Saturday, September 30, 2023

Logan Couture Should Have Won 2016 Conn Smythe Trophy

People are going to think I'm crazy for saying this, but I don't care. At all.

The Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded to the best player of his team during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The description doesn't include anything about the trophy being awarded to a player on the winning team. Not only that, but in the NBA, that similar award goes to the best player strictly in the finals. Unlike the Conn Smythe that takes into account all of the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

Players on losing teams who still won the Conn Smythe trophy: Glen Hall (1968), Reggie Leach (1976), Ron Hextal (1987), Roger Crozier, (1996), Jean-Sebastien Giguere (2003)

See, players have indeed won the Conn Smythe trophy even if their teams weren't victorious in the end. And Logan Couture should have been on this list for his 2016 performance. 

I'm a Sidney Crosby fan, 100%. But here's my issue with Sid the Kid winning the trophy over Logan Couture. For starters, he only won because he's "Sidney Crosby" and Evgeni Malkin won the award in 2009. The NHL needed Crosby to win it. He didn't even lead his own team in points. Phil Kessel, who played 24 games during the 2016 playoffs registered 10 goals and 22 points. kessel was also a plus-five. As for Sid? Well, he played the same amount of games and scored only 6 goals and 19 points. On top of that Crosby was a minus-two.

Nobody else sees a problem here?

Let's get to Logan.

Logan Couture was the star of the show. Couture also played 24 games, but he was able to hit the double-digit goal mark with 10, unlike somebody, while also leading the playoffs in assists with 20. 

Couture put up 30 points, in 24 games, and was a plus-five. 

He had more assists in the playoffs than Crosby had points for crying out loud. 

My thing is this, rewrite the description of what the Conn Smythe Trophy is about. Rewrite it to state that it must be awarded to a player on the winning team or to a player based on their Stanley Cup Finals performance.

There is absolutely no logical explanation for Logan Couture not being named the best player in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He deserved that trophy, and it isn't even close. Shame on the NHL. 

In my eyes, Logan Couture is a Conn Smythe Winner.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Pick One: Start Your "New Era" Sharks Jersey Collection

An important question for a jersey collector like myself is, "Where do I start?"

Usually, you would want to start with one of your favorite players. Someone you can represent proudly when attending, in this case, Sharks games with. My first Sharks jersey was none other than #39, Logan Couture.

But it's 2023. There's a new core of players on the rise for the San Jose Sharks. For younger fans wondering which players should kickstart their new era of Sharks jersey collections, don't worry, I am here to help. Here are six options you can start your jersey collection with to represent the next core of Sharks players.

6. Quentin Musty - Musty was the Sharks' second, first-round pick in 2023. He was drafted 26 overall and could probably make an attempt to join the Sharks now. However, Musty is returning to his Junior hockey team for the upcoming season where he plays forward for the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Last season with Sudbury, he recorded 78 points in just 53 games. He is going to be looking to make the San Jose Sharks main roster out of camp around this time, next year.  You can't go wrong with a Quentin Musty jersey to start of your collection with. 

5. Henry Thrun - Thrun has been an absolute monster during his first NHL training camp experience. An older prospect as a result of coming from the NCAA. Thrun captained Harvard University last season where he totaled 31 points in 33 games as a defenseman. Thrun is an exciting prospect looking to help rebuild not only the Sharks roster but more specifically the Sharks blue line as well. Any young defenseman out there are going to love modeling their games after Henry Thrun.

4. Shakir Mukhamadullin - Shakir joined the Sharks pipeline through the trade that sent Timo Meier to the New Jersey Devils. A 6'4 defenseman who is able to produce offensively is a dream come true for any team. He last played for Salavat Yulaev of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). The KHL is the second-best professional ice hockey league behind the NHL. He posted 25 points in 67 games as a 20-year-old. Once he came to North America he played 12 games in the AHL for the Barracuda and notched 10 points. He is going to be a special defenseman for a long time in teal.

