Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Odds and Ends

It's been relatively quiet around these parts as of late as I prepare for the upcoming season with predictions that should be up here before the season begins in North America, though preceding the commencement of the London games is looking unlikely. The Sharks are currently 3-0-2 in preseason action as the franchise's shootout woes continued last night in Calgary. In light of Torrey Mitchell's foot injury against the Flames, it's looking like Devin Setoguchi remains the lone rookie with a legitimate shot at making the roster up front, with the vacant backup goaltending position still largely up in the air. Thomas Greiss seems to be the early favorite, but Patzold wasn't bad against the Canucks on Saturday. With not much else Sharks news to report, here's some tidbits from around the league:
  • "Dollar" Bill Wirtz, oft-vilified owner of the Chicago Blackhawks, named recently by ESPN as the fifth-worst owner in all of pro sports, has passed away. I would assume this news is met by most Hawks fans with restrained jubilance. On one hand, it's socially unacceptable and ethically questionable to celebrate the death of a fellow human, especially one as philanthropic as Wirtz, but at the same time, this is the man whose terrible marketing decisions, most notably his policy on blacking out Chicago home games, have incinerated a once potent fanbase and have turned who knows how many potential fans away from the Hawks. Again, my condolences to the family, and by all accounts, Wirtz was a good man outside the realm of hockey, but having tarnished the image of an Original Six franchise, which is as sinful as it gets in the NHL, the Hawks can look forward to better days in Wirtz's absence.
  • How many hits to the head that result in significant injuries must occur for Colin Campbell and the rest of the NHL's pathetic excuse for a justice system to make a statement significant enough to pre-emptively discourage any similar incidents in the future? That unnecessarily lengthy question is likely, in some form or the other, in the minds of many hockey fans in light of last night's concussion to Ottawa forward Dean McAmmond. In preseason action, no less, Philadelphia forward Steve Downie raced the length of the ice and pummeled an unsuspecting McAmmond, resulting in the latter's concussion. Compounding the matter is that McAmmond had just returned after off-season rehabilitation following Chris Pronger's elbow to the head that the Senator sustained during last season's Stanley Cup Finals. Unconscionable act by rookie Downie that should certainly be punished by exponentially more than the standard 2-3 games Campbell and Co. seem to dish out at every misdemeanor.
  • Finally, on a Sharks-related note, the San Jose Mercury News have finally gotten their act together and established a Sharks blog, titled Working the Corners. So far, Sharks beat writer David Pollak has been the sole contributor, but it's fathomable that other Merc writers involved with the team, like Mark Emmons or perhaps even columnist Mark Purdy, may contribute. The advent of heavier online coverage for the team is just further evidence that print media's future lies in the confines of the intertubes, a fact that's becoming more profound by the day, as several big-name newspapers begin the transition to a solely-online publication. Regardless, congratulations to David, and hopefully he continues to provide valuable insight on the Sharks. Several beat writers around the league, including the Kings' Rich Hammond and the Avs' Adrian Dater, maintain very successful blogs, and there's no reason Pollak won't follow suit.

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