Saturday, October 31, 2009

Darryl Hunt: Strong Play Lifts WorSharks Over Sound Tigers 2-1

The Worcester Sharks used another great performance by rookie netminder Alex Stalock and a total team effort in beating the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2-1 at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts Friday night in front of 2,181 fans.

With the WorSharks missing Logan Couture, Jamie McGinn, and captain Ryan Vesce due to recalls to San Jose, the Worcester faithful were wondering who would step up to fill the void. It turned out to be everyone. Worcester outshot the Sound Tigers 16-4 in the opening stanza, and were it not for some great play by Bridgeport goaltender Scott Monroe the WorSharks could have easily had a multiple goal lead early.

Worcester was finally able to light the lamp with 31 seconds remaining in the first period while skating with a two man advantage. With Worcester passing the puck along the outside and the fans getting restless, Danny Groulx fired a cross ice pass to Steven Zalewski behind the defense. Monroe managed to get a small piece of Zalewski's one-timer, but not enough to prevent the 1-0 lead for the WorSharks. Joe Callahan had the second assist.

While the second period was scoreless, it wasn't for a lack of chances by either squad. The WorSharks outshot Bridgeport 13-8 in the middle period, and both Stalock and Monroe made excellent saves to keep the score 1-0.

Bridgeport was finally able to draw even during the third period during their first power play chance of the game when Trevor Smith found Greg Moore all alone in the slot from behind the net. Stalock didn't stand a chance as Moore's blast found the back of the net at 8:04.

That tie score would last all of 16 seconds.

With Worcester continuing to press as they had all game, Groulx took a pass from Corey Quirk along the boards to the right of Monroe and skated deep into the zone. Groulx fired a laser into the slot where Dean Strong was able to bang it home for his first professional goal to make it 2-1 at 8:20.

From that point on it was the Alex Stalock show, as the rookie played like a veteran in making great save after great save to notch another victory for the WorSharks.

Worcester began the game with no one on the injured list, but they may have ended the game with one on it. Defenseman Mike Moore, who was playing in his first game in three weeks after suffering a hamstring injury, did not play after the first period. Moore was on the bench for the second period, but stayed in the locker room for the third. Worcester's healthy scratches were Louis Liotti and Joe Loprieno. Tyson Sexsmith was the back-up goaltender.

As if Stalock wasn't doing enough making great saves, at one point in the second period he decided to lead the rush out of the defensive zone. After Bridgeport broke in on an odd man rush, Stalock made a glove same and all three onrushing forwards ended up behind the goal line. With nothing but open ice and white jerseys in front of him, Stalock took a couple of strides away from the net before dropping the puck and feeding it up ice as Worcester broke out on its own odd man rush.

The victory was the 399th for head coach Roy Sommer. Only three coaches have more career wins in the AHL: Fred "Bun" Cook (711), Frank Mathers (610), and John Paddock (585). Sommer goes for win number 400 Saturday night in Manchester.

To answer a question this writer has received a couple times in the past week, Bill Ballou's AHL column will start again this Thursday in The Worcester Telegram, and it can be read online at For my money there isn't a better beat writer in the AHL than Ballou, and his AHL column is definitely worth checking out.

The three stars of the game were:
1. Danny Groulx (2a)
2. Alex Stalock (win, 25 saves)
3. Scott Munroe 35 saves)

The Sharkspage player of the game was Dean Strong.

Even strength lines

With Moore's injury the defensive lines rotated, but at the start of the game it was

Power play lines


Penalty kill

Groulx/Joslin (Wilson)

Bridgeport 0 0 1 - 1
Worcester 1 0 1 - 2

1st Period-1, Worcester, Zalewski 3 (Groulx, Callahan), 19:29 (pp). Penalties-Hughes Bri (tripping), 5:30; Smith Bri (cross-checking), 14:53; Kohn Bri (roughing), 17:49; Flood Bri (roughing), 18:18.

2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Katic Bri (holding), 11:31; Wotton Bri (holding), 16:43.

3rd Period-2, Bridgeport, Moore 5 (Smith, Bentivoglio), 8:04 (pp). 3, Worcester, Strong 1 (Groulx, Quirk), 8:20. Penalties-McCauley Wor (holding), 7:46; Callahan Wor (high-sticking), 9:35; Haley Bri (roughing), 12:28; Groulx Wor (roughing), 12:28.

Shots on Goal
Bridgeport 4-8-14-26
Worcester 16-13-8-37.
v Power Play Opportunities
Bridgeport 1 of 2
Worcester 1 of 6.

Bridgeport, Munroe 3-2-0 (37 shots-35 saves)
Worcester, Stalock 5-0-1 (26 shots-25 saves).

A-2,181. Referees-Ian Croft (87). Linesmen-Mark Messier (12), Todd Whittemore (70).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ryane Clowe shootout goal and 29 saves by Evgeni Nabokov snap 4-game Los Angeles win streak, power Sharks to 2-1 OT shootout victory

San Jose Sharks Los Angeles Kings NHL hockey Wayne Simmonds Evgeni Nabokov
Marc Edouard Vlasic Rob Blake Anze Kopitar Sharks Kings
San Jose Sharks Los Angeles Kings NHL hockey Dan Boyle Alexander Frolov

More notes on the San Jose Sharks 2-1 OT shootout win over the Los Angeles Kings will be posted soon. A photo gallery from the event is available here. Youtube video highlights from the game are available here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Newspaper circulation drops 10.6% in U.S., San Francisco Chronicle plummets 25.8%, San Jose Mercury News down 10%

Apr-Sept 2009 daily circulation at the Top 25 Newspapers in U.S.:

Wall Street Journal - 2,024,269 - 0.61%
USA Today - 1,900,116 - (-17.15%)
New York Times - 927,851 - (-7.28%)
Los Angeles Times - 657,467 - (-11.05%)
Washington Post - 582,844 - (-6.40%)

NY Daily News - 544,167 - (-13.98%)
NY Post - 508,042 - (-18.77%)
Chicago Tribune - 465,892 - (-9.72%)
Houston Chronicle - 384,419 - (-14.24%)
Philadelphia Inquirer - 361,480 - N/A

NY Newsday - 357,124 - (-5.40%)
Denver Post - 340,949 - N/A
Arizona Republic - 316,874 - (-12.30%)
Minn. Star Tribune - 304,543 - (-5.53%)
Chicago Sun-Times - 275,641 - (-11.98%)

Cleveland Plain Dealer - 271,180 - (-11.24%)
Detroit Free Press - 269,729 - (-9.56%)
Boston Globe - 264,105 - (-18.48%)
Dallas Morning News - 263,810 - (-22.16%)
Seattle Times - 263,588 - N/A

SF Chronicle - 251,782 - (-25.82%)
Oregonian - 249,163 - (-12.06%)
NJ Star-Ledger - 246,006 - (-22.22%)
SD Union-Tribune - 242,705 - (-10.05%)
ST. Petersburg Times - 240,147 - (-10.70%)

Source: Editor and Publisher

After one shoe dropped on the Bay Area newspaper media in 2007, and the other shoe fell in 2008, somehow a third shoe was found to fall in 2009. A recent study by the Audit Bureau of Circulations found steep and accelerating circulation declines in U.S. newspapers, with heavy losses hammering the Bay Area. The 379 newspapers monitored experienced an average daily circulation decline of 10.6% and an average Sunday circulation decline of 7.4% in the 6-month period from April to September 2009.

According to this report the south bay's leading San Jose Mercury News experienced a 10.6% drop in daily circulation (to 200,258) during the same period compared to last year, and a 5.6% drop in Sunday circulation. Added to the 25.8% drop in daily circulation at the San Francisco Chronicle (to 251,782), the largest decline among the top 25 newspapers in the U.S., the Bay Area newspaper business has been punctured and is hemorrhaging readers.

An in-depth analysis of the causes and factors leading to the circulation decline is too extensive for the scope of this small sports blog ( traffic is off in the same 6-month period -13.3%), but steep staffing cuts have hobbled the sports departments at several major California papers. Smaller daily and weekly outlets have been forced to combine operations or rely heavily on wire coverage. The impact has been felt from every sport large and small, many events are no longer afforded coverage in local papers.

In hockey, California has lost 4 NHL beat writers in the last 2+ seasons. Ross McKeon and Victor Chi were bought and laid off from the SF Chronicle and Mercury News in the same week in July 2007. The O.C. Register's Dan Wood and LA Daily News writer Rich Hammond moved on to do radio and write for the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings respectively prior to the start of the 2009-10 season.

To add insult to injury, the New York Times and Washington Post both plan on staffing up and offering Bay Area news to local and national readers. The New York Times rolled out its inaugural 10-person Bay Area news bureau last Friday. In several interviews on the new coverage, the Times has said they would work with local reporters and local media to contribute to its reporting. Whether or not that includes working with local sports media remains to be seen, but it might help improve the sometimes surface coverage the NYT has offered to local events in the past.

Other large media entities are not far behind. It was reported earlier this summer that in addition to the expected 2010 launch of, ESPN also holds several similar domains:,,, and

Compounding the problem is the fact that many of the best writers and reporters are being forced out. Also this summer, the San Jose Mercury News let go of former Morning Buzz columnist John Ryan with little fanfare, and no mention in the paper. At one point his column noted that he was on vacation, then he was disappeared. In an interview with Sharkspage last year, Ryan said his Morning Buzz column was a place for all sports items trivial, non-trival and sometimes bizarre, that could not fit anywhere else in the paper. Ryan helped fill in the gaps in the paper's coverage, kept it entertaining, and re-energized a sports section that has been hammered repeatedly by staffing cuts.

There is an inherent lack of forward thinking and innovation as newspapers scramble to keep up the status quo, but if they expect to be around more than 5-10 years the status quo will no longer work. They need to create new models of journalism, new revenue models, and create new value relationships with young readers and transplanted Bay Area residents to survive. There is not a lot of recent history to suggest that they can.

[Update] New York Times expanding circulation battlefield with Bay Area invasion - Chicago Tribune.

Future uncertain for former Shark Vesa Toskala in Toronto

Former Sharks goaltender Vesa Toskala in on shaky ground in Toronto

Friend of the blog James Mirtle took an interesting look at the future of former Sharks goaltender Vesa Toskala for Toronto's Globe and Mail: Has Toskala run out of chances?

It seems only fitting that, on the weekend the Toronto Maple Leafs head to Vancouver, general manager Brian Burke’s struggling hockey team is embroiled in a goalie controversy. It was with the Canucks, after all, that Burke stood by his man in the crease, Dan Cloutier, after watching his No. 1 from 2001-02 to 2003-04 falter in key games, again and again.

Five years later, the Leafs are waiting on Swedish rookie Jonas (The Monster) Gustavsson to recover from a groin injury and potentially take over the No. 1 role. Vesa Toskala remains in no man’s land, rehabbing a minor injury in order to, presumably, sit on the bench in a baseball cap for his $4-million (U.S.) salary.

In the article Brian Burke said that he would never again be short on goaltending again while he was at the head of an NHL team. Following the traditional mould of building from the goal out, he brought in Jonas Gustavsson and said he would bring in others if needed to shore up the position in Toronto. Mirtle notes that Toskala's save percentage dropped from a .914 in 99 starts with the San Jose Sharks (while battling Miikka Kiprusoff and Evgeni Nabokov for playing time), to a .904 his first season in Toronto in 2007-08 (66GP), and a .891 in 2008-09 (53GP). After only 4 starts this season, Toskala registered 82 saves on 102 shots against for an .812SV%.

In a 2006 scouting report on Toskala, this blog described him as "patient" netminder who forces the shooter to make the first move when he is on top of his game. Solid positioning and an ability to find the puck through traffic were strengths he used to battle for the #1 role with the San Jose Sharks. One word of caution was offered, "still unproven in the postseason".

That never became an issue during his tenure in Toronto. Early in his first season with the Maple Leafs he displayed very little of his trademark calmness, at times scrambling to get into position to make saves. A stiff defense in San Jose that cleared rebounds and bodies in front was replaced by a makeshift Toronto defense that stood and watched waves of forwards crash the net. Toskala rebounded somewhat, earning defensive player of the month honors in December. Injuries hampered the Finnish native throughout 2008-09, and he finally underwent hip surgery in March.

After 10 goals against in his first 2 games this season, the pressure was on. He did not respond well to the pressure. Now he finds himself again looking up at Gustavsson and MacDonald on the depth chart as trade rumors in the trade rumor capital of the NHL begin to pick up around him.

On, Lyle Richardson takes note of recent Brian Burke comments on goaltending depth, and evaluates the underground J.S. Giguere to Toronto rumors. Richardson believes Giguere will exercise his no-movement clause to stay in Anaheim, and suggests that Minnesota Wild backup Josh Harding could be another trade option.

Often the best trade is one a NHL general manager never makes. With the recent motivational benching of Matt Stajan and Nicklas Hagman, and the expected early November return of offseason acquisition Phil Kessel, the forward corps offer a glimmer of hope for the Maple Leafs and head coach Ron Wilson despite an 8-game losing streak that started the season. The goaltending situation in Toronto morphed into a 3-headed monster, with one of Gustavsson, Toskala and MacDonald expected to provide a measure of stability in goal.

That struggle for stability needs to be a team effort.

[Update] Leafs end nightmare with Monster win - Damien Cox for the Toronto Star.

Monday, October 26, 2009

MMA tops boxing and kickboxing at Rumble in Richmond, Chris Cariaso earns Bantamweight ISCF title with 2nd round KO

Rumble in Richmond Kickboxing Kenneth Giang IKF Kickboxing title fight Dan Ash
Rumble in Richmond MMA Justin Smitley vs Evan Esguerra
Rumble in Richmond Boxing Aldwayne Simpson earns first win over Victor Cortez

The eternal struggle between boxing and MMA was joined at the hip with a kickboxing-laden undercard at Saturday night's Rumble at Richmond hybrid event at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium. Three MMA titles were on the line in 4 MMA fights, standout amateur and Richmond native Aldwayne Simpson made his professional boxing debut, and 5 of 6 kickboxing undercard bouts were IKF title affairs.

In the main MMA event, San Francisco's Chris "Kamikaze" Cariaso (9-1, 2KOs, 2subs) put his stamp on the ISCF Bantamweight MMA title with a 2nd round stoppage over Rolando Velasco (5-2-1, 2KOs, 1subs). After a short feeling out process, Cariaso stunned Oakdale's Velasco with a short right that forced a desperate single leg takedown attempt. Strong on his feet, Cariaso stuffed the attempt and got Velasco's back in a scramble. He dropped a textbook suplex, got 1 hook in and nearly flattened out Velasco as the bell sounded.

Both fighters came out striking in the second, but Rolando Velasco winced after one landed and backed off slightly. Chris Cariaso tried to jump on the opportunity, but a more successful Velasco single leg attempt forced him into a corner where he landed a hard standing elbow. Cariaso tried to land a high kick to the head, but his foot slipped an he hit the mat. Velasco rushed in to capitalize but was staggered with a right hand. Cariaso chased him down from corner to corner, and twice dropped Velasco with a hail of punches before the fight was stopped 3:17 into the second round.

The semi-main MMA event was frought with controversy and drama as there was a 20+ minute delay for an ambulance to take previous competitor Justin Smitley to the hospital. USH fight team's Andrew Valladerez (3-4, 1KO, 1sub) dominated the first round against San Jose's David Barrios (3-4, 3subs), but he was forced to circle in the ring and occasionally dance to the background music while waiting for paramedics to return.

Valladerez clearly won the first round, swinging for the fences with his right hand. A toe-to-toe exchange at the end ellicited a roar from the crowd, but Valladerez was gaining an advantage with each exchange. With a strong wrestling background, Andrew Valladerez was also the youngest member of the US National San Shou Team in 2005, he kept things on the feet at the start of the second. A high kick, spinning backfist combo knocked David Barrios down as he was starting to find his range. Barrios entered the ring with a silver mask and skull bandana, but the fight was all Milpitas until a missed high kick opened the door for San Jose. Barrios locked in a RNC and Valladerez tapped 3:03 into the second round.

The fight was not for a title as Valladerez came in 2.75 pounds over at the weigh-in. Barrios was awarded the ISCF California State Bantamweight title at the scale. Valladerez was the second USH fight team member to miss weight this week as Anthony "rumble" Johnson missed 170 pounds by a mile for UFC 104 in Los Angeles. Johnson came in 6 pounds over (fighters are allowed 1 pound) for his fight with Yoshiyuki Yoshida.

Sunnyvale's own Alvin Cacdac (7-6, 3KOs, 3subs) earned an impressive first round KO over Bryant "Chaos" Munoz (3-2, 3subs). There was an intense pace to start the fight, but "chaos" scored the first takedown and quickly gained side control. Cacdac willed the fight back to his feet, then scored a takedown of his own and attempted a guillotine choke. He transitioned into a jackhammer ground and pound which resulted in cut to the forehead of Bryant. Bryant Munoz gamely tried to lock in an armbar off his back, but Cacdac walked around the attempt and pounded him out with a series of strong hammerfist blows. Referee Dan Stell stopped the fight 2:34 into the first.

Rumble at Richmond's fight of the night came in the opening MMA bout between Oakdales' Justin Smitley (6-6, 4subs) and San Jose's Evan Esguerra (3-2, 2KOs) for the ISCF California State Featherweight title. A fifth rope was added during a brief intermission after the boxing and kickboxing, and the MMA kicked off with one of the bloodiest fights this blog has witnessed in 12+ years of covering fight sports. Esguerra, a former U.S. marine, is a decorated muaythai kickboxing veteran with 50+ fights on his record.

Both fighters came out firing at the opening bell. Esguerra came storming forward with punches, but Justin Smitley was able to effectively parry and land short counter punches. Esguerra scored the first takedown in the corner, but Justin scored a reversal and took full control of his back. A failed armbar attempt lead to a series of brutal ground and pound elbows from Esguerra that opened a deep cut on Smitley.

Esguerra scored another takedown early in the second, and forced Justin to work from his guard while fending off heavy blows. Dangerous off his back, Smitley eventually got to his feet as both fighters were covered in blood and weary. Another Esguerra takedown and side control resulted in more ground and pound that nearly stopped the fight. The crowd was roaring expecting a late stoppage, but referee Dan Stell was going to let this fight go on as long as the fighters were effectively competing. Smitley answered the bell for round three in a fight that was as compelling as anything the televised UFC 104 and Dream 12 cards on the same night had to offer.