3. Thomas Bordeleau - Bords is no stranger to Sharks fans. He has only played a handful of games across two seasons. He spent last season in the AHL where he represented the Barracuda at the AHL all-star game. He was dominant on the Cuda's power play and is looking to earn a full-time NHL roster spot. He is a former second-round pick who was part of a spectacular Michigan Wolverines team. He is active on the Sharks' social media where fans see almost too much of him. I fully expect Thomas Bordeleau to become the next Logan Couture and develop into a really good, reliable centerman. A Bordeleau jersey to get your collection started is a highly popular route.

2. William Eklund - Eklund is considered a top 3 talent from his 2021 draft class where he unexpectedly fell to the Sharks at 7th. He last played for the Barracuda along with Bordeleau where he nearly posted 50 points, even after a slow start to the season. Eklund has been Sharks fans' pride and joy for the past few years now. We are aware of the potential and are hoping he turns into the next big superstar that the NHL expects him to be. He is hopefully going to be a Shark for the next 15 years and be an integral part of this team in bringing the Sharks their first Stanley Cup Championship. Eklund is a perfect option to start almost any jersey collection with.

1. Will Smith - The second Will Smith to enter the state of California! Will Smith is the highest Sharks draft pick since Patrick Marleau. And look how that turned out... Smith was drafted to the Sharks 4th overall in 2023. He scored an unimaginable 127 points in only 60 games with the U.S. National Team. One more time, 127 points, in 60 games. Will Smith decided that wasn't good enough, so he followed that up with 20 points in 7 games during the World Championships. He is going to be the face of the San Jose Sharks for the entirety of his career. Unfortunately, he is committed to Boston College for the 2023-2024 season, but hopefully, we will see him at the end of the year. Smith has to be the best choice for a young Sharks fan to start their jersey collection of the new era of Sharks hockey.

I got a William Eklund jersey when he was drafted. But if I had to choose from scratch right now, 

Will Smith 100%.


Monday, September 25, 2023

Thrun Thrives in Sharks Training Camp

Henry Thrun wasted no time getting involved in the famous "beef" that has been built up between the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights.

I used the word "beef" because I didn't want to use "rivalry." We just hate them because they're better than us. 

This article (https://thehockeywriters.com/3-takeaways-san-jose-sharks-preseason-opener/) from The Hockey Writers touches on Henry Thrun's performance (and other notes) during the Shark's first preseason game and how he is ready for the big leagues. I highly suggest taking a read because this touches base with something I have already stated before and I feel as if this is not going to be talked about nearly enough as we head into October.

Anyways, the Sharks began their preseason this past Sunday where they were victorious over the Knights, winning the game 5-2.  The Sharks' front office should be ecstatic with the performance of the former Harvard University Captain. He scored a pair of goals and added a nice tasty apple to the score sheet, too. 

Why should the front office be ecstatic? 

Because this is (hopefully) Erik Karlsson's replacement...

I said in a previous blog (https://mytealtakeaways.blogspot.com/2023/09/bright-spots-of-2023-2024-san-jose.html) that Henry Thrun looked like an NHL veteran when he made his NHL debut at the end of last season, once he turned pro and concluded his NCAA career. His poise was excellent and he carried himself tremendously in his first handful of NHL action. Thankfully I am not the only one who thinks Thrun in the AHL would be a complete waste of time. He has been NHL-ready. Not even that, Henry Thrun is ready to take over Erik Karlsson's spot on the Shark's top power-play unit. 

According to the Sharks' coaching staff, Thrun has had an unbelievable first NHL training camp and has really made an enormous impression on the front office, that I genuinely don't think they were expecting. I really hope Thrun makes this team out of camp because he absolutely deserves to be on this roster heading into opening night. He is going to be a special player for this organization for years to come.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

My Thoughts: Brodie Brazil

I'm guessing that if you're a San Jose Sharks fan, you have probably heard of, or literally heard, Brodie Brazil. He covers Sharks' pre and post-game coverage for NBC Sports California. Once I graduated from high school, my first option to study in college was broadcast/journalism because of Brodie. I was so drawn to the profession because of how much fun he makes it seem.

