Patrick Willis singing “I Swear” at The Brit 1 month after SB47 was the closest the 49ers were to being great again

maxresdefault

patrick-willis

maxresdefault

 

That’s why you never try and be a hero and outsing your range in karaoke. Real amateur hour move (literally) to go after that falsetto based lyric or two, but hey when you just brought your franchise back to the Super Bowl for the first time in almost 20 years and you’re at the Britannia Arms surrounded by white people, you get a pass.

Well, I think Hubris not only get the best of Patrick Willis that night, I think it was the exact moment when the 49ers started to go downhill. A brash upstart QB, a maniac coach, a conniving and the Emperor Commodus of the NFL continuing to work together for a shared success? They didn’t get far the next year and no way would that have ever worked. I think what we see here is Patrick Willis coming to terms with that, promising he’d be there “by the moon and the stars” to be there for the team and it’s fans. Reality? He’d be on the roster for another 18 months before hitting the eject button.You can’t have those 4 Horsemen of the Apocolypse coming together to win, it’d be the end of the world.

In summation: Patrick Willis butchering All-4-One was the last time the 49ers were great again.

P.S. Flaaaaaaaaaaaaaaccccccccccccccooooooooooooooooooo

The Sharks/Dubs 1st Sniff Test of the Season

chalkboard

Well we’re about 10% of the way through the NBA season and around the same for the NHL. Let’s take a big ole sniff of how both teams have fared so far:

giphy

Okay, not so bad on both accounts. Let’s take a look first at the Warriors:

The Warriors’ 2 losses have been against the Spurs and Lakers, both of which are retooled with the Lakers now playing under Luke Walton and the Tim Duncan-less Spurs still very much a threat in the Western Conference. NOT TO MAKE EXCUSES FOR MY BANDWAGON TEAM BUT, with a team missing their bench presence at the cost of getting KD, these growing pains are bound to happen. If anything, early season losses against divisional/conference foes are welcomed as Steve Kerr is easily going to back as the season progresses to pinpoint where they need improvement against said neighborly foes.

My concern for the team is not that they’re going to turn into the 2012-2013 Lakers, but rather that the bench for the Dubs is not going to be even a shadow of the threat they were last year. More than a handful of games were saved by the play of the 2nd unit and with Speights/Ezili/Barnes/Barbosa/Bogut all no longer there, there needs to be a maturation process here early because they’re simply isn’t the production here now:

2015-2016 Curry/Green/Thompson/Barnes PPG per 48 minutes combined = 77.9

2015-2016 Rest of Team PPG per 48 minutes combined = 56.2

Now?

2016-2017 Curry/Green/Thompson/Durant PPG per 48 minutes combined = 82.7

2016-2017 Rest of Team PPG per 48 minutes combined = 37.1 (stats via Real GM)

It may be early, but we can already see that the stars on the Warriors are doing it more themselves this year and the bench this year just isn’t picking up the slack. Are there new additions besides Durant to the team? Absolutely. Are some of these guys D-leaguers now getting more time. No doubt. It’s not time to panic now, as it’s still very, very early in the season, but if the bench stats don’t start to improve, I wouldn’t guarantee that this team this year is an automatic WC finalist.

Now onto the Sharks

While sporting an 9-6 record, the Sharks and Petey DeBoer have a lot of good reasons to be enthusiastic about year most notably that their main guys are scoring, which wasn’t always the case last year. We’ve seen Burns, Pavelski and even Vlasic bailing the team out in the 3rd period, which is a drastic change of pace from last year which was a team that mostly gave away leads in the 3rd period as opposed to grabbing them.

Most important (aside from everyone being back and healthy) is that they’ve already played 8 games on the road going 4-4 and are 3-0 currently into a 6 game road trip. After this trip, they play 14 of their next 21 games at home, with a nice 5 game stretch during the Thanksgiving week at home. I would look for the Sharks to start to find their resilient mojo during this nice little stretch at home while spending time with their family. A lot of these guys in addition to playing in the SCF played in the WCH so I would think for the guys like Burns/Marleau/Pavelski who have their families here, this is going to be a nice recuperation period for them.

The main take away? R-e-l-a-x on the Sharks. The Ducks are foul, the Kings are dead with Quick out and the Oilers, while good, are going to come back to earth at some point this season. Tell me, does this look like the leadership of a team worried about getting back to the Cup?

