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  • SharkCircle 2:59 pm on July 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , NHL Fiction, , , NHL News, , , San Jose Sharks news   

    A Handsgate Exclusive, Part I: Collusion, Nostalgia, And Canadian Ro-Sham-Bo 

    Follow me @SharkCircle

    A Handsgate Exclusive is my next blog-series which will tell an entirely fictitious story loosely inspired by the buttocks-grabbing controversy, AKA “Handsgate.” It will be released in three parts. Here is part I.

    DISCLAIMER: All the events and dialogue portrayed come from my own lively imagination and are not real. The police officers in this story are not real-life police officers. I made up their names, personalities, and dialogue. The entire story is a fictional joke. It is not meant to represent actual events, or the actual dialogue or beliefs of any real people. It is using one funny thing that allegedly happened in the hockey world and then making an entirely fictitious story out of it with fake dialogue. With that in mind, the spelling is intentional as well. I don’t know any NHL players and so have no way of representing their personalities or beliefs accurately. It’s all fiction. It’s all a joke. Yeah yeah, jokes have to be funny. At the least, it’s all fiction. Want to make that clear. Good.

    With the rumors that Claud Gireaux was arrested recently for allegedly grabbing the buttocks of a male police officer, many out there in the hockey community (and maybe some other communities) have wondered what exactly happened.

    Luckily, I have sources on the inside in, well, wherever this supposedly happened, Philadelphia probably, and I’ve heard a detailed account of the fateful events that took place that day, revealed here in a behind the scenes Shark Circle exclusive. Click Here To Continue Reading Full Post!

  • SharkCircle 7:00 pm on July 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: advanced stats errors, , , , , , , , , San Jose Sharks news, 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 12:25 am on April 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Alex Ovechkin decline, , Blackhawks analysis, Caps, , , NHL bigger ice, , , Patrick Sharp struggles, San Jose Sharks news   

    The Fall Of The Chicago Blackhawks And The Trade That Killed Them 

    Follow me @SharkCircle

    With the Chicago Blackhawks having just been eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs at the hands of the Phoenix Coyotes, I thought it would be a good time to finish writing a blog I started months ago, which looks at the true reasons behind the Blackhawks’ fall from an elite, Cup-winning roster to one of the many, ordinary and flawed contenders. Enjoy.

    Part 1: Victims Of A Changing Landscape?

    Every time I have watched the Chicago Blackhawks the last two seasons, their weaknesses have been obvious to me. Even at their peak, when they still had Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, and Kris Versteeg, they were a team primarily built around finesse, in a league that rewards finesse less and less with every year that distances us from the 2005 NHL lockout. And this current version of the Blackhawks’ roster has only become more dependent on finesse since winning the Cup, while the league climate continues to punish teams that aspire to play a skilled game. CONTINUE READING FULL POST

    • dca 10:53 pm on April 30, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      FYI You may want to add a paragraph about how the Hawks cap was even further squeezed because of another mismanagement.

      Skipping the whole sign Hossa to hurt division rival Detroit’s chances going forward, but really limit the team’s already tight cap space going forward argument.

      In Summer of 2009 what is known as RFAGate occurred in Chicago.

      In last days of June/beginning of July 2009, Chicago failed to tendered contracts properly (contracts were sent by ground courier instead of 2-day air or faxed and therefore not counted as being received prior to the deadline stipulated in the CBA is what I heard) to qualify it’s restricted free agents (RFA): Kris Versteeg, Cam Barker, Ben Eager, Colin Fraser, Aaron Johnson and Troy Brouwer.

      This was brought to the NHLPA’s attention by the agent Allan Walsh who represented Johnson (and previously Martin Havlat–who the Hawks had dumped at the last minutes of a contract negotiation) on Friday July 3, 2009. The NHLPA then filed a grievance.

      Before that grievance was heard (and knowing they would lose the arbitration) the Hawks scrambled and signed Ben Eager, Troy Brouwer, Colin Fraser, Corey Crawford and Aaron Johnson to contracts above what they would have gotten as RFA. They then signed Cam Barker for 3yrs x $9.25M. On Wed they signed Versteeg’s to a 3yrs x $9.25M as well (in what was viewed as the most significant overpayment at the time). The did all this so that those players would not be declared unrestricted free agents by a yet to be assigned arbitrator and those players lost for nothing.

