There was an interesting set of events in the games tonight surrounding the concussion protocol in the NHL. In the Sharks/Blues game, St. Louis goaltender Halak was run over and hit in the head by one of his own guys, requiring some time to get his bearings. Even though he ultimately wanted to continue, the trainer convinced him to go off the ice, and he was replaced by Elliot. The original report on him was that Halak was going to return, but evidently something tightened up, because later, he was reported as having a lower body injury and day to day. Elliot finished the game (and won), and the Blues have said they’ll take their third goalie with them to San jose just in case.
Then later, Phoenix goalie Mike Smith got run over (and the blackhawks player got a game misconduct for it) and went to the ice clutching his face and head and stayed down an extended period. It was serious enough that the team doctor went onto the ice. Ultimately, unlike Halak, Smith was allowed to continue and finish the game.
My question is — WHY? That clearly seems to fall under the “go to the quiet room” protocol, but that wasn’t invoked on him. IMHO, the hit on Smith was a harder head hit than Halak got. The Blues trainer did the correct thing by insisting Halak go get checked out. The only possible explanation for Phoenix was the doctor on the ice checked Smith out on ice and cleared him — but even so, as I understand the protocol, he still should have been sent to the quiet room.
This seems like a mistake by the Phoenix medical staff. I understand why they’d want Smith in there, and why he’d want to continue — but I do hope the league looks into this and explains why both medical teams made the right decision, or if not, how they plan to make sure the right thing happens in the future. I think smith was allowed to put his head at risk for more serious injury by not going off for evaluation, and I don’t understand why the medical staff and referees didn’t force this issue, when it seems they should have.
(FWIW, it looks like the hit by the Chicago player was unintentional to me, not on purpose. But the major penalty was still the correct call. And it may be that Smith took the brunt of the hit to his jaw and possibly bit his tongue (which HURTS), but even so, I’d really like to hear why he wasn’t sent to the quiet room. “it’s the playoffs” is not an acceptable answer.
you might find it surprising that in the debate about processed meat treated with anhydrous ammonia (aka Pink Slime) I come down on the side of pink. This product has been defamed by a hysteria driven media campaign that presupposes this food product (and thatâ€™s what it is, a product) is unsafe in the absence of evidence suggesting safety issues, and fails to address the substantive issues of how society provides a food supply to a large population.
This is a core problem with fashionable foodies and other well-intentioned people who on even days declare we should let science be a defining force while on odd days rejecting science because it canâ€™t prove the negative. The science is overwhelming, pink slime is nutrient providing but critics are demanding the impossible, which is to prove that it is not unsafe.
A good analysis of this entire farce. Suffice it to say, I agree with him (including not being particularly interested in eating the stuff, but then, i don’t eat spam, either. much).
It is another sad example of the “emotions over science” that seems trendy in society today; this made about as much sense, and had as much science behind it, as the “vaccines cause autism” farce. And please, don’t even both commenting on thatâ€¦
I have to give the Sharks full credit. they didn’t make it easy for themselves, but they found a way and won the last four games. Finished a point out of the division title and ended up 7th in the west. The last two games with the Kings were (mostly) well-played and showed what this team is capable of.
Unfortunately, this team seems like it plays best when it’s back is to the wall, and so it seems to have to put its back to the wall to play well. That doesn’t seem to me to be a great playoff strategy, but we’ll see.
So the first round of the playoffs is set. Here are my predictions.
In the West:
Los Angeles/Vancouver — Quick vs. Luongo. Upstart Kings vs. repeating Presidents Cup winners. I really like both teams. I think this is the series to watch out west. I’d love to pick the Kings, but I think the Canucks will take this one in six.
San Jose/St. Louis: I’m thrilled to see the Blues back in the playoffs, and they’re a scary team. The sharks haven’t matched well with them this season. This is, actually, the worst match up for the Sharks, so I have to pick the Blues in five. It’ll be interesting to see if the Sharks can solve this, but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Chicago/Phoenix: Also great to see — the Coyotes in the playoffs. They’re a fun and scrappy team playing in “mission from God” mode. the Blackhawks just don’t seem to click reliably. Not sure Laurie will like hearing this, but I have to go with the Coyotes in six.
Detroit/Nashville: Nashville is a solid contender. Detroit is, well, Detroit, and you rarely profit betting against them. they are a team that just finds a way. There have been chinks in the Red Wings armor this year. I like the Predators; not flashy, but they get it done. And so I think they will in five.
