Clowe back in Teal

August 5, 2008
Ryane Clowe

Ryane Clowe

Finally! Ryane Clowe agreed to a 1 year deal worth $1.6 million on Monday (story). This re-signing was much anticipated, but had been delayed for weeks due to disagreements on the length of the contract. Being that it is only a 1 year deal, the question is, who pushed for it?

Regardless, Clowe is an asset to the Sharks and will provide the physical grinding play needed up front along with his scoring touch. He missed most of last season due to injury, but returned to the line-up to score eight points (3 goals, 5 assists) in the final four games of the season. He was also a major contributor in the playoffs – tying the team lead for goals (five) and ranking second in points (nine). Welcome back Ryane!

Advertisements

Richards, Yawney, Woodcroft join McLellan

July 23, 2008
Todd McLellan

Head Coach Todd McLellan

The trio of assistants will join head coach McLellan behind the bench (story). The immense success of these individuals in their previous roles/positions ranks the Sharks’ coaching staff among the tops in the league. The relatively fresh coaching perspectives that these untainted minds contain will help push the underachieving Sharks over the 2nd round hump and finally fulfill preseason predictions of the Sharks being in the finals. I see the new coaching staff making an immediate positive impact to the team, unlike the usual outcome of a coaching staff overhaul during the off-season. Finally, an experienced coaching staff that can let loose the reigns of the Sharks’ talent, whereas the previous staff seemed only to bind the talent of the team with a system that consistently fell short.

Corey Schwab has also been named the new goaltending development coach for the Sharks’ organization. He will work closely with Assistant GM Wayne Thomas who currently coaches the Sharks’ goaltenders at the NHL level. Schwab had the privilege of playing for our beloved Warren Strelow and will hope to continue his legacy.

Penguins’ AHL Coach to San Jose!

July 22, 2008
Todd Richards is rumored to be behind the San Jose bench in 08/09.

Todd Richards

There’s a legitimate rumor that Todd Richards of the Wilked-Barre Scranton Penguins is on his way to San Jose (rumor) to become an assistant coach to McLellan. The AHL team is an affiliation of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He has a 98-49-5-8 record with the team, including a trip to the Calder Cup finals. With both coaches (McLellan and Richards) having tremendous success coaching in the AHL, I see this pairing as a great enhancement to the team. And paraphrasing McLellan, such a team of coaches may work in the team’s benefit as players do not have experience with them and can come into the new season without prejudice.

There’s also a rumor that ex-Chicago assistant Trent Yawney will be the other assistant to join McLellan behind the bench.

This should be a new and exciting brand of Sharks hockey headed by McLellan with emphasis on offense and puck control. I look forward to pre-season to get a glimpse of the new system.

NOTE: Official announcement of new assistant coaches expected in the next day or so.

Sundin, Selanne, and Summer

July 21, 2008

Sundin is still holding out on whether or not he will return to the NHL. “Selanne Watch: Season 2” has also begun as Teemu has yet to agree to return to the league either. While they enjoy their lazy summers off smacking around some balls on the back 9, the rest of us wait in suspense to find out if they are sure that they have “the energy to go through another season at this level.”

Sundin deserves the time and has given a reasonable timeline of late July or early August to make up his mind.

Selanne, on the other hand, is just becoming an annoying brat. After holding out all last season and then coming in at the end to play 26 games… yes, only 26 GAMES!!… Selanne apparently needs another lengthy off-season to determine whether or not he will play again. Teemu… guess what? No Ducks’ fans want you back! You’re self-absorbed, cocky, and costing too many fans heartache. As available free agents get snapped up by the rest of the league, the Ducks sit on their hands wondering if their Teemu will return. I’ve spoken with numerous Ducks fans, as I live in SoCal, and all of them agree that Selanne needs to go.

But don’t let this ruin your summer. Afterall, we have the Lightning and Russian League fiascoes to keep us entertained.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Circus Show or Cup Contender?

July 18, 2008

Everyone is shaking their heads with regards to Tampa Bay’s recent and continuing overhaul – some with approval and others with disapproval. The Lightning will be an interesting team to watch this season. They could either be the traveling circus of the league or a serious contender… only time will tell.

With all of the changes being made in recent weeks – Lecavalier’s lifetime contract, resignation of GM Feaster, the acquisitions of Recchi, Kolzig, Vrbata, Malone, Roberts, and Prospal, the hiring of Barry Melrose – yes that Melrose – as head coach, the loss of top defenseman Boyle to SJ, and a few other tidbits I’ve missed, the question still remains, can you just throw a bunch of newly acquired skilled players on the ice with a guy who hasn’t coached in years and an ownership group all too willing to bypass management to toy with the team line-up and expect to produce a winning team?

The Lightning have a lot to prove this season. To avoid becoming the revolving side show circus of talent that the Rangers were in the past, they will need to make the playoffs. Otherwise, you can expect to see some of these names again next summer – on there way out. On the other hand, this overhaul could work! And if so, the ownership will look like geniuses and Melrose will be able to gloat during his offseason interviews with ESPN.

Even with all of this hype, the Lightning have to be careful. I don’t think Melrose will be a strong coach his first season back behind the bench and I have no doubt that everyone below the ownership group are just puppets at this point. I have a feeling Melrose is just this giddy little kid right now excited about the opportunity to coach again and isn’t really thinking about the chemistry of the players being put onto the ice by management, er, ownership.

In the end though, it gives us one more plot to look forward to during the upcoming 08/09 season. And sports is all about entertainment… and the NHL should be very entertaining this season.

Off-Season Rant: Drug Overdose and Preseason

July 16, 2008

Ok ok… so this isn’t about a sports athlete or even a person at all. It’s about my cats! But can you blame me? It’s off-season for the NHL and this event made me angry.