760105ff08af5e7eb26700ef9741e0aa

And the Warriors? Yeah I’d say they’re just fine right now too:

I think we’re good on both fronts.

 

I’ve got some issues with the 14 year old who predicted Cubs vs. Indians

NBC Bay Area – Connor Garcia Whitehill made a bold prediction last spring, before the baseball season even started. He didn’t just put it in writing – he put it on YouTube.

The 14-year-old from Oakland, California, said the Chicago Cubs would make it to the World Series, and win for the first time in 108 years, against the Cleveland Indians.

Why was he so confident in his prediction? Statistics.

“The fun thing about statistics is that they help you to understand the world around you, be it baseball, politics or just numbers in general,” he said.

With the help of a couple of dedicated math teachers at Berkeley’s Black Pine Circle School, he created a spreadsheet with formulas that analyzed MLB statistics and gave each team a number to predict its final ranking in each division.

72695986

First and foremost, I believe that statistics and advanced metrics do make a difference when it comes to how to coach and construct a baseball team. There’s no denying that and all you have to look at is what Theo Epstein has done adapting and rejuvenating both the Red Sox through a more Bill James-inspired method. But this stuff???

bapipuzrxfip

UZR? xFIP? BAPIP? I mean don’t get me wrong kid, if the number bear out your way, congratulations and if it works again next year, you may be on to something. Baseball is well known for having misleading statistics for pitchers with inflated ERA and win total, so I admire taking a fresh approach to refreshing the statistical analysis of America’s Past Time.

Having said that, baseball stats are built upon a foundation of “this happened and a result, this was marked down in the scorebook.” What I have a problem with these statistics built on foundations other people. In theory, every Giants pitcher should be unhittable because their park is so massive or that David Ortiz’s BAPIP makes him the best because he hit 50% in a hitter’s park. Or that a pitcher’s xFIP is entirely built upon his position players. Maybe the advanced science works, but it’s not for public consumption and I don’t expect Pete Rose to talk about UZR anytime soon. And another thing…

hat-turn-around

There’s nothing, nothing in the prized spreadsheet about coaching…because from my seat on the couch, the two smartest managers in the game are managing in the World Series. What that tells me is that the two smartest coaches both have a good enough team that can out perform a superior team if they are performing at a better pace than other team. What does that mean? Tells me if you have a coach that is constantly out performing expectations based on expectations or meeting them time after a time, you’ve got a shot to win. I broke it down in my new stat: COFFI

coffi-ranking

Like the 10 point Apgar Test a delivery nurse does for their babies, Coaches and coaching staff get evaluated into yes or no questions giving a point or no point for each question. Such as, is this a guy players like? Can he make the playoffs? Has he won a world series? Is he a dumb ass? Once you figure out what that number is multiply it by the “Fun Factor” which teams like the Cubs exude. Then minus the injuries and evaluate the team’s chances from there.

Is that an effective way of measuring who will win the world series? Definitely not, although I think so. Clearly as the game evolves, numbers and stats will become more apart of the science of the game, all you have to do is look at the game tonight. And it’s not to say that new stats (looking at you WAR) can’t be accepted, even if it’s from a kid, but to say that this is an effective way or even a correct way of measuring who will win the World Seies is an insult to Joe Maddon, Terry Francona and old white men everywhere.

The Warriors & Sharks had different nights last night

kevin-durant-steph-curry-1024x576

snuqrov6_400x400

Quite a different tail of the tape between the Warriors who tipped off last night for the first time and the Sharks who just played their 7th game of the year. The Warriors bench was nowhere to be found and that’s because they’re playing mostly D-leaguers you saw getting garbage minutes last season w/o Speights & Ezili. They also didn’t find any rhythm among the 4 Horseman, with everyone seeming a bit flat and Charles Barkley’s #2 Top NBA player Klay Thompson only having 11 points. While Green/KD/Steph went a respectable 18/28/26, they can’t make up 80% of the offense along with Klay every game, so while they lost we found out this is going to take time to figure out and I’d be more worried about the bench play than one of the 4 big names. The reason the Warriors were as good as they were was because if none of the big guns were hot, the bench kept them in the game till one of them got hot (as well as the rest factor). On a positive note, we also found out LaMarcus Aldridge is still trying to find his teammates/rhythm/ball:

