ON THE ROAD AGAIN
The Sharks don’t leave for their annual “Tennis Road Trip” until Saturday, but some of the media members who cover the team have already started looking ahead to the nine game 16 day odyssey and admittedly we’ve also discussed the trip on our Comcast SportsNet California broadcasts.
To make matters even more interesting the Sharks will play 17 games over 31 days in March. It looks like a grueling 26 game stretch. However I really like Head Coach Todd McLellan’s take on things when he said, “The talk of us having a grind in the schedule, I don’t agree with. I think there are five teams that play 17 games in March. I don’t want to hear about it anymore. I want our group to come to the rink and get prepared to play one game of a time.“
Obviously McLellan has been aware of the challenges this seasons schedule presents since the day it came out. It’s part of his job to keep the players in an “in the moment” frame of mind. From his standpoint what’s the use worrying about back to back games at St. Louis and Washington next weekend when he’s got to get his team ready to play a desperate Calgary Flames team this Wednesday.
NHL coaches rarely complain about injuries or the schedule. To do so gives players a built in excuse if things don’t go well. Will the “Tennis Road Trip” and the “March through March” be a challenge? Of course it will. And it seems to me that facing challenges and overcoming them is absolutely required of any team with championship hopes.
THINGS I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT YOUR FATHER
The Sharks annual father’s road trip was another smashing success with 26 of the players and coaches dads making the journey to Arizona. It’s always fun for me to renew acquaintances with the fathers that I’ve met before and to meet the new ones. And I always find out some interesting things about these men, whose sons have gone on to NHL fame. Here are the top 5 interesting things I found out about the Sharks Fathers.5. Steve Mitchell,
father of winger Torrey Mitchell
, was once the Athletic Director at Selwyn House Boys School in Westmount, Quebec. Torrey attended Selwyn before going on to prep school, the University Of Vermont, and eventually the Sharks who selected him in the 2004 draft. 4. Robert Vandermeer,
father of defenseman Jim Vandermeer
, owns and operates a sawmill in Caroline, Alberta in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Robert and his wife Maureen raised 6 boys, all of whom played hockey. Long before he started cashing NHL pay checks, Jim worked in the sawmill alongside his father and brothers.3. Doug Shaw,
father of Assistant Coach Matt Shaw, enjoys working out just like his super-fit boy. Matt is 46 years old and I’m guessing his dad is around 70. Just minutes after the group checked into our Phoenix hotel, there was Matt on the exercise bike and Doug on the Stairmaster. Like father, like son!2. Mike Pavelski,
father of winger Joe Pavelski
, owns and operates a painting contracting business in Plover, Wisconsin. But Mike also runs a trap line in the winter and among other things traps beavers! Do you know anyone who traps beavers?1. Gary Winchester,
father of forward Brad Winchester
, was selected by the St. Louis Blues 121st overall in the 1972 NHL amateur draft. While Gary never played in an NHL game he had a very successful minor league career in Denver (CHL); Columbus, Toledo, Muskegon (IHL); Springfield (AHL). Gary also played at the University of Wisconsin where he won an NCAA Championship in 1973. But here’s the kicker. Gary played at Wisconsin, his son Brad played at Wisconsin and Joe Pavelski
played at Wisconsin. And they all wore the number 8!
A GLENDALE MUST SEE
It’s always nice to make the trip to Glendale, Arizona for a Coyotes game. The weather is usually warm and there always seem to be lots of Sharks fans who make the journey. This past weekend there were several hundred people rockin’ team jerseys at Jobbing.com Arena. If you happen to make the trip be sure to also walk over to the University of Phoenix stadium across the street from the rink. It’s the home of the NFL Arizona Cardinals. San Jose native Pat Tillman, who lost his life in 2004 in a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan, played for the Cardinals. They retired his number and also named the plaza surrounding the stadium, Pat Tillman Freedom Plaza. There’s a bronze statue in the plaza that is fantastic and a fitting tribute to such a unique and patriotic man.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"I see how easy it looks from your point of view.” – Sharks forward Ryane Clowe when asked by my partner Drew Remenda what it was like watching 6 games from the press box while he recovered from an injury.
HOCKEY DAY IN CANADA
For a number of years the NHL has worked with the folks at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to present Hockey Day in Canada. This season Hockey Day in Canada will take place on Saturday, February 11th beginning at 9am PST. This year’s day long broadcast will be anchored from a specially built rink in Summerside, Prince Edward Island with hockey themed features and reports from all across the Great White North. And there’s a full slate of NHL games too with all seven Canadian franchises in action. While the broadcast is very Canadian centric, it’s a terrific day of television. Not only does it give viewers a rare look into the current state of the sport at all levels, but it also helps one appreciate just how much the game of hockey means to Canadians. It’s a huge part of the fabric of the culture and society. The CBC does a terrific job with their coverage and the best news is that it can be viewed live in the U.S. on the NHL Network. Check it out.
THE TERIYAKI INCIDENT
Drew Remenda is fussy about his suits. I’ve known the man and been travelling with him for the better part of two decades and I don’t think I’ve encountered anyone quite so particular about the way his suits look and how they are cared for. You can imagine the kerfuffle last Saturday night in the Phoenix Coyotes Media Lounge when one of the servers who was cleaning up dinner plates, accidentally dumped a rather significant amount of teriyaki sauce of both Drew’s and my suits.
I wasn’t in such bad shape. I was wearing black. My guess is you couldn’t tell I had gunk on me when we appeared on camera. But Drew spent a good half an hour dabbing his light grey tailor made garment with a damp cloth and then carefully drying it with the hotel blow dryer. It made for quite a scene in the press room.
To his credit, Drew was very gracious to the horrified lady who dropped the sauce, and he was even able to smile about it, a little. Either way from this point going forward in our Sharks Broadcast Family it will always be known as “The Teriyaki Incident.”