by Thomas Greiss and Ryan Vesce's game winning goal, ended their three game losing streak in a 4-2 victory over the Manchester Monarchs Saturday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire in front of an announced crowd of 7,705.

Worcester would grab the first goal of the game at 18:46 of the first while skating on a five on three power play. Manchester goaltender Jonathan Bernier had made a couple of good saves to keep Worcester off the board, but had no chance on Tom Cavanagh's roofer from the slot that went just over Bernier and just under the crossbar for the 1-0 lead.

Manchester would knot the game 1-1 with a pretty power play goal of their own. Worcester was playing the box perfectly, and had backed Manchester center Marty Murray behind the goal line forcing him to take a bad angle shot. The puck pinballed through the slot in the air, where Brian Boyle picked out of the air cleanly and batted it into the net at 6:11.

Worcester would grab a 2-1 lead at 16:19 on a play Manchester defended pretty well. Trent Campbell broke into the zone and fed a streaking Derek Joslin down the left boards. Joslin fired a laser from the face-off circle that just beat Bernier and hit the crossbar, rebounding just inside the far post to light the lamp.

Sharks captain Ryan Vesce would grab an insurance marker--and eventual game winner--after a nice feed by Jason Demers. Vesce broke in on Bernier and held the puck just long enough to freeze the rookie netminder, beating him low to make the score 3-1 at 6:06 of the third.

WorSharks netminder Thomas Greiss' only mistake of the game allowed Manchester to get within one. Greiss lost control of the puck behind his own net, and Monarchs captain Marty Murray would capitalize to make it 3-2.

But from that point on it was all Greiss, as he made great save after great save. The save of the game--and maybe of the season--came with Worcester skating down two men. Manchester's Murray would find himself all alone in front of the net and behind Greiss, and flipped the puck into the yawning net. Only it didn't get there. Literally out of nowhere, Greiss dove across the crease to just get the paddle on it to deflect it away harmlessly.

Manchester would pull Bernier for the extra attacker with over a minute to go and would apply pressure nearly the entire time, but more great saves by Greiss kept Worcester in the lead. T.J. Fox would grab an empty net goal with 2.3 seconds remaining after a long three zone feed by Riley Armstrong sent him in behind the onrushing Monarchs.

Worcester's scratches were the same as Friday night, with Matt Jones and Michael Wilson being healthy scratches. According to team sources, Kyle McLaren's long run on the injury list might be coming to an end soon, maybe as early as next Friday in Bridgeport.

Worcester was in their home whites for the game in Manchester as the Monarchs wore dark specialty jerseys that were being auctioned off for charity. Saturday was also "Mullet Night" in Manchester, and mullet wigs were handed out to fans as the entered the building. Arena staff were also wearing the wigs, as did the Monarchs as they skated out to the ice for warm-ups.

Patrick Traverse celebrated his 35th birthday Saturday night by grabbing two helpers, the first on Cavanagh's power play tally and the second on Vesce's game winner. That's much better than how his 34th birthday was on the ice--he wasn't on it. He was on the injury list with a hand injury last season.

The three stars of the game were:
1. Vesce (gwg,a)
2. Murray (g,a)
3. Greiss (29 saves)
How Greiss wasn't the #1 star is beyond me. Worcester might have gotten blown out of the building without his incredible play.

Even Strength Lines


Power Play Lines


Penalty Kill Lines


WOR 1 1 2 - 4
MCH 0 1 1 - 2

1st Period
Scoring: 1, Worcester, Cavanagh 14 (Vesce, Traverse), 18:46 (pp).
Penalties: Voynov Mch (hooking), 2:23; Buckley Wor (hooking), 8:12; Drewiske Mch (misconduct), 11:55; Meckler Mch (holding), 16:58; Campbell Mch (cross-checking), 17:41.

2nd Period
Scoring: 2, Manchester, Boyle 9 (Murray, Gauthier), 6:11 (pp). 3, Worcester, Joslin 9 (Campbell, DaSilva), 16:19.
Penalties: Armstrong Wor (hooking), 5:34; Meckler Mch (interference), 9:34; Desjardins Wor (holding), 12:16; Parse Mch (hooking), 17:25.

3rd Period
Scoring: 4, Worcester, Vesce 22 (Demers, Traverse), 6:06. 5, Manchester, Murray 12 (Parse, Moulson), 12:13. 6, Worcester, Fox 5 (Armstrong), 19:57 (en).
Penalties: Moore Wor (hooking), 3:16; Drewiske Mch (holding), 9:32; Campbell Wor (hooking), 12:34; Moore Wor (hooking), 14:01.

Shots on Goal
Worcester 11-9-7-27
Manchester 9-9-13-31

Power-play opportunities
Worcester 1 of 6
Manchester 1 of 6

Worcester, Greiss 21-19-2 (31 shots-29 saves)
Manchester, Bernier 19-19-3 (26 shots-23 saves)

A-7,705. Referee: Francois St. Laurent (38). Linesmen: Brian MacDonald (72), Mark Messier (12).

Saturday, March 14, 2009

ALIH Playoffs Update: Seibu evens Asian League Final with 3-2 win over Nippon on Saturday, China Sharks goaltender Wade Flaherty earns league honors

Asia League Ice Hockey playoff finals Seibu Prince Rabbits vs Nippon Paper Cranes

The Seibu Prince Rabbits and Nippon Paper Cranes faced off in another all-Japan Asia League Ice Hockey Finals which began this weekend. Seibu has to be the sentimental favorite after an announcement was made in January that the team would cease operations after losing its major corporate sponsor. Founded in 1972, Seibu has been a dominant franchise earning 13 Japan League titles and 2 Asia League titles.

The news stunned several players, including Canadian imports Ryan Fujita and Joel Prpic when they heard the news. "My thoughts were with the other guys, the young guys who still want to play hockey and how it really affects them," Fujita told League chairman Iwao Nakajima said the ALIH is looking for a company to take over the team in the interim.

According to the Japan Times, Kiyoshi Fujita and Daisuke Obara scored back-to-back goals in a 3-2 come from behind win over Seibu in Game 2 of the ALIH Finals on Saturday night. The Rabbits evened the best-of-seven series at a game apiece. Veteran import Joel Prpic scored in the first period and added 2 assists.

In the first game of the Finals yesterday, Paper Cranes forward Chris Yule notched a hat trick en route to a 4-2 win. Game 3 is scheduled for Tuesday. Another Nippon semi-final youtube video with the same eye-stabbing musical background is available here, two videos of Seibu's first two semi-final games against the Oji Eagles are available here and here.

The League recently announced the 2008-09 ALIH award winners:

Most Valuable Player - Anyang Halla FW #25 Brock Radunske
Rookie of the Year - Anyang Halla FW #1 Ki-Sung Kim
Best Goaltender - China Sharks GK #33 Wade Flaherty
Best Defensive Defenseman - Seibu D #5 Fumitaka Miyauchi (5th time)
Best Offensive Defenseman - Oji D #5 Richard Persson

Best Playmaking Forward - Anyang Halla FW #43 Patrick Martinec
Best Offensive Forward - Anyang Halla FW #25 Brock Radunske
Best Defensive Forward - Seibu FW #18 Takahito Suzuki

Best Hockeytown in Asia - Tomakomai City (Oji Eagles)
"Organized numerous events both in and outside of the arena in cooperation with the team and attracted lots of fans to the games through their community-oriented, promotional efforts. As a part of recycle movement, their "Disposal Chopsticks Collection Project " has taken root and increased its results." -

Former Stockton Thunder left wing Brock Radunske won the league MVP title for the first time. Former San Jose Sharks goaltender Wade Flaherty won the best goaltender title, and finished first in the ALIH with the best save percentage (.917SV%).

ALIH Asia League Ice Hockey China Sharks
China Sharks goaltender Wade Flaherty named top ALIH goalie

In the 2008-09 ALIH regular season, the Korean Anyang Halla Ice Hockey Club finished first overall with a 22-1-2-2-2-7 record in the 36-game ALIH season (W, W-OT, W-SO, L-SO, L-OT, L), a 25-7-4 record adjusted to the typical NHL standings format. The China Sharks missed the 5-team ALIH playoffs with a 6th place 5-1-1-3-1-25 finish (7-25-4). The Sharks scored a league low 60 goals, allowing 129 goals against. The HC Nikko Icebucks struggled mightly, earning only 4 regulation 60 minute wins for the entire season (7-27-2), finishing in last place.

Anyang Halla's Brock Radunske earned the goal scoring title with 29, and the overall scoring lead with 57 points. Oji's Kunihiko Sakurai finished with a league high 40 assists. Sharkspage favorite Dong-Hwan Song, aka the Dong Rocket, finished tied for 4th in the league with 19 goals and 45 points. He finished 8th in the ALIH with 26 assists.

Jason Beeman lead the China Sharks with 15 goals (t-7th), and Adam Taylor was tied for 27th with 9. Kevin Korol finished tied for 15th in the ALIH with 22 assists, and tied for 21st in the league with 29 total points. China Sharks goaltender/coach Wade Flaherty finished with a whopping 36 games played in the 36 game season with 35:51:30 of ice time (3.29GAA, .917SV%). China Sharks goaltender Ming Xie gave up 3 goals on 16 shots in 20 minutes of ice time according to ALIH statistics.

ALIH teams are allowed five foreign-born imports. Two of the Sharks imports were player/coaches with NHL experience. 6-foot-7 defenseman Steve McKenna, a veteran of Los Angeles, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, and New York (824PIMS in 373 games played), and former San Jose Sharks goaltender Wade Flaherty played and coached for the China Sharks. Flaherty was recently named the Chicago Blackhawks developmental goaltending coach. Kevin Korol, Jason Beeman, and Adam Taylor were China's other imports. Former Sharks television announcer Chris Collins is the team's GM, and Jr Sharks coach Derek Eisler is China's head coach.

A brief history of the ALIH is available from this blog here. Current Sharks forward Claude Lemieux played 2 regular season games and 3 preseason games for the China Sharks before moving up to the organization's AHL affilate in Worcester.

[Update] Flaherty's China syndrome a real 'keeper, B.C. boy Flaherty, a long-time NHLer and former Canuck, plays, teaches goaltending in the Far East - Vancouver Sun.

There have been some truly perplexing moments. In one recent game against the Oji Eagles of Tomakomi, Japan, which ranks at the top along with the Korean team, the China Sharks managed to tie the game. Because they had never come so close, the entire team came off the bench as if they had won.

"We ended up losing that game in a shoot-out, but they were so excited that they had actually come close to beating a team in Japan."

[Update2] Collins, Sharks Paving Road to Sochi - China Sharks.

The Sharks will soon announce a new agenda for hockey development in China with a new focus on the under-23 players. SVSE Global will supervise the building of the team, who will play 60 to 85 games per season worldwide, with the sole goal of getting the group prepared to lead other Chinese players into the sport and qualify for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

"Our range of age will be wide because there has not been a commitment to these kids for quite a while in country," said Collins. According to Collins, players ranging from under-16 to under-23 will compete. Generally, the team would play under-20 players, which some teams will for the World Championships. "Yet we know that with five years left until Sochi, we must expand the players age-wise and bring the talent under one umbrella," said Collins. "We have a ton of work to do to make this happen."

[Update3] Weekend hockey update - Jhockey.

Darryl Hunt: WorSharks Lose Another Division Game

The Worcester Sharks continued their losing streak Friday night with a 4-2 loss to the Hartford Wolf Pack at the DCU Center in front of an announced crowd of 3,332.

The American Hockey League uses a divisional playoff system where the top four teams in each division in the Eastern Conference make the playoffs, and right now Worcester is on the outside looking in. With 67 points--two coming via the "loser point" for a shootout or OT loss--in 65 games, the WorSharks are playing just .500 hockey.

Counting all loser point games as losses, Worcester is 21-23 in a fairly weak division, 8-9 in non-division conference games, and 3-1 against the West. Worcester's divisional record is also a little misleading, as they are 11-4 vs the teams behind them in the standings (Lowell and Springfield), and 10-19 against the teams they are chasing (Portland, Hartford, Manchester, and Providence).

And with 15 games to go (12 divisional games) in the regular season .500 hockey won't be anywhere near good enough to make the playoffs. If the WorSharks don't make the AHL's second season, it will be two consecutive seasons they failed to qualify for the playoffs.

Going back to the 2001-02 season when San Jose moved their AHL affiliate to Cleveland, the franchise has missed the playoffs five of the last seven seasons, and has never advanced into round two. In a league where teams can almost make the playoffs on accident it sure looks like a change needs to be made somewhere.

Friday night's loss was just like too many of this season, with Worcester falling behind by multiple goals, only to comeback and make of game of it before falling behind again because of a poor play.

Thanks to big saves by Hartford goaltender Miika Wiikman and WorSharks netminder Thomas Greiss the two teams were scoreless after one period. Greiss did get some help from Riley Armstrong midway through the first stanza when a bouncing puck broke through Greiss' pads. Armstrong jumped behind Greiss and laid his stick flat along the goal line to prevent the puck from bouncing in.

Hartford would grab a 1-0 lead 4:31 of the second on a five on three advantage when Artem Anisimov tipped a Patrick Rissmiller blast from the blueline.

After exactly 20 minutes of pretty good hockey by both squads Hartford would grab another tally at 4:31 of the third when Worcester was caught standing around in their own zone. Greg Moore lit the lamp with Greiss out of position to make it 2-0.

Just 55 seconds later Worcester would get on the board when Tom Cavanagh grabbed a loose puck in the neutral zone and broke in down the right side on a three on two. Cavanagh found Patrick Traverse all alone trailing the play, and fed the defenseman for a blast that Wiikman reacted late on to bring Worcester within one.

Armstrong would add a goal to his nice defensive play after he wheeled the net and threw a backhand into traffic that somehow got by Wiikman. Jason Demers and Andrew Desjardins grabbed the helpers on the play.

