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San Jose Sharks Gameday: The Player of Games

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Sharks at Oilers, why Douglas Murray can't stay on the penalty kill, Marleau's eyebrows, and The Player of Games.

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"My gratitude extends beyond the limits of my capacity to express it." PHOTO:
"My gratitude extends beyond the limits of my capacity to express it." PHOTO:
Ezra Shaw

Next Game

San Jose Sharks
@ Edmonton Oilers

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013, 7:00 PM PST
Rexall Place

Complete Coverage >

"All reality is a game. Physics at its most fundamental, the very fabric of our universe, results directly from the interaction of certain fairly simple rules, and chance; the same description may be applied to the best, most elegant and both intellectually and aesthetically satisfying games."
-Iain M. Banks, The Player of Games

(In case you missed it yesterday, I have some opinions regarding offer sheets, the three young RFA stars currently negotiating with their respective teams, and the KHL).

Game one for the Sharks started off a bit spooky, with an embarrassingly sloppy first period in which Antti Niemi reminded everyone that, yes, he IS actually a quality NHL goalie, thank you very much. We caught a glimpse of the aggressive new penalty kill, which looked pretty good up until the point Douglas Murray got involved. I love Murray, but on the list of adjectives you would use to describe him, "mobile" is very very low (a few hundred spots beneath "stalwart," "mighty," "hale," and "pertinacious"). I'm optimistic about how the penalty kill will look once Jason Demers and Brent Burns are healthy (and Scott Gomez would look pretty sweet in a forward role!) but as long as Murray is seeing time on the PK the Sharks are going to have a problem. Hopefully Larry Robinson noticed that last night too, and will make the necessary adjustments.

After the iffy first period, though, things picked up. The big guns for the Sharks really delivered, and all the goals came from the top lines and d-pairs. And, as David Pollak noted in his article, if it were later in the season it might be appropriate to write something along the lines of "the Sharks need to be concerned about the lack of secondary scoring!" but since it was only game one, who gives a shit right? It was a great game - especially because I discovered a new fun thing where every time Patrick Marleau scores (which will happen a lot, because he's good) I imagine Jeremy Roenick getting mad and it makes me smile.


Today's book is The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks:

The Culture - a human/machine symbiotic society - has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every board, computer and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game...a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life - and very possibly his death.

Gurgeh reminds me of Patrick Marleau. He's an amazing player, and has proven himself time and again (now is a great time to link to one of the best pieces of stat writing ever crafted, all about how non-streaky Marleau really is), but doesn't get the respect he deserves for some reason - and in Marleau's case I honestly think it has a lot to do with his eyebrows. He always looks like he's about to cry, even when he's smiling:


and I just think that triggers something unconscious in asshole bullies like Jeremy Roenick, and they feel hostile towards Patrick without even really understanding why.

Actually I guess Marleau doesn't have that much in common with the dude from the book, really. But it's a good book!

Prediction: Sharks win 4-2, with goals from Marleau, Couture, Murray, and Scott Gomez?!?!?!

"By being unknowable, by resulting from events which, at the sub-atomic level, cannot be fully predicted, the future remains malleable, and retains the possibility of change, the hope of coming to prevail; victory."