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  • SharkCircle 1:01 pm on January 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , National Hockey League, , NHL shootout stats, NHL Shootouts, , , , SJ Sharks thoughts,   

    Random San Jose Sharks Thoughts, Jan. 5, 2012 


    It’s called shootout, not dekeout! And not just because “dekeout” sounds horrible. The Sharks keep winning shootouts, having lost only one this season, and the way they’ve done it tells us a lot about shootouts in general. Think about it, who is the best shootout guy on the Sharks? I would say Joe Pavelski. What about the best shootout guy to have faced the Sharks recently? The guy who bit them the most? Over the last season and a half I would probably say Jarret Stoll of the Los Angeles Kings. Then think of all the stars who aren’t good at the shootout, like Alex Ovechkin. How can Jarret Stoll be better than Alex Ovechkin at the shootout, the “skills competition?” Is Jarret Stoll actually more skilled at stickhandling, and/or in anything, than Alex Ovechkin? No way. Is he even a better shooter? Also no.

    But he shoots. He chooses to shoot every time. Same with Joe Pavelski and most of the Sharks. What am I seeing now is that skill level in the shootout is not nearly as important as decision-making, specifically making the decision to pick a corner and shoot the puck rather than stickhandle (or “deke”). In fact, it would seem that truth actually puts high-skill players at a disadvantage, as the more skilled the player, the more tempted he will be to stickhandle instead of simply shooting the puck. But that is the mistake many players and teams are making. If you’ve yet to witness the phenomenon with your own eyes, I believe you will if you start to take note of how players are scoring in the shootouts you watch. In the meantime, just consider the logic behind the notion.

    Think about it. When you get to skate right up to the goaltender and aim your best wrist shot at one of the top corners, there is really nothing a goaltender can do. Yes, NHL goaltenders are good, fantastic even, but they’re not superheroes. Just as humans cannot surpass the speed of light, goaltenders cannot surpass the limit of human reflexes and reaction time. CONTINUE READING FULL POST

  • SharkCircle 1:47 am on December 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Anterro Niittymaki, , National Hockey League, , , Niittymaki trade, , , San Jose Sharks trade,   

    Will Antero Niittymaki Be Traded By The San Jose Sharks? 

    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 reported by David Pollak of Working The Corners, Antero Niittymaki finished his post-injury conditioning stint in Worchester this week and was called up to the San Jose Sharks today. The Sharks now have three NHL goaltenders on the big club, where most clubs only carry two.

    Do they continue to carry three all season, which would cost them a roster spot and precious cap room, or do they find an alternative solution? And if it’s the latter, what would that alternative solution be?

    Antti Niemi is obviously going nowhere as the Sharks undisputed starting netminder, which brings us to the backups, Antero Niittymaki just off injured reserve, and Thomas Greiss. Where Greiss has excelled this season in Niittymaki’s place, posting a .918% SV% and 2.37 GAA, Niittymaki has struggled since signing with San Jose, both in terms of performance, with a .896 sv% and 2.72 GAA, and health. CONTINUE READING FULL POST

  • SharkCircle 1:24 am on December 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 24/7, 24/7 HBO, , HBO, John Tortorella, Marian Gaborik, National Hockey League, , , , , , , ,   

    What They Really Meant, 24/7 Edition: New York Rangers 

    Introducing a new segment that will run throughout the season, “What They Really Meant.” NHL players and coaches often talk in code; this segment will try to decipher what they really mean, either for humorous purposes (such as today’s post), or realistic analysis.

    Today’s entry will focus on quotes from Episode 1 of HBO’s 24/7 Flyers/Rangers series that leads up to the Winter Classic, starting with the New York Rangers today. Philadelphia Flyers’ quotes will be published tomorrow.

    Today’s blog is for humorous and entertainment purposes only. All quotes are taken from 24/7, but the subsequent “analysis” is my creation only, and not intended to accurately reflect the mindset of any person quoted herein.

    Without further delay, I give you What They Really Meant, 24/7 Edition: New York Rangers.

    Episode 1 of the 24/7 Rangers/Flyers series opens with footage of the players, backed by a chilling John Murphy score. As the narrator starts to talk, I almost expect the words “the Icarus 2 is nearing the surface of the sun” to come out. But they do not. Instead, the narrator eventually stops talking, and the players start. Here are some assorted quotes from throughout the episode.


    New York Rangers left-wing Sean Avery has just finished with some emotional poses during his modeling shoot, and is now being interviewed. CONTINUE READING FULL POST

  • SharkCircle 5:33 am on December 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , concussions, concussions sports, head shots, Headshots, National Hockey League, , , NHL Helmets, rule 48,   

    Does The NHL Need Better Helmets? 

    First let me say that I know almost nothing about helmet technology, or protective equipment in general. What I do know is, watching NHL hockey now, while the game itself might be slower do to various factors I’ve covered in my blog on the subject, the players themselves are bigger and faster than ever. And as a result, the helmets need to be bigger and more protective than ever, otherwise an increase in head injuries occurs.

