Tickets for the 2006 ECHL Allstar game in Fresno on sale today

ECHL Fresno Falcons allstar game

Ticket packages for the ECHL Allstar game in Fresno are available for purchase at Ticketmaster.com today starting at 10AM. The ECHL Skills Competition takes place January 24th at 7PM, the ECHL All-Star Game January 25th at 7 PM.

All-Star Game Ticket Packages On Sale Friday

FRESNO, Calif. – The Fresno Falcons announced that ticket packages for the 2006 ECHL All-Star Game and Skills Competition presented by Bud Light will be available beginning Friday at 10 a.m. PT.

Ticket packages range in price from $25-35 and include a seat at both the Skills Competition and the All-Star Game. The Skills Competition is January 24 at 7 p.m. and the All-Star Game is January 25 at 7 p.m.

Ticket packages are available at Ticketmaster outlets and the box office at Save Mart Center which is open Monday-Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Ticket packages can also be purchased at select Save Mart Supermarkets, Tower Records, Wherehouse Music and Ritmo Latino locations.

Ticket packages can be ordered online at www.Ticketmaster.com or by telephone at (559) 458-TIXS (8497).

Radisson Hotel & Conference Center Fresno Named All-Star Host Hotel

FRESNO, Calif. – The Fresno Falcons have announced that the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center Fresno will serve as the official host hotel for the 2006 ECHL All-Star Game and Skills Competition presented by Bud Light.

Serving as the ECHL Headquarters during All-Star festivities, the Radisson will host the American Conference and National Conference All-Stars as well as team owners, league partners, league officials and fans. The Ice Odyssey VIP Party will be held at the Radisson following the Skills Competition on January 24 as will the All-Star Fan Fest following the All-Star Game on January 25.

The Radisson is offering a special ECHL All-Star room rate of $93 per night for ECHL fans which can be redeemed by visiting www.radisson.com/fresnoca and entering ECHL as the Promotional Code.

Ticket packages for the 2006 ECHL All-Star Game and Skills Competition presented by Bud Light will be available beginning Friday at 10 a.m. PT.

Ticket packages range in price from $25-35 and include a seat at both the Skills Competition and the All-Star Game. The Skills Competition is January 24 at 7 p.m. and the All-Star Game is January 25 at 7 p.m.

Ticket packages are available at Ticketmaster outlets and the box office at Save Mart Center which is open Monday-Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Ticket packages can also be purchased at select Save Mart Supermarkets, Tower Records, Wherehouse Music and Ritmo Latino locations.

Ticket packages can be ordered online at www.Ticketmaster.com or by telephone at (559) 458-TIXS (8497).

Visit FresnoFalcons.com or ECHL.com for more information.

San Jose State ready for 2005-06

SJSU Hockey

From SJSUhockey.com:

At Wednesday's practice, senior wing Ray Kellam was announced as captain of the 2005-2006 San Jose State Hockey team. Center Adam Dekeyrel and defenseman Andy Whiteside were chosen as alternates. This marks the third year that Kellam has been chosen to lead the club by a vote of his teammates.

Be sure to welcome the Spartans to the upcoming season by attending the Intrasquad Scrimmage on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at the U.S.S. Spartan (aka Logitech Ice).

The regular season opens on Oct. 7 as the Spartans host against arch-rival USC.

SJSU opens the regular season with a double-header at Logitech against arch rival USC October 7th and 8th.


Pre-season roster down to last available spot

Three players were assigned from the San Jose Sharks training camp to the AHL Cleveland Barons today. Matt Carkner [D], Steve Bernier [RW], and Nolan Schaefer [G] were sent to the Sharks development affiliate in Cleveland.

The pre-season roster currently stands at 24, with the NHL regular season roster limit set at 23 players. Players who might be fighting for the last spot: Josh Langfeld [RW], Ryane Clowe [LW], Josh Gorges [D], Christian Ehrhoff [D], and Jim Fahey [D].

The Sharks have started the pre-season 6-0-0. They will get a chance to go undefeated in the final pre-season game against Phoenix in San Jose Friday night.

According to CBS Sportsline, Vesa Toskala leads the team with 3 wins, Evgeni Nabokov follows with 2, and Nolan Schaefer has 1. Ryan Clowe leads the team with 3 goals, Marco Sturm with 4 assists, and Sturm and Patrick Marleau are tied with 5 points each. Christian Ehrhoff leads the defensive core with a +5, and 4 overall points [2G,2A].

The regular season starts for San Jose on the road October 5th against the Nashville Predators. The first home game comes October 12th against the Columbus Blue Jackets. In 2003-04, the Sharks finished with a 43-21-12-6 record for 104 total points to win the Pacific Division.

[Update] Clowe, Goc earn way to Sharks roster - SJ Mercury News.

The Hockey News names San Jose the NHL's fastest club

THN editor Matt Canamucio gives the Sharks the benefit of the doubt this year, predicting that San Jose will be a frontrunner this year in the Western Conference.

WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE - The Sharks remain the frontrunners in a Pacific Division that will likely be improved this season. They are widely regarded as the NHL's fastest club, something that will pay dividends under the new rules. Doug Wilson took a gamble by not making any premium signings over the summer, but we can't judge that until next spring. Right now, with the raw talent on this roster, you have to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Thanks to Phillip for sending in the link.

[Update] Sports Illustrated ranks the San Jose 8th overall, and SI writer Yi-Wyn Yen previews the Sharks individually.

By emphasizing speed and puck possession in 2003-04, San Jose jumped from worst to first in the Pacific Division, set a franchise record with 104 points and reached the Western Conference finals, losing to the Flames in six games. With a young team, Sharks G.M. Doug Wilson saw no reason to overhaul his roster. "The biggest thing for us is continuity," he says. "Some teams have 11 or 12 new players. We kept all our players. We're coming into our prime, and we're ready to play."

Jonny Moseley's Icer Air 2005

Jonny Moseley's IcerAir 2005 big air ski/snowboard jump finally received a green light from the San Francisco Entertainment Commission late Tuesday evening. 10 top snowboarders and 10 top skiers will launch off the urban Fillmore street ski jump for over $100,000 in prize money.

A press release from ICERair.com:


The notoriously steep streets of San Francisco will become the site for the first of its kind urban big-air competition. 10 top snowboarders and 10 top skiers will compete in the 1 day event for over $100,000 in cash and prizes.

If you are in the San Francisco area, come check out the competition. The event is free, and there will be lots of entertainment, raffles, and free stuff from our sponsors. If you cannot make it, stay tuned as the event will be broadcast several times on television.

Location: Fillmore Street at Vallejo.
Entrance: Please enter from Webster Street onto Vallejo Street
Time: Noon - 4pm
Security provided by: SFPD and Shaw Management

Thursday - September 29, 2005
12pm: Pro Round 1
1pm: Pro Round 2
2pm: Exhibition
3pm: Pro Round 3 - Finals
4pm: Awards Ceremony

10 Skiers, 10 Snowboarders
Grand Prize snowboarder
Grand Prize skier
3 rounds - 1 jump per round, 2 lowest scores dropped
Skiers and snowboarders jump alternately
Jump order drawn out of a hat

1st $6,000.00 Cash + Grand Cherokee (2 year lease)
2nd $3,000.00
3rd $1,500.00
4th $500.00
5th $250.00
6th $250.00
7th $250.00
8th $250.00
9th $250.00

SKIERS: TJ Schiller, Kye Petersen, CR Johnson, Sean Field, Rory Silva, Tanner Rainville, Andy Mahre, Simon Dumont, Mickael Deschenaux. SNOWBOARDERS: Brent Meyer, JJ Thomas, John Jackson, Aaron Biittner, Jimi Tomer, Chris Rotax, Yale Cousino.

That's snow business Tons of snow falls on Fillmore Street for ski jump today -- promoters of disputed event have links to S.F. City Hall - SF Chronicle.

[Update] Photos of the snow on the slopes of Fillmore street, from SFist.com and Bill Jennings. Full disclosure: I went off a ski jump on an inflatable mattress at one of the early Lollapalooza concerts, long after the snowboard/ski jump exhibition had finished. The "snow" was nothing more than chunks of ice. It made for a painful landing. It looks like the consistency of the Fillmore snow will be a little more forgiving.

[Update2] ABC7 reports that at 85 degrees, it was the second warmest day of the year for San Francisco. 15,000 spectators showed up to watch the free event, previous estimates predicted as many as 5,000 would attend.


Bonus Shark Head photo

Shark head

Bonus shark head photo by request, for Karen.

