SJ v Detroit

So the game isn’t until tomorrow, and it’s just a regular season game, but I am pretty excited and anxious about it. San Jose has been playing lights out for about the past month or so, and so has Detroit. Sure, in that time both teams have stumbled on occasion, but for the most part the Wings and the Sharks are playing some mighty fine hockey.

The game on Tuesday is guaranteed to feel like a playoff game. The Sharks need all the points they can get so that they can be assured of reaching the playoffs. The Wings want to show that they are still a force to be reckoned with as well as do whatever they can to solidify their 1st place in the Central Division and maybe even gain some ground on Western Conference leaders Vancouver–a prospect that seems unlikely but Detroit has always shown determination and fight and I don’t don’t that they will fight tooth and nail for all the points they can possibly get in an attempt to catch the Canucks.

Add to the fact that the game is the first of three on the Sharks last three or more game road trip-meaning the game will be played in Joe Louis Arena (a place where the Sharks have had marginal success if we want to be generous) and the game really should be a preview of what these teams will look like when the post season finally arrives. It will be interesting to see how Ian White and the rest of the Sharks respond to a team that will actually challenge them for 60 minutes and not just 40 like the Avalanche did on Saturday.

And Antti Niemi is probably going to have to have another excellent game if the Sharks hope to win because while Detroit’s goaltending might be questionable, their offensive prowess is not, and it seems that Howard (their goaltender) is regaining some consistency and is not the gaping hole in net that he was earlier this season. True, if HTML were living up to their offensive expectations and potentials, Niemi wouldn’t have to be spectacular, he would just have to be amazing, but the sad fact of the matter is that the Sharks’ top line is not producing the points this year meaning they have had to rely on secondary scoring much more.

Secondary scoring is essential to any team’s success, but when secondary scoring becomes your primary scoring (as it has been for the Sharks for the majority of this season) then there is trouble. Especially when going up against a team like Detroit which has scored 199 goals this season, good enough for second best in goal scoring in the entire league. Compare that to the 167 goals San Jose has scored while playing one more game than Detroit and it is clear that there is some reason for concern. The only possible silver lining is that the Sharks have allowed fewer goals than Detroit with 154 goals against compared to Detroit’s 169, but even this is misleading and not much of a silver lining, especially when one considers that the Sharks have had a terrible time holding a lead and have lost many one goal games either in regulation or in overtime/shootouts as a result of giving up an untimely tying/game winning goal, driving home the point that it does not matter so how much how many goals you allow, but rather when you allow them.

All in all it should be a most excellent game that I will have to try and stay up to watch. I’m glad school doesn’t start until Thursday. Go Sharks!

England

Where the beer is expensive and not very good.
Where they speak “properly” but still sound oh so funny to my American ears.
Where they are so polite that they tell you to “mind the gap” even when there isn’t one.
Where they drive on the other side of the road–and it’s really freaky sitting in the passenger seat because that should be where the driver sits.

I was there last weekend, and it was lots of fun, but seriously, riding in cars over there was quite an interesting experience, and a bit stressful as well. Of course, it could also have something to do with the fact that I generally don’t like cars and I don’t drive… I did a lot of walking around Harpenden and St. Alban. I took a lot of pictures (some of which I will post here on the blog when and if I ever get round to it). I spent Saturday walking around London, singing this song:

(Okay, I didn’t really sing this song as my friends and I walked around, but the tune did cross my mind for a moment or two on several occasions during the day).

I also took lots of pictures of London. We went to Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben and the London Eye, the Millennium Bridge and some other places I’m sure, oh right, like Soho and London’s Chinatown. And here is a picture of yours truly that friend took.

All in all I had a great time and I didn’t want to leave. However, my desire to stay wasn’t born of some newfound love of England, but rather the rediscovery of what it is like to be immersed in and surrounded by English, even if it did sound all proper and funny to me. When I returned to Prague and saw all the signs in Czech and heard all the Czech around me I just wanted to hop back on the plane and go directly back to Luton, even if I had to sleep in the airport lounge and bathe in its restrooms.

That feeling has mostly passed, though I do miss being around my native tongue, and I am glad to be back in the Czech Republic. For how long remains yet to be seen, but anyone reading this will have an answer as soon as I do.