    It’s a simple deduction: if increased impact is not met with equally increased protection or better, increased damage will occur. And that’s precisely what we’ve seen. Concussions are rampant in the current NHL.

    But that’s not how it should be, not just empathetically, but literally, this should not be happening. For instance, have you ever gotten hit in the head? CONTINUE READING FULL POST

  • SharkCircle 10:21 am on December 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , DOUGLAS MURRAY, , Justin Braun, , National Hockey League, , ,   

    San Jose Sharks Trimester Report Card: Defencemen 

    Two days ago, I posted my thoughts on each of the San Jose Sharks forwards through 25 games, and graded each one. Here are my thoughts on the defense, sorted by defense pairs.

    If you would like to be notified when new articles are posted, such as my thoughts on Antti Niemi and Thomas Greiss tomorrow, I encourage you to subscribe to the blog by entering your email address in the top-right corner and clicking the Subscribe! button. This is a great way to support the blog, as is following Shark Circle on twitter.

    Enjoy the blog!

    English: Dan Boyle of San Jose Sharks

    DAN BOYLE (27 GP, 1 G, 12 PTS, -2 Plus/Minus) has struggled to play at the elite level we’ve grown accustomed to this season, but he is still an excellent defenseman, and part of that decline is just a result of the game changing. It is harder for “rush” players like Boyle to produce now, as he admitted in that Working The Corners post I just linked to, and as I wrote about a couple of weeks before that in my blog on offense and excitement in our game.

    Still, we’ve grown to expect more from Boyle, and no doubt Boyle expects more from himself. At 35 years of age, some Sharks fans are having a hard time not worrying that this is just the beginning of Boyle’s inevitable physical decline, but I would like to comfort Sharks fans that it isn’t, at least not drastically. Is Boyle every bit as dominant as he was the year he was traded to San Jose, at 32 years of age? Probably not, but if he’s declined in say, speed, it’s about a 3% decline. He’s still the most elusive defenseman in the league after Duncan Keith and Brian Campbell, and as good a puck-mover as anyone. CONTINUE READING FULL POST

  • SharkCircle 9:44 am on December 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , National Hockey League, , ,   

    30 Teams, 30,000 Thoughts: Anaheim Ducks 

    Here are my extremely detailed thoughts on the Anaheim Ducks. Those who make it through this should have absolutely no doubts as to why the Ducks are struggling, and what needs to happen from a management level if that is ever going to change. To get notified when new blogs on the NHL are posted, enter your email address and click the subscribe button in the top right corner and follow Shark Circle on twitter.

    • Even with the slight decline of Ryan Getzlaf, the top line is still great. Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf, and Corey Perry may not be producing at their usual clip, but I believe it’s mostly an outlier. All three are still elite players. even if Ryan Getzlaf is not quite as elite as he used to be, and Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry look great, especially Perry. His Rocket Richard trophy last year was no fluke, he is an amazing player who can do everything. Their top line, overall, is still the most talented top line in the NHL save for the Sedin line.

    Yet, despite their top-end talent, the Ducks still continue to struggle on both offense and defense. Why? CONTINUE READING FULL POST

  • SharkCircle 2:11 am on November 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Flyers, Forecheck, Lightning, National Hockey League, Neutral Zone Trap, , NHL Tactics, Tampa Bay 1-3-1   

    Our Game Is A Joke Right Now 

    We’ve all heard it many times, whether from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman or other high-level NHL executives, that “our game has never been better,” or faster; how the speed, skill, and excitement on display is unrivaled in the history of our sport. It’s curious; generating wide-spread consensus has never been in the nature of our ever-complicated sport, yet here we have it in droves. Whether it be Bettman, the General Managers, ex-players, or TSN analysts, everyone even remotely involved with the NHL says the same thing: the game has never been better, faster or more exciting.

    And the fans think so too, even if the empty seats next to them in certain arenas around the NHL don’t seem to (although to be fair, league-wide attendance is still solid). But why wouldn’t the fans think that? When such a vast collection of NHL executives and analysts say the same thing, we are inclined to believe them. These are the experts, the people with experience, the people who would know.

    But these are also the people who routinely strike out at the draft table, who go years without even making the playoffs despite spending to the cap. As wise, hard-working, and well-intentioned as many of them are, their experience does not preclude them from being wrong sometimes. And, unfortunately, this time they are. Continue Reading Full Post

    • ian in hamburg 9:15 pm on December 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Great analysis. I left Canada and so stopped watching hocky regularly about 18 years ago. The few games I’ve seen since then – can count ’em on your left hand – have been exciting, though. Saw a game on holiday in DC between the Capitals and Senators and loved it – lots of good play, scoring chances, home team won in overtime. Bonus: we scored free tickets because while we were lining up to buy them, some guy came along and said, hey, you want em?

      That photo you have of the Lightning – Flyers game with the players standing around looking at each other. Does that happen a lot? I can’t believe that… I mean, not for a second have I seen anything like it. How long do they stand there, anyway?


      • SharkCircle 9:28 pm on December 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Hey Ian, thanks for the comment! If you dont mind me asking, how did you come across my blog if you’re not watching much hockey?