Worcester's biggest problem all season has been not getting the big save from their goaltenders or a bad turnover by the defense causing an odd man rush. This time Worcester got the big saves from Greiss, who just about single handedly kept Worcester in the game, including three incredible saves while Worcester was shorthanded.

Unfortunately, a bad turnover happened resulting in a two on one. Brendan Buckley was the lone defender back, and misplayed the rush allowing not only a cross slot pass between the onrushing forwards but also a return pass. The return pass hit Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau in the foot and bounded toward the net, but Parenteau was able to bat it out of the air and into the net to erase any question about if it was kicked in or not.

Hartford would grab an empty net power play goal with 18 seconds left for the 4-2 final.

Worcester's healthy scratches were Matt Jones and Michael Wilson. With Lukas Kaspar, Derek Joslin, and Thomas Greiss all returning to action Worcester released goaltender Derek MacIntyre and defenseman Tim Branham from PTOs.

Worcester has announced its Clear Day roster. From Worcester's press release...
Each American Hockey League team submits a Clear Day roster to the league consisting of a maximum of 22 players. According to AHL by-laws, only those players listed on a team’s Clear Day roster are eligible to compete in the remainder of the 2008-09 AHL regular season and in the 2009 Calder Cup Playoffs, unless emergency conditions arise as a result of recall, injury or suspension.

Goaltenders: Taylor Dakers and Thomas Greiss

Skaters: Brendan Buckley, Jason Demers, Derek Joslin, Kyle McLaren, Mike Moore, Patrick Traverse, Brett Westgarth, Riley Armstrong, Tom Cavanagh, Andrew Desjardins, Matt Fornataro, T.J. Fox, Matt Jones, Lukas Kaspar, Corey Larose, Frazer McLaren, Jamie McGinn, Brad Staubitz, Ryan Vesce, Steven Zalewski.

The Sharks also have seven skaters "In Residence" for the remainder of the regular season and Calder Cup playoffs, allowing them to play for the team in emergency situations. These skaters are:

In residence: Tim Branham, Trent Campbell, Dan DaSilva, P.J. Fenton, Derek MacIntrye, Mike Morris, Michael Wilson

Teams may also add signed junior players or players on amateur tryout contracts, only after their respective junior of college seasons are complete.

The Clear Day roster is one of the silliest things the AHL does as the rules about injuries are so lax that teams can play just about anyone they choose whenever they want, and can add players to the "In residence" list at will.

The three stars of the game were:
1. Parenteau (gwg,a)
2. Armstrong (g)
3. Rissmiller (2g)
My ballot, which for some reason I haven't been handed one lately, would have been Parenteau, Greiss (23 saves), and Armstrong.

Even Strength Lines


Power Play Lines


Penalty Kill Lines


HAR 0 1 3 - 4
WOR 0 0 2 - 2

1st Period
Scoring: None.
Penalties: Bell Hfd (tripping), 3:49; Potter Hfd (cross-checking), 5:44; Demers Wor (holding), 11:38.

2nd Period
Scoring: 1, Hartford, Anisimov 28 (Rissmiller, Parenteau), 4:31 (pp).
Penalties: Vesce Wor (interference), 2:59; Kaspar Wor (holding), 4:14; Weise Hfd (roughing), 7:50.

3rd Period
Scoring: 2, Hartford, Moore 20 (Weise), 4:31. 3, Worcester, Traverse 8 (Cavanagh), 5:26. 4, Worcester, Armstrong 22 (Demers, Desjardins), 10:52. 5, Hartford, Parenteau 27 (Rissmiller, Sauer), 14:46. 6, Hartford, Moore 21 (Sauer, Dupont), 19:42 (pp en).
Penalties: DiDiomete Hfd (unsportsmanlike conduct), 6:30; DaSilva Wor (unsportsmanlike conduct), 6:30; Moore Hfd (tripping), 6:33; Armstrong Wor (holding), 11:28; Moore Wor (cross-checking), 18:26.

Shots on Goal
Hartford 9-10-8-27
Worcester 13-8-13-34

Power-play opportunities
Hartford 2 of 5
Worcester 0 of 4

Hartford, Wiikman 17-17-3 (34 shots-32 saves)
Worcester, Greiss 20-19-2 (26 shots-23 saves)

A-3,332. Referee: Shaun Davis (31). Linesmen-Hans Baker (67), Chris Libett (19).

Monday, March 9, 2009

Return Cut Short: Robert Guerrero fight stopped after head butt, James Kirkland and Victor Ortiz dominant on HBO Boxing After Dark from San Jose

HBO Boxing After Dark San Jose James Kirkland Joel Julio

Expectations were high for HBO Boxing After Dark's first visit to HP Pavilion Saturday night, but they suffered a huge setback when a lunging Duad Yordan (17-0-1, 12KOs) caught Gilroy's Robert Guerrero (23-1-2, 16KOs) with a headbutt ending the first co-main event fight 1:47 into the second round. The former 2-time Featherweight champion Guerrero was the star attraction for the majority Gilroy-based crowd, and the fight was waived off and ruled a no decision after he told the ringside doctor that he could not see with blood filling his right eye.

HBO's Max Kellerman described Guerrero as one of the most athletic fighters at 130 pounds outside of Jorge Linares before the fight, but the first round started slowly for "The Ghost". His last few fights have either seen a blitz from the opening bell like first round KOs against Edel Ruiz and Martin Honorio, or Guerrero patiently wearing down an opponent and banking on superior conditioning and power to earn a KO in the later rounds.

Early in the first round the southpaw Guerrero appeared to be adjusting to the akward style of the Indonesian Yordan. "He was coming in with his head a lot", Guerrero said after the fight. "We were looking to get to him in the later rounds". Yordan showed power from his right hand, and knocked Guerrero off his footing with a counter left. Once Guerrero started to assert himself more in the second, Yordan started jumping inside to land a quick series of punches before tying up and forcing a seperation from the referee. "Some fighters do that so they don't get hit when getting out," Lennix Lewis said of Yordan.

After another lunge inside, Yordan planted his head just over the right eye of Guerrero. According to longtime Monterey Herald boxing reporter and radio host Dennis Taylor, the nasty cut from eye-lid to over the eyebrow required 23 stitches to close up after the fight. Taylor touches on some of the negative media reaction after Guerrero failed to continue, and fans were vocally upset inside HP Pavilion (initially thinking he was going to be awarded a loss), but blood was noticeably dripping in his eye and down his cheek prior to the stoppage. The HBO telecast called it a "practical decision" not to continue, but the truth is that many fights have been stopped on lesser cuts.

Along with Guerrero, the HBO telecast featured two more rising talents in Jr. Welterweight Victor Ortiz (24-1-1, 19KOs) and Jr. Middleweight James Kirkland (25-0, 22KOs). Ortiz, a flamboyant and engaging personality outside the ring, was all business inside it. He slipped a jab by Buddy McGirt-trained Mike Arnaoutis (ranked 12th WBC, 12th WBA, 9th IBF) and staggered him with a hard left. Arnaoutis lost his equilibrium and did not even square himself to his opponent. Ortiz jumped on the opportunity and finished the fight with an extended flurry in the corner. After 9 punches connected, the fight was stopped at 1:27 of the second round.

After the fight, a smiling Ortiz looked over at Golden Boy Promotions founder Oscar De La Hoya and said that when he was World Champion there were a number of other "Oscar's" looking to take him down. Ortiz then said he was ready to take out all the "little Victor's" looking to take him down. He seemed genuinely surprised that there was more than 1 belt on the line after the fight, and noted a new sponsor in the popular EA Sports Fight Night. He thanked another water sponsor saying "they looked good on my shorts". The 22-year old from Oxnard is about as unassuming and genuine as they come, and he should be moving up the crowded 140-pound food chain in short order. Timothy Bradley, Manny Pacquiao, Ricky Hatton, Kendall Holt, and Nate Campbell will be waiting there for him.

Austin Jr. Welterweight James Kirkland was featured by HBO in a 2-part Ring Life video feature prior to his main event bout with Columbian Joel Julio. Kirkland is a fan favorite in boxing circles due to his relentless pressure and knockout power. The "Mandingo Warrior" Kirkland stalked the athletic Julio from the opening bell. From the hockey press box in the rafters of HP Pavilion, Julio's head movement and footwork were impressive. The problem was that he had no time, Kirkland would close the distance and start pouring the punches on him.

Julio decided to mix up the gameplan 30 seconds into the third round. After starting to zero in from the outside, he tried to stand toe-to-toe with Kirkland in the corner. He soon thought better of the manauever, and circled around to the outside. But later in the period Kirkland came out on the upperhand of a toe-to-toe exchange in one of the best flurries of the night. Stading in front of Kirkland was a losing proposition, but the effective work to the body and the sheer number of punches started to drain the speed and energy from Julio.

Julio started to slow down considerably in the fourth round, by the fifth there was noticeable swelling over the right eye. One HBO commentator noted "each round it seems as if Julio has been defeated by Kirkland's massive attack and pressure." My notes described the stalking Kirkland as a tenacious pit bull. Joel Julio has knockout power with 31 KO's of his own, but his power punches started to decrease in number and volume until by the 6th round they were barely noticeable at all. Julio did not answer the bell for the 7th and James Kirkland was awarded the TKO. Several minutes later in the post-fight press conference, one look at Julio's severly bruised and swollen face was all that was needed to analyze the stoppage.

After the fight James Kirkland said he trained "to be able to take punches from a robot", hinting that he was not afraid of Julio's knockout power when coming inside. His trainer Ann Wolfe, a multiple champion herself, said in a pre-fight feature that "some trainers like to train the body, I like to train the soul". Kirkland is going to be a mess for anyone to handle at 154 pounds, but his unorthodox style is going to create opportunities for opponents. Kirkland said he was aware of the interest in a possible matchup with Alfredo Angulo, but he said he would fight anyone his management puts in front of him.

It was an excellent night of boxing, showcasing several top Northern Californian as well as several top Golden Boy boxing prospects as part of an 11-fight card. San Francisco's Karim Mayfield (8-0-1, 5 KOs) earned a somewhat controversial 6-round decision over Mexican native Mario Lozano 56-55, 56-55, 57-54. Mayfield was knocked down in the 2nd, and Lozano registered the higher work rate over the first 3 rounds, but Mayfield was able to put his opponent down twice and earn a unanimous decision. Salinas Super Featherweight and Sharkspage favorite Eloy Perez stopped Gabe Garcia in the fourth round with a dominant performance.

Golden Boy heavyweight Seth Mitchell (10-0-1, 7 KOs) dropped Joseph Rabotte early in the first round. Both boxers were looking to land power punches early, and a heavy body shot crumpled Rabotte against the ropes ending the fight. San Francisco heavyweight Ashanti Jordan stopped Willie Perryman in the 3rd. So-Cal native lightweight Luis Ramos was also successful with a 4-round unanimous decision over Anthony Martinez on the undercard.

In his post-fight analysis, HBO's Max Kellerman noted that fighters have a responsiblity not just to earn a win, but to inspire others to want to watch them fight in the future. Kellerman said that Ortiz and Kirkland inspired him on this night, leaving his thoughts on Guerrero understood but unsaid. It was a tough outcome in Robert Guerrero's first return to San Jose in 3 years, but if past performance is any indicator he will be a top contender at 130 pounds in short order.

Another boxing prospect on Saturday night was San Jose and HP Pavilion itself. The venue looked stunning on the HBO broadcast, but several of the bells and whistles used for other events were not taken advantage of for boxing. HBO is going to bank on the future of Kirkland, Ortiz and Guerrero, but with a little work and a little more out of the box promotion San Jose could be another quality stop on the Boxing After Dark circuit.

There is no Sharkspage photo gallery from this event.

[Update] Kirkland Dominates Julio! -

[Update2] Doug Fischer of Ring Magazine notes how the weekend fights in San Jose will adjust the Ring Magazine boxing rankings. Fischer notes Kirkland moves up from 10th to 9th at Jr Middleweight, that 2008 prospect of the year Ortiz will stay stationary in a deep 140-pound division, and that even with the stoppage due to a gruesome cut Guerrero may move up in the rankings before his next fight. Fischer rightfully notes that Guerrero has showed heart as a 2-time Featherweight champion, and that a trio of boxers are scheduled to move up in weight (1- Edwin Valero, 6- Jorge Barrios, 7-Urbano Antillon). Robert Guerrero is currently ranked 7th by Fight News, 10th by Ring Magazine.

Ring Magazine also published a followup article by Michael Rosenthal, Guerrero: 'I ain't no quitter', and the view of referee Jon Schorle.

[Update3] Club fights its way through college - San Jose State Spartan Daily.

Professional boxer Victor Ortiz jumped rope and trained in his sweatsuit while students from the SJSU boxing club worked out alongside him on Thursday.

"I have to lose two pounds by tomorrow," he said, two days before his fight against Mike Arnaoutis at HP Pavilion on Saturday, which he won in the second round. Ortiz said he turned down offers to work out in training facilities from many people, including boxer Oscar De La Hoya.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Darryl Hunt: WorSharks Go Fourth And Beat River Rats, 4-1

The Worcester Sharks used a seven point night from their fourth line and another stellar performance by Taylor Dakers to defeat the Albany River Rats 4-1 Saturday night at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of an announced crowd of 6,395.

The WorSharks started off strong, and peppered River Rats' goaltender Justin Peters with several high quality scoring chances. Peters came up big every time, and with a little help from the crossbar and posts, kept Worcester off the scoreboard.

Worcester would capitalize on their third power play of the opening period when Derek Joslin fired a laser of a wrist shot from the top of the circles that Matt Fornataro would just get enough of to deflect the shot past Peters. Tom Cavanagh, who was robbed twice by Peters and hit the post once, got the second assist at 16:28 of the first period.

