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Archive for the ‘San Jose Sharks’ Category

That the Devils are fifth overall? That they’re only two points behind the Penguins?! That they’re 8-2-0 in their last ten games?!? That they’re four points behind the league leaders with two or three fewer games played?!?! Wowza! The things you learn when you bother to check the standings before mid-March!

Other things that stood out as we marveled at the after-one-month standings:

— The Sharks have as many points as the Avs, but don’t seem to get any press for it. Must be everyone’s finally really learned their lesson when it comes to SJ.

— Schnookie’s been saying all along that the Rangers were going to do their usual coming out of the gate strong only to tail off starting in November. She’s a genius, that one.

— There are two teams that have identical records. One team’s coach is on the perpetual hot seat. The other is being lauded as a rejuvenated genius. Who are the teams? Why, the Flyers and the Sabres, of course. (Obviously, the situations and expectations of the two teams are wildly different, but it’s still noteworthy to us because everything we’ve heard around the water cooler [and by “heard around the water cooler” we mean “read on Puck Daddy”] suggested to us that the Sabres were tearing it up while the Flyers were having a disastrously slow start.)

— The Hurricanes are worse than the Leafs. Good thing we didn’t go on record picking the Canes for the Presidents Trophy.

— We did go on record picking the now-24th-overall Ducks. Are we chagrined? Hell no! Instead, we’re looking forward to the wild second-half that’s going to catapult Getzi and his compatriots to the top.

Yes, yes, Gentle Reader, we know. Looking at the standings this early is a foolish exercise, but… watch out for those Ducks.

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Here we go, Game 2 of the Official Series We Care About — Go Pens! Go Stars! We’ll be filling this with what little thoughts pop into our heads as we watch the games today and tonight.

— This game has been a game of extremes: Extreme craptitude by Hossa, extreme awesomeness by Malkin and Sid; extreme coolness from Doc, extreme annoyingness by Pierre who’s decided it’s not enough to over-pronounce the French names and is now attempting to add some “Swedish” flair to Lundqvist.

— We learn that Sid requested there be no white-out in the crowd today. We’re hoping this is just the beginning of Sid flexing his divo muscles. Next up, he’ll demand the crowd wear only lilac. Then he’ll threaten to not skate unless every other seat is occupied by a shih tzu wearing a top hat. Finally, he’ll refuse to leave the dressing room unless the entirety of the upper deck is filled with pure white roses with the thorns removed.

— Just as we’re reliving Pierre’s awesome “Finno-Pierre” pronunciation of Jarko Rutuu in last year’s Playoffs (it sounded a little like “yahrkhuuu rrrhuttttuahwah”) he shocks us with this analysis: “I think that that # 87 had a lot to do with turning this franchise [the Penguins] around.” Wha-huh? Next up he’ll tell us the team with the most goals at the end of the game wins!

— Gronk scores for a case of sod! Woo-hoo! It’s a good thing he did, too, since we were getting to the hair-tearing-out-point with the Pens. Throughout the entire Devils series all we wanted to see was some players getting to the puck around the net. The Pens were doing that, then stopping to say, “Hey, look, we got he puck!” without following up on the play, as if to prove we have to be more specific in our directions. It was a tiresome little game, and we’re glad Jordan Staal had had enough of it!

— Mike Richter, makes Boomer’s day, by appearing on the intermission show to discuss his business ventures to fund green companies while encouraging major sports leagues to go greener. Despite her Devils fan-ness, Boomer will never forget that Richter was her first hockey true love. As an eco-conscious person herself (she spent her morning attempting to fix a leak in one of her five rain barrels) this whole segment is like a Cupid’s arrow making a direct hit on her heart. Meanwhile, Pierre continues to make himself look like an idiot by looking bored and asking Richter derisively, “Do you really think this will work?!” Also, he reduces the NHL players’ attempt to go carbon neutral by giggling over the Niedermayer brothers driving to games in a *scoff scoff* hybrid car. He also spews some nonsense about them drinking their Starbucks coffee out of “cups that can be refashioned into… um… other cups!” Meanwhile, we wonder why the Niedermayer brothers weren’t brining their own refillable cups to Starbucks in the first place. Do they want our Earth to die?

— Adam Hall scores for a case of sod-filled Tastykakes! The empty netter seals the Game 2 win for the Pens. We are loving this series so far!

— We’ll admit we very much enjoyed seeing Laraque appear of out nowhere to help Hal Gill defend Fleury there after the final whistle. Heh.

— Is it just us, or did Pierre look a little sad that Malone took the time to give Gronk a buddy-buddy facewash just before the post-game interview but didn’t give Pierre a second glance?