On the complete other hand and 45 minutes south in San Jose, the Sharks took on the Ducks who alongside the out of nowhere Oilers/Canucks, will be a harpoon in the side of the team while they go for another Western Conference title. The road to said title last year involved a lot of losing at home, an abnormal amount mind you for a team this good, so it’s great to see the Sharks win even after it was tied up late. More importantly, it’s been tenured parts of the team (Pavelski/Marleau/Burns) that have been able to score late to secure a gritty victory. They may be 4-3, but they’ve played 5 games already on the road and this is now a team that has seen almost everything, knowing they can make it and should make it to a cup. Plus, although he may only have one goal, I like the style and play of $4m man Mikkel Boedker, seems to be taking pressure off other guys on the team.

P.S. Love Vlasic taking a dump on Corey Perry post game winner

 

en1wgg

NFL literally mailed in their investigation of Giant’s Brown, blame Seattle area Sheriff; Sheriff claps back

160205150604-roger-goodell-0205-exlarge-169

ESPN – A Washington sheriff shot back at the NFL after it made a statement about how his office handled information requests into a domestic violence investigation against New York Giants kicker Josh Brown.

The NFL said its investigators had repeatedly attempted to obtain more information on Brown but were denied by the King County sheriff John Urquhart’s office.

Urquhart went on the defensive and told Seattle radio station KIRO that the investigator never identified himself as being part of the league.

” ‘NFL, National Football League,’ he could have (said) any of that,” Urquhart said. “Robert Agnew, Comcast.net, post office box in Woodinville. We had no idea who this yokel is.”

The King County Sheriff’s office investigated Brown — a former Seahawks player — for domestic violence in 2015 but dropped the misdemeanor charge within days of Brown’s arrest in Woodinville, Washington, last May.

“Nowhere on the request does he say that he works for the NFL and so, we don’t know that it’s the NFL and we’re not gonna give it out anyway, so we denied it,” Urquhart said.

The sheriff’s office released more than 150 pages of documents on Wednesday that showed Brown physically and verbally abusing his ex-wife more than 20 times.

Urquhart admitted that other investigators identified themselves as NFL representatives but that they were denied since it was an open investigation. Urquhart said if the league had gone through proper public disclosure channels, the request would have gone straight to him, and he would have been able to help out more.

“I would have said exactly the same thing, ‘We cannot release the case file,’ ” he said. “But since this is a hot-button item in the NFL, since it’s the NFL, we probably would have told them orally a little bit more about what we had. I don’t like to get pushed around by a bully.”

Tell me, does this look like a guy that likes to get pushed around?

148317-620x370

face2face1

face23

 

Anyone who can pull off that grin, badge or not, is not someone to be trifled with. Mix in the fact he’s standing behind MLK Jr.? Yeah, def would not stunt Sheriff John Not-even-gonna-try-and-pronounce-your-last-name.

But more importantly, I didn’t think the NFL was that cocky. I knew they were bad but just randomly hitting up law enforcement on the other side of the country without any context or saying who they are? Did they have an intern do this? Did they assume that Cooks County Sheriff’s Office had caller ID? Plus, in this day and age if an old grizzled cop is calling you a bully, I think he knows what he’s talking about.

Doesn’t matter, this is so sloppy and it’s a reflection of the leadership behind it. If they cared that much, they would handle it in a matter that demonstrates their commitment to solving a problem. Instead they phoned it in and gave this excuse:

The league released the following full statement regarding Brown’s case:

“NFL investigators made repeated attempts — both orally and in writing — to obtain any and all evidence and relevant information in this case from the King County Sheriff’s Office. Each of those requests was denied and the Sheriff’s Office declined to provide any of the requested information, which ultimately limited our ability to fully investigate this matter. We concluded our own investigation, more than a year after the initial incident, based on the facts and evidence available to us at the time and after making exhaustive attempts to obtain information in a timely fashion. It is unfortunate that we did not have the benefit or knowledge of these materials at the time.

