Hockey Notes – 11/19

By Jon Swenson - Last updated: Friday, November 19, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

- For the second straight game, the San Jose Sharks dropped a late lead en route to a 5-4 OT loss to the Dallas Stars on Thursday night. After the Stars opened the scoring with 2 goals by Brad Richardson and James Neal, the Sharks stormed forward with 4 unanswered goals and looked like they were in control for the remainder of the third period. Then a bizarre series of events lead to their fourth overtime loss of the season (9-5-4, 0-4 OT, 1-0 SO).

The Sharks were credited with a fifth goal on the ice at 12:09 of the third period when a Marc-Edouard Vlasic point shot was deflected past Kari Lehtonen off the stick of Marleau. The goal would have given the Sharks a 5-2 margin of error with less than 8 minutes remaining. It also would have given Vlasic his first point in 18 games played this season. After a very lengthy video review and referee huddle, Paul Devorski waived off the goal as it was ruled to be deflected in with a high stick.

Dallas kept churning. The top line of Neal-Richards-Eriksson generated the third Dallas goal with 2:35 left in the third period. Brad Richards fired a pass in front of the net that deflected off the leg/shin of James Neal and into the back of the net. There was a Dallas and San Jose broadcast of the game last night, but with multiple angles to use for clarification the referee signaled a good goal and a faceoff at center ice. Neal’s second of the game and seventh of the season brought the Stars to within one at 4-3.

With the Sharks broadcast still discussing the Neal goal, and before they had time to spool up a video replay, the Stars struck again 29 seconds later to tie the game at 4-4. This time the goal light did not go on for Stars center Mike Ribeiro, and referees Paul Devorski and Chris Lee opted for a longer video review. Ribeiro’s shot ricocheted off the netting just inside the post. “We got a good goal,” Devorski enthusiastically offered pointing to center ice.

It would go from bad to worse, or in this case from video review to worse, late in the third period. Marc-Edouard Vlasic took inside position on Dallas captain Brenden Morrow, and Morrow opportunistically caught an “edge” and fell to the ice drawing an interference penalty at 18:18. Partisan Dallas Stars television color analyst Daryl Reaugh noted that Morrow was lucky to receive the “semi-phantom” call on the play. It did not take a Kreskin to predict the Stars would drive the net and try to punch their ticket in regulation. With defenseman Douglas Murray and Niclas Wallin out of the lineup with injuries, the Stars were more able to establish position in front of the net.

Longtime Sharks foil Mike Ribeiro scored what appeared to be the game winner on the ice with 18 seconds left in regulation. But wait, for all intents and purposes, there was a metaphorical flag on the play. Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi stopped a big point shot, but the rebound dropped in front of the crease. Defenseman Mike Moore and Jason Demers tried to contain Dallas captain Brenden Morrow, but Morrow bull rushed his way to shovel the puck on net. While the pile of bodies laid in front of the crease, Ribeiro came in from the slot and poked the puck into the net. The game winning goal was waived off due to the referee’s “intent to blow”.

The Sharks generated two quality scoring chances in overtime, but neither resulted in a shot on goal. The only registered shot came to Joe Pavelski from just inside the blueline. The Stars would take advantage. Brenden Morrow cross checked Dan Boyle from behind to free up the puck behind the Sharks net. With Boyle on the ice, Morrow dug the puck out in front to Ribeiro. Antti Niemi blocked the lower portion of the net, and knocked the puck off his stick as Ribeiro tried to wait it out far side. The wily Dallas center quickly regained control and lifted a shot over a prone Niemi for the game winner. 5-4 Stars, no video review.

“The question is going to be, two nights in a row almost identical high stick disallowed, two goals late in the game,” San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan told CSNCA. “Our forwards ran out of gas a little bit. That happens when you play that many games… I think we have a mature enough group, a strong enough group, that we should have a little more composure down the stretch.”

- Dallas Morning News Stars-Sharks photo gallery from Thursday night.

- There were a number of odd bounces to go along with the video reviews and physical play during the game. James Neal’s goal in the first period bounced awkwardly off the stanchion/glass. While goaltender Antti Niemi moved left to right, the puck instead dribbled to the left side. Alone with the puck in front of an empty net, Neal may have scored the easiest goal of his young 3-year NHL career.

Logan Couture, the NHL’s leading rookie goal scorer, earned his 8th goal of the season after defenseman Karlis Skrastins tried to poke the puck out of the zone in the second period. The puck deflected high off Couture, and was corralled by Ryane Clowe along the boards. After a short Clowe pass to Couture, the rookie Sharks centerman drove the net. His centering pass to Joe Pavelski deflected off defenseman Matt Niskanen to beat Kari Lehtonen.

