The Silver Bullet

An opinion in popular sports

San Jose Sharks: All Star Game

While I would love to rant on how many Sharks got snubbed in this year’s NHL Western Conference All Star Selections, I just can’t seem to feel that bad about it.

The NHL All star game has long been an offensive display with little meaning to fans and players. The NHL Board could make this more interesting… or make the Winter Classic the All Star Game to give it more appeal.

Nevertheless, the Sharks will be represented, by two and half people. Dan Boyle was selected as a player for the Western Conference, but much of his influence comes from nostalgic fans back on the East Coast. There’s no denying Danny’s influence on the Sharks in the first forty, but he probably didn’t get the nod from Sharks fans, more likely from others around the league.

And there no doubt that Joe Thornton should be headed to Montreal. Jumbo has just been stellar the last few years as a Shark, and his influence on the ice is seen night in and night out.

A surprising twist to the NHL All star debacle is the debut as Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan as Western Conference Head Coach. Ironically, He will be assisted by his former boss in Detroit Mike Babcock. San Jose’s Bench Boss deserves the honor, I assume bringing the leagues best record to the table, but it is surprising for a guy that walked into a great situation and has reaped the benefits of Doug Wilson’s carefully crafted roster, for only half a year.

And finally, some recognition for a Sharks youngster. Devin Setoguchi was called upon to play in the NHL All Star Youngstar’s game. A great Honor for the 22-year old, who highly deserves a national nod for his play this season.

Major Sharks Snubs include Captain Patrick Marleau. Talk about a comeback year. Patty has really returned to the fray as a dominant force in the Western Conference, and his resurgence was dissed by the National audience. In My opinion, His play has raised the level of the club more than the consistant cominance of Jumbo.

And Evgeni Nabokov: How the heck can you not pull in the runner up for the Vezina Trophy? The man was THE BEST goalie in the league last year and got snubbed for the trophy, and now snubbed for the All Star Game. Sure, he isn’t having the quite the same season as last year, but at least make him the third goalie for the recognition he so rightly deserves.

-Dan

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January 10, 2009 Posted by | danharris, Hockey, NHL, San Jose Sharks, Sharks, Sports, thesilverbullet | Leave a comment

San Jose Sharks: Magic Number Countdown (61, 67)

Finally, some movement here for San Jose.

Pacific Division: 61 pts

With Anaheim losing back to back games this week… First to Los Angeles Thursday Night and then to Tampa Bay Friday Night, the Ducks falter in their pursuit of catching San Jose.

Those losses coupled with the San Jose win in Edmonton last night put the Sharks Magic Number at 61 points for the Pacific Division Crown. The Sharks currently have 65 points to Anaheim’s 47. San Jose currently holds 3 games in hand.

Technically, Dallas, Phoenix, and Anaheim all have the same points potential

NHL History: 67 points.

The Sharks recent struggles on the road have hurt their chances at securing the NHL record for Team Points in a season (132). The Sharks have 42 games remaining and would have to win 34 of them to get that marks.
However, The Sharks are currently projected to finish the season 133 points if the continue on their current pace.

January 10, 2009 Posted by | danharris, Hockey, NHL, San Jose Sharks, Sharks, Sports, thesilverbullet | Leave a comment

San Jose Sharks: Magic Number Countdown (67,69)

Well, after the past three days we have seen no improvement on our countdown. The Sharks fell unconvincingly to a team seeking revenge in the Calgary Flames.

A bitter tasting 5-2 loss. The San Jose Sharks have struggled on the road lately, a dismal 1-2-3 record the past three games… It’s true they have earned 5 points, with only 1 win, but it’s not quite the squad we’re used to seeing at HP Pavilion.

So the Canadian Tour continues with the Edmonton Oilers up first of two games in two nights. The second, of course, in Vancouver.

MAGIC NUMBERS:

Pacific Division Crown: 67 Points over Anaheim.

The Sharks currently sit 18 points ahead of Anaheim in the Pacific Division with one game in hand. The Sharks will not see the Ducks until March 15th. There are three games between the two clubs remaining including a crucial home-and-home series the last week of the season. The Sharks hold a 2-1 edge on the season series.