— We realize that Jordan Staal is the Pookie of the Staal brothers. The third of four, he doesn’t have the special status of being oldest or youngest, and Marc is most likely more concerned with framing his life in relation to his older brother not his parents. Pookie is fairly certain this means Gronk must be the smartest, most wonderful of the Staal children. Schnookie is concerned that this makes her the Marc Staal of the Ookie Family. “Does this mean I’m the one who looks like an especially inbred Prince Harry?” she asks. Pookie hates to be the one to tell her, but… yes.

— We will now take a brief intermission (if you can call a four hour break a “brief intermission”) but will return for the drop of the puck for the late game. Go Stars!

— Aaaaaand, we’re back! Go Stars!

— This game is giving us an opportunity to see how the Hockey Gods feel about defense. In one corner we have the Hero of Defense, Sergei Zubov. In the opposite corner we have the Zero of Defense, Brian “Spin-o-Rama O’ Despair” Campbell. Who will prevail?

— Schnookie is momentarily distracted from the game by a kamikaze bug that dive-bombs the back of her throat. Her surprised hacking drowns out the sound of the VS announcers. Pookie wonders if she can train an army of bugs to execute that move on command every time Pierre gets airtime.

— Anyone who doubts the power of recessive colors making the crowd look smaller should take a look at the wide angle of the sea of dark teal sweaters at the Shark Tank. Maybe it’s the lighting at the arena, but from far out, the building looks like swath of empty seats. Did Sid demand that this game be played without fans?

— We are assuming, after the Sharks score their second goal of the game on a breakaway, that Turco is thinking of his choice to try to race the attacking skater to the puck, “If I could go back, I might do that differently.”

— The VS intermission show reveals quite the shocker from the postgame comments following G1 of this series. What a surprise — Ron Wilson is blaming Patrick Marleau for the Sharks’ problems.

— Allow us to go out on a limb here and say that the Stars are looking really good. For all that they were in a deep and terrible swoon to end the season, they’re remarkably mentally resilient now. We’re ever so happy to have picked them as our favorite WC playoff team. Of course, there are still three minutes left in the third period as we say this, so if the Sharks end up coming back and winning this game, you can blame us.

— And even with us declaring this one over with a bit of time left in the final frame, the Stars still pull out the decisive win. No offense to our good friends who are pulling for the Sharks, but we’re delighted. It’s another great day of hockey!

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— We talked a big game last night about caring about the match-up tonight — Penguins vs. Rangers and Stars vs. Sharks. Now’s the test of whether we can talk the talk.

— Sid Crosby is usually so accommodating to fans, so can he please keep those of us who get these games in HD in mind when “growing” his “facial hair”?

— Keith Jones announces in the pre-game that this series includes “eight superstars I’d pay money to see play”. Huh? We do a quick count and come up with six, if we stretch the term “superstar” to include Marc-Andre Fleury and Scott Gomez. Surely Jonesy can’t be including Shanahan and Drury on that list, can he?

— Blersus shows us the large crowd taking in the video feed on the rolling lawns around Mellon Arena and segues into talking about how ESPN the Magazine ranked Pittsburgh #1 in Fan Relations. Blersus explains that part of this is because of the “arena experience” at the Igloo and how while it has its perks, it’s a great place for watching hockey. Well, as long as we’re not getting pelted with beer-soaked mouse pads, we agree!

— The Rangers are criticized for not having a great penalty kill against the Devils in Round 1. Seriously people, the laptop we’re typing this on could have killed the NJ “power play”.

— Riddle us this, Batman. Why are the Bruins roundly blamed for playing soul-killing hockey and the Rangers are just playing “a mature defensive game”?

— Why does Hockey want us to hate it? Why?! Seriously, we have other things we can be doing, Hockey. There’s Katamari to be played, Season 5 of “The Wire” to be caught up on, vegetable plants to watch growing. Any old time you want to start having Good triumph over Evil, that’d be great with us. This Rangers 1, Penguins 0 thing just isn’t cutting it.

— We’re writing this game off, anyway, though, as the Pens have had nine days off. Nine! Sid’s probably forgotten how to pass in that time off!

— We’re speechless. Jonesy’s “ShoutyShoutShout” Segment — er, pardon us, “Odd Man Rush” segment — is about Johan Franzen, who’s nickname is “The Mule”. Jonsey shouts, “I looked it up in the dictionary and a mule is… half-horse and half-donkey!!!.” We looked up Jonsey in the OED (nerd-alert: Stately IPB Manor is home to a complete, unabridged, gazillion-volume edition of the Oxford English Dictionary) and learned he’s half-dullard and half-nincompoop. You learn something new every day.

