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  • SharkCircle 7:00 pm on July 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advanced stats errors, , , Joe Thornton, , , , , , , Should the Sharks trade Thornton and Marleau?   

    My Thoughts On Thornton, Marleau, and The Sharks Future (DR, Part Three) 

    Follow me @SharkCircle

    Here is the third and final part in the blog-series Diverging Realities. You can read Part One here, and Part Two here. Please enjoy part three!

    After the first two parts of Diverging Realities where I talked about the all the divides and contradictions among fans in terms of what other people believe, some of you reading may have had the thought, WELL WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IN, EXACTLY! WHO ARE YOU! DO YOU EVEN BELIEVE IN ANYTHING AT ALL?

    So to answer that thought, well… Hi, I’m Shark Circle. And I believe in marmalade on a hot summer’s day.

    Oh, you meant when it comes to hockey? And in this case, analyzing the Sharks? How about, I believe in… noticing what happens in the moment, and then what that moment turns into the past, I believe in remembering what I noticed. Because, you see, memories in sports can be fickle. Especially complex sports like hockey. There are hundreds of “events” every game (thousands, really), so most people don’t remember the details of a playoff series that happened five years ago. It’s not like football where you can just point to a couple of plays that decided the Superbowl or a playoff game. But for all the “fancy” stats available today, I remember some “simple” stats, not to mention performances, from past playoff-years that have colored my opinions on Joe Thornton and Patrick Marlaeu as much as anything else. CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING FULL POST!

  • SharkCircle 9:08 pm on July 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Joe Thornton, Joe Thornton trade analysis, , , , Patrick Marleau trade analysis,   

    Diverging Realities Part Two: The Sharks Fan Base, Jumbo And Patty, And Why The Playoffs Matter (Really! They do!) 

    Follow me @SharkCircle

    Hey, Shark Circle here. Part One of this blog-series focused on what I mean by Diverging Realities, what caused them, and how the phenomenon has divided the hockey world at large. Here is Part Two, which will focus on the effect within the Sharks fan base, in particular the debates surrounding Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and the question of whether players are responsible for their performances in the playoffs. If you haven’t read Part One yet, I recommend you start with it first, otherwise Part Two will be very difficult to understand. Please enjoy!

    I spent the last blog detailing how realities have diverged among fans across the NHL, but that doesn’t mean the phenomenon isn’t at its worst, or close to it, in San Jose. Nowhere have I noticed the divide between the people who try to understand as much of reality as they can, and the people who inadvertently create their own through mathematical miscalculations and manipulation**, more than within the Sharks fan base. Specifically, the debate surrounding Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau’s playoff history. The advanced stats community (aka #fancystats on twitter) has always discounted the entire idea of “performance” and self-determinism in the playoffs, so it’s no wonder that a discussion surrounding great regular-season performancers who decline in the playoffs completely confounds them. And for the first time since these fans have risen to prominence arrogance within the Sharks community, they are greatly displeased with the way things are going, what with Sharks GM Doug Wilson saying he’s moving towards major decisions they don’t agree with. And as we all know, it’s not until adversity hits that you necessarily see all of people’s true colors. And this group of fans has turned on Doug Wilson very aggressively since he stated his intention to change the direction he takes this franchise in.

  • SharkCircle 5:29 pm on July 1, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Joe Thornton, , , San Jose Sharks rebuild, , Tom Gilbert advanced stats   

    Diverging Realities Part One: The Great Divide From Sharks Fans To All Of Hockey 

    Follow me @SharkCircle

    Hey, Shark Circle here. Just wanted to pad the length here by putting up a “note” explaining this next series of blogs, Diverging Realities. In contrast to the more specific, ne’er continued series Beware of Advanced Stats In The Hands Of Less-Advanced Statisticians, Diverging Realities is going to take a more general look at the consequences that false statistics, biased “studies,” and the advanced stats community’s inability to acknowledge anything they can’t calculate are having on the hockey world.

