Last games of 2012

There are games going on today in the AHL, and the Worcester Sharks will be in one of them.  They play tonight at 7 EST against the Monarchs.  The Worcester Sharks’ Friday game got some attention for suspense and spectacle, with the highlight goal from James Sheppard and the tenacity of Matsumoto to keep after that game winner.  But  their Saturday game was memorable too, with Mashinter scoring after a very long dry spell, and a game winner on top of it.  Unfortunately, Sena Acolatse is likely to be out for some time, after being injured in that game.

The Bulls’ last game of the year rivaled the season opener for attendance (8,000+), and they won handily to boot.  The Bulls owed Vegas one, after that regrettable visit to Nevada last month. That was a close game but it shouldn’t have been.  With Scott Langdon back in the lineup, the team grabbed an early lead and went on to win 4-1.  Hans Benson was also back, and he left a mark or two on the game. Speaking of back in the lineup, or the lineup in general:

@Guimond15: “Flying all night ! Back in san francisco tomorrow #freshmind #misstheboys #playoffhockeynow”

I noticed this little stat in Paul Gackle’s pregame report:

Guimond is tied with Denny Urban of the Reading Royals for most points (25) scored by an ECHL defenseman this season. He also leads the team with 18 power play points (five goals, 13 assists).

……..More

Those numbers could be a little out of date now since Urban was playing while Guimond was not, but it finally sank in for me that Urban has been called up twice by Worcester to help fill in on their injured blue line. Will Guimond get that same chance soon?  Is it worth forgoing college for that chance? That’s the gamble.  Best of luck to Guimond, and congrats on his return to the Bulls and their fans.

Add to the Return of Guimond the arrival of Torrey Mitchell and the Bulls seem to be bulking up.  I never thought I would  think of Mitchell as bulk, but there you have it.   I guess it’s a figurative bulking up, not so much a matter of mass.

It reminds me of what Curcio said even before he signed a single player, when his roster was just a notion.  He said he wanted youth, speed, skill.  Sure, whodoesn’t, right?  But I wondered how far that would get an ECHL team, assuming Curcio could really find many guys to fit that bill.  My preconceptions about the ECHL last year have faded somewhat but Curcio does seem to have built a team that meets those requirements.   More surprising, I guess, for an NHL fan, is the fact that the team isn’t out of place in the league.  It shouldn’t be a surprise, of course.  If the ECHL feeds the AHL, and the AHL feeds the NHL, all the changes that we have seen in the NHL must trickle down.  Or maybe I should say they seep up.  From safety measures to style of play, the development leagues don’t just train players.  This is where the changes to the game really take place.

I like it.  The Bulls games I’ve watched hardly ever look like that one misleading Idaho @ Stockton game I went to a couple seasons ago.  That game was so marred by the kicking incident that it was hard to pay attention to much else.  I haven’t seen anything like that at a Bulls game, but then I haven’t seen them play Idaho either.

So all that looks good.  Mitchell should help the team out a lot, especially with Viedensky on IR.  With Guimond and Langdon back, and the team tied for sixth, this may indeed lead to playoff hockey, whatever happens with the NHL.

Which is what we’re still waiting for, a resolution to the NHL lockout.  Will Mitchell play more than a couple of games with the Bulls?  Will he finish the season with them?

This is why I don’t wait for people any more.  I used to wait for someone to go with me, whether it was to a movie or another country or the zoo.  I used to think of doing things I wanted to do as part of spending quality time with others and all that nice sociable stuff, but after missing out on one too many events and chewing on the bitterness of being “robbed” of the experience by someone else… well, I decided no more, I would just go.  I would stop being angry with people for not wanting to do what I wanted to do.

And yet here I am again, waiting on, of all things, the NHL and the NHLPA to tell me what the heck their plans are for the rest of the winter and spring.

Why?  After all of my talk of having plenty of other hockey to watch and follow, after all my “I don’t care, you NHL idiots can do what you want to do,” why would I even WANT to wait for this bunch of jerks?  They would probably walk too slowly, dawdle over their meals, window shop and spend too long fixing their hair in the morning.  No, clearly the CBA negotiators are not the sort of people I want to wait for.

But here’s the thing: I have this idea that I want to go see hockey in a new place.  I can do that, sure, no matter what the NHL does.  Even if they started tomorrow or never started again, there would still be hockey in Helsinki, Bratislava, Davos, all kinds of places I would like to go and have never been.  There would even be hockey in Oulou, and though I can’t figure out how the heck to get to Oulou, there will be hockey there.

I am so ashamed.  Despite the abuse we have all suffered at the hands of that organization, literal and figurative, I have this frustrating, embarrassing, lingering interest in it.  Maybe Bratislava is really nice and I should just go hang out there for a while.  Maybe there’s no need to go rushing off to Helsinki too, and no excuse to go back to Prague since my mission is go somewhere I haven’t been unless there is something very enticing somewhere I have been before.

Every few thought cycles, I wish I had gone sooner. I forget that finances for me are a deciduous tree.  I’m not like these people I am waiting for, I can’t just pick up and go on a few days notice.  Notice is important if your home notices your absence and you need to ask for help taking care of things while you’re gone.  You know, the

And so I wait, and yes, I’m getting angrier by the day about waiting.  At this rate, I could end up in New Zealand.  At least that would remove the question of when or where locked-out NHLers are playing. way most people who are not millionaires do.