If you're a Sharks fan and you haven't checked out Brodie Brazil's YouTube channel, you need to go do that immediately. I know there are many more die-hard Sharks and hockey fans out there who appreciate such excellent observations and insights on their favorite team.

What I love so much about Brodie Brazil is he's so authentic. He really just is himself behind the microphone and that is no easy task to accomplish. He laughs and makes his content enjoyable to watch which I think is key in regards to any piece of content on the internet.

Something I have learned when it comes to discussing certain niches is if somebody seems they have no clue what they're talking about, it's usually because they don't. I've come across many Sharks' podcasts and reporters where I think to myself instantly, "This person doesn't have a clue what hockey is." 

Brodie Brazil is one of the FEW San Jose Sharks reporters who don't give me that perception. 

Even though he has never played hockey, you can tell he has been a fan of the game, and the Sharks, for a very long time. He knows what he's talking about. You can feel Brodie's passion for Sharks hockey. There aren't many reporters out there who will be as honest and realistic as Brodie is. After almost every game during the season, Brodie is in his office, starting a live stream to talk about the game and interact with fans. He offers them chances to discuss topics, give opinions, and their thoughts on the game or even the state of the franchise. I've really enjoyed connecting with Brodie's YouTube page as it has been one of my main sources for Sharks news.

We also share the same "favorite player" in Logan Couture. That right there says enough about Brodie.

Please check out his YouTube channel if you haven't already! I'd give his page a 9.5/10 rating. https://www.youtube.com/@brodiebrazil




Thursday, September 21, 2023

Where Will the Sharks Finish in the 2023-2024 Season?

If you have any optimism at all about where the Sharks will place in the standings by the end of this season, get rid of it. All of it.

Last season the San Jose Sharks finished in 29th place out of 32. 

Erik Karlsson, our Norris Trophy winner, scored 25 goals and 101 points... as a defenseman. Not just that, Timo Meier potted 31 goals himself in just 57 games prior to being traded at the deadline.

Well, those two guys don't play for the San Jose Sharks anymore.

We have lost our two best players. Our two best players who led us to a whopping 22-win season in a league that plays 82 games.  For a team that already struggled to score goals last season, this is not just a dent in the roster. This is a black hole. And we are going to feel it right away. 

We are also going to trade another handful of guys for more draft capital at the next deadline come March. We can expect somewhat decent returns for guys like Anthony Duclair, Nico Sturm, Kevin Labanc, and possibly even Logan Couture. I expect all of those names, and more, to be in the conversation once the trade deadline comes around. This ultimately means that this already horrendous roster... will likely somehow get worse.

At least we can look forward to seeing William Eklund contend for the Calder Trophy as the league’s best rookie, right?

My Prediction: The San Jose Sharks will finish dead last, in 32nd place.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Bright Spots of the 2023-2024 San Jose Sharks

I’ve already accepted the fact that the San Jose Sharks are not going to be a very good hockey team this season. And that’s okay. Because there are still things to watch for this season and into the future. So let’s get to it. What are the bright spots of this season’s San Jose Sharks team?

Let’s start from top to bottom, shall we?


The…Core?


Even though this team isn’t very good, they still have a core set of players, right? Of course, they do! At 34, Logan Couture just had his 3rd best season of his career, point-wise, with 67. This was the 5th straight season Tom├ís Hertl was on a 60-point or more pace. Not bad at all for your top two centers. Remember when we robbed the Toronto Maple Leafs for Alexander Barabonov? Well, Barbie was on pace for 69 points last season. I’m sure the Leafs would love to have him right now… Then you have Anthony Duclair who played in just 20 games last season and only scored 9 points. But, it’s what Duclair did two years ago that matters. He scored 31 goals and posted 58 points with the Panthers. Finally, Mario Ferraro, who was 29th in the entire NHL in blocked shots with 145. What more can you ask for out of one of your top defensemen? Now that’s five really good players on this Sharks team that you can look forward to watching, even during a tough year like this one is expected to be. 


