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Sharks Gameday: Russian Wackiness

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San Jose Sharks (25-8-7) at Phoenix Coyotes (25-13-3), 4:00 PM PST, or right when everyone should start drinking tonight.

Just a quick one today, as the early game time and the holiday are making it tight. The stars aren't exactly lined up in the Sharks favor, as they played at home yesterday, there's an early start, and last night's game against Washington was quite physical. Add in a streaking Coyotes team (at home) and Dave Tippett's successful shut-down system and all logic points towards a letdown.

On the other hand, Joe Pavelski looks like he's trying to prove something to his old buddy Ron Wilson, and the Jed Ortmayers and Manny Malhotras of the world are giving a little extra jump when the big guns aren't clicking. I'm expecting a lot of controlled shift changes and a little more conservative play, probably with more ice time spread out to the third and fourth lines. I haven't heard anything about Torrey Mitchell's apparent hamstring injury from last night, but he finished the game and looked like he had a spark, so let's just hope it was a freak occurrence.

The Coyote I'd Like On My Team: Ilya Bryzgalov, because I bet he and Nabby would have some really entertaining conversations in Russian -- Nabby with his dour serious demeanor and Bryz with his wacky "I'll say anything" sensibility would make for a perfect Russian reality show, especially if they also lived with this guy:

(Any of you watch The Soup? I couldn't find the clips of it online, but that's the angry Russian model from some reality show that they used to make fun of on The Soup; he'd go off on rants about how American models were so weak and his explanation for his attitude was "I'm Russian!")

Prediction: Sharks 2, Coyotes 1. Everyone's tired and wants to go home and party, so the teams play a much more boring game compared to the one a few nights back.

Have fun tonight and be safe. Spade, I'd love to see some pictures from whatever drunken madness you participate in during New Year's Eve, I'm sure it'd be entertaining. As for me, my wife and I are foregoing are usual foray to San Francisco for a quiet night of cold medication and champagne, not necessarily in that order. See you in 2010.