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Free LCS 1997-98
Reader Hockey Pool
head coach: Darryl Sutter
roster: C - Bernie Nicholls, Ron Sutter, Patrick Marleau, Marco Sturm, Mike Ricci, Jeff Friesen, Alex Korolyuk. LW - Shawn Burr, Murray Craven, Stephane Matteau, Steve Goulla, Dave Lowry. RW - Tony Granato, Owen Nolan, Todd Ewen, John MacLean, Andrei Nazarov, Barry Potomski. D - Ken Sutton, Todd Gill, Bill Houlder, Al Iafrate, Marty McSorley, Marcus Ragnarsson, Mike Rathje, Andrei Zyuzin. G - Mike Vernon, Kelly Hrudey.
injuries: Shawn Burr, lw (knee , 3-4 weeks); Todd Ewen, rw (knee, out for season), Al Iafrate, d (knee surgery on 12/29, out at least six weeks).
transactions: recalled Jarrod Skalde, c, from Kentucky (AHL); Skalde claimed by Chicago off waivers.
Western Conference - Pacific Division Team GP W L T PTS GF GA Colorado 46 22 9 15 59 139 113 Los Angeles 44 17 19 8 42 122 125 Anaheim 46 15 23 8 38 107 137 San Jose 43 16 22 5 37 104 119 Edmonton 45 14 22 9 37 109 133 Calgary 47 12 25 10 34 117 142 Vancouver 45 12 25 8 32 122 156
12/16 Detroit W 5-1 12/18 Vancouver T 0-0 12/21 at Anaheim W 4-2 12/26 Phoenix L 4-0 12/28 at Tampa Bay L 2-1 12/29 at Florida T 2-2 01/02 at Detroit W 4-1 01/03 at Boston L 3-0 01/06 St. Louis L 5-1 01/09 Buffalo W 5-2
by Al Swanson, San Jose Correspondent
In The News...
Reports in the media about the Finned Fantasticos are beginning to say some strange things. The Sharks are described as 'red-hot', 'surprising' and 'tough'. When was the last time anyone saw San Jose described as red-hot? Perhaps in 1994 when we had the nine-game unbeaten streak? Maybe after we beat Detroit in the playoffs those many years ago. Certainly not in the last two years! Currently (12/18), the Sharkies are in ninth place in the West and only one game behind second place in the Pacific. OK, in any other division, those 31 points would at best tie you for fifth, but no mind. Shark fans aren't looking at that.
What's happened? First has to be defense. Darryl Sutter's system is actually being played. It's taken a couple of months, but the team gets it now. For a terrific example, see a replay of the Wings game from this week. Everytime a Red Wing forward had the puck, he saw four SJ Sharks waiting at the blue line for him. In the past three games, Hrudey and Vernon have let a total of two pucks touch the back of their net.
Second is the defense against the power play. Again, the media is describing our penalty kill as effective. And it has to be. Despite the man at the top and his penchant for disciplined hockey, the Sharks are again near the basement when it comes to sitting in the Sin Bin: 22nd in the league. Why? Marty McSorley (94 min., eighth among defensemen) and Andrei Nazarov (80 min.) certainly contribute, but Owen Nolan (120 min., eighth among forwards) has carved his name in the seat of every penalty box in the NHL.
The Ice is Friesen...
It appears that the Million Dollar Bonus is working. Jeff Friesen is on target to hit the 80 points he needs to get that payday by March. He has 16 goals and 12 assists for 28 points. In 32 games. The boy is en fuego! Friesen has shown some serious improvement, but Sutter is expecting more. For a guy in his fourth year, Friesen should be posting some higher numbers, but he isn't getting much help.
NHL Player of the Week!
Mike Vernon was selected Player of the Week for the period of 12/15 to 12/21 for posting a 2-0-1 record including a .970 GAA and a .958 save percentage. The two wins included the shutout against Vancouver.
Red Wings without a Wing or a Prayer - Detroit in the Tank
The Sharks were coming off their second four-game no-loss streak of the year -- including a sweep of the two-game road trip that saw only one enemy puck in San Jose's net and a shutout of the league-leading Stars -- when Brendan Shanahan and Co. strolled into the Tank. They did not stroll out. Instead, they went like dogs with their tails between their legs and five -- count 'em, five -- Shark pucks in their backsides. Owen Nolan scored his second in two games and fifth of the year. Jeff Friesen put his 15th past Hodson. Al 'the Planet' Iafrate blasted one past Hodson on a Tony Granato rebound for his first of the year. Patrick Marleau (6th) on a beautiful move, and Murray Craven (7th) put in the empty netter. The win also puts them in the last playoff spot in the West. Oh yeah, and Kris Draper had an assist on Mike Vernon's goal which cost him the shutout. Defense works like a dream for a 5-1 Sharks victory.