“In light of the release of these documents yesterday, we will thoroughly review the additional information and determine next steps in the context of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy. We will not be making any comments on potential discipline until that time.” – ESPN

throw-up-gifs

Anytime you can fit “ultimately limited our ability to (insert blank),” you know you are reading some grade A bullshit. Try it out for yourself! “Because my parents wouldn’t pay for acting classes, ultimately it limited my ability to become an actor.” See? It’s pretty clever to shift the blame to the situation and away from yourself, or in this case Roger Goodell. Well, I’m seeing right through it and am curious how many more incidents will it take to figure it out/get rid of Goodell? Gun to my head? I’d say it would take at least 6 more times of Roger screwing up for him to go. WATTBA

4238464

P.S. I love how these NFL statements all sound like Roger. You can really hear him saying this crap because it all sounds so similar.

I am fully behind painfully obvious 3rd Eye Blind in MNF commercials

images-1

                                                      +

third-eye-blind

=

mcc

A+, ESPN, A+.

 

No really, I thought this was a joke and then it hooked me. I was so inspired by the fact that they sold a plot to a guy who’s not even on my fantasy team with one short ad featuring 3rd Eye Blind. I mean, it all comes back. The random clips of the “non-story” QB battle in Denver on CBS Football pre-game, on Sportscenter, etc. It’s actually compelling to look at now.  Here is this guy, Brock, right? Just a stud, drafted by Elway to be the future.

Then he’s backing up Peyton. No big deal, learn from an all timer. Oh wait, this kinda sucks:

brock

I mean becoming a meme truly sucks but hey, you gotta take your licks behind the Sherrif until the lawman retires or in this first case, via the injuries we all saw coming. Well he got his shot. Then got it taken back blah blah blah but even though I couldn’t give two shits about Brock Osweiler or the Texans, they hooked me. I need to see this game and it’s all because of the beautiful melody and vocals of Mr. Stephen Jenkins of 3rd Eye Blind. That’s the only reason and of course some slick editing on behalf of the WWL.

Is it tacky? Yes. Is it an obvious “Oh the song is kinda describing the scene sort of” scenario? Sure, but because it’s two random things together, it works.

It’s so good, so convincing with the mid-90’s rock that they should do that the rest of the year. Impatient with this idea, I went ahead and made one for Packers vs. Eagles. More 3rd Eye Blind, more figuring out what’s wrong with Aaron Rodgers:

Tell me you aren’t hooked by that? What IS wrong with him?! Has he lost a step? Is he the old man now and can’t keep up with the youngsters? Who are his friends in the locker room? Need to find out on Monday Night.

 

Boom, I’m in.

P.S. I’d hate to be the girl compared to the storyline of a mid-tier QB on an NFL team that sucks. Loses a bit of luster IMO, but hey a paycheck is a paycheck right?

Not one, but two SF restaurants are now selling “bio-engineered” plant meat burgers

impossiblemeatsanfrancisco

basketball michael jordan stop it get some help

SFStation – Three restaurants in California have started selling Impossible Foods’ planted-based burger, with two of them located in San Francisco. French spot Jardinière in Hayes Valley and American eatery Cockscomb in SoMa have both elected to add the experimental food product to their menus.

Beginning today, the $19 burger at Cockscomb is available for lunch Monday through Friday and comes served with caramelized onions, lettuce, gruyere cheese, grandma Helen’s pickles, dijon mustard and mixed greens.

Also available today is the $16 burger from Jardinière, which is available nightly after 7:30 pm in the bar and lounge. It comes with caramelized onion, avocado, special sauce, and a side of pommes frites.

Impossible Burgers are made from a handful of ingredients, including wheat protein, potato protein and coconut oil. Textured wheat and potato proteins form the ground base with flecks of coconut oil mixed in. The flecks stay solid until it makes contact with the frying pan and begins to melt similar to beef fat.

The true differentiation of the Impossible Burger is its secret ingredient, an iron-containing molecule called leghemoglobin or “heme” for short. By genetically modifying yeast to produce heme, the company successfully created a “bloody” burger that’s pink when raw and turns brown when it’s cooked. The burger has been truly bio-engineered to mimic the taste, smell, and mouth-feel of beef.

“The goal is to turn plants into meat much more sustainably and efficiently,” said Impossible Foods founder and CEO Pat Brown.