Seto nets a hat trick

Devin Setoguchi scored his first career hat trick last night as the San Jose Sharks clobbered the Colorado Avalanche 4-0 in the Shark Tank.

It warms my heart to see Seto picking it up–he has had, to put it mildly, lubricious (and not in the smooth or sexy meaning of the word) season thus far–but over the past twelve games he has earned twelve points and looks like he is finally starting to shed his mercurial ways and find some consistency to his game. Sure, he could easily slip back into his old ways, as sharksfan over at penaltykill.net writes about in this post from December, in which he calls Seto out for his lack of reliability and likens him to another fan favorite who after a Rocket Rashard winning season petered out and when no where. Fear the Fin takes issue with that comparison, though, as see here.

It is probably too early to call this a comeback for Setoguchi, but I hope that soon it will be a comeback, or return, to proper form for Seto.

Other notes and random thoughts about the game and the Sharks in general.
Torrey Mitchell played a solid game last night, though he didn’t get any points.

Ian White looks like he will be a valuable addition to the team as he was on the ice for both power play goals and even had an assist. Right now he is a point a game player with the San Jose Sharks. Keep it up, White, I expect you to have at least 22 points with the Sharks by the end of the season.

Despite the fact the Sharks won 4-0, they had a lackluster second period in which Colorado outshot them by something ridiculous like 11-4 and this type of thing could be cause for concern as Los Tiburones try to stay in the playoff picture–they’re 4th in the west right now, but that really means nothing. Just look at the standings!–as the games will become even tighter and Niemi (who has been superb as of late, almost allowing me to forgive him for single-handedly killing the Sharks last May/June) will have to stand on his head even more than he is now. Not to say that he won’t be able to do that, but it would be nice if the Sharks could limit the amount of shots taken by opponents through the novel use of…playing in the opponent’s zone instead of their own.

HTML continues to struggle to get points, but they put in a solid effort last night and hopefully with continued hard work and effort the goals and points will start to materialize for them. Logan Coture also didn’t score a goal, but he did pick up an assist and played hard.

This truly was a great game, even if the Avs aren’t the team they were last year, and with the exception of a scary second period the Sharks played smart, skated hard, and got the win. And as a fan, that’s all I can really ask for.

Sharks make a move

Warning: Hockey Talk

So it seems that the San Jose Sharks have finally added that long sought after defense-man. I don’t know anything about Ian White except the fact that he plays defense (and I didn’t even really know that until today… when I first heard his name as a rumor I went to google and searched for him and the first site I went to said he was a forward, but hey, at least it accurately identified him as playing for Carolina.

White doesn’t appear to be the shut down guy we wanted, but according to that article linked to above he can handle his defensive responsibilities reasonably well and has the potential to be a threat in the offensive zone as well since he apparently can has decent skating and puck handing skills. Is he Dan Boyle 2.0? I don’t know, but I do think that would be pretty cool, as long as he is not as prone to bad decision making, which is something that Boyle has been guilty of–the most obvious example is game three against Colorado in the Western Conference Quarterfinals last year when Boyle tried to clear the puck by using the boards behind the net but ended bouncing it off and Avs player and scoring the game winning goal for the other team, 51 seconds into overtime.

That was the biggest mental lapse/bad decision of Boyle’s time with the Sharks, but it is not the only example as I seem to remember him making several ill advised decisions throughout the current 2010-2011 season. Of course, Boyle has been playing a lot of minutes this year and it is highly likely that this has caused him a bit of fatigue and fatigue has a nasty habit of making morons out of us all, and if not morons then prone to poor decision making at the very least.

At any rate, San Jose finally acquired a defenseman, and hopefully White will turn out to be a good fit for the team. There might be some reason for concern about that, though, as the Sharks will be the third team he has played on this season, the previous two being Calgary and Carolina, and he hasn’t really had what anyone would consider a stellar season. But maybe it’s because he is karmically and cosmically cursed by the letter “C”, and since The San Jose Sharks has no “C” in it, White will come alive and be of tremendous help to a sub-par (despite their play as of late) blueline. I just hope he’s not cosmically cursed by the “K” sound because if he is, the Sharks are in big trouble.