Smitley, a purple belt in BJJ, showed excellent balance on his feet as Esguerra tried to trip him down early in round 3. A punishing, heavy knee to the midsection seemed to suck the energy out of Smitley, and another knee in the corner set the stage for a quick takedown for Evan Esguerra. Bloodied but still trying to defend himself, Esguerra rained down blows on Smitley until Dan Stell stopped the fight at 1:00 of the third. Evan Esguerra earned the ISCF California State Featherweight title with his third professional MMA win. Smitley was taken to the hospital shortly after the fight.

Richmond native Aldwayne Simpson (1-0, 1KO) drew a large ovation from the Richmond crowd for the lone boxing event of the night. A former standout as an amateur, Simpson began his professional career with blinding handspeed against Attwater, CA's Victor Cortez (0-2). A quick 2-punch combination stunned Cortez, and a subsequent left dropped him to the mat. Simpson pressed the action with a flurry backing Cortez into the ropes, and landed an explosive left hook that saw him leave his feet. Cortez was overwhelmed, and a pinpoint counter punch by Aldwayne Simpson ended the fight at 1:56 of the first round. Before the referee could raise his hand, Aldwayne was already making his way to the lockerroom before he hurried back into the ring. Simpson is the type of boxer with undeniable talent, and his profile should rise in Northern California in short order.

Kickboxing results:

San Jose's Dan Ash earned a split decision (48-47, 48-47, 47-48) over San Francisco's Kenneth Giang in a tight 5-round IKF World Super Lightweight title fight. Bryon Petro was dropped early in the first round by Quincy Schammon, but footwork and an aggressive style gave him the edge on 2 of the 3 judges cards en route to a 4-round split decision (39-37, 39-37, 37-39) win for the IKF California Welterweight title. Daniel Kim earned a unanimous 4-round decision win (39-37, 40-36, 40-36) over Dion Pamintao for the IKF World Middleweight title. Santa Clara's Amber Pope dominated San Francisco's Julie Jackal en route to a 2nd round KO at 1:36. Rick Erlec and Jeremy Murphy fought to a draw after 4 rounds (36-40, 39-37, 38-38) in a IKF West Coast Super Lightweight title fight. J.R. Aviles earned a TKO over Christopher Williams 1:12 into the second round in a cruiserweight non-title fight.

A photo gallery from the event is available here. Visit the official Rumble at Richmond event website at Sharkspage sent fight results to the editor of's fight finder for this event (and for Ky Hollenbeck's recent WOTH IV MMA bout in Santa Clara).

[Update] Cariaso Thrills Richmond, Knocks Out Velasco - Mario Ortega Jr. for

[Update2] Video of the Dan Ash vs Kenneth Giang muaythai title fight is available here.

[Update3] Rumble in Richmond, Post Event Coverage -

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Darryl Hunt: Stalock, WorSharks Blank Falcons 1-0

The Worcester Sharks scored only a single goal, but that was good enough for a 1-0 overtime victory over the Springfield Falcons Saturday night at the DCU Center in front of 3,222 fans.

Logan Couture scored the game winner for the WorSharks with 1:11 left in overtime when he fired a laser from the top of the faceoff circle to the right of Springfield goaltender Devan Dubnyk. Dubnyk was screened by Jamie McGinn and never saw the blast that went five hole to light the lamp for the 1-0 victory. McGinn and Danny Groulx had the assists.

But this game was really about the goaltenders. Worcester rookie Alex Stalock got his first professional shutout in just his fifth pro start, making 18 saves. Dubnyk was far busier but just as good through regulation, turning aside 46 shots before finally being beaten by Couture.

Both goaltenders got some help from their defense too. WorSharks defenseman Joe Loprieno saved a goal in the first period when a puck broke through Stalock by knocking it away from the goal line and carrying it out of harm's way. During the third period Dan DaSilva thought he had a goal as the puck slid past Dubnyk, but a diving Springfield defender kept it out of the net to keep the game scoreless.

At 8:13 of the third period Springfield center Geoff Paukovich did get one past Stalock to light the lamp, but Stalock immediately jumped to his feet to protest, indicating the puck was kicked in. Referee was in perfect position, but still choose to confer with the near linesmen before he waved off the goal.

After the game Paukovich told Dan Hickling of the Springfield Republican, "I saw it rolling and tried to kick it to my stick, when it went in. I thought I’d celebrate anyway, just in case."

In the end it turned out to be the WorSharks celebrating as they swarmed Couture at the halfboards after his game winner.

Worcester went with the same line-up as Friday night with Louis Liotti, Mike Moore, Corey Quirk, and Dean Strong all being scratches. WorSharks assistant coach David Cunniff was back behind the bench after taking Friday off with a bad back, and he and head coach Roy Sommer were joined by Bryan Marchment. Like Friday, Tyson Sexsmith was the back-up goaltender. With Stalock playing two games in two days and the early start Sunday in Hartford Sexsmith looks like the obvious choice to get the start.

The goal extended Couture's point scoring streak to five games, and the game winner gives Couture three on the season. The only other WorSharks player with a game winning goal is McGinn, who has two.

The three stars of the game were
1. Devan Dubnyk (46 saves)
2. Logan Couture (OT GWG)
3. Alex Stalock (shutout, 18 saves)

The Sharkspage player of the game was Alex Stalock.

Even strength lines


Penalty kill lines


Power play lines


Springfield 0 0 0 0 - 0
Worcester 0 0 0 1 - 1

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Wilson Wor (hooking), 13:04; Taylor Spr (hooking), 16:35.

2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Arsene Spr (hooking), 7:33.

3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties

OT Period-1, Worcester, Couture 4 (McGinn, Groulx), 3:49. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal
Springfield 6-4-6-2-18
Worcester 17-16-11-3-47.

Power Play Opportunities
Springfield 0 of 1
Worcester 0 of 2.

Springfield, Dubnyk 3-4-1 (47 shots-46 saves)
Worcester, Stalock 4-0-1 (18 shots-18 saves).

A-3,222. Referee-Jeff Smith (49). Linesmen-Todd Whittemore (19), Chris Libett (19).

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Darryl Hunt: McGinn, WorSharks Use Overtime To Beat Providence 3-2

Despite being a team that contains mostly rookies, it was three veteran players that lead the Worcester Sharks to a 3-2 overtime victory over the Providence Bruins in a battle of the Route 146 rivals Friday night at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island in front of 5838 fans.

The teams would spend most of the first period feeling each other out, and for the fifth time in their six games it would be Worcester that struck first when Danny Groulx connected for his first of the season from the left side on an odd man rush at 18:01. Dwight Helminen and Logan Couture had the helpers, and the point extended Couture's steak to four games.

The score would remain 1-0 until the late in the second period, when Worcester would shoot themselves in the foot not once, but twice. With the WorSharks on the power play Providence winger Jeff LoVecchio would steal a lose puck and beat Worcester netminder Alex Stalock on a breakaway to knot the game 1-1 at 14:14, and then with the 28 seconds left in the period P-Bruin defenseman Andy Wozniewski would fire a bad angle shot that broke through Stalock to make it 2-1 going into the second intermission.

Previous Worcester teams have had some issues winning in The Ocean State, but this current squad has no such memories of bad defeats, and its 'never say die' attitude led it to a 19-9 shot advantage for the third period. T.J. Trevelyan, who played for Providence during the 06-07 and 07-08 seasons, would draw the WorSharks even when he banged a lose puck past Providence goaltender Matt Dalton at 7:42. Steven Zalewski would have the assist on the play.

The game would stay even through regulation, and Worcester would grab the extra point when Jamie McGinn beat a stickless Dalton to the far side to light the lamp and send the Baby-Bs to the locker room. Groulx and Joe Callahan had the assists on the game winner.

Worcester's scratches were Louis Liotti, Mike Moore, Corey Quirk, and Dean Strong. Moore is still battling a lower body injury, although it's not considered serious. You can also add WorSharks assistant coach David Cunniff to the injured list with a stiff back. Cunniff missed Friday night's tilt, but is expected to return behind the bench at some point this weekend. Tyson Sexsmith was the back-up goaltender, and Matt Jones has been sent to Kalamazoo(ECHL).

The game featured just a single bout, with Frazer McLaren (6'4",235#) taking on Providence winger Brett Clouthier (6'5",225#). McLaren landed a series of big right hands that knocked Clouthier to the ice for the easy TKO victory.

The game winner gives McGinn two for the season in just three games. McGinn's other game winner was a power play tally in the season opener in Adirondack with just 12 seconds remaining. He had just two in 51 regular season in playoff games last season. Ironically, one of his two last season was in Providence during the playoffs.

The three stars of the game were:
1. Jamie McGinn (gwg)
2. Matt Dalton (33 saves)
3. Alex Stalock (win, 27 saves)

The Sharkspage player of the game was Danny Groulx.

Even strength lines


Worcester 1 0 1 1 - 3
Providence 0 2 0 0 - 2

1st Period-1, Worcester, Groulx 1 (Couture, Helminen), 18:01. Penalties-Desjardins Wor (tripping), 8:38; McLaren Wor (fighting), 11:15; Clouthier Pro (fighting), 11:15.

2nd Period-2, Providence, LoVecchio 3 14:14 (sh). 3, Providence, Wozniewski 5 (Lehtonen, Hamill), 19:32. Penalties-Lehtonen Pro (elbowing), 13:24; McLaren Wor (roughing), 18:04; Bodnarchuk Pro (roughing), 18:04; Joslin Wor (interference), 19:35; Lehtonen Pro (interference), 19:39.

3rd Period-4, Worcester, Trevelyan 3 (Zalewski), 7:42. Penalties-Penner Pro (holding), 0:56; Kwiet Pro (roughing), 11:07; MacDermid Pro (tripping), 14:42; Joslin Wor (holding), 18:27.

OT Period-5, Worcester, McGinn 3 (Groulx, Callahan), 1:58. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal
Worcester 5-11-19-1-36
Providence 7-13-8-1-29.

Power Play Opportunities
Worcester 0 of 5
Providence 0 of 3.

Worcester, Stalock 3-0-1 (29 shots-27 saves)
Providence, Dalton 0-2-0 (36 shots-33 saves).

A-5,838. Referee-Ryan Fraser (14). Linesmen-Brian MacDonald (72), Todd Whittemore (19).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fight Notes - 10/21

Super Six World Boxing Classic Super Middleweight boxing tournament Carl Froch Andre Dirrell
Super Six Froch-Dirrell punchstats

- More notes on the the first round of the "Super Six" World Boxing Classic held last weekend will be posted soon.

- World Boxing Classic Super Six Tournament Mikkel Kessler-Andre Ward Oakland press conference quotes and photos - September 18th Sharkspage.

- San Jose-based Strikeforce has an ambitious November planned with a CBS-televised Fedor Emelianenko vs Brett Rogers heavyweight superfight scheduled November 7th in Chicago, a SHOmma development series event headlined by Jorge Gurgel and Billy Evangelista November 6th at the Savemart Center in Fresno, and another SHOmma event headlined by Tyron Woodley and Rudy Bears November 20th at the Memorial Hall in Kansas City.

An in-depth Fedor vs. Rogers preview will forthcoming in a future post, and Sharkspage will also contact Strikeforce to get an update on the expected debut of former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL veteran Herschel Walker.

A multiple fight contract with Strikeforce was announced for the 47-year old September 21st. According to a press release, Walker is a fifth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and has additional training in Muaythai kickboxing and Kenpo karate. He will train at the American Kickboxing Academy under Bob Cook.

- From Mario Serrano, the University of San Francisco presents California's largest intercollegiate boxing event: The Hilltop Cup V.


October 19, 2009 - The University of San Francisco in association with LightsOut.TV go mobile with California's largest intercollegiate boxing event "Hilltop Cup V". Students and fans can text "hilltopcup" to 35620 to get event info, right to their cell phones.

On Friday October 23, 2009, student boxers from UC Berkeley, Stanford, Santa Clara, San Jose State, UC Davis, USC, UCLA, Nevada-Reno, and USF will participate in the 5th annual "Hilltop Cup" amateur boxing event, helping raise money for the Saber Es Poder Hispanic Student Scholarship Fund.

The Saber Es Poder Hispanic Student Scholarship Fund was established to promote diversity at SF State, and is awarded to a Latino/Hispanic student on the basis of need, academic achievement, and service to the community.

Tickets are available for students with current IDs for $5, general admission is $20, ringside seats are $25. Tickets are available at the Koret Health & Recreation Center (corner of Parker and Turk in San Francisco) or by calling (415) 422-2694.

- Video highlights from last year's NCBA Western Region College Boxing Tournament at Santa Clara University are available here, a rough recap here, and a photo gallery is available here.

- Rumble in Richmond October 24th at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium will feature a combination of boxing, mixed martial arts and kickboxing in the 11-fight event. Former PFC and CCFC Bantamweight champion Rolando Velasco (5-1-1, 2KOs, 1sub) will meet Strikeforce and World CSC veteran Chris Cariaso (8-1-0, 1KO, 2subs) in the MMA main event for the ISCF world Bantamweight title.

Andrew Valladerez (3-3, 1KO, 1sub) will face San Jose's David Barrios (2-4, 2subs) for the IKF California State kickboxing title, Bryant Munoz (3-1, 3subs) will face Samart Samphusri for the ISCF California State Bantamweight MMA title, WCSC Super Bantamweight Champion Gaberial Solorio (3-2, 1KO, 1sub) will face San Jose's Evan Esguerra (2-2, 1KO) for the ISCF California State Featherweight MMA title, and Al Simpson will face Luis Sanchez in their respective professional boxing debut.

Six Muaythai kickboxing amateur titles will punctuate a stacked undercard. For more information or tickets visit, or call Tim Stell at (707)673-6632. Doors open at 5PM, fights start at 6PM. Thanks to Mario Ortega Jr. at for the heads up on the fight card and fighter records.

- The next Fight Night at the Tank boxing event in San Jose is scheduled for December 4th.

- Video highlights from the Fairtex/Xfight War of the Heroes IV event October 10th in Santa Clara are available here, a full fight video between Kevin Ross vs Phanuwat "Coke" Chunhawat for the USMF Pro Muaythai kickboxing title is available here, a blog recap from the event is available here.

- Texas Revolution: Border Showdown set for Nov 13th - U.S. Muaythai Federation.

The Muay Thai Alliance of Texas is proud to announce its first ever fully sanctioned Muay Thai event in Texas. “Texas Revolution: Border Showdown” is set for Friday, November 13th at Edinburg Baseball Stadium. The showdown will feature some of the best talent that Texas has to offer in a State and Nationally sanctioned 12-bout scheduled spectacular.

“This is a very exciting event for the Rio Grande Valley and for the entire state because it is the first ever fully sanctioned Muay Thai event in Texas,” said Kru Kayan Sitsanthaparn.

“Muay Thai had previously been banned in our state, but fast forward decades later and we are now putting on fully sanctioned shows that involve the USMF, WMC, IFMA, and WBC Muay Thai. Our goal is to make our shows as traditional and as close to being in Thailand as possible. So far, we have put on talent searches in Austin, Houston, and in Dallas and all were a huge success. Now the best talent from those searches will be on display in the Rio Grande Valley for our first show and the fans are truly in for a treat.”

- Patrick Lopez plus undefeated Alberto Herrera on path to glory November 6th in Ontario California -

[Update] 'Fight Night Club' Could be Coming to a Venue Near You - Steve Kim for Kim has also launched a Thursday boxing podcast 'The Main Event' produced by's T.J. Desantis. The show is archived here.

[Update2] Abraham, Froch notch Super victories - Dan Rafael for ESPN.

[Update3] A press release from Goossen Tutor:

Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino weigh-in results for October 22nd fight card

Miranda vs Sierra
NABO Super Middleweight Championship
Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino
Lemoore, CA


Edison "Pantera" Miranda 167.4 lbs. vs.
Francisco "Panchito" Sierra 167.4 lbs.

Manuel "El Toro" Quezada 227.8 lbs. vs.
Nicolai "Stone Man" Firtha 242.8 lbs.

Mike Dallas Jr. 141.8 lbs. vs.
Sergio De La Torre 141.4 lbs.

Martin "El Brochas" Honorio 133.6 lbs. vs.
Ricardo Medina 132.6 lbs.

Ephraim Martinez 121.8 lbs. vs.
Rodrigo Romero 123 lbs.

Aaron Alafa 122 lbs. vs.
Danny Pontoja 123 lbs.

Alan Sanchez 143 lbs. vs.
Mikhail Lyubarsky 144.2 lbs.

World Championship Boxing live at Tachi Hotel and Casino, Thursday October 22nd. See Edison "Pantera" Miranda vs. Francisco "Panchito" Sierra in a 12 round NABO Super Middleweight Championship bout. Plus the return of one of the world's top heavyweights and the Valley's own Manual Quezada. Tickets are on sale now. Purchase at or through the Tachi Palace Gift shop. Ticket prices as low as $25.

[Update4] "FIGHT CAMP 360: Fedor vs. Rogers" special debuts Nov. 3 on Showtime -

New Pavelski detective commercial

San Jose Sharks Joe Pavelski detective commercial

Following in the footsteps of Joe Thornton and his friend Slappy, the Sharks recently unveiled this new Joe Pavelski commercial in the Bay Area. The simple premise: officer Pavelski is a bad detective, but a good hockey player.

Pretty good effort, but they should have finished off with a Law-and-Order-esque one liner: "you think they can indict that ham sandwich?" Never watched CSI Miami, but David Caruso's sunglass commentaries are also begging to be mocked.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sharks stomp on best team in East 7-3, three point nights by Setoguchi and Marleau snap Rangers 7-game win streak

That the Sharks have elite NHL firepower is not in question, what is in question is the application of that firepower. Against Washington the Shark's guns were silent, watching from the penalty box in the first period and watching Alexander Ovechkin flex his killer instinct in the second. Against a winless New York Islanders squad two days later the Sharks looked flat and listless at the start of the game. "We were about as flat as flat can be," head coach Todd McLellan said. Radio analyst Jamie Baker said the team was struggling at times, trying to develop a team identity and team confidence.

The trend of off periods continued in San Jose's nationally televised 7-3 win over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden Monday night. Against the hottest team in the NHL, the Sharks were stuck in neutral at the start. The Rangers were allowed room to skate, and center Chris Drury and rookie defenseman Michael Del Zotto (PP) capitalized to give the blueshirts an early 2-0 lead.

Past Sharks teams have been able to score their way out of problems in the regular season, but as intensity picks up in the postseason, time and space closes down. Any confidence and swagger the Sharks have carried into their last 3 playoff series was ceded to the opposing team at the outset. They had to earn it back, and twice the deficit was insurmountable.