So in summary: Vancouver, St. Louis, Phoenix, Nashville.
And my pick for the west going into the first round? St. Louis. (then Vancouver)
In the East:
Ottawa/New York Rangers: The Rangers are a fine team (shh: don’t tell Larry Brooks, he hates it when things go well, nothing to whine about). The Senators are a good team, but not in that league. This one goes to the Rangers in five.
Washington/Boston: The Capitals are a very talented team that have never found a consistent winning rhythm. the Bruins have had a few air pockets but they’re still a team you need to be wary of. I can’t see how the Capitals will beat the Bruins the way the Caps have been playing, and Boston is really the better team. Bruins in 5.
New Jersey/Florida: like betting against the Red Wings, until the last few years, you didn’t bet against Brodeur in the playoffs. But he’s shown a strong tendency to fade late, and age is not doing him favors. The Panthers have finally built a good team, and I think they’re rewarded in this round. Panthers in six.
Philadelphia/Pittsburgh: the series to watch in the east by far. Two really good teams that have a big hate on for each other. You have to wonder if the team that survives this round will have anything left for round two. This match is almost a toss-up, but I’m going to pick the Penguins in seven. I also predict one season ending injury and at least one line brawl.
In summary: New York Rangers, Boston, Florida, Pittsburgh
And my pick for the east going into the first round Pittsburgh (then the Rangers)
My pick for the cup? Pittsburgh.
Now, a few days off to rest up, and the second season begins.
I used to take April Fool’s pretty seriously. but to do it well, it takes time, energy and the guts to take a risk. Which is why, again this year, Anil is right.
So this year, I thought I’d talk instead about the best April Fool’s joke I ever put together, one I never had the guts to pull off.
Very simple, really. Everyone in the building at Apple I worked in at the time would show up to a memo on their desk announcing Apple’s new Drug Testing Policy.
With a sample cup. And instructions on where to drop it off.
This one had the potential for chaos on so many levels. The obvious: a drug testing policy is so against the culture of a company like Apple, it’s an obvious riff. And frankly, a “here’s our new policy” memo or email just isn’t that interesting. But toss in the sample cup and submission info, and it’d suddenly feel a lot more real — at least initially.
then think about the different layers of this: people who don’t get it who get pissed (ahem) and start screaming about it until someone clues them in.
Then start thinking about the poor person at the wrong end of the submission address. And the interoffice mail folks. And… Because you know some folks WILL. And some folks will — but using innovative substances. And…
This one goes way back, when the subject of affection was Kevin Sullivan, for whom I had no real love lost for his work at Apple.
But the reason I never did it was because the peope who’d take the brunt of the bad aspects of the joke weren’t the people it was aimed at (Sullivan, Apple HR at the time, and whiny people who scream first and think maybe), but the AA’s who’d actually have to deal with all of the submissions. And that just didn’t seem funny to me. Now, Sullivan himself dealing with them? that’d have been worth being fired over…
The Mac App Store has been a huge boon to Mac software developers, but has an enormous flaw: it needs to allow developers to charge existing customers a discounted price for major upgrades.
Right now developers selling through the Mac App Store face a lose/lose choice: either provide all major upgrades to existing customers for free (thus losing a quarter of our revenue), or create a â€œnewâ€ product for each major version (creating customer confusion) and charge existing customers full price again (creating customer anger). Why The Mac App Store is Nice
This was one of those things I got to talk about with developers a lot back in webOS land. All developers want this. No app store (with any significant audience, that I can findâ€¦) implementation provides it. Why the disconnect?
Behold the three stages of product manager hell:
Okay, to make this date, what features do we absolutely positively have to have for launch? Upgrades? We can add that later. It waits.
The SAP geeks say it’ll take eight months to add support to the back end for this. We need to launch in Botswana. It’ll have to wait.
I know the developers are asking for this, but we seem to be doing pretty well without it. It just doesn’t seem to be a priority right now, not compared to [REDACTED].
Now, throw in a random “oh my god, do you know what this will do to our tax liability and reporting requirements in Lithuania?” and you get some sense of how you end up down this path. I’m sure no software developer has ever had discussions like this about their product, right?
My view on this: I see the developers pain. I see what the expectations users have for this. One of the things I asked for when we implemented coupons (aka promo codes) was the ability for a developer to send out discounts to existing users so they could release “Delicious Monster: TNG” at list and give existing users a code to upgrade at 20% off. Did I get it? (hollow laughter).