(Originally published at Kukla’s Korner)

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Finishing the game

For me, Friday’s Bulls game started with a long drive through the rain. This demonstration of diligence and commitment is less impressive if you know that I had a thrilling Worcester Sharks game to listen to on the way. No hardship there. It was probably exactly the sort of game I would never want to watch (I think they may have broken some season penalty minute records, could hardly go five minutes without a fight.  I believe Frazer McLaren alone racked up 27 minutes before being excused.) Still, the back and forth scoring and right up to the last second suspense made for a great listen.

SF Bulls defenseman Sacha Guimond has gone back to Canada.  This tweet from Simon Danis-Pepin sat there in my Twitter timeline for days:

@Simon_D_Pepin: “Having a good hangout with @Guimond15 before he heads north. Feel like my son is going away to college. #lesbulls #ledream”

I couldn’t get anyone to explain it on Twitter, and I couldn’t get to the city to ask someone about it.  All I could get before the game was that Guimond was, in fact, going back to college in Canada.  That was sort of anti-climactic.  Guimond’s official status would remain a mystery until after Friday’s game.  At that point I learned that his status isn’t officially official, there is a possibility he will return but the forces of a scholarship  are against it.  He needs to enroll very soon or give up a hefty educational opportunity.

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Bulls’ winning streak against Thunder ends in San Jose

Last night, the Sharks’ ECHL affiliates, past and present, met in San Jose.  They have met before, many times, but this was a new experience for both of them.

It was bound to happen, the Stockton Thunder was unlikely to keep losing to the San Francisco Bulls.  When two teams meet as often as these do, they will figure each other out and the team that has lost the first three matches will probably find a way to win one.  The teams will have a chance to get to know each other even better- they have nine more games to play.  It’s just too bad for the Bulls that their first loss to Stockton happened in San Jose.  The final score was 6-4 Stockton.

The Bulls had a day to rest after a quick but rough road trip.  From Thursday’s OT win against Stockton, they rode to Ontario to be brutally defeated Friday, then drove back north to Bakersfield to win handily Saturday night. Continue reading

Bulls finish 4 at home, score 4 to win

Last night, the San Francisco Bulls beat the Stockton Thunder 4-3 in overtime.  It was their fourth of four games at home, the first of three games in three nights, the second and third to be played in Ontario and Bakersfield.

New things seen at last night’s game: The Cube can be broken, and repaired quickly.  A shot from I’m not sure who in the first period went too high and hit the board right in the period number.  A panel was knocked loose but was as easily fixed during intermission.

Also new: Peter Sivak moved to the line with Justin Bowers and Dean Ouellet, and Jordan Morrison centered both Sharks forward prospects Marek Viedensky and Daniil Tarasov.  That second line scored the first goal of the game, credited to Tarasov, with the assist to Viedensky.  

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A different group of guys: Eagles defeat Bulls 5-1

A different group of guys lost to the same group of guys that beat the Bulls back in early November.  Well, not exactly the same group.  Two Colorado players from the last meeting have gone (Joey Sides, Adam Chorneyko) and one was added (Kevin Ulanski).  In Friday’s game, the quantifiable distinction amounted to one assist from Ulanski.  That’s not right, Sides had 2 assists and a goal before.  I don’t think the math actually matters here.

Curcio describes falling behind early as a persistent challenge for the Bulls:

“We didn’t get any breaks early.   Being such a young team– not making excuses– we don’t battle through adversity… if we get up early, we can do anything once we’re up.    When we’re down we’re a different group of guys.”

If you want to look for indicators of how a Bulls game is going to go, Jordan Morrison going to the box early could be one, at least in the games I’ve watched.  Still, the Eagles’ didn’t score until after a second penalty was called against Belan, giving the Eagles a minute and 23 seconds of five on three.  Then Chad Costello scored his 40th point of the season.

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Teddy Bear Toss at tonight’s SF Bulls game

The Bulls play the Colorado Eagles at the Cow Palace tonight.  Bring a teddy bear to toss, enjoy the game, forget your worries.  The game will be broadcast on Comcast Hometown Network, for those with access to that.  Otherwise, listen for free on KNBR.com or the Colorado feed on iHeart, or pay to watch on America One Sports.

Neither the SF Bulls nor the Worcester Sharks showed up on the transaction lists today, or since the December 1 recall of Mikael Tam to the AHL.

Daniil Tarasov did end up starting on a line with Justin Bowers and Dean Ouellet for Wednesday’s game.  That worked out well and quickly, as he scored the first goal less than five minutes into the game.  Assists went to Bowers and defenseman Scott Langdon.  The Bulls went on to roll over Bakersfield for a final score of 4-1.  Two of the Bulls’ goals came from Peter Sivak, the first on a power play in the first, assists to Viedensky and Tarasov.  His second was scored at even strength in the second, assist to Alex Tuckerman.  The fourth Bulls goal was scored by Dean Ouellet in the third, assists to Bowers and Tarasov.

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