    Part One will touch on the Sharks, but focus mostly on explaining what I mean by “Diverging Realities” and what caused the phenomenon, and how it has divided the hockey world. Then Part Two will really dig into how this phenomenon has attached itself to the debate around Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau in SJ and made the Sharks into a polestar for this divide.

    Not For nothing, it’s been the most difficult blog I’ve written here, even more involved than the Beware blog, or the blog advocating for more skill in the NHL-game, and bigger ice. Or even the ill-conceived Scout With Almost No Footage one. But as someone who likes to be part of the ongoing, evolving conversation that is NHL-hockey, I feel this is one of the most important subjects I’ve written about. Because the way we all experience, analyze, and understand the game is very important to the way we discuss it, and I’ve been disappointed the last few years to see hockey discourse become almost as partisan as political discourse. And that’s what I felt needed addressing, so I hope you enjoy the slog blog!

    “Some men cannot be reasoned with.”

    If you’ve listened to Sharks’ GM Doug Wilson speak frankly this offseason, then you know that’s probably a pretty good approximation of what he’s been thinking to himself about Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau lately, as it now appears he’s finally come to realize what most NHL fans have believed for years: that there is something going on with those two as leaders of the Sharks that has hindered the team’s ability to succeed in the playoffs relative to what was expected of them (internally and externally).

  • SharkCircle 7:56 am on December 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Game Recap, Joe Thornton, , , Paul Stastny, , , San Jose Sharks Game Recap 12/15/2011   

    Game Recap 12/15/2011: San Jose Sharks beat Colorado Avalanche 5-4 in comeback thriller 

    Introducing new guest writer here at Shark Circle, CayCie S.D. She will be writing some of the game recaps here, as well as discussing the Sharks between games. This is her first game recap. Enjoy!

    Written by Kaycie S.D.

    The San Jose Sharks, who have dropped seven of their last nine games, went into Thursday nights’ home game against the Colorado Avalanche with an opportunity to settle the score from Tuesday night’s 4-3 shootout loss in Colorado.

    1st Period

    The Sharks hoped to get a jump-start on the Avs early, and Brad Winchester met the challenge head on by getting into a fight with Avalanche pugilist Cody McCloud. The two dropped the gloves in what may have been carry over from Tuesday night’s game in Colorado.

    Maybe the fight had something to do with it, or maybe it was just the awful turnover by Colorado’s goaltender, Semyon Varlamov, but only 2:30 into the 1st period, Ryane Clowe scored the first goal of the game when a shot by Logan Couture rebounded off Varlamov and was sent careening stright to Clowe, who shot the puck up high blocker-side to score.

    However, a holding penalty by Patrick Marleau less than three minutes later at the 5:18 mark led to the game’s first power-play for the Avalanche. It only took their top-line center Paul Stasny 33 seconds to rip a shot passed Antti Niemi from the point, which tied the game. Defenseman Eric Johnson got the only assist.

    At 9:32 of the period, Colorado defenseman Kyle Quincy gave the Sharks their first power-play after closing his hand on the puck, but the Sharks looked lackluster on the man advantage, and failed to score. CONTINUE READING FULL POST

  • SharkCircle 10:45 am on December 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Joe Thornton, , , , , Stl Blues,   

    San Jose Sharks Struggling Against The Good Teams 

    If you would like to be notified when new articles are posted, CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW SHARK CIRCLE ON TWITTER, and SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG by entering your email address in the top-right corner and clicking the Subscribe! button.