If you look at what Apple does (since it doesn’t actually say anything) and guess to their intentions, I’m guessing — based on what they’ve done with Aperture — that their model is moving forward without upgrade discounts. Instead, they’ve cut the cost of the product up front. What used to cost $200 now costs $79. When they release Aperture 4, it’ll cost $79. And Aperture 5 will cost $79. And if a user complains about paying full price for each release, Apple can ask if they’d rather go back Â to paying $200 for the package and getting upgrades for $99. it’s actually a persuasive argument, if your business plan can handle it and you don’t mind getting hit on the head a lot while explaining it.
And so, if you’re building product, that’s what I’d recommend you plan for. No upgrade discounts. Which implies setting your pricing scheme so that you can make a good “cost over the life of product” argument to users, and make sure each release has persuasive upgrade features (I’m looking at you, Adobe CS 5) or users will simply yawn and skip the release.
Honestly, as a user, I can live with that model. And yes, if I think a product is overpriced or the features of a release are not persuasive, I will skip it (he says, as a proud owner of CS 3; neener, Adobe, I spent my money elsewhere — but happily upgraded to Lightroom 4, because it was worth it. hint hint). It’s going to require retraining users who expect discounts. that will be painful. But I think Apple has set this standard, and I think that’s going to be what it is moving forward. I don’t see a persuasive reason for them to change their strategy.
And whether they admit it or not, I bet a lot of product managers for app stores on various platforms have the “if Apple isn’t doing it, why should I?” test for feature requests. And then they go off into a closet and come up with reasons for the powerpoint that don’t sound so, well, reactive and lame.
The Mac App Store has been a great new source of revenue for Delicious Monster â€” weâ€™ve seen almost double total sales of â€œDelicious Library 2â€ through it. And although paying ~â…“ of our gross to Apple is pretty steep, if Appleâ€™s finding new customers who wouldn’t have found us before the Mac App Store,
Of course, if you remember back to the good old daysâ€¦ Not the good old days of selling downloads on your own site, but the REAL good old days, if you could have gotten your software INTO a store like Best Buy, you’d have to pay for physical packaging and distribution, and deal with returns and all of the sales and management of your retail channels — and those channels would suck about 50% of your sale price off on top of it for THEIR margins.
And FWIW, that 30% margin they take is maybe break-even. they certainly aren’t paying for expensive cars in the parking lot with it. App stores aren’t cheap to run. Or so I hear.
In the post game, Ray Ratto and Drew got into it. I admit: I missed this live, because Laurie and I were so thrilled at the game, we turned off for a DVRed episode of Good Eats. No, really. Good Eats reruns.
Here’s my take on all of this. If you caught me on twitter during and after the game, you’ll know I pretty much wrote off the Sharks after this game. For once, Ray Ratto is right: this is not a playoff team. It hasn’t played like one since the start of the year. Last night, I saw a team working hard, but not working desperate.
I love Drew, he’s smart, fun to listen to and usually right, but last night, his attachment to the Sharks and to coaching got the best of him. He loves this team (and so do I), but his rant last night was more denial than explanation. Ratto nails it. Here in the Western Conference, which is a nasty ass conference, and the Pacific Division, which is a nasty division, the Sharks are not a playoff team. Even if they squeeze into the playoffs, I can’t see them getting past the first round.
After the game, Joe thornton said this team needed to win out and go 4-0 to close the season. Best case is 3-1 might get them in. Is the team that lost the last two games going to do that? I don’t’ see it. They’ll be lucky to go 1-3. Right now, I expect the Kings should sweep them.
How did we get to this point? That’s a tough, complicated question, one I’ve grappled with for a while. My current thinking is something like this:
First, and most important, the conference and division has gotten better around the Sharks. This is, first and foremost, not about the Sharks getting bad, but about the team being as good as it is and the rest of the league catching up. Did you see St. Louis getting as good as it has this year? No, me, neither. There are no soft teams in the west, and even “bad” teams like Edmonton can and will make you crazy. So the primary “failure” here is — parity.
Having said that, I think this team has had a “of course we’re a playoff team” mentality, perhaps leaning a bit too hard on “we just need to be ready for April” and planning to flip the switch. You can’t ever let the regular season be a tuneup for the real season, or, well, you hit the last ten games of the season in a dogfight for 8th, and lose that slot to a team that’s learned how to be desperate. This team maybe has coasted a bit on its belief that it will just be there when it really matters, and now that it’s really mattering, finding it’s not quite as easy as it thought.