- A few comments after the game noted that left wing Jamie Benn’s early second period hit on Joe Thornton was a blindside, lateral hit to the head. It happened at a very quick pace, more from behind than lateral, and there was far more controversy on tap for later in the game for the refs to focus on the incident. Devin Setoguchi immediately dropped the gloves with Benn, but it may have been as much for the hit or for a subsequent shot taken at Thornton while he was prone. Setoguchi and Benn were given matching 5-minute fighting majors, Steve Ott was called for a slashing penalty.

Setoguchi vs. Benn was the second of three fights in what was a very physical pacific division contest. Rookie Sharks defenseman Mike Moore leveled Steve Ott with a check in the first period, and Mark Fistric made his way through a crowd to initiate a fight. Fistric and Moore each fell down once, but kept going until the Sharks dman used a cross body throw to torque him to the ice. Fistric and Moore earned matching 5-minute fighting majors. Jamal Mayers fought a grizzled Krys Barch midway through the second period. Third line center Torrey Mitchell also received a 10 minute misconduct in the second period, both teams combined for 68 total penalty minutes.

- The outcome of the Sharks visit to Colorado on Wednesday night was more of the same. After building up a 3-1 lead after two periods, San Jose allowed Chris Stewart, Paul Stastny and Kevin Porter to score three unanswered goals en route to a 4-3 OT win. The Sharks outshot Colorado 28-12 after 40 minutes, and would outshoot them 15-8 in the third, but it was not enough.

An apparent Jamie McGinn goal 5:35 into the third period was waived off after a video review. The 4-1 lead turned into a 3-2 lead when Chris Stewart scored 3:03 later. On a breakaway, Stewart fired a hard wrist shot far side to beat goaltender Antero Niittymaki. The Western Conference’s leading offense ramped up the attack in the third period, and Paul Stastny scored a pretty goal on a hard angle shot far side at 14:48. 2008 Hobey Baker award winner Kevin Porter scored the game winner in overtime at 2:07.

The Sharks dominated play early in each regulation period, but the Colorado Avalanche battled back and dictated play for stretches late. The Sharks outshot Colorado 43-22, but including shots that missed the net and blocked shots, that figure rose to 68-42. Colorado Avalanche defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk scored his first career NHL goal in the first period on the power play. According to CSNCA, that is the 73rd first goal the San Jose Sharks have allowed opponents in franchise history.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Mike Moore scored his first career NHL goal 9:14 into the second period, assisted by Dany Heatley. “It wasn’t the hardest shot I ever took, but it found the back of the net,” Moore said during an intermission interview. “I was pretty excited, but you want to look like you have been there before,” he said when he was asked about playing it cool on the bench after scoring his first goal.

Former San Jose Sharks goaltender Arturs Irbe inducted into San Jose Sports Hall of Fame

Former San Jose Sharks goaltender and current Washington Capitals goaltending coach Arturs Irbe was inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame on Tuesday. The 5-foot-8 Latvian helped the San Jose Sharks earn a pair of startling first round Stanley Cup playoff upsets in the first two seasons played in San Jose, once over top seeded Detroit in 1993-94 and again over the Calgary Flames in 1994-95. His affable personality and popularity helped re-establish hockey in Northern California after the departure of the Oakland Seals.

Inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame earlier this year, Irbe represented the Latvian national team at the 2002 and 2006 Olympics. Prior to that he helped the Soviet Union win World Championships in 1989 and 1990, but he refused to play for the team after Latvia declared independance on May 4th, 1990. Irbe began his 5-year tenure with the San Jose Sharks during their inaugural season in 1991. He would play a then-record 4412 minutes in goal during the 1993-94 regular season, and represent the Bay Area at the NHL Allstar Game. He would earn another ASG nomination with Carolina in 1999, and help lead them to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2002. Irbe finished his 13-year NHL career with a 218-236-79 record playing for San Jose, Dallas, Vancouver and Carolina.

Arturs Irbe’s induction video is available from the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame here. The first San Jose Sharks player represented at the SJSHOF, his bronze plaque will join owner George Gund’s on display at the HP Pavilion concourse 365 days a year.

Irbe SJSHOF photo used with permission.

- Pizarro: Former Shark Arturs Irbe still owns HP Pavilion – San Jose Mercury News.

- Adding to the 30-minute post-NHL Hockey Central highlight show, Versus added the hourlong Hockey Overtime nightly discussion/analysis program this week. After a debut with 31,000 viewers on Monday, the program built up to a 41,000 viewer average according to Steve Lepore of Puck the Media.