Taking a look at the new-look NHL.com

Making its rounds through the league, NHL.com posted a preview of the San Jose Sharks last week. Phil Coffey focused on San Jose's promotion from within instead of dipping into the heavily trafficked free agent market. John McGourty contributed a column on the grizzled Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan, a "senior leader" at the age of 26.

The NHL.com preview also linked to an earlier McGourty review of San Jose's top prospects, and past interviews with Sharks head coach Ron Wilson and GM Doug Wilson.

Another reason to visit NHL.com, regular links to video features, highlights and press conferences. From a video breakdown of new NHL rules using the latest NHL video game, previewing the new "my NHL" Martha Burk friendly commercial, to the current preview of "Fresh Ice", the upcoming NHL season preview show airing on NBC Saturday at 11AM [PT].

Also of note is a link to the Atlanta Thrashers Blueland Blog. The blog introduction states that the site will only be around through training camp, but it is a refreshingly unfiltered look into the people behind an NHL organization as it gears up for the regular season. My only suggestion, invite Atlanta blogger Reid Scott to a game, give him full access, and ask him to contribute to a post.

Shortly after noting that the NHLcbanews.com website ceased to exist, instead redirecting to the NHL.com home page, that changed. NHLcbanews.com now links to a mini-FAQ, individual pages detailing major issues, and video clips of the NHL and NHLPA press conferences.

The transformation of the NHL on the ice, and on television, has also been matched online. Without a new design, without flash motion graphics, and without any grand announcement or marketing plan, NHL.com has improved. Creative video content and interactive features would improve even furthur with permalinks, and RSS support.

[Update] An example of the statistics offered by NHL.com from the Sharks 5-3 win over the Kings Tuesday night: scoresheet, faceoff comparison, playbyplay, event summary, and a shift chart.

[Update2] A brief Sharks column written by Jim Kelley is part of ESPN's "Starting Over" NHL preview. ESPN also analyzes the top teams, the top rivalries, and the top players. Bottom line, Jim Kelley has the Sharks finishing 1st if the league obstruction rules are followed from start to finish.

[Update3] Sportsnet posts a CP NHL preview for the Western and Eastern Conferences. You have to click on a time zone to set a cookie, then close the window and click on the link a second time to view the articles. The Sharks are predicted to finish 9th based on the flight of Rathje, Ricci and Damphousse.

[Update4] 2005-06 San Jose Sharks Preview - Sports Network.

Canadian Embassy vs FBI Agents Hockey Fund-raiser for Katrina Victims

A press release from the Government of Canada.

Canadian Embassy vs. FBI Agents Hockey Fund-raiser for Katrina Victims

Washington, DC – Media, hockey fans and the Washington, DC community are invited to a charity hockey game on Friday, September 30 as the Canadian Embassy will face off against FBI Agents to raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims. Following the pre-season Washington Capitals vs Pittsburgh Penguins game, the Canadian and FBI teams will take to the ice. Tickets are $25 – $8 of which will be donated to the American Red Cross and the FBI Agents Association Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund for families who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. In addition to the ticket, each person receives a voucher to attend any regular season Capitals game.

Friday, September 30, 2005 at the MCI Center
9:30 p.m. (approx.) following the 7 p.m. Washington Capitals vs Pittsburgh Penguins game.

Tickets can be purchased at: http://www.capstickets.com/fbi.html.

This is the Canadian Embassy’s second Katrina fund-raiser. Their first, held on Wednesday, September 7 raised close to $25,000. For more information about Canada’s Katrina relief efforts, please visit, www.canadianembassy.org.

The FBI Agents Association established the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund to assist all Bureau employees and their families impacted by the storm. To date, the fund has raised nearly $200,000 to be used to assist the many FBI employees and families in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama who suffered loss of personal property, home damage and other storm-related expenses.

[Update] From January 2003: "The FBI is taking on the Secret Service for a charity hockey game. Not too often when back-checking is a matter of national security."


New Jersey trades left wing Jeff Friesen to the Washington Capitals for a conditional 2006 draft pick

Jeff Friesen - NJ '03 State Cup - ©Photofile

The retirement of Scott Stevens, and the move of free agent defenseman Scott Niedermayer to Anaheim did not help the salary cap situation for New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello. According to the NY Newsday, the Devils still needed to trim $2 million from the payroll to get under the new $39 million salary cap.

"It was a combination of things," Lamoriello said of the trade. "His salary was certainly at a level that was, quite frankly, too high. And we felt comfortable that we had a good group of young players."

Jeff Friesen had an average regular season in 2003-04 scoring 17 goals and 20 assists in 81 games played, and the Devils were bounced in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in 5 games by Philadelphia. But Friesen made an indeleble mark on the Devils in 2002-03, scoring a game winning goal in the seventh game of the Eastern Conference Championship against the favored Ottawa Senators. Many forget it was only one of 3 game winning goals he scored in the series.

The Washington Post has more what Friesen will mean to the struggling Washington Capitals: Capitals Think Fast, Nab Friesen From Devils.

Friesen, 29, immediately becomes one of the rebuilding Capitals' best players, and will be the team's highest-paid forward. The five-time 20-goal scorer is due to earn $2.28 million this season.

"Jeff has all of the ingredients of the type of player we are looking for," Capitals General Manager George McPhee said Monday night. "He brings elite speed, some valuable championship experience and is a powerful skater who goes to the net."

Offwing has an extensive post about the Friesen trade, and an early look at the state of the Washington Capitals.

One of the building blocks of that plan is to keep the roster young, fast and cheap -- something that helps you take advantage of the misfortune of other teams who have a problem clearing cap space. That's what we saw yesterday when the Caps acquired Jeff Friesen from the Devils in exchange for a conditional draft pick. But the move only helps New Jersey momentarily, as it's expected they'll bust the cap again once Patrick Elias returns from the injured list.

Jeff Friesen was blunt in a quote from NJ Star Ledger about how all the trade rumors have affected him this preseason.

"It comes down to: What are you worth?" Friesen said after the trade. "I just didn't perform enough to be worth that salary and, in the end, I had to leave. It's tough leaving this team. I'm disappointed.

"My name was always brought up. When you get asked for three weeks about a trade, it takes its toll on you. I've never been a guy able to leave those mental things behind. It wears on you."

It was eerily reminiscent of Friesen's first return to San Jose after being traded to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in 2001. Few of the questions dealt with the 7-4 San Jose drubbing of the Ducks. When the trade was brought up, it sounded like someone sucked the wind out of him.

[How do you feel about the trade to Anaheim?]

[JF] Trades happen. They are a part of pro sports. Players come and go.

[How did you feel after the phone call from Dean Lombardi?]

[JF] It was just an empty feeling. I spent seven years here. Thats the nature of the business, players come and go. Thats the bottom line.

[Did you want to play your whole career in San Jose?]

[JF] Well I did, but obviously thats not very realistic. You go through some tough times with the way salaries are today. Changes are made very quick. Its not about loyalty, its about winning. Management has a job to do. They need to look out for themselves and make the best trade available. With teams making moves like Colorado and St Louis, the Sharks knew they had to make a move.

Friesen has the speed to create scoring chances for his linemates and himself. The question has always been can he finish on the chances he generates. When Friesen struggled offensively under former Sharks head coach Darryl Sutter, he made an effort to improve defensively and became a solid two-way player as a result. A change of scenery, and a significant increase in ice time will give Jeff Friesen a new role, goto guy.

[Update] From Chuqui at Teal Sunglasses:

Drafted 11th overall to some controversy over placing. Friesen became a fan favorite in San Jose for his work ethic and intensity, and his almost too-honest public comments about himself; nobody was a bigger critic of Friesen than he was.

Unfortunately? I think he was drafted too high -- his career in the NHL is fine by any standard, except for someone drafted in the top third of the first round. So in San Jose, there was a feeling he never quite lived up to his potential (I think he did; I think he never lived up to his draft position). With his salary to some degree driven by being a high first rounder, he's one of those players that (a) ultimately seem to be available, (b) end up being traded to a team that sees his upside, and (c) once he gets to his new team, they found out that Jeff Friesen is -- Jeff Friesen. Which is pretty good, but Friesen makes people believe he's capable of more; after all, there aren't many people in the league that outwork him.

And then there were 27?

Two rounds of roster cuts occured in the last few days at the San Jose Sharks training camp. Tuesday, 2004 first round draft pick Lukas Kaspar [RW] and 1998 eighth round draft pick Doug Murray [D] were assigned to the Cleveland Barons of the AHL.

On Sunday, three more players were assigned to Cleveland: 2003 second round draft pick Josh Hennessy [C], 2001 fourth round draft pick Dimitri Patzold [G], and 2001 fifth round selection Tomas Plihal [C].