    As Sharks fans, we’re typically used to a few things:

    • Outshooting 90% of the teams out there on a regular basis, and dominating puck possession even in games we’re losing–even when we deserve to be losing
    • Beating the Detroit Red Wings every time and making them look like one of the worst teams in the league

    But the Detroit Red Wings aren’t one of the worst teams in the league; they’re above average at worst, and very good at best. And that is precisely why consistent victories against a team like the Wings, or in most recent seasons the Chicago Blackhawks, etc., are so assuring. Those wins represent more than mere points in the standings; they prove that the Sharks are capable of beating the very best, at least in the regular season, and they offer solid hope that the Sharks can have success come playoff time. CONTINUE READING FULL POST

  • SharkCircle 10:41 am on December 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alex Pietrangelo, , , , Joe Thornton, Kent Hitchcock, Kevin Shattenkirk, , ,   

    Game Recap: St Louis Blues beat San Jose Sharks 1-0 on goal by Kevin Shattenkirk 

    Last night, the St Louis Blues beat the San Jose Sharks 1-0 in an excellent display of defensive hockey. That the Blues are well schooled in keeping the puck out of their net is no surprise, given that their new coach Ken Hitchcock is a master of defensive strategy.

    The game started off fairly well for the Sharks. Although they failed to generate high-quality scoring chances, they were able to apply early pressure in the Blues’ zone, drawing a hooking penalty on T.J. Oshie little more than a minute into the game. But the Sharks failed to capitalize on the power-play, a theme throughout the night as the Sharks went 0-for-6 on the PP. The Blues penalty killing was flawless, making the Sharks’ man-advantage look pedestrian. CONTINUE READING FULL POST

  • SharkCircle 7:29 pm on December 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Joe Thornton, , , ,   

    San Jose Sharks Trimester Report Card: Forwards 

    Here are my thoughts on the Sharks players through 25 games, with letter grades for each. I’ll start with the forwards today, and post the grades for the defencemen and goaltenders tomorrow.
    All pictures are owned by their respective owners.

    LINE 1:

    Joe Thornton (25 GP, 5 G, 23 PTS, +7 Plus/Minus) looks as good as ever to me. His production may not quite be at the point-per-game mark we’re accustomed to seeing him at, but he’s doing all the not-so-little things. He’s a beast in the faceoff circle, impossible to take the puck from along the boards, and really just a positive presence all over the ice. He also seems to enjoy playing with right-handed shot Joe Pavelski. GRADE: A

    Joe Pavelski (25 GP, 12 G, 21 PTS, +7 Plus/Minus) has been the Sharks best player this season perhaps along with Thornton. He used to be good at everything; now he’s getting really good at everything, flirting with a 40-goal pace to start the year. There is nothing little about little Joe, in fact I’ve recently started to wonder if he uses steroids, such is his strength on the puck. Like Thornton, no one can knock him off it; the only difference is Pavelski is supposed to be undersized, and Thornton is a 6’4″ monster.

    Pavelski’s hockey sense, strength on the puck, and finishing ability have helped him to a great start, with 12 goals in 25 games. I’ve always seen him as the perfect second line center, but not necessarily someone you wanted as a top line player. Now he’s even calling that into question, proving himself more than capable on the top line. The Sharks really hit the jackpot with Pavelski. CONTINUE READING FULL POST

  • SharkCircle 10:21 pm on November 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Joe Thornton, , , , ,   

    Nov. 23, 2011 Game Preview: Chicago Blackhawks vs. San Jose Sharks Presents Classic Speed vs. Size Clash 

    Tonight at 4:00 PM Pacific Time, the Chicago Blackhawks face off against the San Jose Sharks at the Shark Tank in one of the most anticipated match-ups of the season. The 2010 Chicago Blackhawks super-team swept the Sharks in the 2010 Western Conference Finals, but salary cap constrictions forced their GM Stan Bowman to sell off much of their depth and versatility. Since then the team has not been the same, struggling to even make the Playoffs last season. The Sharks, for their part, contributed to those struggles, regaining the upper hand in the head-to-head match-up by winning three of the four games.