The Sharks are still working to integrate 7 new players into the lineup, 5 forwards and 2 defenseman, while also juggling new players to fill in for injured centers Joe Pavelski and Torrey Mitchell. The "work in progress" stage for San Jose at this point in the season involves re-establishing basic fundamental defensive zone coverage, developing chemisty with forward lines and 2 new defensive pairs (Boyle-Murray, Huskins-Demers), and establishing a 60-minute work ethic that begins with the drop of the puck and ends with the final horn/whistle/fatladysinging.

After the early 2-0 Rangers lead head coach Todd McLellan told SJ Mercury News beat writer David Pollak, "We were on our heels, but we were talking on the bench that it'd be good to see how our team will respond." The comeback attempt was initiated from an unlikely source, agitating 4th line winger Brad Staubitz. With 1 goal in his previous 37 NHL games, Staubitz pressured a turnover in the neutral zone then bore down on a defenseman for a 2-on-1 with Scott Nichol. Staubitz beat backup goaltender Stephen Valiquette gloveside to cut the Rangers lead to 2-1.

Todd McLellan recently reunited the top power play unit of Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi. There have been minor questions of how Dany Heatley would respond floating around the media, but the team dynamic is different in San Jose. Patrick Marleau may have been removed as captain this summer, but he is still the on-ice leader and best 2-way player on the team. In the past he moved between the first and second lines, and filled in for injury centering the third line. He plays the power play and penalty kill, and moved from center to left wing and back. All of it without a word of complaint. He fits the workhorse mould, and a late season knee injury prevented that role from being filled in the postseason. Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi are two top-6 forwards the Sharks should be grooming to fill a similar role, and head coach Todd McLellan could mix and match situational combinations to squeeze the most out of both as the season progresses.

How would Heatley respond to second power play unit duty? He responded with a staccato stickhandling rush up center ice between 4 Ranger players. After splitting the stick check of 2 forwards, he maintained control of the puck and split a pair of defenseman. An attempted pass to Ryan Vesce bounced off Sean Avery like a backboard. Heatley kicked the puck back up to his stick and backhanded a point blank shot over the glove of Valiquette. Game tied 2-2. Heatley's 3-game scoring "slump" was over.

The Sharks poured it on to pop the Rangers 7-game unbeaten streak. A fan favorite among some in New York, Jed Ortmeyer scored his 2nd goal of the season, this time against his former team. Marc-Edouard Vlasic backed into a shooting lane on the PP, then set up Patrick Marleau for a point shot. Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi whacked at the rebound, Setoguchi was awarded his 6th of the season 6:05 into the second. He added his 7th later in the period as Marleau gained body position on Brashear along the boards and won possession. Marleau found an open Setoguchi on the right wing, he scored to make it 5-2.

Valiquette was pulled in the third period for starter Henrik Lundqvist, but the King could not slow down the onslaught. AHL Worcester Sharks captain Ryan Vesce, earning golden first line ice time with Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley, buried his second goal in as many games 3:46 into the third. If you are going to let 5-foot-8, 175-pound Ryan Vesce stand on the doorstep and take multiple whacks at a loose puck, he is going to score. During multiple AHL Worcester Sharks viewings, he was often the best player on the ice and he was a preseason pick by this blog to make the NHL club out of training camp. Former Phoenix Coyotes 2004 draft pick Enver Lisin added a goal for the Rangers at 17:12, but Patrick Marleau quickly followed with his team leading 7th goal of the season 53 seconds later. Evgeni Nabokov turned in another solid performance, stopping 26 of 29 shots against.

[Update] More notes from the Versus broadcast and the NY media:

Media coverage, or lack thereof, has been an issue in heavy rotation with hockey coverage of late. Three years ago this blog roamed around New York City trying to document the large number of media sources covering the Rangers. Contrast that with the Rangersvisit to HP Pavilion in San Jose last season, no Steve Zipay, no Larry Brooks, no New York Times. The only NY-related media attending the game in San Jose was a lone radio reporter.

New York Times sports editor Tom Jolly answered questions from Sharkspage about declining, or more accurately transforming, hockey coverage in the Grey Lady. "Obviously we’re based in New York and have a substantial readership here, but our national and international audience continues to grow and, in order to serve such a diverse group of readers, we’re focusing more on news and issues that go beyond individual teams," Jolly said. He continued adding that the paper's mission was to provide coverage that goes beyond results, focusing on more feature and big picture coverage. He also mentioned that Stu Hackel and Jeff Klein have been allowed to expanded the NYT's coverage of local teams on the Slapshots hockey blog.

The decision has not sat well with many New York fans, but a hot 7-game winning streak has raised the interest in the Rangers up several notches to start the season. The NYT's Jeff Z. Klein contrasts the Sharks with recent Rangers opponent Toronto, and writes that penalty problems and suspect goaltending were factors in the loss. The NY Post's David Satriano notes that the Rangers, despite having the 5th best penalty kill at 88.7%, have skated a league leading 49 times shorthanded. Newsday's Steve Zipay published a quote from head coach John Tortorella, "Four goals on 18 shots, that's not good. I was hoping he would work through it a bit, he made a couple saves on some deflections, but I don't think he was sharp and that hurt us."

The national Versus broadcast with studio host Bill Patrick and analysts Brian Engblom and Keith Jones focused on the young blueline contributors for each team. Defenseman Michael Del Zotto and Sharks rookie defenseman Jason Demers were featured, and Sharks defensive prospects Nick Petrecki and Justin Braun were brought up as players to look out for in the future. Eddie Olycyk said the Sharks 4th line of Brad Staubitz, Scott Nichol and Jody Shelley changed the momentum of the game down 2-0. In a later segment over who would score more goals this season, Keith Jones said that Heatley would score more, Engblom said Cheechoo could still turn it around and along with Michalek would score more, and Ed Olycyk said both sides would score exactly 46 goals.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Wave Magazine October San Jose Sharks issue, now with more Sharkspage

The Wave Magazine October San Jose Sharks issue cover photo Jon Swenson
The Wave Magazine October San Jose Sharks issue left wing Dany Heatley head coach Todd McLellan Q and A question answer
The Wave Magazine October San Jose Sharks issue for more hockey information

The lone news item this blog gets to break every year is who will be on the cover of the annual October Sharks issue of The Wave Magazine. It is a little easier to write about when you contribute several of the items, and photos from this blog are used. The cover Shark this year is Wisconsin's own Joe Pavelski.

Included in the metro-style magazine is a general preview of the Sharks lineup, key dates for the 2009-10 season, Shark family pack dates (Nov 25 - CHI, Dec 28 - PHO, Jan 30 - MIN, Mar 13 - FLA), a Q&A with new left wing Dany Heatley and head coach Todd McLellan, and a for more information feature with several options to find more coverage of the team. A PDF version of the issue is available at

Full disclosure, Gabriel Desjardins may be just a contributor to Puck Prospectus. Since the issue was published, he joined the SBN network with a blog at He posted a FAQ that serves as an introduction to advanced hockey statistics: Frequently Asked Questions about Statistical Analysis in the NHL. The blurb about Sharkspage was added by the magazine, which is cool. Max Giese, Darryl Hunt and G.J. Berg also contribute to this blog.

Q&A with Head Coach Todd McLellan:

[Q] After a Presidents' Trophy winning regular season and a disappointing postseason, what adjustments are the Sharks going to make on the ice for 2009-10?

[A] The first thing we are doing is trying to incorporate a number of new bodies into the system we play. Initially, you won't see a lot of changes in our system. We believe what we do is the right way. We are going to try to get a little more grit and determination.

[Q] How much time do you think it will take for the new additions of Heatley, Huskins, Malhotra, Nichol, Ferriero, Ortmeyer and others to develop chemistry and make an impact on the Sharks lineup?

[A] It is going to take awhile. As far as Heatley, Joe Thornton and Setoguchi, it is coming every night more and more, but it is still going to take some time.

[Q] One word to describe the line of Heatley, Thornton, Setoguchi?

[A] Speed.

Q&A with new left wing Dany Heatley:

[Q] If you had to give a scouting report on Dany Heatley, how would you describe him to Bay Area fans?

[A] I think I have been an offensive guy, that is what I do best. A guy that is also responsible defensively. Offensively I am more of a shooter than a playmaker. I feel I can put up points.

[Q] Who was your biggest rivalry in Ottawa, and how quickly will it take for you to get in the middle of the Sharks-Anaheim rivalry?

[A] Toronto Maple Leafs. It was a pretty good Ontario rivalry with Toronto, the fans are always fun. Anaheim and LA are going to be our two biggest rivalries over here. The history with Anaheim and what happened last year, and being so close to Anaheim and LA, it is bound to develop into a rivalry.

[Q] One word to describe the top line of Heatley, Thornton, Setoguchi?

[A] Speed.

[Q] What are your first impressions of San Jose as a city?

[A] Its a great city, great fans, great people. Just great things to say about the organization, first class. I am thrilled to be here.

Miami Holds No. 1 Ranking in USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll

A press release from

Miami University Holds No. 1 Ranking in USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Miami University, which collected 509 points and 33 of 34 first-place votes, secures the No. 1 ranking in this week's USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine's Men's College Hockey Poll. The RedHawks, who hold the top spot for the third consecutive poll, improved to 3-0-1 on the season after posting a 1-0-1 record against the University of New Hampshire.

This Week's Top-15 Match-ups:

Tuesday, October 20
No. 10 Notre Dame @ No. 3 Boston University

Friday, October 23
No. 5 Denver @ No. 11 Minnesota
No. 15 Boston College @ No. 10 Notre Dame

Saturday, October 24
No. 4 Michigan @ No. 3 Boston University
No. 5 Denver @ No. 11 Minnesota

The University of North Dakota (465) continues its climb up the poll, rising to No. 2 after finishing the weekend with a win and a tie against then-No. 8 University of Minnesota. Boston University (388) slides to No. 3 and the University of Michigan (386) regains the No. 4 position it held in the preseason poll. The University of Denver (378), which split its weekend series with The Ohio State University, rounds out the top five.

The University of Minnesota Duluth (59) makes its 2009-10 debut in the poll at No. 14this week after twice defeating Minnesota State University.

NOTES: The Central Collegiate Hockey Association, the Hockey East Association and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association each boast four ranked teams. ECAC Hockey has three ranked programs ... A total of 26 teams received votes.

USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men's College Hockey Poll - #3

(Rank, School, Votes/First-place votes in parenthesis, Last Poll's Ranking, 2009-10 Record, Weeks in Top-15)

1 Miami U., 509 (33), 1, 3-0-1, 3
2 U. of North Dakota, 465, 4, 3-0-1, 3
3 Boston U., 388, 2, 0-1-0,3
4 U. of Michigan, 386, 5, 1-1-0, 3
5 U. of Denver, 378, 3, 2-2-0, 3
6 Cornell U., 319, 6, 0-0-0, 3
7 U. of Vermont, 295 (1), 11, 2-1-0, 3
8 Princeton U., 245, 9, 0-0-0, 3
9 Yale U., 226, 10, 0-0-0, 3
10 U. of Notre Dame, 221, 7, 2-2-0, 3
11 U. of Minnesota, 139, 8, 0-1-1, 3
12 U. of Massachusetts Lowell, 126, 13, 1-1-0, 3
13 U. of Nebraska Omaha, 113, 15, 3-0-1, 2
14 U. of Minnesota Duluth, 59, NR, 3-1-0, 1
15 Boston College, 42, 12, 0-1-0, 3

Others receiving votes: University of Alaska, 39; Bemidji State University, 30; University of Massachusetts, 28; Colorado College, 24; University of Wisconsin, 18; Quinnipiac University, 15; St. Cloud State University, 6; Northeastern University, 4; U.S. Air Force Academy, 3; University of Alabama Huntsville, 1; University of New Hampshire, 1.

ABOUT THE POLL: The 15th annual USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men’s College Hockey Poll is conducted each week in conjunction with the American Hockey Coaches Association. The poll includes input from coaches and journalists representing each of the six NCAA Division I ice hockey conferences, as well as composite votes from officers of the AHCA and USA Hockey Magazine, the most widely distributed hockey magazine in the world.

Sharks-Islanders notes

San Jose's rollercoaster start to 2009-10 continued with a 4-1 win over the New York Islanders Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum. The Sharks followed a lethargic 2nd period against Washington on Thursday with hustle and intensity to finish out a 4-1 loss to the Capitals. On Saturday night the heavy legs and disjointed passes started in the 1st period.

The Islanders carried a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes based on a power play tally from left wing Matt Moulson. San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan dressed 11 forwards and 7 defenseman for the game, juggling lines on the fly based on performance. The top power play unit from last season, Marleau-Thornton-Setoguchi, was reunited and it paid quick dividends. Thornton drove the center of the ice and drew the attention of 3 Islanders. A quick pass on the tape of Marleau resulted in a hard backhand high over the glove of Biron. It was Marleau's team leading 6th goal of the season.

The Sharks were working effectively behind the Islanders net, a Malhotra setup for Ortmeyer was smothered down low by Biron. On a subsequent shift, Joe Thornton pressured defenseman Radek Martinek into a turnover that resulted in a 1-man pileup along the end boards. Alone with the puck, Thornton found Ryan Vesce driving the front of the net. Vesce took a hard pass from Thornton, dodged a stick check from fantasy hockey standout Mark Streit and fought off a check from Kyle Okposo to bury a shot farside.

Thornton (PP) and Setoguchi added goals in the 3rd period to complete the 4-1 margin of victory. Winger Ryane Clowe registered his first point of the season with an assist on Setoguchi's tally. Evgeni Nabokov turned in his sharpest performance this season with 31 saves on 32 shots against. Video highlights of the game are available via youtube here.

- "When we dressed 7 d-men, we knew we were going play 3 and a half lines and guys were going to move around all over the place," head coach Todd McLellan said after the game.

With many members of the media wondering what McLellan said to the team inbetween the 1st and the 2nd, he was not sure which words were motivational. "I wish I knew what I said. Whatever it was, we were about as flat as flat can be. We have had those periods as a team where we were flat, we don't execute. Inbetween periods we talked about a few things, puck movement, short passes not long ones, maybe that helped us."

- Nabokov's 253rd career win, all of them coming with the San Jose Sharks, came in his 500th NHL game.

- NY Newsday Islanders blogger Katie Strang noted the very strong first period for the Islanders, "Very strong first period for the Islanders, who outshot the Sharks 19-8. They did a tremendous job of generating scoring chances (especially the Moulson-Tavares-Okposo line) and limited chances in their own end." Strang also pointed out that 2009 first overall draft pick John Tavares responded to a check on Brendan Witt by cross-checking Setoguchi to pick up his first NHL penalty.

- The Islanders Point Blank blog, run by former NYI media relations VP Chris Botta, published a pair of posts after the 4-1 loss to San Jose. Kevin Schultz offered pluses and minuses on the winless Isles 6 games into the season. "Announced attendance was 11,287. Kinda upsetting for a Saturday night against one of the league’s best. Then again, the Yankees are in the playoffs and the Islanders are winless." Also posted was a NYI-Sharks preview.

[Update] Sharks beat winless Islanders, 4-1 - NY Post.

The loudest cheer at the sparsely filled Nassau Coliseum last night came when the scoreboard showed Derek Jeter's home run against the Angels. And at the end of the latest Islanders' loss, a 4-1 defeat to the Sharks, what was left of the crowd booed. That's what happens when a team doesn't win through its first six games, which is how the Isles have started this season.

[Update2] Wang and Murray to meet on Lighthouse project - Newsday.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Darryl Hunt: Desjardins, WorSharks Drown River Rats 5-3

The Worcester Sharks used their young legs to their full advantage as they played their second game in 20 hours Sunday afternoon at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, and that youthful exuberance helped them along to a 5-3 victory over the Albany River Rats in front of 2,012 snow dodging fans.

With the memories of Saturday night’s loss to Lowell still fresh in everyone’s minds, the WorSharks came out on all cylinders and took it to an Albany squad that played on the road Saturday night in Adirondack, New York. Their effort would pay off when Jamie McGinn flipped a shot on goal that River Rats netminder Mike Murphy easily saved but couldn’t control the rebound. Andrew Desjardins gathered the loose puck and fired it into the far side of the net for the 1-0 lead at 11:51. Rookie John McCarthy would have the second assist on the play.

At 15:08 it was McGinn’s turn, as he deflected Desjardins' blast past Murphy to make it 2-0. McCarthy would also assist on that goal.

Albany would get on the board at 16:02 after Pat Dwyer picked Nick Petrecki’s pocket and skated in alone on WorSharks goaltender Alex Stalock. Stalock held his ground, but Dwyer would fire a laser into the top corner to make it 2-1.

Worcester would get their two goal lead back just 34 seconds into the second period after Steven Zalewski stole the puck away from the Albany defense behind the River Rats net and fed a wide open T.J. Trevelyan in the slot to make it 3-1.

Logan Couture would make it 4-1 at 2:10 of the second on an incredible goal. With the WorSharks swarming the net the puck would bounce off to the right of the Albany net. With a defender hooking and hauling him down, Couture reached out and flipped the puck over Murphy and into the River Rats net.

Albany would get it to 4-2 at 3:29 of the period with another goal by Dwyer. With the puck bouncing around in front of the Worcester net, Petrecki would collect it but accidentally put it right on the tape of Dwyer’s stick, and Stalock didn’t stand a chance.

The score would remain 4-2 through the rest of the second period and for most of the third, until Jamie McBain fired a slapshot through traffic that found an open corner as Albany skated with an extra attacker at 18:49 of the third.

The River Rats would keep pressuring but the WorSharks wouldn’t budge, and the game was finally iced with 1.2 seconds left when Desjardins connected on an unassisted empty netter from just inside the Albany zone.

With Derek Joslin and Jamie McGinn being returned to Worcester, the WorSharks healthy scratches were Kevin Henderson, Louis Liotti, and Dean Strong. Both Dan DaSilva and Mike Moore are injured, but each is expected to play next weekend. Tyson Sexsmith was Worcester back-up goaltender.

Fans were holding their breath early in the first period when linesman Bob Bernard took a deflected clearing attempt to the face at the Albany blue line. Bernard was stunned for a few moments, but was up on his feet before the Worcester training staff could get to him. Luckily Bernard was no worse for wear and continued the game after a warm hand by the Worcester faithful in attendance.

Because the WorSharks game was being played opposite the start of the New England Patriots game and with the snow falling fairly heavily the crowd was, shall we say, intimate. The smaller crowd allowed for many of the game noises to be heard clearly, and one of those noises was Stalock quarterbacking the penalty kill. His communicating with his defense was something that hasn’t happened here with the WorSharks previously and it definitely lead to a more solid penalty kill.

