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  • SharkCircle 2:04 am on February 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bias in NHL, , , San Jose Sharks Bias, San Jose Sharks trades Doug Wilson, Sharks GM Doug Wilson, SJ Sharks   

    Is San Jose Sharks’ GM Doug Wilson Evaluating His Team With Rose-Colored Glasses On? 

    In a recent article by the San Jose Mercury News, Curtis Pashelka interviewed San Jose Sharks’ General Manager Doug Wilson about whether the Sharks needed to make any roster moves in response to their current seven-game losing streak.

    Wilson made clear that he still has faith in the Sharks’ roster as it is now assembled, saying that “the answer lies within that room.” However, the justification he gave for his continued confidence in the team suggests to me that he is not evaluating the Sharks’ roster honestly, but rather with bias that is clouding his judgement. CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING FULL POST

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  • SharkCircle 12:45 am on April 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Sharks playoff analysis, , SJ Sharks, 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.

    ST LOUIS BLUES

    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

     
  • SharkCircle 8:23 pm on March 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Pacific Division, , , , , SJ Sharks   

    What To Make Of These San Jose Sharks? 

    Follow Me @SharkCircle

    In recent years, the San Jose Sharks have been one of the hardest teams in hockey to figure out and pin down. At times when you watch them play, they somehow appear to be both underachieving and overachieving at the same time. Many fans and hockey pundits alike are still trying to figure out which it is. Truth be told, it’s probably both. That doesn’t make sense, you say? Welcome to Sharks hockey. It’s just hard to know what to make of the Sharks, which leads to the same questions every year. How good are these Sharks, really? How should we feel about them? CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING FULL POST

     
    • Inverse fandom 5:43 pm on March 31, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I like your liberal use of paragraphs, LOL. Seriously you have a great blog with stacks of facts, figures and figurin. Yes Captain Crosscheck here, and I would like to continue the discourse we began a few weeks ago. You obviously watch a ton of hockey, are knowledgeable and prolific. As a fan since the beginning I feel I’m qualified to say that they don’t have what it takes to win this year. I am NOT a basher, just pragmatic. I write what I see and with the parity in our division we don’t have the extra oomph to win the division or if we get in as a seven or eight we go nowhere. Blind loyalty is nice but doesn’t work for me. After watching the NO POINT roadtrip I can see the flaws even better. We got outworked against Phoenix after the first and seemed to give up and pout for the rest of the game. Against the Ducks, Hiller was in our heads circa 2009. How do we fix this talented but flawed team? I await your learned response…

      Like

      • SharkCircle 4:16 am on April 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Hey, sorry it took awhile to respond to your comment. Captain Crosscheck? Have you commented here before or are you from twitter? I’ve been tweeting with a lot of people and I don’t always look at the name, I just hit reply, so that’s probably just why I’m blanking on it.

        Haha yeah, I know the blogs go long sometimes. It’s just my style of, not necessarily writing, but when it comes to hockey, I just think about it in a way where every idea I’m talking about usually has “sub-ideas” attached to it, and I’m talking about a lot of related ideas all at once. So it’s difficult to write about ideas like that in clean, simple paragraphs when the ideas aren’t simple. I’m trying to look at things from all angles and give readers a full-pictured analysis, and sometimes that means long blogs. I believe the people reading my site are more hardcore hockey fans who want that type of thing than casual fans, although I welcome everybody and try to explain things for everyone.

        As for your opinion, I agree to the extent that the Sharks are not the best team in the NHL, or their conference, or really even second best. I think if they play fair games against some of these teams, they will lose. But if it’s like the Detroit series two years ago, where the Sharks got like fifty powerplays per game, they have a good enough powerplay that if the referees decide to win the game for them, it will work more often than not.

        I just never count out the Sharks anymore because they’re such a weird team. Clearly they’re not the best team at this whole “playing hockey” thing, but there are these games where they are winning every single faceoff, getting every single powerplay, and just sort of manipulating the game, if you know what I mean, to tilt the outcome in their favor. And if I were a Canucks fan or Blues fan or Blackhawks fan or Red Wings fan, whoever the Sharks are about to play here, that’s what would worry me the most about this team. What if they dive a lot, and the referees allow them and reward them? What if they draw all the powerplays? What if they win 65% of the faceoffs for the series? These are huge advantages that can allow even an inferior team to win the series.

        Like

  • SharkCircle 3:34 pm on March 5, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Jamie Mcginn, , , , , , , SJ Sharks, TJ Galiardi   

    What’s Up With Michal Handzus? 

    Follow Me On Twitter @SharkCircle

    When the San Jose Sharks signed Michal Handzus last offseason, I gave it my stamp of approval, including it on my list of the offseason’s 20 best signings (in part because I wanted to have a Sharks’ signing on the list if possible, but I did genuinely like the signing as well). Of the few prototypical third-line centers who were available as unrestricted free agents, I viewed Michal Handzus and Eric Belanger as the two best based on their level of play last season, so I was pleased Sharks’ GM Doug Wilson was able to procure one. I would have preferred Jason Arnott, also UFA, given the similar cap-hit to Handzus (and not insignificantly, the one-year term versus two), but Arnott had mostly been a top-six forward throughout his career, so maybe Doug Wilson did not trust his defensive abilities enough to sign him as pivot of the Sharks’ checking (third) line. I cannot read Doug Wilson’s mind, although Sharks fans have to be wishing he could read mine (about Arnott), considering how the Handzus signing is working out, where Arnott is thriving in St. Louis. CONTINUE READING FULL POST

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

    Random San Jose Sharks Thoughts, Jan. 5, 2012 

    THIS ENTRY OF “SHARKS THOUGHTS” DELVES INTO THE SHARKS SHOOTOUT SUCCESS THIS SEASON, THE PSYCHOLOGY OF TODD MCLELLAN’S “THREE GOALS” MANTRA, AND MORE.

    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 8:45 pm on December 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Andrew Raycroft, , , Kari Lehtonen, , , SJ Sharks,   

    San Jose Sharks Trimester Report Card: GOALTENDERS 

    Antti Niemi with the San Jose Sharks in 2011

    ANTTI NIEMI (20 GP, 11 W, 6 L, OTL 2, .920% SV%, 2.30 GAA) has had an up-and-down first 25 games, but his body of work overall has been quite good, as indicated by his .920 SV% and 2.34 GAA. More than anything, Niemi’s strength is in filling up the net and making the first save, as he also specialized in playing for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2009-2010. The Sharks defensemen are fairly good at clearing out the crease and keeping opposing forwards away from rebounds, so usually the first save is the only one Niemi has to make.

    Niemi plays out of his mind at times, and looks average at others, but it’s very rare he look poor for any extended stretch of time. A huge strength of his is how rarely he lets in soft goals. The Sharks have been the beneficiaries of many soft goals by opposing goaltenders this season, so they must know first hand the impact they have. Soft goals are killers, like giving the opposing team a free win many nights. They’re right up there with shorthanded goals. I bet if you charted the stats (and there was a way to do so objectively), in games where only one goaltender lets in a soft goal, probably 80% of the time that team loses. CONTINUE READING FULL POST

     
  • SharkCircle 10:21 am on December 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , DOUGLAS MURRAY, , Justin Braun, , , , , SJ Sharks   

    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!

    DEFENSE PAIR 1
    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 10:45 am on December 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , SJ Sharks, , 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

     
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