The training camp roster currently stands at 27, with the NHL regular season roster limit set at 23 players. Players still on the training camp roster: Josh Langfeld [RW], Ryane Clowe [LW], Matt Carkner [D], Josh Gorges [D], Christian Ehrhoff [D], Steve Bernier [RW], Marcel Goc [C], Nolan Schaefer [G].

[Update] Sharks put focus on filling defense: With three exhibitions left two spots not quite settled - San Jose Mercury News.

[Update2] Bernier Looks To Stick Around - SJsharks.com.


Nike Invitational Soccer tournament

Nike Invitational Soccer tournament

Cal defeated Army 5-0 with a relentless offensive attack, and host Stanford defeated University of Alabama-Birmingham 1-0 in Sunday action at the Nike Invitational soccer tournament. Stanford defeated Army 2-0, and Cal earned a 3-1 over UAB in Saturday's games.

Cal won the tournament based on total goals scored. 4th ranked Cal is 6-0-1 on the season, Stanford is 3-4-1. Friday's Nike Invitational games were moved to Saturday, and Sunday's were pushed back due to travel complications from Hurricane Rita.


Sunday Boxing Notes

- The bright light of a dim Heavyweight division, Nigerian knockout specialist Samuel Peter [24-1, 21 KOs], faced off against Wladimir Klitschko [45-3, 40 KOs] Saturday night in a bout for #1 WBO/IBF contender status.

Wladimir, the 6,6 former WBO champion and younger brother of current WBC champion Vitali Klitschko, was looking to repair his name after being a shaken by a few critical knockout losses. From the beginning, it was obvious Klitschko was going to move and land from the outside. The whole fight was going to boil down to whether Peter could land one of the lunging left hooks that pancaked previous opponents.

And land he did. In the fifth round, the cumulative effects of repeated Peter blows forced Klitschko to kneel down to the canvas twice. Peter also scored a knockdown early in the 10th. The rest of the fight was all Wladimir. He parried, jabbed, and clinched when Peter made it inside. When Klitschko was hurt, he held on. Wladimir Klitschko used his experience to frustrate the determined but one-dimensional young challenger. After a unanimous decision win, Klitschko now has a title shot with Chris Byrd or Lamon Brewster as a result.

- Klitschko Survives Peter in Impressive Victory - Eastside Boxing.

- Ukrainian President Congratulates Volodymyr Klitschko - YHIAH.

The President confessed he had anxiously watched the match together with his family.

"The whole country is rejoicing at this wonderful victory," he said.

On behalf of the Ukrainian nation, the Head of State thanked the two brothers for everything they were doing for the welfare of their country and wished them new achievements and triumphs.

- Cotto-Torres, Peter-Klitschko photo gallery - BBC.

- Peter-Klitschko photo gallery - Ed Mulholland. More of his photos at boxing-pics.com.

- On the undercard Saturday night, undefeated Puerto Rican Jr Welterweight Miguel Cotto [25-0, 21 KOs] and undefeated Colombian Ricardo Torres [28-0, 26 KOs] delivered an entertaining slugfest. Both fighters were challenged throughout the fight, but they turned up the intensity another notch after hitting the canvas. The fight swung wildly in each direction. Cotto was hurt and on the verge of a stoppage in the second. Torres hit the canvas the first of four times in the opening round. A short Cotto left dropped Torres midway through the seventh, and he was unable to make the count. Cotto retained his WBO title with the win.

- Cotto rocks Torres, rallies from knockdown - ESPN.

- Miguel Cotto's official site: miguelcotto.com.

- Boxing beat: Lazcano's reunion with Roach rings true - Sacramento Bee.

Glen Johnson

- Glen Johnson fights George Khalid Jones on an upcoming Best Damn Sports show card this Friday, September 30th [6:30pm] at the Cache Creek Casino.

- IBF Heavyweight champion Chris Byrd fights DaVarryl Williamson, James Toney faces Dominick Guinn, and IBF Bantamweight champion Rafael Marquez fights Silence Mabuza Saturday, October 1st at the Reno Events Center.


Sharks assign Holden, Stafford, Stevenson to Cleveland, Setoguchi to Saskatoon

A press release from the San Jose Sharks:

SAN JOSE - San Jose Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the club has assigned three players from the 2005-06 San Jose Sharks Training Camp to Cleveland and one player to his junior club.

Jamie Holden [G], Garrett Stafford [D], Grant Stevenson [C] were assigned to the AHL Cleveland Barons. Devin Setoguchi [RW] was assigned to the WHL Saskatoon Blades.

Still on the Sharks 32 man pre-season roster: Milan Michalek [LW], Josh Langfeld [RW], Ryane Clowe [LW], Tomas Plihal [LW], Josh Gorges [D], Doug Murray [D], Matt Carkner [D], Christian Ehrhoff [D], Steve Bernier [RW], Lukas Kaspar [LW], Joshua Hennessy [C], Dimitri Patzold [G], and Nolan Schaefer [G]. The NHL roster limit is 23 players.

[Update] Time running out for young Sharks to make mark - SJ Mercury News.


Hockey Notes - September 21st

- An article in the current Sports Business Journal reported that NHLPA Executive Director Ted Saskin mistated the salaries of his NBA and NFL peers when negotiating the terms of his contract.

Saskin responded that his contract was significantly less than those of NBA Executive Director Billy Hunter and NFL Executive Director Gene Upshaw, and he denied that his 5-year, $2.13 million salary was based on either.

Ted Saskin overstated the salaries of his peers at the NFL and NBA players unions when he was negotiating his contract as the new head of the NHL Players’ Association, according to officials from the other two unions.

NFLPA Executive Director Gene Upshaw and a spokesman for National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter disputed the salary figures that Saskin noted in a contract proposal he submitted to NHLPA President Trevor Linden on Aug. 17. Saskin had cited their salaries as one of several justifications for his new contract, which calls for him to earn an average of a little more than $2.1 million a year through 2009.

Ted Saskin recently called for a secret ballot among NHLPA player representatives and executive officers to ensure there were no questions about his hiring. A few players have stated publicly that Saskin was given the deal without consulting the rank and file NHLPA base. The contract was awarded after a vote of player representatives via conference call.

- Not All N.H.L. Players Happy With Leadership - NY Times.

- The NHL network will televise 18 pre-season games this year, and offer a free digital preview on digital cable and satellite for the month of October.

- The Sharks play their second pre-season game tonight at Anaheim against the Mighty Ducks. No TV, an audio broadcast will be available on the official site.

- Boyes loves being a Bruin - Toronto Sun.

"When I was traded by the Leafs it was disappointing, and then it didn't really work out with San Jose," he said. "I was drafted by the Leafs and grew up there, but definitely now my heart is in Boston."

- Hockey Night in Barbados for Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.

- Reader Phil sent in a Sportscenter clip of Scott Steven's top 10 hits they put together after his retirement. The biggest Stevens hit was not on Lindros, Kariya, or even on Ron Francis. The biggest hit came against Detroit Red Wing Vacheslav Kozlov and Steven's New Jersey teammate Rob Niedermayer. As Niedermayer stepped up to challenge Kozlov, Stevens exploded into both launching them in opposite directions.

- More on the new NHL marketing plan from the New York Times called "My NHL". The first commercial airs tonight on NHL.com at 6:15PM ET.

- Hockey Forecaster's 2005-06 online edition is available [PDF file]. Last year Forecaster offered its full edition online, and McKeen's Hockey cancelled their NHL preview because of the lockout.

- San Jose Sharks special consultant John Ferguson Jr. was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The Toronto Sun reports it was detected early. Ferguson Jr. won 5 Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens.

- Fantasy takes stock of sports - Modesto Bee. An interesting AP article on the newly launched protrade.com pro athlete fantasy stock market game. Similar to blogstreet.com, but different. San Jose Sharks principal owner Kevin Compton is an investor in Pro Trade.

- New website, EAhockey.com.

- Old website, new Super Junior hockey league, worldhockeyassociation.net. Thanks to The Ice Block for the link.

2005-2006 Season to consist of six teams in Florida division

Tryouts in Canada...
Lakeshore Memorial Arena
Etobicoke, Ontario
Sat., September 24 - 8 p.m. until 11 p.m.
Sun., September 25 - 8 a.m. until 11 a.m.

Tryouts in the United States...
Tampa Bay Skating Academy
Tampa, Florida
Sun., September 25 - 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.

- From the NHL:

In an unprecedented summer, real NHL general managers had difficult decisions to make in regards to shaping their rosters for the 2005-06 season. Some folks referred to the player movement as something akin to "fantasy hockey". Now that NHL GM's have done their jobs, it's time for you to step in and live YOUR fantasy.