— Rangers 2, Penguins 0. Looks like we picked the wrong day to stop soldering our eyeballs in disgust over bad hockey.

— We can hear it, ever so softly, ringing in our ears. The siren song of the Katamari. Naa-na-na-na-na-na-na-na….

— Rangers 3, Penguins 0. We have no words for how over this we are. T-Minus 1 hour, 45 minutes ’til the Stars start.

— We’ve noticed an phenomenon with our Wii. When playing “Super Mario Galaxy”, all Pookie has to do to win a level is to get to breaking point and say out loud, “I hate this game and I’m turning off as soon as I die next.” It’s like the Wii hears her and feels threatened, that it might never be powered on again, left to molder and grow dusty before finally being tossed in the trash. It then serves up some softball levels to lure Pookie into playing some more. This game is like our Wii. Just as we are going to switch inputs to the PS2, the Penguins pop in two quick goals, one by the Other Superpest and one off a beautiful feed from Sid. Sweet! Still… that Katamari music is still running through our heads, and if this starts to look bleak again, we will not hesitate to turn the game off. Are you listening, TV?

— The “Bud Light At-A-Glance” is a bit too ironical for us — it obscures 1/3 of the screen keeping us from seeing the action for the amount of time it’s up on the screen.

— Speaking of screens, there’s some weird smudge on our TV that we can’t see to wipe off… Oh! That’s just Sid’s “facial hair”.

— OK, Hockey, this is more like it! Two more quick goals and it’s Pens 4, Rangers 3. However, we could still turn on Katamari whenever we feel like it, so don’t get complacent, Hockey!

— Also, we’re gobsmacked that we forgot one of the greatest things about hockey in our 118 Reasons We Love Hockey Series — people dressed as the Stanley Cup. We catch a glimpse of a man in the crowd wearing a tin-foil Cup head-dress. While it follows the pretty standard “full head Cup costume” template, the wearer has gone the extra step to sport a Lone Ranger mask under the eye-hole. This attention to detail delights us. However, it’s not as good as the fan we saw at Game 7 of the SCF in 2003 who rocked the very rare, and awesomely sublime “full body Cup costume”. He was wearing a giant garbage can with arm-holes cut in it and could barely move, but he was still the toast of every section he teetered past.

— WOOOOO!!! That’s RAWK! That’s one a beauty of a shot, and a beauty of a goal celebration. No concussions, no showboating, no skating past one’s teammates. That’s what we like to see!

— Wow. That game turned out awwwwesome! Good thing we didn’t turn it off. That said, we’ll have the Xbox controllers in hand at the start of the next game just in case.

— We are treated to one of those oddly satisfying TCM-ish filler spots that feature some odd history lesson about hockey. In this case, the subject is Red Berenson, famous to Devils fan as the man who put the finishing touch on the chip on John Madden’s shoulder by suggesting, horror of horrors, that Maddog maybe consider writing up a resume upon finishing his last year of eligibility since he wasn’t going to get drafted. The clip ends and we cut to Keith Jones saying he knew the fun fact about Berenson’s biggest night in the NHL because the only homework he did in college was to look up what happened on the day he was born; of course he skipped the news sections and went straight to the sports page, where the hockey column was all about what Berenson had accomplished that day. Now if only VS wouldn’t command Jonsey to ape Cherry, he’d be adorable! He’d almost be like Kelly Hrudey South!

— We’re having a little trouble getting into the late game here, perhaps still on a bit of a high from the Pens win, but we have to say, whoever thought to assign Andy Brickley to the Stahs/Shahks series has genius bits.

— Whoops. We take back everything nice we said about Jonesy. In the second intermission of the Stahs/Shahks tilt, he tells us that Marty Turco’s stickhandling was “the focal point you had to focus your eyes on” during the first round. Sigh.

— We feel compelled to write an open letter to the Stars about the third period:

Dear Stars,

We have learned, after a long, painful season with the Devils, that trying to play an entire period in your own zone is really not a great game plan. Oops. Now you’ve learned it too.

Kind Regards,
The -Ookies

— Okay, after looking totally disinterested in trying to win the hockey game, the Stars figured their shit out and took care of things quickly in OT, making this into a decidedly wonderful night of hockey. Since this playoffs has been characterized by wild mood swings from “fantastically enjoyable” to “utterly craptastic”, this bodes poorly for tomorrow. Considering these are the two series we really care about, we’ll take it, though.

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