Albany would tie the game 1-1 on the power play when Bryan Rodney made a cross ice pass to Yannick Tifu standing behind Dakers at the far post. Tifu fired the puck into the open net for his first of the season at 6:26 of the second period.

The rest of the game would be all Worcester, and that's thanks to the fourth line of Frazer McLaren, Dan DaSilva, and Trent Campbell.

Campbell would grab a lose puck in the neutral zone and would feed DaSilva, who fumbled the pass a little as he streaked down the right side. When DaSilva gained full control he fired a low shot from the right circle that bounced under Peters and into the net at 13:31 for his first goal in eight game with Worcester.

Less than two minutes later is was DaSilva's turn to set up a line-mate, and that line-mate was McLaren. DaSilva dug a lose puck out from behind the River Rats net and threw a great tape-to-tape pass to McLaren in the slot. McLaren, who has been stoned earlier in the first period by Peters, buried his second chance from about 15' for the insurance marker at 15:19.

Head coach Roy Sommer played his fourth line much more in the third period than he usually would in a two goal game, and his confidence and their great play paid off when McLaren would connect again at 7:49 of the third period. In almost a carbon copy of their first connection, DaSilva again found McLaren from behind the net. McLaren buried it again for his second of the night and, ironically, his fourth of the season.

Sommer had McLaren on the ice for much of the last 3:09 of the game--there was 18 seconds when he took himself out, but stood at the bench waiting for the next change instead of sitting--but McLaren couldn't connect for the hat trick, nor could he grab an assist for the "Gordie Howe" hat trick.

There were two fights in the game, and both had an odd start to them. The first was a tilt between Frazer McLaren and Albany defenseman Benn Olson--the oddity being they were 40' apart when they started fighting. With the face-off in the Worcester zone, Olson was lined up just inside the blueline and McLaren lined up in the slot. As the puck dropped both dropped the gloves and helmets where they were lines up, and skated to center ice.

The second fight was between Andrew Desjardins and the River Rats Brad Herauf when they fought in the circle to the left of Peters. The oddity there being they skated there from the opposite goal line where Dakers had just covered the puck. As they were skating down the ice with each looking for an opening to connect, linesman Frank Murphy could clearly be seen yelling at them asking "where you guys going?".

Worcester's line-up was unchanged from Friday night's tilt, with Lukas Kaspar (groin), Cory Larose (ribs), Kyle McLaren (hand), Mike Morris (concussion), Michael Wilson (healthy) all being scratched. Albany used just 17 skaters due to injuries and recalls.

File this under "best layed plans"...with a face-off in the WorSharks zone early in period number three Sommer sent the fourth line out, but then quickly sent Ryan Vesce in to take DaSilva's spot on the face-off. But not fast enough for the linesmen, who then waived Vesce out of the face-off for taking too much time. McLaren took the draw and won it cleanly to Traverse, and Worcester broke out of the zone. Vesce then went to the bench as DaSilva jumped on the ice to join his line.

San Jose scout Brian Marchment joined Sommer and assistant head coach David Cunniff behind the bench.

Saturday night the first three thousand fans were given a Riley Armstrong bobblehead. Armstrong was the winner of fan voting done earlier this season, and it's the second bobblehead for him in a Worcester uniform. Riley is currently winning the Armstrong bobblehead tally 2-1 over his brother Colby. Colby currently plays for the NHL Atlanta Thrashers.

Linesman Marty Demers officiated his last game at the DCU Center as he is soon retiring after 30 years of working AHL games. Demers received the Michael Condon Memorial Award from the league in 2003 for his service in working the lines in the AHL. Demers also worked the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid and three NCAA finals.

The three stars of the game:
1. McLaren (2g,+3,fight)
2. DaSilva (gwg,2a,+3)
3. Dakers (31 saves)
Honorable mentions should go to Justin Peters (28 saves--most were very high quality efforts), and Trent Campbell (2a,+2).

Even Strength Lines


Power play Lines


Penalty Kill lines


ALB 0 1 0 - 1
WOR 1 2 1 - 4

1st Period
Scoring: 1, Worcester, Fornataro 9 (Joslin, Cavanagh), 16:28 (pp).
Penalties: Petruzalek Alb (boarding), 4:45; Olson Alb (fighting), 8:00; McLaren Wor (fighting), 8:00; Samson Alb (interference), 13:17; Babin Alb (hooking), 15:54.

2nd Period
Scoring: 2, Albany, Tifu 1 (Rodney, Carson), 6:26 (pp). 3, Worcester, DaSilva 1 (Campbell), 13:31. 4, Worcester, McLaren 3 (Jones, DaSilva), 15:19.
Penalties: Moore Wor (hooking), 1:14; Moore Wor (holding), 5:17; Herauf Alb (fighting), 12:20; Desjardins Wor (fighting), 12:20.

3rd Period
Scoring: 5, Worcester, McLaren 4 (DaSilva, Campbell), 7:49.
Penalties: Traverse Wor (slashing), 3:51.

Shots on Goal
Albany 5-12-15-32
Worcester 12-11-9-32

Power-play opportunities: Albany 1 of 3; Worcester 1 of 3.

Albany, Peters 15-22-3 (32 shots-28 saves)
Worcester, Dakers 11-7-0 (32 shots-31 saves)

A-6,395. Referee: Chris Cozzan (68). Linesmen: Marty Demers (79), Frank Murphy (29)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Darryl Hunt: WorSharks Dispel Phantoms, 4-1

The Worcester Sharks used a three point night by Matt Fornataro and a 24 save performance by Taylor Dakers to defeat the Philadelphia Phantoms 4-1 Friday night at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of 3,613 loud and partisan fans.

After both teams would exchange big hits and good scoring chances, the Phantoms would grab the first goal of the game at 9:20 of the first period when Boyd Kane dribbled a wrist shot through a screen that Dakers never saw as it rolled by him.

Worcester would pick up its play after that goal, and would need just seven seconds of power play time to knot the score at 1-1. With Philly defenseman Oskars Bartulis off for hooking, Tom Cavanagh would win the ensuing face-off cleanly back to Derek Joslin. Joslin would unhinge a huge slapshot that Phantoms goaltender Scott Munroe made a sprawling save on, and Matt Fornataro was there to collect the rebound and light the lamp.

Worcester would have a great chance to grab the lead in the waining seconds of the period on a face-off just outside the Phantoms zone. Ryan Vesce won the face-off forward, and Riley Armstrong swooped in and grabbed the puck, breaking in all alone on Monroe. Armstrong threw a great deke on Monroe, but Monroe held his ground and made a huge save to keep the game tied with just 3.5 seconds left in the stanza.

The WorSharks would take the lead 7:10 into the second stanza when they made good on a bad bounce for Philly. Just inside the Phantoms zone, Brett Westgarth looked to wrap the puck around the glass deep into the Philly zone and the Phantom defender down deep turned to play the puck where he thought it was going. The puck hit the glass square and bounced right to Fornataro, who wheeled and fired a hard pass right on the tape of Cavanagh standing at the top of the crease. Monroe never had a chance and Worcester grabbed a 2-1 lead.

All season long what has been missing in many games is the "big save" that keeps the team in a game or holds on to a hard fought lead. Friday night, Dakers made that big save--two, in fact. As Philly crashed the net just after the Cavanagh tally Dakers made two huge saves, one with his blocker and one with his pad as the puck lay on the goal line.

The WorSharks seemed to feed off those two saves, and carried the play throughout the rest of the second period. Their hard work would be rewarded with another chance for a last minute goal, and this time the top line would connect. With Worcester passing the puck around the Philly zone, Fornataro broke in lose to the front of the net. Vesce found him with a no-look pass and Fornataro buried it for the 3-1 lead with just 22 seconds remaining. Jason Demers had the secondary assist.

Demers would grab his second assist of the night when he took a feed from T.J. Fox and fired it on net through a screen. Monroe made the save but fell toward his left while the puck bounced away to his right. The puck lay in the crease for a second until Armstrong could get a stick on it for the 4-1 final.

The win was the first victory for the WorSharks franchise against the Phantoms in four attempts.

With Jamie McGinn, Brad Staubitz, and Thomas Greiss being recalled to San Jose, Worcester recalled Dan DaSilva, and Kyle Jones--who is racking tons of frequent flier miles in just the past week--from Phoenix and signed left wing Trent Campbell from the South Carolina Stingrays (ECHL) to a PTO. Campbell had eight points in a 17 game stint with the Portland Pirates earlier this season.

Worcester scratches were Kyle McLaren, Mike Morris, Corey Larose, and Lukas Kaspar. Kaspar is day-to-day with a lower body injury, and Larose is out for awhile after reaggravating a rib injury. While there's been no official word, it appears that Morris is done for the season.

As for Kyle McLaren...why the Flyers thought that KMac was going to pass a physical seems odd because it was common knowledge he wasn't medically cleared to play yet, and based on things this writer heard in the days leading to the trade deadline the SJSharks were very forthcoming with information regarding KMac's health and prognosis. There may be more to this story we aren't hearing yet.

Brad Staubitz was suspended six game by the AHL for his actions in last Saturday's contest against Springfield. With Staubitz having been recalled to SJ before his suspension it was presumed that his games would begin to tick off once he was reassigned to the AHL, but it appears that he may be able to serve that suspension while being on San Jose's roster.

Unless the two teams meet in the playoffs, this will be the last time the WorSharks play the Phantoms. With the Phantoms home arena--The Spectrum--being torn down, the Philadelphia Flyers have sold the franchise and it will be moved to a location not yet determined. The Flyers will be looking to an AHL affiliate to place their prospects for next season.

Former WorShark Nate Raduns had an assist on Boyd Kane's goal in the first period. Raduns had 27 points in 56 games in his pro rookie campaign looks but out of place on the much more physical Phantoms having less than half his previous point total this season.

Jared Ross, the AHL All-Star Classic MVP with seven points (g,6a) in the game for Planet-USA, had a slightly less successful contest when the game counted tallying just a single shot and was otherwise shutout on the score sheet. Add this to the list of trivia facts that may come in handy someday: Ross is the first player born and raised in Alabama to play in the NHL.

The three stars of the game were:
1. Fornataro (2g,a)
2. Armstrong (g,7shots)
3. Cavanagh (g,a)
Honorable mention should go to Jason Demers (2a) and Dakers (24 saves)

Even Strength Lines

Power Play Lines


Penalty Kill


PHI 1 0 0 - 1
WOR 1 2 1 - 4

1st Period
Scoring: 1, Philadelphia, Kane 13 (Raduns, Guenin), 9:20. 2, Worcester, Fornataro 7 (Cavanagh, Joslin), 15:30 (pp).
Penalties: Bartulis Phi (holding), 15:23; Armstrong Wor (hooking), 17:31; Laliberte Phi (hooking), 18:16.

2nd Period
Scoring: 3, Worcester, Cavanagh 12 (Westgarth, Fornataro), 7:10. 4, Worcester, Fornataro 8 (Vesce, Demers), 19:38.
Penalties: Vesce Wor (hooking), 1:01; Syvret Phi (kneeing), 3:54.

3rd Period
Scoring: 5, Worcester, Armstrong 20 (Demers, Fox), 12:20.
Penalties: Maroon Phi (roughing), 1:38; Jones Wor (roughing), 1:38; Curry Phi (roughing), 6:28.

Shots on Goal
PHI 6-8-11-25
WOR 9-13-13-35

Power-play opportunities: Philadelphia 0 of 2; Worcester 1 of 4.

Goalies: Philadelphia, Munroe 23-17-1 (35 shots-31 saves). Worcester, Dakers 10-7-0 (25 shots-24 saves)

A-3,613. Referee: Francis Charron (47). Linesmen: Hans Baker (67), Chris Libett (19).

Friday, March 6, 2009

Uncharacteristic flub and 4 unanswered goals lead to 4-3 Minnesota Wild win in OT, Sharks losing streak hits 3 games

San Jose Sharks goaltender Brian Boucher NHL photo
San Jose Sharks vs Minnesota Wild NHL photo gallery
Joe Pavelski wins a faceoff in third period

It is a simple fact that everyone on the San Jose Sharks has made a mistake at one point or another during the season. Goaltender Brian Boucher made a big one on Thursday night with a 3-2 lead and less than 8 minutes left in the third period against the Minnesota Wild. As defenseman Marek Zidlicky pulled up and dumped the puck down the ice before reaching the red line, Boucher extended his glove to make the routine save but failed to back up the glove with his body. After a high bounce, the puck skipped and then lurched left at the last second. It trickled in for the game tying goal.

With a 10-3-2 record, and a 1.96GAA and .925SV%, Boucher has bailed out his teammates several times this season. He also bailed out the Sharks when Nabokov went down for an extended period in November. They did not miss a beat earning a 11-1-1 record for the month. After giving up 2 goals to Minnesota in the final 2 minutes of the second period, Boucher was looking for his team to bail him out in the third period or overtime.

A makeshift line of Jonathan Cheechoo, Tomas Plihal and Jamie McGinn created an effective low cycle late in the third, and created a turnover which lead to a scoring chance. Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff skated through 3 players, then pulled up along the boards and dumped the puck deep. The Sharks were also unsuccessful on their second power play of the night after Cal Clutterbuck took a high-sticking minor. Each time the Sharks had trouble pinning Minnesota deep in their zone. Either Niklas Backstrom or a defenseman would instantly transition the puck up ice, often to a player cherry-picking on the Sharks blueline.

The Wild kept grinding out their defensive style of play 4-on-4 in overtime. Eventually defenseman/forward Brian Burns took it down the left wing, snapped a quick shot on goal, then fed the rebound to Mikko Koivu unchecked at the far side of the net. The Minnesota captain buried his 18th goal of the season at 4:46. The 4-3 OT win broke the Wild's 4-game losing streak against the best home team in the NHL.

