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Sharks rookie tourney report
Part 2 of 3
9/17/04 - By GJ Berg

GJ Berg reports from Anaheim, California, site of this year's (2nd Annual) rookie tournament between the Sharks, Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and Phoenix Coyotes. This is the second of a three part report...

Day 2

Thursday's games had a recorded instrumental version of the National Anthem played before each game. Friday's games had a local 12 year old sing before each game (very nice "pipes").

First game of the day was the Kings vs. the Coyotes. The Phoenix couple sitting near me indicated that neither goalie was really "in" the organization, perhaps more like a "practice" goalie. And it really seemed that way; he wasn't helped much by the defense either. Score was an extremely lopsided 11-2 in favor of the more local team. It sometimes seemed that every time the Kings got a scoring opportunity they did.

Starting line up: Bernier (46), Kaspar (54), Prudden (63), Tuomi (64), Andress (67), Ehelechner (33)

Scratches: Gorges (40), Ford (55), Joseph (47), Gill (49)

Ehelechner played the entire game. Greiss dressed as backup.

The Sharks still had speed, but lacked some of the hustle (see Joseph) and didn't get their defensive game "together" until the third period.

The Sharks got into penalty trouble, killing off minor after minor, including two before they scored their first. Jarrett (69) from Hennessy (61) and Armstrong (58) scored on the PP at 13:59. SOG: 13 for Ducks, 9 for Sharks. Period ending score: Sharks 1-2 Ducks

The second period started show casing the fighting skills of the two teams. The first fight on the card was Tremblay (56) vs Konopa (66), followed soon after by Hoffman (62) vs Smith (47); Hoffman retired for "repairs" and didn't return until the third period. Ehelechner was really struggling; getting beat on some side-to-sides and over the shoulders when he went down (perhaps a bit more "patience" in not committing to a position as soon). The rest of the team wasn't faring that much better, loosing control on a lot of poke checks, and just not able to keep control of the puck. Delayed off sides seemed the whistle of choice for a large part of the period. Soon after getting out of the box, Tremblay and Konopa had a rematch, which resulted in their ejection (tourney rules: two fights and you're out of the game).

Kaspar played for the first time in the tourney Friday (might be his first "real" game on the smaller North American ice). He was often in the right place to receive great head-man and near scoring chances, but the passes weren't getting to him; I think that's a matter of team chemistry and communication. By the end of the game, he was getting more. Also put on some nice hits against the boards, very nice to see he's not afraid to dig in and go for it. Could be a "power" forward in the future. Like the pick up.

Sharks scored again in the second on a 5-on-3 opportunity. Kaspar (54) from Conboy (50) and Jarrett (69) at 17:11. Almost immediately after that, a Duck took on a Shark player (who wouldn't respond) sucker punching his way into the penalty box (appears to be in retaliation to drawing a penalty from the resulting calls). And then another fight -- between Conboy (50) and O'Brein (74) -- before the puck was even dropped.

Plihal (39) seemed to be the acting captain as he went over the official's crease to get the low down on the sucker punch and Conboy situations. End result of those little incidents -- Sharks: 53 tripping, 50 slashing, fighting, game misconduct; Ducks: 73 high sticking, unsportsmanlike conduct, 74 slashing, fighting, game misconduct. SOG: Ducks 10, Sharks 13. (I didn't write down the score, but IIRC the Ducks had five or so goals by this time, scoring at least twice, if not three times during the period.)

In the third, there was a delay of game penalty against a Duck for closing his hand around the puck as well (the announcer didn't recognize the movement so had to call the ref over for an explanation ;-). SOG: Ducks 4 (total 27), Sharks 10 (total 32). Final score Ducks 6 - 2 Sharks.

Kings lead the tourney 2-0, Ducks 1-0-0-1, Sharks 1-1, Coyotes (the defending tourney champs) 0-2.

Check back tomorrow: Day 3 Report

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