The NHL's newly launched fantasy offerings are available here. A previous post on fantasy hockey can be found here.

- LetsgoKings put up the two galleries of photos from the SJ-LA double header that were posted here. Visit letsgokings.com for more LA hockey photos.

- You have to fill out an annoying zip code and date of birth form, but you will be forwarded to a great new weblog on the Detriot Red Wings, Snapshots.

- Visit Nikon's D50 digital experience for a chance to win a new DSLR camera and a 9-day trip for two to Sweden. The Nikon D50 digital experience tour stops by San Francisco September 23-25th at the San Francisco Blues Festival at Fort Mason.

- Yahoo's mobile phone photo entity Flickr had a Flickr Fiesta last night in Sunnyvale.

[Update] CBS SportsLine.com introduces "GLOGS" to its original online coverage. Some would call it liveblogging a game, but not CBS. Apparently breaking down the game by period or by timestamp is something new. From the CBS Digital Media press release:

The introduction of "Glogs," short for game logs, a new form of live sports coverage on the Internet that brings original color commentary to the live sports game experience.

[Update2] Happy 10th anniversary Bigsoccer.com.

San Jose Giants win Cal-League Championship, Sacramento Monarchs win 2005 WNBA title

Two Northern California sports franchises won league championships on consecutive days.

San Jose Giants California League Champions

Monday night the San Jose Giants defeated Lake Elsinore 3-1 to win the 2005 California League Class A Championship. The Giants capitalized on a 3-run 7th inning to win the third California League Championship trophy in franchise history. Visit sjgiants.com for photos, and a post-game recap.

The San Jose Giants won the 2005 California League Championship with a 3-1 victory over the Lake Elsinore Storm on Monday evening at Municipal Stadium. In the deciding fifth game of the series, San Jose rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning before holding off the Storm en route to the win. Jason Waddell earned the victory on the mound after firing three scoreless innings with a whopping seven strike outs to conclude the game.

Waddell struck out Fernando Valenzuela, Jr. to strike out the side in the ninth and secure the victory for the Giants. The win marked the first time in San Jose franchise history that the Giants recovered from a 2-0 deficit to win a best-of-five playoff series.

On Tuesday night, the Sacramento Monarchs defeated the Connecticut Sun 62-59 to win the 2005 WNBA Championship. From the official Sacramento Monarchs website:

Monarchs Wear WNBA Crown

Yolanda Griffith scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and the Monarchs erased a six-point halftime deficit in Tuesday night's 62-59 win to earn the first WNBA title in franchise history. Griffith was named MVP of The Finals. Nicole Powell added 13 points and Rebekkah Brunson scored 12 for Sacramento, which went 7-1 in the postseason.

The Monarch's Yolanda Griffith was named MVP after posting back-to-back double doubles in the series. Stanford alumni Nicole Powell [13 points, 6 rebounds] was also a bright spot for Sacramento.

Griffith, Monarchs Rule WNBA; Sacramento 62, Connecticut 59 - WNBA.com.

Women's Hoops Blog comments on the length of the WNBA series and ESPN's coverage:

It was another tight game that went down to the final possession. Neither team shot well and the play wasn't beautiful, but it was still an exciting conclusion to an exciting series. Though I was hoping for a Game 5, I can't complain about seeing Yo get the title and the MVP in front of her hometown fans.

The new five-game series format was a huge success. I think in the past people have worried that there isn't enough interest to sustain a long series. That reasoning, however, gets it partly backwards: interest builds as a playoff series goes on, and a longer series can create its own momentum.

Cheers to ESPN for staying with the postgame celebration, which cut a half hour into Baseball Tonight. Given that we're in the midst of some very tight playoff races, that was no small sacrifice. Next year, they should just schedule the half hour. WNBA playoff games don't fit into 2 hours anyway, even without the postgame.

There is a lot more on the Women's Hoops front page.

Wednesday the San Jose Earthquakes face the Chicago Fire in SJ at 7:30, and the Sharks face the Anaheim Mighty Ducks at the pond also at 7:30.


Sharks rookies fall to Los Angeles 3-2

San Jose Sharks pre-season opener

The Sharks vs Kings rookie game finished regulation tied 2-2, which gave fans a look at the new NHL shootout [minus the OT period]. The Los Angeles Kings received shootout goals from Jeff Tambellini and Dany Roussin. Garret Stafford and Pat Rissmiller missed penalty shots for San Jose, giving Los Angeles the best out of three shootout win.

With less than 1000 fans in attendance, the hockey double-header at HP Pavilion had to compete with new Philadelphia Eagles captain Terrell Owens facing his former team, the Oakland Raiders facing undefeated Kansas City, the San Francisco Giants and Barry Bonds 705th MLB home run, and an Oakland Athletics 12-3 playoff stretch drubbing of arch-rival Boston.

SJ-LA rookie game photo gallery.


Sharks open the pre-season Sunday with a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings

San Jose Sharks pre-season opener

The San Jose Sharks scored twice in the third period [Ekman, Clowe] to power past the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 in the rubber match of Sunday's hockey double-header. Wayne Primeau and rookie Devin Setoguchi [PP goal] also scored for San Jose. Jeff Cowan, Luc Robitaille, and Noah Clarke [PP goal] registered goals for Los Angeles.

Evgeni Nabokov made 11 saves on 14 shots to pick up the win. Jason Labarbera made 23 saves on 25 shots, Adam Hauser made 12 saves on 13 shots for the Kings.

The rookie Sharks lost to the rookie Kings in the first game of Sunday's double-header. Jeff Tambellini and Dany Roussin scored 2 goals in a sudden death shootout to give Los Angeles a 3-2 win. Barry Bust started in net for LA, Jamie Holden started the game for San Jose.

San Jose Sharks pre-season opener

San Jose Sharks pre-season opener

Pre-season photo gallery.

[Update] Sharks open with exhibition win - SJ Mercury News.


Saturday scrimmage photo gallery from San Jose Sharks training camp

San Jose Sharks training camp

San Jose Sharks training camp

San Jose Sharks training camp

Saturday training camp photo gallery from Logitech Ice in San Jose.

Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala started the first 30+ minute half, Jamie Holden and Dimitri Patzold started the second half. The game ended 3-0, although it was tied in the shootout following the second half. After one round of penalty shots were not converted to break the tie, Rob Davison stuffed a shot passed a well positioned Holden to earn bragging rights. Team Black approved.

The Sharks host the Kings for a double header tommorow. A "future Sharks vs future Kings" prospect game will be held at 2PM, with a regular pre-season matchup with Los Angeles starting at 5PM.

From the archives, August 2004:

Building on the success of Jonathan Cheechoo, Niko Dimitrakos, Marcel Goc and others, the Sharks are replacing departing stars with players developed in the organization. It allows fans the opportunity to follow a player throughout his career and it positions the team well for the impending CBA problems. A Sharks-Barons double header in Cleveland or San Jose would build fan interest in both teams.

[Update] Sharks training camp battles - Hockeys Future.

[Update2] Binghamtonhockey.net posted a new Power Play Post Show, some might call it a podcast, where they discuss the Ottawa Senators, the AHL, and the Sharks acquisition of Josh Langfeld.

[Update3] NHL PRESEASON: Sharks rely on Marleau's leadership, With many veterans gone, captain provides continuity - SF Chronicle.


Friday scrimmage photo gallery from San Jose Sharks training camp

San Jose Sharks training camp

San Jose Sharks training camp

San Jose Sharks training camp

A photo gallery from Friday's scrimmage at the San Jose Sharks training camp.

Every time I tried to take a photo of defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, he was rocked. Once on the North end just inside of the blue line, and another time he was run over by Wayne Primeau on the opposite side.

Nolan Schaefer and Jamie Holden manned the nets for the first 30 minute half, and Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala took their place in the second 30 minute half. After each period, both sides iced 3 penalty shooters. Black was up 3-2 on Grey going into the final round of penalty shots, but the session ended tied.

In the sudden death round of penalty shots, Patrick Marleau deked and scored high on a prone Nabokov, Scott Thornton was stuffed low by Toskala. Black wins.

[Update] Sturm ready to bounce back from injury - SJ Mercury News.

3 local boxers on tap for Friday night, Robert Guerrero, Jose Celaya, and Ricardo Cortes

Robert Guerrero

NABF featherweight champion Robert Guerrero (15-0-1) from Gilroy will face Sammy Ventura (22-14) tonight at the Palace Indian Gaming Center in Lemoore, CA. Guerrero's publicist Mario Serrano sent in a few articles previewing the fight from Eastside Boxing, Maxboxing, and Fight News.