(Playoffs: 65 Points)

NHL HISTORY: 69 Points

Before last night’s game the Sharks were projected to finish the season with 136 points. After the loss, based on points earned/games played ratio, San Jose would finish the season 132 or 133 points.

-Dan.

January 7, 2009 Posted by | danharris, Hockey, NHL, San Jose Sharks, Sharks, Sports, thesilverbullet | Leave a comment

San Jose Sharks: 69, 67 Points

It’s no secret, The San Jose Sharks have been on a tear this year. Really, it’s been a record setting pace. Not only for the Franchise, but their place in the standings of greatest NHL teams of all time.

While normally, I would break down all the players and their efforts with the team so far this season. This year, I’ve decided to dedicate The Silver Bullet to the countdown to history.

As the season ticks on, I will count down with Sharks fans to two major things.

First, the quest for the best record in NHL history held by the 1976-1977 Montreal Canadiens, who finished the year with a 60-8-12 record and 132 points. In order to achieve this feat,  team teal would need to win  just 35 of their remaining 44 games or amass some semblance of 69 points.

This countdown is solely in the Sharks’ hands and cannot be affected by the way other teams play when not against San Jose. So the Countdown begins at 69.

The Second thing we will follow does depend on the play of other teams. San Jose is definitely ahead of the pack in the Pacific Division. In fact, they hold a  20-point lead over anyone else in their division, still the Magic Number for the Pacific division crown is 67 for San Jose.

In this instance, it will be different for every team. The Magic number will be different for The Ducks and The Coyotes and The Stars, depending on who’s in Second at that point.

So we’ll count that down as well, in an attempt to bring some excitement to the next 44 games of Sharks Hockey.

Lastly, We’ll keep an eye on the presidents trophy and how the Sharks stack against the top teams in the East as well as the Detroit Red Wings who seem to always be in the mix for the NHL’s best record.

So as we near the Halfway point, the Silver Bullet will resume it’s obsession with Sharks Hockey and what should be a triumphant march towards NHL History.

January 4, 2009 Posted by | danharris, Hockey, NHL, San Jose Sharks, Sharks, thesilverbullet | Leave a comment

San Jose Sharks Preview: Defense and Goal

Well, enough time has passed for me to scratch out some more thoughts on the Teal and Black. Now, we turn to the Defense and Goalie positions.

Defenseman:

Christian Ehrhoff: Initial indications show that our friend from West Germany will be paired with offensive-minded newcomer Dan Boyle. This man led the team with 108 blocked shots last year, and had 21 helpers along the way. Christian battled through an injury in the playoffs, but still had 5 assists in 10 games. The partnership with Boyle should be beneficial. Expect about the same from Ehrhoff, though, maybe 25 assists, but Boyle and Blake will go the scoring from the blue line.

Kyle McLaren: Oh the trade buzz. That hardest part for Kyle will be cracking the top four. Our big bounding d-man has a lot to compete for against the newcomers. McClellan’s offensive blue line approach might reduce McLaren’s role. Kyle should work on his slap shot and put up some points before this preseason ends. He is coming of knee surgery, so we’ll wait to see…

Douglas Murray: I hate to say it, but Murray may suffer a similar fate. The hardest part about the new coaching staff’s approach will be the need for big physical defenseman that helped lead the sharks to fewer goals against than most teams. He did just get a four year extension so look for him to play early in the season and fade if he doesn’t mesh with the new system.

Mark Edouard Vlasic: Pickles is a young skilled defenseman, and he was originally slated at the top of the depth chart. McClellan indicated he might be paired with veteran newcomer Rob Blake. He also signed a four year extension wo the higherups are looking for him to perform. The kid had just 14 points in all 82 games last year and finished a dismal -12. Being paired with Blake will help Vlasic, who will be dishing point shots to Rob a lot. If he doesn’t perform quickly, though I could see a plummet in his value to both the top line and the team.

Rob Blake: I hated this man for so many playoff seasons, it’s hard for me to write anything constructive about him. Just like so many other former foes, I’m sure I’ll get used to it.  Blake is coming off his second season of lower offensive numbers. The Colorado days have ended, and Rob scored just 31 points with LA last year. I’m sure the national analysts will point to Blake as being a savior of some kind, though I think he’s WAY past his prime.