Young Players:


Talk about bright spots.


William Eklund - Willy was drafted 7th overall in 2021 and is highly regarded as one of the league’s best prospects. Last year he dominated in the AHL and it’s time for him to do so in the big leagues. In his 17 games in the NHL spread out over the past two years, he’s recorded 7 points in 17 games. I’m hoping that he replaces Timo Meier’s spot and fully expect to see Eks hit the 50-point mark in his first full NHL season.


Thomas Bordeleau - Sharks fans have been waiting for Bordeleau’s arrival for quite some time since he dominated the NCAA with the University of Michigan. Bords played in 8 games with the Sharks in 2022 once his season with Michigan came to an end and recorded 5 points in tremendous fashion. Like seriously, who does that? He followed that up with 8 points in 5 international games with Team USA in the WJC U20 division. What? You thought he was done after that? No. Bordeleau then spent last season in the AHL where he was the San Jose Barracuda’s league all-star. It’s time for Bordeleau to set his sights on the NHL. I, as well as all of the other Sharks fans, are ready for Bordeleau to join the show.


Henry Thrun - I think a lot of people are writing Thrun off to make the Sharks roster this season and I personally think they’re all crazy. Thrun looked like a 15-year veteran during his brief stint with the team at the end of the season. He had to have some of the best poise out of the entire roster. It’s not normal for a 22-year-old to jump from college to the NHL in the same season and look as comfortable as he did. Yes, Thrun is another product of the NCAA. Last season he was the captain of Harvard where he recorded 31 points in 33 games. Look at that, he’s good at hockey and he’s smart. Thrun also joined the Sharks late last season and notched an assist in his first NHL game. He finished with 2 points in 10 games. Not bad at all for a rookie defenseman.  I don’t think the Sharks should waste time playing him in the minors like they did to Eklund and Bordeleau. He’s ready for the NHL. Thrun is absolutely a bright spot for this roster to grow into the future.


Filip Zadina - A former 6th overall pick in the NHL draft. Usually, a future superstar if all goes accordingly, but Zadina’s career had something different in mind apparently. The 4 seasons he played for the Red Wings did not go as he would have wished. I don’t think it went how anybody wished to be completely fair. He’s shown glimpses of talent, he’s just never been able to put it together on a consistent, game-to-game basis. Zadina felt it was time for a change in scenery while he’s still young with his entire career still ahead of him. He signed a one-year contract with San Jose to prove it. And I think he will. I don’t see why Zadina can’t hit the 40-point mark. My guess would be along the 20 goals, 20 assist route if given the proper opportunities to show off what he can do. I’m excited to watch him play and I still believe he can develop into a star.


Between The Pipes:


The most important position in hockey is the one that lies between the pipes. Luckily for San Jose, they have some potential in the net. That starts (and hopefully finishes) with Mackenzie Blackwood. Blackwood was the talk of the NHL when he initially came onto the scene with the New Jersey Devils. In 2018-2019 he played in 20 games and recorded a .918 save percentage (which is awesome). He followed that up with his first 20-win season and a .915 save percentage (still awesome). However, the past couple of seasons have not been as glamorous. His stats have dipped and it was time for a change. Still only 26 years old, all of us Sharks fans are hoping he can get back to the level he’s shown he can play at. If he can, the future of the San Jose Sharks is looking good and it will be a lot of fun to watch Blackwood hopefully improve this season. Not only that, we still have Kaapo Kahkonen who I haven’t given up on yet. Prior to last season, he recorded about three seasons worth of starts with a .902 save percentage or better. He’s only 27 and has had two winning seasons. Kahkonen is still a goalie with a chip on his shoulder after we acquired Blackwood. It’s going to be a battle for the crease in the Bay Area and I am personally excited to see some friendly competition.