I think injuries have taken a toll on this team; there have been enough to keep the roster in flux all season, and that’s kept this team from ever generating the kind of “on a roll” chemistry it’s shown in the past.
I’m am curious whether or not Marleau is playing with an injury. If he’s not — what the hell happened? Marleau has always had times when he’s gone into funks; it’s never been at crunch time and he’s always ended the season putting up the kind of numbers we expect from him. But honestly, right now I want to put his picture on a Â milk carton. I don’t see any reason why he’s been so — invisible — on the ice. Â He is the only top six forward I can call out as being a significant disappointment to me. It’s now the Joe and Joe and Logan and Ryan show out there, and all four get nothing but positives from me.
Drew’s support of the coaching staff is not misplaced. I share it. I don’t see this as something that puts either Doug Wilson or Coach McClellan’s job at risk. I do wonder — and I am completely unqualified to judge — how significant the loss of Trent Yawney from the staff for this season is affecting things, especially given the plummet in performance in special teams. Jay Woodcroft seems like a great person, but it seems to me this team might need a more seasoned and experienced voice helping McClellan (and let me emphasize that I’m not saying anything against Woodcroft other than maybe this team needs someone further down the career path; or maybe not — that’s something Doug Wilson will have to evaluate).
Wilson made some roster changes during the offseason. I like and continue to like the Brent Burns deal. It took him some time to acclimate, once he did, I’ve liked his play. Given setoguchi’s play in minnesota, a no-brainer. the Heatley deal for havlat got sidetracked by injuries, that was a known risk of the deal, and it’s a risk that we got hit by.
I look at Huskins in St. Louis, and I look at Ian White in Detroit, and then I look at Colin White here in San jose, and I think to myself — really? Sorry, Colin White was not an upgrade, not in any way, shape or form. This team would have been a lot better off keeping Ian White; I’m not a huge fan of Huskins, but he’s been put in a Â system where he’s been solid. Even so, Huskins would be a step up from Colin White.
That said — that’s a minor blip in the Doug Wilson track record.
The end result here? The better a team is, the harder it is to keep making it better. I think the Sharks ran into that this year. They plateaued. At a high level, but it’s still a plateau. I think the biggest off-season loss was Yawney on the coaching staff, and I think that needs to be looked at in the offseason. Injuries were never catastrophic (no Sydney Crosby injuries) but enough injuries happened to keep the roster from gelling and this team from ever building momentum or chemistry. It challenged the organization depth, and the depth is okay but only okay. And I think this team mentally got a bit complacent, and got into a mindset that what really mattered was being ready for the playoffs. And they did that in a conference full of teams hungry for the playoffs, and now — it’s on the outside wondering what happened.
And then there’s the mystical missing Marleau.
And perhaps missing the playoffs will make this team pissed again, and playing with that edge again. Which is something this team needs, and which I think was missing this year. And that will be good for this team — next season. It’s too late this year.
I don’t think this team needs major surgery. I do think changes need to be made, but that’s true every year.
For now, though, I’m just counting down the days to the playoffs, and I’m looking forward to seeing just how far the Blues can go, and how many team they’re going to scare along the wayâ€¦
63.6Â Awarded Goal – In the event that the goal post is displaced, either deliberately or accidentally, by a defending player, prior to the puck crossing the goal line between the normal position of the goalposts, the Referee may award a goal. In order to award a goal in this situation, the goal post must have been displaced by the actions a defending player or goalkeeper, the puck must have been shot (or the player must be in the act of shooting) at the goal prior to the goal post being displaced, and it must be determined that the puck would have entered the net between the normal position of the goal posts. When the goal post has been displaced deliberately by the defending team when their goalkeeper has been removed for an extra attacker thereby preventing an impending goal by the attacking team, the Referee shall award a goal to the attacking team. The goal frame is considered to be displaced if either or both goal pegs are no longer in their respective holes in the ice, or the net has come completely off one or both pegs, prior to or as the puck enters the goal.
So right now, twitter and the sharks broadcast are harping on the official call leading to the third goal. Here’s my take. Okay, two takes.
If you read the rule, the intent of what Boyle did means nothing. He knocked the goal off, whether he intended to is irrelevant. If the referee feels the puck would go in the net, then he was correct to call the awarded goal.
That was the incorrect interpretation, but if it took us three looks in slow-mo on replay, I’m going to cut the refs some slack on the call. It was fast, close, and a lot of moving parts. The puck missed by maybe an inch. Catching that at full speed in real time is tough at best.
