Support TheFeeder, visit our sponsors
Support this community by becoming a Sponsor
  HOSER of the WEEK
  Contact Us
  Meet the Staff
  Join the Team
  Our Sponsors

Happy times!
But that's about to change
4/12/08 - By Ken Smyth

The Sharks won game two and earned a split. The Flames won game one and earned a split. Fans in San Jose are happy, fans in Calgary are happy or at least as happy as Canadian hockey fans can get. Coaches Mike Keenan and Ron Wilson are not happy, but what else is new. Me? I'm happy my taxes are done. Still, let's all remember this happy weekend when the sun is shining in San Jose and we feel good. I hope it lasts.

Only sure thing is that Sunday night will see a team up 2-1. Oversimplified, the Flames/Sharks match-up is a tough team that needs to play good against a good team that needs to play tough. Both teams need to be smart. The Flames were good enough and smarter than the Sharks on Wednesday; the Sharks were tough enough and smarter than the Flames on Thursday.

Mikka Kiprusoff and Evgeni Nabokov, Kipper and Nabby to the Sharks' crowd, have both been at the top of game since the first period of game one. There's no reason to expect anything different the rest of the way. Except for rare moments the games were played at the Flames' pace, not the Sharks. Slow down the other teams top line, keep them off your goaltender, exploit turnovers; that's the way the Flames win games.

San Jose fans are used to this, it's Sharks' Hockey 2k01 version complete with Kipper and Owen Nolan on the cover and Darryl Sutter in the credits. Put a Jerome Iginla on one of Sutter's Sharks teams instead of Jeff Freisen or Teemu Selanne there might be a Stanley Cup banner hanging over 208. But today's Sharks' team is built to play faster and should be running that one off the ice by the third period. Fast rushes will put pressure in front of the goaltender without passes from behind the net into the high slot that so far are getting taken away by the Calgary defensemen and centers.

On their part, Calgary needs to play smarter, stay out of the penalty box, and grind out close wins. They're built for generic Northwest Division hockey where scores run low. Depending on the fatigue of the team and the mood of the officials this can result in a penalty parade like we saw the other night. If the Sharks are content to play that game too, the Flames chances are good.

Key for the Sharks is to press their advantages in speed and size in the offensive zone. Support Nabokov and avoid useless penalties on defense. Put Jody Shelley on the #1 line with Joe Thornton to tie up the defensemen a bit if that's what's needed to give Thornton and Milan Michalek or Jeremy Roenick time and space. Thornton attracts a lot of attention from the Flames; if you can't prevent it, take advantage of it. Don't be surprised if Ron Wilson's line juggling comes into play here, especially if Thornton is a little more shaken up from that hit in the third period of the last game than is being let on.

Referee review- Although the penalties on Thursday were numerically one sided, the referees were calling what they saw in game two. Game two referees Kelly Sutherland and Don Koharski missed an awful lot on Wednesday; being out of position on several occasions around the net, and failing to call a few obvious dives by Flames players. Thursday we saw Tim Peel and Marc Joanette working their butts off to be in position to follow the puck and keep out of the players' way.

We're sharing the referees with the Dallas-Anaheim series. Koharski and Sutherland called eleven minors on the Ducks last Thursday, must have bought some whistles at the airport. Peel and Joanette were in Anaheim Saturday, so Koharski and Sutherland will probably work Sunday in Calgary. Want Koharski to watch the puck? Fill it with jam or put a hole in it.

Game 5 Warning for Flames fans- You found the Molson stands behind 209 and 222 with no problem, not that we were that worried. But please be careful what you put in your mouth, I saw a couple of you with a bucket of Arena popcorn. Overall you folks are a class act, glad to see a few of you in San Jose.

Contact Ken at at


What did you think of this article? Post your comments on the Feeder Forums


Privacy Statement   |   Contact Us   |   Advertise
Copyright 2008 All rights reserved.
This website is an unofficial and independently operated source of news
and information not affiliated with any team, or league.