Canucked! -- Vancouver at San Jose
Before this year, the Sharks had never recorded a 0-0 tie. This year, they have two. Vernon's happy, but no one else is. Craven said he "hates" 0-0 ties cause he's a forward and when no one scores, they're not doing their jobs. Relax, Murray. You guys earned another point and extend the unbeaten streak to six. Sharks tie at 0-0.
Ducks for Dinner? Again? -- Sharks in the Pond
For the third time this season, and despite Teemu Selanne, the Sharks had a turkey shoot with the Ducks. This was the second time the Sharks brought the Ducks down in their home pond and the win that puts Vernon at .500 for the season (11-11-3). Selanne put in two on Vernon in the first, but the Sharks never trailed. Murray Craven put in the first of four for the Great Whites during a shorthanded situation at 1:44 of the first. You can draw you're own conclusions. Next was John MacLean - for his first in teal and white - putting one in on the power play. Then MacLean tipped in a Bill Houlder shot from the slot for his second. Lastly, Marcus Ragnarsson put in his first of the year to put the final touches on a seventh unbeaten game. Special teams were the key for this game as the Sharks killed off every (seven) penalty assessed them by referee Jackson. It's your humble correspondent's opinion that Jackson was having an 'off' night. Either that or he's just dumb as a stump. He missed more calls than a broken answering machine. Sharks win 4-2.
Coyotes make it three straight - Phoenix @ San Jose
Keith Tkachuk and Co. strolled into the Tank, whooped a little Shark butt and easily ended the seven-game streak. It seems that Nikolai Khabibulin is unbeatable when working against the Sharks. The Coyotes stopped the Sharks in their debut game and have continued the domination ever since.
Welcome Home, Vernie! - Sharks in Hockeytown
In the six and a half years of their existence, there are many things the Sharks haven't done. They've never had a .500 season. They've never won their division in the playoffs. And they'd never beat Detroit at home in the regular season. Till last night. In the first meeting this season, the Wings won by a ref's call. The Sharks had that game all the way, out-shooting and out-chancing Detroit. The second meeting was Detroit's last loss, a 5-1 mastery by SJ in the Tank. The third was in Joe Louis Arena, before a packed house waiting to see the Flounders and Mike Vernon get pounded by the powerful defending Cup champs led by Chris Osgood. Well, the first two games shoulda provided a clue. This is a Shark team like none before it. From the onset, the Sharks dominated the game and never let up. In the three meetings this year, SJ has outscored the Wings 12-6. And they win this one 4-1.
Bears shut out Sharks - San Jose in Boston
The Bruins are one of those teams the Sharks have always had trouble with. And last week's game was no different. The Bears lead the lifetime series against SJ 8-1-3 and are 5-0-1 at home. Let's make that 6-0-1. Boston put three biscuits in the basket against Kelly Hrudey. It seems that when Hrudey is in between the pipes, the Sharks go to sleep. Do they feel he's that good? A San Jose loss, 3-1.
Sharks sing the Blues... Record contract due soon - Blues in the Tank
St Louis was without Brett Hull, but it didn't matter last week, cause the Sharks were without a clue. Although the Blues only managed a measly 13 shots, five of them found the holes in the Shark sieve. Al MacInnis, Craig Conroy, Pavol Demitra, Jamie Rivers and Jim Campbell all made their way past the Iafrate- less defense and beat both Shark goalies. Vernon gave up three before he'd had enough. Not to be outdone, Hrudey let in two more. Stephane Matteau scored the lone SJ goal in the 5-1 spanking of the Fish.
Sharks Buffalo Sabres - Buffalo at SJ
Mike Ricci, John MacLean and Bernie Nicholls each had a goal and an assist and Mike Vernon stopped 16 shots as the Sharks finally snapped the three-game winless streak at home. Ricci and Patrick Marleau found the back of the net just over 11 minutes apart in the first period. Maclean and Zyuzin popped a couple of second period goals before Nicholls put his second of the year in past the Dominator. The Sharks were playing one of 10 home games in January and finally gave the hometown fans something to cheer about in the 5-2 win against the Sabres.
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