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Do You Know Your ABCs?

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks
A. Apolo, as in Anton Ohno - I wonder if he has a good wrist shot.

B. Bobsled – How much training is needed for the number two and number three guys in the Four-man bobsled? They push the bobsled for about four seconds then hop in, tuck their arms, duck their head (I imagine close their eyes) and enjoy a high-speed tubing ride. Meanwhile figure skaters spend thousands of hours practicing and only two or three get to live the Olympic experience. Yes, sports aren’t always fair.

C. Canada, as in men’s hockey – Ouch!

D. Detroit, as in Red Wings – Is it me or were they tabbed too old and slow for the new NHL? Now the real test, with nine players coming back from the Olympics, can they sustain their game the rest of the season and into the playoffs?

E. Elle, as in McPherson – where is she and why has she never returned any of my emails or calls? Wait a minute, what does that have to do with hockey or the Olympics?

F. Finland – Winning the silver medal would have been a bigger deal if they had lost to anyone but Sweden.

G. Goaltenders – They were the storyline in men’s Ice Hockey. Nabokov played outstanding in his three shutout wins; Gerber leads Switzerland to huge upsets of the Czech Republic and Canada; Vokoun struggled most of the tournament and then rebounded with a good game in helping the Czech Republic win the bronze medal; Hasek got hurt; Lundqvist finally gave Sweden the goaltending they needed and in Finland they are saying ‘Kiprusoff who?’ after Antero Kiittymaki was named Tournament MVP leading Finland to a 7-1 record and the silver medal.

H. Hasek, as in Dominic – It’s no secret he doesn’t like to play unless he is 100%. Regarding his groin injury he recently was quoted “Of course, I’m worried, I’ll be honest, I’m worried.” With Zdeno Chara and Wade Redden unrestricted free agents this summer I am sure the trade rumors will be swirling around Canada’s capital between now and the March 9 trade deadline as the Senators might need another goaltender if they want a chance to go for the Stanley Cup this year.
I. Ice Hockey – In the Bobsled competition there was USA 1 and USA 2. Countries have more than one athlete in many events so why can’t Canada have two teams in Ice Hockey. I think Canada 2, with Marleau, Hannan, Cheechoo, Crosby, Kariya, Staal and others would have faired better, and been more enjoyable to watch than Canada 1.

J. Jonathan, as in Cheechoo – Since Dec. 1, Cheech has scored 27 goals in 32 games. At this pace he will score 22 goals in the remaining 26 games giving him 56 for the year. Personally, I like the fact he just signed a five-year contract with the Sharks.

K. Killing, as in Penalty – The Sharks are 23rd in the NHL in penalty killing at 80.3%. To make the playoffs the PK will have to be stronger in the last 26 games.

L. Luge – I would love to see Randy and Drew in the 2010 Olympics as a pair in the two-man Luge. I just wonder what color those skin tight Luge suits will be. Pink? Lime green? Yellow? Purple?

M. Mark, as in Smith – Speaking of things I would like to see in the 2010 Olympics, how about Mark Smith winning Gold in the Skeleton and being nicknamed the “Broccoli Bomber”.

N. Nolan, as in Owen – To be or not to be, that is the question. If he is healthy I think there will be a few teams who would love to have him for the final quarter of the season and the playoffs – IF. He would look good on a line with Marleau.

O. ‘O’ as in zero – The number of goals Canada scored in 11 of their last 12 periods.

P. Playoffs – My prediction for the Western Conference playoffs in order of finish... Detroit, Dallas, Calgary, Nashville, Vancouver, LA, San Jose, Colorado. This means San Jose squares off against Dallas in the first round.

Q. ‘Q’ traded this spot to ‘A’ for a 2nd round pick. ‘A’ then waived this spot which was subsequently picked up by ‘M’. ‘M’ then traded this spot to ‘E’ for a dozen hockey sticks, a puck bag and a new skate sharpener. ‘E’ signed this spot to a multi-year contract. ‘E’, as in eyes - The eyes tell it all, and if you don’t believe me you didn’t watch the woman’s figure skating final and see the look on Sasha Cohen’s face before her long program.

R. Roenick, as in Jeremy – His USA hockey voodoo doll worked.

S. Special Teams – Finland scored 17 power play goals in 8 games, while Canada went 5 for 31 in 6 games. Nuff said!

T. Toskala, as in Vesa – If he plays like he did before the Olympic break his market value will continue to go up. Stay tuned, the next few weeks promise to be very interesting.

U. USA Hockey – Ouch, Ouch. The men go 1-4-1 and the woman suffer a huge upset to Sweden (see ‘W’).

V. Vancouver – Must see events include Short-track Speedskating (especially the Relay), Snowboarding (especially the Cross), Freestyle Skiing (Aerials and Moguls) and the Two-man Luge (because Randy and Drew will be there).

W. Woman’s Hockey – Sweden’s victory over the US and Silver medal is great for woman’s hockey at the international level. On the flip side, you have to think Ben Smith’s job is being questioned after he cut Cammi Granato, who led the US team in points in the 2005 World Championships last May. The US team had lots of talent, but……

X. ‘X’ is getting the day off because of upper body soreness. (day to day)

Y. Yzerman, as in Steve - Detroit’s game at SJ on the 28th might be the last time Stevie Y plays at the Shark Tank. Of course the Sharks might play the Wings in the playoffs or Stevie Y might play again next year – MIGHT!

Z. Zebra’s – Hopefully the officiating will be consistent in the home stretch of the NHL season as teams jockey for the playoffs.

I am Jamie Baker for Seagate Technology’s In The Crease.
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