Hockey Night in Canada After Hours Doug Wilson

San Jose Sharks GM/EVP Doug Wilson and power forward Ryane Clowe were guests on Hockey Night in Canada’s After Hours program last Saturday night after playing the Calgary Flames. With hosts Kevin Weekes and Scott Oake, Wilson discussed changes to goaltending equipment, offered a final word on the 2-game suspension to Joe Thornton, and talked about the role of physical play in the modern day NHL in comparison to the “Chuck” Norris Division play of the 70′s and 80′s.

GM Doug Wilson on After Hours:

“I am going to be very protective of our own player. I thought it was more of a collision than a hit, similar to the Willie Mitchell hit on Jonathan Toews, where he came out of the box. I think it was an ill advised pass by the defenseman. As both Joe and David Perron said after the game, what other choice did Joe Thornton have in that situation. It wasn’t premeditated or targeting the head. We don’t want to see players get hurt in this league. I am a supporter of this rule, it is just the clarification process going forward.”

“We lost him that game, and I was comfortable with the officals call on the ice. I made our case in a hearing, they made their decision, and we move forward. In the big picture, we are trying to prevent injuries to players.”

“This is a physical game. Unfortunately injuries are going to be a result of that. I laugh sometimes when people talk about the respect factor for players. When you go back to some of the games I saw in the 70′s in the Norris Division, there were people who did not neccessarily get along and respect each other. The game and the rule package we voted on sped up the game, the neutral zone. We just have to make sure that there is not a type of predatory hit. Hit people, don’t hurt people with the intention of taking advantage of a vunerable player.”

Doug Wilson was also a guest on Hockey Night in Canada radio Thursday (may be restricted to Canada-only listeners).

- Campbell explains supplemental discipline process –

NHL disciplinarian Campbell defends himself against characterizations attributed to him in emails regarding Marc Savard and his son Gregory Campbell, denies they influenced his decision not to suspend Matt Cooke for his hit on Savard, defends his integrity, denies that a panel making supplemental NHL discipline decisions would be feasible, and noted that the current process is as transparent as it could be. He also apologizes for the tone of the recently revealed emails, and defended his criticism of one of the referees targeted in the emails, Dean Warren.

- The San Jose Sharks assigned defenseman Mike Moore and left wing Frazer McLaren to their AHL affiliate in Worcester on Friday. One of ailing defenseman Douglas Murray or Niclas Wallin are expected to return to the lineup Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

- Episode 7 of the San Jose Sharks television/radio broadcaster hockey hotstove features Randy Hahn, Drew Remenda, Jamie Baker and Dan Rusanowsky. Two thumbs up for Baker’s scorer table challenge suggestion, allowing NHL officials to challenge a play with a red flag. Sounds good, as long as they have to throw it at the infringing player.

- Patrick Marleau’s first period goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning broke a 156:59 long goalless streak, the third longest in Sharks history. Logan Couture wasted no time breaking the Sharks road goalless streak on Wednesday. His even strength tally 42 seconds into the game against Colorado snapped a 185:57 drought than included 3-straight road shutout losses.

- The San Jose Sharks/Edmonton Oilers ECHL affiliate Stockton Thunder swept the Bakersfield Condors in the 3-game “Thunder Goes Pink” series earlier this month to raise money for breast cancer awareness. Over 20,000 Northern California hockey fans saw a pair of shutouts by goaltenders Bryan Pitton and Tyson Sexsmith, and a hat trick by Chris D’Alvis in the third game. The Stockton Thunder won ECHL attendance titles in the franchise’s first 4 seasons, and drew over 200,000 fans in the fifth season to finish 3rd.

- Back-to-back NHL hit leader in 2008-09 and 2009-10, Minnesota Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck, was a guest on the Yahoo Puck Daddy podcast earlier this month. Clutterbuck was asked by Greg Wyshynski and Joe Ross who the best hitters in the NHL were. Clutterbuck differentiated between guys that are hard to hit, like Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara and Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray, and guys who hit hard. Guys who hit hard according to Clutterbuck: Dustin Brown, Mike Richards, Patrick Kaleta.

Clutterbuck also left it up to bloggers to come up with a non-existent trophy celebrating the NHL hit leader. There is really only one namesake candidate for the generation that grew up with the internet and blogs, former New Jersey Devils defenseman Scott Stevens. Trophies and awards are too commonplace, the hit leader deserves a commemorative goblet. Clutterbuck currently sits in second place for the 2010-11 hit lead with 71. New York Rangers forward Ryan Callahan leads the league with 75.

- Longtime NHL head coach Patt Burns passed away today at the age of 58. R.I.P.

[Update] Why full team didn’t practice today, medical updates — plus Mike Moore and Frazer McLaren off to Worcester – David Pollak for the Working the Corners blog.

[Update2] Sharks Defenseman Jason Demers blossoming in 2010 – Fear the Fin.

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