The game featured one fight, or perhaps more correctly, one occurrence where two players were given fighting majors. Right after Couture’s goal at 2:10 Albany’s Brad Herauf challenged Worcester’s Dennis McCauley at center ice. It was an odd challenge because right from the start it was obvious Herauf (5’11” 195#) really didn’t want any part of McCauley (6’3” 225#). Once McCauley was able to get his hands on his opponent Harauf immediately went to the ice where the linesmen jumped in.

San Jose Sharks development coach Mike Ricci was behind the bench with head coach Roy Sommer and assistant coach David Cunniff.

The three stars of the game were:
1. Andrew Desjardins (2g,a)
2. Pat Dwyer (2g)
3. Jamie McGinn (g,a)

The Sharkspage player of the game was John McCarthy

Even Strength lines


Penalty kill lines


Power play lines


Faceoffs (offense/neutral/defense = total) UNOFFICIAL
Even strength
Desjardins 0-2/5-3/2-2 = 7-7
Couture 1-5/1-1/2-0 = 4-6
Zalewski 2-1/4-2/2-0 = 8-3
Quick 2-0/2-0/1-0 = 5-0

Penalty kill
Zalewski 0-0/0-0/1-1 = 1-1
Couture 0-0/0-1/0-1 = 0-2
Desjardins 0-0/0-1/1-0 = 1-1

Zalewski 1-0/0-0/0-0

Albany 1 1 1 - 3
Worcester 2 2 1 - 5

1st Period-1, Worcester, Desjardins 2 (McGinn, McCarthy), 11:51. 2, Worcester, McGinn 2 (McCarthy, Desjardins), 15:08. 3, Albany, Dwyer 2 16:02. Penalties-Callahan Wor (cross-checking), 4:38.

2nd Period-4, Worcester, Trevelyan 2 (Zalewski), 0:34. 5, Worcester, Couture 3 (McLaren, Groulx), 2:10. 6, Albany, Dwyer 3 (Bowman), 3:29. Penalties-Herauf Alb (fighting), 2:12; McCauley Wor (fighting), 2:12; Bowman Alb (slashing), 3:34; Loprieno Wor (holding), 6:55.

3rd Period-7, Albany, McBain 1 (Samson, Sutter), 18:49. 8, Worcester, Desjardins 3 19:58 (en). Penalties-Groulx Wor (hooking), 1:30.

Shots on Goal
Albany 8-6-11-25
Worcester 11-12-9-32.

Power Play Opportunities
Albany 0 of 3
Worcester 0 of 1.

Albany, Murphy 1-1-0 (31 shots-27 saves)
Worcester, Stalock 2-0-1 (25 shots-22 saves).

A-2,012. Referee-Chris Brown (86). Linesmen-Chris Aughe (74), Bob Bernard (4).

Darryl Hunt: WorSharks Stumble In 7-5 Loss

With a roster that contains 14 rookies everyone knows there will be some bumps in the road over an 80 game season. The Worcester Sharks hit one of those bumps hard Saturday night in a 7-5 loss to the Lowell Devils at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts in front of 5,429 disappointed fans.

For the first time in this young season the WorSharks would find themselves behind after the games first goal as Lowell's Michael Swift would bang home a shot from near the right post and past Worcester rookie netminder Tyson Sexsmith for the 1-0 Devils lead at 2:52. Lowell would have several great chances to grab a second goal, but some key saves by Sexsmith kept the WorSharks within one.

Worcester would get the equalizer half way through the first stanza when Steven Zalewski and Logan Couture would combine to keep the puck in the Lowell zone. Zalewski would collect the puck and skate down the left side, finding defenseman Michael Wilson alone in the slot. Wilson's blast beat Devils netminder Gerald Coleman to draw the WorSharks even at 1-1.

Lowell would have the next two tallies when Matt Taormina would blast a laser off the right post and in for a power play goal that Sexsmith had a clean look at and would probably like another chance at saving, and a Tim Sestito flip in all alone in front of Sexsmith as the Worcester defense got caught out of position.

Rookie defenseman Joe Loprieno showed a little frustration by leveling Sestito well after the puck was in the net, and then had to deal with Lowell's Brad Mills who jumped in to defend his downed line mate. Loprieno handled himself pretty well in his first pro fight, and Worcester seemed to feed off the effort.

Worcester would have a full two minute five on three power play when referee Gina Binda called Jay Leach for an elbow while Worcester was already swarming the zone on a delayed hooking minor to Vladimir Zharkov, and the WorSharks would pull within one at 3-2 when T.J. Trevelyan collected a rebound of a Joe Callahan blueline blast at 18:31.

But again, the next two goals early in the second period would belong to Lowell. In a near mirror image of his first goal Sestito would find himself all alone again in front of Sexsmith at 1:19, and former San Jose Sharks defenseman Rob Davison would rip a blast from the blueline that deflected off a WorSharks defender at 2:36 to make it 5-2.

But Worcester's young squad wouldn't stop fighting, and late in the period with the WorSharks fourth line carrying the play Dean Strong threw a blind pass into the slot where Dennis McCauley was standing all by himself. McCauley one-timed a blast to make it 5-3 at 17:34.

Worcester carried their aggressive play into the third period, and had a great chance to get within one when Andrew Desjardins broke in alone on Coleman and fired the puck at the high corner. Coleman may have got a piece just of it as the puck hit the crossbar and bounded away.

Despite Lowell head coach John MacLean calling his timeout to focus his squad the WorSharks continued to carry the play, and their hard work would finally pay off at 7:54 when Couture grabbed the rebound of a Nick Petrecki blast and skated it around Coleman for the backhand goal to make it 5-4.

Lowell would get a back breaking goal on Sestoto's third of the game when he pushed a lazy wrister along the ice from just inside the blue line that Sexsmith totally misplayed as the puck went five hole on him to bring the deficit to 6-4.

With just under two minutes remaining WorSharks head coach Roy Sommer would pull his goaltender for an extra attacker, and it paid off with Worcester fifth goal of the contest at 19:05 when Couture found Zalewski all alone in front. Zalewski fired it through traffic to light the lamp, but Sestito's fourth of the game into an empty net eliminated any chance of a miracle comeback.

Corey Quirk was Worcester's only healthy scratch. Dan DaSilva and Mike Moore are both banged up, but neither injury is considered serious. Had it been the playoffs, both DaSilva and Moore would likely have been available, and there is a possibility Moore will return to action Sunday afternoon. Ryan Vesce and Derek Joslin were both recalled in the past week, and defenseman Will Colbert had his PTO converted to an AHL contract and was assigned to Kalamazoo(ECHL). Alex Stalock was the back-up goaltender for Worcester.

The DCU Center underwent some renovations during the summer, with the ice making facilities, boards, and glass all being replaced. The new boards and seamless glass are a lot more lively than what was in place last season, and versus what Worcester had been practicing on, so it took some time before the team seemed to get a good idea where--and how fast--the puck was going to react off of the new boards.

A funny note about the opening ceremonies...with both teams standing at their blue-lines, the Worcester Sharks extended a red ribbon--with a bow on it, no less--along center ice that several VIPs were to cut with a skate to officially open the new ice surface. Only the skate broke while they tried to cut the ribbon. Kevin Morley, the Lowell Devils trainer, came to the rescue and slid a pair of scissors along the ice to the group, which they used to cut the ribbon.

It will come as no surprise that the first big hit against the boards was thrown by Nick Petrecki as he blasted Stephen Gionta into the half-boards to the left of Sexsmith early into period number one. Michael Wilson will remember his first shift on the new ice as he tripped over the doorway and ended up splayed over the ice with his stick sliding away from him.

In addition to the Loprieno/Mills contest there were two other bouts, with Lowell's Nathan Perkovich using his long reach to keep Brandon Mashinter an arm's length away in a second period fight that saw very few punches landed; and Worcester's Dennis McCauley taking on former SJShark Rob Davison in an entertaining match that featured some great shots, with McCauley getting the edge.

San Jose Sharks' scout Bryan Marchment was behind the bench with Sommer and assistant coach David Cunniff.

The three stars of the game were:
1. Tim Sestito (g)
2. Logan Couture (g,3a)
3. Patrick Davis (3a)

The Sharkspage player of the game was Dennis McCauley.

Even strength lines


Penalty kill lines


Power play lines


Lowell 3 2 2 - 7
Worcester 2 1 2 - 5

1st Period-1, Lowell, Swift 1 (Davison, Gionta), 2:52. 2, Worcester, Wilson 1 (Couture, Zalewski), 10:14. 3, Lowell, Taormina 3 (Zharkov, Corrente), 12:42 (pp). 4, Lowell, Sestito 3 (Mills, Davis), 13:32. 5, Worcester, Trevelyan 1 (Callahan, Couture), 18:31 (pp). Penalties-Groulx Wor (interference), 3:40; Davis Low (slashing), 8:09; Callahan Wor (high-sticking), 11:42; Davison Low (fighting), 13:18; McCauley Wor (fighting), 13:18; Mills Low (fighting), 13:32; Loprieno Wor (fighting), 13:32; Zharkov Low (hooking), 14:13; Trevelyan Wor (interference), 15:43; Leach Low (elbowing), 17:49; Zharkov Low (hooking), 17:49.

2nd Period-6, Lowell, Sestito 4 (Palmieri, Davis), 1:19. 7, Lowell, Davison 1 (Zharkov, Swift), 2:36. 8, Worcester, McCauley 1 (Strong, Wilson), 17:34. Penalties-Perkovich Low (fighting), 4:19; Mashinter Wor (fighting), 4:19; Palmieri Low (hooking), 11:40; Walter Low (boarding), 17:54.

3rd Period-9, Worcester, Couture 2 (McLaren, Petrecki), 7:54. 10, Lowell, Sestito 5 (Davis, Leach), 10:51. 11, Worcester, Zalewski 2 (Mashinter, Couture), 19:05. 12, Lowell, Sestito 6 (Perkovich), 19:37 (en). Penalties-Nagy Low (roughing), 9:49; Jones Wor (roughing), 9:49.

Shots on Goal
Lowell 8-12-8-28
Worcester 8-13-22-43.

Power Play Opportunities
Lowell 1 of 3
Worcester 1 of 6.

Lowell, Coleman 1-2-0 (43 shots-38 saves)
Worcester, Sexsmith 1-1-0 (27 shots-21 saves).

A-5,429. Referee-Geno Binda (22). Linesmen-John Costello (24), Brian MacDonald (72).

Friday, October 16, 2009

Questions remain after Sharks 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals

The San Jose Sharks continued a disjointed start to the season with a 4-1 loss at Washington on Thursday night. Matched up against one of the top offensive lines in the league, the Sharks gave up 5 power plays in the first round including a 56 second 5-on-3. Alexander Semin converted a backdoor pass on the 2-man advantage as the Caps outshot San Jose 17-13 in the first period.

Rookie Benn Ferriero tied the game at 1-1, after a rush by Scott Nichol and Jed Ortmeyer created open space in the slot. A trailing Ferriero buried his second goal of the season at 14:07, assisted by Nichol and Huskins. After a penalty filled first 20 minutes, the Sharks turned in one of their most lethargic periods of the season. "We played slow. They were quicker. We were forced to take penalties and then when we did have the puck, we couldn't put two passes together and that made us even slower," head coach Todd McLellan said. "We're nowhere near what we’re capable of."

Evgeni Nabokov stoned Alexander Ovechkin with a glove save on the power play at the end of the 1st, Ovechkin circled around the goal crease and made a few comments before play resumed. At the start of the second Ovechkin broke through with a pair of goals on defensive lapses. Defenseman Kent Huskins and Marc-Edouard Vlasic both moved over to the right side to cover Mike Knuble, but Ovechkin was left alone on the doorstep. A quick backhand saucer feed by Knuble was expertly deflected over Nabokov by Ovechkin for his 6th goal of the season. 28 seconds later, the Capitals broke in on a 3-on-2. A slapshot by Knuble created a rebound opportunity on an open net for Ovechkin, and he punched it home. Former Shark Matt Bradley would finish the scoring in the 3rd period to complete a 4-1 win for Washington, avenging a 7-4 blowout loss last season at HP Pavilion in San Jose.

Despite a talent laden lineup predicted to finish at or near the top of the Western Conference, the Sharks have alternated between solid and forgettable performances at this early stage of the season. Injuries to second and third line centers Joe Pavelski and Torrey Mitchell have resulted in several on the fly line combinations, and a busy Worcester shuttle has been used by coach Todd McLellan to see what contributions can be made from AHL regulars.

Flickr photo gallery above courtesy of friends of the blog

[Update] Caps 4, Sharks 1 - Tarik El-Bashir Capitals Insider.

*When asked what he told Evgeni Nabokov after the goalie made a first-period glove save on him, Alex Ovechkin said, "It's a secret. We're good friends and I was joking [with him] all night." After the game, Ovechkin, Nabokov and Alexander Semin spent about 10 minutes between the teams' dressing rooms chatting in Russian and exchanging phone numbers.

*Ovechkin's two goals 28 seconds apart in the second period were the fastest back-to-back goals of his career. The Caps are also 24-0-2 in Ovechkin's last 26 multiple-goal games.

Full news roundup from Tarik here.

[Update2] Recap: Caps 4, Sharks 1 - Japers Rink.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sharks ratings outpace Oakland A's at start of season, Charter Communications and Direct TV still an issue

San Jose Sharks California Sports Net California ratings up at start of the season

In an article on the decline of RSN ratings at the end of the MLB regular season, Sports Business Journal writer John Ourand noted that the Sharks earned a 1.4 rating (36,000 homes) over the first 2 games on CSN California. Up 133% over the same period last year, the number was also significantly greater than 0.82 rating (20,000) the Oakland Athletics finished with on the same channel. Both teams were previously broadcast on CSN Bay Area.

A number of factors contributed to the crossover appeal for the San Jose Sharks in Northern California last year. The Sharks flirted with the record books surpassing the 1929-30 Boston Bruins for most points after 30 games with 52 (25-3-2). While the Raiders, 49ers, A's, Giants, Warriors and Earthquakes struggled like a collective boat anchor, the Sharks were a Stanley Cup favorite steamrolling the best teams the Eastern and Western Conferences had to offer. Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area added professionally produced pre and post-game shows to many Sharks broadcasts, and launched a pair of programs covering local sports in the Sportsnet Central highlight show and Chronicle Live sportstalk program.

There were questions about whether another early postseason exit could affect ticket sales or television viewership. The Sharks retained 92.5% of season ticket holders according to President/CEO Greg Jamison, 7.5% above the 85% NHL average. Heavy traffic during training camp and preseason, combined with a media spotlight on new left wing Dany Heatley and solid opening television ratings are early indications that interest has not waned.

There are a few remaining problems with the switch to CSN California and the ongoing DirectTV/Versus impass. Charter Communications still has not added CSN California, the local cable home of the San Jose Sharks. With coverage areas in the north around Lake Tahoe and in the south around Gilroy and Watsonville, access to Sharks games on cable for those fans is limited. According to KLIV 1590AM, the decision not to add CSN-CA affects "12,000 cable subscribers in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Hollister and areas further south". The Hollister Freelance puts that figure at 26,000, also including Watsonville and Capitola.

"Comcast created this new station for themselves and they decided to move those games to that station... It is a contractual issue." Charter's government affairs manager Christy Balzer told the Hollister Freelance (despite CSN-CA being created in 2004). "They are aware that there is a loud voice coming out of Gilroy... rest assured that the corporate office is aware that customers in that area are not happy."

Marc Emmons of the San Jose Mercury News followed up with Charter executives in September. He reported that a bankruptcy filing complicated negotiations with Comcast. According to a report in the LA Times, Charter Communications could emerge from bankruptcy with a court approved debt restructuring in the next few weeks. Sharkspage has an email in to Charter on how that restructuring will impact negotiations with Comcast.

The Sharks opened the 2009-10 season in Colorado with the first of 4 exclusive nationally broadcast games on Versus. Unfortunately, that shed light on local problems with the DirectTV-Versus standoff. While 18 million DTV subscribers are pulled into a public corporate debate over rate hikes and programming tiers, fans trying to watch the season opener at local sports bars in the South Bay and in San Francisco were unsuccessful.

SF Weekly contacted over a dozen bars to watch the opening of the new UFL football league or the Sharks season opener on Versus. Each bar subscribed to Direct TV. A subsequent email from a DISH network spokesperson pointed to the California Pizza Kitchen on Van Ness, the Cheesecake Factory on Geary, and Kezar Pub on Stanyan as establishments where Versus was available.

Mercury News beat writer David Pollak was also contacted by a DISH network spokesman. Billy Berk's, California Pizza Kitchen, the Cheesecake Factory, Crawdaddy, Extreme Pizza and certain Round Table Pizza locations all received Versus. "The channel is currently free for every subscriber through November," the DISH network also mentioned.

The Sharks season opener on Versus aside, this is going to have a significant impact on the NHL's cable broadcast partner in one of the largest media markets in the U.S the longer this impass continues. Fans in the Bay Area can not watch hockey games on Versus in most bars and restaurants. Chris Kuc of the Chicago Times notes that Gary Bettman is attempting to mediate an agreement, but there is a perceived lack of urgency as many feel the league and the commissioner are trying to negotiate from the sidelines.

Fans want a deal done.

[Update] There is an update on last week's issue of The Hockey News featuring a cover article on the San Jose Sharks and Dany Heatley, and several comments about issues raised this offseason by the Ottawa media:

In an excellent Sharks preview article that touched on a few of the alleged offseason "issues" surrounding left wing Dany Heatley, THN writer Adam Proteau reported that Heatley's no-trade clause was no longer in effect in San Jose.

Proteau clarified in an email to Sharkspage that Heatley's limited NTC from Ottawa still applies in San Jose. He can submit a list of 10 teams he would accept a deal to at the start of every season, but the Sharks are still "bound by his original contract stipulations".

Another issue that was floated by the Ottawa media was that Heatley had problems with 3 past coaches. In succient terms, he was labeled as a 'coach killer'. While he did not speak with the Canadian media until the Canadian Olympic camp, Heatley did push back in an interview with David Pollak of the SJ Mercury News. "I'd like to get this out of the way, too. I've gotten along with almost every coach I've played for," Heatley told Pollak. "That's the thing with, and I'll use the term 'reporters' a lot of them just read somebody else's article and that's the gospel and that's how it is."