The Sharks losing streak on the other hand grew to 3 straight games. In the last 16 games, San Jose has registered three 3-game losing streaks. It is an unsettling trend for a team that tied Detroit for the best record in the NHL with the overtime point.

Head coach Todd McLellan complimented his team on their first 38 minutes of play. "We played very well for the first 38 minutes, I thought that's as well as we've played in a long time, some of the issues we addressed over the last couple of days really improved then we let them back in the game," McLellan said. He added, "Right now we're a little bit of a fragile team."

One line that has been executing well on both sides of the ice has been the second line of Ryane Clowe, Joe Pavelski and Milan Michalek. The line contributed all three goals for San Jose in the first period and a half, and they did it the way McLellan has been drawing it up on the chalkboard. Pavelski and Clowe repeatedly drove the net and set up shop in front of the crease. Michalek's speed created problems all night for the Minnesota defense. Clowe took a Michalek pass down in the corner, then fed a driving Pavelski for the first goal of the game. Pavelski beat 3 Minnesota Wild players to the front of the net and got his stick on the ice. Clowe picked the top corner short side with a wrist shot at 15:15 to make the score 2-0.

A Vlasic point shot with Clowe battling in front of the net set the stage for Pavelski to bury the rebound 9 minutes into the second period. The goal, Pavelski's career high 20th on the season, gave the Sharks a 3-0 lead after 30 minutes. One day after a busy trade deadline saw a record 47 players move in 22 different deals, Jonathan Cheechoo turned in a veteran performance on the ice. The subject of many rumors, he registered 5 shots on goal while missing the net 3 times. His linemate Tomas Plihal also registered a 12-5 advantage from the faceoff circle, and Jamie McGinn registered 2 shots and 5 hits.

The second and third lines were driving much of the action for the Sharks, but the top line of Joe Thornton (0 shots), Patrick Marleau (-2, 2 shots, 0 hits) and Devin Setoguchi (-2, 1 shot, 1 hit) was for the most part dormant. Minnesota Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire repeated a quote heard many times from opposing coaches after a game at HP Pavilion, "They took advantage of every opportunity they got. When you make a couple of mistakes against a team like this with the scorers they have, come on, it will be in the net."

Injuries and illness have plagued the Sharks in recent weeks, goaltender Evgeni Nabokov battled the flu and tweaked his lower body, and right wing Claude Lemieux could miss an extended period with an upper body issue, but for too long this is a team that has been scoring its way out of problems. New trade deadline additions Travis Moen and Kent Huskins from Anaheim will bolster the diminished ranks that have hit the third line expecially hard (Torrey Mitchell, Jeremey Roenick, Marcel Goc, and Mike Grier are all out).

The Sharks need the leaders on the team to start matching the desperation of opponents coming in scraping and clawing their way towards the playoffs. There are several individuals making the simple, sound defensive play in their own zone, but it needs to be matched on a team-wide level. On defense, McLellan now has 8 NHL defenseman to work with and he can create a competition for playing time based on performance.

Minnesota goaltender Nicklas Backstrom stopped 32 of 35 shots, and earned his 29th win of the season. Brian Boucher made 32 saves. The Wild are on a season-long 6-game, 11 day road trip. Prior to the game Joe Pavelski was honored as the SeaGate player of the month for February. This post was delayed as the AT&T DSL lines were flooded at my house by the recent rains.

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

[Update] Wild 4, San Jose Sharks 3 (OT) - Russo's Rants.

[Update2] Koivu gives Wild life - John Shipley for the Pioneer Press.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

HBO Boxing After Dark Triple-Header Press Conference, March 7th boxing card could be the best ever in San Jose

Gilroy's Robert Guerrero vs Duad Yordon HBO Boxing After Dark San Jose photos
Jr Middleweight boxers James Kirkland and Joel Julio
Jr Welterweight title fight Victor Ortiz Mike Arnaotis

Notes, quotes, links and an updated fight card from the HBO Boxing After Dark Triple Header press conference will be posted soon. A photo gallery from the press conference is available here.

HBO's Boxing After Dark "Young and the Reckless" card March 7th at HP Pavilion could be the best all-time boxing event in San Jose history. Robert Guerrero vs Duad Yordon, James Kirkland vs Joel Julio, and Victor Ortiz vs Mike Arnaotis should clarify the landscape in 3 different divisions, and several promising young boxers are looking to put themselves on the map on the undercard.

March 7th could be one of the biggest modern-era boxing card in San Jose since the BDSSP televised Night of Olympians 2005 event featuring 3 Olympic medalists (Andre Ward, Audley Harrison, Andre Dirrell) and a pair of fellow Olympians in Devin Vargas and Juan de Dios Navarro.

HBO's "Young and the Reckless" triple header features 3 of the sports rising young talents, 2 competing for titles. The stacked card features a whopping 11 scheduled fights, including notable Bay Area boxers Ashanti Jordan (San Fransisco), Karim Mayfield (Daly City/San Francisco), and Sharkspage favorite Eloy Perez (Salinas). Golden Boy promoted former Michigan State linebacker Seth Mitchell (undefeated at 9-0-1 with 6KOs) and undefeated Californian Featherweight Charles Huerta will also be showcased on the undercard. Lightweight Luis Ramos (9-0, 5 KO's), a highly touted prospect by the print/online press in California, is also scheduled for a 4-round fight against veteran Anthony Martinez (21-28-3, 9 KO's) of Nicaragua.

Media coverage has been building at a steady pace for Saturday's event. The bible of boxing, Ring Magazine, notes that "when Guerrero is focused, he’s one of the most formidable young fighters in the world". The San Francisco Chronicle, the Bay Area's largest newspaper, published an report and a video preview of Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero in conjuction with CBS-5. ESPN posted a podcast profile of Guerrero as well as an online chat via

Monterey/San Jose Riot Boxing promoter Jerry Hoffman interviewed Robert Guerrero during a 5-fighter media workout at King's Boxing Gym in Oakland on Wednesday. Guerrero started his boxing career in Monterey. Hoffman posted a video tour of King's Gym and an interview with Guerrero on his Jerry's Jabs blog here. In his preperation for Saturday's fight, Guerrero notes that the move up to 130 is working out great and that he has been fine tuning his training for his opponent.

Press Conference opening comments by 1992 Olympic gold medalist and Golden Boy Promotions founder Oscar De La Hoya:

"This will be a historic event, for the first time in San Jose history we are bringing HBO Boxing After Dark. When you attach yourself to HBO, you know your are going to get great fights... This is a card that doesn't come around often. You have these fighters who are considered up and coming, those fighters who are the future if they are not already champions."

"This is the type of event that fight fans will be talking about for months and years to come. These are compelling fights, top-notch fights, and it doesn’t get any better than this."

"HBO has been doing a tremendous job the last few months, putting together a series of fights which has helped out the sport of boxing. To have all of this talent on one card is an amazing feat. The fighters that emerge victorious will be able to look back on March 7th as the night when they truly established themselves as the fighters to carry this sport into the next era."

Press conference quotes by Gilroy's Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero:

"I have finally made it out to fight in the Bay Area, and I have been wanting this for a long time. I am really excited and can’t wait. I have worked really hard to get to this point, and to get out there in front of my hometown fans is going to be great."

"It’s time... we are the young up-and-coming fighters. It is time for us to take over... I am going to do what I do best, come out and put on a good show. It is up to the fans to come out and support the fights and I hope they do."

"Daud Yordan's a good fighter. I have seen one tape on him, it was hard to find, but from what I have seen he is a good fighter, he has got good hands, good feet, he does a lot of good things in the ring. All I can say is I am ready to go and I can't wait... I like that little Ghostbusters sign on the back of his shirt, but the last person who came out with a Ghostbusters sign was Jason Litzau and I knocked him out in eight rounds."

Press conference quotes by NABO Junior Welterweight Champion Victor Ortiz:

"I am happy to be here. We prepared well, and I am sure my opponent prepared well. I can't really call him an opponent, he is a champion. We are ready, and we will see what happens Saturday night."

An all business James Kirkland succiently thanked the media for attending the press conference, said he was excited to fight, and returned to his seat. His trainer Ann Wolfe, a 2-division champion herself, also bluntly put aside earlier promoter talk of Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield and said her fighter would be "chopping wood" in the ring.

[Update] An updated fight card for March 7th:


James KIRKLAND, Austin, TX, 24-0 (21 KO's)
Joel JULIO, Monteria, COL, 34-2 (31 KO's)

Victor ORTIZ, Oxnard, CA, 23-1-1 (18 KO's)
Mike ARNAOUTIS, Athens, GRE, 21-2-1 (10 KO's)

Robert GUERRERO, Gilroy, CA, 23-1-1 (16 KO's)
Daud YORDAN, Kalimantan, IND, 17-0 (12 KO's)

Ashanti JORDAN, San Francisco, CA, 7-0 (6 KO's)
Willie PERRYMAN, Clarksdale, MS, 10-17 (7 KO's)

Seth MITCHELL, Brandywine, MD, 9-0-1 (6 KO's)
Joseph RABOTTE, Long Beach, CA, 3-4 (1 KO)

Charles HUERTA, Paramount, CA, 8-0 (5 KO's)
Andres LEDESMA, Cartagena, COL, 15-11-1 (10 KO's)

Karim MAYFIELD, Daly City, CA, 7-0-1 (5 KO's)
Mario LOZANO, Chihuahua, MEX, 6-0 (5 KO's)

Eloy PEREZ, Salinas, CA, 12-0-2 (2 KO's)
Gabe GARCIA, Glendale, AZ, 5-5-1 (1 KO)

Luis RAMOS, Santa Ana, CA, 9-0 (5 KO's)

Mike PEREZ, Newark, NJ, 2-0 (2 KO's)
Andres REYES, Los Angeles, CA, 1-1

Karl DARGAN, Philadelphia, PA, 2-0
Sergio ORANTES, Carson City, NV, Pro Debut

Note: Fights start at 3:30PM (PT), HBO broadcast starts at 7PM (PT).

Sharks-Minnesota pregame skate notes

San Jose Sharks Minnesota Wild NHL morning skate photo
Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom photos

The Sharks had a light practice at the morning skate, working on 2-on-1's and 2-on-2's before splitting off to work on individual drills. Working with Jody Shelley, Jamie McGinn nearly took my head off after a puck wrapped around the boards and then landed hard in the seat behind me. New trade deadline acquisitions Travis Moen and Kent Huskins are not scheduled to play tonight, but they will be at HP Pavilion to answer questions from the media prior to the game.

There was a Marcel Goc sighting on the ice at the morning skate, but news of an expected return date has not yet been released. According to, Evgeni Nabokov "tweaked" his lower body and will not be in the lineup tonight against Minnesota, Claude Lemieux will also be out with an upper body injury. Thomas Greiss was called up from Worcester to back up Brian Boucher, and there was a mystery gold-helmeted goaltender working with the Sharks at the morning skate (it was San Jose Jr. Sharks director of coaches Tony Zasowski, a former UND goaltender).

Fan favorites Jeff Odgers and Gary Suter watched from the stands along with several other members of the Sharks fantasy camp. According to one former participant, the fans practice with several players in the morning, watch the San Jose morning skate, eat lunch with the media, then play a Teal vs White game with several former Sharks in the lineup.

On the Minnesota side, there was no movement on Marian Gaborik at the trade deadline. After hip surgery in January, his return date is uncertain. A potential UFA next season, there was wide speculation about a number of team's interest in Gaborik. While no players were acquired on deadline day, the Wild did sign goaltender Niklas Backstrom to a 4-year, $24-million contract.

The Wild started with a light skate, then worked on playing the puck out of the neutral zone. Backstrom took a majority of the shots in goal, and head coach Jacques Lemaire watched the practice from rinkside. One of the assistant coaches for Minneosta, Mike Ramsey, was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that upset the heavily favored Russian squad. An assistant equipment manager for the Wild complimented the latest HP Pavilion upgrades, with the gigantic video board and wrap-around LED ribbon. He also noted that the Wild will be on the road in March due to multiple youth and college hockey championships. The regional tournaments to earn a berth are drawing 10-12,000 fans a game. Needless to say hockey in Minnesota is huge.

Oscar de la Hoya and Gilroy's Robert Guerrero were at the afternoon HBO Boxing After Dark press conference live from HP Pavilion. Notes, photos, and links from that press conference will be posted shortly.

[Update] Road trip continues; Gaborik won’t skate with team RIGHT after road trip; Foster back at scene of the crime - Russo's Rants.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

2009 NHL Trade Deadline - San Jose Sharks trade Kyle McLaren to Philadelphia for 6th round pick, acquire Travis Moen and Kent Huskins from Anaheim

San Jose Sharks trade defenseman Kyle McLaren to Philadelphia for a 6th round pick

- According to TSN, San Jose traded defenseman Kyle McLaren to the Philadelphia Flyers for a 6th round draft pick, and completed a multi-player trade with Anaheim that sent prospects Nick Bonino (F) and Timo Pielmeier (G) and a conditional draft pick to the Ducks in return for checking forward Travis Moen and defenseman Kent Huskins.

Kyle McLaren was the odd man out after the Sharks offseason acquisitions of defenseman Rob Blake, Dan Boyle and Brad Lukowich. With the AHL Worcester Sharks affiliate, McLaren registered 6 assists in 17 games played but has missed the last 35 games due to a hand injury. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound former 1995 first round selection of the Boston Bruins registered 12 goals and 71 assists in 302 games as a San Jose Shark.

San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson also addressed depth issues up front and on the defense acquiring a pair of veterans from the Anaheim Ducks in left wing Travis Moen (4G, 7A, 63GP) and defenseman Kent Huskins (4G, 7A, 63GP). Moen was part of the effective "Checking Line" along with Samuel Pahlsson (also traded) and Rob Niedermayer during the Ducks Stanley Cup run. Moen registered 3 game winning goals in the 2007 Playoffs, including the game winning goal in the first Stanley Cup Finals game against Ottawa, and the Cup winning goal in Game 5 (an own goal for the Senators last touched by Moen). In the first round against Dallas in 2008, Moen contributed a goal and an assist in the 6 game series loss. He has been struggling of late for the Ducks, scoreless in 12 games while registering a -6.