      Overall, the Hawks had probably paid slightly more (maybe $1-2M more) than what it would have taken for the group as RFA’s (if the paperwork had been properly filed), but this was a huge mistake despite Dale Tallon’s quote at the time was “We’re in good shape and we’re legal,” he said “We’re under the cap.”

      So onto the regular season where the Hawks were aware of even larger contract issues going forward (they shuffled players back-and-forth to and from the AHL just to save thousand dollar cap hits): How to sign their big three players coming off EL contracts (Kane, Toews, and Keith). After negotiating an multi-year extension with Keith (one that drew heavy NHL league office scrutiny because they wanted such “cap-cheating” contracts out of the game (Chris Pronger and Marian Hossa’s recent contracts expired well after normal retirement age to get their cap hits down to more reasonable numbers)–the Hawks had 2 more young superstars to sign: Kane and Towes.

      Their negotiations in Dec included an issue with the CBA tagging rule (can’t commit more salary to next year’s team than what the cap is currently set at for the then current ’09-10 season) the Hawks now knew they would have to move someone by the deadline to be tagging rule compliant. They wanted to move Brian Campbell and Cristobal Huet but found no takers. They then were forced to move Cam Baker to be tag complaint.

      As you have pointed out the Hawks won the cup and those EL contracts hit their performance bonus inflators. Meaning those unqualified RFA contracts that cost more than they should have did ended up hurting them.

      In addition to that RFA issue: while Huet was sent to the AHL to dump as much salary as possible. But Campbell didn’t have to report due to a NMC (no movement clause at that time which later became a limited no trade clause) in his contract which would have left his salary on the books at the NHL level.


      • SharkCircle 12:45 am on May 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Fantastic comment DCA and thank you for taking the time to write it. I was aware of RFA-gate in Chicago, although I had never heard the detailed version such as you just gave. My view of that as it pertains to the blog was that, bad as it was, the Blackhawks were still able to win the Cup, and they still had all those players under contract at good cap hits in terms of league-wide value, and thus they were tradable. Meaning., for example, Kris Versteeg at 3M per season obviously was bad for the Blackhawks once they ran out of cap room, and they would have preferred him at 2M per season or whatever it may be, but even at 3M per season he was still a good deal and very tradable.

        The same goes for Byfuglien, etc.

        So while RFA-gate is a big reason why Stan Bowman was not able to simply keep more of these players on the roster under the cap, RFA-gate does not explain why, once he decided (or was forced) to trade these players, he did not get a significantly better return.

        And that’s what the blog focuses on. I guess I take the stance that, whatever Tallon’s mistakes and the problems with the Blackhawks before Bowman got there, they were still in a pretty damn good position. RFA-gate definitely hurt the cap situation, but they were still in a good place. It was not until Bowman came along that everything really went South.

        I did not mean to ignore RFA-gate entirely–I thought I’d mentioned it but apparently I didn’t, but the blog focuses more on the personnel decisions that were made after the Hawks won the Cup. I allude to it when I say that I understand Bowman was not in an ideal cap situation, and he had no choice but to trade some players (in other words, the position wasn’t his fault (unless he had something to do with RFA-gate), RFA-gate contributed), however I mention he still should have done so much better.

        Thanks again for the comment! If you enjoyed the blog I invite you to subscribe to Shark Circle to receive email notifications of when blogs are posted. You can do this by entering your email in the subscribe box in the top-right corner of the screen and clicking the subscribe button.

        I also invite you to follow me on twitter, and also if you wouldn’t mind, you seem like a very knowledgeable hockey connoisseur and I’d like to follow you regardless.



  • SharkCircle 12:45 am on April 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , San Jose Sharks news, Sharks playoff analysis, , , SJ Sharks news, St Louis Blues playoff analysis,   

    Sizing Up The San Jose Sharks Potential Playoff Opponents: St Louis Blues 

    You can Follow Me on Twitter @SHARKCIRCLE

    With the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche losing last night, the San Jose Sharks clinched a berth in the 2011-2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The only question that remains now us whether the Sharks will win their division and clinch home-ice advantage in the first round, and who they will play.

    There are four possibilities at this point: the Vancouver Canucks, St Louis Blues, Detroit Red Wings, and Chicago Blackhawks. Let’s take a look at what each of these match-ups could mean for the Sharks.


    If the Canucks are the most complete team in the Western Conference when at their best, then the Blues are a close-second, if not tied with Vancouver. CONTINUE READING FULL POST

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