The report mentioned above was linked to by this blog for readers to judge for themselves. Subsequent comments and leaks to the Ottawa media and glaring errors in reporting on the situation in San Jose have cast some of the reporting in a questionable light. Many have tried to put pressure squarely on the Sharks and Heatley after making this trade, but in a small way the reputation of the Ottawa media and the Ottawa Senators will also hinge on his success or failure in San Jose.

Another criticism was an alleged lack of cooperation with the media. Some in Canada may say it is expected, but it deserves to be mentioned that in San Jose Dany Heatley has answered every question from the media and has been enthusiastic when doing so. Fans in San Jose for the most part have tossed all of these alleged offseason "issues" out the door almost immediately. Heatley will have a new set of questions to answer in the Bay Area. Can he score big goals in the playoffs, how will he respond to the inevitable physical challenges from Western Conference opponents, and will he follow Patrick Marleau and lead by example on the ice.

5 games into the season, the early answers Sharks fans are getting are promising.

[Update2] The ratings game - Sports Media Watch.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

War of the Heroes IV Muaythai Kickboxing/MMA Championships featured 4 title fights in Santa Clara

Master Toddy trained Kevin Ross earned USMF Pro Muaythai title with unanimous decision win over Phanuwat “oke Chunhawat
Ky Hollenbeck stopped Lucas Gamaza in round 2 to capture the inaugural USMF MMA title
Fairtex War of the Heroes ring girls

Following a stacked kickboxing card in June, the fourth edition of the War of the Heroes last Saturday night at the Santa Clara Convention Center featured the first-ever combined kickboxing/MMA event hosted by Fairtex and Xfight. War of the Heroes IV featured 4 title fights including a pair of USMF Amateur Muaythai titles, a first-ever USMF pro-MMA title matchup between Ky Hollenbeck and Lucas Gamaza, and a Muaythai superfight between WBC 11th ranked super-lightweight Kevin Ross and Lumpini/Ratchadamnoen veteran and Pacific Ring Sports trainer Phanuwat 'Coke' Chunhawat.

Las Vegas native Kevin "The Soul Assasin" Ross only took up martial arts 6 years ago according to the Las Vegas Sun, but in that span he has registered over 20 fights including an upset win over Chinese WBC Super-Lightweight Muaythai titlist Kang En August 30th. Along the way he helped inspire his ex-girlfriend Gina Carano, who recently lost a Strikeforce Women's MMA title bout to Cyborg Santos August 15th at HP Pavilion in San Jose.

A larger Ross faced off against Ratchaburi, Thailand-born Phanuwat 'Coke' Chunhawat. In an interview with fellow WOTH IV participant Matt Lucas, Chunhawat noted that he began his training in a Thai temple at age 11, moving to Fairtex at age 13-14. The first round of the 5-round USMF pro Muay Thai title fight began with peppering low kicks and jabs from Ross, as 'Coke' Chunhawat tried to find his range with movement outside. While Ross was the more active fighter early, excellent speed allowed Chunhawat to parry or deflect most of the strikes.

As traditional Thai music aired in the backround, the pace picked up in round 2. Coke came straight forward trying to initiate a clinch, and Kevin Ross used the opportunity to land several hard left hook and straight rights. He used a low kick to back out for good measure. Once Chunhawat got in tight, Ross scrambled on the attempted throw while managing to maintain his balance. Then it was "The Soul Assassin" who initiated a clinch, and Chunhawat registered several hard knee strikes to the midsection. Ross matter-of-factly tossed Coke to the mat. The move seemed to upset the East Bay muaythai trainer, as Chunhawat exploded with a heavy power knee to the chest from several feet outside. As both traded knees and hard standing elbows inside, an errant strike from Ross snapped the cup of Chunhawat with a loud pop. Coke smiled sheepishly as he stood ringside waiting for a replacement to be put on.

The 3rd round began with a more deliberate pace, but a low kick from 'Coke' Chunhawat chopped Kevin Ross to the mat. The referee quickly stepped in before a subsequent strike could be landed. The Thai fighter began to slow, as Ross circled around the ring piling up straight right hands and inside low kicks. Coke landed two heavy kicks, missed on another to the groin, but the work rate of Kevin Ross was starting to make a difference in the fight. The technical chess match continued in the 4th. After Phanuwat Chunhawat landed a high kick to the head, Ross jumped into a clinch and continued to pound the body until the ref stepped in.

Conditioning became a major factor in the 5th and final round. A lazy kick was caught by Kevin Ross and answered with a low kick to the hamstring and a pair of combinations in tight. Ross doubled the number of strikes in a clinch, and landed a pinpoint right hand after the pair were separated. Aware that he was behind on the cards, Coke listened to his corner and came forward looking to land a hard standing elbow. As Ross tied him up, Chunhawat torqued him down to the canvas. The Las Vegas native answered shortly thereafter, sliding his left leg behind Coke as he came in and sending him down. 'Coke' Chunhawat kept pressing forward, but Ross finished the fight with a straight front kick to the head that landed flush. The refs scored a lopsided 49-46, 50-45, 49-46 Unanimous Decision win for Kevin Ross as he earned the USMF Pro Muaythai Title.

CCFC veteran and San Bruno native Ky Hollenbeck (5-1) met hard punching Cesar Gracie trained Lucas Gamaza (4-1) for the first ever USMF pro MMA title in the semi main event. The previously undefeated Gamaza scored an early takedown to start the fight, and quickly transitioned into side control. Hollenbeck was dangerous off his back, attempting a leg lock then sinking in a oma plata shoulder lock that nearly ended the fight.

Gamaza maintained his composure, spun out of the submission while still remaining on top. As Gamaza tried to step over Hollenbeck's guard, Ky connected with a strong upkick to the jaw that elicited a roar from the crowd. Hollenbeck found himself in full control at the end of round 1, but despite an extended ground and pound to the head he could not finish off the fight.

Hollenbeck took a still shaken Gamaza down early in the 2nd round. The fight was over 28 seconds in, and announced as a referee stoppage. According to the ref, Gamaza was caught in a deep Guillotine choke. There was some debate between Gamaza and his corner over whether a tap was made, but he made no effective movements to defend himself for several seconds and the referee stopped it to protect the fighter's saftey. Ky Hollenbeck celebrated winning the first-ever USMF MMA title ringside with World Team USA trainer Kru Sam Phimsoutham and the rest of his fight team.

The 15-fight undercard contained several notable and entertaining fights. Eric Faria (7-2) earned a USMF Jr Middleweight National Muaythai title with a 2nd round KO over Isreal Montemayor (4-2). A battle of early clinch work, Montemayor earned several warnings from the ref for shots to the back of the head and for refusing to break upon command. Montemayor was able to control portions of the 1st round, but Faria began to pick him apart with strong kicks from oustide. Short counter punches and inside low kicks crippled Montemayor in the 2nd, and during an intense flurry a flush right hand dropped him to end the fight at the 2 minute mark.

The nights most shocking upset came as Master Toddy trained Jason Andrada (9-4-1) defeated titlest Ryan Radcliff (7-4-1) for the USMF Featherweight National Muaythai title. In their previous meeting in June, an awkward trip by Radcliff left Andrada unconcious on the mat with his legs suspended in the air by the ropes. Despite several right hands by Andrada early, Radcliff piled up several heavy, unrefined power punches. A huge high kick by Radcliff bloodied the face of Jason Andrada, but Andrada's corner questionably told him he was ahead in the fight 2 rounds to 0.

That statement would begin to bear out later in the fight. Expertly timing Radcliff as he tried to bull rush in, Andrada caught him with a right hand that buckled his legs. He tried to pounce on the opportunity, and came close to finishing the fight when a short left hand sent Radcliff to the mat. Radcliff was still hurt at the start of the 4th, but trying offense as the best defense he came forward punching. Jason landed a spinning back kick, and another flurry resulted in a 8-count for the much larger Radcliff.

Again, Radcliff tried to force Andrada up against the ropes in the 5th and final round. Radcliff wailed with wide, swinging hooks until a right uppercut down the middle by Andrada sent him sprawling to the mat. The knockout of the night earned Andrada the USMF Amateur Muaythai Featherweight title, and he celebrated in the ring by asking "Where's Kanye West?" It was a great knockout and I am going to let Jason finish, but Beyonce has the best knockout of all-time.

Brandon Banda earned a 3rd round TKO over a menacing Francisco Funecello in a Muaythai pro ranking fight. Hector Cortez steamrolled Muay Thai School's Philip Doucedane in the first round, and along with Tristan Arsdale Unlimited Kickboxing was 2-0 on the evening. A flamboyant John Kusaba used an elusive style and effective counter striking to earn what should have been a closer split decision win against Matt Lucas. Kusaba earned #1 contender status and could have a fight with titlist Bryan Petro in February. Petro runs the excellent website California Muay Thai. Alexander Namuski, Andrew Salas and Fairtex's Jimmy Chung also looked impressive on the undercard.

Several competitors earned spots on the United States Muaythai Federation team with strong performances at War of the Heroes IV. The team will represent this country at the IFMA World Cup in Thailand starting November 27th, 2009. The USMF was founded in 2004 by Fairtex's Anthony Lin to promote Muaythai kickboxing in the U.S. The foundation's objective is to establish Muaythai kickboxing as an Olympic sport. During an event intermission, several current and former USMF athletes and their trainers were joined by Anthony Lin and were acknowledged by the crowd.

A photo gallery from the event is available here. Short video highlights from several of the fights are available here. A Sharkspage video of the full Kevin Ross vs Phanuwat 'Coke' Chunhawat main event fight is available here.

Official results:

War of the Heroes IV Results
October 10th, 2009
Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA

1 - Jimmy Chung (Fairtex) def Chrisente Joaquin (USH)
Unanimous Decision: 30-27, 30-27, 30-27

2 - Katie Tolio (Combat Sports) def Chistie Checketts (North Bay)
Unanimous Decision: 29-27, 29-28, 30-27

3 - Tristan Arsdale (Unlimited) TKO Lane Richards (Budo Ryu)
1st round TKO, 0:51

4 - Jeremy Leslie (ASD) KO Art Osequerra (Voodoo)
2nd round KO, 1:31

5 - Andres Salas (FSA) TKO Phong Nguyen (VIP)
2nd round, 2:00

6 - Alexander Namuski (AKA) def Soroyan Corona (MTS USA)
Unanimous Decision: 30-27, 29-28, 30-27

7 - Andrew Rivera (Art of 8) def TJ Archangel (World Team USA)
Split Decision: 29-28, 29-28, 28-29

8 - John Kusaba (FSA) def Matt Lucas (Pacific Ring)
Majority Decision: 40-36, 40-36, 37-39
Kusaba #1 contender for 147-pound USMF titlest Bryan Petro

9 - Eric Luna (AKA) def Rick Erlec (Team Black)
Unanimous Decision: 39-37, 40-36, 40-36
IFMA Thailand World Cup Qualifier

10 - Hector Cortez (Unlimited) KO Philip Doucedane (MTS USA)
1st round KO, 1:13

11 - Jason Andrada (Master Toddy) KO Ryan Ratcliff (Team Tsutsui)
5th round KO, 0:34
USMF National Muaythai Champion - Amateur Division

12 - Eric Faria (Combat Sports) KO Isreal Montemayor (Reno)
2nd round KO, 2:00
USMF National Muaythai Champion - Amateur Division

13 - Brandon Banda (Combat Fitness) TKO Francisco Funecello (World Muay Thai)
3rd round TKO, 1:44

14 - Ky Hollenbeck (World Team USA) TKO Lucas Gamaza (Cesar Gracie)
Ref stoppage/Guillotine choke, 2nd round, 0:28
USMF National Champion – Pro MMA Division

15 - Kevin Ross (Master Toddy) def Phanuwat "Coke" Chunhawat (Pacific Ring)
Unaimous Decision: 49-46, 50-45, 49-46
USMF National Champion – Pro Muaythai Division

16 - Erica Godinez (Voodoo) draw Lisa Hensley (Team Black)
Majority Draw, 28-28, 28-28, 26-30

17 - Jimmy Nguyen (ASD) def Reggie Queja (AKA)
Split Decision: 30-27, 28-29, 29-28

Source: CSAC

[Update] The Heat from Vegas, Interview with Muaythai fighter Kevin Ross -

[Update2] Added all the video of the Ross-Chunhawat main event here, rounds 4 and 5 are only partially complete. There was a 5 minute delay at the end of round 2 as a errant knee to the groin broke Chunhawat's cup.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hockey Notes - 10/12

- The Chronicle Live sportstalk show made the hourlong trek down the peninsula to set up shop outside HP Pavilion for the Sharks home opener with Columbus on Thursday. Host Greg Papa was joined by television broadcasters and video game voice impresarios Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda as well as color analyst in waiting Jeremy Roenick. One segment discussed the upcoming Sharks season, which broadcaster wears the C, the impact of changing the Sharks captain, how some of the offseason criticism of Dany Heatley may have been based on more rumor than fact, and how Ottawa mishandled the Heatley situation.

A second segment with general manager Doug Wilson, Roenick and Mark Purdy was interrupted by SJ Sharkie. Wilson expressed confidence in backup goaltender Thomas Greiss, mentioned that he will represent Team Germany for the second time at the Vancouver Olympics, and noted his stretch run performance in the AHL that helped the Worcester Sharks reach the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs. Sharks President/CEO Greg Jamison discussed how the current economy affected the season ticket holder base, San Jose received a 92.5% renewal rate above the NHL average of 85%.

- The Columbus Day edition of NHL Live (XM 204, NHL Network, NHL Network Online) starts at 9AM PT featuring TSN analyst Bob McKenzie, broadcaster Joe Beninati, and former Shark and current Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Matt Carle. NHL 3 stars of the week: 3 - Henrik Sedin, 2 - Jonathan Quick and 1 - Dany Heatley.

Dany Heatley cover of The Hockey News
The Hockey News feature Adam Proteau article on Dany Heatley

- Columnist Adam Proteau contributed a feature article on Sharks left wing Dany Heatley for the October 12th, 2009 issue of The Hockey News: Breakthrough or Bust. Proteau profiled the tumultous media coverage Heatley endured after an offseason trade request, paralleled that to the Sharks circumstances after a 5th straight ignominious playoff exit, and mentioned a confirmation from Heatley and general manager Doug Wilson that the winger's no trade clause is no longer in effect in San Jose.

According to this posting of the NHL CBA (4.4c), the only way for a NTC to be removed after a trade is if it has not been vested or if the acquiring team refuses to be bound by it.

"Everyone's making the storyline that there's a lot less pressure being in California and San Jose, that it is not a hockey market," Heatley told The Hockey News. "It's quite the contrary, it is a hockey market and a lot of people pick this team to win the Stanley Cup every year, this year included, so I think that there is more pressure than being in Ottawa."

Proteau also noted that the July 1st $4 million up front payment to Dany Heatley by the Ottawa Senators comes off the books for San Jose from a finanical perspective. Heatley's $8 million salary becomes a more manageable $4M after the payment, but it would still impact the 2009-10 salary cap for the full $7.5M/yr average. A digital edition of the October 12 issue of The Hockey News can be purchased here, you can subsribe to the magazine here.

- Two features on former Sharks involved in the Heatley trade, THN posted a video segment on Milan Michalek (pronounciation MEE-lan mih-KHAL-ihk), and the Ottawa Citizen published an article on Moose Factory Ontario's support for Jonathan Cheechoo.

Former Sharks coach Ron Wilson on the Heatley trade: "Personally I think that is a great trade for Ottawa. You take 50 goals out, but potentially you could get 60-65 goals in your lineup because I think Cheech is going to find his game at some point," Wilson said. "I don't see why Milan Michalek can't score 40 goals in this league."

- San Jose officials pushing ahead on plans to lure NBA team - San Jose Mercury News.

On Friday, Greg Jamison, chief executive of Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment, which manages the Pavilion and owns the San Jose Sharks hockey team, said his company has talked to "a number of teams'' over the last year about relocating to San Jose. But a source familiar with the situation said Jamison in recent months has met with the owners of the Sacramento Kings, who are looking for an alternative to aging Arco Arena.

Though it's far from certain that the Kings will ever play a game in San Jose, things have apparently moved far enough ahead that the San Jose City Council as early as month's end will vote on a "memorandum of understanding" that would guide negotiations with any National Basketball Association team.

The Golden State Warriors played the 1996-97 season at HP Pavilion in San Jose while the Oakland Coliseum was rennovated.

- The Sharks recalled left wing Jamie McGinn last Tuesday with the suspension to Brad Staubitz, left wing Frazer McLaren was sent down to Worcester on Sunday, and forward Steve Zalewski was recalled today. 5-foot-11, 190-pound Zalewski registered 1 goal in 3 games played with Worcester this season.

- Former LA Daily News and current and beat writer Richard Hammond was a guest on the local NPR/PBS syndicated radio station Sunday evening. The host confronted Hammond about being paid by the entity he was scheduled to cover, but Hammond cited his past objectivity and said his contract ensured that he would be allowed to write about events as he sees them. The NPR host continued his confrontational style in a subsequent interview with a Tribune Company SEO specialist.

- Very negative situation emerging in New York. Newsday beat writer Steve Zipay reported that former Sharks defenseman Alexei Semenov played well enough to earn a 1-year, $600K contract as a 6th/7th defenseman for the Rangers. According to Zipay, the contract was confirmed when Semenov's agent Allan Walsh posted it on twitter.

"He agreed, his agent agreed, but his wife didn't. He couldn't talk his family into it. In all my years of dealing with players, I've never had that happen before. He was crying," Rangers GM Glen Sather told the New York media. Zipay wrote that Semenov's wife lived in Russia, and that playing in the KHL was a possibility.

The more than deserving followup comes from Jeff Z. Klein, who posted translated quotes from a Semenov interview with Sport Den za Dnem on NYT's Slapshots blog. According to Semenov, he declined the 1-year contract because it was not a large enough offer. Semenov also noted that his wife lived in the USA during the Rangers camp, and that he hoped his third child would be born in the States.

A Russian reporter who covered Semenov in San Jose said a lower tax rate and a higher salary could have been factors in his decision to play with Dinamo Moscow of the KHL. A depth defenseman in San Jose, Alexei proved valuable as a reserve when a number of Sharks went down with injury. Winner of a hardest shot competition in a previous NHL stint, he said the door remains open between himself and the Rangers. Some of the comments released by the Rangers GM to the media were simply unprofessional and disrespectful, and not a true characterization of a player who registered 12 points and 93 PIMs in 69 games played for the Sharks over the last 2 seasons.

- San Francisco's Gabriel Desjardins, of the statistical analysis websites and, recently launched an SBN network blog at Link added to the sidebar.