Kent Huskins is a Clarkson University alumni, and a veteran AHL blueliner who registered 19 points (4G, 15A, 76GP) in his first full season with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007-08. Huskins split time between Anaheim and Portland of the AHL a year earlier. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Ottawa native has 6 points in 33 games played for Anaheim this season. He is currently on injured reserve with a broken foot.

- On a recent Top-20 prospect ranking by and McKeen's Hockeys analyst Max Giese, Boston University left wing Nick Bonino was the 5th ranked overall prospect in the Sharks organization, the 3rd best forward prospect behind only Logan Couture and Jamie McGinn. Giese described Bonino as a player with "elite" hockey sense and the "high-end skill level" to score in the NHL. He also described his leadership and ability to score big goals. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound center has registered 13 goals and 24 assists in 33 games played for BU this season.

On the same prospect ranking, Giese listed QMJHL Shawinigan Cataractes goaltender Timo Pielmeier 2nd among 5 goaltending prospects in the Top-20. Behind fellow German Thomas Greiss at 10th overall, the Sharks also have Minnesota's Alex Stalock tearing up the NCAA, Tyson Sexsmith with Vancouver of the WHL, and 2008 selection Harri Sateri from Finland. Pielmeir and Sateri each represented their countries at the last WJC tournament in Canada.

- According to, Moen dropped the gloves 7 times for Anaheim this season, 6 times while on the road. He is 2-3-2 according to HF's highly subjective rankings. What it does immediately is add another player on the roster to hold opponents accountable on the ice. After recent physical challanges by Edmonton (Pavelski/Michalek), Los Angeles (Marleau), and Detroit (Thornton), adding grit like Moen is a stretch run and playoff neccessity.

- San Jose Mercury News beat writer David Pollak has been hard at work in the leadup to the Trade Deadline. On today's trades, Pollak notes that Moen and Huskins will not be in the lineup for Thursday's game with Vancouver, and that Huskins should be available to come off the IR from a broken foot by this weekend. He also noted that head coach Todd McLellan held players out of practice today.

On Tuesday, Pollak quoted general manager Doug Wilson on the often mentioned Jonathan Cheechoo trade rumors. "That player is not in play." Wilson told Pollak.

If you walk the concourse at HP Pavilion or visit a youth hockey game, it is instantly recognizable that Cheechoo is one of the most prominent players among the fan base. His popularity crosses over between hockey fans, casual fans, and non-hockey fans alike. His 56-goal Rocket Richard campaign after the lockout may have led to unrealistic expectations, but fans should look for him to return to his real breakout season in 2003-04 where he lined up alongside Mike Ricci and Scott Thornton. Ricci and Thornton had trouble putting the puck in the net on the third line, but they went to extraordinary lengths to get the puck to Cheechoo. Cheechoo scored from harsh angles, from along the wall and in the slot, on his knees and with his stick between his legs.

The Moose Factory native buried 28 goals in his second NHL season that year, and added 19 assists. A subsequent double-hernia surgery may have slowed down his ability to slide into open spaces initially, but last night on the Sharks-Dallas radio broadcast analyst Jamie Baker offered a different explanation. Baker noted that 4 feet was lost in the offensive zone with rule changes, and that teams and players were making adjustments after his breakout season. His heavy shot and lightning release are a constant, and for that reason alone he should retire in Teal. He can be dangerous on either power play unit, and he adds an element of toughness by sacrificing his body to make plays.

Cheechoo started the season with 2 goals against Anaheim while battling in front of the net, manifesting head coach Todd McLellan's new system on the ice from Game 1. Moving down to the 3rd line, several combinations used due to injuries and illness failed to click all year. A playmaking center and/or a forward who will use speed to create gaps is what was needed to maximize Cheechoo's output. Big goals in the postseason are what matter, and Cheechoo is a player that can deliver.

Information from GJ Berg was used in this post.

- According to, Travis Moen's $950,000 salary will equate to a $196,000 cap hit for the Sharks. He will be a UFA next season. Kent Huskins' $650,000 salary will equal a $134,000 cap hit, and he will be a UFA in the offseason as well. With a $880,000 bonus cushion, and a long-term injury replacement figure of $401,000, the Sharks are still $17,000 under the NHL salary cap. The Sharks now have 13 UFA/RFA's on the roster after the trades.

- As of February 24th, the Sharks had 4 selections remaining in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft (2nd, 2nd, 5th, 7th). Prior to deadline day, the Sharks were the only player without a 1st round pick after sending theirs to Tampa Bay along with defenseman Matt Carle and Ty Wishart in the 7-4-2008 trade for Dan Boyle and Brad Lukowich.

San Jose gained another second round pick in the Craig Rivet trade, and sent a 4th and 5th round selection in 2008 and a 3rd round pick in 2009 to Tampa Bay for a 3rd round selection Justin Daniels (interviewed here by Kevin Wey). A 4th (2009) was also traded to LA, and a 6th (2009) was traded to Columbus for Jody Shelley.

The Sharks added a 6th round pick in the trade of Kyle McLaren to Philadelphia (2009), and reports cite the conditional pick going to Anaheim along with Nick Bonino and Timo Pielmeier will be in 2011.

- Lukas Kaspar was re-assigned to the Worcester Sharks of the AHL. Kaspar and Brad Staubitz were emergency callups after injuries shelved Mike Grier and Jeremy Roenick for 4-6 weeks.

- Bruce Garrioch's note that the Sharks held frontrunner status in talks for Florida Panthers defenseman Jay Bouwmeester failed to materialize. No comment.

- ESPN's Pierre LeBrun on the Sharks trade with Anaheim for Moen and Huskins:

The Stanley Cup contending San Jose Sharks got better, in a big way, with the acquisitions of hard-nosed forward Travis Moen and defenseman Kent Huskins. Moen was key part of the '07 Cup-winning Ducks team, so he's yet another champion added to the Sharks roster after GM Doug Wilson added Cup champions Rob Blake, Dan Boyle, Brad Lukowich, Claude Lemieux and coach Todd McLellan over the last year. Moen, especially, brings some serious grit to the Sharks' lineup and we wonder if this move wasn't made because Mike Grier is out long term.

- San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan will be a guest on KNBR 680AM at 5:30PM (PT). General manager Doug Wilson will not be a guest on today's program.

[Update] Moen and Huskins Are Sharks -

"They fill a role on this hockey team," said Sharks Executive Vice President Doug Wilson. "They know the division and the conference and understand that it’s team first. We looked at both for quite a while. This team and the coaching staff deserve to have these players added"...

"Moen has the ability to be physical and a stopper playing in all situations," said Wilson. "To me, he’s a coach’s type of player. He scored seven goals in their run to the Cup. He’s got size and can kill penalties."

[Update2] Top 10: ‘09 deadline deals -

4. San Jose acquires Travis Moen and Kent Huskins from Anaheim for Nick Bonino, Timo Pielmeier and a conditional fourth round draft pick The Sharks win this one now, but the Ducks might win it later. In Moen and Huskins the Sharks get two hard-nosed, Stanley Cup champions who will add depth and leadership to an already stacked club.

Anaheim gets an offensively inclined Harvard center in Bonino and a Quebec League rookie goaltender who is impressing with Shawinigan; he’s 30-7-2 with a 2.65 goals-against average .915 save percentage. Basically veterans for youth; a classic deadline deal.

San Jose has some of the best organizational goaltending depth in the NHL. Taking advantage of that to fill holes at the trade deadline is a very smart move. Factor in Brian Boucher and the Sharks have more than enough room to maneuver.

[Update3] Ducks trade Moen, Pahlsson, Huskins, Montador; Kings trade O'Sullivan - Los Angeles Times.

The catch for San Jose is that Moen, a muscular winger with good defensive skills, injured an ankle Tuesday and is expected to be out about two weeks, and Huskins remains unable to play because of a foot injury.

17,496 San Jose Sharks fans sing the national anthem prior to Dallas Stars game

Another 17,496-strong sellout crowd attended last night's game against the Dallas Stars at HP Pavilion. Once or twice a season the fans are asked to sing the national anthem in lieu of a special guest. The sound is loud from the stands, but from the press box the volume of the crowd singing the anthem combines with the voices reverberating off the ceiling for an impressive experience.

In this case, booing each mention of "Stars" in the National Anthem reverberated off the ceiling as well. A big hit by Brad Staubitz, and his intense fight with Krys Barch got the fans into the game early, but it was the referees that drew the ire of those in the stands late in the first period. After a 5-minute major and a game misconduct was called on Pavelski for head butting, fans boo'd vigorously after a replay showed a small tap of Pavelski's visor to Sydor's head in a scrum.

Fans boo'd the refs as they took the ice in the second and third period, and boo'd them again each time they appeared on the giant HD video board at center ice. The loudest cheers of the night came on two clears during a 5-on-3 penalty kill early in the second period. The Stars were able to score with seconds remaining.

According to ESPN attendance figures, San Jose is 12th in league home attendance percentage with a 99.9% attendance rate (17,486/per game average, 559,559 total fans). The top 11 teams in the NHL, including all 6 Canadian franchises, are operating at 100% attendance levels or higher. According to Sharkspage research, last nights crowd was the 25th straight sellout this season at HP Pavilion. The last non-sellout came as 17,183 fans attended a 3-1 Sharks win over Minnesota on Tuesday, November 4th.

A well placed source notes that an additional (but unreported) 10-12 people have been seated in a former television bay dating back to at least last season. It may only be a small figure, but it would be enough to bump the Sharks home attendance average over 100% for this season. San Jose currently averages 10 fans short of a sellout. Less than an hour away also in Northern California, the ECHL Stockton Thunder has lead that minor league in attendance for 3 straight seasons. Despite being hammered by a depressed economy, hockey is still a boom market in Northern California.

Dallas snaps 5-game losing streak, rookie James Neal scores twice as Sharks lose 4-1 at HP Pavilion

Douglas Murray checks Mark Parrish San Jose Sharks Dallas Stars
San Jose Sharks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff checks Dallas Stars right wing Chris Connor
San Jose Sharks Dallas Stars NHL hockey photo

The Sharks learned early Tuesday that right wing Mike Grier (knee) and center Jeremey Roenick (shoulder) would miss 4-6 weeks each with injuries, joining two other third liner players on the shelf (Marcel Goc and Torrey Mitchell). The news was unusually reported by Bob McKenzie of TSN, instead of through regular San Jose Mercury News or team channels. Short term, this might make San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson a bigger player at the NHL trade deadline. Long term, all 4 players are expected to return for the playoffs.

Dallas is treading uphill in their stretch run for one of the final playoff spots in a tight Western Conference. Battling with 3 premeire players out due to injury (Morrow, Richards, , Zubov), a recent 5-game losing streak at home dropped the Stars from 5th place to 11th place in the standings. Under head coach Dave Tippett, Dallas clogged the neutral zone and bottled up the passing lanes en route to a hard fought 4-1 win at HP Pavilion. It was the third home loss in regulation for San Jose.

The hostilities started early with one of the emergency callups for San Jose, right wing Brad Staubitz. Staubitz made his presence felt early, wrapping up defenseman Matt Niskanen for a big hit along the boards, and blitzing 220-pound Krys Barch in a fight that Staubitz ended with enthusiasm. He was called for penalty on the Niskanen hit, getting his left arm over the shoulder and earning a holding call. San Jose was able to kill off the early first period penalty.

Rookie Stars right wing James Neal was the fastest skater on the ice in a recent February 23rd 1-0 Sharks win at Dallas. On Tuesday night he opened the scoring at HP Pavilion. Fabian Brunnstrom pulled up with the puck behind the net, and fired a hard pass to Brian Sutherby at the left side of the crease. The rebound deflected to an unchecked Neal on the far side, and he buried a shot into the empty net. Neal added a second even strengthed goal of the game on a hard snap shot in the third period, his 20th of the season.

The Sharks were able to rebound slightly in the first period. On a power play, Joe Thornton drove the net with his stick on the ice and lifted a backhand high over Turco on a slick shot/pass from Christian Ehrhoff. It was Thornton's 17th on the season. San Jose could not sustain the effort, and although they went into the lockerroom with a 1-1 tie after 20 minutes, Dallas outshot them 13-5 and were skating with more urgency.

With Grier and Roenick out, the Sharks dressed 7 defenseman and only 11 forwards for the game. Defenseman Alexei Semenov did take shifts at forward, including one with Jody Shelley and Patrick Marleau, and he has shown promise on both sides of the ice in a depth role. Then the Sharks lost Joe Pavelski with 9 seconds left in the first to a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for headbutting Darryl Sydor. Rob Blake tried to de-skate Jere Lehtinen with a devestating hip check at the Sharks blue line. Blake got a large piece of Lehtinen, but he was able to avoid the brunt of the check at the last minute.

Dallas responded as Mike "Chirpy" Ribeiro ran Joe Pavelski on the other end of the ice, followed in quick succession by defenseman Mark Fistric's hit that sent Milan Michalek and Jere Lehtinen to the ice, and a large scrum in front of goaltender Marty Turco. Fistric was checked on top of Turco, and his wild swinging response led to a mini free-for-all inside the crease. Sydor wrestled Clowe to the right of Turco, and Michalek leaned hard on a prone Steve Ott on the left side. As players were being seperated, word came up to the NHL officials seated in the press box next to me that Pavelski allegedly head butted Darryl Sydor according to a linesman.