“All the amino acids and the heme that come together in the taste, that’s what got me,” explained Cockscomb Restaurant chef Chris Cosentino when asked why his restaurant wants to sell the burger.

What’s most impressive about the Impossible burger is not the taste, but the light impact on the environment. Creating this burger uses 95% less land, 74% less water, and creates 87% fewer greenhouse gas emissions when compared to cattle-raised beef. Eventually, the company’s burger will cost less than hamburger patties at the grocery store.

The Impossible burger made its official East Coast debut earlier this summer at chef David Chang’s Momofuku Nishi in New York City. Impossible Foods plans to launch in more restaurants later this year and is thinking beyond the burger. The company has created prototypes of other meat and dairy products.

Classic Silicon Valley story here. Someone took a terrible New York idea and doubled down on it in San Francisco to much hype and praise, so a year or two from now hopefully it all go down the tubes and only a select few profit from it. But tech comparisons aside, even for SF this seems a bit too Utopian Earth Cafe. I can see maybe trying it if someone else ordered it or if you really just wanted to fuck with a buddy you’re ordering for. But to order on a regular basis? Who does that?

taco-bell-cheesy-core-burritos-fondue-party-large-8

That’s the type of guy who orders it on a regular basis. You know how I know? Because he’ll probably tell you all the CO2 emissions and water he’s saving by eating this BioBurger (which has probably been doused with as much Lowry’s seasoning in the kitchen as possible). Plus, being a society man I have been to both restaurants and let me tell you, you would have to be a grade A dick to look at those menus and not order ANYTHING else. Jardiniere is one of the better dinner spots in the city (expensive, near the Opera, looks like Moulin Rogue inside) and if you picked a plant burger to eat from there, the waiter should be authorized to slap you.

Burgers need meet, even if it’s from a turkey because here in America, our burgers are made with meat. Unless you’re a veggie burger, but even then veggie burger people keep those patties in the freeze. Which is cool with me, if that’s what you gotta do. I have a real, “don’t ask, don’t eat” policy when it comes to veggie meals. Just don’t be flaunting it in my face and saying it’s better than my good ole fashion cheeseburger with real meat. Don’t put that on me.

ronswansononbacon4-17-400x226

P.S. I went to Veggie Grille and ordered a Chikin sandwich once completely oblivious to the fact that everything on the menu was made from vegetables. Ate it all THEN found out what I had done. Top 10 low moment for me.

 

The 2016-2017 NHL Commercial Video Awards

gary-oscar

Every year around opening night for the NHL, every team in every city will release some sort of pump up video for the coming season. Some do it to sell tickets, other inspiration, others because the demand in the market dictates it. In the spirit of Joe McGrath, teams force these players into becoming comedic or dramatic actors for an afternoon and that’s what makes this my favorite time hockey. So much anticipation, predictions on who’s making a cup run, but most importantly, let’s see some Canadians try and act for their city’s audience of potential season ticket holders!

Some were better than others, some teams didn’t produce any videos this year, while others made it a campaign. As opposed to doing a traditional route, I’ve given awards for each noteworthy ad, as well as Best Comedy and Best Goosebumps awards, culminating in Best Commercial for the team that inspires hockey viewership best representing the traditions of the sport: Heart, Pride, Canadian situational sketch comedy.

Let’s go to the awards.

The Hoop Dreams (awe inspiring, but totally won’t work out) Award: Buffalo Sabres for #NextChapter

Aside from shooting what I suspect is every landmark in Buffalo in a span of a few seconds, have to give credit for the Sabres putting their hometown guys out on display and rallying the cry of Upstate NY. If the Bills can have a mafia, why can’t we? Very admirable, but like Hoop Dreams, none of these are gonna be lifting any trophies this year as Eichel is out already and this team sucks.

The Billy Mays Infomercial Award (In Memoriam): Anaheim Ducks

Truly an infomercial, this is in no way a commercial that airs during prime time. This is hopefully airing during Adult Swim or TNT replaying Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers at 3 AM on a Tuesday. Funny stuff here from the ducks, but it doesn’t make up for their other video (which could be in the running for worst commercial, stay tuned).  Honorable mention to the Detroit Red Wings for their Final Season at the Joe video

The Cloud Atlas “What the fuck did I just watch?” Award: Columbus Blue Jackets for Open Video

The cinematography here was alright, but holy crap what a weird video. Good thing no one has seen it:

bj

The “Over The Top” Over the top award: Edmonton Oilers

I’ve heard Alberta’s a beautiful place but they really make it seem like some sort of feudal hockey version of the town they drive through in Behind Enemy Lines. Good lord, I thought Canadians were nice, I didn’t realize you got eaten by a pitbull if you lost a game of street hockey.