At the HP Pavilion in San Jose, three-time NABO Welterweight Champion Jose Celaya (26-3, 15 KO's) of Salinas, CA and California Super Middleweight Champ Ricardo "El Guero" Cortes (14-1-1, 10 KO's) of San Jose will fight in front of hometown crowds.

Visit Millerlightfightnight.com for more information.

Jose Celaya was once the #1 ranked contender by the WBO, before being knocked out by Eddie Sanchez. On the comeback trail after a few successful fights, Celaya ran into determined former Marine James Webb at the San Jose Civic Auditorium. In front of Teddy Atlas and the ESPN Friday Night fights crew, with trainer Emanuel Steward in his corner, Celaya and Webb fought one of the best fights I have seen to date.

Celaya was able to move around the ring and land effective punches early. James Webb settled for quantity instead of quality throwing 200 in the first round alone. Webb landed a right that dropped Celaya with 1 second left in the 4th round. The vastly pro-Celaya audience let out a collective gasp.

Celaya pressed harder and opened a cut over Webb's right eye that covered both fighters in blood. A comeback win was within sight, it was only a matter of time before the ref stopped the fight. In the 6th, both fighter's gameplans went out the window. They stood toe-to-toe and threw down. Celaya was staggered at the end of the 6th, and his corner worked to treat a large cut over his eye.

The fans at the Civic Auditorium were on their feet, the ESPN Friday Night Fights crew was literally screaming in into their microphones to be heard, and Celaya landed a left that buckled Webb's knees. With 10 seconds left in the 7th, moving backwards after an exchange, Webb dropped Celaya with a big right. James Webb came out firing in the 8th to earn a quick knockdown. After cornering Jose Celaya against the ropes, a second Webb knockdown ended the fight.

Friday Night is Fight Night on Sharkspage - May 20th, 2005.

NHL-on-OLN commercial

Here is a 15 second spot for the NHL on OLN.

In other news, OLN added Bill Clement as the host of its upcoming NHL studio show.


Training camp reports from the Chronicle, AP, and the Mercury News

Training camp reports from the Mercury News and the SF Chronicle sketch out a few rough line combinations for the upcoming season.

Sturm - Marleau - Dimitrakos
Michalek - McCauley - Ekman
Thornton - Primeau - Cheechoo
Clowe - Goc - Parker

The Chronic also focuses on Scott Thornton's fitness prowess on display at camp. The Mercury News talks about Cleveland Baron Ryane Clowe making a push for the 4th line, and Patrick Ehelechner's expected playing time in the German DEL and how it effects his position on the San Jose depth chart.

If it ain't broke ... Sharks feel they have the ingredients to win Cup - Sports Illustrated.

[Update] Interview with Sharks goaltending prospect Patrick Ehelechner - Sharkspage. Patrick answered a few questions after the 2004 rookie tournament in Anaheim.

[Update2] The ECHL Mississippi Sea Wolves submitted a voluntary request to suspend 2005-06 operations after damage inflicted by hurricane Katrina. Donations can be made to the American Red Cross at redcross.org.

After the arena in Biloxi took a direct hit, the Sea Wolves explored moving to Mobile, Alabama for a season, but it was not workable at this late date.

Mississippi Begins "Extended Offseason" - ECHL.com.

Rogers said the decision to cancel came after an attempted move to the Mobile Civic Center failed due to time constraints and a failure to secure adequate financial backing.

The Sea Wolves also petitioned the NHL Players Association for assistance, but following a conversation with ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna, Rogers said canceling the season seemed like his best option.

"If we had more time, maybe we could have pulled it off," Rogers said. "Rather than being impatient, we figured we would wait and come back stronger than ever next season."

According to the Mississippi Sun Herald, the Sea Wolves had just announced an affiliation with the New York Islanders of the NHL. Mississippi was not slated to face any of the teams in the all-California [Stockton, Fresno, Bakersfield, Long Beach, San Diego] ECHL Pacific Division at home or away this regular season. Thanks to New Orleans Brass fan Keith for contributing the links.

[Update3] Women to skate after Clarkson Cup - TSN.

Canadian Governor General Adrienne Clarkson created a new trophy, the Clarkson Cup, that will be awarded for excellence in Women's hockey. No word yet on if teams south of the border will be eligible.

A related post after the USA hockey team won the 2005 World Championship gives a little more insight into the Canada-USA rivalry in Women's hockey. Highlights from the last 15 years of international play for Team USA: USA Women win 2005 World Championship in Sweden - Sharkspage.

USA Today, NHL enters "repair year"

Kevin Allen of USA Today writes a must-read column on how the NHL expects to rebuild after losing an entire season: NHL enters 'repair year' - As NHL returns, questions abound.

Seven months after becoming the first North American professional sports league to cancel an entire season because of labor issues, the NHL opened training camps this week and begins preseason games this weekend. The league will have its first salary cap, rules changes designed to increase scoring, a television contract with the Outdoor Life Network (OLN) and a challenging mission of winning back lost fans.

Allen provides voluminous information, quotes reactions from many different sources, but he shies away from drawing any conclusions. Wait-and-see appears to be the mantra of anyone involved in predicting the outcome of 2005-06.

The general feeling is that hockey's hard-core fans will return, but there is still much missionary work to be done to convert non-believers to the sport.

"When it comes to hockey, it's like a general election in the United States in that apathy wins every time," [WXYT-AM talk show host Art] Regner says. "That's what hockey needs to address — it's still a regional or niche sport.

"How do you grow that audience?" That's what the league has to figure out.

I see certain teams addressing these concerns and taking whatever steps needed to at least create the impression they are being dealt with. Other teams have made negligible changes and will let the game on the ice speak for itself. But in this new era of NHL-NHLPA cooperation and partnership, there does not appear to be a consistent league-wide message or philosophy. Just more of the same.

We will have to wait-and-see.

[Update] Hey, what happened to accessibility? - Toronto Sun.

[Update2] Today NHL.com announced a 30 team league-wide message, about single game ticket sales. According to the press release:

"For the first time, all 30 clubs made a commitment to NHL fans to have a block of single-game tickets on sale on the same day so that every fan will have an opportunity to purchase tickets to see their favorite team, even in markets where tickets can be difficult to obtain," said NHL Enterprises President Ed Horne.

The NHL also announced a sneak preview of an upcoming marketing campaign:

The NHL is supporting the league-wide single game on-sale date with national ads in today's USA Today and Friday's Globe and Mail. These print ads provide a sneak preview of the NHL's comprehensive relaunch multimedia campaign. The first of five vignettes will be unveiled Wednesday, Sept. 21 at an exclusive event to celebrate the start of the 2005-06 season in New York.

Click here for more information about the marketing firms recently hired by the NHL. Click here or here to purchase tickets for the NHL. Thanks to Kuklas Korner for the original link.

San Jose State releases 2005-06 schedule

San Jose State vs UC Davis ACHA hockey

San Jose State released a hockey schedule for the 2005-06 season. USC opens the first week at the Logitech Ice Center October 7th. Perennial West heavyweights Colorado and University of Colorado will both travel to San Jose for 2 games each in October and November. Two teams from the East will play SJSU in January [Duke, Virginia].

The Spartans finished last season with a 23-6-2 record ranked third in the West. Traveling to Michigan for the ACHA National Tournament, SJSU finished 1-2 with a 5-4 OT win against Penn State and losses to Miami of Ohio and Michigan State.

SJSU 2005-06 Schedule

Sat. October 1 SJSU Inter Squad Game @ San Jose 7:00pm

Fri October 7 USC @ San Jose 7:45pm
Sat. October 8 USC @ San Jose 7:00pm

Fri. October 14 LONG BEACH STATE @ San Jose 7:45pm
Sat. October 15 LONG BEACH STATE @ San Jose 7:00pm

Thurs. October 20 @ Cal Berkeley Iceland 8:30pm
Fri. October 21 CAL @ San Jose 7:45pm
Sat. October 22 @ PALMER COLLEGE @ San Jose 8:00pm

Fri. October 28 COLORADO STATE @ San Jose 7:45pm
Sat. October 29 COLORADO STATE @ San Jose 7:00pm

Thurs November 3 @ Weber State Ogden Utah 7:30pm
Fri. November 4 @ Utah State Logan, UT. 7:30pm
Sat. November 5 @ BYU Provo, UT. 8:15pm

Fri. November 11 WEBER STATE @ San Jose 7:45pm
Sat. November 12 WEBER STATE @ San Jose 7:00pm

Fri. November 18 U. of COLORADO @ San Jose 7:45pm
Sat. November 19 U. of COLORADO @ San Jose 7:00pm