Dan Boyle: A great acquisition for the Sharks in the off-season. You can’t help but like everything you’re see from Tampa. Well, You don’t necessarily want to see a wrist injury that dampers a lot of your season, but his offensive-mind should work well in San Jose. The coaching staff is talking about that offensive blue line and this is the poster boy. He has scored in the preseason already, but it will be interesting and fun to watch this guy as the year goes on.

Brad Lukowich: While a good friend of Boyle’s,  I doubt Lukowich gets too much attention early on. He only tallied 7 points in 59 games last year. He’ll be a nice leader for the younger guys, though.

 

GOALIES:

Evgeni Nabakov: There really is nothing to trip about when it comes to Nabby. He led the league in Wins last year (46) and was the best goalie in hockey. He was snubbed for the Vezina trophy, but will make another attempt at it this season. Predictions show he may be the best fantasy goalie this next season.  Expect at least 40 wins, assuming this team comes together, and another Trophy finalist for Nabby.

Brian Boucher: Our steadfast backup is fine, but that’s it. Just fine.

The Sharks will open up the season eight days from now against Anaheim, and then the roller coaster begins again, for another 82 games.

October 1, 2008 Posted by | danharris, Hockey, NHL, San Jose Sharks, Sharks, Sports, thesilverbullet | Leave a comment

San Jose Sharks Preview: Forwards

Training Camp Opens this weekend and that means it’s time to look at the San Jose Sharks and their individual reports from the Silver Bullet.

The 2009 San Jose Sharks are puzzle pieces, or so says the team’s marketing department. Apparently, Seeing how those pieces fit together is why we should buy tickets this season. Truthfully, I have my own cynicism about Team Teal this year and how well these pieces fit together…

To see the rest of this article click here.

And be sure to check out our new site at http://silverbulletsports.com/… Our Local Opinions will be cross-posted for now.

-Dan

September 20, 2008 Posted by | danharris, Hockey, NHL, San Jose Sharks, Sharks, Sports, thesilverbullet | Leave a comment

San Jose Sharks Preview: Forwards

Training Camp Opens this weekend and that means it’s time to look at the San Jose Sharks and their individual reports from the Silver Bullet.

The 2009 San Jose Sharks are puzzle pieces, or so says the team’s marketing department. Apparently, Seeing how those pieces fit together is why we should buy tickets this season. Truthfully, I have my own cynicism about Team Teal this year and how well these pieces fit together…
But we’ll get to that throughout the season. We may as well get to it with the guys up front…

FORWARDS:

Jonathan Cheechoo: The Cheechoo train was a bit derailed last year, just 23 red lights. Our Richard winner of three seasons ago hasn’t had the space he had back in 2006. He won’t start the season with his setup man Joe Thornton, but I have a feeling the two will be reunited plenty this season. Cheech will break 35 this year.

Ryane Clowe: Clowe showed a lot during the first few games of the playoffs last year, but that’s about all we saw, Clowe got into just 15 contests during the regular season after sustaining a knee injury.. Some speculate that Clowe can’t stay healthy with his rough and tumble style. I tend to agree. Great heart and physicality, but great potential for missing time.

Marcel Goc: It’s tough to say what the German Connection will do this year, The center racked up just 5 goals in 51 games last season. He spent most of his time on RW’s checking lines. It’ll be tough for Marcel to crack the top six, so we may see a similar result this season.
Mike Grier: Gotta love heart. I was skeptical of Grier when he came to the Sharks. And while he hasn’t been a complete offensive boost, he has shown grit and determination in his two campaigns in San Jose. Offseason Knee Surgery may prove problematic for the physical forward. Hopefully, he’s healthy by the opener.

Patrick Marleau: El Capitan. I have mixed feelings when it comes to  Patty as well. Either McClellan is going to inspire him and bring him back to the scoring side of things. He had just 19 goals last year, his lowest total since 1999. The Sharks new coach has already shown tremendous confidence in the captain, pairing him on the top line with Clowe and Joe Thornton. We’ll see if he can right the ship or ship out at the deadline.