There are clearly holes in this roster, but still a lot of potential and things to look forward to. So what are your thoughts? Do you think Blackwood or Kahkonen will rebound? Can William Eklund take home the Calder? 


We shall see.


Saturday, September 9, 2023

How to (And How Not To) Watch The Sharks 2023-2024 Season

The upcoming San Jose Sharks season is just around the corner, and for many Sharks fans, this is usually an exciting time of the year. However, in more recent years, it’s become more and more dreadful. The Sharks finished last season 2nd to last in the Pacific division and an embarrassing 29th place in the NHL. Let that sink in for a moment. 

We also lost our leading point scorer and Norris trophy winner Erik Karlsson. And don’t forget about Timo Meier who scored 31 goals for us prior to being traded to the Devils at the deadline.

What now? How are we possibly supposed to watch the Sharks be this bad again? 

I'll help.


How To NOT Watch The Sharks’ 2023-2024 Season:

  • Avoid Unrealistic Expectations: The Sharks are not going to make the playoffs. Let’s all prepare for that now. We simply are not built for playoff contention. Enough with the different “R” words. This is not a retool. The Sharks are officially rebuilding under Mike Grier and teams going through rebuilds are very, very bad. 
  • Don’t Rely on Star Players: The only returning star players on this Sharks roster are Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl. We can’t place all the weight on their shoulders. Couture, 34, and Hertl, 29, are clearly paramount figures on this Sharks team but the rest of this roster is quite bland. It’s not only unrealistic but it’s also unfair to expect two aging stars to carry this team into contention.
  • Don’t Expect To Settle Scores: I’ll be the first to admit that the Golden Knights winning the Stanley Cup before the Sharks enraged me to my max. Unfortunately, they are going to stomp on us moving forward and there is nothing we can do. Don’t be the guy who looks forward to “rivalry” games against them or the Kings either. We simply can’t compete. As of right now, there is no rivalry to engage in because they both are simply better. And the Sharks are going to be worse. 

Then what's the point?

Here. 


How To Watch The Sharks' 2023-2024 Season: 

  • Appreciate The Veterans: Sharks fans must appreciate veteran players like Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Logan Couture while they’re still here. Vlasic has played a whopping 1,239 games in the NHL all with San Jose. His #44 will likely enter the rafters and instead of tuning out of games, we should soak in ‘Pickles’ remaining time in a teal. Logan Couture is entering his fifth season as the Sharks captain and is also going to hit the 1,000th game plateau as he currently sits on 927 games played. All with the Sharks. Another player whose number will see the rafters and it’s important we cherish the remainder of Logan’s time in a Sharks uniform.
  • Welcome The Kids: The new wave of Sharks hockey is upon us. William Eklund and Thomas Bordeleau are ready. They are looking to not only crack this Sharks roster but also make an impact. However, we can’t expect them to put up superstar numbers immediately. We must be patient. We have to embrace the rebuild and let the kids play. That also goes for Henry Thrun and Tristen Robins, too. It’s time to turn to the young guys and let them do their thing in the NHL.
  • Tank For Bedard: That was the popular saying for many teams at the bottom of the rankings throughout last season. The now Chicago Blackhawk is destined for stardom as he was the #1 overall pick in the previous draft, and the San Jose Sharks were right there, only one spot ahead of the Hawks in the rankings. Let’s just hope we lose every game next year and get another top pick to join Eklund, Smith, and Bordeleau in the future. Do what I did and root for high-score games so our favorite players can get points but the team will lose at the end of the night!



*All stats found at https://www.nhl.com/*

Sharks Win Macklin Celebrini

Remember a few months when I preached about manifesting the number one overall pick? I actually don't care. Because I do. The San Jose S...