- Added the Globe Sports podcast and The Hockey News podcast to the podcast sidebar on the right.

- Note: there was an outage on the blog Monday from 7AM to 6PM, if you sent the blog an email in that time period please resend it. Thanks.

[Update] Phoenix rising from the ashes - Eric Duhatschek for the Globe and Mail.

[Update2] Sharks call-in show with Ryan Garner after the SJ-PHO game on Call-in at (724)444-7444 talkcast ID: 74909 and tell him Sharkspage sent you.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Darryl Hunt: Mashinter, Joslin lead WorSharks Past Devils 5-4

The Worcester Sharks scored early and survived a wild third period in defeating the Lowell Devils 5-4 Saturday night at the Paul E. Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Massachusetts in front of an announced crowd of 5,135.

The WorSharks would get on the board in the games first shift when Dan DaSilva collected the rebound of Derek Joslin's blueline blast and put it past Lowell netminder Gerald Coleman for the 1-0 lead just 48 seconds into the contest.

Lowell defenseman Matt Taormina would knot the game 1-1 with a power play goal at 3:09, but the next two power play goals would belong to Brandon Mashinter to give Worcester a 3-1 lead. The first was at 7:23 of the opening period when Mashinter tipped Ryan Vesce's shot from the right side, and the second at 6:29 of the middle stanza while skating with a five on three advantage when Mashinter banged home a lose rebound in all alone in front of Coleman.

Joslin would assist in both of the goals, while T.J. Trevelyan would add a helper on the second.

Devils winger Stephen Gionta would grab the first of his two goals in the contest when he pounced on a rebound in front of WorSharks goaltender Tyson Sexsmith, who was making his first professional start, and pushed it into the yawning net to get Lowell back within one at 3-2 early in the third period.

WorSharks center Dwight Helminen would get the lead back to two at 4-2 when he deflected a nifty feed by defender Joe Callahan to light the lamp. Logan Couture would have the second assist on the power play tally at 14:30.

Lowell would get back within one when Taormina would grab an unassisted tally at 18:05, but Couture would ice the game with an empty net goal with 47.2 remaining in the contest, assisted by John McCarthy and Danny Groulx. Gionta would grab a stat killer goal with just 1.3 remaining for the 5-4 final.

Worcester scratches were Will Colbert, Mike Moore, Matt Jones, Joe Loprieno, Corey Quirk. Colbert has yet to play a game for Worcester. With Tyson Sexsmith getting his first start of the season, Alex Stalock was the back-up for the WorSharks.

While there were no true fights in the contest, Rob Davison--yes, the former San Jose winger--attacked WorSharks rookie Dennis McCauley after the whistle at 3:13 of the second period. Davison would earn a fighting major while McCauley would get just a minor for roughing. Worcester would score while Davison's major was being served.

Worcester finsihed their three game season opening road trip earning five out os possible six points.

The three stars of the game were
1. Brandon Mashinter (2 goals)
2. Derek Joslin (3 assists)
3. Matt Taormina (2 goals, assist)

The Sharkspage player of the game, for the second game in a row, is Brandon Mashinter.

Worcester 2 1 2 - 5
Lowell 1 0 3 - 4

1st Period-1, Worcester, DaSilva 1 (Joslin), 0:43. 2, Lowell, Taormina 1 (Eckford, Swift), 3:09 (pp). 3, Worcester, Mashinter 2 (Vesce, Joslin), 7:23 (pp). Penalties-Wilson Wor (hooking), 2:06; Robitaille Low (interference), 6:43; Callahan Wor (hooking), 7:31; Robitaille Low (hooking), 12:37; Liotti Wor (hooking), 15:15.

2nd Period-4, Worcester, Mashinter 3 (Joslin, Trevelyan), 6:29 (pp). Penalties-McCauley Wor (roughing), 3:13; Davison Low (fighting), 3:13; Magnan Low (hooking), 4:37; served by Perkovich Low (bench minor - too many men), 15:44; Walter Low (delay of game), 17:26; Couture Wor (hooking), 19:55.

3rd Period-5, Lowell, Gionta 1 (Corrente, Davis), 2:20. 6, Worcester, Helminen 1 (Callahan, Couture), 14:30 (pp). 7, Lowell, Taormina 2 18:05. 8, Worcester, Couture 1 (McCarthy, Groulx), 19:12 (en). 9, Lowell, Gionta 2 (Taormina, Mills), 19:58. Penalties-Vesce Wor (interference), 11:05; Corrente Low (hooking), 12:57.

Shots on Goal
Worcester 11-13-9-33
Lowell 9-10-17-36.

Power Play Opportunities
Worcester 3 of 7
Lowell 1 of 5.

Worcester, Sexsmith 1-0-0 (36 shots-32 saves)
Lowell, Coleman 0-2-0 (32 shots-28 saves).

A-5,135. Referee-Jeff Smith (49). Linesmen-Brian MacDonald (72), Chris Libett (19).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

LGK Sharks-Kings photos by Michael Zampelli

Los Angeles Kings vs San Jose Sharks Staples Center LA Michael Zampelli LGK
San Jose Sharks Los Angeles Kings Rob Blake Michal Handzus

More Kings-Sharks photos from Tuesday were posted by photographer Michael Zampelli. A full photo gallery from the game is available at Also take a look at his website at

Game notes from Los Angeles were updated at the end of this post. Game notes from the home opening win against Columbus have also been updated. Posting was delayed this week with the road trip to LA, and to complete the annual October Sharks issue of The Wave Magazine.

Darryl Hunt: WorSharks Come Back To Grab Point In 4-3 Shootout Loss to Bridgeport

The Worcester Sharks couldn't capitalize on Brandon Mashinter's Gordie Howe hat trick in dropping a 4-3 shootout final to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Friday night at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Connecticut in front of an announced crowd of 2,321.

The WorSharks would get on the board first when John McCarthy pounced on a rebound of a Dan DaSilva shot and beat Sound Tigers rookie goaltender Mikko Koskinen for the 1-0 lead at 8:46 of the first. Andrew Desjardins had the second assist.

Bridgeport would net the next three goals of the game, including two that were potential back breakers for the young Worcester roster. With the teams skating four on four, defenseman Mark Katic would beat Worcester rookie netminder Alex Stalock with a blast from the point that found its way through traffic and into the net to knot the game at 1-1 at 17:33.

One of the cardinal sins of hockey is giving up a goal in the first or last minute of a period, and Worcester did both in the Sound Tigers next two scores. With just 28 seconds remaining in the first period Greg Moore beat Stalock for a 2-1 lead while the WorSharks were two men short, and then Trevor Smith would bang home a rebound of a Andrew MacDonald blast to make it 3-1 48 seconds into period number two.

Eighteen seconds later WorSharks captain Ryan Vesce would keep Worcester in the game with a nifty deke and back hand past Koskinen to make it 3-2. The goal was assisted by Mashinter and T.J. Trevelyan.

It would stay that way until Mashinter beat Koskinen with a blast from the right side for his first pro goal at 14:36 of the third to knot the game 3-3. Both teams would have a chance in overtime, but neither could light the lamp. Smith and Greg Mauldin would score for Bridgeport in the shootout, while Koskinen kept Worcester off the board for the 4-3 final.

Worcester's scratches were Will Colbert, Louis Liotti, Joe Loprieno, Dennis McCauley, and Dean Strong. Tyson Sexsmith was the back-up goaltender, and Jamie McGinn was recalled to San Jose earlier in the week.

The game featured two fights, with Worcester's Nick Petrecki taking on Sound Tigers center Micheal Haley, and Mashinter battling former WorSharks defender Brett Westgarth. Both rookies handled themselves fairly well.

Friday was the second game in a row where the WorSharks faced a goaltender making his professional debut. Sound Tigers rookie goaltender Mikko Koskinen was making his debut last night, and Worcester beat Adirondack Phantoms goaltender Nic Riopel 3-2 last Saturday night.

The three stars of the game were:
1. Trevor Smith (goal, shootout goal)
2. Mikko Koskinen (32 saves)
3. Greg Mauldin (shootout goal)
Apparently in Bridgeport they are unaware there are two teams on the ice.

The Sharkspage player of the game was Brandon Mashinter.

Worcester 1 1 1 0 - 3
Bridgeport 2 1 0 0 - 4

1st Period-1, Worcester, McCarthy 1 (DaSilva, Desjardins), 8:46. 2, Bridgeport, Katic 1 (Smith, Kohn), 17:33. 3, Bridgeport, Moore 1 (MacDonald, Martin), 19:32 (pp). Penalties-Haley Bri (slashing), 2:56; Petrecki Wor (slashing, fighting), 6:46; Haley Bri (slashing, fighting), 6:46; Mashinter Wor (fighting), 10:42; Westgarth Bri (fighting), 10:42; Joensuu Bri (tripping), 13:49; MacDonald Bri (roughing), 15:41; Groulx Wor (hooking), 16:29; Wilson Wor (hooking), 18:15; Joslin Wor (delay of game), 18:43.

2nd Period-4, Bridgeport, Smith 2 (MacDonald, Moore), 0:48. 5, Worcester, Vesce 1 (Mashinter, Trevelyan), 1:06. Penalties-Moore Bri (holding), 3:29; Vesce Wor (interference), 9:18; Joensuu Bri (slashing), 11:39; Groulx Wor (interference), 15:41.

3rd Period-6, Worcester, Mashinter 1 (Vesce, Trevelyan), 14:36. Penalties-Trevelyan Wor (tripping), 7:56.

OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties
v Shootout
Worcester 0 (Vesce NG, Trevelyan NG, Couture NG, Mashinter NG)
Bridgeport 2 (Smith G, Moore NG, Mauldin G).

Shots on Goal
Worcester 12-11-8-4-0-35
Bridgeport 8-8-6-4-1-27.

Power Play Opportunities
Worcester 0 of 5
Bridgeport 1 of 6.

Worcester, Stalock 1-0-1 (26 shots-23 saves)
Bridgeport, Koskinen 1-0-0 (35 shots-32 saves).

A-2,321. Referee-Nygel Pelletier (41). Linesmen-Paul Simeon (66), Kevin Redding (16).

Friday, October 9, 2009

Heatley scores hat trick in home opener, top line combines for 10 points in 6-3 win over Columbus Blue Jackets

San Jose Sharks unveil Presidents Trophy Western Conference Champion Pacific Division banners during 2009-10 home opener

Dany Heatley's HP Pavilion debut was an impressive one as he registered a hat trick and one assist en route to a 6-3 Sharks win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in the home opener. The Blue Jackets carried a one goal lead into the 2nd period, but San Jose released the hounds notching 6 of the next 8 goals.

Heatley scored the first goal of his hat trick by fighting off a check behind the net, then firing a wraparound shot up high over the shoulder of last year's Calder Trophy winner Steve Mason. The second goal came with 12 seconds left in the period came after an outlet pass by Dan Boyle. Mason stacked the pads to deny Heatley, but he found an opening and stuffed a shot home.

Joe Thornton finished with 4 assists and 1 shot for the game, although a scoring change removed a 5th assist. He could have conceivably earned 6 assists after a long home run pass set up a Dany Heatley for a breakaway in the third period. Heatley had his legs chopped out from under him by Kristian "Juice" Huselius, and he buried the subsequent penalty shot 5-hole. Dan Boyle, Marc_Edouard Vlasic and Devin Setoguchi also scored for San Jose. Columbus captain Rick Nash, Jason Chimera and Raffi Torres scored for the Blue Jackets.

2001 Calder Trophy receipient Evgeni Nabokov stopped 24 of 27 shots against for his second win of the season. Heatley's line from the game opener: 3G, 1A, 4PTS, +6, 2PIMs, 6S, 4 hits. After going 4-for-4 on the power play Tuesday against Los Angeles, the Sharks were 0-4 on the power play with 6 even strength goals against Columbus. Ryane Clowe dropped the gloves and bloodied Michael Blunden in the second period. 6-foot-4, 235-pound Frazer McLaren followed that up 15 seconds later with a similar effort against 5-foot-11, 175-pound Derek Dorsett.

Youtube video highlights from the game are available here.

[Update] - SJ Mercury News.

[Update] Storybook Night for Heatley in San Jose Debut - Ryan Garner for

I had my doubts coming in, but I was extremely impressed by the Sharks' restraint during the unveiling of the Presidents' Trophy banner. It was simple and classy, drawing just enough attention to the achievement without celebrating it too much. The San Jose lineup was introduced and the banners descended, speaking for themselves. Honestly, when you consider all the ways the organization could have handled it, I thought it was perfect. Two huge thumbs up.

I was also extremely impressed by the Sharks' gesture at the end of the game, taking a page out of the New York Rangers playbook by saluting the crowd at center ice. I'm not sure if it's going to be a regular occurrence, but it should be. I've always felt it was a simple yet classy move, and it makes you feel good to be a hockey fan when you see the players acknowledging the people who sacrifice time and money to come out and support both the team and the game. The Sharks already have the best three stars procedure in the league, and this just adds another element to the postgame. Again, two big thumbs up.

[Update3] Heatley Leads Sharks Past Blue Jackets, 6-3 - NY Times.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Brad Staubitz suspended for 1 game by NHL for hit on Kings defenseman Davis Drewiskie

Sharks right wing Brad Staubitz suspended 1 game for hit on Davis Drewiskie

San Jose Sharks right wing #59 Brad Staubitz was suspended for 1 game by the NHL after a second period hit against #44 Davis Drewiske in a 6-4 loss at Los Angeles on Tuesday. Down 4-0 in the second period, Scott Nichol knocked Drewiskie off balance with a check along the end boards on an icing play. Staubitz followed through on a check up high, but the hit was against the shoulder and not the head which might have resulted a longer suspension. He was assessed a 2 minute charging call on the play.

A multi-player scrum and a fight between Jody Shelley and Raitis Ivanans followed the second check. The Sharks went on to score 4 straight power play goals to tie the game at 4-4 before giving up the eventual game winner late in the third period. The appearance against Los Angeles was Staubitz's first start of season. He registered 4:17 of ice time on a fourth line with Jody Shelley and center Scott Nichol. The bruising trio combined for 233 penalty minutes and 27 fighting majors in 148 NHL games played last season.

The official press release from the NHL:


TORONTO (October 8, 2009) – San Jose Sharks forward Brad Staubitz has been suspended for one game, without pay, for making excessive physical contact on an icing play, in NHL game #32 against the Los Angeles Kings, October 6, the National Hockey League announced today.

Staubitz was assessed a minor penalty for charging Kings player Davis Drewiske on the play, which occurred at 13:24 of the second period.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Staubitz will forfeit $2,590.67. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Staubitz will miss tonight’s game against Columbus. He will be eligible to return Oct. 10 against Minnesota.

Sharks 4 goal comeback falls short, Los Angeles Kings pull out 6-4 win in third period

Magic Johnson Lakers statue outside Staples Center in Los Angeles
San Jose Sharks Jody Shelley vs Los Angeles Kings Raitis Ivanans hockey fight
Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick makes a diving 3rd period save

An NHL game is not over until the final whistle, and there were several game-within-a-games in the Kings 6-4 win over the San Jose Sharks at the Staples Center on Tuesday night. The Kings took control in the first half, punishing a tentative Sharks defense en route to a 4-0 lead. Wayne Simmonds, Ryan Smyth and Jack Johnson capitalized on mistakes in defensive zone coverage, and a poor play on an Anze Kopitar no-look snap shot from the blueline cemented a 4-0 lead and a trip to the bench for starting goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.

Nabokov stopped only 16 of the 20 shots he faced, but the lack of support in front of him contributed as much to the change as the misplay on Kopitar's goal. "We just have to tighten up, it was a pretty ugly game," Nabokov said. "The last one was a kind of knuckleball out there, I couldn't really have a good look at that... but I have to find a way to make saves." Multiple failed clearing attempts lead to Ryan Smyth's point blank goal in the 1st, and an akward waist-high flick from the half boards was batted in by defenseman Jack Johnson for the 3-0 lead.

Thomas Greiss earned his first game minutes of the regular season, and it was his first NHL appearance since a 3-2 loss two seasons ago at New Jersey. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound German netminder played well enough to win both of his starts that year, but mental lapses belied obvious athletic gifts. A 3-goal period against New Jersey, and allowing Doug Weight to score with 28 seconds left in a 4-3 OT loss at Anaheim raised questions. Greiss returned to the AHL affiliate in Worcester and last year played hot down the stretch to help lead the W-Sharks to the Calder Cup playoffs.

Against Los Angeles on Tuesday night Greiss was solid in relief of Nabokov. He was challenged early with a big right shoulder save on Brad Richardson, he came up big on a Jack Johnson slapshot, and he stacked the pads and gloved a snapshot from Kopitar. In one fluid motion Kopitar skated to an open area with his stick on the ice, swiveled his hips to maximize the torque, then launched a cannon on net that tested the flex in his stick. Then came a late play by Teddy Purcell with 5:10 left in the 3rd period. Purcell looked over his shoulder before reaching a loose puck in the corner. With 3 Sharks in position in front of the net, Purcell snapped a quick shot at the feet of Greiss. The puck banked off of his back foot and found the back of the net for the game winning goal.

Griess noted it was not a positioning error after the game, but he did say it was a bad goal to give up. He also mentioned that his season last year in Worcester and the playoff run was something he could build on in San Jose. "We had a pretty good playoff run and the whole team played great," Greiss said. When asked if he could push Nabokov for starts, Greiss said he would try his best and work hard in practice but that he is behind a very good goaltender in Evgeni Nabokov. Opportunities are going to be limited for Greiss until he proves he can close out NHL games. Mental focus and playing a full 60 minutes are going to be paramount going forward.

The goaltending change from Nabokov to Greiss sparked the Sharks lineup. Scott Nichol shoved Kings defenseman Davis Drewiske along the end boards, and right wing Brad Staubitz came in to finish the check up high. Staubitz was assessed a charging penalty, and among a spirited mutli-player scrum Jody Shelley and Raitis Ivanans earned fighting majors. The Sharks killed off the penalty, and a subsequent PK would see them finish 3-4.

The power play would provide one of many turning points in this game. A too-many men on the ice penalty, and a late Alexander Frolov hi-sticking double minor in the second period gave the Sharks precious momentum to make a rally. A touch Thornton pass to Setoguchi with Heatley providing a screen in front was too much for goaltender Jonathan Quick to handle. From the press box in the rafters of the Staples Center, the spacing on the Sharks power play was perfect as players slid to open areas to provide outlets for the Kings pressure. The Kings earned one clear and denied one entry into the offensive zone, but this time it was Thornton finding defenseman Rob Blake with his stick on the ice in front. Blake tipped the puck up under the glove of Quick.