Milan Michalek: A pretty consistent year last year and I think we can expect more of the same. Michalek spent some time on the top line last year, and I think we’ll see some of that this year, maybe not at first though. I would look for a 25/30 type year for the winger.

Torrey Mitchell: The Young Kid with the visor scored just 20 points last season (10/10), but i think it’s just the beginning. Mitchell will start the season on the lower lines, but is a good young asset to the team. We’ll see if he gets the minutes to score 15.

Tomas Plihal: Unfortunately, I see little hope for Thomas up in the NHL right now.  Plihal got 22 games of regular season action last year, and just 3 games in the postseason. If he stays with the Sharks, he’ll be rotating as a healthy scratch.

Jeremy Roenick: How can you not love JR sticking with it. Admittedly, I didn’t like JR when he was non-teal… BUT, his performace in Game 7 of the Calgary series earned a roster spot in my mind. He’ll stay in the lower line combos, but you can’t argue with his inspirational personality and guidance to the younger players on the squad. That alone is worth the half million.

Devin Setoguchi: We saw some flashes from the showman last season, but he eventually faded throughout the season. Devin put in 11 goals in about half the season last year (44 games). Production from this winger will be minimal if he’s restricted to the fourth line, and we’ll see if it takes some time to recover from off season surgery.

Jody Shelley: The Bruiser. Truthfully, I was surprised when Doug Wilson brought back Shelley. The enforcer acquired from Columbus in late January shows a lot of character and toughness, but can be a goon at times and a liability others. I have a feeling McClellan may not warm up to Shelley who may find himself scratched a lot this season.

Joe Thornton: Well, Joe had another good year last year with 96 points. No doubt he’ll continue to be the quarterback. It remains to be seen if there’s any friction between him and Patty Marleau. Thornton appears to be the leader of this squad, but who knows what goes on behind closed doors. The top line should flourish and if Patty and Ryan can deliver the scoring, I predict another big season for the Sharks Alternate Captain.

Jeff Friesen: Wouldn’t it be nice to the see the return of the Freeze this year?Jeff missed all of last season, not making a roster. We’ll see if he cracks the roster and returns home to San Jose to round out his career.

Well get to the Defense and Goalies in the coming days. Stick with the Bullet!

-Dan

September 20, 2008 Posted by | danharris, Hockey, NHL, San Jose Sharks, Sharks, Sports, thesilverbullet | Leave a comment

and just in time for the postseason

After a seven month hiatus from the Bullet, It is time again for some Hockey World banter and analysis. In this playoff preview, we’ll break down the Sharks chances against the Calgary Flames and make predictions on the rest of the Conference Quarterfinal series’

A Personal Update as to my hiatus: not that anyone reads this. I have graduated from San Jose State University and am working as a news anchor on 1590-KLIV AM in San Jose. I also work as a Photog/Reporter/Writer for Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area. Adjusting to this transition over the past weeks has definitely hindered my ability to write in here.

But I’m Back! And it’s Time for the Annual Silver Bullet Wouldn’t Bet on it Western Conference Quarterfinal picks.

Let’s Start in the Eastern Conference and work our way to the good stuff.

Eastern Conference

Let’s face it. I don’t know nearly as much about the Eastern Conference as I should, but here are my thoughts as we head into the first round:

#1 Montreal vs. #8 Boston:   Well, Joe’s old team is back in the postseason, but they’ve got a tall order. The Montreal Canadiens are playing like the days of old and have a tough young group that’s ready to rumble. Only problem for the Bruins is, they haven’t beat Montreal all season (0-8), and it doesn’t look like they will have anything to compete with the Habs young studs. Prediction: Boston will continue to “fly under the radar”, to a 4-1 series loss. Canadiens in 5.

#2 Pittsburgh vs. #7 Ottawa: Oh, how the might have fallen. It seems as if the Ottawa Senators have been a fixture atop the Eastern Conference in recent years, but now the likes of Sid the Kid, and Mr. Malkin have taken that step. The Penguins have been slowly maturing since Crosby’s entrance into the league and its hard not to believe. The Pens have it all going for them and should blow through a Ottawa team that is banged up and not expected to make a run this year. Prediction: Pittsburgh in a sweep.