        As for your experience, games can still be exciting by my standards, not just as often as they used to be. There are also games I would consider slightly dull that others wouldn’t. The game you mentioned with the Capitals and Senators, the Capitals have some of the best scoring talent in the league, and the Senators are one of the worst teams defensively, so it was probably a more wide open game than most games.

        Nevertheless, Im sure you did see some exciting games. But if you have access to games from say 2006 through 2009, if you compare the average game then to the average game now, I believe you’ll find the games were much more exciting back then. Its interesting actually, Im starting to get backed up on this notion a little bit, even from players. I was recently sent this short blog by the San Jose Sharks beat writer, that was published a week or two after I wrote this article. You can see it here. http://blogs.mercurynews.com/sharks/2011/11/27/dan-boyle-“the-game’s-changed-the-neutral-zone-is-pretty-much-eliminated-which-is-where-i-get-a-lot-of-my-offense/

        In the article a skilled defenseman for the Sharks basically complains about the same things I talked about in this blog. But for him, as a player, he’s not complaining that his games aren’t as fun to watch, he’s complaining that it’s not as fun to play, that its frustrating because it’s harder to be creative and there is no room in the neutral zone.

        As for the screenshot of the Lightning game, no the complete stoppage is atypical. Like I said in the blog, that was an exaggerated example of the underlying problem. It took such an obvious example like that for people to take notice of the problem and start discussing it. So no, players dont usually stop playing completely. they still try to move the puck up the ice, the big difference now is that it’s much more difficult, there is much less space, so most teams usually just resort to dumping it in.

        Thanks again for the comment. I hope I’ve done alright answering your questions. Feel free to follow me on twitter if you’d like to be notified of new posts, and let me know if you have any more questions.


    • ian in hamburg 6:22 am on December 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Shark Circle,
      I found your blog and read your posts thanks to your query on the wordpress.com forums about why searches on Google weren’t coughing up your blog. I replied to you there, btw. You left a link back to your blog in your name, I think.
      Please go back to the forums, because there’s something else going on I think you should know. I subscribed to the comments, and got an email saying you’d replied to my first comment. All well and good. But clicking on the link on the bottom of my message that says: See all comments on this post, I come back to this post, but find none of the comments posted already. I keep looking for a link on the page, but find none.


    • JR 8:05 am on March 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Great article.And now it seems that the crackdown on obstruction has gone by the wayside. hooking and holding plays are up while the number of penalties has drastically declined. I find myself less and less interested in games that don’t involve my home team. Even then, when they play the blues preds or coyotes I find my attention waning.


  • SharkCircle 2:03 am on October 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , National Hockey League, , , ,   

    The Magic Is Back! Sharks beat Devils 4-3 in Shootout 

    Writing a full recap for this game would be pointless, but allow me to sum it up with a half-recap.

    The Sharks fell down 2-0 to the Devils on two nice, clean goals, one on a powerplay by Patrik Elias, one a nice penalty shot move by Zach Parise.

    But midway through the 2nd period, Joe Thornton scored on a play that looked offside, but wasn’t called. This brought the Sharks back in the game. Then a minute later, the puck bouced off Ryane Clowe’s skate into the Devils net to tie the game.

    But the Devils showed resilience, and took the lead back with little over 6 minutes remaining the 3rd period. Cut to the last minute of the game, about 30 seconds left, someone kicks the stick out of Devils’ goalie Johan Hedberg’s hand, not to mention Logan Couture boxing him in against his goal line, which allowed Joe Pavelski to tie the game with 3 minutes left. Continue Reading Full Post

  • SharkCircle 7:16 am on October 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , National Hockey League, , ,   

    San Jose Sharks vs. Anaheim Ducks Random Impresions, 10/18/2011 

    The Sharks are coming off their third straight loss, two of which have come at the hands of Pacific Division rival the Anaheim Ducks. The latest came tonight at the HP Pavilion, a 3-2 final score. If you missed the game or just enjoy reliving awful memories, check out or game recap here. If you really want to make it a night, you can watch the 2008-2009 Sharks/Ducks playoff series on NHL Gamecenter.

    Or you could read on for our impressions on tonight’s game. So many options! (Says the Editor of a blog that has not had any new content on it for weeks).

    Here are our impressions!

    • The Ducks second line has been a weakness for them for years now, and their GM Bob Murray did the team no favors by failing to get at least an elite second line forward in return for Chris Pronger, and then trading away the forward he did get in Joffrey Lupul. However, tonight their second line played a great game, even out-playing the Sharks own second line. Continue Reading Full Post

  • SharkCircle 7:02 am on October 18, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , National Hockey League, , ,   

    San Jose Sharks Lose Third Straight, 3-2 against Anaheim Ducks 

    The Sharks season got off to a rocking start eight days ago against the Phoenix Coyotes, but that now seems like a distant memory. Since that dominant performance, the Sharks play has been riddled with inconsistency. Tonight’s effort was better, particularly late in the game, but then again you would expect it to be when the opposition is on the back end of back-to-backs, and only playing to protect the lead. Continue Reading Full Post

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