| The Chum Bucket
Odds and ends from Sharkville
A few random thoughts to start the week. I'll lead
with an email I received asking why there wasn't a bigger outcry in the media
regarding the Dish Network dropping CSN California from their lineup. The
decision affects any Sharks fan since CSN California is the exclusive broadcast
partner of San Jose hockey, save for a couple games broadcast on Versus.
In response to the question, the media hasn't made a stink about it,
because the media could care less. Given that there is one regular beat writer
covering the Sharks in the Bay Area and hockey is still a red-headed step-child
when compared to the big three sports, what's most surprising may be the fact
that it got any press at all.
There's a reason big guns like ESPN
didn't bother to renew its contract with the NHL several years ago. Hockey
doesn't sell. At least not when competing for advertising dollars with the big
three and other hot ticket items du jour (like poker).
reason that Dish decided to punt on CSN. The big television draws in the Bay
Area don't play on CSN California. With the Giants World Series victory, expect
them to draw more attention and with it, advertising dollars. The Giants are
covered by CSN Bay Area, along with the Warriors. CSN California's lineup
includes the A's, who also get the step-child reception in the Bay Area, along
with the Sacramento Kings.
For Dish, the decision was easy. Go where
the advertising dollars are. Until the A's get a new stadium and hockey becomes
relevant to the main stream consumer (which will most likely never happen), CSN
California is irrelevant.
To some degree you can blame the Giants for
all of this. If they continue to languish as they have for the past 50 years,
then television viewership is more distributed between the two. With them
winning, advertisers are more apt to move their dollars to the network with
greater ratings. Throw in a lousy economy and you have more scrutiny being
applied to how those dollars are spent.
If the A's start drawing those
viewers over to CSN California, along comes the demand. That means television
providers like Dish are forced to include those networks in their lineup.
Shifting gears, the injury bug couldn't have
come at a worse time. With the Sharks struggling to establish some consistency
in their game, the loss of Niklas Wallin, Kent Huskins, Devin Setoguchi, Jason
Demers and Scott Nichol will take its toll on any chance to put together more
The schedule doesn't help either. San Jose gets a resurgent
Detroit Red Wings team twice in the next seven days, an Ottawa lineup looking
to stick it to Dany Heatley, the Eastern Conference leading Flyers, and a hot
When that's all done, the Sharks will square off
against a Blackhawks team looking for a little revenge for their loss in San
Jose last week, and a pair of games against a red hot Dallas Stars team.
As if the defensive corps wasn't shaky enough, the loss of Demers,
Huskins and Wallin mean that the Sharks are forced to bring up youngsters that
wouldn't normally be playing at the NHL level.
Justin Braun has been a nice surprise, but San Jose is
razor thin in terms of viable depth beyond that. Look for Mike Moore to get a
call up to help supplement the roster. Derek Joslin will also see more minutes
until the three injured blueliners return.
Nichol skated on Monday and
is expected to be back in the lineup on Tuesday.
Speaking of Braun, the rookie had a weekend to remember. The youngster played
in his first NHL game on Friday night in Vancouver and logged just under 17
minutes of ice time on 24 shifts (which dwarfed Joslin's 5:29 of ice time).
Braun was a minus one, which was spectacular considering eight of his teammates
were a minus 2 or worse.
Patrick Marleau and Huskins were minus 4
each. Jamal Mayers and Torrey Mitchell were a minus 3.
helped out on a pair of goals in the Sharks 4-3 win in Edmonton on Saturday
night. His assist on Benn Ferriero's goal in the 1st period was his first point
in the NHL. He would get the primary assist on Dany Heatley's second goal of
the night, giving him a multi-point game in only his second NHL game.
Pretty good opening weekend for the rookie.
Finally, the All-Star voting is in full swing. The Sharks will be lucky to get
a single player on one of the two lineups this year if current counts are any
indication. Dan Boyle is the only Shark player even showing up on the voting
leader board, and he's the 16th ranked defenseman!
P.K. Subban, Dustin
Byfuglien and Andrei Marlkov all lead the Sharks blueliner. Marleau, Heatley,
Joe Thornton, and Antti Niemi are nowhere to be found on the leader board, even
though all four appear on the ballot.
Not that Niemi has any business
appearing on an All-Star roster given his play this season, but at least one of
the Sharks top three forwards has to be a top-20 vote getter.
cast your vote online at: http://vote.nhl.com/
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