The power play surge would continue in the third period. Setoguchi and Dany Heatley would connect in the third period as the Sharks rallied from 4 goals down to tie the game. San Jose finished 4-4 with the man advantage. Many of the 15,035 fans in attendance at the Staples Center boo'd Rob Blake each time he touched the puck, but the boo's turned into a roar as traffic in front stopped 2-time 50-goal scorer Dany Heatley from uncorking a shot on the doorstep. Jonathan Quick emerged with his first win of the season with 25 saves on 29 shots against.

A small photo gallery from the press box is available here. Youtube video highlights are available here.

[Update] Game Notes from the road trip to Los Angeles:

The pregame routine for Tuesday's Kings-Sharks road game was a little different from regular home games in San Jose. The drive from a Beverly Hills canyon through Hollywood and splitting downtown Los Angeles on highway 110 as television announcer Drew Remenda would say, put your head on a swivel. An average day of traffic in LA is worse than the worst day of traffic in the Bay Area, so there was plenty of time to admire the sights.

The 10-year old Staples Center (its birthday is next Saturday), sits adjacent to the LA Live entertainment complex that includes the Nokia Plaza and the 7,000+ seat Nokia Theatre. There was a large open air concert and rally for the Kings on opening night, and a smaller version for the division game with San Jose. Inside the Staples Center is spacious and modern, with good sightlines from the lower and upper bowls.

The 6-4 loss after a four goal rally was disheartening for San Jose. Defenseman Marc-Edouard vlasic finished -4, and the top line of Heatley-Thornton-Setoguchi combined for a -7 at even strength. The Kings were buoyed with goals by 6 different players, but special teams were a concern as they went 0-4 on the penalty kill. The crowd got into the game in the third period, with "San-Jo-se sucks" chants only slightly less venomous than those saved for Anaheim.

Several print and online publications have predicted a tough season for Los Angeles in 2009-10, despite several high draft picks and a development system as deep as any in the league. As a general manager in San Jose, Dean Lombardi brought in tough character veterans like Owen Nolan, Kyle McLaren, Mike Ricci and Vincent Damphousse to compliment young draft picks like Patrick Marleau, Brad Stuart and Marco Sturm. Capable of instituting a suffocating defense, the Sharks could not generate enough playoff offense to win tight 1-0, 2-1 games. Lombardi was let go in March of 2003.

After a brief stint as a scout with Philadelphia, Lombardi was named president and general manager of the Los Angeles Kings in April of 2006. Under Lombardi, the Kings drafted a pair of goaltenders in 2006 in Jonathan Bernier and Jeff Zatkoff, acquired Jack Johnson in a trade with Carolina, and loaded up with 4 defenseman in the first 32 selections of 2007 with Thomas Hickey (4th) and 2008 with Drew Doughty (2nd), Colten Teubert (13th) and Viatcheslav Voynov (32nd). Lombardi added center Brayden Schenn with the 5th overall draft pick in 2009.

Lombardi brought in veterans Ryan Smyth, Michal Handzus, Justin Williams and Rob Scuderi to compliment homegrown drafted and developed talent like captain Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Alexander Frolov. In the post-game radio call-in show after the win against the Sharks, fans were excited about offensive and defensive depth on this Kings squad, but despite the enthusiasm the same question mark remains. Goaltending.

A team forced to start 5 goaltenders in 2006-07 (Garon 32GP, Burke 23GP, Cloutier 24GP, Brust 11GP, Fukufuji 4GP), and 7 goaltenders in 2007-08 (Labarbera 45GP, Aubin 19GP, Ersberg 14GP, Cloutier 9GP, Bernier 4GP, Quick 3GP, Taylor 1GP), the Kings finally saw light at the end of the tunnel in 2008-09. The Kings traded standout AHL goaltender Jason LaBarbera to the Vancouver Canucks and saw promising play from Jonathan Quick (44GP, 21-18-2, 2.48GAA, .914SV%, 4SO) and Erik Ersberg (28GP, 8-11-5, 2.64GAA, .900SV%). Highly regarded Jonathan Bernier is waiting in the wings, but there are real questions about whether any of these goaltenders can get hot enough down the stretch to lead this team into the playoffs.

A playoff run is what the Los Angeles Kings desperately need. In a highly saturated sports and entertainment market, the Kings have not made the playoffs since a 4-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in the 2001-02 WCQF. Attendance and attention in some southern California circles is driven by hype and buzz. This team has had neither for a very long time. Pre-season media predictions again have the Kings finishing at or near the bottom of the Conference despite a very talented lineup and setbacks for several top teams in the West.

The situation facing the Kings ownership, Philip Anschutz and AEG, is clearly defined. In order to get southern California to fully or partially embrace the Los Angeles Kings the team needs a winner. With over $17 million in cap space according to, if Quick and Ersberg falter the Kings need to bring in a big game veteran goaltender. Despite several talented netminders in the organiziation, it was true 2 seasons ago, true last season, and it remains to be seen if it will be true this year as well.

Los Angeles Kings head coach Terry Murray laid out the goaltending plan for Rich Hammond at, a plan that tabs Jonathan Quick to start 9 out of the first 10 games of the season. "I’ve gone through the schedule, right through the end of December. I’ve gone that far and penciled in starts. So I have a plan for him. Billy Ranford and I went through that before he left a few days ago," Murray told Hammond. "I'll give (Ersberg) a couple days notice, so that he can really have sharp practices and get ready to go. I have not forgotten him. It’s important to have two goalies who can go out and play the game the right way. We'll get him in."

The Kings are banking on results coming from in-house, whether or not that will pay off in 2009-10 remains to be seen.

[Update2] Gretzky came to LA for a ‘Kings Ransom’ in 1988 - Yahoo.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

San Jose Sharks vs Los Angeles Kings pre-game notes

San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan discussed Joe Pavelski's lower body injury in a Monday interview with, also available on Sharks TV. "Pavs wasn't at practice, he got hurt in the game the other night and he had a minor procedure this morning," McLellan said of center Joe Pavelski's injury. "He will be out for a couple weeks."

The "lower body" injury for Pavelski will impact the Sharks in a few different ways as Pavelski and Patrick Marleau made an effective PK unit, and Marleau-Pavelski-Clowe has been the de facto #1 power play line the first 2 games. Pavelski registered a career best 25 goals and 59 points with the Sharks last year, and he has missed only a pair of games over the last 2 seasons. Patrick Marleau will move back to center to anchor a second line with Ryane Clowe and Benn Ferriero. Manny Malhotra and Jed Ortmeyer lined up together in the preseason, and Ortmeyer will move up to the third line to join Malhotra and Frazer McLaren against LA. Brad Staubitz will see his first action of the season with Scott Nichol and Jody Shelley.

The Sharks can make adjustments to Pavelski's injury with 6 natural centers in the lineup (Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski, Malhotra, Nichol, Mitchell), unfortunately Torrey Mitchell suffered complications from last year's leg injury and was placed on the LTIR earlier this month. He will be forced to miss at least 10 games before he can join the lineup according to the Mercury News. The Sharks have to hope the history does not repeat itself in 2009-10. Averaging 160 man games lost to injury over 3 prior seasons, that figure ballooned to 336 last year as the Sharks lost as many as 9 roster players due to injury.

Defenseman Joe Callahan was assigned to Worcester of the AHL on Monday. Callahan registered an assist and 6 PIMs in 4 preseason games. The Sharks also announced a Sharktoberfest street rally between Santa Clara and St. John prior to the home opener with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, October 8th. The rally begins at 5PM and will include a photo booth, a live DJ, facepainting, food and a beer booth.

[Update] Former LA Daily News beat writer Rich Hammond posted a Los Angeles Kings notebook prior to tonight's matchup with the San Jose Sharks. Hammond's new blog can be found at

[Update2] Sharks' Rob Blake admires Kings' team -- The veteran San Jose defenseman and former L.A. captain says he likes the strategy General Manager Dean Lombardi has put in place and how the focus is on young players - Los Angeles Times.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Interview with former China Sharks GM and former San Jose Sharks color commentator Chris Collins

China Sharks goaltender Wade Flaherty named top ALIH goalie 2008-09
ALIH Asia League Ice Hockey China Sharks
Former China Sharks GM Chris Collins Asia League

The San Jose Sharks ended their affiliation with the Asia League's China Sharks this offseason. Former China Sharks GM Chris Collins was instrumental in San Jose/SVSE's involvement in China. He took the time to answer several questions about the ended affiliation, ongoing problems with the Chinese Ice Hockey Association, the development of hockey players and officials at a ground roots level in China, import players and their impact in the ALIH, reprising his role as a San Jose Sharks color commentator (92-97) while calling games in China, the attendance and atmosphere at China Sharks games, what ALIH players to look out for in 2009-10 and what kind of squad he would have iced if he would have continued as GM for another season in Songjiang.

Prior to the China Sharks, Chris Collins also worked for the WHL Seattle Thunderbirds and served as an advance and junior scout for several NHL teams. He was the San Jose Sharks radio color commentator from 1992-97. Accoring to a very old San Jose Sharks media guide, Collins also worked for KSJO, KXRX and KEZR in San Jose, and the popular KSFM station in Sacramento.

[Q] Can you tell me about the San Jose Sharks ending their affiliation with the China Sharks this summer, a team which has been renamed the China Dragons?

[CC] In China, nothing is as it ever seems! We proposed a plan for total Chinese solvency financially and on the ice at the development and Asian League level. The Chinese ice hockey Association and its Jr. ministers in charge wanted things to remain 'status quo' which we deemed unacceptable. In the end I gave Greg Jamison and Mike Lehr, my two supervisors and partners, the opinion that we should not go forward in the Asian League with the Chinese until the Chinese Ice Hockey Association and its operatives were removed from our partnership. The (China Sharks) and the Asian League were asked by us NOT to use any of our "marks".

[Q] Is there still a relationship between the Sharks and the Chinese Ice Hockey Association, and moving forward does the San Jose Sharks organization have future plans for China in general or the ALIH specifically?

[CC] There is a fabulous relationship between the Sr. Director of the CIHA, Mr. Zhou and SVSE as we look forward to working with them in the future. Our main goals now are developing coaches, players and on/off ice officials with Sr. officials in the Minister of Sports office in China. This level is going to affect change in China and help our work and expertise reach the people as opposed to any game playing at the lower levels we've tried to avoid.

[Q] I have read hockey is historically popular in certain regions of China. In what parts of the country was hockey already played? How did the Sharks work to increase the development of new players? How quickly did Chinese fans or the Chinese media adapt to a new team and a new sport being played in such an urban location? How was that reception compared to other teams in Japan or Korea?

[CC] Hockey in China is well known despite the results under the current regime of the CIHA. Hockey is mainly popular in the North mostly because of the influence of the Russian border. The sport with the influx of rinks nationwide is growing in unconventional areas weather-wise as the South and West will see rapid growth in the game in the near future. This is vital to the games survival if for no other reason than to get the game away from the grips of the same old "dinosaurs" in the north of China who have taken the game the wrong direction while using it as a game where development of coaches, players and officials (was non-professional).

The Chinese media covered our team and results because the team is incorrectly classified and created as the official 'National Team' of China for financial reasons that has no benefit for people like us or those who play the sport. Because the players level was so poor due to bad development and bad coaching and training, the Chinese media were and are 'brutal' towards the sport, especially the Men's team.

This season we were only going forward in the Asian League in a commercially run team where the Jr. ministers and their local (associates) would have no say or affect on any players we picked, trained, paid and developed. Of course the CIHA was vehemently against this proposal as it basically boxed and blocked any influence they would have, so our investment in China of developing coaches, players and officials would be expedited two-fold.

You must understand that the rules in creating the team are set for Jr. ministers and their buddies to keep everyone happy by selecting teams that their (associates) ask them to pick. Of course for one season we did not allow this and the team was more successful than it had ever been. This created chaos for the very few 'obstructionist' in the local northern region, as the game was changed and those responsible for the destruction of the Chinese so called 'product' were left out in the cold. Their players of choice who have led China to the B division of group 2 at the WC, and have led the country to be the laughing stock of international hockey were all told by me and my coaches 'thanks but no thanks' as we were rebuilding the team from top to bottom.

The crowds in Songjiang where we played last season (about 35 minutes outside Shanghai with no traffic) were good as we averaged just over 3000 per game. Mostly college kids and young families as they were loyal and vocal about the Sharks! Sadly this season they've lost their first 6 games in a hapless situation where on average 350 people have been let in free to watch this... collection of kids being led down a path of more failure.

Chinese (fans) are obviously not very kind to the Japanese teams as a whole and maybe like the South Koreans a bit more. Other sports mainly feed this rivalry like soccer, table tennis, badminton, volleyball and basketball.

[Q] In an interview, Claude Lemieux mentioned a few thousand fans in attendance during one of the games in China. How was the turnout and the atmosphere during the China Sharks first season? Which was the toughest building to play in?

[CC] Atmosphere in the building was great. There are plenty of YouTube clips from fans at home games last season in Songjiang as we enjoyed our time there and the community.

God Bless Claude and his family for letting him come over as he was and is great. He is one of the best people I've ever known as he is the consummate professional, and like Mac and Flats gave our team and league a sense of being. I will forever be indebted to my friend Claude as should all hockey people as the game needs more talent and character like Claude.

The toughest building for the China Sharks to play in was Anyang, home of the Halla team in South Korea. They seemed to be the only team who prepared as if the NHL Sharks were on the ice (laugh). We liked our partners in the AL as we hope to be back soon under a completely separate structure than what is currently in place and unacceptable to us an ownership group.

[Q] The San Jose Sharks brought a few China Sharks forwards to Oakland Ice for an offseason hockey clinic. San Jose also brought several foreign-born players to China to help solidify the lineup, including player/coach and former San Jose goaltender Wade Flaherty, and 6-foot-7 defenseman/coach Steve McKenna. How difficult was the process of bringing in foreign-born imports to China and the ALIH? Flaherty was named the best goaltender in the league last year, former Stockton Thunder forward Brock Radunske lead the league in goals (29) and points (57), and Jason Beeman lead the China Sharks with 15 goals. How much of an impact of did foreign-born players have on the ice and in the development of the ALIH players elsewhere and in China? Were there any other players that you contacted, or that contacted you, about playing in China or the ALIH?

[CC] Many ex-NHLers I know want to come to China as the numbers this past off season were very high as we would have been a favorite to win the AL had we gone forward. My plan was two stage: One was to field a development team playing 75-95 games while playing exhibition schedules all season against AL teams and Asian hockey colleges in Japan and South and North Korea. This team would have been 99% Chinese. The AL team would have been 7 Chinese tops with the other 13 players half import and half Japanese. Because of the Sharks name, and because of the exoticness of China, acquiring players was not a problem.

Import players are China right now which is what is wrong with the current people running Chinese men's hockey. They do not understand the concept of 3 steps back in the long run equals 15 steps forward. Whether its because of financial interests or ignorance is not important, the Chinese men will never grow until a proven researched national strategy, like what we invested millions in, is fully implemented and the troublemakers are pushed aside.

This season we would have had 5 former NHL players on the China Sharks roster had we proceeded.

[Q] Steve McKenna might have the most interesting post-NHL career story of any hockey player to date, going from England to Australia to Italy to Korea. Can you describe how he came to the China Sharks? He also mentioned a persepctive shift when he and Flaherty were riding bikes through the University campus on the way to work. Is an open minded and adventurous mindset needed for former North American or European players to enjoy themselves in the ALIH? What are one or two things that a player might have to deal with playing in China that he would not expect prior to coming over?

[CC] The minute we were announced as taking over the AL franchise, which by the way was never our goal as we came to China to develop players, coaches and officials and still see this as our mission, I targeted Mac as I knew him well. After our first season when we realized how dysfunctional the system currently in place was I called him and said 'Mac, you must be in China next season'... I think we agreed to a contract on that phone call. The fact Mac is the national team coach of Australia and has won a World Championship at the helm there also fit our needs of playing and assisting Derek.

YES, players must be open minded and adventurous to live and play in China... (laugh). The bicycles were my idea as I thought it would be great to have these big guys in their suits riding to and from the arena daily in front of hundreds of thousands of college students.

Communism and its effects on people in a society that is quickly changing into a full fledged democracy in some ways is a major eye opener. It seemed to me that the players got it very well while the Jr. ministers did, but wanted no part of it and its affect on the average person... (laugh). The absolute lack of understanding of the team game is another. How the game of hockey is really coached and taught is another. How people eat team meals and travel and what is socially acceptable and what is not is another major eye opener. If you factor in what communism's principals are and add them to these equations you get some very entertaining and interesting results. I am saving the juiciest stories for my book that I am writing on China and team sports.

[Q] I was able to watch one China Sharks game on Shangai Sports satellite television in the middle of the night, and a fan in Japan uploaded several clips during the season and the playoffs to youtube. Given my experience in San Jose with the SJ Junior Sharks, college club hockey, the ECHL and NHL, how would you gauge the level of play in the ALIH to its American or Canadian counterpart?

[CC] Thanks for watching one of our games... if you heard the English version that was me calling the game from a booth at Shanghai Media Group with no English speaking person within 3 miles of me... (laugh). It made going to breaks and throw backs very interesting... (laugh).br />
The AL is the equivalent of the top ECHL teams and lower level AHL teams overall, my opinion only of course.

[Q] Who is the Alexander Ovechkin of the ALIH? Martin Kariya, Dong-Hwan Song, former Los Angeles Kings goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji are a few players that fans in California have followed from a distance, who are 2-3 ALIH players that fans should keep an eye out for in 2009-10?

[CC] Depends... tough answer since the Japanese are truly teams in their play much like the Russians are... Import wise my dear friend Shane Endicott, who we were brining in this season, was the best offensive player in the league. Endo's size and strength allowed him to dictate. He played on a strict team offense and was not allowed much sway or room, but still just obliterated those he matched up against. The top scoring locals are usually the guys who get stuck on a wing or playing with a top import like Endo.

Whoever plays on the PP in Halla with Martinique and Rudunski will be the top Korean along with Alex Kim of High1. The Japanese side is a toss up for now as every year it seems a different young Japanese player steps up.

Let me state that I love the Japanese players and their development system. They are a fantastic model for the Chinese if we or others can clean out the obstacles holding it back and have been for the South Koreans...

[Q] The ALIH underwent several changes prior to the 2009-10 season. The Seibu Prince Rabbits ceased operations, the number of teams making the playoffs will reduced as will be the best-of-7 format, a fourth official will be added to the ice. What changes will impact the ALIH the most, and what are one or two recommendations that could help steady the league in the future?