Fri. December 2 U. of WASHINGTON @ SJSU @ San Jose 7:45pm
Fri. December 2 Palmer College at Cal Berkeley, Iceland 10:15pm
Sat. December 3 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME @ San Jose 7:00pm

Sat. January 7 DUKE UNIVERSITY @ San Jose 7:00pm

Fri. January 13 U. of VIRGINIA @ San Jose 7:45pm
Sat. January 14 UTAH STATE @ San Jose 7:00pm

Fri. January 20 BYU @ San Jose 7:45pm
Sat. January 21 BYU @ San Jose 7:00pm

Fri. January 27 @ U. of Colorado Boulder CO. 8:00pm
Sat. January 28 @ Colorado State Fort Collins CO. 7:30pm

Fri February 3 @ USC Disney Ice Anaheim, CA 7:30pm
Sat. February 4 @ USC Disney Ice Anaheim, CA 7:30pm
Sun. February 5 @ Long Beach State Long Beach 1:00pm

Sat. February 11 OPEN

Fri February 17 ACHA REGIONAL PLAYOFF @ San Jose 7:45pm
Sat. February 18 ACHA REGIONAL PLAYOFF @ San Jose 8:00pm

Sat. February 25 ALUMNI GAME @ San Jose 8:00pm

Wed. March 9 ACHA NATIONALS Rochester, NY TBA
Thurs. March 10 ACHA NATIONALS Rochester, NY TBA
Fri. March 11 ACHA NATIONALS Rochester, NY TBA
Sat. March 12 ACHA NATIONALS (Semi-Final) Rochester, NY TBA
Sat. March 12 ACHA NATIONALS (Finals) Rochester, NY TBA

Thanks to SJSU captain #4 Ray Kellam for sending that in.


Hockey Notes

- The NHL signed a 10 year, $100 million deal with XM Satellite Radio on Monday. It was announced that XM would carry up to 1,000 games this season.

- Olaf Kolzig and Alexander Ovechkin are in camp with the Washington Capitals, but sniper Peter Bondra agreed to terms with the Atlanta Thrashers. Details of the contract were not announced.

- Mark Messier retires after 25 NHL seasons and 6 Stanley Cups. Sports Illustrated has a career photo gallery.

- The Sharks announced the signing of UFA Josh Langfeld to a one-year contract Monday. The 6,3 216 pound right winger scored 7 goals and 10 assists in 38 games for the Ottawa Senators in 2003-04. In 74 games for Binghamton of the AHL last season, Langfeld scored 32 goals and 25 assists.

- According to the Globe and Mail, NHLPA director Ted Saskin called for his own no confidence vote with NHLPA members.

After good dialogue with members of the executive board, I decided that it was in the best interests of the membership to conduct a secret ballot vote amongst our player representatives and executive officers so that there are absolutely no questions regarding my election as executive director and general counsel

- OLN pledges to donate $1,000 dollars to the victims of Hurricane Katrina for every goal scored in October.

- Mobile could be Sea Wolves temporary home, Team seeks to save 2005-06 season - South Mississippi Sun Herald.

- Ben Wright to the Atlanta Thrashers? What did Boston get out of that deal?

- The first Hockey Blogger Challenge yahoo fantasy hockey league filled up with 20 bloggers in less than 2 days. A second league was created and now only has 9 spots available. This one will have a live draft. Use this contact form to request a password if you have a hockey blog, or sign up for a public yahoo fantasy hockey league here.

- Buckeyes unite on the ice, Chris Cichocki is on a nationwide search for a few good hockey players. And so far he's had plenty of luck in Ohio - Stockton Record.

- 'Money Puck' means many GMs facing tough chore - SF Chronicle. Money Puck, nice. There are a lot of reasons Oakland is successful on and off the field besides Billy Beane.

- Sharks' young talent expected to fill gaps - SJ Mercury News.

- SJsharks.com launched a new design of their website Monday. There is space for a lot of content, but no overall design aesthetic. For a recap of the Sports Business Journal and the University of Massachusetts Amherst annual review of NHL websites, click here.


Sharks look to relaunch after lockout

Andrew F Hamm of the San Jose Business Journal examines the obstacles the Sharks will face this season after losing a year to labor dispute: Sharks' boss sees post-strike as right time for a 'relaunch' - SJ Business Journal.

The article looks at the $140 million purchase price for the franchise in 2002, a reported near-$15 million annual loss the last 2 seasons according to CEO Greg Jamison, the current status of season ticket holders and luxury boxes, how the team has increaseed marketing to San Francisco and the East Bay, and how ratings have affected television advertising.

Sharks GM Doug Wilson believes that the best way to market the team is winning on the ice.

We're bringing back our players who are just coming into the prime of their careers. What brings fans back will be winning hockey games.

VP of programming and operations at Fox SportsNet Ted Griggs noted that the Sharks are a tough sell to television advertisers.

Now, it's tough to sell the Sharks. We're in a-wait-and-see mode.

Hamm also quotes a fan website:

"The die-hards will be there, the big question is the casual fan," says Jon Swenson, who operates the fan Web site sharkspage.com "I think people will wait and see."

The NHL is facing an uphill battle after a long, protracted, and intensely bitter labor dispute. But the league has rebounded with an innovative draft that allowed all 30 teams a shot at franchise player Sidney Crosby. The unprecedented free agent movement this offseason also dramatically shifted the makeup of many elite teams, as they struggled to squeeze their payroll into the new salary restrictions. One benefit was that fans regularly scanned the headlines to see which players their team landed, and which ended up on a rival lineup. The NHL also announced new rules meant to free up the game, create more offense, and provide a better product on the ice.

All of these changes combined with a new television partner give the league positive momentum as they try to rebuild fan interest after a lost season.

[Update] Sharks itching for action after emerging from year's hiatus - SF Chronicle.


ECHL Mississippi Sea Wolves Staff Shows Spirit

A press release today from the ECHL included this picture of the Mississippi Sea Wolves hockey office:

Mississippi Sea Wolves ECHL Hurricane

BILOXI, Miss. - Mike Rogers sent this picture of Mississippi Sea Wolves front office personnel taken at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. The photograph clearly illustrates the spirit of the Sea Wolves organization which continues to work hard to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

The league office has been in communication with the Sea Wolves owners, who are in the process of exploring options. A decision on the status of the team for the upcoming season is not expected before the week of September 12.

Standing (left to right): Mike Rogers, operating owner; and Brad Smith, director of ticket sales and marketing. Kneeling (left to right): Anne Klinshaw, accounts payable manager; Stephane Neron and Paula Allison, ticket manager.

The official Mississippi Sea Wolves website can be found at msseawolves.com. Donations to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina can be made via the American Red Cross.

An earlier post on the Sea Wolves and relief efforts by the CHL Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs can be found here.


Rookie "Pacific Shootout" Tournament coverage

There has been a considerable amount of email today about the NHL prospect rookie tournament between the San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Phoenix Coyotes now underway at the Logitech Ice Center.

Yesterday the Sharks called to let me know that this blog would not receive access to cover the tournament. The reason given was that this is a "fan website".

At this point, I am not sure if I will cover the tournament, but there will not be any photo galleries this year. It would have been a good opportunity to preview the future of 4 teams in the Pacific Division.

If any fans attending want to submit the scores of the games, their analysis of the prospects, or even submit a photo or cellphone photo, use the contact form here.

TheFeeder.com or Hockeys Future should be a good source for local tournament coverage. The new Mercury News Bay Area Sports Blog has a post as well.

Thanks to the Phoenix Coyotes and Anaheim Mighty Ducks for passing along helpful information.

For those attending, here is a schedule and directions to Logitech:


Wed., Sept. 7
4:00 p.m. Los Angeles vs. Anaheim
7:30 p.m. Phoenix vs. San Jose

Thurs., Sept. 8
4:00 p.m. Phoenix vs. Los Angeles
7:30 p.m. San Jose vs. Anaheim

Friday, Sept. 9
Practice Day

Sat., Sept. 10
1:00 p.m. Los Angeles vs. San Jose
4:30 p.m. Anaheim vs. Phoenix

Sun., Sept. 11
1:00 p.m. Consolation Game
4:30 p.m. Championship Game


Vincent Dampousse retired today after 18 NHL seasons

Vincent Damphousse - '03/'04 Away Action ©Photofile

After 18 seasons with 4 different franchises [Toronto Maple Leafs 86-91, Edmonton Oilers 91-92, Montreal Canadiens 92-99, San Jose Sharks 99-04], Vincent Damphousse announced his retirement today from the NHL.

I want to thank my coaches, fans, media and especially my teammates for 18 great years in the NHL. I loved getting up every morning and heading to the rink, and I will miss being in the dressing room with the guys, however I’m looking forward to the next stage of my life.