I took both of my cats (approximately 1 years old) to the vet yesterday after one of them had signs of having tapeworms (usually a result of fleas). As with anytime you take your pets in, they first do a quick physical exam of them including taking weight measurements. And the method they use to take the weight of each animal is to weigh the animal while still in its carrier, then weigh the carrier and subtract it from the total weight. Pretty simple, right?

Well they took the weight of each cat in their respective carriers and then forgot to subtract out the weight of the carrier! They then proceeded to give them a shot to treat the tapeworms, with the dosage of the shot being determined by the weight of the cat. Well, guess what? My cat doesn’t weigh 16 lbs.!!! They technically overdosed my cats! I discovered this after I dropped the cats off at home and headed to work. So, I called them up and asked about it. They basically said “oops” and told me to bring them back immediately if they begin to vomit or have diarrhea. Are you idiots??

I now had to skip out on work to keep an eye on the cats. The cats did have slight vomiting, however not enough to be of concern. They made it through the night and seem to be okay now. I’m not a huge cat person, but these cats are amazing and plus my wife would kill someone if something happened to them.

SOMETHING HOCKEY RELATED

Sharks announced their entire pre-season schedule for the 08/09 season (view). The usual opponents include the Ducks, Kings, Coyotes, and Canucks.

First Signs of a New Season

July 16, 2008

The Sharks development camp is currently in progress and will run throughout the week. This is the time where Sharks’ prospects will be put through rigorous workouts and drills, giving them a taste of NHL intensity hockey and a taste of the Sharks’ system. Young prospects like Couture (9th overall pick, 2007) will have a chance to learn the ropes of Sharks’ hockey and find out what areas they need to improve upon – all while trying to impress the incumbent coach McLellan.

PRE-SEASON

Sharks announced their entire pre-season schedule for the 08/09 season (view). The usual opponents include the Ducks, Kings, Coyotes, and Canucks. Training camp is all too close and the signs of a new season are already upon us.

Off-Season Rant: I need gas money!

July 15, 2008

Gas is hovering around $4.60/gallon and I commute over 40 miles to work everyday. That’s 80+ miles round trip! Thankfully I have a somewhat fuel efficient Corolla. I would move if I could afford to. However, the closer you get to LA, the worst the housing costs. Never understood that, considering how worse the housing gets as well. Anyway… speaking of gas prices…

With gas prices on the rise and the economy coming to a standstill – like the lines at the release of the new iphone (idiots, get a life) – Minnesota Wild’s Stephane Veilleux fired his agent and took back his 4% (story). Go Stephane! Stephane awoke from his deep slumber and quickly realized that he possesses a law degree from Cornell.

“I was rummaging through my sock drawer one day looking for gas money and found this piece of paper with my name on it,” stated Veilleux with excitement. “Then I thought, why am I paying a guy 4% of my salary to do something that I am fully capable of? I could have used the extra 4% to fill up my ride – a Porsche 911.”

Veilleux is now assisting Radulov with contract negotiations.

Oh my Foppa!

July 14, 2008

Peter Forsberg

Peter Forsberg


Forsberg’s career has hit yet another setback after revealing that he will be out at least until Christmas rehabilitating his same nagging injury (story). This is a guy that you just can’t help but feel sorry for. In his shortened NHL career thus far, he has accumulated 885 points in 706 regular season games with +242… a +242!!!. In 151 NHL playoff games, he’s also totaled another 171 points. With multiple all-star appearances (95/96, 97/98, 98/99, 00/01, 02/03), two Stanley Cups with Colorado (95/96, 00/01), an Olympic gold medal with Sweden (05/06), Art Ross Trophy (02/03), Hart Trophy (02/03), and then some, this guy is a tremendous athlete. With that said, I believe Forsberg should leave it all on the ice.

It seems Forsberg’s foot injury will be one that he will have to live with the rest of his life. The question is, when will the choice be made to hang up the skates and jump behind the Avs bench to help out Granato? How many more attempts at surgeries, rehab, and skate changes must be made? For the last 4 years Forsberg has tried to heal and return to his top form shown in the 02/03 season. He had a great outing with Philadelphia (75 points in 60 games) in 05/06, however, suffered more setbacks the following season. He came back in 07/08 for a few games with Colorado (14 points in 9 games), displaying a little bit of what has made him already a future hall-of-famer.

As much as I wish for Forsberg to return, at the very least I hope to one day see him behind the Avs bench using his talent to bring the Avs back to the top 4 in the league.

O Captain! My Captain!

July 11, 2008
Marleau, Game 3 vs. Calgary (2008 Playoffs)

Marleau, Game 3 vs. Calgary (2008 Playoffs)

There’s no doubt Patrick Marleau will remain as the team captain of the Sharks. With veterans like Blake, Thornton, and Roenick in the line-up, there’s rumors of who will wear the “C.” After last season’s playoffs against Calgary, where Marleau took a beating in the first period only to come back harder after each shift, he has further proven his worthiness. And the management’s unwillingness to trade Marleau prior to his no-trade clause kicking in on July 1st shows that they still believe in him. The ultimate disrespect is stripping a guy from his captaincy after having it for so long (see Mike Modano). Marleau may not be the most vocal guy on the team, but he is most definitely the captain and encompasses everything that exemplifies a captain. Marleau will maintain his title until he retires, or God forbid, is traded.

WHAT ABOUT BLAKE OR THORNTON?

Ultimately this is Marleau’s team. He is the cornerstone of this team, coming up through the Sharks’ development system. To remove that cornerstone will cause the entire house to crumble. Blake is on a single year contract and players need to earn the captaincy over time, not expect it once they arrive. Thornton is the co-captain. If Marleau does get traded, Thornton would be the first in line to take over.