    However, the Blackhawks are still possibly the team with the most pure finesse skill in the NHL, and two of those San Jose victories came against Marty Turco, who was among the NHL’s worst goaltenders last season. His performances night in and night out were some of the worst to be seen at the NHL level in years. Turco was clearly past his prime, letting in easy goals left and right and undermining the effort of his teammates in front of him. His save percentage for the season of under .900% and a GAA of 3.02 reflected just this. Marty Turco has had a great career, but he was not as his best last season, which resulted in easy wins for the Sharks when they faced him. CONTINUE READING FULL POST

    • fatiguedaide 8:31 am on December 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Fantastic blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely confused .. Any recommendations? Thank you!


      • SharkCircle 4:51 am on December 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks! No I dont have any recommendations, sorry. Im just using wordpress so Im not experienced with hosting my own website. You could try looking online or asking in the forums.


  • SharkCircle 3:00 am on November 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Joe Thornton, , ,   

    30 teams, 30,000 thoughts: San Jose Sharks (2/2) 

    In this series of articles, I will take a look at all 30 NHL teams and offer thoughts on what I’m seeing from each. I will start with two dedicated posts on the San Jose Sharks, this being the second, and then one division per entry, starting with the rest of the Pacific Division teams. You can read part 1 on the Sharks here. Check back soon for my thoughts on the Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings. And Phoenix Coyotes if I have time. (Just kidding, the Coyotes are to be respected for what they accomplish every year despite difficult circumstances).


    • I love some aspects of the Sharks 3rd and 4th lines, and dislike others. The size, speed, grittiness, and relentless pressure are all big plusses, but these positives show themselves more in some games than in others. And in games where the bottom lines aren’t able to retrieve the puck and successfully get the cycle going, well, there’s not much else there. That’s their strength, getting in on the opposing defense and starting mayhem in, behind, and around the net, and they’re good at it. But, that’s also one of their only strengths, and if they don’t succeed at that particular tactic in a given game, then they’re probably not going to score or have a positive impact on the game. CONTINUE READING FULL POST

  • SharkCircle 11:43 pm on November 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 30 teams 30 thoughts, , , , , Joe Thornton, Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom, ,   

    30 Teams, 30,000 Thoughts: San Jose Sharks (1/2) 

    In this series of articles, I will take a look at all 30 NHL teams and offer thoughts on what I’m seeing from each. I will start with two dedicated posts on the San Jose Sharks, and then go by division, starting with the rest of the Pacific Division teams. Check back tomorrow for more thoughts on the Sharks.

    San Jose Sharks:

    The Sharks perfect power-play play. Todd Mclellan deserves credit for devising the perfect set power-play entry, and the 29 other NHL coaches deserve great shame for being beat on the exact same play over and over again. The Sharks enter the offensive zone on the power-play by creating a 2-on-1 at the wing of the opponent’s blue-line every time. They’ve been doing this for probably two seasons now, the same way every time, and it still works like clockwork.

    Other teams, when they have only 20 seconds left on their power-play and the puck behind their own net, their power-play is usually over. They’ll try one more time to get into the offensive zone, rushing it, and it will usually fail and go back down the ice. And even when entering the zone doesn’t fail it still takes them those 20 seconds just to set it up cleanly and get it to their quarterback.

    But the Sharks, they not only get it into the offensive zone with ease, but they get it to their point man, facing the net, with space, and they do it all with just a couple passes in one seamless play. It’s amazingly brilliant for Mclellan, and amazingly idiotic by the other coaches. It’s like they’ve never heard of videotape. (I may write a dedicated blog on this entry with photographs so I can illustrate what’s happening on this play better for everyone). Continue Reading Full Post

    • evilducks 3:15 am on November 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I love articles titled “San Jose Sharks” that are 75% about Ovechkin and Crosby.


      • SharkCircle 8:25 am on November 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        That’s an addendum to the part about Pavelski. Not part of the main article, and just bonus reading for those interested in a sub-topic. That’s why it’s after the end of article and has a * before it. Thanks for reading!


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