Vincent Damphousse was drafted sixth overall in the 1986 Entry Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs, played in his first NHL game with Toronto Oct 9th, 1986 vs. Montreal, earned an assist in his first game, was named to the 1991, 1992, 2001, and 2002 allstar teams, earned allstar MVP honors in 1991 with a 4 goal performance in Chicago, played in 1378 regular season games, scored 432 goals, 773 assists for 1,205 points, and won a Stanley Cup Championship with the Montreal Canadiens in 1992-93.

Vincent Damphousse's career history from hockeydb.com. Damphousse career bio from NHLPA.com.

1992-93 Stanley Cup Champion Les Montreal Canadiens

The highlight of Damphousse's career was winning a Stanley Cup with the Montreal Candiens in 1992-93, the first season after he was traded by the Edmonton Oilers. It was the 23rd Stanley Cup Championship for the Candiens. Vincent Damphousse was the 30th captain of the Montreal Canadiens since 1909, serving from 1996-1999.

According to the NHLPA:

Damphousse served as Vice-President of the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) from 2002 to 2005 and has been very active in the communities he played in throughout his career.

Damphousse was available for the 2005-06 season, but reportedly only the Washington Capitals made him an offer, and 4 others expressed interest.

On Aug. 1, I let teams know I was available. But the closer we got to the opening of training camps, the more I realized that my heart wasn't 100 per cent in it anymore. I want to take up other challenges.

Vincent signed a 1 year contract with the Colorado Avalanche in August of 2004, but the NHL season was cancelled due to a labor impass. Damphousse was a longtime assistant captain for the San Jose Sharks, and he wore the captain's C for 10 games during the 2003-04 season.

Vincent Damphousse San Jose Sharks

Vincent Damphousse's contribution to the Sharks 2004 Western Conference Finals appearance, a franchise best, earned him team playoff MVP honors from this website.

Vincent Damphousse had a subpar regular season with 12 goals and 29 assists for 41 points in 82 games played. That is 5 points less than the injury shortened point total he achieved in 45 games of the 2000-2001 season. That is 1 point more than he scored in the strike shortened in the 48 games he played in 1994-1995 for the Montreal Canadiens.

It was possible that Vincent Damphousse was playing too large a role during the regular season, that the near 20 minutes of ice time a night was starting to wear on the 36 year old center.

But then came the postseason. After registering 3 assists in the first round against St Louis, Damphousse scored a goal and an assist in the first two games against the Avalanche, and a game winning goal in game 3. San Jose had lost twice in the postseason to Colorado, once after having a 3-2 series lead in 2001-2002. Damphousse helped the Sharks gain a 3-0 series lead, one which the all-star laden Avalanche could not overcome.

After losing the first two games of the Western Conference finals against the Flames, Damphousse scored the game winning goal in games 3 and 4 of the series. San Jose went on to lose the series to Calgary 4-2, but many feel that Damphousse was the most valuable player of the postseason for the San Jose Sharks.

It turns out that playoff run was the end to his long and storied career, and an impressive playoff performance it was.

[Update] Devils' Defenseman Scott Stevens Retires, Holds NHL Record for Most Games Played by a Defenseman - Newjerseydevils.com.

[Update2] Damphousse retires at 37 - SJ Mercury News.


Morning Buzz list of Hot Sports Blogs

Chris Hutchison of the SJ Mercury News listed his favorite sports blogs for the Morning Buzz Monday. He picks the best from each major sport, links to the local Bay Area blogs, and adds a few covering college football.

AthleticsNation.com, McCoveyChronicles.com, BaseballMusings.com, BaseballCrank.com, FanBlogs.com, EveryDayShouldBeSaturday.com, Blue-Gray Sky, Mgoblog, ProFootballTalk.com, FootballOutsiders.com, Tuesday Morning Quarterback, 49ersNews.com, TheHaterNation.com, OffWing.com, SharksPage.com, YocoHoops.com, NBASource.com, goldenstwarriors.blogspot.com all made the list.

About Sportsblogs and Athletics Nation, Hutchison notes:

In January, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, one of the principals behind the popular political blog The Daily Kos, decided to branch out, and as he told Wired magazine, "If I'm not thinking about politics, I'm thinking about sports." Twenty-six of major league baseball's 30 teams have a site represented here, including the very good AthleticsNation.com, which has scored extensive interviews with Billy Beane, and McCovey Chronicles.com

Athletics Nation also received a lengthy writeup in the NY Times in April. Oakland GM Billy Beane said about the blog "The reason why I would opt to go do the interviews with them is that it's been a great forum to get the actual message across rather than having it filtered through someone else". The NY Times also talks about how building a community is important for sports websites, how interactivity keeps readers coming back, and how games are covered from a different perspective.

Daily Kos Swings for the Fences - Wired Magazine.


Labor Day in San Jose photo gallery

San Jose Jr Sharks

San Jose Jr Sharks

San Jose Jr Sharks

San Jose Jr Sharks

The Labor Day Kickoff youth hockey tournament at Logitech Ice Center ended an extended weekend with 2 games by the San Jose Jr Sharks under-16 and under-18 teams. The Midget 16U Jr Sharks downed the LA Jr Kings 3-1 with solid goaltending by Max Pelzner.

In the last game, the Midget 18U Jr Sharks battled to a 4-3 win over the Phoenix Firebirds. Jared McIntosh scored the highlight goal of the game breaking past 2 defenders to deke left, hesitate right and roof it passed the goaltender top shelf. With the Jr Sharks up by one with 40 seconds left, McIntosh worked with two teammates to win several battles in the offensive zone and kill any opportunity for Phoenix to tie the game.

Taking photos at Logitech is tough. Fast action with poor light through scuffed/distorted glass makes it difficult. One bright spot, an employee told me lighting for the North rink has been upgraded.

San Jose Giants Stockton Ports

San Jose Giants Stockton Ports

San Jose Giants Stockton Ports

San Jose Giants Stockton Ports

The San Jose Giants minor league baseball team overcame a 3-run 7th inning by the Stockton Ports to earn a 7-6 win on the last game of the regular season. San Jose begins postseason play September 10th.

The offense was rolling, the crowd was large, and the promotions were interesting and unusual. A fan chipping a golf ball at a live target, trying to bean the SF Giants mascot on top of a large panel truck, a beer special timed for a specific batter.

But the best was the SJ Giants inflatable mascot. He came out popping and jerking to the music, did a one-handed breakdancing spin on the grass, deflated his head and danced, over-inflated it when someone approached too close to the fence, and then over-inflated his tongue in front of the opponents dugout on his way out. It had the whole audience laughing.

San Francisco Grand Prix cycling

[Update] Jes Golbez took a few photos of the San Francisco Grand Prix cycling race Sunday. Fabian Wegman battled the cold and the fog, finishing first with a time of 4:27:20. Visit sanfrangrandprix.com for more information.

Sorry I couldn't make it Jes, and sorry for not telling you that warm in San Francisco during the summer equals fifty degrees.

Photo 1
Photo 2


Chronicle reports 90% of San Jose Sharks season ticket holders have renewed

According to Tom FitzGerald, 90% of Sharks season ticket holders have renewed for this season. Sharks fans racing back to rink - SF Chronicle.

Of the season ticket-holders from 2003-04, 90 percent have renewed, slightly more than the club expected, says Malcolm Bordelon, the Sharks' executive vice president of business operations.

With more than 500 new season ticket buyers, the club will have 11,000 in all, surpassing the 10,750 it had when the Sharks won the 2004 Pacific Division title, although shy of the 13,200 it had in 2002-03.

FitzGerald also notes that the Sharks record for season ticket sales in 2002-03 was 13,200, the total for 2003-04 was 10,750, the 2005-06 mark stands at 11,000, season ticket prices on average have been reduced by 10%, individual tickets 6%, and individual ticket sales begin on Sep. 17th.

The HP Pavilion holds 17,496 fans for hockey.

In mid-July, the Los Angeles Times reported the Kings were about 9% behind renewal rates for season tickets and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks were 28% behind. Details of the lockout affect on Ducks and Kings season ticket sales - Sharkspage.

The Sharks begin the pre-season at home against the Los Angeles Kings September 18th. The Sharks open the 2005-06 NHL season on the road against Nashville October 5th, and return to HP Pavilion October 12th for the home opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

ESPN has a complete 2005-06 San Jose Sharks season schedule, and attendance figures for 2004, 2003, and 2002. ESPN is a little off on when the regular season begins, but it should be fixed shortly.

[Note] The Sharks Foundation is nominated for a 2005 Silicon Valley Arts & Business Award in the "First Time Business Support" category. More information is available at the San Jose Business Journal.