Joe Pavelski discussed the play with the media after the game. "(The headbutt) was more of a yank-down that caught me by surprise. It was just on the shield. What little bit of contact there was, I didn't even really feel it. I guess (Sydor) made a little more big deal out of it that it was." Pavelski went on to describe how the Sharks lost their focus early in the game,"It was how the game was shaping up, we might have lost a little bit of focus there. As a team we need to be a little mentally stronger, learn how to play those games and not go over the edge. We are a team that is smart enough and good enough to push to that line, stay on it, and not cross it."

Video replays showed a slight touch of Pavelski's visor on Sydor, but in the context of vigorous pushing and shoving it would be a stretch to consider it a head butt. A majority of the press box did not see the head butt, the team photographer in the corner the incident took place did not see the head butt, and extensive video review showed a slight tap of Pavelski's visor to the head of Sydor as they were jostling for position. It was a fairly blatant missed call by the officiating crew, and it forced San Jose to adapt on the fly with 10 forwards for the remainder of the game.

After a 2-minute minor to Sydor expired at the start of the second period, the Stars had a full 3 minute power play to work with. Rob Blake cross-checked Loui Eriksson giving Dallas an extended 5-on-3 power play (17:33, 2-minutes 5-on-3, 2:33 left in Pavelski major). Patrick Marleau, Christian Ehrhoff and Brad Lukowich were on the ice for the kill, and Eriksson, Lehtinen, Modano, Ribeiro and Robidas were on the PP. The Sharks 2-man PK was more of an elongated isocoles triangle, with Marleau concentrating on blocking the D-to-D. Or in this case, the Modano-Ribeiro to D pass.

The crowd at HP Pavilion was the loudest of the night on 2 Sharks clears. Head coach Todd McLellan said "You can feel a little momentum and energy in the building (during the 5-on-3 penalty kill), and we needed it. The fans were appreciative of our effort to that point". Goaltender Brian Boucher was forced to make saves on a pair of Robidas point shots, and a clutch point blank save on Mike Ribeiro after a rebound. Ribeiro did an excellent job re-gathering the puck and quickly driving the zone. Dropping the puck down low to Mike Modano, before getting a return pass with 15-20 feet of free space at the point. Ribeiro sauntered towards the center of the ice, and lasered a pass to Modano who had snuck behind the net and set up on the right side. He buried a hard angle shot just over the leg pad and under the glove of Boucher. It broke an 0-30 power play Dallas slump against San Jose according to the CSNBA broadcast. Modano's 15th of the season, assisted by Ribeiro (42) and Turco (5), turned out to be the game winner.

Brian Sutherby also tacked on the 3rd goal of the game for the Dallas Stars third line. Sutherby-Neal-Brunnstrom finished with 6 points. According to Sharks radio analyst Jamie Baker, a slumping San Jose third line (minus 2 points on an empty net goal) had scored only 7 points in their last 17 games. 4 players who had spent time on the third line, or in Torrey Mitchell were slated for the third line in preseason, are out with injuries (Roenick, Goc, Grier, Mitchell). Marty Turco (29-23-7) stopped 24 of 25 shots against to earn his 29th win of the season. Brian Boucher stopped 27 of 31 shots against for only his third regulation loss of the season (10-3-2).

An abbreviated photo gallery from the game is available here. Video highlights of the game via youtube are available here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Max Giese: Sharks Sign Free Agent Brandon Mashinter

Doug Wilson announced that the club has signed unrestricted free agent left winger Brandon Mashinter to an entry-level contract. Mashinter, a 20-year old left wing, is currently playing for the Belleville Bulls of the Ontario Hockey League where he was acquired via trade from the Kitchener Rangers in December. The six-foot-four, 232-pound native of Bradford, Ontario has posted 53 points (30 goals, 23 assists) in 47 games, with a plus-nine rating and 67 penalty minutes.

“We are very pleased to be able to add a player of Brandon’s caliber to our organization,” said Wilson. “Brandon’s career has really blossomed this season and he deserves a lot of credit, along with Belleville General Manager and Head Coach George Burnett."

Kitchener Rangers scout Ed Roberts had nothing but good things to say about Mashinter and thinks at the least he will be a good depth player for the Sharks. "I like Mash" says Roberts "He's a good kid, a big boy, and made a living chucking the knuckles his first couple of years in the league". Apparently fighting is something Mishinter will do, but it's not really of his nature. "He did it because he was big and pragmatic/smart enough to know that's how he would to make an impression" says Roberts. Last year when Kitchener went to the Memorial Cup, Mashinter played a roll "he had several fights, but it was more of a bump, grind, and make life hard on the opposition."

This season Kitchener lost all of their top six forwards from a year ago and a lot of the offensive load fell on Mashinter, who responded very favorably. Sitting at top ten in league scoring before injuring his leg, Mashinter was put into scoring situations on the power-play and on the first line. He came back from the injury, struggled a bit and then was traded to Belleville where he has played solidly.

Roberts describes Mashinter as a "big kid, skating isn't great but he can chew up a lot of ice with just a couple of strides" and notes that "he has to keep working on acceleration and playing with continuing intensity, as his play does waiver at times". Roberts quickly responds to any of Mashinter's criticisms with a compliment "he is a great kid with lots of character and has shown the willingness to dig in and do what it takes to improve."

Another scout told Sharkspage "he's a big, physical winger that creates with his size and adds a presence to the ice that opens up room for his line mates". Scouts like that he's fearless going into the corners and goes straight to the net. The scout notes his skating requires work "not a great stride, his mobility is average however he gets decent acceleration within a few strides" the scout added.

A third scout also likes Mashinter and summarized him as a big forward that works very hard. The scout was impressed how Mashinter stepped up offensively this season on a Kitchener team that needed him too.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Kevin Wey: Interview with 2008 3rd round draft pick Justin Daniels

Kevin Wey, the former San Jose Sharks correspondant for Hockey's Future, recently interviewed Justin Daniels for McKeen's Hockey and was kind enough to share it with Sharkspage. Kevin now scouts the USHL and AHL for McKeen's Hockey and recently caught a game of Justin's in Des Moines Iowa. Below is the transcript of Kevin's interview with Justin, the Sharks first selection of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

In a span a little over 2 years Justin Daniels went from playing Junior C as a 16-year-old to being third-round draft pick of the San Jose Sharks in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, with 2 years of prep-hockey with Kent School and a commitment to Northeastern University in between. Daniels’ development continued in 2008-09 with the United States Hockey League at Sioux City. He has been one of the Musketeers’ leading scorers this season, earning himself a selection to the USHL Prospect/All-Star Game. As has been the case his entire career, he is achieving it with twin brother and fellow San Jose Sharks 2008 7th round draft pick Drew Daniels on the wing.

McKeen’s correspondent Kevin Wey recently had the opportunity to talk with Daniels and discuss playing in the USHL Prospects/All-Star Game, adjusting to the USHL, his rise from Junior C to prep school to selection by the San Jose Sharks, skating at the Sharks development camp, his commitment to Northeastern, his youth hockey on Long Island and Rockland County, and a few New York Rangers he looks up to.

McKeen’s: Earlier this month (February), you played for Team Reebok, which was the West Division All-Stars. Tell me about how you found out back in January that you were being named to that team, who told you, and your reaction.

J. Daniels: It’s fun for everybody. You get to see all the guys. I was with Stephane DaCosta and Seth Helgeson from the team. It’s a good change of pace for a couple days. It was good to play against some buddies on other teams and to play with buddies. It was a good experience. I actually found out from my brother. I was taking a little snooze nap on the couch and he came in and told me.

McKeen’s: How did the two days go for you?

J. Daniels: Seeing Shawn Johnson, gold-medal winner, was a good time, at the banquet. It was kind of a new experience. With guys from other teams, you get a little bit of a different angle from everybody and their organization. You have first-year guys, second-year guys, just finding out what their perspective is and how it’s going for them.

McKeen’s: You’re in your first, and only, USHL season. How do you feel that transition has gone for you coming out of prep school with Kent to Sioux City?

J. Daniels: It’s a great league. There are a lot of talented players here. It turns into a dog fight. At prep school, we played 25 games. Here, we’re through, like, 44 or 45. You’ve got to really keep your body going, take care of yourself, and get enough sleep. But, it’s been a great experience so far. I love being part of this team. It’s a good time.

McKeen’s: What have been the biggest adjustments on the ice and in the caliber of play from prep school to the USHL?

J. Daniels: Battling and competing. There’s more body contact, a little more speed, guys are bigger and stronger. It’s not as easy as it once was to get the puck and control it. You’ve got to fight for little spots and you’ve got to dig out of the corners and get your feet going a lot more. It’s been a learning experience, but the pressures haven’t been too bad, slowly getting there.

McKeen’s: What are some of the areas of your game that you’ve been focusing on improving the most going into your freshman season at Northeastern next year?

J. Daniels: Really, just competing. Coach [Todd] Knott, here, Coach [Rick] Comley, and Coach [Cam] Ellsworth stress what level you’re going to compete at that’s going to get you to the next level, collegiately, and just digging for pucks. In prep school, there wasn’t much of that, not too much fighting going on in the corners. Here, you’ve got to work for every inch. That’s been the biggest change from prep school to here.

McKeen’s: On the other hand, what would you say are the strengths of your game and what style of game would you say you play?

J. Daniels: I try and buy some space. I’d say I’m more of a passing playmaker. I definitely have to shoot the puck more. Hopefully it’ll all come together for a playoff push here. But, definitely try to set guys up, control the puck, and slow the game down.

McKeen’s: I’ve noticed that you like to, after you cross the blue line, open up to the play, assess your options, and make that centering pass if it’s there.

J. Daniels: I like to take a look there, but other times I drive wide. But, the defense has good gap and we don’t really have a middle drive guy. We have great defensemen on the team that get up in the play, and once they cross the blue line, it makes it a four-on-three and an opportunity for them.

McKeen’s: I remember reading prior to the draft that you were at about 160 pounds or so and that one of the things you wanted to improve on was your strength. So, what’s your size these days and what are some of the things you’re doing regarding that?

J. Daniels: Ah, you had to ask that (while turning head away and smiles, then turns back). I’m probably up to, it fluctuates week in and week out, probably 167 or so. During a season, putting on some weight is not bad, but I’m going to try to stack up some more during the summer.

McKeen’s: What did you start the season at?

J. Daniels: I think I came in 161. So, I’m a little over five pounds on.

McKeen’s: That’s not bad in-season.

J. Daniels: Can’t complain, but still looking to put on a couple more l-b’s.

McKeen’s: Has Coach Knott had you and Drew on the same line most of the year, and then, also, in what ways are you guys similar on the ice and in what ways are you different?

J. Daniels: For the most we’ve been together. There’s been a little mixing and matching. Me and him had a little streak where we were just a little off. I love playing with him, but it was good to skate with some of the other guys. I’d say we have a lot of similarities in our game. I guess I’d have to say he’s a little bit more of a power forward, probably going to shoot the puck a little bit more, drive the net, throw the body a little bit more. Growing up, usually he was kind of the shooter and I was the passer. But, we pretty much play the same game.

McKeen’s: Then, also, how would a fan distinguish you and Drew off the ice in plain clothes?

J. Daniels: I guess the best way would be he lost four teeth early in the season.

McKeen’s: Ah.

J. Daniels: And then he got another one knocked out. So he’s been walking around half toothless.

McKeen’s: (Laughs)

J. Daniels: He’s got a big gap in his teeth.

McKeen’s: Well I guess that’ll do it. Now, you were a third-round draft pick of the San Jose Sharks and their first pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, the way it ended up for them, but it was your second year of draft eligibility. So, what helped you make that step from not going the previous year to being ranked about 100th, and your brother like 109th or so, and then going as high as you did?

J. Daniels: I was extremely excited. San Jose is a great organization. Even over the summer, going out to their prospect camp, the amount of stuff that they know and they teach you out there is amazing. Being able to move on and take it here and just trying to improve your game all the time is great. As for (pauses), I don’t know how to explain where. It came from nowhere. I guess that’s the best way to explain it. I kind of grew late. I wasn’t really playing at the highest level. I was playing in the CHA Premier League, which was a Junior C league, and even from there to the jump to prep school, it took a little while to acclimate and stuff. I guess it all worked out. So, I’m good.

McKeen’s: I’ve read that Coach [Matt] Herr said that when you came into Kent that you were both (he and Drew) a little rough around the edges, but he also had a number of compliments for you both. So, what were some of the areas of your game that developed the most at Kent?

J. Daniels: I think confidence was a lot. Coach Herr always preached power skating. So, a lot of practices we’d do power skating. I thought that really helped me, opened up my stride a little bit more and got me stronger on my feet, working with my edges. That really helped, and he’s always preaching, “Shoot the puck.”

McKeen’s: (Chuckles)

J. Daniels: Thank God he’s not at any of these games.

McKeen’s: (Laughs)

J. Daniels: But, I scored a couple more goals during my Kent days than I have so far this year.

McKeen’s: He’d probably love Stephane DaCosta, then. Now, you hit on this a bit, before prep school, you played for the Brewster Bulldogs in the CHA Premier League. Tell me a bit about that league and how it was you came to skate there and how it compared to prep.

J. Daniels: You know? It was really the only junior league around. I was in my junior year at my high school, Suffern High School, and I still wanted to play high school hockey there. So, it was going to be tough to go maybe try and play in the “EJ” (Eastern Junior Hockey League) or the “AJ” (Atlantic Junior Hockey League) and live somewhere else. So, it was really the only place where I could commute, go to school, practice, whatever, and commute to the team. The coach there, John Touhy, was a great coach. There were guys in the league that were 21, and I was 14 or 15 years old. That was what helped me get to play at Kent. That experience there was just bigger and stronger guys. I think even to now, it’s helped me this year, playing here, because that’s what really taught me to move from high school hockey to a much better level.

McKeen’s: I remember seeing on “Sharks TV” over the summer, online, an interview with you after you were drafted, at the development camp, which makes me wonder what goes through your mind how just a little over two years previous you were playing Junior C for Brewster and now you’re an NHL draft pick and at an NHL development camp.

