No to robots, yes to victory

Four things.

1. On Sarich’s demolishing of Marleau, from Eric Duhatschek’s game story:

“I was too busy getting scrummed up there to see the replay, but Patty came in and said it was a clean hit. He thought it was a clean hit.”

So said Ryane Clowe, the “Patty” being Marleau. When the player who was hit says it was a clean hit, and the player who made the hit says it was a clean hit, and the referees on the ice say it’s a clean hit, IT’S A CLEAN HIT. End of story, end of debate.

2. Cujo will not start tomorrow, nor should he, nor does he want to. He said pretty clearly at the end of the game that he think’s Miikka Kiprusoff is the best goalie in the league, and that’s not something that a guy who’s dying to start is going to say. There is no controversy.

3. It might have gone unnoticed in the comeback, but that was another great bench-management game from Keenan, who saw that Phaneuf-Vandermeer wasn’t working at all, and moved Aucoin — who was very steady last night — up to play with him. Surely part of that was also the need for more offense from a defence-pairing, but Hale-Vandermeer was fine together also.

4. Holy crap that was fun. The emotion and passion I called for yesterday was all there after the Sarich hit. I said this in comments somewhere already, but the Flames getting geared thanks to a nice, big, legal check instead of the last two years’ strategy, which was, “Let it get more out of hand, then instigate fights.”

It didn’t surprise me at all to see Nolan score the winner. I was seeing a lot of statistical comparisons at the end of the season between Nolan and his predecessor in the veteran winger department, Tony Amonte. The difference between the two, especially during the last half of the season, went way further than stats though. Amonte was never a top-set penalty killer, he wasn’t a clear dressing-room leader, he didn’t score the goals he scored at big moments, and he WENT OFFSIDE 10 TIMES A GAME. That was a huge game from Nolan last night — after Sarich, it was him leading the emotional charge.

Oddly, I was also thrilled to see Keenan raise his hands and celebrate on the bench after Nolan’s goal.
The coaches SHOULD be excited to win, and that was something that Sutter and Playfair never, ever did when they were the head guys.

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~ by duncan on April 14, 2008.

3 Responses to “No to robots, yes to victory”

  1. Unfortunately it is not the end of the story. Go to SJsharks.com and watch the entire season of Marleau’s post-game interviews. Find two where he complains or says something negative, not in his character. He lets his play on the ice speak for himself. You could see that in the way he immediately got back on his feet and into the scrum, even though all of the lights were probably still not back on.

    You can see the elbow planted on the face of Marleau from the HNIC replay, you can see the hit up high on the head of Marleau in the photo of Phaneuf, both are much worse than the shove called against Iginla in Game 2, Huselius hooking penalty on McLaren, Yelle hit from behind on Pavelski, was it Vandermeer with the stupid slash on Thornton? Those are dumb penalties.

    Phaneuf and Sarich, and one or two other attempts, targeting the head of Marleau is much worse. And the Flames ended up with a power play. It was about as horrible a performance by the referees as possible. Especially after years of reading press releases from the league office citing the need for player saftey with hits to the head, and after getting called out by the league disciplinarian for questioning the length of Owen Nolan’s suspension back in the day. Campbell’s reply? It was needed to send a message to the league about dangerous hits to the head.

    All the complaining does not mean anything heading into Game 4, but if the Sharks do not run through walls trying to answer Calgary’s physical play then its over. And after 3 embarassingly bad playoff exits, fans and media in San Jose have every right to get as pissed off as they want to.

  2. Referring to the above comment, it still shocks me that for some reason fans do not want to take ownership of their own players’ mistakes. Marleau got caught with his head down, and when you put yourself in a vulnerable position, expect to get rocked. If you can’t deal with it, then don’t watch or play hockey because it’s happened a thousand times and it will happen a thousand more times. If you think it should be gone from the league then I suggest Campbell is the first to be suspended for rocking the shit out of Umberger a couple years ago. As of now there is no rule against putting your shoulder into a guy who has his head down. End of story.

    Secondly, Duncan, you and I are on the Nolan bandwagon. I’m refusing to hop off, I agree with you that he’s so much more than Amonte. He’s both a leader and a physical presence, and he’s often making smart simple plays. I don’t think Amonte did any of those things.

  3. PJ, we all get emotional about our teams and players, but that wasn’t Marleau in the quote, it was Clowe. And I don’t think Marleau’s going to get to the bench and not say “something negative.” If he felt it was dirty — hell, even if he didn’t think it — it would have been worth his while to fire his team up by saying as much.

    I’m with Kyle here: It’s a clean check, and always has been. Marleau was brought through the Western League, and has taken and delivered those hits before. That’s the intimidation that makes hockey great, not stonehands like Shelley and Godard plodding about the ice. It’s a heads up sport. And if Douglas Murray steps into Tanguay in exactly the same way tonight with a clean check, I’ll be the first to applaud it.

    All that out of the way, I’m certainly a Marleau fan so far in this series. The Sharks’ best player after Clowe through three games, and his performance after the hits from Phaneuf and Sarich was phenomenal. Lesser players would have folded the tent.

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