[Update] Ducks hunting for young fans, Team officials are launching a comprehensive program to get schoolchildren in Orange County hooked on hockey - OC Register. It was also mentioned earlier by the OCR that Anaheim's acquisition of Teemu Selanne resulted in 350 season tickets sold shortly thereafter.

[Update2] Kevin Gibson of 640Toronto reports that the New York Rangers might be the first team to make a significant offer on an unsigned RFA. Atlanta Thrashers forward Ilya Kovalchuk is the player mentioned. Gibson also notes that they are close to the cap and have made getting a goaltender a priority.


Jr. Sharks Labor Day Kickoff

San Jose Jr Sharks

The 2nd annual 4-day "Labor Day Kickoff" youth hockey tournament is taking place September 2nd through September 5th at the Logitech Ice Center in San Jose. Teams from around the country [Dallas, Phoenix, Seattle, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Portland, Colorado] and Canada are competing in Pee Wee A/AA, Bantam Minor AA, Bantam Major AA, Midget 16 AAA, and Midget 18 AAA divisions.

For a complete list of teams participating and a schedule, visit SJjrsharks.com for tournament information and a game schedule. According to SJsharks.com, scouts from the NAHL, WHL Portland Winterhawks, and the CHA/NCAA U.S. Air Force Academy will be in attendance.

The under-16 and under-18 teams are very competitive, but there are a few Pee Wee goaltending stars on display as well. Admission is free.


Carnival of the NHL #7

Another blog carnival takes a tour of the hockey world at The NHL is back. Phil Pilmar puts the spotlight on John Fontana who talks about aid for Hurricane Katrina victims, the Tampa Bay Lightning website, and ridiculous trade rumors that seem to appear out of thin air.

Phil also links to Jes Golbez's lengthy post on all things Carolina Hurricanes, and to a great profile on Doug Harvey from The Puck Stops Here.

Peter Bondra - '03/'04 Away Action ©Photofile

I have to disagree with CM at Hockey Country about Peter Bondra. Bondra is one of the hottest commodities left on the FA market for a reason. Yes he is 38, yes he did struggle after a late trade to Ottawa in 2003-04, but my hockey intuition tells me he has at least 20 goals in him this season, if not many more. That more than warrants the interest I have seen for him so far.

In San Jose land, Bondra would fit in with the up tempo, high pressure offense. The Sharks need a player who is selfish, and who will shoot the puck instead of thinking pass first. Bondra is a pure sniper, and 23 goals in 2005-06 would give him an even 500 in his last 19 years of play for the NHL, IHL, Czech and Slovak leagues.

The Washington Capitals offered Bondra a 1-year, $1.5 million contract. Bondra countered with a 2-year proposal for a higher figure each season. According to the Washington Post, Bondra's agent Rich Winter says "Peter feels he is a Capital". The way he was treated during his trade to Ottawa still bothers him, but it would be a shame if Bondra did not retire a Capital.

[Update] Where are they now, Al "The Planet" Iafrate? From Washingtoncaps.com.

Where is he now?: Al Iafrate took a few years off after retirement to fully recover from his knee and back surgeries. Commenting on his early retirement at the age of 33, he said, "If you play the sport the way its intended to be played, you can’t play until you’re 40." In 2002, he began helping a friend run a stick company in called Black Beauty in his native Michigan. The company specifically measures and designs sticks for young hockey players and is "designed for the development of the athlete." Iafrate knew he wanted to give back to hockey and says that creating a "learning instrument" for individual players and "watching them succeed knowing you had a hand in that is better than any play I made in my career."

Al Iafrate played 2 seasons in San Jose, scoring 8 goals, and 16 assists in 59 games played. Black Beauty custom hockey sticks can be found at bbsticks.com.


Bloggers join together for "Katrina Flood Aid" today, ECHL Mississippi Sea Wolves affected, CHL Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs raise funds

Katrina Flood Aid Red Cross

A few days after one of the worst natural disasters ever to hit this country, a number of bloggers have joined together to raise money for Hurricane Katrina flood aid. Instapundit has a very long scroll of bloggers aid efforts. The Truth Laid Bear has raised $47,306 from 989 blogs for 100 charities as of noon Pacific on Thusday. Amazon.com has stepped up and created a Katrina disaster relief webpage.

To make a donation to the American Red Cross you can visit http://www.redcross.org or telephone 1-800-435-7669 or 1-800-HELP-NOW. The Palo Alto chapter of the American Red Cross is available at paarc.org.

The ECHL has announced that the status of the Mississippi Sea Wolves minor league hockey team for the upcoming season is still unknown.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with not only the Sea Wolves staff, players and fans, but all of the people who have been affected by Hurricane Katrina," said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. "We encourage ECHL fans to donate and provide whatever support that they can to disaster relief."

Most charities are requesting financial donations rather than goods or clothing. This enables them to use the funds within the communities that are most affected.

The official Mississippi Sea Wolves website can be found at msseawolves.com. As soon as they list any local charity or relief organizations, I will add them to this post.

On Wednesday and Thursday evening, the Central Hockey League (CHL) Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs of Bossier City, Louisiana will hold a cookout at the CenturyTel Center to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina. They are encouraging donations to the Salvation Army at salvationarmyusa.org, or 1-800-SAL-ARMY.

The official Central Hockey League website has more on the Mudbugs charity efforts, Mudbugs Assist In Hurricane Relief Efforts.

Some items which are needed for donation include: Non-Perishable Food Items, Bottled Water, Diapers, Baby Wipes, Toiletries, Cleaning Supplies, Pet Food, etc. In addition, those who bring any items for donation during the Mudbugs cookout will have their names entered into a drawing for $50 of gas, courtesy of Coca-Cola. Donations will be accepted in the north side parking lot of the CenturyTel Center on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings.

For more information on the various fundraising events at the CenturyTel Center this week, please call 318-752-2847 or visit www.centurytelcenter.com.

The San Jose Sharks have a New Orleans connection after they reached an affiliate agreement with the ECHL New Orleans Brass hockey team in 1999. According to Wikipedia, The New Orleans Brass suspended operations after New Orleans Arena management forced them out when the NBA New Orleans Hornets arrived.

A handful of New Orleans Brass fans used to email in the occasional note about their team. One in particular was an avid Nikon Coolpix 950-990-995 user like myself. Stay safe.

Bring hockey back to New Orleans - Unofficial New Orleans Brass website.

[Update] Photo galleries of Katrina's aftermath: The New Orleans Times-Picayune, Getty, Reuters, South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

[Update2] Behind the Scenes: Katrina aftermath hits LSU hard - McKeensHockey.com.

It's weird. Nearly 12 hours ago we were running off copies of game notes for a football game that is now meaningless. We printed the copies and carried them over to the Field House at 6:30 p.m. I wouldn't leave the area for another eight hours.

On the way back to the PMAC in a cart, it looked like the scene in the movie Outbreak. FEMA officials, U.S. Marshalls, National Guard, and of course the survivors.

Black Hawks were carrying in victims who were stranded on roofs. Buses rolled in from New Orleans with other survivors. As Michael and I rode back to the PMAC, a lady fell out of her wheelchair and we scrambled to help her up.

It was reported last night that L.S.U. alumni Shaquille O'Neal was going to stay in Louisiana for a week to help out with aid efforts. Class. Other NBA teams and players have joined together to offer significant help as well.

Warriors Guard Baron Davis Contributes $50,000 To Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund - NBA.com. Also class.

Dallas Stars Foundation to make $10,000 donation to aid Hurricane victimes - Dallasstars.com.

[Update3] Another Sharks fan sent in a link to the US Coast Guard Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief Homeport homepage. The Canucks Blog recommends donating to catholiccharitiesusa.org. Carole at Forthecurious suggests donating to the FEMA recommended charities or to the Mercry Corps. Monday, KuklasKorner recommended donating to the Red Cross, and he also pointed to a local New Orleans blog by Brendan Loy.

[Update4] Offwing, recovering from a DDOS attack on his web host, has more on Hurricane relief efforts from the world of sports. He also is asking for donations to the Red Cross. John Fontana from Boltsmag is also encouraging bloggers to donate to the Red Cross, and he is providing an image to help encourage donations.

[Update5] Area teams do their part - SJ Mercury News.

Sharks: They will donate $10,000 in cash and $20,000 in merchandise to the Red Cross, and they have donated items to three radio stations. They're also working on plans for a blood drive before an exhibition game.

Earthquakes/MLS: Players competing in the U.S.-Mexico World Cup qualifier Saturday, and all Major League Soccer games this weekend, will sign their jerseys for an auction at www.mlsnet.com beginning Saturday.