There was a somewhat extended discussion with the situation room in Toronto, but the decision that matters (“the goal was going in, so the goal is awarded”) isn’t reviewable. Even if toronto tells the refs what happened, unless the refs on the ice can change that call, it won’t be changed. it looked to me like all four zebras huddled to see if someone had an angle on the call — and ultimately, the original call stood.
And so the goal did, too. That’s how it goes some times. The referees made the appropriate call on the ice. It wasn’t the right call, but it was a situation where the right call was almost impossible to make, and it was a call that Toronto’s situation room couldn’t correct on review. (whether we want even more interminable delays in the game for reviews is another argument. I lean towards coaches having one call a game in some situations, but honestly, I don’t want more time spent standing around wondering what Toronto is going to decide slowing down the game)
And frankly, this all misses the point completely.
it matters not at all whether the Sharks lose this game 2-1 or 3-1.
the Sharks still lost. And now are holding onto the playoffs with two fingernails and a prayer. They didn’t play badly, they didn’t play great. They needed great. And the Ducks are the difference this year between the sharks winning the division and maybe missing the playoffs. A team the sharks simply don’t match up well against, and it showed again tonight. Close, no cigar.
And the OTHER team the Sharks really don’t match up well against is — the Blues. And who are the sharks likely to see in the first round? And if not the first round, sometime in the playoffs? yup.
So to me, this non-controversy is even more non-controversial, because I still don’t see the Sharks going far if they do make the playoffs.
But theyâ€™re also on a stretch that has them playing nine games in 15 nights so Todd McLellan decided that his players needed time away from the rink more than they needed another practice.
Yes, I know, some of you would have bag-skated them after going 0-for-California at a time thatâ€™s crucial to their (fading?) playoff hopes.
It almost pains me to say it, but right now, the Sharks look to me to be missing the playoffs.
It’s hard to put a finger on what’s wrong. I don’t think the coaches know. I don’t think the players know. I sure don’t. But from watching them, it’s not that they’ve given up or stopped caring. They haven’t tuned out the coach. I like their work ethic. their conditioning seems fine. They’re trying hard. But at key moments, they don’t seem to try smart, and mistakes bury them.
And Â now they’re second guessing themselves. something goes wrong, and they falter. the textbook definition of “fragile”.
McLellan is right that bag skates is the wrong thing, especialy this time of year. Especially since it’s not lack of effort. That’s not sending a message or fixing the problem, that’s just revenge thinking. wrong idea.
Fact is, this team just isn’t clicking. In the West, there’s no margin of error, and this team is error prone. If I were to point at a single failure point, it’s the number of and timing of injuries — this team simply never got a roster set and in a rhythm. I think. Maybe.
right now, I think it’s too late. I suppose they can wake up and go on a run, but I don’t think they will. I’m not sure they should. Why cost ticket holders one round of playoff tickets? (that sound you just heard was Sharks ownership wincing). But unless this team really changes overnight (and it won’t), even if they squeak in, they aren’t going far.
I’m guessing they have company. Detroit and detroit’s goaltending looks to be joining the “what happened here?” club. I’m not seeing them go far, either.
God help whoever runs into St. Louis in the first round. they’ll need it.
I could, I guess, get up some righteous anger at the Sharks, but you know? Some years, it just never happens to plan. I think we’re seeing a glimpse of what might have happened if Havlat had stayed healthy.
I know there’s been some rumblings about the Minnesota trades during the offseason, but to be honest? I think the Sharks won those trades. Heatley/Setoguchi are at 77 points for the season, but Burns and Havlat are at 56; not that far behind, and Havlat only played 30 games. If he played 70 at close to that rate, this pair well outscored the former sharks. And heatley and seto are a combined -19 vs +14. And look at where the Sharks are in the standings vs. the wild. I’ll take what we have vs. what we gave up.
So for me, it’s about playing out the string and seeing how this team fights through the rest of the season. I don’t think sharks fans need to panic. I do think they need to realize that sometimes, an engine throws a rod, and by the time you fix it, the race is over. That’s the Sharks this year. But I’m unconvinced you need to throw out the engine or the drive for next year’s race. (but replace a few parts? definitely. But that’s for laterâ€¦ there’s still hockey to complain aboutâ€¦)
Chuq Von Rospach is a Silicon Valley veteran doing Technical Community Management and amateur photographer with a strong interest in birds, wildlife and landscapes. My goal is to explore the Western states and working to tell you the stories of the special places I've found. You can find out more on the About Page.
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