#3 Washington vs. #6 Philadelphia: This may be the most interesting matchup in the East. You’ve got the possible league MVP in Ovechkin and a balanced re-tooled Philly lineup with a nice blend of veterans and youngsters. Both teams will hit this series in stride, coming off decent finishes to the regular season. This one will go the distance as both teams are quick and rough, and will beat each other up through seven games. Ovechkin has a little too much on his shoulders, though.  Prediction: Philly in Seven.

#4 New Jersey vs. #5 New York Rangers:  While the shut-down mode of hockey has faded in the memory of a cancelled season and lockout, so too were the hopes of the gritty Devils. For some reason, though, they stick around. The Rangers, however, look like the much better team having been formulated for a gritty playoff run and Devils team that just isn’t what it used to be. While the Rangers aren’t that good on the road, and they lost home ice advantage two days ago… they are the better team. Win one for Jagr… better yet win four. Prediction: Rangers in Six.

Western Conference

#1 Detroit vs. #8 Nashville:  It’s just a shame these two division rivals will face each other in the postseason. Though, it was hardly a possibility at the beginning of the season. Somehow, those pesky Nashville Predators always get in. It will be a nice moment for a team that was for sale in the offseason and had potential moving vans lined up. How can you not acknowledged the best scoring team with the best special teams in the league. It’s not hard to see the Red Wings are far superior here. Cheers to the Preds for pulling it together. Prediction: Red Wings in Five.

#3 Minnesota vs. #6 Colorado: The Avs have a nice blend of youth and vets here, with a couple of dinosaurs but seem like they could put something together in the right conditions. Luckily for them, they drew the six-slot which matches them up with a division foe in The Wild. Though, Gaborik on his stuff, and the rest of the team’s balanced scoring may be enough to defeat Colorado. This one is pretty close. Prediction: Feels like old times Colorado wins in Seven.

#4 Anaheim vs. #5 Dallas: This will be the bets series of the First Round. Mark My Words! The Ducks are obviously a threat coming off their postseason success last year. With Teemu and Neidermeyer returning Clemens-like to the lineup,  this group should be feared. The Stars behind Long Time (North)star Mike Madano and Pain-in-the ass Marty Turco, may give the quackers a hard time. This Stars time stumbled down the stretch and it won’t surprise me if they stumble in this postseason. I say they take an early series lead, but crumble to the Ducks late. Prediction: Ducks in Six.

 And now the biggie…

#2 San Jose vs. #7 Calgary: I’m going to be totally honest here, and let my pessimism ring through. I wish we hadn’t drawn the flames. Were we not the two seed when we lost the last time? Were we not favored by many to win the Stanley Cup? The San Jose Sharks have been the best team in hockey these past months, and I can attribute it to anything in particular. It seems this is a trend with the Sharks and their potential late season successes. Last year they put together a similar streak and finished with 107 points and a four seed. So What’s the difference this year? We don’t get the Nashville Predators who we seemingly have a number for in the postseason. No we get the San Jose Sharks.

Wait! What? Huh. No we get the San Jose Sharks from the early 2000s. Nolan, Primeau, Smith, Sutter, Kipper. Jesus, its good old fanshioned San Jose Family Reunion. But not as much as the media might make it appear. Only 5 current Sharks were around when these guys were in Teal and the team says it doesn’t matter to them. Yet, this was a card I would have preferred not to draw. There’s something about those flames(3-1 against the Sharks this season). There’s something about this series that makes me uneasy. While writers everywhere are picking the Sharks to put away the flamed relatively quickly I see it differently. The Flames are going to make something of this. Jerome Iginla will come alive. Kipper will stand tall. The Saddledome will rage once again.

The Sharks just might be too good, though. Prediction: The Sharks may have to scramble to save this series but they will move on. Sharks in Seven.

I will try to keep myself involved as the Sharks run through the postseason, and as the Warriors struggle to stay afloat.

-DAN.

April 9, 2008 Posted by | danharris, Hockey, NHL, San Jose Sharks, Sharks, Sports, thesilverbullet | Leave a comment

A New Hope.

The San Jose Sharks have had some time off, and now they play for keeps. Or do they?