The Dances with Wolves self importance award: Montreal Canadiens

Leave it to the Canadiens to make their entire last season/off season a dramatic novel. As Dances with Wolves uses subtitles for the Lakota language spoken in the film, Montreal wins also wins this award as this video is the Dances with Wolves of pump up videos at almost 5 minutes.

Chairman of the Bored Me to Tears Award: Vancouver Canucks for “We Are All Canucks”

Running through the set of Twilight with one of the Sedin twins seems like cruel and unusual punishment, but this one really didn’t move the needle at all when it comes to excitement. Are Western Canadiens too proud to get excited? Either way, this one put me to sleep.

Short Film award: New Jersey Devils for “Ken the Announcer”

Who doesn’t love a good announcer? Plus bonus points for dressing up for work and driving into Newark even though you didn’t have to. Shows heart.

Best Action Award: Ottawa Senators for “Ready”

The only guys I know on the Sens is Karlsson and Bobby Ryan. The only Sens fan I know was a back up goalie our hockey team had in college. That’s it, yet for whatever reason, I wanna watch this team play this year because their training looked brutal. Sidenote, I took a UFC boxing class last week so the pain of that might be influencing the decision to choose them because that shit sucked.

Funniest Overall Video: San Jose Sharks for “Presentation”

Short, funny, one of your premier players in the league and a funny old goalie? Gary Bettman’s marketing wet dream. It’s a homer pick by me but you’d be surprised how many teams don’t make commercials or put their stuff out on YouTube. Which reminds me:

Biggest Let Down: Nashville Predators

Yes, that’s T-Swift doing a video for the Predators. In 2009. You just acquired PK Subban and one of your players is married to Carrie Underwood, yet this year? Nothing. Be better, Nashville.

Best Overall Video: Toronto Maple Leafs for “Stand Witness”

mcqueen-lazy-clap

While I think the word “Witness” was killed by LeBron, this ad makes you forget that the Leafs haven’t won in forever by reminding you via an old man that they haven’t won in forever. Some real slick cinematography and unlike some of these other teams that have won in recent years, they have a proud tradition without rubbing it in your face **cough cough Habs cough cough** so I have to give them the top award. Couple that with the fact this was released the day Auston Matthews scored 4 goals in his debut? Goosebumps.

 

So there you have it! The best videos of the beginning of the season. Later this week/weekend I will be doing a classic NHL commercial blog, but I will leave you with by far the worst video for the new NHL season….done by the Anaheim Ducks.

giphy

One Last Hope: The SJ Sharks 2016-2017 Preview

thornton-skywalker

The San Jose Sharks return to the SAP Center tonight after what on paper will look like their most successful season, yet in more ways than one was a let down. Losing the Stanley Cup in 6 games shows that the Sharks definitely had the talent and drive to be there, but they just ran out of gas. Certain players stepped up, many by surprise, but yet the boys in teal couldn’t get it done and now sit on what could be the last run with core parts of this team. With that, I give you some talking points going into the 26th San Jose Sharks season:

1) Is this the last ride for Marleau & Thornton?

thornton-joe-05448253

In short, maybe. Although on the players’ sides of things, there’s really not much incentive to want to leave as both players have nestled into the San Jose lifestyle. Both are in their last year of a 3 year deal at basically $6.7m AAV and the Sharks are not going to reinvest that money back into two 37 year olds at the cost of over $13m AAV. That being said, I expect one (Thornton) if not both to return to the Sharks after this season, but at much lower cost. Thornton lead the team in points and I think has finally eased into the “Father Time” figure that the Sharks need him to be, letting the young leaders like Pavs/Vlasic/Couture lead and stepping in when appropriate.