J. Daniels: I’m walking around the facilities and to see some of the guys there, Jonathan Cheechoo’s walking around, it’s great. Patrick Marleau was there. That’s where you want to get. It’s a big help to see those guys. That’s what you want to become. It’s great motivation to see those guys and how hard they work and just know you’ve got to keep on pushing and hopefully, maybe, one day your dream will come true.

McKeen’s: What do the Sharks do at their development camp and who were some of the Shark prospects there that impressed you the most and why?

J. Daniels: At camp, I think we got up around 6:00, went over to the rink, had breakfast. We were split into two groups. I think we were on ice twice during the day, we had a lift in the morning, and we had meetings, and every day was something new, whether it be passing or receiving passes, things to do with your shooting. It’s just those little tips that you’ve never noticed out there that you get to experience at camp and you learn so much. Then you tweak it into your game and you’ve never even realized that you’re doing it. Going to camp was a great experience and I learned a lot. It’s tough to name any prospects there, they’re all great players. Nick Bonino, he looked pretty good at camp, at BU. Nick Petrecki is good. Logan Couture. Devin Setoguchi was there, and Torrey Mitchell. The list goes on and on forever. But, all of those guys are great. It was a great experience to be with those guys and be a part of that.

McKeen’s: You’ll probably be skating against a couple of those guys in the Hockey East next year while at Northeastern. With Northeastern, when did they start showing interest in you, what was the recruiting process like, and what made you decide that that was the right place for you?

J. Daniels: I started talking to Northeastern, I think, the summer going into my senior year at Kent. It was just a perfect fit. Coach [Greg] Cronin is a great coach, knows everything about hockey. It’s a great place you’d want to be at, it’s in Boston. My dad also wanted me to be semi-close, where he could catch a game here or there. So, that and the coaching staff and the set-up and everything, it kind of fit in perfect. I couldn’t be happier that they were talking to me.

McKeen’s: Northeastern has a bit of history with the Sharks organization, too, but you’d committed to Northeastern prior to your selection by them. If I might ask, what other programs were pursuing you and was it always your aim to continue skating with your brother?

J. Daniels: We were talking to a few different schools in the Hockey East and the ECAC. Northeastern just was the best fit for us, we felt. Coach Cronin, like I said, we were happy, that’s the place where we wanted to be. We wouldn’t be happier anyplace else. It just worked out like that. It would be tough to be away from Drew. We’ve grown up together, we’ve played on every team together. We wanted to be together, yeah. If it came down to us having to split, it would have happened, but we’re both happy that we’re getting to go together and experience it together. Our whole hockey career, we’ve experienced every single thing together. So, no change there.

McKeen’s: Going back to the beginning, when did you first start playing hockey and how did you get that start?

J. Daniels: My dad played collegiate football at Michigan State, and then he played baseball at Hofstra. So, growing up, I guess he thought we’d be a baseball player or football player. But, mom stole us, brought us over to the ice rink, put some hockey skates on us, and got us with a figure skating instructor. So, we started there, with the helicopters and getting that done, and some guy was like, “We’ve got tryouts, take them over there.” We were awful. Only 30 kids showed up. They made two teams, and they just had enough guys for two teams. So, we started there and it’s been a battle ever since.

McKeen’s: I know who you’ve played for from Brewster on forth, but what organizations did you skate for prior to that in your youth?

J. Daniels: I grew up on Long Island. So, I played Suffolk PAL. I’ve played for Snapple Express, the Ramapo Saints, the New Jersey Devils, the New Jersey Kings. I’ve been all over. With moving from Long Island to Rockland County, where I am now, it kind of changed where I’d be playing. But, I had fun during those years for sure.

McKeen’s: Lastly, who were some of your favorite players in your youth, which is still ongoing, and why, and who are some of the players today that you’d like to equate to?

J. Daniels: Well, growing up, I guess I kind of remember seeing the Stanley Cup, Mark Messier. He’s one of your heroes. I’ve actually met him a couple of times. That was an unreal experience for me. Players that (pauses), everybody’s going to say Alexander Ovechkin. But, that’s a long shot. Brandon Dubinsky of the Rangers, [Nikolai] Zherdev, [Scott] Gomez, those are really the guys that I watch now. It’s the team I root for, so I catch them the most on TV, and all of those guys are great to watch. So, you just try to break down a little bit of what they do and try and incorporate it into your game.

Boxing/MMA Notes - March 2nd

Jr. Welterweight title unification fight Tim Bradley vs Kendall Holt April 4th in Montreal

- The Bell Centre in Montreal will witness a solid Jr. Welterweight title unification fight between WBC Champion Tim Bradley (23-0-0, 11KOs) and WBO Champion Kendall Holt (25-2-0, 13KOs) on April 4th. During a press conference a few days prior to the Sharks visit, a Canadiens-jersey wearing Tim Bradley said he is just starting to get into watching hockey and that he started following the NHL after purchasing a video game for his son. The California-native Bradley told reporters he expects a slugfest, with a big shot over the top ending the fight in his favor.

Kendall Holt also held up a Montreal Canadiens jersey at the press conference. The Paterson, New Jersey native avenged a loss to Ricardo Torres with a 61 second knockout on July 5, 2008. After being knocked down twice early in the first round, Holt landed a heavy right hand that left Torres out cold on his knees. On the fight with Bradley, Holt cites his speed and power and says that he will be looking for a knockout.

Also on the undercard, Librado Andrade (27-2) will meet Vitali Tsypko (22-2) at Super Middleweight.

- Fresno born and San Jose based Josh Koscheck was knocked out by former Brazilian special forces member Paulo Thiago, 3:29 into the first round of the UFC 95 undercard March 21st in London. The former D-1 NCAA wrestling champ Koscheck told announcers that 85% of his preperation for this fight was working on his standup. After putting Thiago on his heels with several looping combinations, the Brazilian turned on a hard right uppercut that stopped the fight.

McNeil Commercial Photography captured the knockout punch from cageside, and posted the image on Kos had his head down while throwing a lazy jab, and the uppercut by Thiago caught him flush. A stiff, well placed jab is the most under-utilized strike in MMA. Koscheck was dictating much of the fight before the knockout.

On his official website Kos echoed sentiments he made to the ref in the ring, "I would have liked to see the ref let the fight go on a little bit more". "Yes, I got hit hard, but felt as though I could have recovered if I had the chance," he added. Koscheck has fought 4 times since last July (7/5 Chris Lytle, 10/25 Thiago Alves, 12/10 Yoshiyuki Yoshida, 2/21 Paulo Thiago), and his training camp for an unnamed UFC 98 opponent has already started.

- Local KPIX CBS-5 Bay Area television station sports director Dennis O'Donnell interviewed Gilroy's Robert "the Ghost" Guerrero prior to his March 7th fight against Indonesian Daud "Cino" Yordan at HP Pavilion. The interview on the Sunday Sports wrap show covered a number of topics including returning to fight in San Jose for the first time in 3 years, how his wife's battle with cancer forced him to grow up, and how his move up to 130 pounds will make him stronger in the ring.

"I am excited, San Jose is excited, the whole Bay Area is excited" Guerrero told O'Donnell. "I want to show the world that the Bay Area has a lot of boxing fans". Guerrero recently attended a 4-2 Sharks win over Los Angeles and was an intermission interview guest for the television broadcast. Hard punching James Kirkland (24-0, 21 KOs) and Victor Ortiz (23-1-1, 18 KOs) will also be on the card with 2-time IBF Featherweight Champion Robert Guerrero (21-1-1, 16 KOs). Notes and links from the recent press conference held in the South Bay are available here, tickets to the Golden Boy promoted event are still available via ticketmaster here.

For more information on Guerrero-Yordan, Ortiz-Arnaoutis and Kirkland-Julio, visit HBO's official Boxing After Dark website.

- Interview with Two-Time Featherweight Champion Robert Guerrero - Associated Content.

- Brown Blasts Garcia, Finishes with Sub -

It took Mike Thomas Brown roughly two minutes to win the WEC featherweight title from Urijah Faber in November, and it took him about the same amount of time Sunday to defend it against Leonard Garcia.

Garcia had the home state advantage in the WEC 39 main event, which was held at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. A big puncher from Lubbock, Garcia’s hands were rendered useless in the opening seconds after Brown floored him with an overhand right.

The UFC's sister promotion recently removed their middleweight and light heavyweight divisions to focus on lighter weight classes. Sunday night's broadcast on Versus saw Mike Brown defend his WEC Featherweight Championship for the first time with a 1st round submission over Leonard Garcia. Brown earned the title with a shocking 1st round KO over Sacramento's Urijah Faber November 5th.

Also last week on Versus, Troy Ross (20-1 14KOs) earned the Contender boxing reality series championship with a 4th round knockout over Hino Ehikahmenor (15-3 7KOs). It was a hard punching, but evenly matched fight. One interesting feature of the finale, fans were allowed to score the fight real-time at It makes you wonder if a reality show finale would ever turn over a scoring decision to the fans, and if the scoring would be more consistent than that of professional judges.

- Upcoming boxing events on ESPN/ESPN2: Fernando Beltran Jr (who fought at HP Pavilion) and a seperate fight with Demetrius Andrade March 20th, Heavyweight champ Vitali Klitschko March 21st from Germany, and Sharkspage favorite Samuel Peter March 27th in Los Angeles. ESPN/ESPN2 has stepped up the level of their boxing program significantly in 2009. Keep them coming.

- San Jose's Fight Night at the Tank will return to HP Pavilion this summer after the HBO Boxing After Dark event. The long-standing boxing promotion will allow Sharkspage to bring in a photographer for the event, and there are a couple of top technology luminaries that have asked about shooting a local sporting event. Stay tuned.

[Update] Lunch with Dan Goossen, 2008 U.S. Olympian Javier Molina on tap March 27th in Los Angeles - LA Times blog.

[Update2] Perez picks up extra fight in San Jose - Dennis Taylor for the Monterey Herald.

Undefeated Salinas boxer Eloy "The Prince" Perez will fight March 7 on the star-studded HBO "Boxing After Dark" show at HP Pavilion in San Jose — just two weeks before he'll take on the toughest opponent of his career in Beverly Hills at the Playboy Mansion.

Perez, 12-0, with two knockouts, can expect to be world-ranked by the IBF if he beats Orlando Salido, 31-10, with 20 KOs, on March 21 in a 10-round fight at Hugh Hefner's house. But first he'll need to take care of business at the San Jose show, where he's scheduled for a six-round tune-up bout against Gabe Garcia, 4-5, the nephew of former Monterey County boxing star Georgie "The Hammer" Garcia.

Adding Eloy Perez to the undercard with three co-main event fights could make this one of the deepest boxing cards in San Jose history. To date, the 16,326-strong Cung Le vs Frank Shamrock Strikeforce event last March may hold the title of biggest fight night in San Jose history. March 7th could be the boxing equivalent.

Eloy Perez has been covered a number of times on this blog. An athletic and hard hitting young boxer out of Gilroy, his next fight March 21st against Orlando Salido (who defeated Robert Guerrero before testing positive for steroids) could target him for a national ranking if he is successful. A few photos of Eloy can be found on galleries here, here, and here.

[Update3] The Ghost Leads Southpaws In San Jose - The Sweet Science.

Nobody likes to fight southpaws. First, they do everything in reverse. Their jabs come from another side, their power is from opposite angle and their thinking is totally unorthodox.

Most boxers hate southpaws. And when you have a left-handed boxer with speed and power then you have a nightmare of major proportions.

Welcome to hell for right-handers when Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, Vicious Victor Ortiz and James Kirkland enter the ring at the HP Pavilion in San Jose on Saturday, March 7. All three prizefighters are left-handed sluggers with speed.

Latest San Jose Sharks road trip raised more questions than it answered

Statistical comparison between Februrary road trips

The San Jose Sharks operated at about the same clip in their recent 4-game road trip as they did in a season long 5-game journey from February 7-15th, but there were several recent trends that should be an issue headed into the stretch run. Physical challenges by Edmonton and Los Angeles at home, and Detroit on the road, and a string of lethargic starts against Atlanta, Dallas and Detroit are biggest concern moving forward.

Regarding Edmonton's targeting of Joe Pavelski and Milan Michalek, Kings defenseman Denis Gauthier's 2-game suspension for a check to the head of Patrick Marleau on an icing, and Detroit's clear hit from behind against Joe Thornton, certain teams are reaching back to a familiar gameplan. Set a physical tone early, slow the game and try to wear down the Sharks over 60 minutes. As a team, San Jose did not respond effectively to the physical challenges, which may draw more of the same down the line. It was a problem in past postseasons against Calgary, Atlanta and Edmonton, and up until the All-Star Game the potent Sharks offense was enough of a deterrent to give opponents pause.

As the Sharks faced off against the Dallas Stars live on Versus, ESPN2 aired classic clips of early Mike Tyson mowing through the heavyweight ranks. Many fights were over before the boxers even stepped into the ring. Fear is a fleeting commodity, and NHL teams need to make the most of it when available. With a quarter of the regular season left, as the top team in the NHL San Jose needs to string together a series of statement games. They need to blitz teams from the initial faceoff, dump the puck deep and pound on defenseman, and win 1-on-1 battles in front of the net and along the boards with authority. The Sharks need to amp up the intimidation factor, and start winning smarter instead of trying to score their way out of problems.

McLellan called attention to the play of Evgeni Nabokov at the start of the road trip in Dallas. "We're fortunate Evgeni Nabokov is here, because our players have not played well to this point, their will is overpowering our skill". It was the second straight game after Atlanta where it took the Sharks two periods to get their feet moving enough to create consistent scoring chances. The lethargic start continued on the road at Detroit. After Daniel Cleary hammered Thornton into the glass from behind early in the first period, penalties and sluggish skating through the neutral zone gave the Red Wings the opportunity to take control of the game. A game that could have been a study of a potential Conference Finals matchup, instead turned into another blowout loss.