The boys have had time to think about their play in the Western Conference Semifinals and their disappointment against the Mighty Red Wings. They’ve have time to ponder which mistake was the most costly. Now, though, they come back to the Tank with a vengeance and another possible chance to hoist the cup.

The Sharks’ time is now.

Or at least that’s what experts are saying… The Sharks are the team to beat in the Pacific and even the Western Conference. We’ve seen these types of predictions before though. The last time it was a preseason prediction that the Ducks would win the cup last year. And they did.

In many ways, this season is the turning point for Doug Wilson, who has been very adamant in keeping his young nucleus together and not try to buy his cup. In Many ways, the players that will try again are the same squad that couldn’t get past the second round, now two years in a row. In many ways, the fans will be looking for this to be it, their reward for long years of diligence.

The Sharks’ Time is now.

With Patty, Cheech and Joe anchoring the attack, and stronghold Rivet and McLaren backing them up, it would seem there is no stopping this club. Yet, after many years of disappointment in the Playoffs it would also seem that Dougie hasn’t found the right piece.

Surely, boozer Sandis O. and Loud Mouth JR aren’t the answers. 

Either way, Team Teal opens up their schedule tomorrow from Edmonton and will again battle for 82 games in hopes of a playoff berth and run. The experts agree:

The Sharks’ time is now. 

But why is this year any different? 

-Dan

October 3, 2007 Posted by | danharris, Hockey, NHL, San Jose Sharks, Sharks, Sports, thesilverbullet | 1 Comment

A summer roundup.

As is the usual case at The Bullet, I take some time off during the summer from writing everyday. BUT, as we return to the regular hockey season and the other professional sports heat up, I am making an early return to discuss some of the major events of the summer. Regular analysis and opinion will resume at the beginning of September when NCAA and NFL Football resume.

 

BIll Walsh

Bill Walsh

Perhaps the most recognizable Bay Area Sports figure has passed and as a young sports fan, even I can admit his significance in my sports appreciation. His disease had consumed him but he was still talking football and Bay Area sports. My most vivid memory was the tear-filled announcement of retirement after Super Bowl 23– the masterful final drive that sealed the 49ers third championship with just 36 seconds left. His image in Stanford, San Jose State, and San Francisco will be a great coach, with an abrupt and assertive personality that was the genius of his craft.

So Long Bill and thanks for being the force behind so much in this area.

Barry breaks record

Barry’s shot heard round the world on August 7th solidified what we all knew was inevitable. Bud Selig is an idiot who wont give in, and Barry got his epic moment. ESPN says it will be a moment frozen in time (perhaps only a few years if A-Rod continues), and Barry truly is one of the greatest. Whether or not steroids cloud the issues from here on in this moment was his and MLB, choosing not to be a part of it, missed out on a golden moment for their game.

Bud Selig, who has consistently denied Barry the due respect, should be ashamed of his actions and comments during a truly prolific time in professional sports. 

Drew Remenda returns

 Drew decides to return to San Jose, the Sharks, and Sharks Byte with his partner in crime Randy Hahn. What a fabulous move by the Sharks Organization, even if it may cost a pretty penny. Drew brings a realistic sense to telecasts that attracts the non-hardcore hockey fan. Remenda has already earned many accolades for his performance on the Magazine show “Shark Byte”. His personality and chemistry with Hahn make this duo one of the best in sports. Welcome Back Drew! 

Joe Thornton Extension

The Sharks didn’t miss when they locked up the monster Thornton until 2011. This extension, though, seems to be in place of some other off season improvement acquisition. More so, Doug Wilson seems to be content with his roster. One Problem: this roster hasn’t been able to get there before, what makes him think it will get there now? Losing Toskala and Bell, and Hannan is a bit of a loss, but we have done nothing to replace them, except the 9th overall pick Logan C.

So what do we want, then? Make a move, Doug. JT was only the beginning. Ducks look to repeat and have made all of the moves to solidify their aspiration.

August 8, 2007 Posted by | 49ers, Baseball, danharris, Football, Giants, Hockey, MLB, NFL, NHL, San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, San Jose Sharks, Sharks, Sports, thesilverbullet | 1 Comment