Marleau is a bit different. Yes he’s spent his entire career with the Sharks (yeah, since 1997) but with a declining game, a -22 +/- last season, and the inane ability to disappear offensively at a moment’s notice, don’t expect the Sharks to reup at a significant figure should the Sharks not win the Cup when it comes to Marleau. They need to save that money for the subject of topic 2.

2) Brent Burns is about to get PAID.

burnsy

Currently, Brent Burns is in the last year of a contract paying $5.76M AAV, 17th highest amongst defenseman. Will his money eclipse Subban’s $9m AAV (highest amongst Defenseman)? That’s for my good friend Doug Wilson to figure out, but Burns is coming off of a year that saw him 1st in goals, 3rd in assists and 2nd points amongst defenseman, You could potentially see a lot of Marleau’s money going to Burns after this season and that’s assuming he stays. I would argue he is the Sharks most popular player and if that means he’s gonna get $10m+ AAV to retain him after next year, that might be a tough pill to swallow.

Speaking of other signings…

3) Mikkel Bødker will be a surprise present

nhl_g_boedker_jv_576x324

Much like a present from a random family friend during childhood, this could be clothes or this could be a cool toy. No idea yet. The 8th pick in the 2008 draft for the Coyotes hasn’t been what you would call electric in his time playing hockey in the desert, with his best season being a few years ago tallying 19 and 32 in 2013/2014. Now, obviously this Dane is talented but how much of that has been held up playing for bad teams? We shall see but the Sharks offense attack should only help Mikkel’s numbers and if he crept up to 25/40, that’d be grrrrrrrrrrrreat. Maybe he can kick it with Donskoi and Melkman and create a Nordic super group. Which leads me to my next point…

4) Can Donskoi and Melkman keep improving?

martin-townsend-milkman-516314

If you look at the Penguins team who won last year, or many of the past winners from the last 6 or 7 years, it’s been minor players stepping up in big scenarios. To win that memorable OT game against the Pens it was Melkman losing his stick on the forecheck that opened up the opportunity for Joonas to slot one home. IMO, this is my greatest memory as a fan but it goes to show that to win the cup, you need everyone firing on all cylinders and maximum effort, especially from these non-first line guys. Hopefully with more familiarity and no injuries to Melker, we could see both of these guys knocking at 20 lit lamps a piece. You know who’s going to light the lamp a lot this year?

5) Logan Couture is going to go off this year.

tumblr_mhjbxxmha51rjr6zho1_r1_500

Having missed 30 games because of injury and coming off a Stanley Cup Final/World Cup of Hockey, Logan is primed for a great year. There’s no major additions to the team, he’ll have another year to get used to DeBoer’s style of play and most of all he’ll be healthy. More than anything, couture had 10G/20A in 24 playoff games, that tells me he’s chomping at the bit to put those “Sharks are choke artists” stories finally to bed. I’m sure he’s sick of hearing his buddy Drew Doughty talk about the cup, so expect Couture to come out laser focused this season to get back to the cup. Unfortunately, I think some of this success will come at a teammate’s expense.

6) Joe Pavelski is going to come back to earth this season

He’s too high profile for other teams not to put bodies on him, after a Cup run and being named Team USA captain, G.I. Joe Pavelski is a house hold name and will be treated as such this season. While I don’t think he’ll be as productive early, expect him to be streaking towards the end of the season for the playoffs. Hopefully this doesn’t involve any injury bouts. He’s probably one of the more important players that can’t get injured. The first?

7) Martin Jones needs to be Martin Jones (and stay out of harm’s way)

…..seriously, don’t get hurt. This all depends on you being healthy, because outside of you, well, just try and be healthy. You’re a top 10 NHL goalie now.

and finally

8) Will one of the young guys make an impact this year?

timo-meier-062615-2

Whether it be Barclay Goodrow, Timo Meier, Mirco Mueller or Nikolay Goldobin, these are names we’ve been hearing about and not seeing for some time now and no pay off. With the Sharks only left with ~ $325,000 under the cap room, I would expect that Wilson will steer away from picking up a veteran late in the season purely because of financials so that leaves it up to one of these young guys step up and make a case to play with the big boys, perhaps challenging a veteran or two for playing time. That extra bit of youth and speed, something that was missing for the last series of the year, may just be what the Sharks need to go over the top and lift the cup.

 

Now let’s drop the puck and watch some Sharks hockey.

P.S. Never forget