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  • SharkCircle 7:00 pm on July 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advanced stats errors, , , , , , , Patrick Marleau, , , 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 trade analysis, , , Patrick Marleau, 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: , , , , , , Patrick Marleau, 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 7:29 pm on December 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Patrick Marleau,   

    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 3:00 am on November 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Patrick Marleau,   

    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 4:23 am on September 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Patrick Marleau, Preseason, , Sharks, Tommy Wingels,   

    San Jose Sharks Pre-season Impressions 09/25/2011, Sharks 4, Canucks 3 

    This past sunday night, the San Jose Sharks faced off against the Vancouver Canucks in a pre-season game that the Sharks won, 4 – 3. The game was broadcast on the NHL Network. The Canucks did not ice many of their NHL players, with the most notable names on their roster being Maxim Lapierre, Keith Ballard, and Marco Sturm, but the Sharks did. New additions Brent Burns and Jim Vandermeer played, along with returning regulars Dan Boyle, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and others.

    For many of us, this was our first opportunity to see some of the Sharks regulars back in action. I was interested to see how the players looked after the short offseason, who looked faster or slower, etc. Here I will offer impressions of what I saw from notable players, starting with the defense.


    Dan Boyle is still an elite offensive defenseman. No surprise there, but he is 35 years old and coming off back-to-back grueling seasons where he played huge minutes for the Sharks, so some fans are understandably on the lookout for signs of decline. And since his excellent 16-goal first season with the Sharks, he probably has declined. His point totals were down last year, for instance. But from watching him play, I’m here to tell you that the decline is still very slight. He’s still as shifty as any defenseman, and he looks to be in great shape. Expect another great season from Boyle. Continue Reading Full Post

    • CaniacCanuck 7:00 am on October 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I’m hopeful that Vlasic can get back to his 08-09′ numbers but unless he gets those type of PP minutes again (which he didn’t even come close to last season) I’m beginning to think what we see from him now (offensively) is what we’re going to get. Obviously in his own zone he’s getting better each year which is great (set a career high in blocked shots, takeaways, and is one of the better guys at not giving the puck away, but trailed off in hits.) I’ll be interested to see if he defensive stats improve again this year (or maintain their last year numbers).


    • SharkCircle 4:48 am on October 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hey thanks for the comment. I agree, I dont think he’ll put up huge numbers unless he just gets tons of second assists because the Sharks steamroll everyone like they’re currently doing to phoenix. Vlasic can skate but he has no offensive ability beyond that. Passing is fine but unspectacular, he’s not creative at all, his shot is far below average, he can’t deke at all. He’s not an offensive player, and he doesn’t need to be to be solid defenseman.


  • SharkCircle 6:47 pm on September 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , Patrick Marleau, , Scott Hannan, ,   

    The Best Free Agent Signings of the Offseason, And Why the Sharks Should Have Signed Them, Part 3 

    In this series of articles, I will be taking an in-depth look at what I consider to be the 20 best value free agent signings of the offseason, in no particular order. For each signing, I will first detail what makes the signing a good one from a neutral perspective, and then I will discuss why the signing would have benefitted the Sharks (at the same contract terms unless others are discussed). There is no guarantee these players would have even come to the Sharks, in fact in some cases it is doubtful, but we find it interesting to analyze signings made this offseason through a Sharks lens. Enjoy!

    If you missed the other six parts of the best offseason signings series, you can check them out here. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6.

    Now for Part 3.

    Age. 31. Height. 6’1″. Weight. 193 lbs. Shoots. Left.
    Contract. 2 years, 7M, Los Angeles Kings.
    2010-2011 Stats. 63GP, 17G, 40PTS, -12 plus/minus, 20PIM.

    When healthy, Gagne is a fast, slick top six winger with good hands and hockey sense. You could characterize his style of play as midway between Patrick Marleau and Mason Raymond. At 31 years of age, he remains one of the league’s fastest and more skilled scoring wingers. However, there is a rub. Gagne has seldom been completely healthy of late, having played no more than 63 games in either of the last two seasons, so signing him always comes with a risk. But teams keep signing him anyway, which must mean there is also the potential for reward, and there is. Although last season’s injury riddled campaign was a down year statistically for Gagne, he is still capable of potting 30 goals in a healthy season, and a 3.5M cap hit for that type production and all-around play is a good deal. Continue Reading Full Post

    • Ted 12:23 am on September 9, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I really like these posts. I dont really care about the other teams besides san jose, but this tells me whats happening around the league while keeping my interest because of the sharks angle. Im glad you posted part 3 faster than you posted the last one. You took like a week lol. Not good practice for a blog to not post often but I see your picking it up. Good job.


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