Introducing Jeremy Roenick back into the lineup adds instant energy on the third or fourth lines, and new-look line combinations added spark, but it is up to Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi to set the tone early. The team will follow. Marleau finished with a game winning power play goal and a near-miss empty net goal in a 2-1 win over Ottawa, and a team leading 9 shots on goal in a 3-2 loss to Montreal. Thornton finished with 2 points and 4 shots in his last 2 games.

Secondary scoring and consistent goaltending were two other issues that gained a little more prominence on the road trip. The Sharks third and fourth lines are in a scoring slump, and at times they have struggled to shutdown opponents defensively. Center Marcel Goc will add a faceoff threat to the third line when he returns in mid-March, but there is a need for more speed and/or playmaking ability to set-up Cheechoo and Grier. Speedy center Torrey Mitchell is still rehabbing a broken leg suffered in training camp, and during the last homestand he looked strong in workouts. The Sharks may be taking their time to let him heal as much as possible, similar to Ryane Clowe's injury last season. They could give him a second opportunity to return with enough games left in the regular season to get his timing back.

After shutting the door on a determined Ottawa club, backup goaltender Brian Boucher earned his first consecutive start since late November. Three goals late in the first period against Montreal were too much for the Sharks to overcome. 46 saves by Jaroslav Halak and 3 shots off the post helped the Canadiens hold on for a 3-2 win. One game after posting a 29-save shutout against Dallas at the start of the road trip, Evgeni Nabokov let in 2 of the first 3 goals to Detroit that he must have wanted back. Nabokov is the clear number 1, as goes Nabokov so go the Sharks, but competition for starts could push each goaltender to play with more urgency.

The San Jose Sharks are skating with a more complete roster after several players returned from injuries and illness, but there is more than just playoff position to work on down the stretch run. The Sharks need to re-focus on Todd McLellan's blue collar offense, and operate as more of a blunt instrument than a finesse machine. McLellan's system is geared for the playoffs when space tightens and goals are harder to come by. A strong compete level from the drop of the puck, smarter "puck management" bringing the play out of the defensive zone, and burning 1 of the 4 remaining games against Anaheim or Calgary to send a message to the rest of the NHL will bring some much needed mean back to HP Pavilion.

[Update] Marleau making case to be included on Canada's Olympic team - TSN.

Last time around, Patrick Marleau was invited to camp with the Canadian Olympic hockey team, but didn't crack the lineup for the 2006 Winter Games in Turin. This time, the versatile captain of the red-hot San Jose Sharks is making a case for inclusion on perhaps the biggest Olympic showcase the Canadian team has had - the 2010 Games in Vancouver...

"That's going to happen a year from now, but I think Patty Marleau has earned the opportunity this year to be considered for a spot," said McLellan. "He's done nothing but come to the rink and work hard every night. "He plays in every situation - power play, penalty killing. He is a utility player in that he can take faceoffs, he can play the wing. It sounds to me like he could be considered."

In baseball they are called 5-tool players. Marleau is leading the top team in the NHL in goal scoring with a team/career high 34, he leads the NHL with 10 game winning goals, he is tied for second in the NHL with 4 shorthanded goals, he is strong on the faceoff circle and forces teams to counter his speed on the penalty kill. In front of the net Marleau has the speed to go around players, the size to go through them, or the hands to bury a 1-timer in traffic. Marleau should be a lock for Canada along with Thornton, as well as Joe Pavelski for Team USA.

[Update2] I'll say it: I want a Sharks-Wings matchup in the West finals - E.J. Hradek for ESPN.

Sharks defenseman Doug Murray and forward Ryane Clowe responded later in the game by roughing up Wings sniper Marian Hossa, who was forced the leave the game in the second period for precautionary reasons. If you want to win a Stanley Cup, you have to respond when someone tries to take liberties with your top players. In another era, I think Cleary's hit on Thornton would have set off a monster brawl. I can't tell you that I didn't enjoy watching games in that era.

Still the same era.

[Note] Internet connection was flooded last week forcing lines to be reinstalled. Upcoming today is a post examining the latest 4-game road trip, a local boxing/mma news roundup, a sober look at local media coverage, and a possible Max Giese post on Justin Daniels. Upcoming later this week is a report on the Dallas-SJ game, trade deadline news, and a look at the origins of modern professional boxing in San Francisco before the fights this weekend in San Jose.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Darryl Hunt: WorSharks Pound Springfield, 7-3

The Worcester Sharks used a hat trick by rookie P.J. Fenton, two shorthanded goals, and some old time physical hockey in defeating the Springfield Falcons 7-3 Saturday night at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of an announced crowd of 4,749.

With Worcester inserting Brad Staubitz and Frazer McLaren in the starting line-up, and Springfield rolling out enforcer Guillaume Lefebvre, fans were expecting to see some fireworks right after the opening face-off. It was a little longer for the fuse to be lit. It took 3:57 for Staubitz and Lefebvre to re-introduce themselves to each other for their second bout of the season. Lefebvre carried the early portion of the fight, but three consecutive lefts by Staubitz rocked Lefebvre to a knee to score the TKO.

The WorSharks would grab the game's first goal on a nice play by T.J. Fox. Fox pounced on a lose puck behind the Springfield net and fired a perfect centering pass to UMass product P.J. Fenton, who buried it behind Falcons goaltender Dany Sabourin for a 1-0 lead at 6:18.

It took Springfield all of 27 seconds to tie the game 1-1 after a centering feed by Charles Linglet would carom off of WorSharks defender Jason Demers and trickle past Worcester netminder Thomas Greiss.

Worcester would net the first of their two shorthanded goals with Patrick Traverse in the box for cross-checking when Fox would grab a lose puck in the neutral zone and break in three zones, fighting off Falcons center Ryan Potulny and a poke check attempt by Sabourin. Brendan Buckley had the lone assist on the play at 11:15.

Less than a minute later, Buckley would be in the center of another play involving Sabourin. After a WorSharks rush Sabourin would make a save and cover the puck up, and was brushed by Buckley as he skated by. Sabourin took exception and went after Buckley, hitting Buckley several times with his blocker and stick while Buckley was being held by Ryan O'Marra. As Greiss skated to the WorSharks blueline each of the players paired off, with O'Marra and Buckley throwing punches and then being separated by the linesmen.

While they were being escorted to the penalty boxes, a scrum of players to the side of the Falcons net had players throwing punches and elbows at each other. From the middle of the pack Springfield's Tim Sestito threw a punch that hit a WorSharks forward that Staubitz took exception too, and Staubitz cold-cocked Sestito from behind. Sestito lay motionless on the ice for several minutes as the linesmen skated Staubitz toward the Worcester bench.

Referee Ghislain Hebert almost had a bench clearing brawl on his hands as Lefebvre took a step onto the ice to challenge Staubitz, but Lefebvre was restrained by his teammates and order was soon restored. Staubitz received 37 penalty minutes and a double game misconduct in the encounter, which resulted in a five minute major power play for Springfield. The Falcons could manage just five shots on their man advantage and Worcester headed to the locker room with a 2-1 lead and all the momentum.

Worcester would make it 3-1 on a nice power play goal. Traverse would rush the puck the length of the ice and would throw a great backhand pass right on the tape of Cory Larose. Larose would spot Lukas Kaspar all alone at the far post, and fired a pass right on Kaspar's stick. Kaspar fumbled the pass a little, which would work to his advantage as the diving Sabourin was expecting a one-timer. As Sabourin fell to the ice Kaspar easily flipped the puck over the downed netminder an into the net.

Tempers would flare again at 6:21 of the second after Greiss covered up a lose puck with the Falcons digging for a rebound. McLaren, who had been trying to get someone to go with him all game, took matters into his own hands and started throwing bombs at Geoff Paukovich. Paukovich is not much of a fighter, but gamely took on McLaren. With that fight going on Lefebvre was looking for a dance partner and Brett Westgarth was more than willing to oblige.

Lefebvre and Westgarth were given the gate for a secondary altercation, and the WorSharks would find themselves shorthanded as McLaren received an instigator minor. Worcester would connect on their second shorthanded goal of the game when Ryan Vesce capitalized on a Springfield turnover and beat Sabourin from the left face-off circle to make it 4-1.

Sestito would return to light the lamp for Springfield at 13:06 when he took a Ryan Stone feed and beat Greiss from between the circles as Worcester was running around their own zone defensively.

Springfield almost grabbed another goal with just over 90 seconds left in the period, but an incredible diving glove save by Greiss on a Rob Bima laser kept the lead at two.

Fenton would grab his second of the game at 10:38 of the third period by knocking in a rebound of a Derek Joslin blast. Joslin skated down the left boards and beat Sabourin five-hole, but the puck hit the near post and bounced right into the slot and on the tape of Fenton's stick.

Mike Fornataro would make it 6-2 at 17:36 on a nice tic-tac-toe play with Fenton and defenseman Michael Wilson. Wilson fired a low shot toward the far post that went just wide, but right onto the stick of Fenton. Fenton threw a centering pass that Fornataro gathered and flipped into the open net as Sabourin was scrambling from post to post.

Fenton's hat trick came at 18:37 on a bad angle shot from just inside the goal line. Sabourin had the post blocked, but Fenton found a small opening in the top corner to light the lap and send the hats flying.

Springfield would score a controversial goal at 18:54 when referee Hebert ruled the puck had gone into the net after hitting the post to the right of Greiss. The goal light never went on, and replay seemed to show the puck hit the far post, the crossbar, and then the near post, never crossing the goal line. Greiss was adamant the puck was not in, and had several words for Hebert when the game was over.

Worcester's injury list increased by one with the addition of Mike Moore, who is day-to-day after blocking a shot late in Friday's game. Kile McLaren, Mike Morris, Steven Zalewski, and Riley Armstrong are still on the injury list. Kyle Jones, who was recalled Friday, was returned to Phoenix prior to the game when it was determined SJ goaltender Evgeni Nabokov was healthy enough to back up Brian Boucher and a recall from Worcester was not needed.

The two teams combined for 141 penalty minutes; 87 for Worcester and 54 for Springfield. The 87 minutes is a season high for Worcester, easily surpassing the 67 minutes assessed them against Wiles-Barre/Scranton on December 3. Springfield's 54 is also easily a season high for them. Brad Staubitz's 42 PIMs shatters his own team record for penalty minutes in a game.

Ironically, it was "Faith Night" Saturday night, with several church groups in attendance and the Christian band Brother's Keeper performing after the game.

Springfield's Tim Sestito had an interesting game. He was knocked out by Brad Staubitz and received a roughing minor for his troubles, scored a goal, blocked a shot that hit his ankle causing him to miss a handful of shifts, and in the third period he accidentally elbowed his own player skating by him trying to throw a hit on Jason Demers.

P.J. Fenton not only had a great game in the box score, but he had a great play that won't show there in his column. Fenton intercepted a pass at the Worcester blueline that broke his stick. He dropped the stick and soccer-styled the puck up ice, shielding the puck away from two Springfield attackers and drawing a Ryan Stone slashing penalty in the process. The crowd, appreciating the effort, gave him a standing ovation.

The three stars of the game were:
1. Fenton (hat trick, assist)
2. Fox (g,2a,+3)
3. Greiss (31 saves)

With the two game misconducts for Worcester the lines were jumbled more than usual. These are the lines to start the game.
Even Strength


Penalty Kill


Power Play Lines


Springfield 1 1 1 - 3
Worcester 2 2 3 - 7

1st Period
Scoring-1, Worcester, Fenton 2 (Fox), 6:18. 2, Springfield, Linglet 3 (Trukhno, Young), 6:45. 3, Worcester, Fox 4 (Buckley), 11:15 (sh).
Penalties-Lefebvre Spr (fighting), 3:57; Staubitz Wor (fighting), 3:57; Traverse Wor (cross-checking), 9:18; O'Marra Spr (fighting), 12:11; Sestito Spr (roughing), 12:11; Buckley Wor (fighting), 12:11; Staubitz Wor (roughing, fighting, misconduct - unsportsmanlike conduct, game misconduct - aggressor, game misconduct - secondary altercation), 12:11; Bina Spr (hooking), 18:40.

2nd Period
Scoring-4, Worcester, Kaspar 14 (Traverse, Larose), 3:37 (pp). 5, Worcester, Vesce 20 8:14 (sh). 6, Springfield, Sestito 5 (Stone, O'Marra), 13:06.
Penalties-Stone Spr (cross-checking), 2:34; Lefebvre Spr (fighting, game misconduct - secondary altercation), 6:21; Paukovich Spr (fighting), 6:21; McLaren Wor (instigating, fighting, misconduct - instigating), 6:21; Westgarth Wor (fighting, game misconduct - secondary altercation), 6:21; Stone Spr (slashing), 10:46; Brule Spr (cross-checking), 15:06; Jones Wor (slashing), 17:23.

3rd Period
Scoring-7, Worcester, Fenton 3 (Joslin, Fox), 10:38. 8, Worcester, Fornataro 6 (Wilson, Fenton), 17:36. 9, Worcester, Fenton 4 (Demers, Fornataro), 18:37. 10, Springfield, Paukovich 3 (McDonald), 18:54.
Penalties-Stone Spr (roughing, misconduct - unsportsmanlike conduct), 9:08; McGinn Wor (roughing), 9:08; Bina Spr (tripping), 13:47; Fenton Wor (hooking), 14:36.

Shots on Goal:
Springfield 9-13-12-34.
Worcester 18-10-15-43.

Power-play opportunities: Springfield 0 of 5; Worcester 1 of 5.

Springfield, Sabourin 3-3-1 (43 shots-36 saves).
Worcester, Greiss 20-17-2 (34 shots-31 saves).

A-4,749. Referee: Ghislain Hebert (49). Linesmen: Mark Messier (12), Bob Paquette (18).