[CC] Seibu's leaving was a disaster and boon as they were the Yankees of Asia League hockey yet their talent dispersal has helped everyone, go figure!

Help for the league, OK here goes. The rules making only hockey associations in charge of teams must go away forever as soon as possible or the AL will cease to exist. Sports can only be run by commercial business in a free market scenario as "protectionism" does not work as athletics has proven time and time again.

Second most critical would be for the league to have a majority number of their games officiated by North Americans who have the most success in calling games efficiently. Until the league can develop Asia officials who can consistently call games fairly for both squads, you will see disparity and a lack of quality to the sport in Asia. The absolute best games in AL history according to our experience and many other longtime AL players, coaches and observers have been with western referee's and officials. Again, take the hockey associations out of ownership and operation and allow commercial operations and this becomes a moot point as excellence will be demanded and attained as opposed to obstruction and pacification.

[Q] New York Islanders owner Charles Wang has contributed to several charity initatives in China, including Project Hope as well as bringing hockey rinks, equipment and language lessons to underprivileged kids in the Heilongjiang Province. The Islanders also sent former NHL head coach Mike Milbury over to evaluate youth hockey progams and the then Harbin and QiQihar ALIH teams in China during the lockout. Did you see an impact from their efforts to help develop hockey in China?

[CC] I don't really know any specific particulars of Mr. Wang's work in China. I know he is from Harbin and loves his homeland very much and has put his money where his mouth and heart are. Any work anybody from any NHL team can do in China completely separate of those currently in charge will be of great benefit to China and richly appreciated.

[Q] Many hockey fans in San Jose do not know how much work went on behind the scenes to help support a Chinese hockey team. What needed to happen before a single game could be played, and what were the biggest challenges during the season?

[CC] It took me over 2 years of work with Greg Jamison and SVSE to make this program even possible back in late 2005. It took the longterm big picture vision of Greg and I to make people believe that small steps in such a large country go a long way. It takes incredible patience in the face of absolute logic defying decisions and actions to proceed in China. It takes courage. It takes guts.

The biggest challenges during a season was blocking out the bad elements and distractions of certain people with their own agenda and/or plans that had nothing to do with coaches, players and or officials development in country. And even when you 'blow up' the previous model and institute complete and total change it never really prevents the other distractions from finding a way to infiltrate and disrupt the goal and plan of change.

In North America this is mostly protected by the adherence of most people to practical acceptance of things like 'the separation of church and state.' In hockey, the separation of church and state is basic knowledge that you can not mix sales and hockey and administration. Sadly in China the hockey is an invite for administrative types to build a business of boxing in the players and game for their own purposes.

Thanks very much for taking the time to answer a few questions. A preview of the 2009-10 ALIH season already underway is available from Bill Meltzer of 2009-10 Asia League Preview: New teams, new rules. The excellent Jhockey blog also offers a team by team ALIH breakdown here.

[Update] Interview: China Sharks' Derek Eisler and Chris Collins - March 27, 2009 California Rubber Magazine.

Trio of Sharks rookies register first NHL point in 4-1 win over Anaheim Ducks

It did not take long for several new additions to make an impact in the San Jose Sharks 4-1 win over the Ducks Saturday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim. After being summarily dispatched by Anaheim in the first round of the playoffs, Scott Nichol hand delivered a message that the old rules of the traditional Sharks-Ducks rivalry no longer apply. Less than 2 minutes into the first period Nichol took umbrage to a late hit after a whistle and dropped the gloves with Mike Brown.

The two also set off the first full scale Sharks-Ducks melee of the regular season in the third period. After Dan Boyle hammered Todd Marchant into the end boards, Mike Brown came in high. Scott Nichol and Douglas Murray came to Boyle's defense, but a hard charging Sheldon Brookbank dodged 2 Sharks to literally leap into the fray. Jody Shelley and Jed Ortmeyer were the 7th and 8th men in followed by Ryan Carter.

Orange County Register reporter Eric Stephens wrote that the Sharks appeared to be trying to erase every negative postseason memory in one fell swoop:

The Sharks seemed bent on erasing every lingering memory of the six-game exit that spoiled their record-breaking regular season, getting goals from big guns Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi in a 4-1 rout that wrecked the Ducks' season opener at Honda Center.

It seemed as if the Ducks, in their first game without defensive bedrock Chris Pronger, didn't know what hit them until they finally awakened in the third period. The Sharks jumped to a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes and basically played the first two periods in the offensive end.

Second year head coach Todd McLellan made a few changes after a sluggish 5-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in the Sharks season opener. 5-foot-11, 195-pound left wing Jamie McGinn was sent down to Worcester of the AHL in favor of bruising 6-foot-4, 235-pound forward Frazer McLaren. According to beat writer David Pollak, rookie winger Benn Ferriero also would move onto the top line with Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley. The former Boston College forward supplanted Devin Setoguchi on the top line for one shift before joining Malhotra and McLaren on the third forward unit.

The rookies paid dividends early. Frazer McLaren pulled the puck out of a scrum in the corner and fed rookie defenseman Jason Demers on the right point. A quick Demers wrist shot resulted in a rebound left in front of the net by goaltender Jonas Hiller. Ferriero beat defenseman Luca Sbisa to the loose puck in front of the net, and buried the point blank opportunity. Ferriero, McLaren and Demers all registered their first NHL points on the play. "I didn't even think about it, but it is pretty cool we each got our first point on the same goal," Ferriero told David Pollak of the play.

Luca Sbisa was acquired in the offseason trade of Chris Pronger along with Joffrey Lupul and two 1st round draft picks. A slick skating defenseman with a bit of a mean streak, Sbisa registered the biggest hit of the 3-game Sharks-Ducks rookie tournament on defenseman Nick Petrecki. Given Francois Beauchemin's free agency signing with Toronto, the Ducks opened the 2009-10 season with 3 new defensive pairs: Niedermayer-Sbisa, Wisniewski-Whitney and Eminger-Brookbank. They would be on the hook for 3 of the Sharks first 4 goals, but the Anaheim offense was not helping the cause being outshot 29-9 after 40 minutes (outshot 17-2 in the second period).

San Jose's Patrick Marleau continued his strong two-way play to start the season. On a penalty kill unit with Joe Pavelski, Marleau blocked a point shot by defenseman Ryan Whitney then blew by him to gain possession of the puck on a shorthanded breakaway. Marleau went forehand to backhand to beat Jonas Hiller cleanly stickside. Joe Thornton intercepted an errant pass late in the first period to create another scoring opportunity. Thornton passed the puck to Dany Heatley on the right wing and drove hard to the front of the net. Heatley feathered a pass to Thornton, who also went forehand to backhand to beat Hiller stickside. Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov came up big with a clutch save on a Joffery Lupul breakaway with 20 seconds left in the period.

The Sharks applied the vice grip on the Anaheim Ducks offense in the second, holding them without a shot on goal 18:30 into the period. After creating a solid scoring chance on their first shift, Heatley-Thornton-Setoguchi combined for the Sharks fourth and final goal on the power play. On the right point Setoguchi banked a pass to Dany Heatley, then split 3 Ducks to get into a shooting position in the slot. Heatley fired a hard pass on the tape of Setoguchi, and he buried the 1-timer to give the Sharks an insurmountable 4-0 lead. Manny Malhotra also earned a roughing minor when he broke the grip of James Wisniewski and a ref to abruptly drop Ryan Getzlaf. Malhotra and Getzlaf were given minor penalties on the play.

The third period melee resulted in 27 minutes in penalties for San Jose, and only 15 minutes in pentalties for the home Anaheim side. The Ducks outshot the Sharks 16-8 in the final period, but the best opportunity came on a fake Getzlaf shot that setup Ryan Whitney. With a shooting lane in front of Whitney, Evgeni Nabokov made the intial save and then stopped a rebound opportunity with quick reflexes. Nabokov finished with 24 saves on 25 shots against for his first win of the season. Jonas Hiller stopped 33 of 37 shots against.

Video highlights from youtube are available here. An excellent photo gallery from the Anaheim Ducks is available here.

[Update] Sharks get revenge for playoff ouster, spoil Ducks' home opener - LA Times.

[Update2] Sharks captain Rob Blake's post-game video interview with CSN California.

[Update3] McLellan feels fans' pain - Eric Duhatschek for the Globe and Mail.

At the beginning of training camp, McLellan said he addressed the Sharks’ players and told them: “Our focus right now isn’t on April, May and June. We turned over 10, 11, 12 players from our roster last year; that’s a big chunk of the team. We have to re-establish our equity with each other and in the league and that’s our very first goal. We’ll go from there; we’ll see where it takes us."

“The ingredients for our third and fourth lines (Manny Malhotra, Scott Nichol, others) will be different than in the past. There’s a little more sandpaper there, which is often nice to have in those positions."

"Our team will take some time jelling I think because of all those changes – and it won’t be a bad thing. It’ll be a good thing."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Darryl Hunt: Stalock And McGinn Haunt Phantoms in WorSharks 3-2 Win

The old adage says "it's better to be lucky than good", but Worcester Sharks rookie netminder Alex Stalock proved it's important to be both in the WorSharks season opening 3-2 victory over the Adirondack Phantoms Saturday night at the Glens Falls Civic Center in Glens Falls, New York in front of a more than capacity crowd of 5411.

With Adirondack playing its first game since relocating from Philadelphia, it was important for the WorSharks to take the pumped up crowd out of the game, and they did just that when two members of last season's "E-line" connected for the game's first score.

Dan DaSilva broke into the Phantoms zone and found Andrew Desjardins streaking in to his right. DaSilva hit Desjardins with a tape to tape pass and Desjardins buried it past the outstretched glove of Phantoms goaltender Nic Riopel for the 1-0 lead at 3:08 of the first. Danny Groulx had the second helper on the tally.

Worcester outshot Adirondack 12-8 in the first period and controlled play throughout most of the opening 20 minutes. Were it not for some great saves by Riopel, who like Stalock was also playing in his first pro game, the WorSharks could have easily had three or four more goals.

Adirondack knotted the game 1-1 at 9:09 of the second period Jon Kalinski threw a pass into a pile of bodies in the slot that Andreas Nodl was able to deflect past Stalock. The rookie goaltender showed that giving up a goal wasn't gong to bother him, as within seconds the ensuing face-off Stalock had to make two great saves as Adirondack continued to press.

The Phantoms had an 11-7 shot advantage in the second period, with many being good scoring chances. Stalock stood tall and made several key saves, using a little help from the crossbar and far post to keep the game knotted 1-1.

Adirondack would grab the lead early in the third period when Patrick Maroon would blast one from the right side that Stalock did manage to get a piece of, but not enough to keep it out of the net and prevent a 2-1 lead. at 2:27 The WorSharks would need to kill 22 seconds of 5 on 3 play after Mike Moore was forced to hook former Sharks first round draft pick Lukas Kaspar on a partial breakaway while killing Dean Strong's cross checking minor, but the Phantoms couldn't get another one past Stalock.

With Worcester on a power play chance of its own, Steven Zalewski knotted the game 2-2 when he flipped a backhand from the slot that seemed to surprise Riopel. Riopel couldn't get the pads closed fast enough as the puck went five-hole at 12:04. Logan Couture and Michale Wilson had the assists on the play.

After Worcester killed a Groulx minor for tripping and with overtime looming, the WorSharks would get one more power play chance when Jonathon Kalinski was called for hooking with just 65 second remaining in regulation. As the Phantoms pressed the Worcester defenseman at the blueline trying to prevent a long range blast, Groulx took a Joslin feed and flipped it on net. The puck hit winger Jamie McGinn and bounced just inside the far post to light the lamp with just 11.3 seconds remaining.

That was more than enough time to mount one last charge, and that what Adirondack did after pulling Riopel for the extra attacker on the ensuing face-off. Stalock would be called on again to make an important save, and the rookie came up big when he made a great glove save on a Maroon wrister from the slot with just over five seconds remaining.

WorSharks captain Ryan Vesce would win the next face-off and Worcester would keep the puck behind the net to kill any chance of a miracle comeback.

Worcester had four healthy scratches: Will Colbert, Kevin Henderson, Louis Liotti, and Corey Quirk. Tyson Sexsmith was the back-up goaltender.

The WorSharks have made a small change to their black jerseys, adding San Jose's shield logo to the left shoulder.

There was one fight in the contest, with WorSharks forward Brandon Mashinter (6'4", 225#) taking on the Phantoms Garrett Klotz (6'5", 235#) in a battle of heavyweights when a scrum formed Matt Clackson was called for charging Derek Joslin into the boards before the Worcester net. Mashinter gets the nod as he landed two big bombs that each split Klotz open, and Klotz left a trail of blood as he headed to the locker room for some repairs.

While it was Adirondack's first game in Glens Falls since moving from Philadelphia due to the pending razing of the Spectrum, it was not Worcester first game at the Glens Falls Civic Center. The WorSharks played two games against the Albany River Rats here last season, losing 5-4 on October 17 and winning the rematch 3-2 on April 4.

The three stars of the game were:
1. Jamie McGinn (gwg)
2. Patrick Maroon (g)
3. Alex Stalock (win, 28 saves)

The Sharkspage player of the game was Alex Stalock.

Even Strength Lines


Penalty Kill Lines


Power Play Lines


Worcester 1 0 2 - 3
Adirondack 0 1 1 - 2

1st Period-1, Worcester, Desjardins 1 (DaSilva, Groulx), 3:08. Penalties-Laliberte Adk (cross-checking), 11:18; McCarthy Wor (interference), 13:44.

2nd Period-2, Adirondack, Nodl 1 (Kalinski), 9:09. Penalties-Curry Adk (cross-checking), 5:32; Wilson Wor (slashing), 6:28; Mashinter Wor (roughing, fighting), 10:41; Clackson Adk (roughing), 10:41; Klotz Adk (fighting), 10:41; Strong Wor (cross-checking), 16:04.

3rd Period-3, Adirondack, Maroon 1 (Laliberte), 2:27. 4, Worcester, Zalewski 1 (Couture, Wilson), 12:04 (pp). 5, Worcester, McGinn 1 (Groulx, Joslin), 19:49 (pp). Penalties-Helminen Wor (holding the stick), 6:09; Moore Wor (hooking), 7:47; Matsumoto Adk (holding the stick), 10:14; Groulx Wor (tripping), 16:04; Kalinski Adk (hooking), 18:55.

Shots on Goal
Worcester 12-7-10-29
Adirondack 8-11-11-30

Power Play Opportunities
Worcester 2 of 4
Adirondack 0 of 6

Worcester, Stalock 1-0-0 (30 shots-28 saves)
Adirondack, Riopel 0-1-0 (29 shots-26 saves)

A-5,411. Referee-Terry Koharski (10). Linesmen-Jim Briggs (83), Frank Murphy (29).

Friday, October 2, 2009

Sharks drop season opener to Colorado Avalanche 5-2, Sakic honored with jersey retirement ceremony

The Sharks started the 2009-10 season flat with a 5-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in front of 18,007 fans at the Pepsi Center Thursday night. A fitting Joe Sakic tribute and jersey retirement ceremony delayed the start of the game, but it was the Avs who jumped on the scoreboard first after a John-Michael Liles point shot was redirected past Evgeni Nabokov by Darcy Tucker 2 minutes into the game.

While the top Heatley-Thornton-Setoguchi line struggled to find their rythmn, registering a combined -6 with 3 turnovers, the second line of Marleau-Pavelski-Clowe was firing on all cylinders from the start. A strong forecheck by Ryane Clowe pressured defenseman Kyle Cumiskey to make an errant pass in his own zone. Joe Pavelski recovered the puck along the boards, and hit a driving Marleau who beat Craig Anderson stickside to tie the game at 1-1.

The Colorado Avalanche finished last in the Western Conference last season, but Wojtek Wolski, Paul Stastny, and the play of Chris Stewart and Cody McLeod gave the Avs potential to build on. Add in the spectacular play of 3rd overall 2009 draft pick Matt Duchene, who was a force on both sides of the ice, and the mile high rebuilding phase may be a short one. In the third period Duchene kicked it into another gear, providing a screen in front of the net for Liles fifth and final goal (PP), pressuring Dan Boyle to play the puck back into his own zone and then causing Joe Pavelski to turn the puck over, and lifting the stick of defenseman Kent Huskins to create a breakaway scoring chance. Duchene is a dynamic 2-way talent who will make an impact in his first NHL season.

Wojtek Wolski and Cody McLeod scored to give Colorado a 3-1 lead before Patrick Marleau brought the Sharks back to within 1 goal on the power play. Marleau-Pavelski-Clowe effectively made up the Sharks first power play unit, and they combined for the only goal with the man advantage in 6 opportunities. Dan Boyle hammered a point shot 1-timer. Former LA Kings defenseman Kyle Quincey fell to the ice as he tried to make a play on the rebound and Brett Clark left Marleau unchecked on the doorstep. Marleau punched home a shot stickside for his second goal of the game. Wolski added his second goal of the game at 9:48 in the middle period, assisted by Stastny and Quincey.

The Sharks ramped up the offense in the third period trying to get back into the game, outshooting Colorado 19-1. The perimeter play did not result in enough quality scoring chances, but when the Sharks threatened goaltender Craig Anderson kept them off of the scoreboard. The former Blackhawks and Panthers goalie finished with the 3rd best save percentage in the NHL last season (.924). Anderson finished with 38 saves on 40 shots for his first win of 2009-10. Nabokov stopped 15 of 20 shots against.

Video highlights from the game are available from Youtube and Versus. A photo gallery from the Colorado Avalanche is available here.

[Update] My Top 19 Joe Sakic Moments - San Jose based Colorado Avalanche blog Jibble Scribbits.

[Update2] Former Avs captain Sakic gets his No. 19 lifted to rafters - Denver Post.

As captain of the franchise that arrived in Denver in 1995, Sakic never led or participated in the communal spraying of champagne when his team merely clinched a playoff spot. He did, however, twice accept the Stanley Cup from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. He retired as the eighth-leading scorer in NHL history, and had won the Hart Trophy as the league MVP (2001) and the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP (1996).

Sakic was more composed during the ceremony than he was when he officially announced his retirement at the Inverness Hotel in July. It began with the scoreboard screens showing him walking from the new Pepsi Center Plaza of Fame outside the building, through the Grand Atrium, through the Avalanche dressing room — where he was greeted by Adam Foote, his successor as captain, and shown that his former locker stall has been encased in plexiglass — and then to the ice.