Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sharks acquire Jody Shelley

The price was low (6th round draft pick), but the acquisition of enforcer Jody Shelley from the Columbus Blue Jackets doesn't make much sense from a Sharks perspective, other than being able to match Anaheim goon-for-goon (as though we'll be able to match them in any other category with the return of Selanne). I don't envision Shelley being able to crack the Sharks' lineup at all, let alone on a consistent basis, and the odds will be even more against him once Ryane Clowe returns.

Still, he adds the thug element that has been missing in San Jose since the departure of Scott Parker. Speaking of the Sheriff, the only reason Parker was even brought onto the Sharks was due to Shelley's attack on then-Shark Brad Stuart in 03-04, likely the most poignant Shelley-related image in the minds of Sharks fans everywhere. Still, a somewhat intriguing move by Doug Wilson, especially considering Brad May, a player of comparable stature, was added to the Ducks lineup by Brian Burke during last season's trade deadline.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Meet your 2008 NHL Anti-All-Stars!

With the NHL's annual midseason corporate schmoozefest All-Star Game set to occur at Phillips Arena in Atlanta this Saturday, it's time to compile the rosters for this season's version of the Anti-All-Star Game. I know, I know, with such effervescent talents as Jason Arnott and Manny Legace entertaining the fans in Atlanta and dozen or so households that bother to tune into the real All-Star Game, is it really necessary to conduct a similarly meaningless exhibition in Bizarro hockey world as well? Well, no, but it's still fun to have a laugh or two at the expense of the underachievers, useless pylons and general scrubs in the National Hockey League. So without further ado, here are your starting lineups for the 2008 Gatorade NHL Anti-All-Star Game powered by Budweiser and Honda.

Western Conference Starting Lineup
LW Tuomo Ruutu, Chicago Once considered the best player outside the NHL, Ruutu has been relegated to a checking role for a Blackhawks team starved for secondary scoring.
C Patrick Marleau, San Jose You've read the scathing articles, you've heard the incessant rumors and if you follow the Sharks, you've seen the shameful waste of talent. A big playoff run is the only thing that can save this season for the Sharks' disgraced captain.
RW Jonathan Cheechoo, San Jose 56 goal total two seasons ago looks more ridiculous each passing day.
D Brad Stuart, Los Angeles The new NHL hasn't been kind to Stuart, with the Kings being his fourth organization since the lockout and he's had no luck in Hollywood either, sporting an ugly -14 to go along with an underwhelming 13 points on the season.
D Sheldon Souray, Edmonton Kevin Lowe took fiscal irresponsibility to a new level with this free agent deal and he's paying for it in the literal and figurative senses as Souray continues to prove that his monster season last year was a mirage.
G Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary A Vezina winner two seasons ago, the Kipper is beginning to regain his form despite a sub-900 save percentage.

Eastern Conference Starting Lineup
LW Thomas Vanek, Buffalo Kevin Lowe never held a gun to Vanek's head when proferring the restricted free agent a ridiculously lucrative offer sheet this summer, and Vanek has promptly crumbled under the pressure of his contract, on pace to score a paltry five points per million earned.
C Patrik Elias, New Jersey It's been a disgraceful season for the former star. After having his captaincy stripped before the season, Elias has responded with a measly 25 points and a -5 rating through 43 games.
RW Michael Ryder, Montreal Canadiens forward scored nearly 70 goals in the last two seasons combined. This year, he's got 7.
D Tom Poti, Washington Washington dished out big bucks for the former Islander over the summer in the hopes that Poti would ignite the Caps' attack from the blueline. He has yet to score a goal in a Washington jersey.
D Bryan McCabe, Toronto From scoring on his own net in overtime against Buffalo to scoring at his worst pace in five years, McCabe has in many ways been the poster child for the woeful Maple Leafs this season.
G Ray Emery, Ottawa As if an ugly 2.83 goals-against average and sub-900 save percentage weren't enough, Emery has also been a cancer off the ice.

Western Conference Reserves
LW Chris Kunitz, Anaheim; C Michal Handzus, Los Angeles; LW Wojtek Wolski, Colorado; RW Owen Nolan, Calgary; LW Markus Naslund, Vancouver; C Sergei Fedorov, Columbus; C Gilbert Brule, Columbus; C Jarret Stoll, Edmonton; LW Raffi Torres, Edmonton; D Matt Carle, San Jose; D Alexei Semenov, San Jose; D Martin Skoula, Minnesota; D Steve Staios, Edmonton; G Dwayne Roloson, Edmonton; G J-S Aubin, Los Angeles

Eastern Conference Reserves
RW Maxim Afinogenov, Buffalo; LW Chris Simon, NY Islanders; RW Jaromir Jagr, NY Rangers; C Jordan Staal, Pittsburgh; C Dainius Zubrus, New Jersey; RW Glen Murray, Boston; RW Bill Guerin, NY Islanders; C Brad Richards, Tampa Bay; D Marek Malik, NY Rangers; D Alexei Zhitnik, Atlanta; G Kari Lehtonen, Atlanta; G Cam Ward, Carolina

Prediction: The West eke out a 10-9 victory on the strength of a 6-goal effort from Bryan McCabe, who is awarded a beleaguered 1981 Honda Accord as game MVP. However, the car is promptly revoked when the NHL realizes McCabe is actually a member of the Eastern Conference Anti-All-Stars.